You can rely on these guys! Submariners succeed in any situation - “steel wolves” have no equal in the open sea, submarines are able to reach any enemy, even where their appearance is considered impossible. Every time, a meeting with an invisible underwater killer turns into very heavy losses and confuses all the cards of the enemy.
But it happens that not only shipping in a given square depends on the results of the attacks of submarines, but also the fate of the whole world. I bring to your attention a small selection of curious cases that took place during the Second World War - many of the presented scenes have become (or could have become) the cornerstone of modern stories.
"Nelson". National catastrophe
October 30 The U-1939 submarine under the command of William Zahn discovered a British battleship to the west of the Orkney Islands surrounded by a large number of destroyers.
There was something obviously unusual. The submarine crawled closer, the commander Tsang peering predatoryly at the periscope - So it is! Three towers of the main caliber in front of the superstructure, the same battleship Nelson - a powerful modern ship with a displacement of 40 thousand tons.
Torpedo tubes, fire!
Three torpedoes slammed into the side of the Nelson with a dull clang, but, alas, none of the fuses worked. Misfire! Undiscovered, Wilhelm Zang hastily led the boat off to the open sea. Shaise, damned torpedoes G7e - after all, the victory was practically in his hands!
As it became known later, on that day, Winston Churchill was aboard the Nelson.
Having lost its great national leader, the UK could capitulate already in 1940 year - and it is not known how the world map would look like now. As for the battleship Nelson, it was only a month later that it hit a mine that was set up in the Bay of Yves by the U-31 boat, and was out of action until August of the 1940 year.
The explosion of the cellar of the ammunition of the British battleship "Barham" (torpedoed in the Mediterranean by the submarine U-311, 25 November 1941 of the year)
The tragedy of the Sellivan family
13 November 1942 was a slow-moving procession of three cruisers across the ocean — the Juno, Helena, and San Francisco returned to the base at Esperito Santo for emergency repairs. It was especially hard for the seriously injured San Francisco - the ship sank into the water with its nose on the 4 meter and it was difficult to develop the 13 hub. But the hearts of the sailors were warmed by hope - yesterday's battle seemed like a terrible dream, and there was a long-awaited rest ahead.
Hope broke in an instant - around 11 in the morning a torpedo hit the side of the Giuno. The explosion caused the detonation of the artillery cellars: the cruiser shattered into pieces and sank within the next 20 seconds. The commander of the Japanese submarine I-26 widened his eyes in surprise: everything happened so quickly ...
Of the 623, the crew of the cruiser rescued the entire 10.
In general, the sinking of the USS Juneau (CL-52) was not an outstanding achievement of submariners - by that time the “Juno” had already been decently damaged, and the loss of the light cruiser had no effect on the combat capability of the US Navy. The death of a cruiser could go unnoticed if it were not for one legend associated with the ship:
On the "Juno" served five sailors - the brothers George (27 years), Francis (26), Joseph (24), Madison (23) and Albert (20).
... That morning, Thomas Sellivan got ready for work when they knocked on the door of his house. "I have news about your guys, ”said a naval officer. “Which one of them,” Thomas asked. “I’m sorry,” the officer replied, “All five.”
The simultaneous loss of five sons was the worst tragedy in American families during the war years. “Sellivan Brothers” became national heroes, and the US Department of Defense developed a “Sole Survivor” directive to protect family members who had already lost their loved ones in the war from being called up.
The unknown Japanese boat I-26 managed to brew such a mess.
Ritual of revenge
19 June 1944, at full moon, the American fleet performed the Great Rite of Revenge: the USS Cavalla (SS-244) submarine sank the aircraft carrier "Shokaku".
With the Soaring Crane, the Americans had longstanding scores - after all, it was he who was part of the combat core of the Japanese compound that attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941 of the year. And so, the carrier hulk of 32 displacing thousands of tons forever disappeared under water, carrying the man of his crew to the bottom of the Marianan depression 1273.
The ritual itself turned out to be surprisingly simple: during its first combat campaign (just 19 days after it entered service), little “Kavella” noticed a large aircraft carrier of the enemy - at this time “Shokaku” provided landing operations, therefore could not change its course and go anti-submarine zigzag. The perfect target!
Releasing six torpedoes with a fan, the “Cavella” completely dissolved in the water column. The distant bombings of depth charges dropped by the escort destroyers merely peeled off the paint on its superstructure.
USS Cavalla (SS-244) has been preserved as a monument in the state of Texas. However, it is not at all like the legendary “Cavella” that the Japanese aircraft carrier drank - after the war the boat underwent an extensive modernization program GUPPY, which completely changed its appearance.
"Shokaku" was killed, and "Kavella" continued its service - until the end of the war, the submarine recorded another destroyer and two flat-bottomed vessels, and not one returned to the base - behind the stern of the "Kavella" was towed by a damaged British boat HMS Terrapin .
31 July 1945, when the beaming fleet of winners in an endless stream pulled into Tokyo Bay, the baby "Kavell" cheekily followed everyone and proudly stood between the rows of majestic battleships and aircraft carriers. And what, she had the right to do that!
The case is, of course, unique: the Archer Fish submarine, the pitiful pelvis of the 1,5 surface displacement of thousands of tons, managed to sink the largest warship that took part in the Second World War - the Japanese super-aircraft carrier Shinano with a total displacement of 70 of thousands of tons!
As it became known after the end of the war, USS Archer Fish (SS-311) did not initially plan to sink anyone - during its sixth combat campaign, the submarine patrolled the southern coast of Fr. Honshu, preparing to catch pilots shot down "Super Fortresses" from the water. 27 November 1944 of the year came the fateful order: “In the coming 48 hours of raids B-29 is not expected. There are no other US Navy ships and submarines in your sector — relax and enjoy free hunting. ”
It was a truly royal gift for the crew of a submarine - in this area, called the “Hit Parade” by the Americans, there was always a great chance to meet a large target. And they met her!
Until now, the sinking of the Shinano has caused a lot of controversy:
On the one hand, “Shinano” is a cruel experiment on the topic: how quickly a ship will die with an unprepared crew, unsealed bulkheads and the absence of means to fight for survivability. According to eyewitnesses, the Shinano came out from the shipyard unfinished, and its “crew” set foot on the deck just a few days before the first sailing into the sea. As a result, the water slowly rolled over the decks and penetrated into the compartments - an aircraft carrier that did not initially receive critical damage, slowly sank after 7 hours.
On the other hand, there are all signs of a real naval battle - an escort of three destroyers, an anti-submarine zigzag, attempts to counterattack a boat, 14 dropped depth charges. Also, there is evidence that one of the torpedoes hit the aircraft carrier damaged the fuel tank (luckily for the Japanese, it was empty).
It remains to be seen whether the Shinano would be able to hold out for as long as 7 hours, if it were in combat readiness, with a trained crew, a full air wing and a supply of aviation fuel on board. In a similar situation, the aircraft carrier "Taiho" (torpedoed on July 19 1944, the submarine "Albacore") was destroyed by a massive internal explosion of gasoline fumes, 6 hours after the attack of the American boat.
The first victim of the war
Another notable story is the sinking of the British aircraft carrier Koreyges by the German submarine U-29, which happened on 17 in September of 1939. As usual, the 626-ton pelvis "walnut-cut" the ship with a displacement of 22 to thousands of tons: having received a powerful blow from the water, the Koreizhes fell on board and sank just 15 minutes after the attack. The victims of the shipwreck were 518 crewmembers of an aircraft carrier.
But the main "trick" of this whole story - "Koreydzhes" became the first warship sunk in World War II. Also, Koreydzhes became the first British aircraft carrier lost during the hostilities (but not the last! - for the next two years, the German U-bots will put Eagle and Ark Royal on the bottom).
Dying HMS Ark Royal, November 13 1941 of the year
"Nuclear briefcase" cruiser "Indianapolis"
... They were only four days late. The cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35) managed to deliver the components of the “Malysh” nuclear bomb to the Tinian airbase (Mariana Islands).
The story of the Indianapolis cruiser resembles an eerie conspiracy theory: from Tinian, the cruiser switched to Guam, where he received a new order that surprised officers with their senselessness: to follow without an escort to the Philippines, to Leyte Bay. But why? Why drive a heavy ship across the ocean? Why take the risk in vain? After all, Japan capitulates from day to day, most of the Imperial fleet lies at the bottom, and there are no suitable targets for 8-inch guns in the Philippines.
But the command of the Navy was adamant - urgently go to the "exercises" in the open ocean.
According to one of the conspiracy hypotheses, the fleet command was in fear of an unknown cargo aboard the Indianapolis. Of course, the sailors did not know anything about the Manhattan project, and the high secrecy and patches of chemical troops on the uniform of the officers who accompanied the “cargo” finally convinced the admirals that the cruiser was carrying bacteriological weapon. Plague, and maybe worse?
Now “Indianapolis” can not return to Pearl Harbor or San Francisco. We must urgently get rid of the infected ship! Send him to the edge of the Earth, without an escort, and if he dies on the way, so much the better.
And the doomed cruiser went where the invisible assassin, the Japanese submarine I-58, was moving under the arches of the waves. The last torpedo salvo in World War II achieved its goal - Indianapolis started and fell into the abyss. The shipwreck killed a sailor 883 - the sinking of "Indianapolis" was the biggest loss in the number of casualties in the history of the US Navy.
It is noteworthy that the cruiser and the submarine I-58 had a chance to "meet" a week earlier - alas, the patrol Catalina, accidentally deviating from the course due to a failure of navigation equipment, scared the boat, forcing her to abandon the attack. Indianapolis passed by. Now the city of Nagasaki was doomed.
Gold cruiser "Edinburgh"
- torpedoed cruiser "Edinburgh"!
This message made the admirals flinch on both sides of the earth - “No! Only not "Edinburgh"! On board the ship is a precious cargo - 93 box with 465 gold bars. Charges for British military supplies for the summer-autumn 1941 period.
The cruiser was still afloat, but two well-aimed shots from the U-456 submarine did their job: the Edinburgh lost its course and dangerously tilted to the port side. The distance to Murmansk was 187 miles, but the chance of a successful towing under enemy fire tends to zero.
While in the cabinets there were disputes about the plans of the rescue operation, German ships broke through to the crash site - the cruiser managed to fight off, sinking one of the destroyers Kriegsmarine, but the new torpedo hit became deadly for him. The British destroyers came to the rescue and took off the crew and finished off the doomed cruiser. It was all over. Sea forever swallowed treasure!
In terms of its combat effectiveness, the U-456 submarine became truly “golden” - the enemy suffered damage in the size of 5,5 tons of precious metal. Now even the destruction of the German U-bots in response to 30 would not have been able to compensate the Allies for the bitterness of the loss. Fantastic efficiency.
The gold of the Edinburgh cruiser will be raised only after 40 years - in the 1981 year, but that is another story.
Pearl Harbor with a German accent
Another amazing story is connected with the secret visit of the U-47 submarine to the main base of the British fleet Scapa Flow (Scotland). The mere fact of the penetration of an enemy boat into one of the most guarded harbors in the world can be a silent surprise. Even penetrated here!
Today it seems like a fantasy: How did commander Günther Prin manage to hold his U-bot through the narrow strait of Kirk Saud? How did you manage to bypass anti-submarine barriers and barriers from flooded ships and blockhouses in unfamiliar waters without having pilotage charts and accurate navigation data? At night, with a strong counter-current. On a primitive submarine, without radar and sonar.
Even more questions are caused by the behavior of the British: U-47 went for several hours on the surface, but it went unnoticed from the coast.
The crew of the battleship "Scharnhorst" welcomes U-47 after returning from combat campaign
The result was a pogrom: the small U-47 "crashed" the battleship HMS Royal Oak. That night, from 13 to 14 in October 1939, the 833 of the British seaman died, including the commander of the metropolitan fleet, Rear Admiral Henry Blagrouve.
Enchanting victory. Under the sounds of firing anti-aircraft guns "invisible" U-47 quietly left Scapa Flow familiar route and returned safely to the base in Wilhelmshaven.
Fearing the repetition of new raids by German submarines, the British did not invent anything better than to block the Kirk Sound strait with a stone dike. At the very least, the U-bots did not know how to crawl on the ground, and this gave the British Admiralty some sense of relief.
Churchill's Barrier in Scapa Flow
Salvation of Private Ryan
2 September The 1944 of the USS Finback (SS-670) submarine received a Mayday signal from the distress of the Evenger aircraft. Four hours later, the boat arrived in the disaster area and began to search for surviving crew members. The operation was crowned with success - the submariners were able to detect and raise a rescue raft from the water with a frightened, lanky pilot. George Herbert Walker Bush, the future 41 President of the United States, was saved.