Battle of the Baltic, The Royal Navy and the Fight to Save Estonia & Latvia 1918-20

The story of the Baltic independence wars is one of the great untold stories of 1918-20. The author has described how a small Royal Navy squadron of cruisers, destroyers and torpedo attack craft protected the Estonians and Latvians from Soviet occupation . – Most Highly Recommended.

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NAME:   Battle of the Baltic, The Royal Navy and the Fight to Save Estonia & Latvia 
1918-20
FILE: R3184
AUTHOR: Steve R Dunn
PUBLISHER: Seaforth, Pen and Sword 
BINDING: hard back
PRICE: £25.00                                                               
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT:   Locomotive torpedo, land planes, carrier aircraft, spotter/attack aircraft, 
piston engines, biplanes, WWI, WWII, World War One, World War Two, First World 
War, Post Armistice, Baltic States, Soviet threat, Estonian independence, Latvian 
independence, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Royal Navy, intervention forces, 
Northern Intervention Force, Southern Intervention Force, Force Dunster, RN Baltic 
Squadron, cruisers, destroyers, Coastal Motor Boats, MTBs, mines, Soviet Navy

ISBN: 978-1-5267-4273-5

PAGES: 304
IMAGE: B3184.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y9gdw5ky
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The story of the Baltic independence wars is one of the great untold 
stories of 1918-20. The author has described how a small Royal Navy squadron of 
cruisers, destroyers and torpedo attack craft protected the Estonians and 
Latvians from Soviet occupation . – Most Highly Recommended.


The final year of WWI and the period to 1922 saw Britain engaged in helping to fight the soviet menace. This work was largely carried out by relatively small Royal Navy forces. It was highly sensitive work and much of it appears to have escaped documentation, which may in part account for the lack of coverage by historians. In the closing year of WWI the Royal Navy’s Naval Division was still engaged on the Western Front but the influx of US troops into France made them a less necessary land force. There were also RNAS personnel returning to the Royal Navy from the RAF, as RFC personnel were returning to the Army, these aviators chosing to return from the RAF to their parent organizations at the cost of leaving flying. This provided the RN with pilots and soldiers that could be deployed in Intervention Forces to aid the White Russians during the Russian Civil War.

The Northern Intervention Force landed a large Naval Division and Royal Marine force at Murmansk that was tasked with advancing on Moscow and meeting with White Russian troops to drive the soviets out of Moscow and return power to the White Russians. In the event, the RN force made good progress to its objective but did not receive the promised White Russian support, as the various factions fought as much with each other as they did with the Bolshevics. Some views are that the RN came very close to achieving its objectives and linking up with Latvian troops who were prepared to break away from the soviets. However, the British Government ordered the withdrawal of the Northern Intervention Force and this was achieved smoothly.

The Southern Intervention Force was an even less well documented operation and personnel remained in Southern Russia fighting to the end of the civil war, withdrawing over the border into Persia. How large this force was and how ‘official’ is open to debate, with many of the members being pilots and ground crew formerly of the RNAS. There is a suspicion that many were mercenaries and some of them after withdrawal served with the Black and Tans in Ireland against the IRA.

The third activity was the Squadron sent into the Baltic to frustrate Soviet intentions. This proved a major success and demonstrated how the British Government could have intervened successfully in Russian affairs had the politicians not cavilled. To this day, the Latvians and Estonians still think fondly of the support accorded to them by the RN in their fight for independence against threats from Germany and the Soviets. With more political backbone the British could have more actively supported Lithuanians and Poles and shaped the post WWI world to avoid the costly WWII that was a product of lack of vision and intervention, coupled with draconian peace terms that forced Germans into a corner.

The author has produced an enthralling and inspirational account of how a small RN force was deployed so successfully by its commander and his officers and men to the greatest credit of the Royal Navy. It followed in many respects the RN Fleet deployed into the Baltic in the Napoleonic Wars to support Britain’s only ally at the time, Sweden. The Fleet led by HMS Victory terrified the Russian sailors who fled back to their home port and sent down their sails and yards, never to pose a threat again to Sweden in that period of conflict.