On the eve of World War II, the Red Banner Baltic Fleet had 65 submarines in its composition, but only half of them were ready to fight. Among them is the M-96.
Service on the "Baby", according to the veterans-submariners, was considered a grueling and dangerous business. There were no special amenities for the crew - the boat went out to sea for 2-3 days. Quite often sailors served in conditions of strong turbulence.
But the sailors' main concern was the Malutka's weak materiel - one shaft, one diesel engine, one electric motor, two bow 533-mm torpedo tubes (with two torpedoes) and one 45-mm 21-K gun. However, during the war, M-class submarines were called upon to perform combat missions much more difficult than those for which their technical capabilities were designed - to attack enemy ships day and night.
In spite of everything, the crews of this type of submarines performed their military duty with honor and dignity. An example of this is the crew of the M-96.
With a salvo fire at the fascists
The emka met the war under the command of the famous 3rd rank captain Alexander Marinesko, one of the most productive submarine commanders of the Soviet fleet. By 1944, the crew had already completed six difficult military campaigns, having been in reconnaissance, including on Lake Ladoga.
"Baby" fought heroically. Here are just a few examples. On August 14, 1942, near the Porkkalan-Kallboda lighthouse, a submarine attacked a transport from a German convoy with one torpedo. The range of the salvo was 12 cables. Within 1 minute, a strong explosion was heard on the M-96. After the release of the torpedo, the light submarine could not stay at depth and surfaced, showing the wheelhouse above the water. A large military transport was burning nearby, transporting coal for Germany.
According to many sources, the Finnish transport Helene was sunk by a torpedo from the M-96 near the island of Rugen. Sometimes the German heavy floating battery SAT-5 is called the victim of "M".
Each time after the release of the torpedo, the patrol ships counterattacked the Soviet submarine, dropped depth charges on it, from the explosions of which the M-96 was damaged more than once.
This continued until March 1943, when Alexander Marinesko was appointed to command another boat, and Lieutenant Commander Nikolay Kartashev became the commander of the M-96.
Seventh Combat Campaign
Hitler's dream of capturing Leningrad and turning the Baltic and the Gulf of Finland into the internal sea of the Reich never came true. In January 1944, the Red Army completely lifted the enemy siege of the city on the Neva.
The "mine" blockade of the Gulf of Finland did not last long either. Finland withdrew from the war in September 1944 and opened skerry fairways along its shores free of mines and steel nets for Soviet submariners.
By the way, during the war years, 66,500 mines were installed in the Gulf of Finland alone. "Soup with dumplings" - with bitter irony the sailors called their usual fairways. And now it was deadly to swim in them without demining.
Nevertheless, according to the historian Miroslav Morozov, Soviet submarines had at their disposal an open route along the Finnish coast, along which they could go to the Baltic Sea. And the command of the Baltic Fleet decided to send M-96 to reconnaissance in the southern part of the Gulf of Finland.
"To insist on the deployment of submarines in the mined part of the Gulf of Finland, in the area of the Zeigel barrier, in my opinion, was completely reckless," the historian noted.
But, be that as it may, on September 7, 1944, "Baby" received an order and set off on her seventh military campaign. Moving along the recommended route, north of Bolshoi Tyuters Island, the submarine managed to force all the Seeigel obstacles.
Until September 20, the submarine was supposed to conduct reconnaissance - to reveal safe routes along the bay - fairways, the anti-submarine defense system of the Nazis and the number of enemy patrol ships. And with this data, return to the base.
But the boat did not arrive at the rendezvous point with the patrol boats either on September 20th or 21st. I didn't get in touch either. The M-96 and its crew were declared missing by the Baltic Fleet command. It was considered so for a long 77 years.
How did "Baby" actually die?
The search for the missing Soviet submarine was undertaken by an international expedition consisting of the Russian " Reconnaissance and Diving Team" and the Estonian - Maxstar Explorer.
The historian and diver, Mikhail Ivanov, who sank to the bottom of the Baltic Sea more than once, said: “We unsuccessfully searched for the M-96 for several years, believing that it died on the Seeigel barriers. That is, within the current Russian territorial waters. In 2020, we contacted our colleagues from Estonia - the Maxstar Explorer search team. They found an object similar to our submarine in Narva Bay with their sonar. It was immediately confirmed that the M-96 was indeed at the bottom. It became clear from the features of its design known to us”.
Inspection showed that the submarine died on the surface. Probably, the mine explosion occurred at night, when the M-96 was charging the batteries.
“We found the boat with an open conning tower hatch, with the telegraph in the full forward position and with the rudder turned to the right. The hull of "Malyutka" is broken - a mine exploded under the bow of the submarine", - Mikhail Ivanov noted.
Historian Miroslav Morozov believes that the M-96 most likely died on September 10 (according to other sources - September 7 or 8) at 3:48 am. It was at this time that a German submarine, located in the Narva Bay, recorded a mine explosion with its hydroacoustics. Back in early June 1944, in order to stop the attacks of Soviet torpedo boats on German patrol ships, the Nazis set up three additional minefields of UMB anti-submarine mines in the bay. The new areas were just in the area patrolled by the M-96.
Mikhail Ivanov clarified: "M" with the right edge of the bow tip touched a German UMB mine. Only thirty kilograms of explosives! But for such a small boat, this was enough - its entire lower part of the hull was crumpled.
On the body of the boat, divers found a hole in the size of half a square meter. In addition, according to experts, the boat went on the surface with open bulkheads and ventilated the compartments. Tons of water poured into the submarine from the hole. The boat was flooded almost instantly.
The Red Navy men, shell-shocked from the explosion, apparently could no longer fight for their lives, so the aft hatch remained sealed - apparently no one tried to get out of the sinking boat.
Most of the crew members died immediately, those on the bridge were thrown into the water by a shock wave. And today there is no documentary evidence that the bodies of the Red Navy men were found off the coast. So, according to all the canons, this submarine lying at the bottom is a common grave. But in Estonia there are strict rules for the protection of such objects, they cannot be touched...
Interestingly, a German small minesweeper R73 was discovered 120 meters from the M-96 wreck, which was blown up by a mine and sank on June 14, 1944. As it turned out, a German ship died in the same German minefield as the M-96.
Metropolitan of Tallinn and All Estonia Yevgeny (Reshetnikov) served a lithium service for the crew of the M-96 submarine at the point of its sinking - in the Estonian part of the Gulf of Finland. By tradition, wreaths were lowered into the water.
The memory of the lost M-96 crew will forever remain in the history of the Russian fleet. Here are the names of the heroes:
Nikolay Kartashev, Lieutenant Commander, Submarine Commander;
Butyshkin Nikolai Nikiforovich, captain of the 2nd rank, officer-operator of the headquarters of the BRPL KBF;
Ilyin Petr Mikhailovich, engineer-lieutenant-commander, commander of the warhead-5;
Antipov Yevgeniy Tikhonovich, senior lieutenant, assistant commander of the submarine, commander of warhead-1;
Golovan Grigory Ivanovich, senior lieutenant, commander of warhead-3;
Glazunov Viktor Georgievich, midshipman, foreman of the torpedo group;
Petrovsky Ivan Timofeevich, foreman of the group of minders;
Sukhov Maxim Nikitovich, foreman of the helmsman group, boatswain;
Berezhnoy Alexander Mikhailovich, foreman of the 1st class, commander of the radio operators' squad;
Izotov Grigory Petrovich, foreman of the 1st class, commander of the hold department;
Kudryavtsev Vasily Andreevich, foreman of the 1st class, commander of the navigator electricians' department;
Potanin Ivan Aleksandrovich, foreman of the 2nd class, senior electrician;
Kozlov Nikolay Kuzmich foreman of the 2nd class, commander of the helmsman squad;
Lavrov Alexander Vasilievich; foreman of the 2nd class, senior minder;
Rybin Vasily Spiridonovich, senior Red Navy sailor, commander of the mechanic department;
Filippov Alexey Filippovich, senior sailor of the Navy, commander of the acoustics department;
Vasiliev Mikhail Vasilievich, senior Red Navy sailor, senior electrician;
Lapshin Nikolai Petrovich, senior sailor, senior helmsman;
Alexey Dmitrievich Sumenkov, senior sailor, senior torpedo operator.
Druzev Prokopiy Gavrilovich, Red Navy, helmsman;
Timofey Trofimovich Korobkin, Red Navy sailor, radio operator;
Vladimir Egorovich Tuzov, sailor, hold.
Eternal memory to the heroes!
Work on the project “Immortal Division. The Last Voyage” begins in 2013: it was then that the Reconnaissance and Diving Team found the first of 10 submarines, which will be discussed in the videos of this cycle on our channel. To date, the team has discovered 16 KBF boats. Based on the study of the damage to the hulls of submarines, as well as the position of the horizontal and vertical rudders, the machine telegraph, the repeater and many other details, RVK was able to historically accurately recreate the moment when the boats were blown up and how the crews fought for survivability. This is a realistic 3d reconstruction of what happened in the Gulf of Finland 70 years ago. The project is being implemented with the support of the Institute for Internet Development within the framework of the national project "Culture".
Работа над проектом «Бессмертный дивизион. Последний поход» берёт начало в 2013 году: именно тогда Разведывательно-водолазная команда нашла первую из 10 подводных лодок, о которых пойдет речь в видеороликах данного цикла на нашем канале. Всего на сегодняшний день командой было обнаружено 16 лодок КБФ.
На основании изучения повреждений корпусов субмарин, а также положения горизонтальных и вертикальных рулей, машинного телеграфа, репитера и множества других деталей, РВК сумела исторически точно воссоздать момент подрыва лодок и то, как экипажи боролись за живучесть. Это реалистичная 3d реконструкция того, что 70 лет назад произошло в толще Финского залива.
Проект реализуется при поддержке Института развития интернета в рамках национального проекта "Культура"