10th Swimmers Special Forces Veteran flotilla The Italian Navy reported that the battleship of the Black Sea Fleet of the USSR Navy Novorossiysk, which had died under mysterious circumstances on October 29, 1955, was blown up by Italian combat swimmers. Hugo de Esposito made this confession in an interview with the Italian edition of 4Arts.
Hugo de Esposito is a former employee of the Italian Military Intelligence Service, and an expert in closed (encrypted) communications. According to him, the Italians did not want the battleship, the former Italian dreadnought “Giulio Cesare”, to go to the “Russians”, so they took care to destroy it. This is the first direct recognition from the Italian military that they were involved in the explosion and the death of the battleship. Prior to this, Admiral Gino Birindelli and other veterans of the Italian special forces denied the fact that the Italians were involved in the death of the ship.
In 2005, Itogi magazine announced similar material on the death of the battleship Novorossiysk. The magazine posted the story of a former Soviet naval officer who emigrated to the United States, who met with the last of the survivors of the sabotage attack "Nicolo". The Italian said that when the transfer of the Italian ships of the USSR, the former commander of the 10 fleet Yunio Valerio Scipione Borghese (1906 - 1974), nicknamed “The Black Prince”, swore an oath to avenge the disgrace of Italy and blow up the battleship, which took place, took place. Aristocrat Borghese did not throw words to the wind.
After the war, the vigilance of the Soviet sailors was dulled. The Italians knew the waters well - during the Great Patriotic War, the 10-I fleet of the MAS (from Italian. Mezzi d'Assalto - assault vehicles, or Italian. Motoscafo Armato Silurante - armed torpedo boats) operated on the Black Sea. During the year there was preparation, the executors were eight saboteurs. October 21 1955 of the year from Italy left a cargo ship, which went to one of the Dnieper ports for loading grain. At midnight on October 26, in 15 miles of the traverse of the Chersonese lighthouse, a cargo ship fired a mini-submarine from a special hatch in the bottom. The submarine "Picollo" passed to the area of the Sevastopol Omega Bay, where a temporary base was set up. With the help of hydrobucks, the sabotage group reached Novorossiysk, work began on laying the charges. Twice Italian divers returned to Omega for the explosives that were in magnetic cylinders. Successfully able to dock to the cargo ship and leave.
The ship of the line Giulio Cesare is one of five ships of the Conte di Cavour type. The project was developed by Rear Admiral Edoardo Masdea. He proposed a ship with five main-caliber gun turrets: on the bow and stern the lower turrets were three-gun, the upper - two-gun. Another three-gun turret was placed amidships - between the pipes. The caliber of the guns was 305-mm. Julius Caesar was laid out in the 1910 year and commissioned in the 1914 year. In 1920, the ship went through the first upgrades, received a catapult to launch a seaplane and a crane to lift the plane from the water and onto a catapult, and the artillery fire control system was replaced. The battleship became a training artillery ship. In 1933 — 1937 "Julius Caesar" was overhauled by the project of engineer-general Francesco Rotundi. The power of the main-caliber guns was increased to 320-mm (their number was reduced to 10), the firing range was increased, booking and anti-torpedo protection were enhanced, boilers and other mechanisms were replaced. The guns could shoot up to 32 km with more than half-ton shells. The displacement of the ship increased to 24 thousand tons.
During World War II, the ship participated in a number of military operations. In 1941, due to lack of fuel, the combat activity of old ships was reduced. In 1942, "Julius Caesar" was withdrawn from the existing fleet. In addition to the lack of fuel, there was a high risk of the death of a battleship from a torpedo strike under domination aviation the enemy in the air. The ship until the end of the war was turned into a floating barracks. After the armistice, the Allied command initially wanted to keep the Italian battleships under its control, but then three old ships, including Caesar, were allowed to transfer the Italian Navy for educational use.
According to a special agreement, the victorious powers divided the Italian fleet against reparations. Moscow claimed a new battleship of the type “Littorio”, but the USSR transferred only the outdated “Caesar”, as well as the light cruiser “Emanuele Filiberto duca d'Aosta” (“Kerch”), 9 destroyers, 4 submarines and several auxiliary vessels. The final agreement on the division of the transferred Italian ships between the USSR, the USA, England and other states affected by the Italian aggression was concluded on January 10 1947 at the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Allied Powers. In particular, the French have transferred 4 cruisers. 4 destroyer and 2 submarines, Greece - one cruiser. New battleships went to the United States and Britain, later they were returned to Italy as part of the NATO partnership.
Until 1949, Caesar was preserved and used for training. He was in a severely neglected state. The battleship was included in the Black Sea Fleet. 5 March 1949, the battleship was named Novorossiysk. In the next six years, a significant amount of work was done on the Novorossiysk to repair and upgrade the battleship. It was equipped with short-range anti-aircraft artillery, new radars, radio communications and shipborne communications, modernized main-caliber firing controls, replaced emergency diesel generators, changed Italian turbines to Soviet ones (increasing the ship’s speed to 28 units). By the time of its death, the Novorossiysk was the most powerful ship of the Soviet fleet. He had ten 320-mm guns, 12 x 120-mm and 8 x 100-mm guns, 30 x 37-mm anti-aircraft guns. The ship’s displacement reached 29 thousand tons, with a length of 186 meters and a width of 28 meters.
Despite its advanced age, the battleship was the ideal ship for an atomic experiment. His 320-mm guns hit targets at a distance of 32 km with 525 kg shells, which were suitable for placing tactical nuclear warheads in them. Back in 1949, when the Soviet Union received the status of a nuclear power, the battleship was visited by the Minister of War Marshal Alexander Vasilevsky, and in 1953 - by the new Minister of Defense, Nikolai Bulganin. In 1955, the regular Minister of Defense of the USSR, Georgy Zhukov, extended the life of Novorossiysk by 10 years. The program on the atomic modernization of the battleship involved two stages. At the first stage they planned to develop and manufacture a batch of special equipment with atomic charges. On the second, to replace the turrets with installations for cruise missiles that can be equipped with nuclear warheads. In the Soviet military factories, in the first place, they worked on the manufacture of a batch of special equipment. The gunners of the ship, under the command of the most experienced commander of the battleship Captain 1 of the rank of Alexander Pavlovich Kukhta, solved the problem of controlling the fire of main caliber guns. All 10 main-caliber guns could now fire at a single target.
The tragic death of "Novorossiysk"
October 28 The Novorossiysk 1955 was located in the North Bay of Sevastopol. A. Kukhta was on vacation. It is believed that if he were on the ship, the events that followed the explosion could have developed in a different way, in a less tragic course. Acting captain of the ship 2 rank G.A. Khurshudov departed ashore. The senior officer on the battleship was the assistant ship commander Z. G. Serbulov. October 29 in 1 hour 31 minute under the nose of the ship there was a powerful explosion, equivalent to 1-1,2 tons of trinitrotoluene. The blast, to some it seemed doubled, pierced through the multi-storey armored hull of a huge warship from the bottom to the upper deck. Was formed huge to 170 square meters, a hole in the bottom of the starboard. Water gushed into it, breaking the dural interior bulkheads and flooding the ship.
Vzvyv, occurred in the most densely populated part of the ship, where hundreds of sailors slept in the bow cockpit. At the very beginning, before the 150-175 people died, about the same number was injured. Scores of the wounded were heard from the holes, the noise of the incoming water, the remains of the dead floated. Some confusion arose, they even considered that a war had begun, they hit the ship from the air, declared an emergency and then a battle alarm on the battleship. The crew took the place according to the combat schedule, shells were sent to the anti-aircraft guns. The sailors used all available energy and drainage means. Emergency teams tried to localize the consequences of the disaster. Serbulov organized the rescue of people from flooded premises and began to prepare the wounded to be sent to the shore. The battleship was planned to be towed to the nearest sandbank. Emergency consignments and medical teams began to arrive from nearby cruisers. Began to approach and rescue ships.
At that time, the tragic mistake was made; the Vice-Admiral V.A. Parkhomenko, the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, arrived on the battleship and gave the order to suspend the towing of the Novorossiysk to the shallows. When they tried to renew it, it was already too late. The bow of the battleship has already sat on the ground. Khurshudov, seeing that the list on the port side was increasing and he could not stop the flow of water, suggested that part of the crew be evacuated. He was supported by Rear Admiral Nikolai I. Nikolsky. People began to gather at the stern. Comflot made a new mistake, under the pretext of maintaining calm ("We will not breed panic!"), He stopped the evacuation. When the decision to evacuate was made, the ship began to rapidly overturn upside down. Many people remained inside the ship, others could not swim out after capsizing. In 4 hours 14 minutes the battleship "Novorossiysk" lay on the port side, and after a moment turned over with the keel. In this state, the ship lasted up to 22 hours.
Inside the ship were many people who fought to the end for its survival. Some of them were still alive, remaining in the "air bags". They knocked the message about themselves. The sailors, without waiting for instructions from above, opened the bottom paneling at the stern of the battleship and saved 7 people. Success inspired, began to cut in other places, but to no avail. Air exited the ship. They tried to repair the gaps, but it was already useless. The battleship finally sank. In the last minutes, following the prototype of a direct conversational soundbridge connection, which was brought to the scene of the accident, it was heard how Soviet sailors sang "Varyag". Soon everything was quiet. A day later, in one of the feeding cockpit discovered alive. Divers were able to pull the two sailors. 1 November divers stopped hearing any knocking from battleships battleships. October 31 buried the first batch of dead sailors. They were escorted by all the surviving “Novorossiyskists”, dressed in full dress uniforms, they marched through the entire city.
In 1956, work began on raising the battleship using the blowing method. She was led by the special purpose expedition EON-35. Preliminary work completed in April 1957. May 4 ship floated up the keel - first nose, and then feed. 14 May (according to other information, 28 May) the battleship was towed to Cossack Bay. Then it was disassembled and transferred to the Zaporizhstal plant.
Opinion of the government commission
A government commission headed by the deputy chairman of the Soviet Council of Ministers Council, the minister of the shipbuilding industry, Colonel General of Engineering and Technical Services, Vyacheslav Malyshev, concluded two weeks and a half after the tragedy. 17 November report submitted to the CPSU Central Committee. The Central Committee of the Communist Party adopted and approved the findings. The cause of the death of "Novorossiysk" considered an underwater explosion, apparently, the German magnetic mine, which remained at the bottom since the Second World War.
Versions of the explosion of a fuel depot or artillery cellars were swept away almost immediately. The capacity of the fuel depot on the ship was empty long before the tragedy. If the artillery grab had exploded, the battleship would be blown to pieces, and the neighboring ships would have suffered seriously. This version was refuted by the testimony of the sailors. Shells remained safe and sound.
Responsible for the death of people and the ship were the fleet Parkhomenko, Rear Admiral Nikolsky, a member of the Military Council of the Black Sea Fleet, Vice Admiral Kulakov, Captain 2 of the rank Khurshudov, acting commander of the battleship. They were demoted in rank and position. Also, the punishment was borne by Rear Admiral Galitsky - the commander of the division for the protection of the water area. The distribution also included commander of the battleship A. P. Kukht, he was demoted to the rank of captain of the 2 rank and sent to the reserve. The Commission noted that the personnel of the ship to the end fought for its survival, showed examples of real courage and heroism. However, all the efforts of the crew to save the ship were negated by the "criminally frivolous, unqualified" command.
In addition, this tragedy was the reason to remove from the post of Commander-in-Chief of the Navy Nikolai Kuznetsov. Khrushchev did not like him, since this largest naval commander resisted plans to “optimize” the fleet (Stalin’s programs to turn the USSR Navy into an ocean fleet went under the knife).
1) Most of the votes won version of the mine. These munitions were not uncommon in Sevastopol Bay, starting from the times of the Civil War. Already during the Great Patriotic War, the German Air Force and Navy mined the waters from the sea and from the air. The bay was regularly cleaned by diving teams and trawled, they discovered mines. In 1956-1958 already after the death of Novorossiysk, 19 of German bottom mines was found, including at the site of the death of the Soviet ship. However, this version has weak spots. It is believed that by 1955, the power sources of all bottom mines should have already been discharged. Yes, and fuses would be unusable by this time. Before the tragedy, on a barrel number 3 “Novorossiysk” 10 times moored, and the battleship “Sevastopol” 134 times. No one exploded. In addition, it turned out that there were two explosions.
2) Torpedo attack. It was suggested that the battleship was attacked by an unknown submarine. But when clarifying the circumstances of the tragedy, the characteristic signs of the torpedo remaining from the attack were not found. But they found out that the ships of the division for the protection of the water area, which were to guard the main base of the Black Sea Fleet, were at a different place at the time of the explosion. On the night of the death of the battleship, the outer raid by the Soviet ships was not guarded; the network gate was open, the noise grinders did not work. Thus, the Sevastopol naval base was defenseless. Theoretically, the enemy could penetrate it. An enemy mini-submarine or a diversionary unit could penetrate the internal raid of the main base of the Black Sea Fleet.
3) Subversive group. "Novorossiysk" could destroy the Italian combat swimmers. The Italian flotilla of marine subversive saboteurs already had experience of penetrating small submarines into a foreign harbor. 18 December 1941 Italian saboteurs under the command of Lieutenant Commander Borghese secretly penetrated the harbor of Alexandria and magnetic explosives heavily damaged British battleships "Veliant", "Queen Elizabeth", the destroyer HMS Jarvis and destroyed the tanker. In addition, the Italians knew the waters - 10-I fleet was based in the ports of the Crimea. Taking into account sloppiness in the field of port security, this version looks pretty convincing. In addition, there is an opinion that the experts of the British Navy's 12 flotilla participated in the operation (or it was completely organized and conducted). Her commander then was another man-legend - 2 captain of the rank Lionel Crabb. He was one of the best submarine saboteurs of the fleet of Great Britain. In addition, after the war, captive Italian experts from the 10 fleet consulted the British. London had a weighty reason for the destruction of Novorossiysk - its future atomic armament. England was the most vulnerable target for tactical nuclear weapons. It is noted that at the end of October 1955, the Mediterranean squadron of the British fleet conducted exercises in the Aegean and Marmara Seas. However, if this is true, the question arises, what did the KGB and counterintelligence do? Their work during this period was considered very effective. Overlooked the operation of the enemy right under his nose? In addition, the iron evidence of this version is not. All publications in print are not very reliable.
4) KGB operation. Novorossiysk was drowned by order of the highest political leadership of the USSR. This sabotage was directed against the top leadership of the Soviet fleet. Khrushchev was engaged in the "optimization" of the armed forces, relying on rocket troops, and in the navy - on a submarine fleet armed with missiles. The death of "Novorossiysk" allowed to strike at the leadership of the Navy, which was against the reduction of "obsolete" ships and curtailing the program of building up the forces of the surface fleet, increasing its power. From a technical point of view, this version is very logical. The battleship was undermined by two charges with a total TNT equivalent of 1,8 tons. They were installed on the ground near the bow artillery cellars, at a short distance from the center plane of the ship and from each other. The explosions occurred with a short time interval, which caused a cumulative effect and damage, as a result of which Novorossiysk sank. Given the treacherous policy of Khrushchev, who destroyed the basic systems of the state and tried to make a "restructuring" back in 1950-1960-s, this version has a right to exist. Suspicious and hasty liquidation of the ship, after it was raised. Novorossiysk was quickly cut into scrap metal, and the case was closed.
Do we ever know the truth about the tragic death of hundreds of Soviet sailors? Most likely no. If there is no reliable data from the archives of Western intelligence agencies or the KGB.