To Marc, the marine.
(November 16 Old Style)
Peter I ordered to organize the first regiment of marines (naval infantry, as they are still called in Russian). The regiment included two battallions, five companies in each of them, 125 privates in each company. There were also 70 NCOs and 45 officers.
As a matter of fact, first detachments of marines appeared in Russia in 1668, when the first Russian navy ship, frigate Oryol (Eagle) was launched on river Oka. There were 35 riflemen (streltsy) on board of Oryol. Later, during the Azov campaigns, the "sea regiment" was formed from 4524 soldiers of Preobrazhensky and Semyonovsky regiments. Peter himself was the commander of the 4th company, under the name of Peter Alexeyev. During the Swedish war, since 1701, Russian army used special detachments on light boats to fight the Swedish ships on lakes Ladoga and Chudskoye. In 1703 Peter I participated in a boarding attack on two Swedish ships in the mouth of Neva river. Finally, after the defense of Kotlin island Peter decided to form a special regiment of naval infantry. Since then, November 16 is celebrated as the marine corps day in Russia.
By 1714, there were already 3,000 marines in the Russian army. During the battle of Gangut, the first major naval victory of Russia, they captured one Swedish frigate, six galleys and 6 lesser ships.
In 1799, the marines took hold of Corfu island and liberated the island from the Napoleon's troops. They participated in the battles on "dry land" during the 1812-1814 war, they fought during the battle of Borodino and finally entered Paris. After that war, the marine regiments were disbanded, but during the Crimean war 22 new battallions were formed. They played an important role during the Russo-Japanese war, in the WWI. After the Civil war, the bolsheviks disbanded the forces and they re-appeared only in 1939. During the WWII, almost 500,000 marines fought against the Nazis. They participated more than 100 landing operations. Currently, there are about 12,000 marines in the Russian army.
Mars 2 descent module crashed on Mars. The module carried a small rover which had to move around and transmit the pictures of the surface. Because of the computer malfunction the descent was too steep, the parachute did not open and the module's speed was too hign when it hit the ground. This way or the other, it became the first man-made object on the surface of Mars. In spite of the crash, the program was not unsuccessful. The orbiter funcioned properly till next March and reported a large amount of data. The first successful landing on Mars was delayed till December 2, when the descent module of Mars 3 achieved a soft landing and transmitted the first picture of Mars. The picture was broken, but a part of it was readable.