Reason not established
The next anniversary of the tragic and mysterious death of the battleship Novorossiysk, formerly the Italian Giulio Cesare (Julius Caesar), is approaching.
On the night of October 29 of 1955 in the Northern Bay of Sevastopol right on the parking lot (barrel number 3) after a strong explosion, the flagship of the Black Sea squadron of the Soviet Navy, the battleship Novorossiysk sank, more than 600 sailors died.
According to the official version, an old German bottom mine exploded under the bottom of the ship, but there are other versions, more or less plausible. This article is another attempt to deal with this terrible secret, as well as pay tribute to the memory of our sailors.
At the moment, the true cause of the death of the battleship has not been disclosed, despite the many publications and discussions of the tragedy in various television programs. For example, the TV channel “Star” in the program “Clue from the Past” also failed to put a final point. Nevertheless, the simulation of several explosions in the laboratory and on the computer made it possible to conclude that the explosion of the bottom mine, which is the main emphasis in the official version, cannot be an explanation for the death of the battleship.
All the bombings of the ships (ours and allies) on German ground mines did not have a case of through breakdown of the hull, as on Novorossiysk. After the war, on 17 on October 1945, the cruiser “Kirov” was blown up on a German bottom mine in the Gulf of Finland. The depth and power of the explosive are close, the explosion also occurred in the area of the bow towers, but the nature of the damage was completely different, the cruiser received a general shell concussion of the ship’s hull, welds seated in places, various mechanisms failed. Novorossiysk also received a through hole while maintaining the operability of mechanisms outside the affected area.
These are fundamental differences refuting the detonation of the Novorossiysk battleship on the bottom mine.
It will be useful to once again emphasize that by the 1955 year all the batteries of the surviving German bottom mines were completely discharged (incapable). No other explosions occurred, although mines were still found before and after the tragedy.
So what if not a bottom mine? Generally not an explosion at the bottom? In various versions of this tragedy, even alien intervention is present, it is difficult to add a fundamentally new here, but there is common sense and obvious facts that need to be connected, and, based on them, look for the only true explanation for the death of the battleship.
During the explosion of the Novorossiysk battleship, we see that almost all of the explosion’s energy rushed up, there were minor deepenings (up to 1,5 meters) at the bottom, but the ship’s hull was pierced through, from the bottom, through steel sheets, to the upper deck, with the explosion blasting into sky.
Could not charge or two charges (two funnels found on the ground under the ship) to cause such catastrophic destruction to the battleship and leave such small traces at the bottom. The dimensions of the funnel during the usual explosion of a ground mine on the ground and damage to the ship are interrelated phenomena, and they should be either equally huge or equally insignificant. In our case, this is not.
The version of the explosion of the 320-mm gun ammunition, as well as the gasoline depots, was refuted initially. The artillery shells and powder charges to them remained intact, this was confirmed by eyewitnesses and a further examination. Warehouses of gasoline were empty for a long time and did not pose a threat to the explosion, especially of such a force. Then what if it is not an accident, not a disturbed and “woken up” old mine, not a fire and explosion in artillery cellars?
It is known that the option of sabotage categorically did not suit our KGB, since it turned out that the intelligence service looked at agents of a foreign power, allowing them to penetrate the main base of the Black Sea fleet. Moreover, at the same time, the image of the entire Soviet Union, and not only the KGB or the leadership of the fleet, in the person of its commander in chief, Nikolai Gerasimovich Kuznetsov, suffered on the whole.
In this regard, I would like to immediately draw a line for all the conversations in the version about the involvement of the Soviet special services themselves in the sabotage to discredit Kuznetsov. This seems completely absurd, at the level of spiteful critics about the "bloody geben".
In general, to discredit or even physically eliminate someone who is objectionable to the Secretary General, the KGB would have had more simple and reliable methods. Nothing prevented Nikita Sergeevich from shifting the priorities of military development, not only to the detriment of the fleet, but also aviation. For example, nothing prevented him from transferring Crimea from the RSFSR to the Ukrainian SSR or imposing corn on crops. It is unlikely that Khrushchev needed a special reason for the removal of Kuznetsov, all the more so when his own special services actually had to destroy the flagship battleship, which is very necessary in that difficult international situation, to destroy many of its sailors.
Yes, the loss of the ship and the great casualties among the personnel for Kuznetsov undoubtedly complicated the situation, but this was already a consequence of the tragedy, and not its cause.
Not only was Admiral Kuznetsov punished, who was dismissed, but Admirals Kalachev, Parkhomenko, Galitsky, Nikolsky and Kulakov were punished, they were demoted in posts and ranks.
It is possible that the official version allowed us to “save face” to our special services, giving Khrushchev an extra reason against Kuznetsov and the fleet as a whole, but it does not explain the true cause of the explosion. The tragedy itself did not happen because of “unacceptable and criminal negligence”, but, as it should be noted, from a cold-blooded and cruel sabotage.
Who blew the battleship Novorossiysk and how?
Speaking of sabotage, they primarily recall the “black prince”, Valerio Borghese, the former commander of the Italian combat swimmers of the 10 flotilla of the IAU, with his belated confessions, in his fanatical desire to take revenge on the Bolsheviks for raising the Soviet flag over the Italian battleship.
It must be assumed that there is as much truth in this as in the accusations that the Soviet special services were involved in undermining their own warship.
Firstly, before the outbreak of the war, the Soviet Union collaborated with Italy. Almost all of the new Soviet destroyers and cruisers were made in one way or another under the influence of Italian projects, the Italian shipbuilding school will be traced in the architecture of Soviet warships for a long time after.
The famous leader “Tashkent” was ordered and purchased from Italy shortly before the attack of Nazi Germany on the USSR. Active hostilities between Italy and the Soviet Union were virtually nonexistent during the war years, and if Borghese was to be hated, the same English as former enemies in naval battles in the Mediterranean Sea, or even Germans who drowned battleship controlled bombs in 1943 Roma, who was going to surrender to Malta.
In addition, former Italian saboteurs were under the scrutiny of both our and foreign special services, it is unlikely that preparations for "revenge" could go unnoticed.
By the way, during the Second World War, Borghese himself was a member of the famous bombing of two British battleships in Alexandria. This is interesting as a comparison to the explosion on the battleship Novorossiysk.
On December 19, Valerio Borghese led the sabotage operations of the Italian Navy's assault unit (1941 MAS flotilla) on British battleships in the port of Alexandria.
The Italian saboteurs, using human torpedoes, entered the guarded port and mined two British battleships, Queen Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth) and Valiant (Valiant). The transported explosives were fastened under the keel and dumped on the ground under the bottom.
As a result of the sabotage, “Valiant” failed for six months, and “Queen Elizabeth” - for 9 months. Victims were avoided at Valiant, and 8 sailors died on the battleship Queen Elizabeth.
The British caught all the participants in the direct mining of the ships almost immediately, the Italian saboteurs turned into prisoners of war.
These are real wartime facts, and it should be noted that when attaching magnetic mines and installing explosives, the most vulnerable places are selected, such as artillery cellars, the central part of the hull, but not the fore tip.
In the case of the battleship Novorossiysk, a powerful charge was found in the bow, not in the center of the ship, not under the powder cellars, not even under the rudders and propellers. The explanation for this fact is difficult to find, it is not rational for underwater sabotage, since it requires maximum damage with minimum risks, and not maximum problems, with the expenditure of time and energy to obtain the required explosion power.
We must take into account the details that many leave behind the scenes, producing the most time-consuming and fantastic versions in the tragedy of Novorossiysk, considering the most incredible schemes of how an external explosion could cause such monstrous destruction to the ship.
Here is a piece from a flooded barge as a screen for a directed explosion, and a bunch of mines that the Germans thought of leaving from the war, carefully laying a cable for remote detonation from a secret place on the shore along the bottom. Particularly impressive is the towing of tons of explosives from an external raid with a youthful raid of mini-submarines of saboteurs. All this is too long and too troublesome, and most importantly, all this does not explain the strength and nature of the explosion at the battleship.
The version where the Italian "old robbers" allegedly hit a personal vendetta against the USSR fleet also does not hold water. Rather, these are “revelations” for diverting eyes from true customers and performers. To everything else, no one, not even the Italian Navy, would have dragged on such an operation against the USSR at that time, all the more without NATO sanction, without US permission. Only one country at that time could do this without the sanction of NATO and the United States — Great Britain, the former USSR ally in the anti-Hitler coalition.
Now important historical moment that needs to be said. During the Second World War, Malta was the base of the British Navy, being the headquarters for the Mediterranean theater of operations. It was in Malta that the remaining Italian ships came to surrender in the fall of 1943, among which was the Giulio Cesare. In Malta, the battleship stood with the British until 1948, after which it was transferred to the Soviet Union for reparations.
Understanding the causes of the 1955 tragedy of the year, one must not forget the story: the transfer of the battleship of the USSR took place in a sharply aggravated international situation, by the 1948 year the former allies became enemies, the prospect of a new war arose quite realistically. In fact, Winston Churchill’s anti-Soviet speech in Fulton was already heard, and the United States had plans for atomic bombing of Soviet cities. It is very doubtful that the Soviet Union was also wished well in the event of a forced transfer of a strong naval combat unit by reparation.
The Soviet leadership hoped to get one of the new Italian battleships, Littorio or Vittorio Veneto, but the former allies, citing the fact that the Soviet Union was not actively involved in the Mediterranean war, agreed to transfer only the older Giulio Cesare. In other words, the future Novorossiysk was chosen for the transfer of the USSR from the very beginning.
This is important, since the ship had a unique feature with a bow tip in the process of pre-war modernization, in addition, there was time to study the ship in detail and use it against strengthening the Soviet fleet.
Directly before the transfer of the battleship to the Soviet Union, its partial repair was carried out, as was noted, mainly of the electromechanical part. The battleship, the only one of all transmitted Italian ships, was transmitted with full ammunition.
It is known that the transfer and the transition itself to the USSR took place in an extremely nervous environment, rumors of mining and possible sabotage worried the whole crew.
Have you searched for possible explosives after? Yes, they were looking, in addition, the ship from 1949 to 1955 had undergone various repairs and modernization eight times. An explosive device was not detected. There may be several reasons for this, one of them is the insufficiently complete documentation of the ship's drawings up to the intentional distortion of the compartment diagrams, the difficulty of translating from Italian. It should be noted that the professionalism necessary for such a level of sabotage is in the very secrecy of mining, and a high degree of camouflage of the place of charge laying.
To guarantee the exclusion of such a bookmark, it was required not just a selective inspection, but a complete dismantling of the overhead part of the nasal tip, which was not done.
No external detonation would have had the nature of the damage that was at Novorossiysk, would not have caused such damage. It can be argued that the explosion that destroyed the battleship Novorossiysk was internal. Only the features of internal mining could give such a powerful directional explosion.
The internal explosion is also indicated by the testimonies of witnesses who claimed that after the explosion a strong smell of explosives was felt on the ship, which is possible only with an explosion in the air, that is, inside the battleship’s body. It doesn’t even matter how the internal charge was activated, with the explosives already laid down, well-thought-out methods, even one scuba diver could sabotage, while getting the maximum cost and risk.
It was a powerful explosion in the Novorossiysk building that burned all the air in the adjacent space, creating a vacuum. The vacuum created a pressure difference in which gushing streams of water bent the notches of the hole inward. In addition, the flow of water involved bottom sediment.
The most likely place for the bookmark is the junction of the old dreadnought nose with a new nasal tip, which was added during the pre-war modernization of the battleship in Italy. Moreover, the bookmark was as close as possible to the artillery cellars of the bow towers.
Naturally, secret mining was carried out when the battleship was determined for transfer to the Soviet Union. The former allies did not risk anything here, you could always blame everything on the Italian fascists. The alleged explosion during the transition did not take place for several reasons, including due to the precautions taken by the Soviet side, but a dangerous “gift” remained with the ship “on demand”.
Why did they remember the “gift” in the nasal extremity only in October 1955?
The Suez Canal, Egypt, the strengthening of the Soviet Union in this region, which is very important for Great Britain, the direct preparation of our squadron, led by the Novorossiysk, for entering the Mediterranean Sea at an extremely tense political moment. Finally, a lot of time has passed since the transfer of the ship, which would also complicate any accusations and reduce the political risks for the customers of this war crime.
The official version under Khrushchev is almost "he drowned" ... All the materials of the commission investigating the tragedy were classified, most of the materials were completely destroyed. Nikita Sergeyevich hushed up a difficult-to-prove and inconvenient incident, turned arrows on the negligence of Admiral Kuznetsov, and less than six months later, when he arrived at the British "partners" with a visit to Misty Albion, to establish peaceful coexistence with the West.
By the way, gentlemen distinguished themselves there in April 1956 with the cruiser Ordzhonikidze, but this is another story, known as the “Krebb affair”. Here we can only add that, fearing an international scandal, this case was also hushed up, mainly thanks to the British Prime Minister Anthony Eden.
Like this. “And you, Brutus?” - the Soviet steel Caesar could say on a cold night 29 of October 1955 of both the former allies of the anti-Hitler coalition and Khrushchev, who later found an excuse for cutting the ship and the pogrom of the USSR shipbuilding program.
The death of the battleship Novorossiysk is not just sabotage. After the Stalin era, this was a litmus, a watershed in Khrushchev’s inhibition of the development of a powerful ocean fleet and in flirting with socialism flirting with a deadly enemy in the hope of “peaceful coexistence” with an antagonist, antipode, ready for any crime.