5th Operational Squadron

Fifth Eskadra
Fifth Eskadra bases, 1973.
Active 1964–1993, 2013–present[1]
Country Soviet Union and Russia
Allegiance Soviet Navy
Branch Soviet Navy, Russian Navy
Type Flotilla
Role Naval warfare

The 5th Mediterranean squadron of warships, or Fifth Eskadra, was/is a flotilla of ships of the Soviet Navy, and much later, the Russian Navy. It was originally intended for combat missions in the Mediterranean Sea during the Cold War between the USSR and the Western Bloc. NATO and Western countries in general usually referred to the flotilla as the Soviet Mediterranean Fleet since it was indeed such for all intents and purposes. The squadron's main combat adversary was the U.S. Sixth Fleet. It was disbanded on 31 December 1992[2] but then reassembled in 2013[3] due to perceived threats from NATO. Since 2013, Russia maintains the Operational formation of the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean Sea (Russian: Оперативное соединение ВМФ России на Средиземном море)[4].


The Soviet Navy in the first half of the 1960s had not yet been able to create a force that could effectively cripple the Sixth Fleet. The Black Sea Fleet force deployed in the Mediterranean, did not have the required strength, and the attention of the Soviet Navy's leaders was drawn to the potential of first diesel electric, and then nuclear submarines to stealthily track and, with nuclear weapons, subsequently destroy aircraft carriers.[5]

Up to May 1965, the Soviet Navy attempted to carry out its task in Mediterranean Sea by creating a so-called mixed subdivisions formed from ships of the Northern Fleet and the Baltic Fleet under the command of Captains 1st Rank E.I. Volobuyev and O.P. Grumbkov. This force included submarines, destroyers and supply vessels. In May 1965, the first mixed squadron was formed from the hydrographic, support vessels, attack cruisers and submarines of the Black Sea Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea, under the command of 20th Water Region Division Captain 1st Rank Igor N. Molodtsov.[6]

The question of creating a staff and a temporary operational squadron in the Mediterranean, was raised repeatedly by Admiral Sergei Gorshkov, Chief of the Navy. However, the General Staff did not approve the idea. Contrary to custom, Gorshkov continued to harass the Ministry of Defence with persistent requests for the creation of "... the organization that can hardly be found", not bothered by the fact that it caused irritation to the Chief of the General Staff. The Commander used to do that every suitable occasion, but "up to a certain time the requests of the Commander for the establishment of regular Mediterranean squadron to officers of the General Staff met with failure, or silence."[7]

The Six-Day War of 1967 was a factor in accelerating the creation of the Mediterranean squadron. In June 1967, the Politburo decided to create a Mediterranean squadron. In accordance with this decision, the establishment of the squadron was ordered by the Order of the Navy Commander № 0195, dated 14 June 1967.[8] Rear Admiral Boris Petrov took command, and took over command of all the forces that were present on 14 July 1967 in the Mediterranean.

Operational formation of the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean Sea

In September 2013, the Russian Ministry of Defence re-established a fleet in the Mediterranean using a combination of ships from the Black Sea Fleet and Northern Fleet stationed in Syria.[9] As of June 2017, it was reported to comprise 15 warships and auxiliary vessels.[10]


Since reactivation:

See also


  1. http://function.mil.ru/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12096837@egNews#txt
  2. Дубягин, П. Р. На Средиземноморской эскадре. – М.: Андреевский флаг, 2006. – 344 с. – ISBN 5-9553-0053-8, 337.
  3. http://function.mil.ru/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12096837@egNews#txt
  4. Operational formation of the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean Sea will receive the Smetlivy guard ship of the Black Sea Fleet Russian MoD, 22 May 2017.
  5. Касатонов, И. В. (2009). Сорок лет 30-й дивизии Черноморского флота: через все эпохи и потрясения. М.: Вагриус. p 49
  6. Монаков М. С. (2008). Главком (Жизнь и деятельность Адмирала флота Советского Союза С. Г. Горшкова). Библиотека клуба адмиралов. М.: Кучково поле. p. 535. ISBN 978-5-9950-0008-2.
  7. Монаков М. С. (2008). Главком (Жизнь и деятельность Адмирала флота Советского Союза С. Г. Горшкова). Библиотека клуба адмиралов. М.: Кучково поле. p. 535, 536. ISBN 978-5-9950-0008-2.
  8. Zaborsky V. (13 October 2006). "Soviet Mediterranean Squadron". Independent Military.
  9. http://function.mil.ru/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12096837@egNews#txt
  10. Число кораблей ВМФ России в Средиземном море увеличилось до 15 RIA Novosti, 1 June 2017.
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