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Mon, Jul 19, 2004

Russia's Baltic Fleet Celebrates Naval Aviation Day

Celebrating July 1916 Air Victory Over Germans

The Russian Navy Saturday celebrated its proudest moment Saturday -- aerial combat between four seaborne Russian aircraft and four German fighters during World War I.

It happened over the Baltic in 1916. Four Russian fighters from the seaplane tender Orlitsa intercepted four German aircraft, shooting down two and forcing the others to turn tail and run.

It was the first Russian victory involving seaplanes and established the country's Baltic fleet as a force to be reckoned with.

Even today, the Russian Baltic Fleet considers itself to be one of the most formidable in the world.

"Airplanes the Baltic Fleet is armed with are not inferior to the best Western airplanes," Major-General Valery Makarov, the chief of staff and deputy commander of the naval aviation and air defense troops of the Baltic Fleet told the Itar-Tass news agency.

FMI: www.fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/agency/mf-baltic.htm

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