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Lithuanian Naval Force

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Lithuanian Naval Force

Lithuanian Naval Force
Active 1935–1939, 1992 - present
Country  Lithuania
Branch Lithuanian Armed Forces
Type Navy
Role Control, protect and defend territorial sea and exclusive economic zone.
Size 12 vessels
Garrison/HQ Klaipėda
Anniversaries 4 July 1992, 1 September 1935
Commanders
Commander in Chief Rear Admiral Kęstutis Macijauskas
Chief of Staff Commander Arūnas Mockus
Insignia
Naval Ensign
Naval Jack

The Lithuanian Navy is the naval arm of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Though formally established on 1 August 1935 its roots stretch back as far as naval engagements on the Baltic Sea in the Medieval period. Lithuanian naval units saw some service with Soviet naval forces during World War II, and the navy has been re-established in its own right and continues to expand since Lithuania's independence in 1990.

History

Roots

Although the origin of the Lithuanian Navy dates back to the period between World War I and II, the history of the involvement in naval battles existed earlier. The Baltic tribe of Aistians that settled down in the Baltic Sea shore built ships and used them for trade as well as for military purposes. Furthermore, according to annals, in the 13th century other Baltic tribes, the Coronians and Samogitians, tried to destroy the castle of Riga coming by ships. It is also known about the Lithuanians’ victory in the ship battle in Nemunas River at the time when Duke Vytenis ruled the Duchy of Lithuania. The most known and important naval victory was achieved by great hetman Jan Karol Chodkiewicz on 24 March 1609 near Salismünde (now Salacgrīva in Latvia) where he defeated a Swedish fleet burning two enemy ships and losing none and hence breaking the blockade of Riga city. But generally the loss of territories near the Baltic Sea had a negative impact on Lithuania's maritime development.

Establishment

After World War I, the Government of Lithuania attempted to establish a maritime defense force. However, due to various political and economical reasons, the maritime defense force was only partially implemented. In 1923, Lithuania gained the control of Klaipėda harbor[1] and gradual development of the maritime defense force started. The purchase of a minesweeper in 1927 was one of the first significant steps to implement Lithuanian Government aims. The ship was commissioned as the training ship Prezidentas Smetona (President Smetona). Captain Antanas Kaskelis was assigned as ship's commanding officer. Several small boats carried out patrol duties in Klaipėda harbor. Naval officers were educated abroad. On 1 August 1935, the commander in chief of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, General Stasys Rastikis, officially established the Lithuanian Navy as a branch of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.

The impact of World War II

Before the beginning of World War II on 22 March 1939 the region of Klaipėda was occupied by Germany.[2] Once the war started Lithuanian naval ships were forced to leave Klaipėda for Liepāja harbor in Latvia. During the Soviet occupation, the Lithuanian Navy was attached to the Soviet Union's Baltic maritime defense force. The Prezidentas Smetona was renamed Korall and participated in the sea battles against Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine. On 11 January 1945, the ship triggered a mine and sank in the Gulf of Finland.

Development after the declaration of independence

Frigate F12 "Aukštaitis" in 1993.

After the Grisha class corvettes, Zemaitis (F11) and Aukstaitis (F12). After the crew training period in June 1992 both corvettes participated in the international exercise US Baltops 93. This was the beginning of the international cooperation of the Lithuanian Navy with other navies.

Another milestone in Lithuanian naval history was the establishment of the Sea Coastal Surveillance Company in 1993 which later was transformed into the Sea Coastal Surveillance Service. On 1 April 2004, Lithuania became an official member of the NATO alliance. Currently the Lithuanian naval forces are undergoing rapid modernization.

Function

Main tasks of the Lithuanian Naval Force are:

  • Control, protect and defend territorial sea and exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Lithuania;
  • Underwater, surface surveillance and control of territorial waters;
  • Mine-clearing operations;
  • Antiterrorism activities at sea;
  • Protection and control of shipping and sea line of communications;
  • SAR operations.

Fleet

Current

Name Picture Origin Class Type Built Entered service (LNF) Notes
Mine Countermeasures Squadron
N42 Jotvingis  Norway Vidar-class minelayer Minelayer and command vessel 1977 2006 Command and support ship.[3]
Former HNoMS Vidar (N52) of the Royal Norwegian Navy.
M51 (Kuršis)  West Germany Lindau-class minesweeper Coastal mine warfare vessel 1957 2001
M52 Sūduvis  West Germany Lindau-class minesweeper Coastal mine warfare vessel 1957 1999 Will be replaced by Hunt class mine countermeasure vessel.
M53 Skalvis  United Kingdom Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessel Mine warfare vessel 1982 2011 officially commissioned 2013 May 18. Ex-HMS Cottesmore
M54 Kuršis  United Kingdom Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessel Mine warfare vessel 1982 2011 officially commissioned 2013 May 18. Ex-HMS Dulverton
Patrol Boat Squadron
P11 Žemaitis  Denmark Flyvefisken-class patrol vessel Multirole warship 1985 2008
P12 Dzūkas  Denmark Flyvefisken-class patrol vessel Multirole warship 1988 2009
P14 Aukštaitis  Denmark Flyvefisken-class patrol vessel Multirole warship 1993 2010
P32 Sėlis  Norway Storm-class patrol boat Fast patrol boat 1966 2001
Harbor Boat Group
Šakiai  USSR SAR ship 1986 2009
H21  USSR Cutter 1983 1992 Support vessel
H22  Sweden Tugboat 1955 2000 Can operate as iceboat
H23 Lokys  Denmark Cutter 1941 2005 Diving support vessel

Retired

Name Picture Origin Class Type Built Entered service (LNF) Left service (LNF) Notes
A41 ''Vetra''  USSR Valerian Uryvayev class weather reporting ship Support ship 1977 1992 2007 Former Rudolf Samoylovich. Was scrapped after decommissioning.
F11 ''Žemaitis''  USSR Grisha III class corvette Corvette 1981 1992 2008 Former MPK-108 (Komsomolets Latviy).[4] Was scrapped after decommissioning.
F12 ''Aukštaitis''  USSR Grisha III class corvette Corvette 1980 1992 2010[5] Former MPK-44.[4] Was scrapped after decommissioning.
P31 Dzūkas  Norway Storm-class patrol boat Fast patrol boat 1967 1995 2007 Former P965 HNoMS Kjekk
P33 Skalvis  Norway Storm-class patrol boat Fast patrol boat 1967 2001 2011[6] Former P969 HNoMS Steil

References

  1. ^ "Klaipeda State Seaport". World Port Source. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  2. ^ "The impact of the World War II on Lithuanian Navy". Ministry of National Defence Republic of Lithuania. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  3. ^ The new warship of the Lithuanian Naval Force to pier at Klaipėda seaport
  4. ^ a b Eric Wertheim: The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World: Their Ships, Aircraft, and Systems (2007), p. 449 ff.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ [2]

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Lithuanian Naval Force official webpage

Sources

  • Lithuanian Ministry of Defence site
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