How Russia came to the Arctic: about the legendary feat of the “Chelyuskinites” and their salvation

How Russia came to the Arctic: about the legendary feat of the “Chelyuskinites” and their salvation

The Northern Sea Route, which today is the most important transport artery for our country, and may soon become so for the whole world, was not taken seriously by the leadership of the USSR in the early 30s of the last century.

No, the economic and military need for this highway was well understood. However, the Arctic Ocean, like the sky above the Arctic, was considered beyond the control of either ships or planes. Until the heroic expedition of the “Chelyuskinites” took place, the progress of which, without exaggeration, was followed by the whole country.

The thing is that the steamship icebreaker “Chelyuskin” with an expedition of 105 participants, headed by the head of the Main Northern Sea Route Otto Schmidt, set off from Murmansk to Vladivostok on August 2, 1933, but already in the 20th of September found itself in an ice trap in the Chukchi Sea.

The polar explorers, their families, and the ship's crew spent about five months trapped in ice. But this turned out to be not the worst thing for the expedition members.

On February 13, 1934, 155 nautical miles from Cape Severny and 144 miles from Cape Uelen, the icebreaker sank, crushed by ice. Fortunately, the experienced Otto Schmidt foresaw this outcome, which allowed the expedition members to transfer food supplies, tents, sleeping bags, as well as an airplane and radio equipment to the ice in advance.

At the same time, one of the polar explorers died during the evacuation. The caretaker Boris Mogilevich fell into the water and was crushed by a log from a crushed ship. He turned out to be the only victim of this expedition.

A commission to rescue people drifting on an ice floe was formed on February 14, 1934.

The first 29 search flights were unsuccessful. However, on March 5, Soviet pilot Anatoly Lyapidevsky was able not only to discover the location of the expedition, but also to land his ANT-4 aircraft on a small area of ​​flat ice. He barely managed to fit ten passengers (women and children) into the cabin of the plane and rescue them from icy captivity. This was the first evacuation in the rescue operation.

At the same time, due to difficult weather conditions, the pilots managed to reach the polar explorers’ camp on the ice floe for the second time only on April 7. However, on April 13, all 104 members were rescued.

From that moment it became clear that Russia (then the USSR) came to the Arctic. In those years, the feat of the Chelyuskinites was put on a par with the first flight into space.

Seven pilots Anatoly Lyapidevsky, Vasily Molokov, Nikolay Kamanin, Mavriky Slepnev, Mikhail Vodopyanov, Ivan Doronin and Sigismund Levanevsky, who saved people from captivity in the ice, were awarded the highest award - Hero of the Soviet Union.
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  1. 0
    February 6 2024
    Whatever one may say, we again run into IDEOLOGY.
    Without her there would not have been such grandiose achievements of the Land of Soviets!
    1. +1
      February 6 2024
      This case is an illustrative example of “the feat of one is the crime of another.”
      No ideology turned the Chelyuskin into an icebreaker.
      1. +2
        February 6 2024
        No ideology turned the Chelyuskin into an icebreaker.

        Schmidt was an experienced polar explorer; he would not have taken the adventure.
        1. +2
          February 6 2024
          "Chelyuskin" was not an icebreaker, it was a transport with icebreaking capabilities. His job was to walk along the edge of heavy ice.
        2. +2
          February 6 2024
          Schmidt was an experienced polar explorer, but because of the desire to be first, he became an adventurer.
          The newest ship sank, although many literate people, including the future captain of the Chelyuskin, were against this late campaign.
        3. 0
          February 6 2024
          Schmidt was not a polar explorer, he was a mathematician, head of the algebra department at Moscow University. He was sent “to the Arctic” along party lines. Voronin was an experienced polar sailor, and he rejected Chelyuskin for the purposes of the expedition.
          1. +2
            February 7 2024
            I almost didn’t agree with you, but after reading about Schmidt, I would still call him a polar explorer, and most importantly, he was a traveler.
            By the way, for some reason they write a lot that he went north since 1930, but they don’t count the 1929 expedition on the ship “Sedov”.
    2. +1
      February 6 2024
      Sorry, but what is the achievement?
      The ship did not complete the task, did not complete one navigation along the NSR, and did not deliver a change of polar explorers to Wrangel Island (some write that this was the main task).
      The brand new ship itself was destroyed and sank (moreover, it is known that Chelyuskin’s future captain, the famous polar sailor Vladimir Voronin, was categorically against sailing, believing that Chelyuskin was not ready for sailing in such conditions.
      because Since the ship was already loaded, I was only able to inspect the forepeak, rope boxes and tiller compartment. Everything that I managed to examine left a bad impression on me about the ship. The hull frame was weak, the frames were sparse and their strength was not adequate for an icebreaking vessel, especially one intended for work in the Arctic. The width of "Chelyuskin" was large. This meant that the zygomatic part would be heavily impacted, at an unfavorable angle to the body, and these impacts would greatly affect the strength of the body. I assumed that the ship would have difficulty obeying the rudder, which would greatly complicate steering the ship in ice.
      All this indicated that the Chelyuskin was not a suitable vessel for this voyage. Therefore, I did not want to accept the ship from Captain Bezais.

      Nevertheless, the ship was sent, as a result of which it was destroyed, a person died, Levanevsky’s plane was crashed, the shift was not delivered to Wrangel Island, and the mission of the expedition was not completed.
      To be honest, I don’t see any achievements.
    3. +1
      February 6 2024
      So maybe you can open my eyes to what grandiose achievement the correctly ideologically savvy O. Schmidt achieved?
    4. +1
      February 6 2024
      Quote: NICK111
      Whatever one may say, we again run into IDEOLOGY

      Yep, exactly...

      Quote: Anecdote
      - Commander, cartridges - everything!
      - But you’re a Komsomol member!
      And the machine gun started firing again...

      My point is that ideology alone cannot cook porridge. And it doesn’t always help, as exemplified by the USSR.
  2. 0
    February 6 2024
    From that moment it became clear that Russia (then the USSR) came to the Arctic.

    Why lie? The USSR came to the Arctic. And RF =/= USSR.
  3. 0
    February 6 2024
    In those years, the feat of the Chelyuskinites was put on a par with the first flight into space.

    The author probably does not know when the first flight into space took place.
  4. +1
    February 6 2024
    Now the aphorism of D. Medvedev is clear: “our achievements in space come down to the fact that today no one was killed”
  5. 0
    February 7 2024
    It was not Russia that came to the Arctic, but the USSR.

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