26 August 1941 from the outfitting wall of the Nicholas Shipyard named after Marti, the linear icebreaker “Anastas Mikoyan” hastily departed, and, burying hard in the sweeping waves, headed for Sevastopol. There was no solemn orchestra on the pier, it was not welcomed by enthusiastic spectators. The ship quickly went into the sea to the accompaniment of the roar of shots of anti-aircraft guns, reflecting the next raid of enemy bombers. So began his long journey. A path full of dangers, mystical signs and incredible rescues.
Since the beginning of the 30s, the government of the USSR paid close attention to the Arctic. The pragmatic Stalin commissars clearly understood that the transportation of goods by the northern waterway from Europe to the Asia-Pacific region and back holds great promise, but only if regular shipping is organized there. By order of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR on October 17, 1932, the Main Directorate of the Northern Sea Route was created. Of course, the development of such a difficult route was impossible without the construction of a powerful icebreaker fleet. Using the experience of operating the Ermak and Krasin icebreakers, Soviet designers developed a new type of vessel that met all the requirements of the most modern shipbuilding. Head linear icebreaker "I. Stalin "was launched from the slipway of the Leningrad plant named after S. Ordzhonikidze on April 29, 1937, and on August 23 of the following year he went on his first Arctic voyage. Following him laid two more ships of the same type: in Leningrad - “V. Molotov ", in Nikolaev -" L. Kaganovich. " The last, third, a vessel from this series was also laid in Nikolaev at the A. Marty plant in November 1935 under the name "O. J. Schmidt. " The icebreaker was launched in 1938, and the next year was renamed “A. Mikoyan. ” The ship turned out wonderful. For example, only high-quality steel was used to make the case; the number of frames was doubled. This technical innovation significantly increased the strength of the sides. The thickness of the steel sheets in the bow reached 45 mm. The vessel had a double bottom, four decks and 10 watertight bulkheads, which guaranteed the survivability of the vessel when any two compartments were flooded. Three steam engines with a capacity of 3300 hp were installed on the ship. each one. Three four-bladed propellers provided a maximum speed of 15,5 knots (about 30 km / h), and the cruising range was 6000 nautical miles. The icebreaker had nine Scottish-style coal-fired steam tube boilers and several power plants. Rescue equipment included six boats and two motor boats. The ship was equipped with a powerful radio station, which had a huge range. When designing and building a lot of attention was paid to living conditions. Convenient double and four-berth cabins, a cabin, dining rooms, a library, a shower, a steam bath, an infirmary, and a mechanized kitchen were provided for a crew of 138 people, all of which made the new icebreaker the most comfortable in the fleet. The acceptance of the vessel by the State Commission was scheduled for December 1941. However, all plans were confused by the war.
To avoid the destruction of the icebreaker aviation the enemy on the stocks of the plant in Nikolaev the unfinished ship had to be urgently put out to sea. An experienced sailor, captain of the 2nd rank S.M. Sergeeva. Sergey Mikhailovich fought in Spain, was the chief of staff of the destroyer division of the republican fleet. For skillful leadership of military operations and personal courage, he was awarded two Orders of the Red Banner.
By decision of the Black Sea Fleet headquarters, the Mikoyan who arrived in Sevastopol was converted into an auxiliary cruiser. 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. Such a weapon could envy any domestic destroyer. The range of 34-x kilogram shells of "Mikoyan" hundred thirty millimetric was 25 kilometers, the rate of fire 7-10 shots per minute. In early September, the 1941 of the ship’s weapons was completed, the naval flag of the RKKF was raised on the ship. The ship was manned by a war-time state, the deputy politically senior senior political officer Novikov, the commander of the navigational unit Captain-Lieutenant Marlyan arrived on the ship, and Lieutenant Commander Holin was appointed senior assistant. The artillerymen were taken under the command of Senior Lieutenant Sidorov, the machine team - Lieutenant Engineer Zlotnik. But the most valuable replenishment for the combat ship became the workers of the acceptance and repair teams of the plant. Marty. They were real masters of their work, highly skilled specialists who knew their ship well to the last screw: Ivan Stetsenko, Fyodor Khalko, Alexander Kalbanov, Mikhail Ulich, Nikolai Nazaraty, Vladimir Dobrovolsky and others.
In the autumn of 1941, German and Romanian aircraft dominated the skies over the Black Sea. Air defense guns and machine guns mounted on the icebreaker were serious weapons, sufficient to equip a small destroyer or nimble patrol. For reliable cover of a huge vessel, with a displacement of 11 000 tons, a length of 107 m and a width of 23 m, anti-aircraft equipment was clearly not enough. In order to improve protection against air attacks, the shipmasters attempted to adjust the main-caliber guns for firing at aircraft. It was a revolutionary decision; before that, no one fired the main caliber at aerial targets. The commander of the warhead-5, a senior engineer-lieutenant Yousef Zlotnik, proposed an original method for the realization of this idea: to increase the vertical angle of aiming to increase the embrasure in the shields of the guns. Avtogen did not take armor steel, then the former shipbuilder Nikolai Nazaraty in a few days did all the work using electric welding.
An armed icebreaker, which has now become an auxiliary cruiser, was ordered by the order of the Commander of the Black Sea Fleet into the detachment of ships of the north-western region of the Black Sea, which, as part of the Komintern cruiser, the destroyers Nezamozhnik and Shahumyan, a division of cannon boats and other platinum crews, was intended to provide fire support for the defenders of Odessa. Upon arrival at the Odessa naval base, the ship was immediately included in the defense system of the city. Several days of the guns of the auxiliary cruiser “A. Mikoyan "crushed the position of the German and Romanian troops, incidentally reflecting the attacks of enemy aircraft. One day, when the icebreaker reached the position for artillery firing, it was attacked by the Junkers link. By anti-aircraft fire, one aircraft was instantly shot down, the second caught fire and headed towards the ship, apparently the German pilot decided to ram the ship. The cruiser, which had almost no progress and was devoid of the possibility of maneuver, was doomed, but ... literally a few dozen meters from the side of the Junkers suddenly pecked with its nose and fell into the water with a ball of fire. Having spent all the ammunition, the icebreaker went to Sevastopol to obtain supplies.
The next combat mission assigned to the cruiser “A. Mikoyan ”, was the artillery support of the famous landing near Grigoryevka. September 22, 1941 the ship smashed with its salvos of the enemy in the range of operations of the 3rd Marine Regiment. Accurate fire of the commandants suppressed several artillery batteries, destroyed a number of fortifications and strong points of the enemy, destroyed a large amount of manpower. For excellent shooting "Mikoyan" received gratitude from the command of the Primorsky Army. After the completion of the heroic defense of Odessa, the combat service of the ship continued. The icebreaker participated in the defense of Sevastopol, where, following the requests of the city’s defense headquarters, it repeatedly opened fire on clusters of enemy troops, but regular raids between Sevastopol and Novorossiysk became the main occupation of the auxiliary cruiser. The vessel, which had a large volume of internal living quarters, was used to evacuate the wounded, civilians and valuable cargo. In particular, it was at Mikoyan that a part was exported historical relics - the famous panorama of Franz Roubaud "Sevastopol defense".
At the beginning of November 1941, the ship was recalled from the theater of operations “for the fulfillment of an important government assignment,” as stated in the received radiogram. The icebreaker arrived at the port of Batumi, where the gun was dismantled for a week, and then the naval flag was replaced with a national flag. The auxiliary cruiser "A. Mikoyan" again became a batten icebreaker. Part of the crew departed to other ships and the land front, the ship’s artillery was used to equip the battery under the Ochamchira.
In the autumn of 1941, the USSR State Defense Committee made a very peculiar decision to transfer three large tankers (Sakhalin, Varlaam Avanesov, Tuapse) and the line icebreaker A. A. from the Black Sea to the North and the Far East). Mikoyan. This was due to the acute shortage of tonnage for the transport of goods. On the Black Sea, these vessels had nothing to do, and in the North and the Far East they were extremely necessary. In addition, due to the instability of the front and the number of defeats of the Red Army from the Wehrmacht in the South of the country, there was a real threat of the capture or destruction of both the military and the civil fleet of the USSR concentrated in the Black Sea ports. The ruling was absolutely justified, only its implementation looked absolutely fantastic. The passage by inland waterways to the North was impossible. The vessels could not pass through the river systems due to too much precipitation, moreover, in the autumn of 41, Finnish troops reached the White Sea-Baltic Canal in the area of the Povenets system of locks and tightly blocked this waterway. Consequently, it was necessary to go through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal, further around Africa, cross the Atlantic, the Pacific Ocean and arrive in Vladivostok. Even in peacetime, such a transition is quite complicated, and then the war.
But the most "interesting" Soviet ships awaited ahead. During hostilities, civilian ships used as troop transports usually received some kind of armament — a couple of guns, several anti-aircraft machine guns. Of course, against such a serious enemy, such equipment did not give much, but with such a weapon a convoy of several units was quite capable of driving a single destroyer away from themselves, repelling themselves from the attack of several aircraft, and defending themselves against the attack of torpedo boats. In addition, warships almost always accompanied warships. For Soviet sailors, this option was excluded. The fact is that Turkey declared its neutrality, banning the passage of warships of all the warring countries through the Straits. No exception was made for armed transports. In addition, Turkey was terribly afraid of the invasion of Soviet and British troops: the example of Iran was before her eyes. Therefore, the frank sympathies of the Ankara government were on the side of Germany, while confidently winning on all fronts. Axis spies of all stripes felt at home in Istanbul. Moreover, the Aegean Sea was controlled by Italian and German ships, based on numerous islands. On about. Lesbos stationed a detachment of destroyers, on Rhodes was the base of torpedo boats. Air cover was carried out by the bombers and torpedo bombers of the Italian Air Force. In short, a trip to 25 thousands of miles across five seas and three oceans to the unarmed ships was tantamount to suicide. However, the order is an order. November 24 teams said farewell to their relatives, and the transition began. To confuse the enemy intelligence, on leaving the port a small caravan of three tankers and an icebreaker escorted by the leader Tashkent and the destroyers Able and Sobery took direction north towards Sevastopol. After waiting for darkness, the convoy abruptly changed course and moved at full speed towards the Straits. A brutal storm broke out at sea, and soon the ships lost each other in the dark, and the icebreaker had to break through the raging sea alone. In the Bosphorus "A. Mikoyan came on his own, the raid boat set up a boom and 26 on November 1941, the ship dropped anchor in the harbor of Istanbul. The city struck sailors with its "non-military" life. The streets were brightly lit, a well-dressed public walked along the quays, music was heard from numerous cafes. After the ruins and fires of Odessa and Sevastopol, everything that happened looked simply unreal. In the morning, a Soviet naval attache in Turkey, Captain 1, rank Rodionov, and a representative of the British military mission, Lieutenant Commander Rogers arrived at the icebreaker. By prior agreement between the governments of the USSR and Great Britain, the English warships were to accompany the icebreaker and tankers to the port of Famagusta in Cyprus. However, Rogers said that England does not have the capacity to escort ships and they will have to travel without security. It was akin to betrayal. Whatever motives the “enlightened navigators” were guided by, the crews of the Soviet ships faced the most difficult task - to break through on their own. After some discussion, the captains of the icebreaker and the arriving tankers decided to go on a given route one by one, at night, aside from the “rolling” shipping routes.
On the night of November 01.30 30 icebreaker began to choose the anchor. A Turkish pilot arrived on board when he was told where the ship should go, he only shook his head sympathetically. Breaking the oily waves with its massive stem, the Mikoyan cautiously moved south. The night was very dark, it was raining, so his departure was unnoticed by enemy intelligence. Istanbul is left behind. At the ship’s meeting, Captain Sergeyev announced the purpose of the march, explained that he could expect sailors at the crossing. The crew decided when trying to capture the ship by the enemy to defend to the last, using all available means, and if it was impossible to prevent the capture, to sink the ship. The whole weapon arsenal of the icebreaker consisted of 9 pistols and one hunting "Winchester", in the shipyards workshops primitive peaks and another "deadly" weapon were quickly made. The emergency party rolled fire hoses on decks, prepared sandboxes and other fire-fighting equipment. Near the Kingston valves put up a reliable watch of the Communist volunteers.
The observers were closely watching the sea and the air; in the engine room, the firemen tried to make sure that even one spark did not fly out of the chimneys. Radio operators Koval and Gladush listened to the air, periodically capturing intensive negotiations in German and Italian. During daylight, Captain Sergeyev skillfully sheltered a vessel in the area of some islet, approaching the coast as close as the depth would allow. At dusk, in a storm, the Soviet sailors unnoticed managed to pass the island of Samos, where the enemy had an observation post, equipped with powerful searchlights.
On the third night, the moon looked out, the sea calmed down, and the icebreaker, desperately smoking with its pipes due to poor-quality coal, became immediately noticeable. The most dangerous point of the route was near - Rhodes, where the Italo-German forces had a large military base. During the night, they did not have time to slip through the island, there was nowhere to hide, and Captain Sergeyev decided to follow on at his own risk. Soon the signalmen noticed two rapidly approaching points. On the ship, the alarm was played, but what could an unarmed ship do against two Italian torpedo boats? Sergeev decided to go on the trick. Boats approached and from there flags on the international code requested the identity and point of destination. There was no point in answering this question, the waving red flag with a golden hammer and sickle spoke for itself. However, in order to gain time, the mechanic Hamidulin climbed onto the wing of the bridge and in megaphone, in Turkish, replied that the ship was Turkish, he was going to Smyrna. The flags with the “Follow me” signal were hoisted on the boats. The direction proposed by the Italians coincided with the planned course so far, and the icebreaker obediently turned around behind the lead boat, organizing a small caravan: the boat was in front, followed by the Mikoyan, and another boat was going astern. The icebreaker was moving slowly, hoping to approach Rhodes as late as possible in the evening, all requirements to increase speed, captain Sergeyev refused, referring to the breakdown in the car. The Italians, apparently, were very pleased: of course, to seize the whole ship without a shot! As soon as the mountains of Rhodes appeared on the horizon, Sergeev gave the command: “Full speed!”, And Mikoyan, picking up speed, turned sharply to the side. Apparently, the captain of the enemy "shnelbot" had already begun to celebrate the victory in advance, since he had committed an absolutely illogical act: launching whole garlands of rockets into the sky, deployed his ship across the course of the Soviet ship, substituting his board. Maybe it would have worked in a peaceful environment, but there was a war, and even for a linear icebreaker, to which meter ice - seeds, the Italian “tin” did not create problems in the event of a collision. "Mikoyan" boldly went to the ram. Dodging a collision, the enemy ship moved parallel to the course of the Soviet ship, almost at the very edge, the sailors of the boat rushed to the machine guns. And here from the icebreaker struck a powerful jet of fire hydrant, knocking down and stunning enemy sailors. The second boat opened fire from all the trunks on the sides and superstructure of the icebreaker. The wounded driver Rusakov fell, he was taken to the infirmary, and the sailor Molochinsky immediately replaced him. Realizing that the shooting of the barrel weapon is ineffective, the Italians turned around and took the position for a torpedo attack. It seemed that the huge unarmed ship had come to an end. According to eyewitnesses, captain Sergeyev literally rushed about the wheelhouse from side to side, not paying attention to the whistling bullets and flying glass fragments, tracking all the maneuvers of boats and constantly changing course.
Italian torpedo boat MS-15
Here are the first two torpedoes rushed to the ship, quickly shifting the steering wheel, Sergeyev turned the icebreaker nose in their direction, thus significantly reducing the area of destruction, and the torpedoes passed by. Italian boatmen launched a new attack, from two sides. From one torpedo also managed to dodge, the other went right on target. Further nothing can be explained as a miracle. The icebreaker, having made some inconceivable circulation in a few seconds, managed to turn around astern towards the rushing death and wake the torpedo, which, flashing in the foamed water, passed just a meter from the board. Having shot the whole ammunition, in impotent rage the boats went to Rhodes. They were replaced by two Cant-Z 508 seaplanes. Having descended, they dropped by parachute torpedoes of special design, which, when landing, begin to describe concentric tapering circles and are guaranteed to hit the target. However, this ingenious idea did not help, both “cigars” passed by the target. Having decreased, hydroplanes began to fire the plane from guns and machine guns. The bullets pierced the petrol tank filled with gasoline, and the burning fuel poured out onto the deck. The emergency party tried to fight the fire, but heavy shelling from airplanes forced the sailors to constantly hide behind superstructures. The signalman Poleshchuk was injured. And here, amidst a practically clear sky, a squall unexpectedly came, accompanied by heavy rain. Heavy rain bit the flame, a team of brave souls rushed to the fire. Sailor Lebedev and the boatswain Groysman axes desperately cut the ropes. Instant - and the burning boat flew overboard. He was followed by lifebuoys damaged by fire and other damaged inventory. Hiding behind the veil of rain, the icebreaker went farther and farther from the enemy shores, taking more 500 holes on itself. On the air, there was a roll call of the enemy destroyers who had gone on a search, but the Soviet ship was no longer available to them.
Italian Air Force Seaplane Cant z-508
The British naval base Famagusta, contrary to expectations, met the "Mikoyan" people inhospitable. The English officer who climbed aboard asked the Soviet captain for a long time and captiously about what had happened, shaking his head in disbelief: after all, the Italians, having found the wreckage of the ill-fated boat and the burnt life-buoys, trumpeted the whole world about the sinking of the Russian icebreaker. Finally, the Englishman gave orders to follow to Beirut. With a puzzled shrug, Sergeev led the icebreaker at the indicated course, but even there the authorities, without even allowing the day to stop, to patch the holes and eliminate the consequences of the fire, redirected the Mikoyan to Haifa. Sailors knew that this port was constantly subjected to raids by Italian aviation, but there was no choice, the ship was in need of repair. Having completed the transition safely, in early December Mikoyan anchored in the port of Haifa. The repair began, however, the next day, the British authorities asked to relocate the vessel. A day later, then again. In 17 days, the Soviet ship was rearranged six times! Deputy Sergeev Barkovsky recalled that, as it turned out later, in this way the Allies had “checked” the port's water area for the presence of magnetic mines exposed by enemy aircraft, using the icebreaker as an experimental one.
Finally, the repair was completed, the crew was preparing to sail. The first to leave the port was a large English tanker “Phoenix”, filled with oil products to the eyeballs. Suddenly there was a powerful explosion beneath him: an Italian mine went off. Sea flushed from burning oil. The crews of the ships in the port and the port officials panicked to flee. "Mikoyan" did not have a move, the flame that had come close, was already beginning to lick the sides. The sailors, risking their lives, tried to knock him down with jetting sprays. Finally, the car came to life, and the icebreaker moved away from the pier. When the smoke cleared a little, a terrible picture appeared to the Soviet sailors: two more tankers were burning, at the stern of one of them people crowded. Having deployed the ship, Sergeev went to the ships in distress. Having ordered the emergency party to shoot down the flame with water from fire hoses and thus pave the way to the emergency vessel, the captain of the Soviet ship sent the last remaining boat to rescue the distressed. The people were taken out on time, the fire had almost reached them, the ship's doctor immediately began to provide assistance to the burned and wounded. The signalman conveyed the message that the English anti-aircraft gunners were cut off at the breakwater by fire. The ship's boat was picking up people swimming from the water, and there was clearly not enough time to use it also to help the British gunners. Sergeev's gaze fell on the port tugs standing near the pier, abandoned by their teams. On the speakerphone, the captain summoned volunteers. Crew members, senior mate Kholin, Barkovsky, Simonov and some others on the rowboat went through the fire to the pier. Soviet sailors launched the tugboat engine, and the little boat boldly moved through the burning oil to the breakwater. Help to the British anti-aircraft gunners came in a timely manner: boxes of ammunition had already begun to smoke on the positions. The fire lasted three days. During this time, the crew of the Soviet ship managed to save crews from two tankers, soldiers from gun crews, to assist several ships. Just before the icebreaker left the port, an English officer arrived on board and handed a letter of thanks to the British admiral, who thanked the personnel of the icebreaker for the courage and stamina shown during the rescue of English soldiers and sailors of foreign ships. By prior arrangement, the British had to put several guns and anti-aircraft machine guns on the icebreaker, but here too the “noble lords” remained true to themselves: instead of the promised weapons, a single 1905 salutation gun was installed on the Mikoyan. For what? The answer sounded mockingly: “now you have the opportunity to salute the nations when entering foreign ports”.
The Suez Canal icebreaker passed at night, bypassing the protruding masts of sunken ships. Fires were raging on the banks: the next raid of German aviation had just ended. Ahead is Suez, where “A. Mikoyan” was to receive the necessary supplies. Coal loading, and this is 2900 tons, was done manually, the captain Sergeyev offered help: to use ship loading mechanisms and to allocate part of the crew for work. A categorical refusal followed from the British authorities; they tried to prevent the contact of the Soviet people with the local people for fear of “red propaganda”. During the loading operations, an incident occurred that angered the whole team. In his diary, sailor Alexander Lebedev wrote down the following: “One of the Arabs, who had fled with a basket of coal along shaky walkways, stumbled and flew down. He fell back on the sharp iron side of the barge and apparently broke his spine. The ship doctor Popkov rushed to his aid. But he was blocked by overseers. Catching a moaning loader, they dragged him into the hold of the barge. To a protest by Sergeyev, a young, dorky English officer replied with a cynical smile: “The life of a native, sir, cheap goods.” ” The current "bearers of human values" had excellent teachers.
1 February 1942 r before the ship opened its arms to the Indian Ocean. The transition was very difficult. On an icebreaker absolutely unsuitable for swimming in the tropics, the team had to make inhuman efforts to complete the task. From the sweltering heat, it was especially difficult for the machine crew: the temperature in the rooms reached 65 degrees Celsius. In order to facilitate the watchkeeping, the captain ordered to give out cold barley beer and ice water to the stokers, slightly “tinted” with dry wine. One day the signalmen noticed some smoke on the horizon. Soon two English destroyers approached the icebreaker and, for some strange reason, fired a volley from the guns. Although the fire was fired from a distance of one and a half cables (about 250 m), not a single projectile hit the ship! Finally managed to establish contact with the brave sons of the "mistress of the seas." It turned out that they were a Soviet icebreaker for the German raider, although from such a scanty distance, the absence of any weapons on board the Mikoyan and the fluttering red flag could not be seen only by a blind man.
Finally, the first scheduled parking, the port of Mombasa. Sergeyev appealed to the English commandant with a request to ensure the passage of the icebreaker by the Mozambique Channel, which was politely refused. To a perfectly fair remark by the Soviet captain that the path along the east coast of Madagascar was seven days longer, in addition, according to the same British, Japanese submarines were seen there, the commodore mockingly replied that Russia was not at war with Japan. Sergeev promised to complain to Moscow, and the Englishman reluctantly agreed, even having identified a fleet officer Edward Hanson for communication. However, the Briton resolutely refused to provide strait charts to Soviet sailors. The icebreaker again moved forward, winding between a mass of small islands off the African coast. In one of the days the ship got into a difficult situation, the shoals were found everywhere on the course. And then a miracle happened again. Botsman Alexander Davidovich Groisman told about it like this: “During the hardest passage through the reefs, a dolphin nailed up to the ship. There was no card. Sergeyev ordered to turn on the music, and the dolphin under it, like a brave pilot, led the sailors to safe places. ”
In Cape Town, the icebreaker was received in a friendly manner, a note about his exploits had already been published in the press. There were no problems with supplies, a convoy was formed in the port, which was supposed to go in the direction of South America. Sergeyev appealed to the flagship with a request to enlist his ship in the caravan and take it under protection, but this time he was refused. Motivation - too low speed. It was a reasonable objection that the convoy included ships with a move to 9 nodes, and the Mikoyan, even after such a long transition, confidently gives 12, the English officer, after a little thought, gave another excuse: coal was used as fuel on the Soviet ship pipes will unmask the ships. Having finally lost faith in the sincerity of the actions of the allies, Sergeyev ordered to prepare for withdrawal. Late in the evening of March 26 1942, the icebreaker silently withdrew from the anchor and disappeared into the night darkness. In order to somehow protect themselves from possible encounters with the German raiders, the ship's craftsmen built dummies of guns on the deck from improvised materials, giving the peaceful ship a threatening look.
The transition to Montevideo turned out to be very heavy, a merciless eight-point storm continued for 17 days. It should be noted that the icebreaker was not adapted to swimming in stormy seas. It was a very stable ship, with a large metacentric height, contributing to the rapid and sharp roll, sometimes the roll reached critical values in 56 degrees. A wave of damages was inflicted on the deck with blows of the waves; several accidents with boilers occurred in the engine room, but the sailors withstood this test with honor. At last, the muddy water of the Gulf of La Plata appeared ahead. Captain Sergeyev requested permission to enter the port, to which he received a reply that neutral Uruguay did not allow entry into foreign armed ships. It was necessary to eliminate the misunderstanding, to call the representatives of the authorities in order to show them that the “armament” on the ship was not real. Linear icebreaker "A. Mikoyan ”was the first Soviet ship to visit this South American port. His appearance caused an unprecedented excitement among the locals, and when the sailors in full dress, solemnly lined up on Independence Square, laid flowers at the monument to the national hero of Uruguay, General Artigas, their adoration of the Russians reached its apogee. There were frequent delegations, excursions, just a lot of curious citizens. The Soviet sailors were puzzled by the constant requests to remove the uniform caps and show the head. It turns out that for years the “free” press was telling the townsfolk, each bolshevik was obliged to have a pair of flirty horns on their heads.
The further journey of the heroic icebreaker took place without incident, in the summer of 1942 of the year “A. Mikoyan” entered the port of Seattle to repair and obtain supplies. The Americans well armed the ship by installing three 76 mm guns and ten 20 mm Oerlikon submachine guns. 9 August 1942, an icebreaker anchored in the Gulf of Anadyr, making an unparalleled three hundred daily voyage, 25 long, thousands of nautical miles.
Icebreaker A. Mikoyan in the Kara Sea
Many books and articles have been written about the transatlantic convoys that followed the war through the North Atlantic to the ports of Soviet Russia. However, few people know that the caravans of transports went along the Northern Sea Route. For some reason, this important episode of the war is almost forgotten by Russian historians and writers.
14 August 1942 Special Expedition Expedition (EON-18), consisting of 19 transports, three warships: the leader of “Baku”, the destroyers “Reasonable” and “Furious”, accompanied by icebreakers “A. Mikoyan "and" L. Kaganovich ", left Providence Bay and headed west. By that time, Captain MS Sergeev departed for Vladivostok, where he received a warship under his command. The most experienced polar explorer, Yury Konstantinovich Khlebnikov, was appointed to command the icebreaker. Due to the most complicated ice conditions, the movement of the convoy was slow. In the Chukchi Sea, the flagship of the I. Stalin Arctic Icebreaking Fleet approached the caravan. With the help of three 11 icebreakers in September, EON-18 managed to break through into the East Siberian Sea, where vessels and supplies were waiting for vessels to replenish in Ambarchik Bay. After a week of heroic efforts, the caravan arrived at Tiksi Bay, where the icebreaker Krasin joined them. In Tiksi, the ships had to linger, in the Kara Sea the German battleship "Admiral Scheer" and several submarines set about to perform the operation "Wunderland" to search for and destroy EON-18. 19 September, announcing on ships increased combat readiness, the caravan moved west towards the Vilkitsky Strait. Soviet sailors were ready for any surprises, they had already received a message about the heroic death of the A.Sibiryakov icebreaking steamer. Fortunately, meetings with the German raider and submarines were avoided.
After EON-18 was safely brought to clean water, the icebreaker “A. Mikoyan” again headed east to Sharku, where another group of ships leaving the Yenisei Bay was waiting for him. Then the icebreaker made several more flights to the Kara Sea, escorting caravans and single vessels, breaking through to the ports of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk. Navigation of the 1942-43 winter of the year was completed in mid-December, by which time Soviet icebreakers conducted ice trails around 300 vessels. 21 December “Mikoyan” circled Kanin Nos, and a record appeared in the logbook: “Crossed 42 degrees east longitude”. In this geographical point, in fact, the circumnavigation of the ship, begun a year ago, was completed.
The vessel was in full swing into the throat of the White Sea, skirting the low shores of Kolguev Island. Suddenly, there was a strong explosion: the icebreaker ran into a mine. In September, the Nazis, annoyed by the unsuccessful raid of Admiral Scheer, sent the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper to the Kara Sea and the surrounding areas in September, accompanied by four destroyers who had put up several minefields. On one of them the icebreaker “A. Mikoyan” was blown up. The explosion ruined the entire aft part of the vessel, severely damaging the engine room, the steering machine was disabled, even the deck on the poop swelled with a hill. However, the margin of safety inherent in the design of the vessel bore fruit, the Mikoyan remained afloat, the shaft generators and screws survived. A repair crew from experienced shipbuilders who had worked on the construction of the icebreaker was immediately organized. Repairs carried out right in the sea, among the ices. Finally, it was possible to make a move, and the ship, driven by machines, independently arrived at the port of Molotovsk (now Severodvinsk). Every icebreaker was needed for the winter ice campaign in the White Sea. And the workers of the shipyard № 1942 did not disappoint. By applying the case cementing, replacing the cast parts with welded parts, they were able to make complex repairs in the shortest possible time. The icebreaker again went into flight, providing wiring caravans on the White Sea.
In order to finally eliminate the consequences of the explosion, a more complete repair was required. There was no big dock and technical facilities in the North of Soviet Russia at that time, and by agreement with the American side with the start of navigation in the summer of 1943, “A. Mikoyan "went to the ship repair plant in America, in the city of Seattle. The icebreaker headed eastward under its own power, and even led a convoy of ships.
After the repair, the linear icebreaker “A. Mikoyan” provided escort for ships in the Eastern sector of the Arctic, and after the war, for 25 years, drove caravans along the Northern Sea Route and severe Far Eastern waters.
All four of the same type of icebreaker pre-war buildings faithfully served the country for a long time. "BUT. Mikoyan ”,“ Admiral Lazarev ”(formerly“ L. Kaganovich ”) and“ Admiral Makarov ”(formerly“ V. Molotov ”) were excluded from the lists of the USSR icebreaking fleet at the end of the 60s. The last deep modernization in 1958 in Vladivostok “Siberia” (the name was given to the flagship “I. Stalin”) was scrapped only in 1973 year.