In this stories indeed there is something karmic. Indeed, as soon as hostilities began, mines rained into the waters of the Baltic Sea. And, from all sides.
There are no exact data on how many mines were laid in the First World War, but they set them fervently and with a twinkle. And everything was blown up on these mines, but mostly the Germans got it. They really lost many ships on the mines of the Baltic. The most famous loss was the death of 7 of the newest destroyers from 11 ships of the special forces detachment in the fall of 1916. Instead of pinching the sentinel forces of the Baltic fleet, the German destroyers went to the bottom. This was the most significant success of the Baltic Fleet in the First World War.
After the war, mines, of course, were trawled, but not very actively. Russia, which was becoming the USSR, had something to do without it, and where the Russian mines were placed, the opponents did not really know.
In the interval between the wars, the Soviet Union, Finland, Sweden, Germany slowly refurbished their minefields, and after the start of World War II, a mine nightmare began in general. The USSR, Germany and Finland jointly put about 67 mines in the Gulf of Finland. Plus separately aviation Almost one and a half thousand mines were exposed to Germany.
What happened in the end?
The Baltic Fleet was locked in a small area and practically did not take part in the war. Submarines of the Navy of the Red Army with great difficulty broke through the network and minefields and suffered losses. Of the 46 submarines that the Baltic Fleet lost during the Great Patriotic War, the lion's share falls precisely on minefields.
So we can definitely conclude that Germany and Finland won the mine war against the USSR "for a clear advantage."
The mine war in the Baltic lasted until 1957, and required considerable effort both technically and quantitatively.
It is not for nothing that the modest date of breaking the mine blockade is still celebrated in certain circles of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet - June 5th.
Why is this topic being brought up today?
Because it is raised. So far, only in theory, the main thing is that they do not throw them into the water. But without waiting for the admission of Finland and Sweden to the friendly ranks of NATO, in Estonia and the same Finland, they did not hesitate at all, they started talking out loud about how they could quickly and efficiently succeed in a mine blockade of the Russian Baltic Fleet and the subsequent complete blockade of Kaliningrad.
Conversations are on the verge of provocation, both military and diplomatic. The recent daring dances of Latvia around Kaliningrad and Norway around Spitsbergen show that they will not let us live in peace and will spoil the little things.
But to talk so impudently about blocking the Gulf of Finland... This is already a larger size.
But it might work out. It is not for nothing that hot Finnish and Estonian guys urgently began consultations at the level of their defense ministries on the creation of a common system of maritime defense of the two countries.
Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur came up with a masterpiece:
“The integration of the anti-missile defense of Finland and Estonia will make it possible to close the Gulf of Finland for Russian warships. The Baltic Sea with the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO will become the inland sea of the alliance. We need to unify coastal defense systems. The flight range of Estonian and Finnish missiles exceeds the width of the Gulf of Finland. Now we need to unite the systems, start sharing all the information we have with each other.”
The Estonian minister aired it all a week ago, after a meeting with his Finnish counterpart Antti Kaikkonen. Apparently, these men said a lot of pleasant things to each other.
But if you look at the map of this very Gulf of Finland, then not the most joyful thoughts come into your head. Indeed, Estonia and Finland may well deliver global troubles at sea. Even in the absence of fleets, although there is still how to say.
It is clear that the times of naval battles have gone down in history, everything is more or less clear here. Yes, Estonia does not have a fleet in the usual sense for us, two patrol boats and three minesweepers - that's all. But Estonians don't need ships!
It is enough to install anti-ship missile launchers on the shores - and here you have a problem with the passage! Moreover, no miracle missiles, ultra-long-range and very smart, are needed. With the total width of the bay in some places (as on the map), shooting will be carried out at close range, from a distance of 30-40 km. And now everything is flying.
But the Estonians have bought quite modern equipment for themselves! Israeli anti-ship missiles "Blue Spear" - very good weapon. The flight speed is under 1000 km / h, with a flight range of full order, under 300 kilometers. That is, the Estonians can launch these missiles not just at targets in the Gulf of Finland, but, excuse me, at the mooring walls of St. Petersburg and Krondstadt.
Of course, we have air defense, we also have missiles, we also have ships, but ...
So much has already been said about the composition and combat capabilities of the DCBF that I don’t want to repeat myself. And if we talk about the impending mine war, then things are even more sad. Not so long ago we did a review of our minesweeping forces, and you understand with your mind that a dozen minesweepers will not be able to do anything.
About the Finnish Navy. He is just imprisoned precisely for a mine war. Six minelayers, five of which are from the 90s, that is, still quite nothing. At one time, this gang can set up from 600 to 1000 mines. And the Finns have more minesweepers of their own construction than we do. And they are newer.
And the Finns sold a decent amount of their mines ... to Estonia! Ask where the Estonian guys will put them from? Difficult question, to be honest. British-built Estonian minesweepers of the Sandown type are, in general, not even minesweepers, but mine seekers. They do not have the possibility of trawling, there is no equipment on board. And if you look at the Sandown in the stern, there is not much space for placing mines there.
But the fact is: the mines are bought. Training sessions are underway. This means that there is a possibility of laying mines, we just don’t know yet how the brave Estonian miners decided to have fun. It is possible that their Finnish colleagues will try to use NH-90 helicopters for minelaying.
But it's really a threat. Here the situation is not simple: whoever is first wins. Whoever first threw mines into the waters of the Gulf of Finland will then sit on the shore smiling and examining the opponent's attempts in the sights of their coastal anti-ship systems.
By the way, the Finns have everything in order with anti-ship missiles, their MTO-85M fly at a distance of up to 150 km and also easily cover the entire width of the bay.
And here a situation arises when the seemingly defensive armament of a sea mine becomes very offensive if used together with anti-ship coastal systems. You can easily block Kaliningrad, block the Baltic Fleet in the harbors. And not to give the opportunity to clear mines, since the coastal SCRC is a mobile thing and not very noticeable.
And you can not even expect help from older brothers in NATO. The Germans, Danes and Poles will sit quietly in the harbors, the Finns and Estonians will, in theory, be able to cope on their own.
And, what is most unpleasant - the script is very cheap. They threw dirty tricks into the water, they themselves sit on the shore and calmly wait for the development of events. And you there, in Russia, get out as best you can.
Really have to get out. Blocked Kaliningrad will force. By land, stopping the delivery of everything you need is as easy as shelling pears. And if we also block the sea ... The situation will become completely sad, because it’s hard to believe in the possibility of our merchant fleet (if it still exists) after Syria.
And if neighbors also come to help colleagues ...
Germany: 6 submarines, 12 frigates, 5 corvettes, 19 minesweepers.
Poland: 2 submarines, 2 frigates, 2 corvettes.
Denmark: 9 frigates.
Norway: 6 submarines, 4 frigates, 6 corvettes.
Sweden: 5 submarines, 11 corvettes, 20 minesweepers.
In total, we get 19 submarines, 27 frigates, 24 corvettes and more than 50 minesweepers (with Finnish and Estonian).
Can the DCBF offer sane resistance if at least a quarter of these forces are involved? Definitely not. Neither in terms of the number of ships, nor in their quality, the Baltic Fleet is able to compete with the fleets of the NATO countries.
Moreover, everyone in the naval headquarters understands perfectly well: there is no need to try to destroy the Baltic Fleet, according to the experience of two world wars, it is enough to cut it off from the operational space by simple mining, and the job is done. The Baltic Fleet will again begin to play its usual target role, only now missiles will be added to the aircraft.
The waves of the Baltic are remembered from the beginning of the last century, how modest minelayers were covered by armadillos and battleships, cruisers and destroyers. Now the times are somewhat different, and in order for the minzags to once again turn the Gulf of Finland into a "soup with dumplings", missiles with a short range in our times, aviation and reconnaissance drones are enough.
So the problem is very topical, giving rise to the question: what to do?
To finally disband the Baltic Fleet, distributing the remnants of the ships among other fleets, leaving only ships of the coastal zone and patrol boats? Strive with all your might to maximize the composition of the DCBF? And together with the forces of the fleet, strengthen naval aviation, missile forces, and so on?
In general, there are no answers yet. Disbanding the DCBF “as unnecessary,” as some “experts” of the Russian deputies are suggesting today, is really dooming Kaliningrad. If there is a land blockade by Poland and Lithuania, then only under the cover of ships equipped with air defense, dry cargo ships and tankers can reach Kaliningrad without interference.
Amplify? Frankly, nothing yet.
Meanwhile, if you look from the legal side, from the side of international law, mining is a classic "casus belli", a direct act of aggression, a pretext for declaring war.
It is clear that in this case Russia does not have much choice. You will have to fight on land, as in the Great Patriotic War. And beat, as they say, from the heart.
It is clear that a land-based anti-missile system does not have to be destroyed from the sea, using ship weapons for this. The complex is perfectly destroyed by aircraft, MLRS, artillery. Yes, our fleet is not as strong as we would like, so we are really not comfortable with arranging naval battles. Well, our army has no less effective means of destruction at its disposal, capable of destroying the SCRC before the fires can open fire on the ships.
The same applies to the mine infrastructure facilities in Finland and Estonia. Helicopters, minelayers, warehouses - everything becomes the object of a preventive strike from Russia. Hot guys in Tallinn and Helsinki should think about this.
Yes, the Finns not so long ago rehearsed blocking the sea passage to Kaliningrad with the help of mines laid from NH-90 helicopters. Mines "Blocker PM16" actually blocked the passages to Kaliningrad. Now Estonia will conduct training, the mines have been purchased.
It remains only to plan response actions, because they simply must be.
Unfortunately, the Baltic is becoming no less explosive than our Pacific frontiers. And the mines in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland are, in principle, a repetition of world history. But history doesn't have to repeat itself.