Military Review

80 years ago sank the ship Cheluskin

The name of the steamer "Chelyuskin" is familiar to many Russians, especially older ones. In this case, not everyone clearly remembers what exactly this ship became famous for. The Chelyuskin expedition in the middle of the 1930s had to prove the suitability of using the Northern Sea Route (NSR), which was planned to be used to supply the Far East and Siberia with everything necessary. In the summer of 1932, from Arkhangelsk to the Bering Strait, the Soviet icebreaker Alexander Sibiryakov successfully passed. The success of the icebreaker was to repeat the cargo ship. The ship “Chelyuskin” became such a ship.

The ship was named in honor of the participant of the Great Northern Expedition Semen Ivanovich Chelyuskin (1700-1764). This Russian explorer discovered the northernmost point on the continent of Eurasia - the cape, which now bears his name. It is worth noting that the campaign 1932, was not without adventures. The icebreaker Alexander Sibiryakov lost a screw in the Bering Strait, so he had to move astern under homemade sails. And yet he was able to go from Murmansk to Vladivostok in just one navigation, i.e., during the summer-autumn period. The captain of the icebreaker in this voyage was Vladimir Ivanovich Voronin, and the head of the expedition was the famous Soviet professor Otto Yulievich Schmidt.

Immediately after the completion of this first expedition to the USSR, the Main Directorate of the Northern Sea Route was organized, abbreviated as Glavsevmorput. The new organization had to master this way, build the necessary villages, provide the road with the necessary technical equipment and do much more. The above-mentioned O. Yu. Shmidt became the head of Glavsevmorput. New campaign on the route of the SMP, he decided to hold already in 1933 year. With great difficulty, Schmidt managed to achieve a transfer to the Glavsevmorput of the new, just built on the Danish shipyards, the steamship Lena, which was renamed Chelyuskin.

80 years ago sank the ship Cheluskin

The ship was built in Copenhagen in the shipyards of the company "Burmeister and Vine" by order of the USSR. It was a fairly large steamer of the latest design at that time. During the construction of the vessel were taken into account the conditions of its operation in the ice. The hull of the ship had the appropriate shape, and the hull shell was strengthened. The ship also had a special room designed for the case of a forced wintering, when the power plant would have to be stopped in order not to waste fuel. Even a small amphibious aircraft W-2 was placed on board the ship. The plane could take off both from a large ice floe, and from open water, and was intended for conducting aerial reconnaissance.

It should be noted that in those years the Arctic achievements were a brilliant find for Soviet propaganda. At this time, the polar explorers were the people whose place through 30 years was to be taken by astronauts. The theme of the development of the North in the Soviet Union was associated with the courage of polar explorers and the romance of Arctic everyday life; it did not leave the pages of Soviet newspapers and magazines, as well as fiction and movie screens. As a result, a whole generation of citizens was formed, for whom work in the Soviet Arctic Circle has become a lifelong business. The era of the 30s was reflected in these people. They were moved by all that sublime and pragmatic, romantic and terrible that was inherent in that time.

16 July 1933, the steamer “Chelyuskin” under the command of the famous polar captain V.I. Voronin and the expedition head O.Yu. Schmidt, who, among other things, was a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, sailed from Leningrad to Murmansk. On the way, the ship entered the Danish docks of the company Burmeister and Vine, where a number of identified defects were eliminated on the ship. 10 August 1933, the ship left the port of Murmansk and set sail for Vladivostok. The expedition had to work out the scheme of cargo delivery along the NSR during one summer navigation. On difficult sections of the route, the Chelyuskin wiring was planned using icebreakers.

The steamer left Murmansk early in the morning at 4: 30. Because of such an early time, there were not many mourners at the pier. On board the Chelyuskin, there were 112 people, including 53 crew member, 29 people from the expedition, as well as 18 winter workers of Wrangel Island and 12 builders. The vessel had significant reserves: 2995 tons of coal, 500 tons of water and food, which should have been enough for 18 months. The ship also took on board a three-year supply volume for Wrangel Island. It is worth noting that the expedition took quite seriously the issue of nutrition of its members. In order for the crew of the ship to eat fresh meat, 26 cows and 4 small pigs were taken on board, which in the process of navigation turned into healthy boars and helped diversify the menu of polar explorers.

At first, the voyage was quite successful for the expedition. "Chelyuskin" managed to pass almost the entire route. The ship entered the Bering Strait and on November 7 sent a special welcome message to Moscow. However, in the strait began the movement of ice in the opposite direction. The steamer “Chelyuskin” squeezed in the ice began to move in the opposite direction, once again entering the Chukchi Sea. This return was accompanied by damage to the ship. As a result, the ship just froze into a large ice floe and for several months was forced to drift along with it. At the same time at any time the ice could come into motion and just crush the ship. And so it happened ...

13 February 1934 of the year went on the air radiogram, which told the world about the death of the steamer "Chelyuskin". The ship sank 13 February 1934 of the year in 15: 30 in 144 miles from Cape Whalen and in 155 miles from Cape North, being crushed by ice. Captain Voronin and the expedition leader Schmidt were the last to leave the ship, while the breech Boris Mogilevich hesitated on the deck of the ship and was pinned down by a barrel rolled over him. He went to the bottom with the ship and became the only victim of the expedition. After the ship flooded, the 104 man remained on the ice, including 10 women and 2 children (a daughter was born to the family of surveyor Vasiliev). Another 8 people left the ship before the events described near Cape Chelyuskin for various reasons, mainly due to illness.

As a result, exactly 2 month - from February 13 to February 13 1934 of the year - members of the polar expedition had to fight for life. All 104 members of the expedition carried out the heroic work of organizing normal life on the ocean ice, as well as preparing the airfield, the field of which was covered with cracks and hummocks, was covered with snow, and the ice on it was constantly broken. Chelyuskinites were able to build a good camp. For women and children, a full-fledged wooden hut was built, the benefit on board was the necessary lumber. Also, members of the expedition built their bakery and even began to produce a wall newspaper entitled “We do not give up!” At that time, Otto Schmidt, the expedition head, was the soul of the camp. The connection of the expedition to the mainland all this time was provided by Ernst Krenkel - the famous polar radio operator.

The rescue of the Chelyuskinites turned into a real epic and became a glorious page in stories domestic polar aviation. The first landing in the Chelyuskintsev camp on March 5, 1934 was made by the crew of the ANT-4 aircraft under the control of Anatoly Lyapidevsky. Prior to this, the crew under his command made 28 sorties, only the 29th was successful. This is not surprising: to find a drifting ice floe with polar explorers with periodically falling fog was not so easy. At the same time, Lyapidevsky managed to land the aircraft on a very limited area of ​​150 by 400 meters in a 40-degree frost. It was a real feat.

The first flight ANT-4 aircraft took out women and two children from 10 camp, but the aircraft failed for the second time and its crew was forced to join Chelyuskinites. The massive evacuation of polar explorers began in 13 days and lasted two weeks. In total, the Soviet pilots performed the 24 flight, and all the 104 people who happened to be on the ice floe and 2 who spent months in the polar winter managed to save them. All pilots who took part in the rescue of polar explorers were presented to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Among them were Anatoly Lyapidevsky, Mavriky Slepnev, Vasily Molokov, Nikolai Kamanin, Mikhail Vodopyanov and Ivan Doronin. All participants in the wintering on the ice, including B. Mogilevich, who died during the sinking of the ship, were awarded orders of the Red Star (except for children). Two Americans, flight mechanics William Levery and Clyde Armstead, who received the Order of Lenin, were also awarded for help in saving Soviet polar explorers.

In Moscow, all Cheliuskites had a solemn meeting with the leadership of the Soviet Union and the inhabitants of the city, they were greeted like real heroes. The history of the steamer "Chelyuskin" is reflected in literature and cinema. Based on this expedition, several feature films were shot, books were written. The memory of the Chelyuskinites was immortalized in a large number of streets, which today can be found in many cities of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

In the recent past, attempts were made to locate a wreck. The expeditions that were organized in 1974 and 1978 ended in nothing. A new search submarine expedition was already organized in Russia - in the 2004 year, on the 70 anniversary of the events described. The expedition was named Chelyuskin-70. The participants of this expedition declared the discovery of a sunken steamer that same year, but soon enough managed to find out that this information was erroneous.

The ship was discovered in 2006 year. Fragments of the ship lifted from the seabed and metal samples taken were sent to Denmark at the shipyards on which the ship was built. In February 2007, the Danish shipbuilding company confirmed that the found fragments belonged to Chelyuskin. In particular, the ventilation grille and guard rail rack, which were raised from the bottom of the Chukchi Sea, really belong to the legendary steamer. The discovery of the sunken ship put an end to this whole story.

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  1. kaktus
    kaktus 13 February 2014 08: 44
    Heroic time! hi
    1. Uncle
      Uncle 13 February 2014 12: 38
      At that time there was a fashion to invent unusual names, for example, in honor of Otto Schmidt, the name Oyushminald appeared - from the abbreviation "Otto Yulievich Schmidt on the ice".
      1. invisibility
        invisibility 13 February 2014 13: 04
        In my youth, polar pilots were my idols. Levanevsky was forgotten in the article, although he did not fly to the camp due to the accident, he delivered a doctor who had an operation to remove appendicitis. Great people!
        1. makarov
          makarov 13 February 2014 18: 13
          I had an episode related to the name Levanevsky. I live on the street bearing his name. In 2004, he created the first private museum in Ukraine, and there were a lot of articles and materials about this. After about a year, a letter arrives from one Americanos, an admirer of Levanevsky’s talents, who wrote a book about him, and he considered that since the museum is located on Levanevsky Street, this house is the house of Levanevsky. So he promised me to procure a visa, and to bring it to Alaska at his own expense, etc. The man had to disappoint, explained to him in detail what and how, and why. wink
      2. The comment was deleted.
      3. makarov
        makarov 13 February 2014 18: 07
        In comparison with Dazdroperm (long live the first of May), the name Oyushminald still sounds angelic.
    2. jjj
      jjj 13 February 2014 14: 41
      Nice clear shot. From the contours of the stem and stern, it can be seen that the ship could walk in the ice. Although the name of the icebreaker was disputed. Data was given on the thickness of the casing. They seemed to be not very different from the generally accepted then norms. And one cannot speak of significant gain even in the ice belt. The icebreaking type is squeezed up when squeezed by ice. So also Pomeranian Kochi were arranged. And here is a long hull with a straight side in the midsection. Although who in practice then knew what this could turn out to be. Looking at the photograph presented, I suddenly remembered a Chinese icebreaker, which turned out to be powerless recently in the ice of Antarctica. There is also a long narrow hull, straight sides.
      And the people were great
  2. Prometey
    Prometey 13 February 2014 09: 00
    Interesting article!
    They saved all 104 people, and this is in the conditions of the almost undeveloped infrastructure of the Far North and using antediluvian equipment (according to the framework of today's time). Indeed, the time of steel people.
  3. Name
    Name 13 February 2014 09: 35
    I will say one thing - it’s a shame that I don’t know for certain many THE EXPLORATIONS OF CHILDREN OF THE USSR, with whom I’m trying to rank myself .... what No irony.
  4. svp67
    svp67 13 February 2014 09: 58
    Tragedy - a triumph ... We have a lot to learn from our ancestors ...
  5. Lk17619
    Lk17619 13 February 2014 10: 18
    This truth was a real feat of the conquerors of the Far North! soldier
  6. parus2nik
    parus2nik 13 February 2014 10: 54
    As a result, a whole generation of citizens was formed, for whom work in the Soviet Arctic was a real business of all life ... And now? What is the real thing of all life? .. The oligarch’s child will not go to explore the Arctic ...
  7. Volodya Sibiryak
    Volodya Sibiryak 13 February 2014 11: 09
    There is a fable that the leader of the expedition Schmidt had a Mauser pistol, which he dismantled in order to pass the time, one of the pranksters threw one extra piece to him, not finding her proper place, Otto Yulievich almost lost his mind.
    1. parus2nik
      parus2nik 13 February 2014 15: 28
      No, this is a different story .. the North Pole expedition No. 1 led by Papanin .. When the expedition was saved as a result of an ice break and they sailed to Leningrad on a motor ship, Papanin liked to disassemble and assemble Mauser, and the expedition radio operator E. T. Krenkel (the only non-partisan) threw him one extra detail, not finding her proper place Papanin almost lost his mind, before approaching Leningrad Krenkel, took pity and told everything to Papanin .. they say that he was chasing a radio operator around the ship ...
      1. Fedya
        Fedya 13 February 2014 23: 23
        The radio operator was driven out of the tent while holding party meetings, and then he also had to transmit the decisions of these meetings by radio! He got such insanity, so he made a joke, then he didn’t seem to have taken him on an expedition, and he didn’t outrun him!
  8. moremansf
    moremansf 13 February 2014 11: 59
    Heroic people, heroic time !!! Devotion to the motherland and selfless service to the people !!!
  9. Vitaly Anisimov
    Vitaly Anisimov 13 February 2014 13: 14
    On this feat, more than one generation of children in the USSR was brought up in a patriotic spirit! Stakhanov Chkalov, etc. It was on this wave of patriotism that the USSR experienced a breakthrough in industrial and educational terms.! Stalin was able to find those necessary strings in the souls of Soviet people with the help of which the USSR turned into a powerful world power! .. Today’s Russia, this is not enough, alas ...
  10. dropout
    dropout 13 February 2014 14: 39
    - Yes, there were people in our time,
    Not that the present tribe:
  11. rezident
    rezident 13 February 2014 18: 16
    Then it didn’t work on the ship, and Leo Skryagin had a story about the polar flying Dutch. Sailboats frozen in the ice with dead crews. Those who tried to slip between the North Pole and Canada, and so there forever stuck. They wrote who saw them on board was not for the faint of heart.
  12. Vadim12
    Vadim12 13 February 2014 20: 01
    There were times! And now, I wonder, are there heroes in modern Russia?
    1. Apollo
      Apollo 13 February 2014 20: 17
      Video in the subject.
    2. Prometey
      Prometey 13 February 2014 20: 54
      Quote: Vadim12
      There were times! And now, I wonder, are there heroes in modern Russia?

      Of course have. Only they do not shout about them, unfortunately, in the media. Even the simplest person can become a hero, as life shows. We have a college student in Chelyabinsk last year - an ordinary unremarkable guy saved a girl from a pedophile and detained him.
  13. Corsair
    Corsair 14 February 2014 04: 18
    Quote: article title
    80 years ago sank the ship Cheluskin
    The famous British playwright Bernard Shaw, speaking of the Chelyuskin epic, remarked: “The USSR is an amazing country: you turned even a tragedy into a triumph.”
  14. OPTR
    OPTR 14 February 2014 21: 21
    Quote: makarov
    After about a year, a letter arrives from one Americanos, an admirer of Levanevsky’s talents, who wrote a book about him,

    What’s called?
  15. Igor62
    Igor62 17 February 2014 02: 47
    This is not Plushenko for you