Posted 25 октября 2021,, 20:25

Published 25 октября 2021,, 20:25

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

The last trip of the "unsinkable" Shch-320: the boat was blown up by a German mine

The last trip of the "unsinkable" Shch-320: the boat was blown up by a German mine

25 октября 2021, 20:25
The crew of the Shchuka-320 was killed in October 1942 near the island of Bolshoi Tyuters. This submarine was considered one of the most efficient and unsinkable submarines of the Baltic Fleet during the Great Patriotic War.

It was only almost 80 years later that the details of the Shchuka's last campaign under the command of Captain 3rd Rank Ivan Vishnevsky became known.

Gennady Charodeyev

The sunken diesel-electric torpedo tube Sch-320 series III was discovered by members of the search expedition "Bow to the ships of the Great Victory". Even the divers who had seen a lot, when they sank to the bottom of the Gulf of Finland, shuddered - from the right stern apparatus of the submarine, a whole torpedo protruded by three quarters. Was it really because of her that the Red Navy men were unable to get out and remained forever at the bottom of the Baltic Sea?

In the spring of 1942, the Military Council of the Baltic Fleet, in its directive, set the main tasks for submariners - to destroy the enemy both on land and at sea, to disrupt the supply of copper, timber and ore from Finland and Sweden to Germany, and to stop the military transport of the Nazis.

The Germans and Finns, seeing such a thing, set up, as it seemed to them, impenetrable minefields "Seeigel" ("Sea urchin"). This is a few thousand anchor mines alone, standing somewhere in the 8-9, and sometimes in the 11-12 lines. By all accounts, the Russians should have suffered serious losses. But our submarines managed to successfully force the mine lines and sow panic in the camp of the Nazis.

Among the boats that made the enemy's life so difficult was the Shch-320. She could well be called a happy "Shchuka".

How the "shukari" fought

"Three hundred and twenty" took part in the Soviet-Finnish war, in the fall of 1941 it broke through the mined Gulf of Finland into the southern part of the Baltic Sea and drowned German transports there.

In the evening of September 20, Sch-320 reached a position in the northern part of the Danzig Bay, at the intersection of several important communications of the Nazis. Three days later, the Shchuka, under the command of Captain 3rd Rank Vishnevsky, launched its first torpedo attack. From a distance of 12 kbt. she fired one torpedo at an unsecured vehicle. Two minutes later, a dull explosion was heard on the submarine. To be sure of success, the commander inspected the battle site with a periscope. A German transport was found surrounded by boats and boats.

True, during the attack on the submarine, the fuses for the power supply of the stern horizontal rudders failed, and the bow rudders also jammed. The submarine began to dive with a trim of 45 °, electrolyte was spilled, the gyrocompass left the meridian. But everything worked out this time too. Having somehow reached Kronstadt, the Shchuka got up for repairs.

Campaign in 1942 "Shch-320" began as part of the first echelon of submarines aimed at enemy communications, since the submarine's crew by that time was considered one of the most efficient in the brigade.

Already on the night of June 14, the ship arrived at the base in Lavensari. On the transition, the submarine was attacked by three enemy aircraft, since, in violation of the instructions of the command, the submarine was on the surface.

From close explosions of bombs Sch-320 received minor damage to devices and mechanisms. The fuses of the central distribution station went out, the vertical rudder and the gyrocompass were out of order. To fix the damage, the submarine had to lie on the ground for some time. On the same day, the submarine reached a position in the Memmel-Libau area.

On the afternoon of June 16, on the roadstead of Makiluoto Island, the submarine found a group of enemy ships at anchor. To enter the attack, the "Shchuka" had to difficult maneuvering along the winding channel between the stones. From a distance of 12 kbt. the submarine fired two torpedoes at one of the transports, and after a minute and a half the crew heard an explosion. In fact, people made a mistake - one of the torpedoes fired exploded before reaching the target, hitting pitfalls.

An hour later, the Nazis discovered a submarine and began hunting, dropping 24 depth charges. For almost three days, the Shch-320 could not properly charge the batteries, avoiding the pursuit of either planes or boats. For this reason, the submarine stayed in the Gulf of Finland for two days. Finally, the crossing of the Gulf of Finland was completed, and on the night of June 21, Shch-320 arrived at the position. In the afternoon of July 5, in the area of the Curonian Spit, the "Shchuka" successfully attacked the tanker "Anna Katrin Fritzen", and it sank.

For four hours, the German ships of the 3rd flotilla of the TFR unsuccessfully dropped depth charges at the place of the alleged location of Shch-320. But the lucky boat left without being damaged.

By July 15, on board the Shch-320, food and fuel supplies began to run out, and she had to return to the base.

According to the results of the campaign, the crew of Shch-320 was responsible for the sinking of three enemy transports. The entire crew of the submarine was awarded orders and medals. Commander Vishnevsky was nominated for the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, but for some reason the authorities changed their minds. As a result, he was awarded the Order of Lenin.

On October 23, 1942, by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the submarine Shch-320 was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. But neither the commander nor the crew found out about this.

According to the historian Miroslav Morozov, frightened by the activity of Soviet submarines, the Nazis began to place deep-sea anti-submarine mines such as UMA and UMB. This made the obstacles almost insurmountable indeed. And our "Shchuka" died...

October 1, 1942, "three hundred and twentieth" went into position in the area west of the Danish island of Bornholm. In the future, she did not get in touch and did not return to her home base ...

What did the search engines know?

The reconnaissance and diving team, which is part of the expedition "Bow to the ships of the Great Victory", near the island of Bolshoy Tyuters discovered an object that was at a depth of 48 meters. At the bottom lay Sch-320, which had disappeared in the Great Patriotic War.

While examining the boat, the divers saw a hole in the upper part of the bow; along the starboard side of the Shchuka lay a minrep - a cable for attaching a sea mine to the anchor. And next to it was the anchor itself and absolutely the whole UMA mine. On the left side of the boat, an anchor and the remnants of a minrepe were found - which means that the killer mine was standing there.

According to the divers' report, there are no emergency buoys on the boat, their seats are covered with iron sheets. Both escape hatches are closed.

Having received the first information, the experts assumed that the Shchuka was slowly moving under water in order to "slip through" the Seeigel minefields. The boat literally dived under the mines, it walked, almost touching the ground.

Apparently, the right bow rudder of the submarine touched the minrep of the German UMA mine located at a depth of 20 meters. There was a crunch of minrepe on the body of l

Historian and diver Mikhail Ivanov: “The commander heard this rattle and the boat made an evasive maneuver, that is, it began to turn in the horizontal plane towards the minrepe. He slipped off the rudder (it seemed that everything was going well), but with the left bow rudder the boat caught another mine. Alas, Shch-320 turned out to be exactly at the point where several mine lines stood practically next to each other".

The experienced Shchuka-crew, of course, understood what had happened. The commander gave the order "Steering right!" But the submarine had already fallen into a trap, from which there was no way out. The boat, which continued to move, pulled up the mine, and the mine touched the deck. Explosion!

According to experts, the explosion of such a small mine as UMA or UMB could lead to the flooding of one or two compartments of the submarine, while leaving the crew, which was in the compartments as far as possible from the explosion site, a very real chance of escape.

Experts believe that those of the Red Navy men who were in the aft compartments survived the explosion. And the struggle for life began. Submariners desperately tried to leave the boat through the torpedo tube. They tried to "squeeze out" the torpedo with compressed air, but its reserves after the explosion in the bow, most likely, was not enough. The torpedo did not come out to the end, got stuck in the apparatus and left the sailors in the submarine forever...

Not far from Bolshoy Tyuters Island, 40 Soviet submariners of the "three hundred and twentieth" submarine found their last refuge. They are no longer considered missing.

The coordinates of the deceased Sch-320 are plotted on the map and now it is a military burial. A memorial service was served for the victims, and commemorative events were held. The names of the heroes are forever inscribed in the history of the Russian navy.

* The name of the submarine Shchuka in English means "luce" or "common pike".