Forgotten Heroes (Part One)
Linear icebreaker "Anastas Mikoyan"
Fighting story this icebreaker is still covered with mysteries and riddles, historians have bypassed the feat accomplished by the crew of this icebreaker. There are several versions that differ in details, but these differences do not affect the main thing in any way: “Mikoyan” did the impossible and came out of all the troubles as a true hero!
Icebreaker "A. Mikoyan "was the fourth in a series of linear icebreakers of the type" I. Stalin "and built longer than their fellows. In June, the 1941 of the year was being tested by an icebreaker conducted by the plant's acceptance team. Then there should have been State tests and acceptance by the State Commission. Entry "A. Mikoyan ”was planned for construction in the fourth quarter of 1941, after which he was to move to the Far East.
The war that began on June 22 has confused all peace plans. By the decision of the USSR Supreme Soviet, mobilization began in the country from 00.00 hours. 28 June was mobilized and “A. Mikoyan. Outside of any plans, the factory began to re-equip it into an auxiliary cruiser. It was planned to use it for action on communications and the defense of the coast from enemy landings. Simultaneously, adjustment work and tests continued. About pre-war plans had to forget. The captain of the ship was appointed Sergey Mikhailovich Sergeev, captain of the 2 rank. The crew, formed from the navy men and foremen, voluntarily entered the workers of the factory commissioning team, who wished to beat the enemy "on his ship."
It installed seven 130-mm, four 76-mm and six 45-mm guns, as well as four 12,7-mm anti-aircraft machine gun DShK.
The power of the artillery armament of the icebreaker was not inferior to domestic destroyers. His 130-mm guns could fire their almost 34-kilogram shells at a range of 25,5 km. The rate of fire was 7 - 10 shots per minute.
In early September 1941, the re-equipment of the icebreaker was completed, and “A. Mikoyan ”by order of the commander of the Black Sea fleet He was included in the detachment of ships of the northwestern Black Sea region, which was intended to provide fire support to the defenders of Odessa as part of the cruiser Komintern, the destroyers Nezamozhnik and Shaumyan, the division of gunboats and other ships.
On September 13, at 11.40, the Mikoyan dropped anchor and guarded two small hunters and two MBR-2 aircraft and headed for Odessa, where it arrived safely early on the morning of September 14. Preparing for the battle, the Mikoyan anchored. At 12 hours and 40 minutes the ship lay down on a combat course. Artillerymen on shells wrote: "Hitler - personally." At 12 hours 45 minutes gave the first sighting shot. Having received the data of spotters, we switched to defeat. The enemy noticed the appearance of the Mikoyan in the sea, and he was successively attacked by three torpedo bomber aircraft. But on time observers noticed them. By skillful maneuver, the commander dodged torpedoes. The gunners continued to fire at the enemy. Acting near Odessa, artillerymen suppressed firing points, helped defenders repel enemy attacks tanks and infantry. Several firing were carried out per day, firing up to 100 shells at the enemy. For the first five firing at the enemy, 466 main-caliber shells were fired. Anti-aircraft gunners repulsed numerous enemy attacks aviation.
When the situation near Odessa was especially difficult, the cruisers “Red Caucasus”, “Red Crimea”. Chervona Ukraine and auxiliary cruiser Mikoyan conducted 66 firing and attacked 8500 shells at the enemy. The ships fired mostly at invisible targets at a distance from 10 to 14 cable.
The commander of the Mikoyan and the crew were able to fully master the new, extraordinary maneuverable capabilities of the ship. All the days of action near Odessa, the ship was constantly subjected to attacks by enemy aircraft. The special maneuverability helped to quickly get out from under the shelling, evade from the bombs of enemy aircraft attacking the heavy, wide, well visible to the pilots ship, which seemed to them easy prey. In one of the Mikoyan raids, three Junkers attacked at once. One of them was hit by anti-aircraft fire, caught fire and began to fall on the ship. "Mikoyan" maneuvered, the enemy plane crashed into the water.
Operating near Odessa, the Mikoyan, with its low speed in 12 nodes (unlike cruisers, leaders and destroyers), did not receive direct bombs and shells and did not lose a single person. But from frequent forcing and change of moves, shaking of close breaks, six out of nine boilers were damaged by hot-water pipes. It was here that the high skill of the seamen, the former factory specialists, came in handy. They offered, without leaving the combat position, alternately removing the damaged boilers from the operation, to eliminate the malfunctions. First, in an asbestos suit, the engineer-captain F.Kh. entered the furnace of the first boiler at a temperature of 270 degrees. Hamidulin. In a short time, working at night, in asbestos suits and kapkov vests moistened with water, the boiler drivers (firemen) eliminated the malfunction - they cleaned all the pipes.
Supporting the Maritime Army with fire, the auxiliary cruiser “Mikoyan” received thanks from the command of the Odessa Defense Region. And only having spent all the ammunition, at night 19 September went to Sevastopol.
September 22 "Mikoyan" took part in the landing of troops at Grigorievka. The Mikoyan had a greater draft and a lower full-speed speed than that of warships. Therefore, he was included in the squad of artillery support. Together with the gunboats "Dniester" and "Red Georgia" supported the paratroopers of the 3 th Marine Regiment. The crew later found out: with their fire, they crushed enemy batteries with 2. In the area of the village of Dofinovka, anti-aircraft gunners shot down two enemy U-88 aircraft. Before dawn "Mikoyan", which had a small speed, headed for Sevastopol. By the way, the gunners “A. Mikoyan ”for the first time in the fleet with the fire of its main caliber began to repel enemy air raids. At the suggestion of the commander of the BCh-5 senior engineer-Lieutenant Jozef Zlotnik the embrasures in the shields of the guns were increased, the angle of elevation of the guns became greater. Autogen, however, did not take armor steel. Then the former shipbuilder Nikolai Nazaraty cut the embrasures with the help of an electric welding unit.
Prior to receiving the order to evacuate the Odessa Defense Region, the Mikoyan, continuously under attack by aviation and coastal battery fire, continued to fire at enemy positions with the fleet ships. Then he moved to Sevastopol, where the damaged boilers and mechanisms were repaired in factory No.-201.
In October, Mikoyan received an order to move to Novorossiysk. In Sevastopol, a military unit was loaded onto it, 36 long-range sea guns and ammunition. The guns were very heavy, and only the Mikoyan could carry them. Reflecting on the transition attack enemy planes, 15 October, the ship arrived in Novorossiysk.
An auxiliary cruiser also took part in the defense of Sevastopol, systematically making flights from Novorossiysk. Delivering replenishment to the besieged city, military supplies, exported the wounded and the civilian population. It evacuated personnel and weapon 2-th brigade of torpedo boats, began to take out the dismantled artistic and historical value - "The panorama of the defense of Sevastopol. In October, more than 1000 wounded were evacuated on it. In early November, the fleet headquarters moved to Mikoyan in Novorossiysk. The ship fired on the positions of the enemy near Sevastopol.
Then "Mikoyan" relocated to Poti. November 5 received an unexpected order - to completely remove the weapons. Sailors, officers, officers, helping the workers of the local plant to disarm the ship, were unhappy and openly opposed to sit in the rear when their comrades were fighting to the death in this difficult time. They did not know, and should not have known, that preparations had begun for a secret operation. In five days, all the guns were dismantled. Auxiliary cruiser “A. Mikoyan ”again became a linear icebreaker. The personnel of the artillery warhead was decommissioned ashore. It was written off on the shore and part of the command staff. Soon they demanded to hand over machine guns, rifles and pistols. The captain of the 2 rank S. M. Sergeev managed with great difficulty to leave the 9 pistols for the officers. Of the weapons on board was still a hunting rifle.
A special fleet counterintelligence department began working on the ship. Every sailor was checked very carefully. After such a test, some people in the cabin were missing. Replaced arrived new, proven. All were selected documents, letters and photos of relatives and friends.
The crew was ordered to destroy, burn the military uniform. In exchange, they issued various civilian clothes from the warehouses. All were photographed and soon issued seagoing books (passports) of civilian sailors. Naval flag lowered and raised the state. The team was guessing about all these actions. But no one gave an explanation.
These strangenesses were connected with the fact that in the fall of 1941 of the year, the USSR State Committee of Defense made a very peculiar decision to transfer three large tankers (Sakhalin, Varlaam Avanesov, Tuapse) and a linear icebreaker from the Black Sea to the North and the Far East "BUT. Mikoyan. This was due to the acute shortage of tonnage for the carriage of goods (domestic and lend-lease). On the Black Sea, these vessels had nothing to do, and in the North and the Far East they were needed until the end. That is, the decision in itself would be quite correct, if not for one geographical circumstance. It was necessary to go through the Sea of Marmara to the Mediterranean, then not around Europe (it was a guaranteed death either from German submarines, or from their own bombers), but through the Suez Canal into the Indian Ocean, then across the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean to the Soviet Far East ( from there the “Mikoyan” was supposed to continue sailing along the Northern Sea Route to Murmansk). Thus, almost the world tour was coming, and it was necessary to hold it in the conditions of war. The most interesting thing awaited Soviet vessels in the beginning. During the war, almost all the merchant ships of all the belligerent countries received at least some weapons (1-2 guns, several machine guns). Of course, it was purely symbolic, but in some situations (against single aircraft, boats, auxiliary cruisers) could help. In addition, whenever possible, merchant ships were accompanied by warships. Alas, for the Soviet Four, all these options were excluded.
The fact is that from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean route lay through the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles, belonging to Turkey. And she, observing neutrality, did not let battleships of warring countries pass through the straits. Moreover, she also did not miss the armed transports. Accordingly, our vessels could not have even a symbolic pair of guns. But it was still half the trouble. The trouble was that the Aegean Sea behind the Dardanelles was completely controlled by the Germans and Italians, who seized both continental Greece and all the islands of the Greek archipelago, through which the Soviet courts were to go to the south.
Icebreaker arrived in Batumi. Following him, three tankers came here: Sakhalin, Tuapse and Varlaam Avanesov. All three are identical in displacement, carrying capacity and with approximately equal full speed.
25 November 1941 of the year in 3 hours 45 minutes convoy consisting of an icebreaker, three tankers and escort ships under cover of night went to sea. For some time they went towards Sevastopol, and then headed for the Bosphorus. The leader was the leader of "Tashkent" under the flag of Rear Admiral Vladimirsky, behind him, in the wake of the park - "Mikoyan" and tankers. To the right of the icebreaker went destroyer "Capable", to the left - the destroyer "Savvy". But warships could accompany the caravan only to the Turkish territorial waters.
The transition to the Bosphorus length 575 miles, planned to go for three days. During the day it was calm, the sky was overcast. By evening it began to rain with sleet, the wind rose, broke out a nine-point storm. The sea was covered with dark, foamy shafts, rolling began. The wind was strong, pitch darkness swallowed ships and escort ships. At night, the storm reached 10 points. They walked at a speed of about 10 nodes — tankers could no longer, and especially Mikoyan with their coal-fired boilers, he was lagging behind all the time. The tankers loaded on the necks kept well, only sometimes the waves covered them up to the navigating bridges. On Mikoyan, with its egg-shaped body, the sweep reached 56 degrees. But his powerful body blows waves were not scared. Sometimes he then buried his nose in the wave, then, rolling over the next huge shaft, exposed the screws. The warships had to be tight. "Tashkent" tilted to 47 degrees with a maximum roll of 52 degrees. From the blows of the waves he sagged the deck in the bow and cracked on both sides in the midsection. Destroyers with roll to 50 degrees almost lay on board. Correcting the damage, went ahead. Sometimes ships and ships hid from view behind a curtain of rain and thick snow squalls.
At night, the storm sometimes subsided. Suddenly, the commander of the "Intelligent" reported that the silhouettes of unknown ships were found. Ships escort prepared for battle. "Savvy", by order of Vladimir, became close to unknown ships. It turned out that these were three Turkish transport. In order to avoid a tragic error, they stalled the course and illuminated large images of the national flag painted on the sides with searchlights. The convoy went on their way.
After three days, the storm began to subside, delaying the arrival of ships in Istanbul for a day. On the morning of November 29, the Turkish shores appeared. In 10 miles from the Bosphorus, escort ships raised the flag signal “We wish you a happy voyage” and turned back. In the Turkish territorial waters, patrol ships met for some time walking alongside, looking for weapons on the decks of ships.
Soon the caravan began to anchor in Istanbul raid. The representatives of the Turkish port authorities, who arrived at Mikoyan, were not very interested in the cargo and did not look into the hold. We walked along the upper deck, in the cabin of the captain 2 of the rank of Sergeev, issued the necessary documents in such cases, drank a cup of Russian vodka and left the ship.
The Soviet naval attache in Turkey, Captain 2 of the rank of Rodionov, and with him the assistant of the British naval attache, Lieutenant Commander Rogers, climbed Mikoyan. A meeting of the captains of the ships was held in Sergeev’s cabin. Rodionov reported on the decision of the State Defense Committee, in which the captains were assigned the task: to break into the port of Famagusta on the island of Cyprus, to the allies. Tankers were instructed to temporarily enter the disposal of the Allied Command, and the icebreaker to go to the Far East.
By agreement between the Soviet government and the British government, from the Dardanelles to Cyprus vessels were to accompany British warships. But they could not give any security, although they promised. The English Mediterranean fleet suffered heavy losses in battles. To risk their ships for the protection of the Soviet icebreaker and tankers, the British did not consider it possible. What the British representative informed the captain of the Mikoyan. The situation was complicated by the fact that Turkey, which declared 25 of June about its neutrality in the war between Germany and the USSR, occupied a pro-German orientation. Despite all the measures taken, the information about the expedition received publicity. The Turkish pilot, anchoring the Sakhalin tanker, told Captain Pride Adovich Pomeranz that they were waiting for the approach of another group of Soviet tankers that were supposed to be sent in the second echelon. The arrival of the Soviet courts did not go unnoticed in the city where the enemy agents had built their nest. At the end of November, 1941 of the year (Sending the second echelon consisting of tankers "Vayan-Couturier", "I. Stalin", "V. Kuibyshev", "Sergo", "Emba" was canceled.) In the press flashed reports of Western agencies that that in Turkey, especially in Istanbul, many German “tourists” appeared, and this is in wartime ?! Near tankers they drove boats with "lovers of fishing" involved in photographing. The observation was conducted with binoculars from the shore, and from the ships of the allies of Germany. Nearby were the ships of the Turkish Navy: destroyers, submarines. The cruiser "Sultan Selim" - the former German "Goeben" - bristled with guns.
The Sakhalin tanker stood just opposite the building of the German consulate. But even the most picky eye could not notice anything special on the ship. There was the usual unloading of petroleum products delivered to one of the Turkish firms. It seemed that Sakhalin would only hand over the cargo and go back to Batumi. The expedition leader Ivan Georgievich Syrykh on November 29 convened all the ship captains. The Soviet naval attache in Turkey, captain of the 2 rank KK Rodionov, also came. After a brief exchange of views, it was decided that it was time to fulfill the plan: every ship should go to the Far East separately, at indefinite intervals, with different coordinates of routes laid on navigational charts ...
In a special instruction given by Rodionov to 2 captain of the rank of Sergeev, it was categorically ordered: "In no case should you take the ship, to drown the explosion, not to surrender to the crew."
To be continued ...
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