Was the Russian Black Sea fleet strong enough to help with land operations on the southern shore in World War I?
Russia didn't have much of a Black Sea fleet in WWI. Russia didn't have much of a Navy left in general. What they did have they mostly used in the Baltic Sea to protect St Petersburg(their best port) and prevent a landing on the flanks of their army. For the Black Sea Russia relied on minefields not ships to protect the Bosphorus, and Sebastopol. Still the bar for "help with" when matched with the allies fleets of Britain, France and later the United States pitted against the very weak Turkish fleet the answer to your question would be yes.
After The Battle of Cape Sarych November 14, 1914
The Russians realized that they would need to keep their pre-dreadnought battleship squadron intact if they were to successfully engage Yavuz, thereby restricting their coastal operations. They also concluded that only a handful of their newest destroyers were suitable for independent operations in the Black Sea, as their cruisers were too obsolete to wield successfully against the Ottoman battlecruiser
At the end of the Russo-Japanese War
(1905) Russia fell from the 3rd greatest navy power to the sixth. Japan destroyed both the Baltic and Pacific fleets at the Battle of Tsushima
. Russian fleet was virtually annihilated, losing eight battleships, numerous smaller vessels, and more than 5,000 men, while the Japanese lost three torpedo boats and 116 men.
Tsar Nicholas II created an ambitious plan to reconstruct his navy in 1906 but that was voted down by the Duma. He then reduced his plan scaling it way back to just 4 dreadnauts and 3 submersibles in 1907 but that too was voted down by the Duma.
Russia didn't get started on rebuilding their navy until 1911 when the Duma finally authorized funds for new ships. The problem was Russia didn't have the capacity to build as many ships as the Imperial Navy was calling for. So Russia had them built in foreign facilities, including in Germany. When World War I did break out in 1914, these foreign orders were used not by Russia but often drafted into service by the countries which was producing them.
Russian Imperial Navy: Reconstruction before WWI
The re-armament program included a significant element of foreign participation with several ships (including the cruiser Rurik) and machinery ordered from foreign firms. After the outbreak of World War I, ships and equipment being built in Germany were confiscated. Equipment from Britain was slow in reaching Russia or was diverted to the Western Allies' own war effort.
During WWI Russia used what ships they had in the Baltic to protect the flanks of their army as well as protecting their best harbor in St Petersburg. Their Pacific Fleat was never rebuilt, In the Black Sea they used mines to protect the Bosphorus, and Sebastopol
The Russian Navy
By supporting Serbia and being mobilized against the central empires, the Russian army was unprepared. The navy, likewise, was in full plan of rearmament, and confronted in the Baltic with much superior forces. At least in the event of a war against the Hochseeflotte, the cordial entente between France and Great Britain guaranteed an intervention by the Royal Navy against the Hochseeflotte in the west. The construction plan for the fleets was established until 1917. All modern units – battleships, battle cruisers, cruisers and destroyers, were under construction. In an emergency the available Baltic forces had to confine themselves to a defense policy in order to prevent a landing on the flanks of the frontier armies.
The Black Sea fleet, on its side, was to defend the Bosphorus, and Sebastopol, with minefields.
In February 1915 the Ministry of the Navy unblocked a special bug for the emergency construction of 23 additional submarines for the Baltic, 22 for the Black Sea and 41 for the Pacific. With the needs of the men of the front, they began to cancel certain constructions and redefined as top priority the completion of a battle cruiser, 4 cruisers, 13 destroyers and 6 submersibles. Those planned for the Pacific fleet were canceled, Russia having received friendly assurances from the Japanese. A little later, during 1915, 50 barges of unloading for the Caucasian front were built.
Now given all this Russia still had a black sea fleet and from 1915 had control of the Black Sea.
The Black Sea fleet was used mainly to support General Yudenich in his Caucasus Campaign.
- November 2, 1914 Russia bombed and blockaded the ports city of Zonguldak.
- November 14, 1914 The Battle of Cape Sarych two modern Ottoman warships, a light cruiser and a battlecruiser engaged a Russian fleet including five obsolescent pre-dreadnought battleships in a short action.
- August 1915, a Russian submarine and two Russian destroyers attacked a Turkish convoy of four transports escorted by a cruiser and two destroyers. The Russian ships sank all four transports without losing a ship.
- summer of 1916, the Ottoman army, under, Vehip Pasha, was ordered to re-take Trebizond. The Ottoman forces tried to march along the coast in June but the Russian fleet was able to reduce the speed of their advance to a crawl using naval bombardment to harass marching troops and destroy their supply columns.
- 1916, the Russian fleet mined the exit from the Bosporus, preventing nearly all Ottoman ships from entering the Black Sea. Later that year, the naval approaches to Varna were also mined.
Well, not true. Baltic Fleet had 4 battleships in WW1, but neither was operational at the start of the war (Gangut class) . Black Sea fleet had 5 older battleships immediately available, and latter received 3 more . Overall, Baltic Fleet did have priority, but saying that Russia concentrated remaining navy in Baltic is completely wrong. As for mines, all sides used them to great effect in WW1
Yes 5 pre-dreadnought class battlesships described as obsolete at the beginning of the war. these 5 battleships were not able to defeat a single modern battlecruiser (battle cruisers being faster but less heavily armored or gunned than battleships in the Dreadnaught age) in the Battle of Cape Sarych and were not able operate independently in the Black Sea at all because they were too vulnerable to attack when not clustered.
Battle of Cape Sarych (see Analysis ).
(Russia's Navy) concluded that only a handful of their newest destroyers were suitable for independent operations in the Black Sea, as their cruisers were too obsolete to wield successfully against the Ottoman battlecruiser.