Soviet Navy

The Soviet Navy was the naval arm of the Soviet Armed Forces. Referred to as the Red Fleet, the Soviet Navy was a large part of the Soviet Union's strategic plan in the event of a conflict with the opposing superpower, the United States, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or another conflict related to the Warsaw Pact of Eastern Europe; the influence of the Soviet Navy played a large role in the Cold War, as the majority of conflicts centered on naval forces. The Soviet Navy was divided into four major fleets: the Northern, Black Sea, Baltic Fleets; the Caspian Flotilla was a smaller force operating in the land-locked Caspian Sea. Main components of the Soviet Navy included Soviet Naval Aviation, Naval Infantry, Coastal Artillery. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia inherited the largest part of the Soviet Navy and reformed it into the Russian Navy, with smaller parts becoming the basis for navies of the newly independent post-Soviet states; the Soviet Navy was based on a republican naval force formed from the remnants of the Imperial Russian Navy, completely destroyed in the two Revolutions of 1917 during World War I, the following Russian Civil War, the Kronstadt rebellion in 1921.

During the revolutionary period, Russian sailors deserted their ships at will and neglected their duties. The officers were dispersed and most of the sailors walked off and left their ships. Work stopped in the shipyards; the Black Sea Fleet fared no better than the Baltic. The Bolshevik revolution disrupted its personnel, with mass murders of officers. At the end of April 1918, Imperial German troops moved along the Black Sea coast and entered Crimea and started to advance towards the Sevastopol naval base; the more effective ships were moved from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk where, after an ultimatum from Germany, they were scuttled by Vladimir Lenin's order. The ships remaining in Sevastopol were captured by the Germans and after the Armistice of 11 November 1918 on the Western Front which ended the War, additional Russian ships were confiscated by the British. On 1 April 1919, during the ensuing Russian Civil War when Red Army forces captured Crimea, the British Royal Navy squadron had to withdraw, but before leaving they damaged all the remaining battleships and sank thirteen new submarines.

When the opposing Czarist White Army captured Crimea in 1919, it rescued and reconditioned a few units. At the end of the civil war, Wrangel's fleet, a White flotilla, moved south through the Black Sea, Dardanelles straits and the Aegean Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to Bizerta in French Tunisia on the North Africa coast, where it was interned; the first ship of the revolutionary navy could be considered the rebellious Imperial Russian cruiser Aurora, built 1900, whose crew joined the communist Bolsheviks. Sailors of the Baltic fleet supplied the fighting force of the Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky during the October Revolution of November 1917 against the democratic provisional government of Alexander Kerensky established after the earlier first revolution of February against the Czar; some imperial vessels continued to serve after the revolution, albeit with different names. The Soviet Navy, established as the "Workers' and Peasants' Red Fleet" by a 1918 decree of the new Council of People's Commissars, installed as a temporary Russian revolutionary government, was less than service-ready during the interwar years of 1918 to 1941.

As the country's attentions were directed internally, the Navy did not have much funding or training. An indicator of its reputation was that the Soviets were not invited to participate in negotiations for the Washington Naval Treaty of 1921–1922, which limited the size and capabilities of the most powerful navies - British, Japanese, Italian; the greater part of the old fleet was sold by the Soviet government to post-war Germany for scrap. In the Baltic Sea there remained only three much-neglected battleships, two cruisers, some ten destroyers, a few submarines. Despite this state of affairs, the Baltic Fleet remained a significant naval formation, the Black Sea Fleet provided a basis for expansion. There existed some thirty minor-waterways combat flotillas. During the 1930s, as the industrialization of the Soviet Union proceeded, plans were made to expand the Soviet Navy into one of the most powerful in the world. Approved by the Labour and Defence Council in 1926, the Naval Shipbuilding Program included plans to construct twelve submarines.

Beginning 4 November 1926, Technical Bureau Nº 4, under the leadership of B. M. Malinin, managed the submarine construction works at the Baltic Shipyard. In subsequent years, 133 submarines were built to designs developed during Malinin's management. Additional developments included the formation of the Pacific Fleet in 1932 and the Northern Fleet in 1933; the forces were to be built around a core of powerful Sovetsky Soyuz-class battleships. This building program was only in its initial stages by the time the German invasion forced its suspension in 1941; the Soviet Navy had some minor


Thorens is a Swiss manufacturer of high-end audio equipment. They are renowned for the range of phonographs they produce. In addition to audio playback equipment, they are a historical producer of harmonicas and cigarette lighters, most notably the button actuated "automatic lighter". In 1883, the Thorens family business was first registered in Sainte-Croix, Switzerland by Hermann Thorens. An initial producer of musical boxes and clock movements, they started producing Edison-type phonographs in 1903. In 1928, they produced their first electric record player, went on to produce a range of audiophile record players in the 1950s and 1960s which are today, regarded as high-end audio equipment, are much sought-after; as of 2019, Thorens continues to produce well-regarded turntables for playback of vinyl and 78rpm gramophone records. List of phonograph manufacturers Official website The History of Thorens and free manuals to download The Thorens'Excelda' portable gramophone: 360° rotatable view of a machine held at the British Library

Karoo National Park

The Karoo National Park, founded in 1979, is a wildlife reserve in the Great Karoo area of the Western Cape, South Africa near Beaufort West. This semi-desert area covers an area of 750 square kilometres; the Nuweveld portion of the Great Escarpment runs through the Park. It is therefore in the Lower Karoo, at about 850 m above sea level, in the Upper Karoo at over 1300 m altitude; the Park has a camp site for caravans and tents, chalets, an à la carte restaurant, a shop for basic necessities and curios, picnic sites. The Park can be viewed with a guide. There are two main game viewing drives that do not require a four-wheel drive vehicle: the one to the east remains on the “Lammertjiesleegte” plains of the Lower Karoo. From there it follows a south-easterly course across the plains to the beginning of the Klipspringer Pass, near the camp site and chalets. At the top of the Klipspringer Pass the Rooivalle View Point presents a magnificent panorama of the Lower Karoo; the middle portion of the park, to the west of the Klipspringer Pass circular route, is accessible in 4x4 vehicles, covers an extensive area, with rewarding game viewing opportunities.

The Karoo National Park is a sanctuary for herds of springbok, Cape mountain zebra, Cape buffalo, red hartebeest, black rhinoceros, kudu, bat-eared foxes, black-backed jackal, and, since recently, lions. It has the greatest number of tortoise species of any park in the world - five in total; the endangered riverine rabbit has been resettled here. A large number of Verreaux's eagles have nests on the cliffs of the Escarpment. Martial eagles, booted eagles and the shy Cape eagle-owl are other raptors that can be seen in the Park. A wide variety of smaller birds occur in abundance; the park has been populated with Rau Quagga which are Plains or Burchell's zebras that have been back-bred to resemble the quaggas that roamed the karoo in great profusion until the middle of the 1800s, when they were hunted to extinction. The last quagga died in Amsterdam Zoo on 12 August 1883; the Park both below and above the Great Escarpment is situated on the Beaufort group of rocks, which form part of the Karoo geological system of deposits.

The Beaufort sediments were laid down on a vast alluvial plain covering much of what was to become Southern Africa, when it was still part of Gondwana, beginning about 280 million years ago, ending about 240 million years ago. These 6 km thick sediments were deposited by rivers similar in size and number to the Ganges and Indus rivers which drain the Himalaya mountains on the Indian subcontinent today. In Gondwana, when the Beaufort sediments were being laid down, the Himalaya-sized mountains were to the south of the present South African coastline, on what is geologically known as the “Falklands Plateau”, now separated from South Africa by continental drift, lying as eroded islands in the south western Atlantic Ocean. A large variety of amphibians and reptiles lived on the lush vegetation of these well-watered plains, the most interesting of which were the mammal-like reptiles, which have made the Karoo paleontologically famous, their fossils have been found all over the Karoo. Some of these fossils are on display in the Park.

About 60 million years after the Beaufort sediments had been laid down and topped with a thick layer of desert sands, there was an outpouring of lava on to Southern Africa on a titanic scale. The entire area was covered within a short space of time with a 1.5 km thick layer of lava, the remnants of which form the Drakensberg. In addition to flooding the African surface with lava, lava was forced under great pressure between the sedimentary layers of the Beaufort rocks; these subterranean horizontal layers of lava solidified into what are known as dolerite sills, which can vary in thickness from a few centimeters to several meters. Subsequent erosion of the Southern African interior re-exposed the Beaufort rocks over most of the Great Karoo, but the dolerite sills were more resistant to erosion than the Beaufort sediments, which resulted in the creation of flat topped hills all over the Karoo. The flat top edge of the Great Escarpment in the Karoo is formed, in many places including the Karoo National Park, by a thick dolerite sill.

The vegetation consists of dwarf xerophytic shrubs with some grasses. The shrubs and grasses are deciduous in response to the irregular rainfall List of conservation areas of South Africa Karoo National Park official website