The mid-August 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia over South Ossetia also had a naval element. There are even some reports out there that the Georgians were able to give the big Russian Bear a black eye.
Major elements of the Russian Black Sea Fleet apparently sailed on 9 Aug 08 from Sevestapol. The task force was led by the Black Sea Fleet Commander embarked on Moskva. The task force consisted of:
- Moskva (SLAVA-class CG)
- Smetlivyy (KASHIN/Project 61-class DDG)
- Two GRISHA V-class FFL (Muromets and Alexsandrovets)
- Two NANUCHKA III-class PGG (Mirazh and Shitl)
- General Ryabikov (LAMA-class AEM)
- Epron (Prut-class ASR)
There are some media reports that this force was involved in a naval battle the night of 10 Aug 08 off the shores of Abkhazia. Russian reports state that the task force was approached by four fast-moving targets and subsequently engaged by gunfire. One target was sunk and three others fled. Speculation is that the Georgian ships involved may have been Batumi (STENKA/Type 205-class PC) as well as Georgian Coast Guard ZHUK/Type 1400M Grif-class WPB.
The real interesting aspect comes to us from Ukrainian accounts which claim the Black Sea Fleet engaged the Georgian Navy and sank Tblisi, a Vikhr-class PTGH and seriously damaged a second ship. After sinking the Georgian ships, the article claims Georgian coastal artillery engaged the task force, knocking Mirazh and Muromets “out of action.” Eight Russian sailors were supposedly killed and another 10 wounded. Additionally, Moskva was allegedly hit and damaged.
It will probably be many years (the way Russia is slipping back into the Cold War, many many years) before we know the truth. In the meantime, I am putting together a scenario for Harpoon IV, and maybe Bulldogs Away!
For the Wikipedia view of the battle, see here.