First World War, 1914-1918
Black Sea operations
Surrounded by Russia to the north and Turkey to the south, the Black Sea was the scene of significant naval action between the two nations throughout much of the First World War. The Russian navy gradually gained dominance in the Black Sea and exploited this to support ground operations in the Caucusus, but never attempted to force the Turkish-controlled Bosphorus and Dardanelles to thereby gain access to the Mediterranean. Following the Russian Revolution, and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Russian military activity in the Black Sea ceased. Germany and Austria-Hungary then occupied much of the Russian territory around the Black Sea, with the exception of the cossack territories to the east. In turn, the British and French moved to occupy this territory following the Armistice in order to assist the various anti-communist forces to defeat the Bolsheviks in the burgeoning civil war. In November and December 1918 several Australian warships were involved in the support of these operations, conducting patrols, ferrying emissaries, troops and supplies and rounding up vessels from the former Russian Imperial fleet.