The genius of strategic bureaucracy

36
The genius of strategic bureaucracy
Commander of the Red Banner Baltic fleet Admiral V.F. Tributs


The year 1941 became a time of tragedy and defeat for the Baltic Fleet. The Tallinn transition allowed the evacuation of fleet forces from bases in the Baltic states, but was accompanied by great damage. At the same time, the Germans and their allies suffered minimal losses, and most importantly, they practically did not use surface ships to inflict losses on convoy ships with sea mines and aviation. And then there were bombings of the fleet in the bases of Kronstadt and Leningrad, land battles and a blockade.



But the fleet remained intact and combat-ready. In 1942, the Germans and their allies decided to stick to the tactics that had already worked before - keeping the fleet locked in bases, while using minimal surface forces, minefields and anti-submarine nets. At the same time, Baltic submariners broke through barriers and in 1942 operated on enemy communications in the Baltic.

The fleet headquarters was very proud of the actions of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet submarine. Although the effectiveness of the actions of our submariners was frankly overestimated by the Navy command, and the Germans did not even switch to a convoy system in the Baltic in 1942, the activity of our submarines for the opposing side did not go unnoticed.


People's Commissar of the Navy of the USSR N. G. Kuznetsov and the commander of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet, Vice Admiral V. F. Tributs among the personnel of the submarine "Shch-406", Leningrad, November 1942. "Shch-406" broke into the Baltic Sea in 1942 and began operating on enemy communications, conducting a number of successful torpedo attacks. The same was expected in 1943, but in the summer of 1943 the submarine was lost in German minefields.

The Germans and Finns made an unequivocal conclusion - it is necessary to strengthen anti-submarine defense and commission new anti-submarine barriers... Which was done.

In 1943, with the beginning of navigation, the command of the Baltic Fleet intended to continue the practice of submarines breaking through obstacles and developing their operations on enemy communications in the Baltic. But from the very beginning everything did not go according to plan. Of the three first-echelon submarines that left for the breakthrough, not one broke through and only one returned - Shch-303.

As it turned out later, the Shch-303 crew returned at the cost of incredible effort from the submariners, and most importantly, with the most valuable intelligence information about the state of the enemy’s anti-submarine defense and its strengthening. But at first this fact was not very appreciated. The task was different - to break through. Is it done? No, bad.


"Shch-303" in 1942.

A little later, understanding began to dawn that something in the enemy’s anti-submarine defense system had indeed changed dramatically. In July 1943, an aerial photograph was taken of the new anti-submarine barrier - a double network between the islands of Naissaar and Filingrund. Numerous confirmations began to appear that the group of anti-submarine vessels had been strengthened.

And the command in Moscow demanded results. The successes of 1942 had to be repeated at all costs. And Admiral Tributs was generally in agreement with Moscow’s opinion. He proposed a number of measures to ensure a breakthrough of the second echelon of submarines, and then reconnaissance of anti-submarine defense by several submarines. The plan was approved by Moscow and its implementation began.

The plan provided for attacks on anti-submarine defense ships by Red Banner Baltic Fleet aviation, attacks by the “mosquito fleet”, laying mines and bombing barrage networks in the hope of destroying them. And in general, these measures produced virtually no results. The Germans and Finns suffered losses from mines, but they were insignificant; the Red Baltic Fleet aviation did not achieve any special results, and most importantly, the networks were not damaged at all. The ensuing “reconnaissance” cost the Red Banner Baltic Fleet two more submarines – “S-9” and “S-12”.


German high-speed barge that took part in the sinking of the Shch-408, May 1943. The photo was taken from a Finnish minelayer.

At the headquarters of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet they began to understand that the situation had not just changed a little, but had become radically different, and 1942 could not be repeated in any way.

It is worth noting that the pre-war Soviet doctrine of the use of submarines said that insurmountable anti-submarine barriers do not exist and cannot exist. So for the Baltic officers in 1943, the world was simply turned upside down when the awareness of objective reality came.

At the same time, Moscow demanded results, and the opinion there was unequivocal - a breakthrough is possible, and it must be carried out. The few alternative opinions were not taken into account. An officer of the 1st Department of the Organizational and Mobilization Directorate, Captain-Lieutenant A.I. Krukovsky, prepared a report on his own initiative in July 1943, which stated that further attempts to break through Red Banner Baltic Fleet submarines into the Baltic would only lead to unreasonably high losses and should be discontinued. The higher authorities liked the conclusions drawn in this document so much that Krukovsky was transferred to another job with a demotion... The initiative is punishable.


Savior of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet submarine - Commander of the Leningrad Front, Colonel General Leonid Aleksandrovich Govorov, Leningrad, 1943. The general examines the PaK 36(r) anti-tank gun captured from the Germans - a captured Soviet F-22 divisional gun converted by the Germans. Govorov, as an artilleryman, was definitely interested in this.

The commander of the Baltic Fleet already understood that it would not be possible to overcome the anti-submarine defense, and further attempts would be expensive. Sooner or later, the losses will reach such a level that Moscow will pay attention to them and order to stop attempts at breakthroughs, but then they will begin to look for someone to blame. And considering that not so long ago Tributs himself reported that a submarine breakthrough was possible, it is clear where the culprit will be found. We had to somehow get out of the situation, saving the submarine... and ourselves.

As of 1943 and until November 1944, on the basis of a directive from the Headquarters of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, the Baltic Fleet was transferred to operational subordination to the Leningrad Front. That is, dual power arose, there was command in Moscow and at the same time there was command right there on the spot in Leningrad. And orders from both “instances” were subject to execution. This is what Tributs decided to take advantage of.

First, the classic “initiative from below” was depicted. The commander of the submarine brigade of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet, S. B. Verkhovsky, prepared a report, which, almost unchanged, was transferred to the document prepared by the Military Council of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet. The general meaning of the document was something like this: a breakthrough is impossible for objective reasons, we propose to stop, but the submarines are in full readiness, so if you order, we will continue. And then this document went to two authorities at once - to the headquarters of the Leningrad Front and to Commander Kuznetsov in Moscow.


From left to right: member of the Military Council Major General N.K. Smirnov, fleet commander Admiral V.F. Tributs, chief of staff Rear Admiral M.I. Arapov, Leningrad, spring 1943.

Naturally, the document ended up at the headquarters of the Leningrad Front earlier.

What worried the command of the Leningrad Front in terms of interaction with the Red Banner Baltic Fleet?

Yes, a lot of things, but first of all, support for naval aviation and artillery. What we didn’t care about (from the word at all) was the breakthrough of submarines somewhere out there and what they would or would not do off the coast of Sweden or Finland. So Colonel General Govorov endorsed the document without any problems. That is, by the time a similar document landed on Kuznetsov’s desk, the decision on the fact had already been made, and no matter what resolution he imposed, the submarines would have remained in the bases. Brilliant.

Who in reality was the brilliant schemer, whether Tributs himself, or one of the members of the Military Council of the fleet, and whether everything in reality was exactly like that, or whether it was just a coincidence of circumstances without anyone’s intent, we will no longer know. One thing is for sure, knowledge and understanding of how the bureaucratic apparatus works and the ability to see loopholes in it can even be no less important in war than military leadership talent.

And the Baltic submariners nevertheless reached the enemy’s communications, and it was the officer of the Baltic Fleet who carried out the “attack of the century”, but this, as usual, is a completely different matter story.
  • Alexander Sychev
  • www.sovboat.ru www.balticvaryag.ru www.russiainphoto.ru www.waralbum.ru
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  1. -5
    February 9 2024
    I'm wondering who the author is and who ordered Tributs to be smeared with poop.
    I am always amused by an author who talks about what the hero of his story thought (!!) and felt (!!).
    1. +1
      February 9 2024
      Quote: Krasnoyarsk
      I'm wondering who the author is and who ordered Tributs to be smeared with poop.
      I am always amused by an author who talks about what the hero of his story thought (!!) and felt (!!).

      And what does this have to do with poop - if initially there was a crooked subordination of the fleet to the army? If it is immediately obvious that the army in that situation will take EVERYTHING for itself?
      and that the army was really not interested in the sinking of some Norwegian barge with ore, but was interested in a narrow but strategic task - the defense of Leningrad?
      God be with him - in fact, with such dual power, Tributs could not act otherwise, and Govorov demanded that the fleet support the army with artillery, aviation and l/s.
      1. -4
        February 9 2024
        Quote: your1970
        And what does poop have to do with it?

        You have a peculiar logic.
        Quote: your1970
        if initially there was a crooked subordination of the fleet to the army?

        Was it Tributs who, by his order, subordinated the fleet to the army?
        Quote: your1970
        God be with him - in fact, with such dual power, Tributs could not act otherwise, and Govorov demanded that the fleet support the army with artillery, aviation and l/s.

        Any front commander, in Govorov's place, would have demanded the same thing.
        But Govorov did not FORBID (!) Tributs to carry out operations with his submarine. For this, neither artillery nor hp were needed. It was the Germans and Finns who made such operations impossible.
        But at the same time, Tributs, as the author assures us, is “The Genius of Strategic Bureaucracy”
        Isn't that poop?
        1. +7
          February 9 2024
          Isn't that poop?
          , Not at all, it’s more of a compliment to a person who understands the impossibility of completing a task and is looking for ways to get out of this situation without losses. Other commanders of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet would have suffered along with him.
        2. +4
          February 9 2024
          Quote: Krasnoyarsk
          For this, neither artillery nor hp were needed.

          Marines out of thin air was formed in Leningrad? Or was it collected from ships?
          1. -1
            February 9 2024
            Quote: your1970
            Quote: Krasnoyarsk
            For this, neither artillery nor hp were needed.

            Marines out of thin air was formed in Leningrad? Or was it collected from ships?

            Lord, when will you, and not only you, begin to read carefully and understand what you read? After all, my words are a continuation of the polemic with my opponent “Own”
            Quote: your1970
            ... and Govorov demanded that the fleet support the army with artillery, aviation and military personnel.

            But for submarine operations in the Baltic, Tributs did not need either artillery or horsepower. BF, except for submarine crews and service personnel. That’s why I excluded artillery and HP from my post, but not aviation, because Tributz needed it, at least for reconnaissance of the B.M. water area.
            And the marines were recruited from surface ships, leaving only main gunners and air defense guns on them. The crews of the submarine did not touch it.
            1. -2
              February 9 2024
              Quote: Krasnoyarsk
              Quote: your1970
              Quote: Krasnoyarsk
              For this, neither artillery nor hp were needed.

              Was the Marine Corps formed out of thin air in Leningrad? Or was it collected from ships?

              Lord, when will you, and not only you, begin to read carefully and understand what you read? After all, my words are a continuation of the polemic with my opponent “Own”
              Quote: your1970
              ... and Govorov demanded that the fleet support the army with artillery, aviation and military personnel.

              And you always talking with an opponent call him in third face?
              Quote: Krasnoyarsk
              You have a peculiar logic.

              Once again slowly- NOTICE it was that when the fleet was subordinated to the ground forces, the infantry would scoop up everything they could reach in such a critical situation. They have the Germans 10 km from Leningrad - and here is some kind of “barge with ore, devil knows where!”
              Naturally, Govorov did not prohibit submarines from sailing.
              Probably...
              Only there were problems with fuel in Leningrad, and so “Sail wherever you want, if you find diesel fuel”...
            2. +1
              February 11 2024
              And the marines were recruited from surface ships, leaving only main gunners and air defense guns on them. The crews of the submarine did not touch.

              The first photo in the article is of my grandfather. I saw the original, he signed on the back side who is who. So: my grandfather served as an electrician (part-time, gunner of a submarine’s bow gun) in the Northern Fleet! And at the KBF they pulled him to fix something there..
              And he ended the war in Batumi as an instructor in a mountain artillery battery. So think about who wasn’t touched! Submarine electrics for mountain riflemen...
              1. 0
                February 11 2024
                Quote: Kerensky

                And he ended the war in Batumi as an instructor in a mountain artillery battery. So think about who wasn’t touched! Submarine electrics for mountain riflemen...

                Based on this case, perhaps even an isolated one, you conclude that everyone was taken to MP. If the command of the Red Army and the Navy had been, well, you understand, then we would not have won the war.
                And in general, our dispute is out of nowhere. War is war, and it is simply impossible to regulate everything.
                The command acted logically in accordance with the current situation. hi
                1. 0
                  February 11 2024
                  Based on this case, perhaps even an isolated one, you conclude that

                  Yes, I do... Being a TR PDSS, I “looked into the mountains”, because I was a candidate of masters in mountaineering. You need to be where your skills and abilities will be useful.
            3. 0
              February 11 2024
              And the marines were recruited from surface ships, leaving only main gunners and air defense guns on them. The crews of the submarine did not touch.

              The first photo in the article is of my grandfather. I saw the original, he signed on the back side who is who. So: my grandfather served as an electrician (part-time, gunner of a submarine’s bow gun) in the Northern Fleet! And at the KBF they pulled him to fix something there..
              And he ended the war in Batumi as an instructor in a mountain artillery battery. So think about who wasn’t touched! Submarine electrics for mountain riflemen...
      2. -3
        February 9 2024
        Quote: your1970
        If it is immediately obvious that the army in that situation will take EVERYTHING for itself?

        That is, the Baltic people rested comfortably at the bases because this was how the “issue of awards” was resolved? Why would gallant sailors bother if the army “takes everything” (that is “everything”)? Excellent service in the Great Patriotic War - walking on the ship's deck, eating reinforced rations and never leaving the harbor for battle. So?
        1. +1
          February 9 2024
          Quote: Mikhail3
          Excellent service in the Great Patriotic War - walking on the ship's deck, eating reinforced rations and never leaving the harbor for battle. So?

          Fleet losses 76% l/s, infantry losses 470% l/s.
          No one is saying that they just ate naval rations, but they still died significantly less than in the infantry
          1. 0
            February 11 2024
            No one is saying that they just ate naval rations, but they still died significantly less than in the infantry

            "Protection of the water area.
            The words from the sheet are looking at us
            And how many hundreds of sleepless nights
            lies behind them now?" (C)
            1. +1
              February 11 2024
              Quote: Kerensky
              No one is saying that they just ate naval rations, but they still died significantly less than in the infantry

              "Protection of the water area.
              The words from the sheet are looking at us
              And how many hundreds of sleepless nights
              lies behind them now?" (C)

              My grandfather, from the May training camp and until 1943 at the front, artillery reconnaissance, was blown up by German anti-infantry. All his life he suffered with a festering leg and bent fingers.
              His age served throughout the war in the commandant's office in Samara. When the war ended, they were told that they would go to the Far East to fight the Japanese. And he cut off his little finger on his left hand with a cap.
              Both were awarded the Order of the Patriotic War, 1st degree.

              I understand that in the commandant’s office in Samara it is as difficult as adjusting the fire in a hole in neutral.
              Yes????

              Z.Y.
              My grandfather never wore this order, I didn’t even find it after his death; the rest of the medals were there, but he wasn’t there.
  2. +2
    February 9 2024
    IMHO, it should be said that despite the fairly significant number of submarines in the Baltic, they acted extremely ineffectively even when there was no anti-submarine barrier.

    First of all, it was due to poor training of the crews, backward sighting devices and backward tactics.

    However, everyone - both we and the Germans - understood that we would learn and change tactics, and then the Baltic would become impassable, including for Swedish transports (which we attacked, not really paying attention to their “neutral” status), and these supplies were very important for Germany. In addition, the very appearance of our submarines in the Baltic forced us to reduce supplies or look for longer, and therefore slower and more expensive routes.

    Submarines were a threat by the very fact of their existence in communications.
    1. +5
      February 9 2024
      As far as I remember, more boats were lost than actually sunk ships (in units, obviously). There is no need to talk about efficiency.
  3. +7
    February 9 2024
    An interesting interpretation of the hopeless situation at the Baltic Fleet in 1943. Losing submarines without any result only to please Kuznetsov’s Moscow desires is the height of idiocy. This is the triumph of bureaucracy, and the solution that the author wrote about is a reasonable counteraction to militant bureaucracy.
    1. +2
      February 9 2024
      At least someone understood what the article was about, thank you.
  4. +3
    February 9 2024
    This was written by a person who understands ABSOLUTELY nothing about the scheme of command and control of the armed forces. The People's Commissariat of the Navy could not order anything to the fleet, which was operationally subordinate to the front. Just like the commander of the Air Force did not determine what to do for the Air Army that was part of the front. And the commander of the BTiMV and the Commander of the Red Army Artillery.
    The departmental line included MTS, work with personnel, repairs and maintenance, development of tactics and analysis of combat operations. But what and when to do was decided by the front under whose operational subordination the fleet was.
    So absolute unity of command was ensured.
    Some part of the fleet that could not be used to solve front-line tasks of the EU was used for other work, and these other works could well be managed by central authorities. Coordination in this case took place at the level of Headquarters and General Staff.
    Actions on communications in the Baltic Sea are a strategic task and they were solved even when the submarines were locked. Naval aviation was simply redirected there. The submarines entered communications in 44, after operations in the Baltic states and, especially after Finland left the war.
    1. +5
      February 9 2024
      Quote: Grossvater
      The People's Commissariat of the Navy could not order anything to the fleet, which was operationally subordinate to the front.

      Hmmm... as soon as the Red Banner Baltic Fleet was not subordinated.
      From 27.06.1941/14.07.1941/XNUMX to XNUMX/XNUMX/XNUMX - under operational subordination of the Armed Forces of the Northern Front.
      From July 14.07.1941, XNUMX - directly subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief of the North-Western Direction.
      From 30.08.1941/XNUMX/XNUMX - under the operational subordination of LenFront.
  5. 0
    February 9 2024
    Quote: Aviator_
    An interesting interpretation of the hopeless situation at the Baltic Fleet in 1943. Losing submarines without any result only to please Kuznetsov’s Moscow desires is the height of idiocy. This is the triumph of bureaucracy, and the solution that the author wrote about is a reasonable counteraction to militant bureaucracy.

    Firstly, Kuznetsov was a very smart person. Secondly, he could not command a fleet transferred to operational SUBMISSION to the front. Thirdly, any actions on STRATEGIC communications were justified in those conditions. It's sad, but this is war!
    1. +3
      February 9 2024
      Firstly, Kuznetsov was a very smart man.
      This was especially evident when he did not prohibit the mining of our ports in the Black Sea Fleet in the complete absence of enemy ships. A lot of our ships and ships perished in our own minefields. The commander of the Black Sea Fleet might not have had information about the complete absence of the enemy Navy, so he dumped everything that was according to plan. And “smart” Kuznetsov had information.
    2. 0
      February 12 2024
      Something about this was not evident in the actions of the Soviet Navy.
  6. 0
    February 9 2024
    Weak article..very weak..especially after listening to a course of lectures by Miroslav Morozov...everything is there on the shelves, thoroughly and without embellishment.
    1. -1
      February 9 2024
      I listened to a course of lectures by Miroslav Morozov... everything there is on the shelves, thoroughly and without embellishment.
      Morozov, of course, is a pro. However, where he “proves” Lunin’s mistake in Tirpitz, he refers to the K-21 journal, filled out in one hand. At the same time, he does not cite entries from a German journal. At all. It is clear that he did not have such an opportunity, but for the sake of objectivity it should be reported that he did not see the German magazine at all.
      1. +1
        February 10 2024
        I agree, but Morozov, of course, yes, his lectures are simply gorgeous
  7. +2
    February 9 2024
    My opinion: in WWII, 2/3 of our admirals DID NOT PROVE THEMSELVES...
    Except for: Gorshkov and Isakov. Oktyabrsky frankly admitted that he did not tell Stalin the whole truth.
  8. -1
    February 10 2024
    It turns out that the ability to file a report in the army is no less important than in any modern capitalist-national company?
    Only in the army do they risk positions, and in wartime, the lives of subordinates, and in Gazprom, LUKOIL, Tatneft they risk positions, money and unbuilt kindergartens, schools, clubs and sections, and, as a consequence, an increase in youth crime, alcohol and drug addiction. And again with lives. But already citizens.
  9. 0
    February 13 2024
    It is amazing that 80 years later there are people who do not understand how successfully the Red Banner Baltic Fleet fought and how much its actions were decisive for the course and outcome of World War II.
    The Baltic Fleet is the main firepower in the defense of Leningrad. And Leningrad is the first center of stability on the Eastern Front, where the German blitzkrieg first stopped in 1941.
    The contribution of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet, together with the Ladozhka flotilla, to the victory over the German Reich in the war was greater than that of all other Allied fleets combined with all their convoys, Atlantic battles and the like.
    The Baltic Fleet fought successfully against the main enemy (German ground forces), on the decisive front (Eastern) and during the decisive period of battles (1941-42) in the most difficult conditions (enemy air superiority, loss and evacuation of their bases, etc.)
    With this, in addition to his main success on the land front, he managed, as a bonus, in 1944 to interrupt deliveries from Sweden to Germany.
    Tributs is the most successful naval commander of the anti-Hitler coalition.
  10. 0
    February 14 2024
    Quote: Aviator_
    Firstly, Kuznetsov was a very smart man.
    This was especially evident when he did not prohibit the mining of our ports in the Black Sea Fleet in the complete absence of enemy ships. A lot of our ships and ships perished in our own minefields. The commander of the Black Sea Fleet might not have had information about the complete absence of the enemy Navy, so he dumped everything that was according to plan. And “smart” Kuznetsov had information.

    Firstly, there was no complete absence, this time; secondly, the Turks could well have missed the Italians; thirdly, Kuznetsov himself admitted his mistake.
  11. 0
    February 14 2024
    Quote: Kostadinov
    Tributs is the most successful naval commander of the anti-Hitler coalition.

    Well... You got a little carried away, but in the situation that arose, the KBF did everything that was possible and even more.
    1. 0
      February 25 2024
      Now it remains to understand what the “great naval commander” Tributs has to do with the actions on land of the Marine Corps and the organization of the defense of Leningrad? If not for Zhukov, Tributs and Voroshilov would have destroyed the Baltic Fleet, and the city would have been surrendered.
  12. 0
    February 14 2024
    Quote: Aviator_
    This was especially evident when he did not ban the mining of our ports in the Black Sea Fleet

    For such a ban, it was necessary to know in June that in October Sevastopol would be blocked from land and all supplies would go through the sea with the complete dominance of enemy aviation. Is Kuznetsov to blame for not having a time machine?
  13. 0
    February 15 2024
    Quote: Grossvater
    Is Kuznetsov to blame for not having a time machine?

    To continue. It was still difficult for Kuznetsov to guess about such a quick exit of German troops to Sevastopol, but he knew very well about the “Sevastopol Reveille” of 1914!
  14. 0
    February 25 2024
    What else could you expect from a graduate of the Kronstadt paramedic school? All his merits boil down to the fact that he held the position. The author was very modest about losses, apparently forgetting that there were 44 submarines.

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