Gallery of the Day

8 Major Mutinies of the 20th Century


Today is the 109th anniversary of the mutiny aboard the Russian Battleship Potemkin, so we’re giving you eight mutinies from the 20th century. So sit back and enjoy, well unless you’re an officer and if that’s the case you should probably hide in your quarters until this whole thing dies down.

In 1905 the Battleship Potemkin mutinied, it was triggered by Ippolit Giliarovsky, the ship’s second in command. The final straw was when many sailors aboard Potemkin refused to eat borscht made from rotten meat that was partially infested with maggots, to be fair borscht in general is bad enough to illicit a mutiny.

Revolta da Chibata, or Revolt of the Whip, occurred in Brazil in 1910. This mutiny was in response to the regular use of the whip to discipline sailors. What sparked the rebellion was when the sailor Marcelino Rodrigues Menezes received 250 lashes. This seems like a completely reasonable cause for mutiny, on the upside this was also the last time that the Brazilian Navy used a whip.

The Wilhelmshaven mutiny occurred in 1918, when the crews of the SMS Thüringen and SMS Helgoland both mutinied. The ships were part of a planned attack on the English Channel, they were not happy with the plan to be needlessly sacrificed during the last stages of the war. The mutiny was short-lived, after its first day the German Navy subdued the uprising.

On April 19, 1919 the sailors aboard the French Battleships Jean Bart and France mutinied because of the poor handling of the aftermath of WWI and pretty crappy rations. This further proves that the Navy runs on the stomachs of the sailors. Protip: To avoid mutiny you should really think of investing in some half-way decent food.

On July 17, 1944 on Port Chicago in Californa a huge amount of munitions detonated while being loaded for their trip to the Pacific Theater. The explosion killed over 300 sailors and civilians and injured almost 400 more, this really culminated a month later with the Port Chicago Mutiny. Because of the unsafe conditions sailors refused to load the munitions, this led to the arrest of fifty organizers.

February 18, 1946 saw the revolt of Indian sailors in Mumbai, the mutiny ultimately came to almost 80 ships and 20,000 sailors. The reasons for the uprising were mainly living conditions and food, once again a Navy is brought to its knees because of its stomach. Seriously, if you run a navy make sure to keep the sailors fed, this is important.

The 1973 Velos Mutiny was in response to the Military Junta that had risen to power in Greece. The HNS Velos refused to return to port following its participation in a NATO exercise. Ultimately a group of officers and petty officers that led the uprising lived abroad, until the Greek junta they were protesting was dissolved. At which point they returned home, it’s nice to see a happy ending.

The Storozhevoy Mutiny occurred in 1975 when the political officer of the ship protested against the corrupt Brezhnev administration. The officer, Valery Sablin, wished to return Russia to its Soviet roots and Leninist principles. The revolt didn’t really go as planned and ended with the ship being boarded by Soviet marine commandos, Captain Sablin was then detained and convicted of high treason.

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