British Caspian Flotilla

British Caspian Flotilla

HMS Kruger, flagship of the flotilla
Active 1918-1920
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Royal Navy
Type Fleet
Caspian Sea and the Caucuses, 1915. Extract from the Birdseye View of Turkey and Baghdad Railway

The British Caspian Flotilla was a naval force of the Royal Navy established in the Caspian Sea in 1918. It was part of the allied intervention in the Russian Civil War.


The decision to form the force was made on 11 July 1918 at the British military HQ in Baghdad. Its purpose was twofold:

  1. To seize Krasnovodsk, the east coast terminal of the Trans-Caspian railway, and hence support the British Malleson Mission which was intervening in Turkmenistan.
  2. To prevent Baku and the oilfields around it from falling onto the hands of the Germans or the Ottoman Empire.

The force was established under the command of Commodore David Norris in September 1918.[1] Norris traveled by road from Baghdad to Enzeli with a convoy of lorries transporting naval guns.[2] In January 1919 he was reinforced by 12 Coastal Motor Boats sent by train from Batumi the Black Sea.[3] These ships were then armed with the naval guns, officered by British officers with a crew guarded by Royal Marines.[2]

The flotilla maintained bases at Enzeli and Krasnovodsk, and in addition facilitated lines of communication between British land units in Baku, Petrovsk (Chechen Island), Fort Alexandrovsk.

The Flotilla included:[4][5]


  1. Stratford, Stephen. "British Military & Criminal History 1900 to 1999". Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  2. 1 2 Clifford Kinvig (November 23, 2007), Churchill's Crusade, Hambledon & London, ISBN 9781847250216, OCLC 747256147, 1847250211
  3. "The Royal Navy on the Caspian, 1918–1919". Naval Review, 7/8 1919-20. pp87-99 and 218-240*
  4. Guard, John. "The Royal Navy in the Caspian Sea 1918-1920". Great War Primary Document Archive. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  5. Halpern, Paul (2013). The Mediterranean Fleet, 1919–1929. Ashgate Publishing.
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