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The White Sea and the Barents Sea have been of importance to the Russian merchant fleet ever since the 15th century Because of this Russias Navy has always been an important part of the Russian Military The matter of access to ice free harbors in the north became even more important after Germany became a significant naval power in the Baltic Sea Events during World War I increased the importance of the Kola Peninsula to Russia very much The Kola Peninsula and the White sea played an vital role in the movement of military supplies to Russia A naval force dedicated especially to the northern region was established shortly after the outbreak of World War I This fleet is now know as The Northern FleetThe Northern Fleet formerly known as the Soviet Fleet of the Northern Seas was officially established by Joseph Stalin during his visit to Polyarny during the summer of 1933 Prior to the outbreak of WWII the fleet consisted of eight destroyers 15 diesel-powered submarines a formation of patrol boats mine sweepers and some smaller vessels During the time when Russia was involved in WWII1941-1945 the harbors and ports in Kola were key to the Soviet Union In the south material from allied countries traveled by the railways but in the north many new ships were given to the northern fleet to protect the ships transporting goods Although this increased the amount of ships in the fleet greatly by the end of the Russian involvement many of these ships had been destroyedBy the end of the war the United States Navy had become considerably larger and more powerful than the Soviet Unions In order to catch up with the Americans head start the Soviet Union began to build a large naval force of its own The building of the ships didnt end until the end of the 1950s WWIIs use of submarines had shown the tactical and strategic possibilities of this weapon
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