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Now we know that Soviet propaganda in the summer of 1941 was at times overestimated the losses of the Germans. But this time it was all true. During the 10 days of offensive battles on the Danube, 810 prisoners were captured, 327 enemy soldiers and officers were destroyed, several hundred injured. It was captured: 15 guns; about three thousand shells; 742 rifle.
With the seizure of the Satu Nou peninsula, the settlements of Staraya Kiliya and Pardina and the Tatar Islands, the Danube flotilla captured both banks of the Danube from Perivrava village to the mouth of the River Repida, thus obtaining a maneuverable bridgehead over 76 km and the necessary depth in which it was so needed .
So, in Ukraine and Belarus tank enemy divisions wedged hundreds of kilometers deep into our territory, Minsk, Lvov and Riga fell. And here, on the Danube, the war went according to the pre-war canons - “on foreign territory, with little blood!”
How could this happen?
26 June 1940 The People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs V. Molotov summoned the Romanian ambassador Davidescu and handed him a statement from the Soviet government. It said: “In 1918, Romania, taking advantage of Russia's military weakness, forcibly rejected part of its territory - Bessarabia - from the Soviet Union (Russia) and thus violated the centuries-old unity of Bessarabia, inhabited mainly by Ukrainians, with the Ukrainian Soviet Republic.
The Soviet Union has never put up with the fact of the violent rejection of Bessarabia, which the USSR Government has repeatedly and openly declared to the whole world. ”
The new border of the USSR with Romania passed along the Danube from Vilkovo to Reni, more precisely, to 294 km of the Danube. In the current military and political situation, the border troops for the protection of the Danube was clearly not enough, and in June 1940, the Soviet government decided to create a Danube military flotilla. In July, 1940 was appointed Rear Admiral N. O. Abramov as its commander. The flotilla was part of the Black Sea Fleet, and Ismail became its main base.
This was the eighth Russian naval flotilla on the Danube, but the first flotilla created in peacetime. All previous fleets were created during the war and disbanded after it ended.
2 July 1940. The monitors of the Pinsk military flotilla "Udarny", "Zheleznyakov", "Martynov", "Rostovtsev" and "Zhemchuzhin" left the Kiev raid and headed down the Dnieper. On July 8 they arrived at Ishmael and put the Danube military flotilla into service. In addition, the Kolkhoznik wheel minelayer was received from the Pinsk military flotilla.
The 1125 armored boats, armed with short caliber 16,5 76-mm 1927 / 32 guns, were listed in the Danube flotilla of the Baltic Fleet naval squadron. Moreover, the main part of the armored troopers - 18 units - arrived only by rail 9 June 1941 in Izmail from Oranienbaum.
By 22 June 1941, the Danube flotilla consisted of five monitors, 22 armored boats and a mine-collector “Kolkhoznik”:
- division of the minesweeper boats from seven minesweepers built 1939 – 1940;
- detachment of gliders (6 units);
- Auxiliary vessels: the staff ship "Bug" (wheeled, two machine guns); river wheel tugs IP-22 and IP-23; four boats KM; four boats of the “Yaroslavl” type; PM-10 floating workshop; hospital ship "Soviet Bucovina" and diving bot.
In addition to the above boats, in the early days of the war, two divisions of patrol boats of the Maritime Border Guard of the NKVD, based in the city of New Kiliya (Kilia Noue) and in the city of Vilkovo (Vylkov), joined the Danube Flotilla:
a) Vilkovo Division - four MO-2 patrol boats (No. 125, 126, 127 and 128), ZK boats (Zolotov boats) and up to 20 K-ZIS boats;
b) Kiliya division consisting of messenger ships (schooners, boats) ZK, KM and several boats K-ZIS and PS-3.
Thus, the flotilla in the early days of the war had about 100 units, including warships and auxiliary craft.
In addition to ships, the flotilla included:
- 96-I fighter squadron (X-NUMX fighters I-15);
- 46-th separate anti-aircraft artillery division;
- a separate local rifle company;
- 17-I machine-gun company;
- Danube coastal defense sector in the following batteries:
No. 725 – 152-mm (howitzer gun ML-20), mobile, located in the city of Izmail,
No. 724 – 152-mm (howitzer gun ML-20), mobile, located in the village Dzhurzhulesht,
No. 717 – 130-mm stationary, located in the village of Zhebriyana (Zhibrieni).
Our forces on the Danube were opposed by a large river fleet of Romania, the core of which was seven monitors.
Four monitors — Alexandra Lakhovari, Mikhail Kogalnicheanu, Laskor Cataragiu, Ion C. Bratianu — were laid out in Trieste in 1906 by request of Romania and launched in 1907 in Galati (Romania). In 1937 – 1938 they have been upgraded. Their full displacement 750 t, speed 13 knots, armament: three 120 / 50-mm guns. By 1941, their anti-aircraft armament consisted of one 37-mm automatic machine "Rheinmetall" and three 13,2-mm guns of Hotchkiss.
The remaining three monitors went to Romania when the river divided the Austro-Hungarian Danube Flotilla.
The Bukovina monitor (formerly Sava) was built in Linz in 1915. The displacement of the 550 t monitor, the speed of the 12 nodes. In 1939 – 1942 He has been upgraded. Two 120 / 45-mm guns, two 120 / 10-mm howitzers, 65-mm and 47-mm guns were removed, and four 120 / 50-mm new Skoda guns were delivered, five 37-mm and two 20- mm gun "Rheinmetall".
The Bessarabia monitor (formerly Inn) was built in 1913 – 1915. in Budapest. It is curious that in the Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919, it was called "Marx". The monitor has been upgraded in 1940 – 1942. Data after modernization: displacement 770 t, speed of 12 nodes. Two 120 / 45-mm guns, three 120 / 10-mm howitzers and other old guns were replaced with four 120 / 50-mm Skoda, five 37-mm and two 20-mm Rheinmetall guns.
The Ardeal Monitor (formerly Temez) was built in 1903 – 1905. in Budapest. Displacement full 650 t, speed 10 nodes. During the Second World War, was modernized. Instead of two 120 / 35-mm guns, one 120 / 10-mm howitzer and small-caliber guns re-equipped with three 120 / 50-mm Skoda cannons, four 37-mm and four 20-mm Rhine-metal cannons.
Just before the start of the war, another “secret” monitor was added to the flotilla, which is still not found in any naval directory. The towing steamer “Haralambos” (speed of 13 nodes) was given the appearance of a monitor like “Bratianu”. Naturally, his tools were wooden. In the first weeks of the war, he produced several demonstrative exits on the Danube. And after the departure of the Russians from the Danube, he was again turned into a tug.
In addition, the flotilla consisted of several dozens of patrol boats with a displacement from 3,5 to 50 t. The most powerful were four boats of the Popescu Constantine type, built in 1921 in Naples, with a displacement of 9 nodes and were armed with one 15-mm cannon. As well as seven boats of the type "Nicolae Laskar", built in 37 in London. Their displacement was 1907 T, the speed of 50 nodes, armament: one 18-mm gun.
By 22 June 1941, on the formal grounds, the Romanian Danube Flotilla was superior to the Soviet flotilla. So, our authors claim that the weight of the volley of the Romanian flotilla was 2 times more than the Soviet. In fact, in the case of the “general” battle, our monitors and armored boats would have shattered the Romanians. Soviet ships were of a newer design, had more rapid-fire weapons, had better maneuverability, crews were better trained, and so on.
It should be noted that at the end of 1941, the balance of forces on the Danube should have changed dramatically. Romanians did not even plan to strengthen their river flotilla, and in Kiev at the shipyard “Leninskaya Kuznitsa” three large monitors were built.
Their standard displacement was 735 tons, and the full 800 tons. The power plant - two diesel 38-KP-8 on 800 l. with. - allowed to reach speeds up to 12 nodes. The armament consisted of two two-gun 130-mm B-28 turret installations and two 45-X turrets 41 K, as well as three 12,7-mm twin machine guns DShK M-2 B. The main armor belt had a thickness of 50 mm in the area of the citadel and 16 mm in the extremities. The deck had a thickness of armor 30 mm in the area of the citadel and 8 mm at the extremities.
By 22 June 1941, the Vidlitsa and Volochaevka monitors were launched and completed afloat, and the main caliber guns had already been installed on them. These were the first four serial B-28 towers. Monitor "Kakhovka" was still on the stocks without weapons.
What tasks were set before our flotilla? The well-known Viktor Rezun (pseudonym - Suvorov) in the book "Icebreaker" states:
“In a defensive war, the Danube military flotilla could not only solve defensive tasks by the nature of its base, but defensive tasks could not arise here! The Danube Delta is hundreds of lakes, these are impassable swamps and reeds for hundreds of square kilometers. The enemy will not attack the Soviet Union through the Danube Delta! ..
In the defensive war, the Danube flotilla is not needed by anyone and is doomed to immediate destruction in its open parking areas at the coast swept by the enemy. But in the offensive war, the Danube flotilla was deadly for Germany: as soon as it climbed upstream 130 km, the strategic bridge near Chernovada would be under fire from its guns, which meant that the supply of oil from Ploiesti to the port of Constance was disrupted. ”
At the end of March, the 1918 of the Austro-Hungarian flotilla consisting of 4 monitors, 4 gunboats and a dozen other ships moved down the Danube, entered the Black Sea and April 12 arrived in Odessa, and in 5 days - to Kherson. The Austrians tried to climb up the Dnieper to Kiev, but the Austrian non-saturated threshold turned out to be too tough for them, and they went from Aleksandrovsk (now Zaporozhye) back.
We will return to the offensive capabilities of the Danube Flotilla later, but the defensive tasks of the Danube Flotilla, set by the command of the Odessa Military District through the headquarters of the 14 Infantry Corps, were as follows:
1) prevent the enemy from breaking through below the city of Reni;
2) prevent the enemy from forcing the Danube River from the mouth of the river to the city of Galati;
3) together with the units of the Red Army, repel the attempt of the enemy to strike from Galati - Dzhurzhulesht.
The port of Izmail, the main base of the Danube Flotilla, was fired from the field artillery from the Romanian coast, and therefore all the ships and boats of the flotilla were dispersed. Three monitors, four armored boats and two cutter-trawlers went up to the mouth of the Prut in the region of Reni. The Reni group was headed by the commander of the monitor division, Lieutenant Commander Krinov. The neighboring 724-I coastal battery and two artillery regiments of the Chapayev Division could interact with his ships.
Two other monitors, including the flagship “Udarny”, with the main body of armored boats and minesweepers, were hidden in the Kislitsky channel, and the fleet commander directly took control of this group. The rest of the armored boats went to the Danube estuary, in the area of Kiliya-know and Vilkova. Not a single ship remained in Izmail for June 21.
What is it? Amateur commander flotilla? After all, half a century later, liberal historians have been proving to us that Stalin forbade putting units on alert, that the TASS statement from 14 June 1941 misinformed commanders, etc.
In fact, from the end of 1940 from Moscow to the western districts there was a stream of orders about the dispersal and disguise of troops and military equipment. But most of the chiefs in the field ignored them. As far back as 1940, Stalin was outraged that the air camps in Western IN are “gypsy camps” with crowds of wives, children, mother-in-law and other relatives. The fact that in the Governor-General in any of the air camps of the Luftwaffe did not smell like wives or kids, do not speak. The People's Commissar of Defense singled out large elevators for the removal of families of pilots. But the "night cuckoos" perekukovali Commissar.
By June 22 tanks were parks, aircraft - on the airfields wing to the wing. In May, the 1941 was delivered directly from the 480 – 152-mm ML-20 howitzer cannon with 10 ammunition kits to each gun to the district test site (former Polish) southwest of Baranavichy. At the end of the summer, the 1941. The howitzers-cannons were supposed to be used to complete the ten artillery regiments of the RGC. All of them were left unharmed by the Germans 23 – 24 June 1941.
Late in the evening 21 June 1941, the commander of the Western IN, Colonel-General Pavlov went to the theater, and the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Oktyabrsky, was already in the theater. Lunacharsky, and later with friends made a Sabantuy in his apartment.
And on the Danube, sailors and border guards only carried out orders and instructions. At 2 o'clock in the morning 22 June, the Danube Flotilla switched to operational readiness No. 1. The commander of the flotilla, Rear Admiral Abramov ordered to disperse and disguise the ships and to alert the units and units. The connection was switched to the flagship command post, deployed in advance in the shelter on the territory untailed from the Romanian coast.
In 4.15, the Romanian batteries opened fire on the Soviet side — Reni, Karal, Izmail, Calia, Vilkovo and the flotilla ships.
In 4.20, without requesting their superiors, Rear Admiral Abramov independently ordered to return fire and report the actions of the flotilla to the military council of the front.
During the artillery flotilla and coastal batteries did not suffer significant losses, but the port of Izmail was completely incapacitated.
On the morning of June 22 1941, eight Romanian aircraft IAR-37 raided Izmail. According to the Romanian version, one plane was shot down, and the second one was damaged, the pilot was seriously injured. And according to the Soviet version, three aircraft shot down fighters of the 96 th squadron, and one - 463-I anti-aircraft battery.
Even if you take the Romanian version, 25% losses for the first raid - not bad at all. Imagine if that were the case across the entire Eastern Front.
22 – 23 June Romanian troops in dozens of places tried to cross the Danube and Prut border rivers. Our border guards struck a counter blow. So, June 22 (!) Of the 79 frontier patrol squadron "being displaced beyond the cordon into the village of Laskar-Katorshi, broke into the pluton of the Romanian border guard, captured the 7 soldier and 1 officer and took them to the squadron". (RGVA f. 38658 op. 1 d. 1 l. 25).
On June 23, an “agent group” of the 79 frontier detachment, deployed in Lazar Katorshi, captured 10 Romanian soldiers. The trophies are 1 machine guns and 1 light machine guns and about 5000 cartridges.
On June 25, an “agent-combat group” of the 79 border detachment destroyed telephone communications between the cities of Kiliya-Veki and Tulcha.
The commandant's office on the boats forced the Danube River and took the town of Old Kiliya, destroyed at the same time along the site of the commandant's office of 12 Romanian pickets, 2 pluton, 1 company, captured over 500 people. soldiers and officers, up to 20 heavy machine guns, up to 30 light machine guns, about 700 rifles, 30 thousand rounds of ammunition and up to 1500 hand grenades.
And here is a report from the Prut River: 22 June 1941 of 17.30: “The 2 frontier detachment: the enemy in the area of the 14 th outpost forced the r. Prut in the area of the blasted bridge. Zastava together with the support of the Red Army is fighting. In 14.10, in the area of Kota Morii, in the area of the 12 outpost, a group of Captain Matyushin with a platoon of the Red Army leads the offensive, selected 6 killed Romanian soldiers, a light machine gun. The 13.15 opponent by force to one battalion in the area with. Medelen forced r. Rod. The 1-i outpost fights at the site of the 18-th outpost. Opponent after the battle went to the right bank. Throughout the site 4-th commandant from with. Chorydo to with. Leovo come to the border of the Red Army. "
Well, just like in the feature film 1938 of the year "If tomorrow is war."
As a result, all Romanian landings on the Danube and Prut in the first 10 days of the war were thrown into the water or destroyed.
On the night of June 24, the first landing operation of the Danube Flotilla began. For the landing, 4 armored boats were allocated, for the artillery preparation and support of the landing force, the “Shock” and “Martynov” monitors, stationed in the Kislytska channel, the coastal battery No. 725 and two batteries of the anti-aircraft division.
The landing of troops on the Danube from Soviet armored boats
With the dawn of June 25, coastal defense battery No. 725 and two 46 batteries of the zenith artillery battalion, the Udarny and Martynov monitors opened fire on enemy fortifications on the Satu Nou peninsula.
In 2.45, on command from the observation post of the 724 battery, which fixed the approach of the boats, the cover-fire artillery was moved deep into the Romanian defense. On the shore of the guns and machine guns the armored troopers themselves opened fire.
The Romanians resisted weakly, and after half an hour the battle on the peninsula stopped. Around 70, Romanian soldiers and border guards surrendered. About a dozen of heavy machine guns and light machine guns and two three-inch Russian guns were captured.
Our landing force almost did not suffer: neither among the sailors, nor among the border guards was there a single one killed.
The next morning, the armored boats and the trawling boats transported the 23 Infantry Regiment of the 25 Infantry Division through the Kiliya arm of the Danube. From our shore, the landing force supported the 99 artillery regiment of the 25 rifle division with fire.
The paratroopers swiftly attacked the Romanians, and already in 8 hours. 28 minutes. The town of Old Kiliya was taken. Romanians suffered a complete rout. 700 people surrendered, until 200 people were killed, the rest of them fled in a panic, and 96 squadron fired at them from a strafing flight. The paratroopers seized 8 guns, up to 30 machine guns, about 1000 rifles, a lot of ammunition and equipment.
Our casualties were 5 people killed, 7 injured. Three armored boats had minor damage.
A battalion of the 23 Infantry Regiment was left to guard Old Kiliya. By the end of the day on June 26, the Red Army units and border guards occupied the village of Pardina and the island of Tataru without a fight.
A few words should be said about the first minefield on the Danube, held on the night of June 24. Four armored men of the Reni group before the darkness received mines in Izmail 24. On the head boat went flagship Issar.
In 2 hours of the night, the boats took off and went in slow motion to Sulinsky girlu. But in the thick fog and darkness, the armored boats slipped past him, not seeing the branches, and climbed higher along the Danube deep into Romanian territory.
The error was discovered only after a detachment stumbled upon a monument to soldiers of the Ryazan regiment who had come out of the fog, who died during the crossing of the Danube in 1877, under Machin, an eight-meter cast-iron pyramid. Having found a mistake, the armored troopers fell backward. When they went down to Sulinsky girl and turned into it, it was already beginning to get light, and the fog began to thin.
Suddenly, a hundred meters from the headboat in the reeds, the board and towers disguised by branches of the Romanian monitor appeared. The parking of monitors turned out to be much closer than it was supposed to be on the flotilla. Having opened fire on the nearest monitor, the headboat began to turn around, simultaneously dropping mines. Of the three armored patrons following him who had developed the maximum speed, they did not have time to drop the mines. As a result, only 8 mines were delivered.
Simultaneously with the mines, the boats also began to drop smoke bombs - there was no equipment for putting a smoke curtain on them. The return fire of the Romanians was no less erratic than the fire of armored boats - only the BKA-112, which had to be towed, was seriously damaged.
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The unsuccessful actions of the SB bombers on the Romanian monitor are explained by the fact that our pilots operated at high altitudes - four or more kilometers, from which it is extremely difficult to reach such a small-sized target as a monitor. Since the SB planes did not have the opportunity to swoop on the target, it was necessary to use top mast bombing, that is, to bombard no higher than 40 – 70 m, flying literally over the masts of enemy ships.
25 June to 8 h. 18 min. nine SB planes bombarded Romanian monitors in the Tulci area. Our planes returned without loss.
Above all, finding a well-disguised monitor from the air was an extremely difficult task for pilots.
The commander of the Danube Flotilla Abramov from the very beginning of the war asked the commander of the Black Sea Fleet October to help at least torpedo boats. He decided to make a raid to the rear of the enemy and destroy the disguised Romanian monitors with torpedoes. Most of the boats of the Black Sea Fleet were boats G-5, which did not have good seaworthiness. But, as the war showed, they turned out to be excellent river boats. They put the rocket launcher M-8 and called mine boats. Our G-5 proved to be excellent on the Danube in 1944 – 1945.
After our BCA with mines nearly crashed into Romanian monitors, 26 Jun in 11 h. 45 min. in order to quickly destroy the Romanian monitors, at the request of Abramov, the Oktyabrsky telegram number 2094 ordered the commander of the Odessa naval base to urgently send four torpedo boats with eight prepared torpedoes to Izmail.
In 15 h. 50 min. The October telegram number 2107 set the following tasks for the commander of the Danube Flotilla: with the arrival of torpedo boats, after careful preparation, to carry out a bold operation to destroy the enemy's monitors; have accurate intelligence and achieve absolute surprise; the relocation of torpedo boats to produce covertly.
The boats arrived at Kislitsu only at 6 in the morning of June 28. For unclear reasons, the torpedo attack of the Romanian monitors did not take place. And on July 3, Oktyabrsky demanded an urgent return of four torpedo boats from the Danube to Ochakov.
Boats urgently needed for the defense of Ochakov ... the Italian fleet. While our border guards and sailors on the Danube and Prut were smashing the Romanians, Admiral Philip Oktyabrsky had a big war with the virtual Italian fleet, which for obvious reasons, we are still secret.
The Navy Commissariat for several pre-war months prepared seamen and border guards to repel Italian and German amphibious assault forces in the Crimea, Odessa and the Caucasus. And since the administration demands to discover the Italian fleet in the Black Sea, then ...
And already 22 June 1941 was in 13.00 received a report on the landing in Odessa near the village of Tatarka, and after an hour and a half - in the area of Spartacus. Already 24 June in 11 h. 30 min. and in 13 h. 20 min. The gunboat “Krasnaya Armenia” near the Tendrovsky Spit was “attacked” twice by the enemy's submarine.
24 June, the commander of the Odessa naval base, Rear Admiral GV Zhukov, informed Admiral Oktyabrsky that on the Odessa raid of the boat three times they bombed a detected enemy submarine, and they even observed an oil stain on the water.
25 June to 11 h. 15 min. near Cape Sarych near Sevastopol a submarine periscope was noticed. Almost simultaneously, the frontier small hunter near the Shokhe River (between Tuapse and Sochi) discovered and attacked a submarine. A few kilometers away, another submarine was spotted from a land border post.
From the diary of Admiral Oktyabrsky: “June 28. V. G. Fadeev reports that, allegedly yesterday, between 8 – 10 hours, his hunting boats destroyed one enemy submarine in the area of the main base. Signs: underwater explosions at the bombing site, oil stains, strong air etching. ”
Landing adversaries landed on the beaches of Sudak and Kerch. The Italian squadron with the German troops moved to Batum.
In this situation, Admiral Oktyabrsky urgently contacted Rear-Admiral GV Zhukov, commander of the Odessa naval base: “To organize opposition to possible enemy landing operations, I order you to immediately withdraw the Zhebryan’s Ochakov torpedo boats and constantly keep a detachment of torpedo boats in the Dniester liman with full amount torpedoes. "
So brilliantly failed the brilliant operation - the torpedo attack of the Romanian monitors. I note that the Black Sea Fleet on 22 June 1941 was not 6, but 78 torpedo boats, that is, more than in the fleets of Germany, Italy, Romania and Turkey combined. To do it in the absence of enemy ships on the Black Sea was simply nothing.
In addition to them, the Black Sea Fleet included hundreds of sea hunters, patrol boats, minesweepers, etc., a third of which would have been enough to capture the entire Danube Delta in June and early July 1941.
Let's look at the map. From the Soviet branch of the Danube to the main Romanian port of Constanta, just 150 km. It was from Constanta that Italian, Romanian and other tankers supplied German and Italian forces in the Mediterranean. The Germans built powerful coastal batteries near Constanta (up to the 28 caliber inclusive) and helped the Romanians put up numerous minefields.
These activities made the actions of Soviet surface ships and submarines in the region of Constanta ineffective. But, based in the Danube Delta, Soviet torpedo boats and sea hunters could interrupt the communication Constance - Bosphorus. And torpedo boats, and MO-4 could put minefields. Recall their success in 1942 – 1944. Well, the TKA could attack enemy tankers and cargo ships with torpedoes.
No doubt, the range of the TCA type G-5 is small - 300 – 430 km, that is right next to Constanta and back. But along the way they could refuel the same MO-4, mobilized seiners, etc. The range of the MO-4 – 774 km.
In addition, the Black Sea Fleet included three non-serial large TCAs: G-6, G-8 and D-3. Their travel speed (maximum / economic) was 50 / 28, 32 / 27 and 45 / 22 nodes, respectively. And the range - 783, 450 and 640 km. Thus, the G-8 and G-3 could attack ships and south of Constanta. As for the G-6, the torpedo tubes were removed from it, and it was removed from the torpedo boats. But instead of 90 tons of torpedo armament it was possible to put as many mines or barrels of gasoline for the G-12 on this 5-ton collar.
So, if the ships of the Black Sea Fleet and two or three rifle divisions transported from the Transcaucasian Military District, I’m not talking about the 14 corps, occupied the Danube delta, the Germans would have been very difficult to knock them out. Hundreds of channels, lakes, smooth. There you will not send tank divisions. A disguised monitor is not visible from the air, not like small G-5 or MO-4.
The departure of the Russians from the Danube gave a huge advantage to Germany and its allies. The Danube canal system is connected with a number of rivers in Europe. Thus, ships built in German, Dutch and French shipyards could get into the Black Sea. On the Danube to the Black Sea, the Germans in 1942 – 1943 transferred six small submarines of the II series, torpedo boats and other small warships.
Monitor "Zheleznyakov" on a pedestal in Kiev
The Germans, using the shipyards of conquered Europe, built hundreds of small flat-bottomed vessels of the river-sea type with a displacement of 150 – 400 tons, which delivered cargo from the Central Europe along the Danube for the Eastern Front to the ports of Odessa, Sevastopol, Feodosia, Kerch, and Anapa. This was very important for the Wehrmacht, taking into account the destruction of most of the Soviet railways, different gauges, partisan actions, etc.
The other part of the cargo traffic went through Constantinople to the ports of Greece and Italy. There, the German ships unloaded, took the new cargo and went back to the Black Sea and further to the Danube.
The draft of such vessels allowed them to move in shallow water along the coast, hiding behind minefields, coastal artillery and fighter aircraft. River-to-sea vessels carried powerful anti-aircraft armament that was camouflaged or hid in the hold during the passage of the Turkish Straits.
As a result, neither the Soviet fleet nor the allies failed to inflict significant losses on the Linz-Anapa communications on the Germans; Linz - the ports of Italy and Greece.