In the first period of World War II, the Black Sea Fleet covered and supported the coastal flank of the ground forces, provided for its own and violated enemy naval communications. The battle in the communications were submarine and surface ships, as well as the Air Force fleet.
Organizationally, the submarines were reduced to two brigades and a separate training division. The 1 Brigade consisted of four divisions, in which there were 22 large and medium submarines. The submarine brigade 2 consisted of small submarines 18, which were divided into three divisions. A separate training division included 7 submarines of the type "Y" and "M". As of 22 in June, 1941 of 55 submarines was 32 in service, 15, 8 of “L”, “Sh”, “C” and “M” type boats were under repair in a separate division of submarines under construction and capital repairs.
It should be noted that the geographical and hydrometeorological features of the Black Sea had a serious impact on the use of the submarine fleet. In particular, in the western and northwestern regions, it was distinguished by shallow depths, which allowed the enemy to place dense minefields here (before 1943, along the western coast of the Black Sea, and also near the southern coast of Crimea, the enemy placed about 4950 mines, of which around 1700 deepening 10-12 m against submarines and 2795 mine defenders), make it difficult to submarine torpedo attacks and post-attack maneuvering. Calm weather unmasked the submarine when using its periscope. The great difficulty was that our fleet did not have sufficient data on the enemy’s fairways, minefields, and detailed descriptions of coastal areas. This required commanders to carefully analyze the situation, taking cautious and at the same time decisive action.
Already on the first day of the war, Soviet submarines began deploying to predetermined positions. The battle account opened "U-211" under the command of Lieutenant-Captain A.D. Nine. In the evening of August 5, this boat left the base with the task of destroying enemy transport ships and warships. For several days “U-211” persistently searched for the enemy and on the tenth day after reaching the position, she found two large vehicles on the communications of the enemy. Having approached the 3 cable course, the commander produced a two-torpedo salvo in transport with an 5700 tonne displacement, which soon sank.
September 21 "U-211" once again went to sea. From the first day of his tenure as captain-lieutenant Devyatko, he persistently carried out a search, which was crowned with success only on the morning of September 29. Finding the enemy convoy, marching with a cargo of oil products from Constanta to Italy, the commander decided to attack the main transport. He began maneuvering to get closer to the enemy. In the meantime, torpedoists prepared three nasal torpedo tubes for shooting. One and a half minutes remained before the volley when Devyatko noticed a patrol boat going straight to the submarine. The commander lowered the periscope, and when he raised it, the lead angle to the target was missed.
This failure did not discourage Nine. He decided to fire the tanker, which was second in the wake column, with a stern torpedo tube. The submarine increased the speed, crossed the line of enemy ships, and from a distance of about 2 cable produced a volley. The torpedo hit the tanker with a displacement of 7000 t. However, its explosion was not enough to sink the ship, which, having been damaged, remained afloat.
The next day, the commander returned to the area of attack to finish off the tanker. But this intention was not carried out: the patrol boats discovered the boat and were attacked by depth charges. Actively maneuvering, Nine broke away from the enemy. In the evening, he again approached the damaged tanker and sank it with a two-torpedo gulp from a distance in the 6 cable.
Success was achieved by the submarine of Captain-Lieutenant V.Ya. Vlasov "Shch-214". 30 October, she went on a military campaign. The persistent search was crowned with success: at dawn 3 in November, the signalman reported on the discovered schooner. The submarine went to rapprochement. Vlasov decided to destroy the ship with artillery fire, which was opened from a distance of three quarters of cable. Komendory hit the target with the first shot. After several hits, the schooner caught fire and began to sink. On the night of November 5, being in a cruising position (this is a surface position in which the tanks were quickly submerged, and the middle and main ballast were not filled, in this position the submarine is ready for urgent immersion), “U-214” discovered a large tanker. Commander, after maneuvering from a distance of 4-x cable, he fired a shot from his nose. The Italian tanker Torcello with a displacement of about 3500 t sailed from the Bosphorus to Constanza. The loss of two of the five tankers that delivered fuel from Constanta to Italy forced the enemy to stop the delivery of fuel for the Italian fleet until mid-May 1942.
Fighting with sea transportation and submarines "Sch-210", "Sch-215", "M-34", "M-35." Disrupting communications, the Black Sea forces forced the enemy to allocate significant ship forces and aviationkeep them in constant readiness to protect their shipping. This submariners contributed to the defense of Odessa. Thanks to their actions, almost the entire enemy fleet was occupied by anti-submarine defense, which, of course, increased the danger for our submariners, who required an exceptionally great strain of forces, high combat skill, and the ability to overcome numerous and unexpected difficulties.
By mid-November 1941, due to the danger of losing the Crimea, submarines moved from the Crimean ports to the ports of the Caucasus, this significantly lengthened their passage to the enemy communications area, reduced the time spent in positions and interrupted the actions of the M-type boats. only 7-8 days. In December, after stabilization of the situation in Sevastopol, the group of M-type boats of the second brigade returned to Sevastopol and resumed its activities.
The main method used by submarines in the fight against enemy communications was positional. In positions representing rectangles with sides of 15x20 miles, boats passively awaited the enemy. In the autumn, when new positions were cut into submarines, cruise was introduced in a limited area, in which the commanders were given some freedom of maneuvering for a more active search for the enemy. However, this method in 1941 was not widespread due to stormy weather and the loss of submarines on enemy mines.
Just before the start of 1942, Soviet submarines made 103 combat campaigns, sank 8 ships (22405 brt) and damaged 4 (14250 brt).
In 1942, the enemy strengthened the defense of communications. The number of warships in convoys and search and attack groups, patrols that flew near naval bases increased. In the spring of 1942, the 20 high-speed barges (BDB) used for escorting convoys were commissioned. BDB were armed with depth charges and artillery. The short length and draft of the BDB did not allow our boats to successfully attack them. BDB participated in the search and strike groups that went to search our boats at night. Yet the main danger remained mine. For the period from October 16 1941 to July 3, the opponent 1942 put 2018 mines to cover communications.
In 1941, the enemy did not subject our submarines to long pursuit. In 1942, the situation changed, the persecution became persistent, lasted for several hours. The enemy dropped hundreds of depth and aerial bombs on them, but this did not stop the Black Sea people.
New in the search tactics were the following: groups of submarines in operations in the area of Odessa Bay and in the Sulin-Bugaz segment of communication, due to the complex mine-navigation situation, used the enemy's waiting method. When parked without running at night in the surface, and in the daytime in a submerged position, carrying out visual and noise-guided observation. They made the transitions only to change the place of observation or when they received intelligence data on the movement of convoys. Also in the first half of May 1942, joint actions were carried out in 12 miles from Fidonisi Island of the submarines M-117 and M-118, with the task of identifying enemy communications. Total 8 days of the boat performed the task according to a specially composed instruction, which provided that during the day one of the boats was at the indicated point at anchor in a submerged position, the second one charged the batteries at night and moved under the periscope during the day to take a new position. At the same time reconnaissance aircraft monitored the enemy, and its data were transmitted to the boats.
During the first half of 1942, “U-213”, “A-3”, “A-5” and others acted on the lines of enemy communications. The greatest success fell on the submarine Shch-205, the captain of the rank 3 PD. Sukhomlinov. In the evening of May 18 north of Cape Karaburun, she discovered loaded enemy transport with a displacement of 1500 tons. Since the torpedo attack was impossible to produce due to the large course angle and unacceptably shallow depth, the commander decided to destroy the enemy with artillery. For some time, the Black Sea people were pursuing transport underwater. As the sun went down, "U-205" surfaced and began to quickly overtake the enemy. Seeing that the boat did not leave, the transport turned sharply toward the shore and ran aground. In the same direction, the signalman noticed a large two-masted schooner. The commander ordered the gunners to destroy it. With a fourth salvo, the gunners covered the target and went down to defeat. The schooner caught fire and sank. Then the artillery fire was set on fire and discarded vehicles. After 5 days, the Shch-205 submarine, having approached the 3 cable distance, sank another vehicle with two torpedoes, and then returned safely to the base.
29 in May was accompanied by the success of the submarine A-3, commanded by Senior Lieutenant S.A. Tsurikov, who destroyed two torpedoes fired at an interval of 8 seconds in the area of Odessa, transporting the enemy Sulina with a displacement of 4000 tons.
Thus, the Soviet submarines inflicted significant damage to the enemy. Acting in shallow water and in mined areas, submarine commanders used the following tactics: monitoring areas during periods of stay at an underwater anchor, torpedo firing at small depths of the sea (for example, the successful actions of the A-3 and A-5 boats "In Odessa Bay).
Along with the violation of enemy communications, the Black Sea submarines carried out other tasks. So, in April 1942 of the year, it was decided to use the submarine fleet to ensure the delivery of ammunition, fuel and food to besieged Sevastopol. The use of submarines for transport purposes was caused by the situation: low-speed ships could not break through to Sevastopol, and the fleet management decided to entrust the transportation to the Black Sea warships. To increase the cargo capacity and payload of submarines, they left such a supply of fuel, engine oils and fresh water, which provided the transition to Sevastopol and the way back, removed half of the standard ammunition, large and medium submarines, carried only 2 torpedoes. All this made it possible to bring the capacity of large boats to 95 tons, medium-sized ones to 50 tons.
Cargo acceptance was made in Novorossiysk and Tuapse. The transfer of the boat was usually carried out on the surface; they sank only when danger appeared. In Sevastopol entered at dusk, in the dark time they were unloaded and before the dawn they set off on their way back.
May 9 1942 and D-4 boats were delivered to the defenders of the city 4 tons of food. Through 112,8 weeks, submarines of type “C” were brought in for transportation, and from June 2, on the orders of the fleet commander, all submarines that were in service were used to transport cargo to Sevastopol. Until the end of the defense, they carried out 20 flights, during which they delivered about 78 tons of ammunition, foodstuffs and gasoline, removed more 4000 wounded and civilians, and also about 1300 tons of various valuable cargoes. The intensive use of submarines for transportation purposes, on a large scale, was a new form of transportation for the Navy.
Submarine campaigns were extremely difficult, the Nazis sought to prevent these campaigns at all costs. So, on the submarine "L-24", 26-29 June 308 bombs were dropped. The X-LUMEN X-NUMX submarine, which made the transition from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk, was subjected to prolonged prosecution on June 30. During the pursuit, 23 bombs were dropped on L-23. During the first four days of July, enemy ships dropped our submarines, part of the 800 Brigade, on 5, more than 1 depth charges.
The supply of the besieged Sevastopol demanded tremendous moral and physical tension from the submariners. In the final days of the defense, the enemy resistance on the way to Sevastopol turned out to be so strong that only M-8 and A-112 could penetrate the 2 submarines heading into it. The crews of these boats showed extraordinary skill and courage. So, on the transition "A-2" several times made an urgent dive, evading aircraft. During the day, she was hit by more 200 bombs. On the approaches to besieged Sevastopol, the submarine was discovered and attacked by patrol boats. Having gone to the depth, "A-2" forced a minefield, 6 once having a touch with the body of the miniprep. On the shore, the boat was shelled by the Germans from small weapons. Taking from the shore aboard people, the submarine 5 July came to Novorossiysk.
After the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Sevastopol, submarines resumed operations on the Black Sea communications. From July to August, they performed 13 combat campaigns. 5 August 1942, the Shch-205 submarine, being in the surface position, attacked transport east of Cape Olinka, accompanied by two patrol boats, causing serious damage to it. Two days later, in the Sudak area, the M-62 submarine from a submerged position with two torpedoes fired at a time interval attacked the German high-speed landing barge. On August 17, in the Gulf of Odessa, the submarine M-36 destroyed enemy transport, and after 6 days east of Cape Burnas, M-36 increased the number of destroyed ships by sinking another transport vessel. In September, the Black Sea submarine fleet carried out 14 exits to combat enemy communications. Boats began to more actively use the method of cruising in a limited area, night attacks, volley torpedo firing and firing with a time interval.
During the battle for the Caucasus, Soviet submarines sank transports with troops, equipment, ammunition, fuel and food. They had to perform combat missions in difficult conditions of shallow-water areas, air supremacy of enemy aircraft and powerful antisubmarine defense.
The success was accompanied by the boat "U-216". On October 10, she sank the enemy vehicles with a displacement of 4500 tons. On October 21 increased the number of destroyed M-35 ships. The Nazis dropped bombs on the 32 submarine, but they could not hurt the boat. From the beginning of October until the end of the year, the divers had 50 encounters with warships and enemy transport ships, 25 once went on the attack. For 1942 a year, Soviet submarines made 133 combat exits, had 102 encounters with enemy ships and ships, made 40 torpedo attacks. Black Sea submarines sank 16 transports, as well as 3 landing barges and one tug.
Naturally, the main weapon of the Soviet submarines were torpedoes. However, in the fight against enemy communications, they also used mine weapons. Over the 1941-1942 years they delivered on enemy communications about 460 min. Mine set-ups were carried out covertly from a submerged position, into a line or according to a combat order, which indicated the coordinates and time of the statement. Until 1942, submarine barriers went into the sea only with the task of mine settings, later, after the laying of mines, they remained in a given area and were used in a torpedo version. For example, 4 in October 1942, the boat "L-24" put a minefield line consisting of 20 mines, and then, at the position, October 7, three torpedoes fired at a time interval of 12 seconds, attacked and damaged the enemy vehicles.
In the course of combat operations on sea lanes, submariners used artillery, both at night and in the daytime, taking into account the situation and possible opposition of the enemy. In 1942, they sank 7 of enemy schooners with artillery fire.
In addition to fighting on the lines of sea communications and transportation of cargo to besieged Sevastopol, the Black Sea submariners in the first period of the war performed a number of other tasks: they carried out patrol service, conducted reconnaissance, landed amphibious groups, fired ports with artillery. The most difficult was the task of navigation support, since the submarine usually anchored, lost its maneuverability, and thus put itself in grave danger. The first special exits for navigation support were made in December 1941, during the Kerch-Feodosiya landing operation
For example, the submarine "Shch-203" landed the officers of the hydrographic department who installed the manipulator lights. "U-201" and "M-51" set up two luminous buoys on the approaches to Theodosia. The same boats illuminated the approach to the city from the sea with searchlights and lights, ensuring the movement of ships and ships with a landing force.
From the beginning of the war until the end of 1942, the submarines carried out 14 trips for navigational support. In addition, in seven campaigns, these activities were carried out simultaneously with other tasks. For example, in the middle of September, X-NUMX launched C-1942 for operations on German communications. In addition to the attacks of ships, she was also assigned the tasks of artillery, shelling of transports in the port of Yalta and navigational support for the raid of our torpedo boats into Dvuyakornaya Bay (Feodosia region). From 31 September, C-14 conducted reconnaissance of Dvuyakornaya Bay and adjacent areas for 31 days, and at night, on 6 September, navigated the boats, and then switched to the position, attacking enemy vehicles with torpedoes.
Thus, the submarine forces of the Black Sea Fleet, constantly acting on the sea communications in the first period of the war, often forced the enemy to abandon the escort of convoys, separate transports, to take serious anti-submarine defense, delivered sensitive blows to the enemy and kept him in constant tension.
The submarine fleet control system, which was carried out directly by the brigade commanders through its headquarters in accordance with the instructions of the Military Council of the fleet, justified itself. Radio was the main means of controlling submarines at sea. Usually, at night, submariners received information about the enemy, about changes in the situation through the fleet communications center. The radio reception on the Black Sea submarines began immediately after leaving the base and rushed continuously until the dive. At positions, submarines were allowed to use radio communications exclusively for reception, and the transmission was allowed only when they returned to the base.
The experience of military operations showed that the refusal of submarine forces from the positional method in the fight against enemy maritime transport was correct, but it occurred gradually as the combat experience increased and the changing situation was taken into account. So, in August 1941, when hostilities were transferred to enemy bases, submarines were allowed to charge batteries to go to designated areas outside the position. In the autumn, the size of the positions increased, which made it possible to use boats in limited areas. At the same time, the commanders received more initiative and began to act more actively: they searched for ships off the coast or behind the edge of the supposed minefields. The number of meetings with the enemy has increased significantly. In 1942, submariners were recommended to maneuver off the coast in daylight, and to go out at night to replenish energy resources over a line of minefields. These changes were prerequisites for the subsequent, more advanced methods of cruising in a wide area and maneuvering positions.
During the fighting, the tactical skills of submarine commanders, who improved torpedo firing methods, grew. It is worth noting that in 1941, the Soviet submariners used mainly the method of aiming firing with one torpedo, and in 1942, they increasingly began to switch to shooting with two or three torpedoes with a time interval. The use of this method made it possible to overlap the mistakes made in determining the parameters of the movement of the target and increase the effectiveness of attacks.
The growth of tactical skills of commanders affected the use of submarines in the most difficult conditions of hostilities on coastal enemy communications, which were characterized by small length, shallow depths, dense minefields, strong protection from the coast, and the use of shallow and high-speed vessels by the enemy. All this affected the losses. During the years of the Great Patriotic War, 18 Soviet submarines were killed in the Black Sea fleet during the first period of the war, including 8 at minefields.
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