The actions of the submarine forces of the Black Sea Fleet in the period from 1943 to 1944 year


The threat looming over the groups of fascist troops in the North Caucasus and Crimea, forced the German command to hastily strengthen them. In such an environment, Black Sea communications acquired particular importance for the enemy. In 1943, between 30 and 200 convoys per month passed along the lines connecting the ports occupied by him, not counting traffic along the Kerch Strait. That is why the main task for the Soviet Black Sea fleet became a violation of enemy communications. A telegram sent to the fleet’s military council on the first day of 1943 by the Navy’s People’s Commissar indicated that, according to the information received, the enemy is very interested in shipping from Romania to the Crimea and the Kerch Peninsula, so breaking these messages will have a great deal of support to the land front .

Using combat experience that was acquired in 1941-1942. (see article The actions of the submarine forces of the Black Sea Fleet in the first period of the war .), The Black Sea Fleet, including its submarine forces, continued to step up efforts in the fight against enemy communications. In the first two months of 1943, only submarines (PL) sank 11 transports, two schooners, five landing barges and damaged two tankers, a transport, and an enemy landing barge.

Organizationally, the submarines were brought together in a brigade (BPL) of five divisional personnel. At the beginning of 1943, there were 29 submarines in it (of which there were eighteen in the ranks, the rest were under repair). The creation of an operational unit under a single command has noticeably improved the management of submarine forces, the preparation of ships for combat exits and their logistical support. By order of the naval command of 9 on August 1942, the BPL was formed by combining the 1 and 2 brigades and the 10 separate submarine division.

Violation of enemy shipping was carried out in a difficult situation. Day after day, increasing the intensity of the movement of the convoys, the fascist command at the same time took vigorous measures to ensure their safety. Thus, the enemy had four destroyers, three destroyers, three gunboats, 12 minesweepers, 3 anti-submarine and 4 patrol boats, except for several other ships converted from civilian ships to protect convoys on the lines of Sevastopol-Constanza and Constanta-Bosphorus. On communications passing along the southern coast of Crimea, the enemy used high-speed and maneuverable landing barges, which were specially re-equipped for the purpose of air defense and air defense. During the transition from Constanta to Constantinople, only one tanker, the Ossag, had two destroyers, two gunboats, an anti-submarine boat and four minesweepers in escort.

The convoys moved mainly at night, which complicated the submarine's entry into torpedo attacks. In addition, mines were a serious danger. The fascists, seeking to create a threat to our ships and shackle their actions, continued to undermine the approaches to Sevastopol, Evpatoria, Theodosia and the Kerch Strait. A total of 50 new enemy minefields (of the order of 1943 mines) were delivered in 6000 year, two dozen of them at the southern exit of the Kerch Strait. The search and attack of enemy convoys was also hampered by the fact that the submarines based in the ports of the Caucasian coast had to make long (up to 600 miles) transitions to the combat area.

Despite the difficulties, the Black Sea submariners persistently overcame the enemy PLO and did considerable damage to the enemy. The greatest results were achieved by the crew of D-4, Lieutenant Commander I.Ya. Trofimov, drowned 3 transport. On the combat score of other submarines were: M-111 - 2 transport vessel and lighter; M-112 - transport and high-speed landing barge (BDB); L-4 - BDB and two schooners; W-215 - transport and high-speed barge.

Submarines made six exits for mine operations in 1943. The 120 mines they set up in areas of lively shipping kept the Germans and their allies under constant pressure, forced to carry out continuous trawling, violated the time of departure and arrival of convoys, and led to losses. The total damage caused by submarines to the enemy’s transport fleet in the 1943 year on the Black Sea communications was 33428 reg. brt (registration gross tons). Over 1942, these losses amounted to 28007 reg. brt

By November 1943, 13 positions were established for submarines off the southern and southwestern Black Sea coast, which were actively used until the beginning of 1944. The number in the fleet of submarines remained the same - 29 units. But there were only 11 combat-ready boats; the rest required repairs. Those who were in service performed tasks in accordance with the operational directive of the Black Sea Fleet military council of January 22, as well as the combat order and directive of January 23 and 30, 1944. These documents indicated that submarine forces should conduct active combat work independently and jointly with naval forces. aviation against enemy ships, vehicles and boats in the western part of the Black Sea with the aim of disrupting or even interrupting enemy communications. Subsequently, the Main Naval Headquarters (GMS) considered the task of interrupting enemy communications as unattainable. For its success in calculating the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet in positions, it was necessary to simultaneously find three or four submarines. In fact, the Fleet could only put 2-3 boats into the sea at a time. In the same period, the submarines were entrusted with conducting daily operational intelligence during their stay at positions, as well as at the transition. In the first months of the year, the implementation of these tasks was difficult due to harsh winter conditions. The situation was also aggravated by the limited possibilities for repairing boats. For example, during the first three months of the year, no more than 40% of submarines from the list of the brigade were in service. As a result, the effectiveness of the actions of submarines on enemy communications was significantly reduced, and some ship crews had to stay at sea for up to 35 days.

It is also worth noting that every combat output of a Soviet submarine was accompanied by strong enemy resistance. The enemy had radar and sonar facilities, a wide network of radio direction finding stations. All this created a serious hindrance to the actions of our submarines. The greatest danger was posed by submarine hunters, equipped with hydroacoustic equipment, carrying depth charges, automatic cannons, large-caliber machine guns. Four squadrons of enemy hydroplanes based in Constantia systematically carried out aerial reconnaissance. Transitions of large convoys, as a rule, were provided by aviation, which searched for submarines at the rate of the convoy.

All this took into account our command, developing and using the necessary measures to ensure the safety of submarines. Special rules were established for their navigation and combat actions, and specific guidelines for commanders. They set forth the requirements and recommendations typical of various situations. It was forbidden, for example, to maneuver for a long time near the coast in the areas of radar installations, to be in position in the daytime. After a torpedo attack, when evading pursuit, it was ordered to urgently dive to the maximum possible depth or go to the dark part of the horizon. The implementation of these and other instructions facilitated the actions of commanders, increased the level of their tactical training, and ensured high effectiveness of torpedo attacks.

In just the first three months of the 1944 of the year, submarines made 17 combat exits. In 10 cases, they had combat contact with the enemy, in 7-carried out torpedo attacks, and 6 - at night. The effectiveness of the actions of Soviet submariners on enemy sea lanes at that time could have been higher if closer interaction between them and other forces of the fleet had been maintained. Thus, in most cases, they acted against enemy ships and ships discovered independently. Therefore, summing up the combat work of the submarine forces for three months 1944 of the year, the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet noted a very significant drawback: the lack of their interaction with aviation. None of the 36 convoys and ships detected by aerial reconnaissance were targeted by submarines.

Submariners showed good results during an operation to disrupt enemy communications conducted by the Black Sea Fleet by decision of the Supreme Command Headquarters in April-May 1944. They fought against convoys on the high seas and off the Romanian coast. At the first stage, the task of the operation was to prevent the strengthening of the enemy force in the Crimea. The second stage was aimed at disrupting the evacuation of the German army 17 from the Crimean peninsula. Already in March, the intensive training of submarines began, the main components of which were the forced entry into service of ships under repair and the increase in tactical literacy of officers. Taking into account the shortcomings noted by the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet for the first quarter, the brigade headquarters issued a preliminary combat instruction on interaction in the communications of submarines and aviation, clarified issues of ensuring communication with the headquarters of interacting formations and units. Operational management documents were also carefully developed, which, in particular, provided for reliable (direct and inverse) radio communication between the crew commander’s command post and the boats at sea with the reconnaissance aircraft and with each other. Also, the BPL headquarters conducted a tactical game with the commanders of divisions and crews on a topic that corresponded to the planned hostilities. The divisions, in turn, organized tactical exercises with ship officers.

The Black Sea Fleet began the operation on the night of April 9. 11-12 April, the number of submarines at sea was increased to seven. A week later, the total number of combat-ready submarines reached 12, and by May -13. For them, the 18 positions have been sliced. This made it possible for the BPL commanders to concentrate their submarines in the course of the operation where the greatest intensity of movement of the enemy ships was observed. Submariners were supposed to carry out their own search for a convoy within their positions. In the event that the enemy changed routes, the BPL commander, based on aerial reconnaissance data, ordered the boat commanders to move to other positions. This method of using submarines received the name of the position-maneuverable. He provided with an insufficient number of boats, but with good organization of their interaction with each other and with reconnaissance aviation, the ability to control a significant area and conduct active operations along the entire length of enemy communications that linked Sevastopol with Romanian ports.

Considerable success, for example, was achieved by the personnel of the Guards submarine M-35, Lieutenant Commander M. Prokofiev. 23 April from a distance in the 6 cable, the boat launched torpedoes and sank the tanker Ossag with a displacement of about 2800 t, which had been damaged by our aircraft the day before. On the night of May 10, while charging the M-35 rechargeable batteries, was attacked by an enemy aircraft. During its immersion from the explosion of high-explosive bombs, the entrance hatch of the sixth compartment failed, through which water began to flow. Eliminating damage, the crew continued to perform combat missions. May 11 with 3 cable submarines torpedoed enemy transport. The attack was made at night from the periscope depth, which was an unusual tactical technique for submariners of the Black Sea Fleet. Good results were achieved by other crews. The General Staff highlighted the fact of close interaction between submarine commanders, as well as their widespread use of cruising in designated areas, which increased the search efficiency and ensured a quick rapprochement with the enemy.

A positive role played by the interaction of submarines with aviation, striking the areas adjacent to the zones of action of submarines, guided them on the radio to convoys and individual targets. With the loss of the enemy ports of the Crimea, his communications were greatly reduced, which caused a narrowing of the area of ​​operations of the Soviet submarine forces. The number of their positions during this period often changed in accordance with the intensity of the movement of enemy ships and vessels. For example, in July there were only two positions, in August - 5. The fascists had the opportunity to carry out the escorting of convoys only between four ports (Sulina - Constanta - Varna - Burgas). Such an opportunity was ensured by their location near the coast and powerful minefields placed along these lines. Also, due to their small length, even slow-moving enemy ships could cover a specified distance overnight. Communications were served mainly by small vessels under the protection of coastal batteries with solid security and were characterized by low voltage. So, from 13 May to 9 September, 80 convoys and single ships passed here. All this complicated the combat work of our boats. During this period, there were twelve submarines on communications, which had 21 combat contact with the enemy. They carried out 8 torpedo attacks, during which they sank five enemy ships.

The actions of the underwater forces of the Black Sea Fleet in 1944 confirmed the importance and role of this kind of forces; they accounted for 33% of the total tonnage lost by the enemy in the Black Sea theater. A special role was played by the submarines in the fight against the fascist convoys during the Crimean operation. Along with aviation, they deprived the enemy of the ability to replenish troop groups, disrupted the time frame for conducting active operations, and limited the defenses of enemy units and formations. For example, the destruction of one medium tanker left 1500 twin-engine bomber or 5000 fighter aircraft out of fuel.

The success of a submarine torpedo attack depended significantly on the position of the volley. The best results were among those commanders who carried out the attack from the 2-6 cable, since with an increase in range, the enemy, having noticed the torpedo or its trail, had the opportunity to dodge. The effectiveness of actions depended on the skills acquired by submariners, both during the performance of combat missions and in the process of combat training. And the last in 1944, much attention was paid. An important role in the growth of the skill of submariners was played by careful study and application of the accumulated combat experience in its fleet, and in other fleets.

It should be noted that the conditions for the actions of the submariners of the Black Sea Fleet during the war years were unfavorable. Enemy communications were located in coastal areas, well protected by minefields. The lengths of the waterway between the ports were short, and the voltage of the communications was small. The enemy used mainly small vessels for his shipments. All this, combined with the strong guarding of convoys, which consisted of ships and aircraft, made it difficult for our boats to operate.

At the beginning of the war there was practically no interaction, both between submarines at sea and submarines with aircraft. Since 1943, the episodic nature of such interaction, thanks to the arming of ships with new technical means, has become more systematic. The constructive reliability and autonomy of the navigation of submarines also increased, which allowed, in contrast to the first period of the war, to cover vast areas of navigation with a relatively small number of submarines.

Torpedo weapon domestic fleet showed high reliability. The tactical and technical characteristics of torpedo tubes, torpedoes and firing devices were also good. At the same time, the latter were constantly improved, thereby causing further development of methods of using submarines and carrying out torpedo attacks (from positional to positional maneuvering and cruising in certain areas; from single-torpedo shooting to volley-firing, etc.). Submariners acted on the Black Sea communications of the enemy continuously, decisively and boldly, which was largely ensured by purposeful party political work carried out during the preparatory period and directly at sea on ships.

The experience of submarine warfare during the war years, and in particular in 1943-1944, revealed a number of shortcomings that are instructive in themselves. So, it was necessary to improve the technical equipment of the ships. Her inadequacy was especially felt during the first period of the war. The fleet did not have enough well-equipped and protected bases, as well as repair facilities, which reduced the possibilities of organizing reliable submarine defense at their home points, uninterrupted and full support for combat exits, and rapid recovery of damaged boats. A small number of submarines in service did not allow to keep all the Black Sea communications of the enemy under their constant and full impact.

Achkasov V., Pavlovich N. Soviet naval art in the Great Patriotic War. M .: Voenizdat, 1973. C. 302-321.
Olkhovatsky O. To act with arms unlimited ... Underwater war in the Black Sea in documents and memoirs. Part of 1. SPb .: Maritime Heritage, 2015. C. 32-40, 164-187, 231-244.
Morozov M., Kuznetsov A. The Black Sea Fleet in the Great Patriotic War. Short course of fighting. M .: Eksmo, 2015. C.34-38, 65-66.
Basov V. The combat path of the Soviet Navy. M .: Voenizdat, 1988. C. 362-370.
Sparrow V. Fighting submarines of the Black Sea Fleet // VIZH. 1987. No.8. C.19-24
Kirin I. Actions of the Black Sea Fleet on enemy communications // Black Sea Fleet in the battle for the Caucasus. M .: Voenizdat, 1958. C.28-34
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  1. +12
    August 2 2016
    The submariners acted on the enemy’s Black Sea communications continuously, decisively and boldly, which was largely ensured by purposeful party and political work carried out in the pre-revenue period and directly at sea on ships.

    For a long time I have not met phrases about party political work and, in general, about commissars, political commanders and political officers. Somehow this aspect was deleted from the history of the same World War II. Now it is not fashionable and unpopular. Well done, the author did not hesitate to mention this. In fact, the communists then were not at all what they had become by the 80 years. They were ideological and really sought to be in the forefront in the most dangerous enterprises. In general, the topic of commissioners deserves, in my opinion, a separate article or series of articles.
  2. +2
    August 2 2016
    Honestly, I was expecting a continuation today about intelligence raids ... But this is also an excellent article, thanks, many aspects are reflected ..
  3. +7
    August 2 2016
    A special role was played by submarines in the fight against fascist convoys during the Crimean operation.
    Nevertheless, the Germans removed all personnel from the Crimea and most of the equipment.
    The Germans had a very good interaction between the army fleet and aviation. We didn’t have that. All performed their tasks without helping, and sometimes, interfering, with each other.
  4. +2
    August 2 2016
    Still, comparing with the actions of the submarines of other countries, our submarines did not violate any German transfer of forces and resources by sea, no offense to the submariners will be said.
    1. +1
      August 2 2016
      Yes, no offense ... Hundreds of convoys. 4 EM, and supposedly several Romanian MM - EVERYTHING! The rest of the boat - high-speed landing barges (gee-gee, high-speed ..), and seaplanes - on one side. And our submariners to another. Losing ours with a crushing score.
      1. Cat
        August 2 2016
        The fascist Germany and its satellites on the Black Sea did not have battleships, cruisers and aircraft carriers. All that was our drowned pl. Transported goods, people. Provided communications, guarded communications. To the best of their abilities and capabilities, they did their work the name of which is simply a feat.
        1. 0
          August 4 2016
          Quote: Kotischa
          The fascist Germany and its satellites on the Black Sea did not have battleships, cruisers and aircraft carriers. All that was our drowned pl.

          Well, in the first place, Germany was still not Nazi (Italy was such), but Nazi.
          Secondly, even the evacuation of the Axis forces in 1944 was not even able to disrupt, which ...
        2. 0
          August 16 2016
          Only the sinking of Sulin’s transport was confirmed, for which the Air Force and Navy are fighting. The rest, Turkish sailing schooners, BDB heels, and even those not confirmed, are claimed by both the Air Force and artillerymen, and several longboats.
      2. +2
        August 2 2016
        If we take into account the tonnage, then the sailors and pilots sent to the bottom 80% of Romanian ships. The Germans could not hold Sevastopol for two weeks either.

        Regarding the evacuation of the Germans from the Crimea. A month earlier, according to spring thaw, the Germans from the nose near Zhukov withdrew from the Kamenetsk-Podolsky boiler the 1st Panzer Army (19 panzer divisions and 200 thousand personnel), despite the fact that they had half the fuel. The enemy was very strong and the more valuable was the victory.
        1. +1
          August 16 2016
          The Germans conducted 251 convoys, evacuated 90 troops, equipment and civilians fleeing Soviet children and pilots who had fled from Best Friends.
          And all this with the loss of one transport.
          For this, both the Air Force and the Fleet received a huge melon from the Headquarters.
          About Zhukov it is written correctly.
          He knew how to drive surrounded troops of the Red Army, but he could not close it.
        2. 0
          July 21 2017
          There are 19 tank divisions in the tank army ?! Is not it too much?
    2. +1
      August 2 2016
      Quote: Forest
      Still, comparing with the actions of the submarines of other countries, our submarines did not violate any German transfer of forces and resources by sea, no offense to the submariners will be said.

      Unfortunately, this is a fact.
    3. 0
      August 4 2016
      Quote: Forest
      Still, comparing with the actions of the submarines of other countries, our submarines did not violate any German transfer of forces and resources by sea, no offense to the submariners will be said.

      Unfortunately this is a sad fact.
  5. +6
    August 2 2016
    Quote: Forest
    Still, comparing with the actions of the submarines of other countries, our submarines did not violate any German transfer of forces and resources by sea, no offense to the submariners will be said.

    Submarines are good at ocean communications. And where there is mainly coastal transportation in shallow coastal water areas covered by aircraft, PLO boats (can you cover these boats far in the ocean?), And even coastal artillery, perhaps Germans and Americans would have shown far from usual results here. IMHO
    1. +4
      August 2 2016
      Do not forget about the Arctic. There, the English Tigris and Trident sank 8 ships in a few days, and ours, I can be mistaken, for all 4 years of the war, only 11.
      1. 0
        August 16 2016
        11 were not confirmed by the Kriegsmarine wiring journals.
        The British had two officers at headquarters. They were subordinate to the First Lord, and they won’t get three confirmations. The victory didn’t count. We tried to complain and crush them. It was useless, then they got used to it. Other victories were confirmed long after the war but still the queen presented the awards and the lists were changed. And the prizes received.
    2. 0
      August 16 2016
      So on the SF, our self-propelled did not show anything.
      And in the Baltic, when the registry opened, Travkin especially distinguished himself, then heads flew.
      In the SF, Fisanovich was distinguished by postscripts.
      And what about the Theater-Succeeded Marinesco in shallow water? And Goyscu drowned Gryshchenko, and performed productions in Danzig.
      But here the Eagle never went out into the sea, two Lenins, and they wanted the GSS, Grischenko was submerged, and Marinesko was put into the zone.
      These were the commanders in the USSR. Therefore, they retreated to Moscow, losing millions in captivity and missing.
  6. +4
    August 2 2016
    The first illustration to the article shows a rather interesting submarine. Shch-204 - the only one of the "Pike", armed with 76-mm cannon F-35 Grabin.
    The submarine disappeared in the 3rd military campaign in December 1941. The place of her death was discovered only in 1983.
  7. +1
    October 1 2016
    Glory to the heroes of the Black Sea submariners!
  8. 0
    December 26 2016
    Quote: Forest
    Still, comparing with the actions of the submarines of other countries, our submarines did not violate any German transfer of forces and resources by sea, no offense to the submariners will be said

    Well, well, especially if you remember about the sinking of Marinescu "Wilhelm Gustloff" (1300 submariners died with the ship, among whom were fully formed submarine crews and their commanders)
    The sinking of the Goya L-3 crew, along with the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff liner, is also one of the largest marine disasters (according to some, the largest marine disaster in history).
    If only their ignorance would not be flaunted. No offense will be said.

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