For example, the landing of Lend-Lease British “Valentines” (presumably Mk III) and American M-3L “General Stewart” in the infamous South Ozereyrika used the so-called “bindery”. These ships got their own unique name thanks to the Swedish motor company. In fact, they were self-propelled, but extremely slow barges. And they were not used from a good life, there was simply no alternative. What ended this landing is well known to everyone. Most of the Lend-Lease tanks not even overcome the strip of the beach.
The barrel of the gun and the tower of the light American tank M-3L "General Stewart", raised from the bottom of the sea at the South Ozereyka in 1973 year
Ironically, the fame of the South Ozereysk landing tragedy, the failure of the Kerch-Feodosiya operation and the triumph of the “Little Earth” have been relegated to the background and made the Novorossiysk tank landing operation, unique in some aspects, almost forgotten.
Despite the failure of the landing force in Southern Ozereyka, Lieutenant-General Konstantin Nikolaevich Leselidze from the very moment the distracting Novorossiysk assault force became main and entrenched on Malaya Zemlya, bombarded the command of the North Caucasus Front with a tank landing offer to a captured bridgehead. He motivated this by the need to create at least a minimally maneuverable armored group for delivering a counterstrike in the event of a breakthrough in the defense of the Maloheftsmen by large enemy forces. In addition, the presence of tanks would be the moral support of paratroopers, cut off from the main forces.
The complexity of such a landing in those conditions is hard to overestimate. Firstly, the landing area was under the constant influence of artillery and aviation the enemy. Secondly, from the sea there was a serious danger of enemy military boats. Thirdly, almost the entire coast in this area was littered with sunken ships and their debris. Multiply all of these factors by the natural need to land at night, the shallow water of the coast, and the lack of moorings and necessary equipment.
At the first attempt already known “bolinders” were used. 11 February 1943 of the year, these low-speed floating suitcases, loaded again with "Valentine" and "Stewarts", towed from Gelendzhik to Novorossiysk. But, having landed on the Little Land, they could not make a landing, no matter how hard the paratroopers fought. Therefore, the tanks returned to Gelendzhik.
February 13 tanks overloaded to 150-ton barges, equipped with special gangways, more suited to the conditions of the coast of the Malaya. But, unfortunately, all the land-lease tanks and this time suffered the sad fate of their brethren from Ozereyka. The excitement of the sea that day reached 3 points, and the icy north-ost pierced to the bone. The caravan was discovered by the enemy. The landing area was illuminated by searchlights, and artillery and mortar shelling attacked the landing force. The paratroopers jumped into the icy sea. Both barges and two tanks were burned by enemy fire, one tank was destroyed by aviation, the latter sank directly on the coast.
From then on, until March 1943, the command did not want to hear about a tank landing on Little Earth. The impetus for changing the decision was the German operation "Neptune", the essence of which was reduced to the phrase attributed to the Führer, "to dump these Russians into the sea." But the attack choked, the enemy tanks were burned, the infantry stopped, even hundreds of Luftwaffe planes did not save the situation.
Motobot project 165 with an artillery gun on the nose
This time, Leselidze was able to convince the command to repeat the tank landing on Malaya Zemlya. However, now the initiators themselves did not want to hear about barges and the notorious "bolinders". Therefore, the choice fell on motorboats type DB project 165. Length - 14,6 m, width - 3,57 m, draft: 0,9 m. Speed from 5 to 7,5 node, depending on the modification. Also, depending on the modification, load capacity varied up to 5,5 tons. The disadvantage of this type of motoboats was the lack of reverse.
During the war years, motorboats had to work directly landing craft, and boats, minesweepers, and air defense boats, and floating floating batteries. By the way, the weighty part of the message of the bridgehead and the “mainland” lay on the boats of this project. However, one standard amphibious motobot, though capable of taking a light tank on board, if you first “undress” it and the craft itself (for example, headlights, sound signals and distinctive side lights were removed from the motobots, which nobody still used to disguise ) down to the pants. In any case, the crew would have to make hellish efforts just to stay afloat, to say nothing of combat landing.
Motobot in Gelendzhik Bay
Therefore, the command attracted to the solution of the problem of the technical department of the Novorossiysk naval base, headed by Andronik Airapetovich Shakhnazarov. It was these craftsmen who offered to connect two motorboats with a rigid mount, turning them into a kind of catamaran. On top of that there should be a log flooring, on which the tank went. At that time, Rear Admiral Gennady Nikitich Bachelors in his book "Eternal Flame" called these "catamarans" - "Sparka."
An example of the next modification of motoboats in the "Sparku" with deck gun
After the proper tests, which convinced the command of the sufficiently seaworthiness of the Sparky and the rapid, in a certain sense, landing of armored vehicles from them, the tank-landing group was given a go-ahead.
Motobot in the version of an air defense boat, installed as a monument to the 35 anniversary of the Kerch-Eltigen landing operation in the 1978 year
A part of the route the motorboats loaded with tanks went in tow, since the seaworthiness of the motorboats in the open sea (the section almost in 30 km) was sharply reduced, and accordingly the speed dropped. Directly to the shore "Sparky" were already on their own. On the night from 6 to 7 in May, the first pair of tanks landed on Malaya Zemlya, the 8 was already four in May, and the 9 in May was three. In a short time, 30-ti tanks were transferred to the bridgehead, according to some sources their number reached 36-ti machines.
Unloading of tanks occurred quickly enough. The machine was immediately displayed in the area of concentration of the battalion. There the tank was installed in a pre-opened caponier and carefully camouflaged. Moreover, all movements of armored vehicles were carried out only at night and in order to camouflage enemy positions during an artillery bombardment, so that the armored cavalry would not make the enemy happy with their steel bass before the time. Thus, on the Little Land, three tank companies were created: the 1-I tank captain Mingaliyev, the 2-I captain Danilchenko and the 3-I captain Kozlov.
However, this operation was not without problems. In the open sea, motorboats burrowed into the black night water, despite the fact that they only walked in calm weather. Tankers clearly felt ill at ease. Thus, for example, with one landing, the driver mechanically rushed from wooden flooring to solid ground with such greed, that he turned the “split” to such an extent that the latter almost lost its progress. To the credit of the motoboots, it is worth clarifying that the tanks entrusted to them never suffered through their fault.
It is difficult to determine exactly which tanks the amphibious group consisted of. In the book of the political department chief of the 5 Guards Tank Brigade, George Kondratenko, it is stated that the first tanks that landed on the Little Land were the T-26. At the same time, at the start of the offensive, T-26 tanks start to appear in materials other than T-70. Other sources also mentioned unsuccessful T-60 tanks. It is quite possible that the entire Malaya Zemlya tank battalion was extremely heterogeneous, since the main criterion for selecting tanks was the weight and again the weight of the combat vehicle, and all the above-mentioned tanks belonged to the type of light.
Despite the complexity of the operation, the landing tanks were never used in the fighting of the landlords until the operation for the complete liberation of Novorossiysk from the German invaders. They played the role of the last trump card, if the Germans tried to repeat the operation “Neptune”, remaining disguised in their caponiers without a single scratch before the beginning of September 1943 of the year.