Military Review

Where did the sea devils come from?

Where did the sea devils come from?

The idea of ​​creating reconnaissance diver subdivisions in the USSR was first expressed in 1938 by Colonels I. Savichev, N. Krivosheenko and captain 1 of the rank of G. Krol. They also belonged to the idea of ​​using an individual breathing apparatus (IDA) for reconnaissance and sabotage activities. Having proved its viability, they substantiated the need to create units of divers-reconnaissance divers and formulated their tasks. However, 15 years passed before special units of the Navy were created, which are now part of the fleets of Russia.


Even Leonardo da Vinci made the first calculations on the creation of submarines that would conduct sabotage against the ships stationed. In Russia, under Peter I, inventor Nikitin created a “hidden vessel” from which people in special equipment went out to destroy the bottoms of ships. Unfortunately, the invention failed during the tests on the Neva in the 1724 year. The first primitive prototypes of sabotage submarines were used in the 19 century in the United States civil war against harbor ships.

In the mid-thirties of the last century in the USSR, the idea of ​​disembarking saboteurs ashore with the help of diving equipment from a submerged submarine came when developing rescue equipment for crews of submarines. Savichev, Krivosheenko and Krol taught on courses on individual rescue case. They were confident that the IDA could get the same value as a parachute in the airborne troops. In October, 1938, they prepared and conducted a special exercise "on the exit of fighters from the submarine's torpedo apparatus to force anti-submarine barriers, replace crews in a submerged position, land a landing for reconnaissance and commit a sabotage attack on the coast" with real weapons and explosives. All tasks have been successfully completed. The experience of the exercises was found to be interesting, positive and ... forgotten. Only in the 1941 year, forty people were selected from the personnel of the first special brigade of the marines, who began a course of lightwater training. To this end, the submarine “Pravda” was allocated to them. With the beginning of the war, these people joined the special-purpose company.


At the end of July 1941, Rear Admiral F. Krylov, reporting to the representative of the Supreme High Command Headquarters Admiral Isakov, who arrived in Leningrad, expressed concern that trained divers after evacuation of a diving school from Vyborg could be sent to infantry units. He proposed to leave them in the composition fleet, creating from them a special reconnaissance unit, whose personnel will go behind the Nazis in light-diving equipment. This proposal was approved, and the staff of the company, which included one hundred forty-six people, was verbally agreed. On August 11, 1941, the order of the People’s Commissar of the Navy on the formation of a special-purpose company (RON) was signed. According to Krylov’s recommendation, Lieutenant Ivan Vasilievich Prokhvatilov was appointed its commander.

By the beginning of September, the preparation and knocking down of the new unit was completed, and the company was placed at the disposal of the reconnaissance department (RO) of the Baltic Fleet headquarters. Directly she was subordinate to the deputy chief of the Regional Office for Intelligence Intelligence Captain Third Rank L. Bekreniev.

The first combat operation was carried out by RON intelligence officers in September 1941, when the Finns landed with machine guns and light artillery on one of the islands of the Vyborg gulf and thus cut the exit from the port to the sea. The company commander received an order to prepare the personnel for a secret landing on the island and the destruction of the enemy within three days. Lieutenant Prokhvatilov with a group of scout divers for two days revealed the position of the Finnish landing force and also checked the condition of the bottom near the island. On the decisive night, fifty special forces in lightweight diving equipment landed on the island, but the Finns left it in advance, leaving guns and machine guns. As it turned out later, a Finnish reconnaissance penetrated the RON’s ranks and transmitted information about upcoming actions to the enemy by radio. In the end, the spy was exposed. After that, everything related to the operation was known only to the commander, and the direct executors were given the task only in the last hours and in the starting point for the movement.

Wars warts

Time erases many facts from the memory of people, but there are documents that allow you to recreate individual episodes of combat stories RON Here is what the award list says about the actions of the commander of the group of intelligence officers chief sergeant A.Korolkov: “In November 1941, the group under his command was given the task to reach the enemy’s deep rear to act on his communications in the Kingisepp region. The group blew up bridges, highways, telegraph and telephone lines. ” And here is a fragment of the text from the award list of midshipman N.Nikitin: “During my time in the German rear, from 22 to 26, September 1941 went to reconnaissance five times and obtained exhaustive information on the location of fortifications, installing artillery and mortar batteries ...”

In the autumn of 1942, company scouts conducted a first diversion, acting from under the water. It was discovered by air reconnaissance that the Germans had begun to restore one of the berths of Peterhof to house their boats. An attempt to destroy it with artillery fire did not lead to success, and the task was set by the RON. After having completed the task on the mock-up layout in the area of ​​the company’s deployment, the special forces, headed by the company commander, moved forward in the boat to the pier. Approximately three hundred meters from the object under the water Spiridonov and Zventsov went away, drawing mines. Korolkov was laying the clue that divers were supposed to return to the boat in the dark and under water. The reconnaissance divers secretly placed two mines of three hundred kilograms each with watch-fuses on the pier, and then returned in secret.
9.12 thundered two explosions. The enemy no longer proceeded to the restoration of the berth.

Nevertheless, the danger of the appearance of German boats in the Leningrad region remained. In this connection, Rear-Admiral Arapov, Chief of Staff of the Baltic Fleet, ordered systematic reconnaissance of the canals and marinas of Peterhof and Strelna. It was necessary to promptly reveal the possible basing of the enemy's boats and report to the command.


In the summer of 1943, our patrol boat was sunk by German boats, and the fairway of the Leningrad-Kronstadt canal was mined. Neither aerial reconnaissance, nor surveillance from the Gulf could reveal their location. The combat task of detecting and subsequently destroying German ghost boats was assigned to the RON.

However, four reconnaissance operations conducted in August – September did not bring any results. During their conduct killed two scouts. Nevertheless, the reconnaissance team under the command of midshipman N.Nikitin on the night of 25 on September 26 managed to find boats on the western shore of the Strelinsky Canal. One of the boats was afloat, and three - two hundred meters from the coast, covered with a tarpaulin and a camouflage net. At the entrance to the canal there was a house, a large number of telephone wires moved away from it. On the tower was equipped with an observation post, where the watch was on duty. He noticed the scouts shortly before their departure and opened fire. I had to hurry away. When the scouts sailed around the bay in individual rubber boats, a German boat came out in pursuit of them. However, the special forces managed to blow the air out of the boats and go under water.

Based on the obtained intelligence, an operation was planned to destroy the boats and the observation post, as well as capture the prisoner. For its implementation was allocated twelve scout divers. The detachment, which was led by the company commander, captain-lieutenant Prokhvatilov, consisted of two groups. Michman Nikitin with five scouts had the task of destroying the boats and later covering up the actions of another group commanded by Senior Lieutenant Permitin. The task of his group was to destroy the NP and capture the prisoner. The actions of both groups were supposed to cover three reconnaissance divers under the command of the Red Navy Borisov.

To prepare for the operation seriously. For this purpose, on the island of the Decembrists, at the confluence of the Malaya Nevka River into the bay, a test site with wire obstacles similar to the German one was equipped in the swamp.

On the afternoon of October 4, Lieutenant Commander Prokhvatilov landed the Red Navy boatman Ananyev, who secretly made his way to the shore underwater. He had to periodically give signals to the lantern. He knew nothing about the operation. He was told that it was necessary for the orientation of ships passing through the Sea Canal.

But the operation from the beginning did not work out. The boat of Senior Lieutenant Permitina mistakenly took the light in the window of a house deep in the coast for signals. Because of this, the group approached the coast far west of the desired location. Landing scouts discovered a German patrol and opened fire. Scouts patrol destroyed, but came under crossfire bunkers. Having lost Permitin, the group retreated to the starting point without completing the assignment.

Michman Nikitin, not waiting for their arrival, sent to the western and eastern directions by reconnaissance to search for Permitin's group. But the search yielded nothing. Therefore, the midshipman decided to carry out the operation using only his own group. Observation point and all four boats undermined anti-tank grenades. Unfortunately, the captured failed to capture. Having completed the task, the group returned to the dam of the Sea Canal without any hindrances, having picked up the Red Navy Ananiev on the way.

Subsequently, reconnaissance divers interacted with undercover intelligence, searched for, raised and neutralized bottom magnetic mines, were repeatedly involved in retrieving documents from sunken ships, examining ports in order to detect sunken ships, barriers and mines. Solving all these tasks, the company fully justified its name, having carried out more than two hundred reconnaissance and sabotage operations using light diving equipment during the war.


It cannot be said that in other fleets the attention was not paid to the creation of subdivision scout divers. However, the preparation of these units, and the experience of their application were very small.

In the Black Sea Fleet, by April 1944, a special purpose reconnaissance detachment (ROO) was formed, consisting of ten people. He was headed by a former RON platoon commander, Senior Lieutenant Osipov. The detachment participated in only one combat operation. On the 5th of April, the special forces landed from surface ships in the area of ​​the village of Lyubimovka with the task of conducting reconnaissance of ships entering the port of Sevastopol and leaving it. The detachment regularly broadcast obtained intelligence information by radio. On May 10, the scouts completed their combat mission and were evacuated to the location of our troops. After the capture of Sevastopol, the DRO reconnaissance divers carried out a survey of the sunk German ships and removed various documents from them that were valuable for command. At the end of 1945, the RUN was disbanded.

Since the 1938 of the year, exercises have been held annually in the Pacific Fleet on the landing of reconnaissance groups of submarines. In the year 1945, from the experience of these exercises, a manual was also developed on disembarking WG from watercrafts. In the same year, on the basis of the 181 reconnaissance detachment of the Northern Fleet headquarters, a squad of reconnaissance divers was formed under the command of the Hero of the Soviet Union, Senior Lieutenant V. Leonov. In August 1945, the squad had several brilliant operations in a number of Korean ports, but did not use diving equipment.

In the Northern Fleet reconnaissance diving units were not established.


Toward the end of the war, against the background of the tremendous successes of our troops, the effectiveness of a company of scout divers was disproportionately low. Therefore, Rear-Admiral Vorontsov, Chief of the Main Marine Staff Intelligence Directorate, who failed to appreciate the experience and perspectives associated with the development of the naval special forces, wrote to the head of the Baltic Fleet headquarters, Admiral Petrov, about the need to disband the company. However, he did not agree with this opinion and believed that the company should be maintained until the end of the war. At that time, both the reconnaissance department of the headquarters of the Baltic Fleet and the company commander were categorically against the disbanding of the company even after the end of the war. They considered it necessary and in peacetime to have similar units in the fleets. However, their opinion was not heeded. October 20 1945, Chief of the Main Staff of the Navy, Admiral I. Isakov, signed an order to disband the company.

In the post-war years, Shashenkov and Bekreneev repeatedly appealed to the command of the Navy with the initiative to reconstruct special units in the fleets, but it was only in May 1952 that this issue was considered by the naval minister, Vice Admiral N. Kuznetsov, and approved in the “Plan of measures to strengthen intelligence” Navy. At a meeting with the heads of directorates of the GRU MGSH, the Minister confirmed the decision to create separate naval reconnaissance divisions in the fleets, primarily in the Black Sea Fleet and the Baltic Fleet.

After an exercise conducted in August 1953, which confirmed the effectiveness of reconnaissance diving units, the Navy General Staff Directive opened a staff of seventy-three 6 sea reconnaissance point with the end of manning in October 1953. Captain of the first rank Evgeny Vasilyevich Yakovlev was appointed commander of the point.


In September, 1953 was decided to locate the 6-th MCI in the area of ​​the Round Bay near Sevastopol, although this place did not fully meet the requirements of secrecy. The following year, the Directive of the General Staff of the Navy opens the states of the Baltic Fleet. Colonel Georgy Vladimirovich Potekhin, who had previously been deputy commander of the 6 MRP, was appointed commander. The point was located a few kilometers from the sea and sixteen kilometers from Baltiysk. In general, the locations for the location of points were chosen unsuccessful. During the formation of the MCI in the Pacific Ocean in 1955, the location of the unit was determined by the Maliy Ulysses Bay near Vladivostok, where there were no premises at all. The commander of the post captain of the second rank, Peter Prokopyevich Kovalenko, informs the management about this, and the MCI repeatedly changes its location. Only at the beginning of December the personnel of the unit settled on Russky Island.

The absence of normal conditions for the deployment of the MRP forced the commander of the Northern Fleet to appeal to the Commander-in-Chief to postpone the creation of an item from 1955 to 1957 year. The request was granted. Lieutenant Colonel E. Belyak was appointed commander of the MRP.

Despite all the difficulties, by the year 1960 the coalescence and arrangement of the parts of the divers-reconnaissance were completed. Work is underway to improve the organizational structure, material base, equipment and weapons. But in the same year, in connection with the reduction of the Armed Forces, the total number of personnel of the four points was increased to two hundred and seventy people. At the same time, the tasks of preparing the registration structure for their units in the case of wartime were laid down at the MCI.

In 1961, the 6-th MRI was transferred to Pervomaysky Island near Ochakov, and in the mid-sixties they were transformed into the 17-th special-purpose brigade.

Special equipment used by reconnaissance divers was developed and perfected in the scientific laboratory of special diving equipment of the Institute No. XXUMX of the Naval Forces Control System, created in 11, due to the reconnaissance force of the Naval Forces. Initially, the laboratory staff was only six people. Subsequently, as the special forces of the Navy, the staffs of the laboratory were subjected to all sorts of changes. In October, 1953, the laboratory was transformed into a department numbering fourteen people. This state lasted until the end of the sixties. In the tests of diving equipment and equipment, as well as underwater means of movement, divers-scouts took part, many of which were marked by awards of the Motherland.

The special forces of the Navy from Sailing took part in the demining of the Suez Canal, and also ensured the security of the negotiation process in Malta and in Reykjavik. In peacetime, divers reconnaissance aircraft constantly carried out military service on the ships of their fleets and were ready to start combat missions in the enemy rear.
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  1. makarov
    makarov 29 November 2013 08: 14
    I will supplement the author's material. My grandfather Fedorchenko, Mikhail Petrovich, participated in the first military operation to capture the Kerch lighthouse. Their group was dropped out of the submarine by a baby, on inflatable boats they reached the target, and without a single shot, with knives and bayonets they pierced the entire German service team, launched lighthouse lights, and marked the targets for warships and landing ships.
    Subsequently, the grandfather was sent to TF, why so (?) To this day it was not clear. Now, after reading the material, it becomes clear that he was sent as a specialist in sabotage during landing from submarines. Up to 47g. Grandfather was in Port Arthur.
  2. DimychDV
    DimychDV 29 November 2013 10: 24
    "Halulaevtsy" rule !!! I do not know in honor of which Halulaev, but the underwater specialist from the Russian Island is called that.
    1. Timeout
      Timeout 29 November 2013 13: 27
      Quote: DimychDV
      I do not know in honor of which Halulayev

      Khalulay (Kholuay) - the old name for the Novy Dzhigit Bay on Russky Island near Vladivostok, where the marine special reconnaissance point is located, it is believed that the location and profile of this unit are kept secret, but, as it usually happens, everyone knows the secret. Fleet Marine Reconnaissance Point. In wartime, the MPP (Marine Intelligence Unit) is deployed in the 42nd Specialized Naval Regiment (a separate special-purpose brigade).

      1. erix-xnumx
        erix-xnumx 29 November 2013 14: 52
        The day before yesterday I was with them on business.
        1. Timeout
          Timeout 29 November 2013 15: 56
          How are you? I heard they want to relocate, right?
          1. erix-xnumx
            erix-xnumx 29 November 2013 16: 24
            They are living normally. Waiting for distinguished guests. Window dressing is being prepared. As for the relocation, there is no talk so far. They want to remind Muscovites of their plans for the development of the town. Both in the housing and barracks fund, and in the training and material base. The plans were good, but so far they have remained plans for several years. Perdyukov promised, but did not keep his promise.
            1. Timeout
              Timeout 29 November 2013 16: 32
              Clear, again, as always ...
              1. erix-xnumx
                erix-xnumx 29 November 2013 16: 37
                Well, we'll see. All the same, distinguished guests purposefully go to them. Perhaps the subject of modernization will shoot.
                1. Timeout
                  Timeout 29 November 2013 16: 44
                  Yesterday I saw the nomenclature of re-equipment of special units of the GRU and Navy approved in 2005, so it should be our most advanced in the world. We would have such goodies in those days ...
                  1. erix-xnumx
                    erix-xnumx 29 November 2013 16: 54
                    The commander reported that we were lagging behind our bourgeois "comrades" in the means of delivering divers. But one of our civilian institutes is ready to present their developments in the field of unmanned underwater vehicles for reconnaissance and some other tasks ...
    2. PiP
      PiP 30 November 2013 23: 54
      Gee-gee, you are funny however ....
  3. Coward
    Coward 29 November 2013 10: 27
    but the Finns left him in advance, leaving behind guns and machine guns. As it turned out later, a Finnish intelligence officer entered the ranks of the RON, who broadcast on the radio to the enemy data on upcoming actions.
    What is it he did not pass on to them? belay
  4. Aleks tv
    Aleks tv 29 November 2013 13: 57
    Specialists of the Navy are one of the most classified offices.
    One of my classmates was pulling a strap there (the officer's fate decreed that). Silent, radish, even drunk. But the reform and loss of personnel also affected them. He mentioned that the loss of continuity is the most painful for them, all "work" is based on the experience of actions.
    The article does not say anything about modernity, only history ...

    It would be interesting to know about them.
    Respect the guys.

    And the tankers are the same little "underwater special forces" when the tank leaves under water.
    Joke. laughing
    There is still frost on my skin when I remember how the water from the unscrewed triplex flashes and the water level closes the glass of the mask ... There is a slight panic on the verge of hysteria.

    1. Timeout
      Timeout 29 November 2013 14: 20
      Quote: Aleks tv
      It would be interesting to know about them.
      Respect the guys.

      My respect from me too! But you noticed correctly, I have a classmate, we call names between friends "Penguin" (Lenya, forgive a sinner))), he is silent like a fish on ice. They tried to give water to the state of the riz, on the day of the exploration dived all the fountains, got drunk but still kept silent. For that, the iconostasis is in the floor of the chest, only the "Hero" is not enough ...
      Z.Y. Himself dived into the IIP, the animal instructors deployed a soft tunnel in the water, and you should swim to the touch, in short the bells fled to the spleen area laughing
      1. Aleks tv
        Aleks tv 29 November 2013 14: 48
        Quote: Timeout
        shorter bells fled to the area of ​​the spleen

        1. Timeout
          Timeout 29 November 2013 15: 27
          Well then for the bells! drinks
          1. Aleks tv
            Aleks tv 29 November 2013 15: 45
            Quote: Timeout
            Well then for the bells!

            For them, go get them ...
            Now it’s not a shame to admit.
            1. Timeout
              Timeout 29 November 2013 15: 50
              Yeah, especially when I was portraying "Flurry" in a cross with a seal, I jumped to the side of the pool without touching the handrails. The mask was also leaking in the left ear, full of pi **** ets!
  5. RoTTor
    RoTTor 30 November 2013 21: 42
    The first in the USSR Navy the landing of the first combat swimmers with submarines was made at the Pacific Fleet by the commander of the submarine 3rd-rank captain Berestetskiy in 1938.

    Under Khrushchev, Soviet combat swimmers were actually dispersed.

    Army submarine athletes in 1970 or 71 (forgot, although he participated) showed impressive group exercises to the Minister of Defense Marshal of the Soviet Union on Navy Day, the question of resuming combat swimmers got off the ground. Before that, there were just divers.

    It is logical that the first commander of combat swimmers in the KSF in the second half of the 70s was the master of underwater training Nikolai Andrienko, previously the head of the White Sea Flotilla.
  6. RoTTor
    RoTTor 1 December 2013 15: 35
    Since May 1936, Berestetsky’s life and service has been associated with the Pacific Fleet. Here he had many significant events. From October 22 to 24, 1938, on the Shch-112 submarine, commanded by captain of the 3rd rank Berestetsky Vladimir Grigoryevich, for the first time in the Soviet Navy, a training was held for the exit of fighters from the torpedo apparatus of a submarine in individual equipment of a submarine from twenty meters depth [3]
  7. RoTTor
    RoTTor 1 December 2013 15: 35
    Since May 1936, Berestetsky’s life and service has been associated with the Pacific Fleet. Here he had many significant events. From October 22 to 24, 1938, on the Shch-112 submarine, commanded by captain of the 3rd rank Berestetsky Vladimir Grigoryevich, for the first time in the Soviet Navy, a training was held for the exit of fighters from the torpedo apparatus of a submarine in individual equipment of a submarine from twenty meters depth [3]