View Full Version : The Soviet Navy of WWII

08-19-2005, 05:16 PM
I don€t know much about the Soviet navy during WWII. The Baltic Fleet was locked in the Leningrad harbour, Kronstadt most of the war and supported the ground-troops.
Marat was sunk there by Rudel but was recovered?
After the siege was broken, they slipped out of the Finnish Gulf and sailed out in the Baltic See.
The Baltic fleet supported the offensive of Karelian Isthmus.
Their Submarines sunk some ships with most civilians and wounded, like Wilhelm Gustloff, Steuben and others.

The Baltic fleet didn€t manage to stop the iron-ore transportation on the Baltic see between Sweden and Germany. They didnt show up in north sea, they didnt inflict in the Submarine-production and exercises in the Baltic See, as far as I know.
What did the Northern navy do in the north Atlantic, The Black Sea fleet in the Black See, What did the Soviet navy do in Caspian see and the Pacific Ocean? They stayed out of the Tsushima straits this time but what did they do in Sakhalin Island and Korea?
Did they try to sink Tirpitz and other "Kriegsmarine" kapital ships in the Alta-fiord and northern Norway?

Did they take part in supporting the ground offensive in the Baltic States, East Prussia, Poland and Germany, like the big RN and USN battleships did in Africa, Mediterranean, Normandy and Pacific?

I am most eager to fill my historical gap in WWII history.

08-19-2005, 06:31 PM
Admiral Kuznetsov

~~> http://admiral.centro.ru/memor00.htm

S! is for See Ya! Its a long read. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

08-19-2005, 06:42 PM
Ah, some light bed-time reading, cheers mate!
Looks interesting...

08-19-2005, 07:11 PM
Best book on the subject is "Soviet Naval Operations in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945. By V.I. Achkasov and N.B. Pavlovich.

Naval operations (especially surface opeartions) between Germany and Soviet Russia were, if anything, more intense than anything that took place between the Allies and Germany. An amazing read.

another excellent book on the subject, from the German view is "The Soviets as Naval Opponents 1941-1945, by Vice Admiral Friedrich RUGE.

08-20-2005, 12:49 AM
The Soviet Navy was also deeply involved in, and contributed greatly to, the battle of Stalingrad.

08-20-2005, 03:56 AM
Hello jugent. The Soviet Navy is certainly a very interesting part of WWII and I would very much like to have a discussion on it. Unfourtunately, I do not have the time right now, but I will get back to you shortly.

In the meantime, here is a complete Order of Battle for the Soviet Black Sea Fleet. I hope you enjoy.

1 battleship:

The Parijskaia Kommuna (built in 1916, displacement: 23000 tons, 22 knots, armament: 12x305mm, 12x120mm, 6x75mm, 12x40mm AA)


2 heavy cruisers:

The Voroshilov (built in 1939, displacement: 8000 tons, 35 knots, armament: 9x180mm, 10x102mm, 10x37mm AA, 6 torpedo tubes)


The Molotov (built in 1939, displacement: 8000 tons, 35 knots, armament: 9x180mm, 10x102mm, 10x37mm AA, 6 torpedo tubes)


4 cruisers:
The Krasnii Kavkaz (built in 1915-16, displacement: 8000 tons, 29 knots, armament: 4x180mm, 4x102mm, 4x37mm AA, 12 torpedo tubes, 1 catapult)


The Krasnii Krim (built in 1915-1916, displacement: 6934 tons, 29 knots, armament: 15x130mm, 6x102mm, 8x75mm, 10x37mm AA, 12 torpedo tubes, 1 catapult)


The Cervona Ukraina (built in 1915-1916, displacement: 6800 tons, 30 knots, armament: 15x130mm, 4x75mm AA, 6 torpedo tubes)

The Komintern (built in 1904, 25 knots, armament: 10x130mm, 3x75mm, 2x47mm AA)


3 Light Cruisers:

The Tashkent, (built in 1936-1939, displacement: 2895 tons, 35 knots, armament: 5x130mm, 4x37mm, 8xAAMGs, 9 torpedo tubes)


The Harkov (built in 1936-1939, displacement: 2895 tons, 35 knots, armament: 5x130mm, 4x37mm, 8xAAMGs, 9 torpedo tubes)


The Moskva (built in 1936-1939, displacement: 2895 tons, 35 knots, armament: 5x130mm, 4x37mm, 8xAAMGs, 9 torpedo tubes)


15 destroyers:
The Besposciadnii, Bezuprecinii, Boikii, Bistrii, Bodrii, Bditelnii, Soobrazitlenii, Smislenii, Sposobnii and Sovershenii (built in 1939-1940, displacement: 2000 tons, 36-37 knots, armament: 4x130mm, 2x75mm, 4x37mm AA, 6 torpedo tubes

The Dzerjinski, Shaumian, Nezamojnik, Frunze, Jelezneakov (built in 1916, displacement: 1300 tons, 28 knots, armament: 4x102mm, 1x37mm, 2xAAMGs, 6 torpedo tubes)

2 torpedo boats:

The Shtorm and Shkval (built in 1932-1935, displacement: 700 tons, 29 knots, 2x100mm, 2x37mm AA, 3 torbedo tubes, 40 mines)

4 gunboats: The Krasnaia Armenia, Krasnii, Adjaristan, Krasnaia Abhazia, Krasnaia Gruzia (built in 1916, displacement: 1120 tons, 9 knots, armament: 3x130mm, 2x75mm AA, 2xMGs, 248 mines)

47 submarines: (built in 1935)

16 Sciuka-class (displacement: 660/880 tons, 13/9 knots, armament: 6 tubes, 2x45mm)
6 Maliutka-class (displacement: 160/220 tons, 12/8 knots, armament: 2 tubes, 1x45mm)
6 L-class (displacement: 896/1318 tons, 14/8 knots, armament: 8 tubes, 1x102mm, 1x37mm, 8 mines)
5 S-class (displacement: 780 tons, 20/8 knots, armament: 6 tubes, 1x76mm)
2 D-class (displacement: 920 tons, 15 knots, armament: 8 tubes, 1x102mm)
4 A-class (displacement: 330/435 tons)

84 Motor Torpedo Boats (MBTs): Vosper-class and smaller types (displacement: 11 tons, 42 knots)

15 security boats/tugs: (displacement: 400-500 tons, 18 knots, armament: 2x102mm, 1x47mm)

08-20-2005, 04:39 AM
Luftwaffe_109, neat stuff. Looking forward to more. Thanks.

08-20-2005, 07:54 AM
Thanks for all tips and links. I get a bad tast in my mouth when I read "Their sacrifical defence of .." But I wash my mouth, spit out and continue.
Thanks for "Ships" impressing strength in such a narrow water. It must have dominated the see.
As a comparison Kriegsmarine got 57 submarines which of whom was 27 medium or big (750 tons or more), two battlecruisers (pocket battleships), 8 cruisers and 20 destroyers of different types at the start of WWII.

08-20-2005, 08:36 AM
1 BattleShip. Red Navy must not have been very large, Compared to UK, and US.

08-20-2005, 11:38 AM
Note that this was only the Black-Sea fleet.
Almost as if USN should have a Lake Ontario fleet.
The Soviet navy also got the Baltic Fleet, Northern Fleet and Pacific fleet.
Leningrad, Murmansk and Vladivostok was their Fleet-bases.
Its not fair to compare the Red Fleet to USN or RN because Soviet Union was a continental oriented Great-Power.
During the Cuba-incident they discovered that a big navy is essential to a Super-power, perhaps not for war, but for pre-war purpose. Gun-boat diplomacy.
If there had been a conflict between WP/Nato. I think that a convoy-carrier-group would have been the perfect nuclear target, only military, far away and very important target. Low risk of escalating to full nuclear warfare.

08-20-2005, 12:18 PM
Originally posted by WarWolfe_1:
1 BattleShip. Red Navy must not have been very large, Compared to UK, and US.

3 Battleships of the Sevastopol class, the one posted by Luftwaffe_109 Parizhskaya Kommuna/Sevastopol (she got her original name back) in the Black Sea, and two others, Marat (partially detroyed by Rudel) and Oktyabrskaya Revolutsia. in the Baltic sea. No carriers of course. Some ambitious plans prewar for some big battlecruisers and such never panned out.

Here is a link for these old but useful (especially for supporting ground ops) BBs.

Sevastopol class (http://steelnavy.com/OS%20Sevastopol.htm)

Kinda ugly though...I prefer the lines of the cruisers or the Tashkent.

08-20-2005, 12:20 PM
Any way you put it, that's a sh1tload of ships! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/354.gif

08-20-2005, 02:18 PM
Hello jugent.

Thanks for "Ships" impressing strength in such a narrow water. It must have dominated the see.

Not really, actually one might argue that, given its size, the Soviet Black Sea Fleet performed quite ineffectively during the war. The Axis was able to establish convoys for supply vessels in the Black Sea and oil supplies through the Bosporus were not seriously challenged.

The escorted Axis tonnage through the Dardanelles was:
1941: 78,032 tons
1942: 815,104 tons
1943: 1,222,500 tons

During the war, the Black Sea Fleet was able to sink the following ships.
1941: 3 merchant ships, 3 Turkish coasters (tonnage of 15098 tons).
1942: 13 merchant ships, including 8 Turkish coasters and 2 tugs (tonnage of 12226 tons)
1943: 16 merchant ships (tonnage of 30886 tons)
1944: 1 lighter, 1 motor boat, 1 tug

One of the reasons for the ineffectiveness of the Black Sea fleet given the small Kriegsmarine presence (their largest surface vessels being destroyer-sized) was the potential of the anti-shipping aircraft of the Luftwaffe which often kept the larger Soviet fleet units tied up in the eastern portion of the Black Sea.

The Kriegsmarine deployed the 30th U-Boat Flotilla (under Captain Rosenbaum) to the Black Sea. It consisted of U-9, U-19 and U-24 from October 1942 with the addition, in May 1943, of U-18, U-20 and U-23. These were all Type IIB subs.

Here is a link for these old but useful (especially for supporting ground ops) BBs.
Thanks joeap, interesting resource! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

To conclude my previous post, these are pictures of some of the destroyers of the Black Sea fleet:

The Smishleniy:

The Bodriy:

The Frunze:

The Boikiy:

Now, unfortunately I better be off to work. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

08-20-2005, 03:01 PM
Originally posted by jugent:
What did the Black Sea fleet do in the Black See

Hi jugent. The only major naval engagement between Rumanian and Soviet ships occured in the naval battle outside Constanta harbour.

On the 25th of June, 1941, at 7:15 AM, a Soviet task force comprising of the destroyers Harhov and Moskva left Sevastopol harbor, followed some hours later by a heavy supporting naval group consisting of the heavy cruiser Voroshilov and the destroyers Soobrazitelnii and Smishlenii.

The task force sailed towards Constanta during the night of the 25th. At 3:58 AM, two ships of unknown origin heading South-West at high speed were spotted by the Rumanian destroyer Regina Maria however they were believed to be Axis destroyers. The two ships (which were in fact the Harhov and Moskva) opened fire. The first two salvos fell in the waters of Constanta harbor, framing the Rumanian minelayer Carol (three shells in starboard stern, two shells in port stern). The Soviet destroyers fired a total of 350 shells of a caliber of 130mm, at a distances up to 2.4km. Their targets were the Palas train station. An ammunition train was hit and several of the fuel tanks were ignited.


At 3:59 AM the Rumanian destroyer Marasti turned north and at 4:12 AM (at a range of 14800 meters) opened fire with her 120mm guns, closing to a range of 11400 meters. The Rumanian destroyer Regina Maria also opened fire.


At 4:15 AM the Soviet destroyers attempted to disengage, launching smoke screens and heading for the open sea.

The Rumanian destroys Marasti and Regina Maria ceased fire at 4:19 AM and 4:22 AM respectively, the Marasti at a range of 16000 meters after having fired 19 shells and the Regina Maria at a range of 18000 meters, after having fired 23 shells.

At 4:22 AM the €œTirpitz€ coastal battery opened fire, firing a total of 53 shells.

Coastal gun in the Constanta region

The Soviet destroyer Moskva suffered a mine hit at 4:23 AM braking in two and sinking in 2 minutes.

Harhov suffered a close hit from the coastal battery which caused her speed to be reduced to 6 knots, however this was repaired to 26 knots by 7:14 the ship recovered its 26 knots.

As the Soviet heavy naval group approached the Rumanian coast, a mine exploded in the anti-mine shield of the Soobrazitelnii, causing light damage to the bow of the Soviet heavy cruiser Voroshilov. The cruiser turned away after her captain ordered the destroyers Soobrazitelnii and Smishlenii to provide anti-air support for the retreating Harhov.

Originally posted by Low_Flyer_MkII:
Luftwaffe_109, neat stuff. Looking forward to more. Thanks.
Thanks for the kind words, Low_Flyer_MkII, I'm glad you found it interesting.

08-20-2005, 06:00 PM
Another link from the German side this time:
Naval War in the Baltic Sea (http://www.feldgrau.com/baltsea.html)

Even more successful from the German POV, their contolr of the Baltic Sea was never contested practically right up to the end of the war. Interesting as the only place the German navy could exercise what I call "positive" sea control, that is useing the sea as your own highway to transport cargo and raw materials, troops and amphibious operations (plus in the Black Sea also as Luftwaffe pointed out). Elsewhere in the Atlantic esp. they only could (and only needed to unless Hitler wanted to land on Long Island) try negative sea power, cutting off the convoys with u-boats and early in the war surface raiders. Which failed, and of course for the Germans they lost the key land struggle against the USSR so mastering the Baltic sea availed them nothing.

Here as everywhere airpower was the key to dominating the sea...so we can do plenty of scenarios in FB, we even got Kurland now. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

08-20-2005, 08:26 PM
Finally reading it now, this was interesting...

Early in April 1938, we learnt that P.A. Smirnov, People's Commissar of the Navy, was to come to the Pacific. We were pleased to hear that, because in the first few months after the People's Commissariat of the Navy was formed we were confronted with a host of problems. But his arrival was a disappointment to all. His main mission, as he put it, was to "purge the fleet of enemies of the people". As a result we lost many good workers.

To say that this was solely due to Stalin's personality cult would be to oversimplify matters. Many of us were guilty of remaining silent, when the office we held obliged us to speak up. Many had to pay for being passive, when their own turn came.

After the war I was in the dock too. A slanderous letter started it all. In addition to myself, three other admirals€"V.A. Alafuzov, L.M. Galler and G.A. Stepanov who faithfully and selflessly served the country throughout the war were put to trial too. Our attempts to prove with documents that the parachute torpedo was no longer a secret were futile. Nothing helped.

Alafuzov, Stepanov and Galler were sentenced to terms of imprisonment. I was demoted and sent to serve in the Far Fast again.

at bottom ~ http://admiral.centro.ru/memor03.htm

08-21-2005, 12:51 AM
Nice thread Jugent. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif


08-21-2005, 12:27 PM

08-21-2005, 05:18 PM
In the original posting from jugent, one claim was that the Soviet Navy did not stop the iron ore trade from Sweden to Germany. This is true. However, this does not mean that they were inactive or did not inflict losses to the merchant vessels on the ire ore trade in the Baltic See.
For those who are interested in this little covered aspect of the war in the more general WW2 literature, I post a summary of some major events with Russian subs involved, as well as some general comments on events as an introduction to the subject of Swedish iron ore and its importance to Germany.
I refer to the Swedish book 'Krigsmalmens offer' by Lennart Lundberg, 1993; the book 'Krigsseglare' by Krigsseglargruppen, 1997.

Between the world wars Germany had a need to import 70% of the yearly need. Swedish high grade ore with 65% iron content was sought after by many countries at the time before WW2 as it had several positive aspects in the steel manufacturing. Ore from Germany and France has only 30-40% iron. Up to the WW2 broke out in September 1939, France and Sweden were the two largest exporters to Germany. France fell out the picture temporarily, but after the conquest of Holland, Belgium and France Germany once again had access to French and Belgium ore. The Swedish ore was however still highly sought after, not only from a volume and iron content, but the low content of phosphorus made it practically irreplaceable for high quality steel needed in the weapons producing German industry, why they made strong efforts to convince Sweden to continue the ore export and preferably to increase it. The British on the other hand who also had interest in both procuring Swedish ore as well as stop the export to Germany, used diplomacy trying to stop the trade. When this failed they later cooked more hostile plans to size the ore fields in Northern Sweden.
Germany also had thoughts about letting Sweden also be encompassed of the operation "Weserübung", which in the end came to exclude Sweden when the other two neutral Scandinavian nations Denmark and Norway became victims for Herr Hitler's aggressive expansion to the North. The fact that the German armaments industry was practically totally dependent on the Swedish iron ore at the time, might have been a real politic fact which made Herr Hitler leave Sweden aside. If acts of war following a German invasion of Sweden, would damage the Swedish mines, railroads and shipping harbours, Germany would have suffered dearly as the weapons industry might have collapsed, at least for considerable time. Planning at that time the onslaught of neutral Holland and Belgium, as well as on France at which Germany already was at war with, risking the iron ore supply was perhaps seen as too risky.

England had earlier seen the opportunity to utilize the Soviet attack on neutral Finland in December 1939 to build a plan around an operation which was officially to send an expeditionary force to help Finland through Narvik and Northern Sweden, but was probably more about to seize and destroy the Swedish iron ore mines in Northern Sweden as well as the ore shipping port of Norway. In this way two neutral countries might have ended up on Germany's side as the British force could have been seen as hostile invaders as well as triggered a German "help" in the form of a counter invasion. Now the events took another turn as the Germans executed 'Weserübung' and the British got other worries than crossing into Sweden. When the Germans soon after, in May 1940, fell into France, all plans for stopping the ore export by invading northern Norway and Sweden had to be put aside.
The important ore export harbour of Narvik became demolished in the fighting around Narvik anyway in 1940. This only increased the importance of the Baltic ports and shipping lanes for Germany's import of ore.

After 'Weserübung' Sweden saw half it's merchant navy cut off being west of the Skagerak blockade, which effectively blockaded Sweden's transatlantic trade. Many Swedish merchantmen serviced the allies for the remaining part of the war, including shipping men and armour from the American war industry to Europe. Close to one thousand Swedish sailors came to die in sinking of Swedish merchant vessels serving the allies until 1945.

Swedish foreign trade came to rest to a large extent on the then victorious Germany's positive attitude to Sweden.
The British continued to negotiate with the Swedish, parallel to trade negotiations between Sweden and Germany. England had little to offer or use as pressure on Sweden at the time due to the real political and war situation at the time.

Now to the Baltic:
Russia was in the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact (until Germany fell over Russia in operation Barbarossa) why the Russian navy did not have any interest in disrupting Germany's vital shipping lanes in the Baltic.
None the lees a Soviet submarine sank a Swedish passenger steamer with artillery in 'Bottenhavet', without showing any compassion with the crew and passengers, firing more than 100 shells against S/S Fenris. Life boats were manned while the Russian shells splashed the water. She sank on January 5, 1940.
Luckily all on board survived!

After Germany's attack on the former partner Russia in 1941, The naval conditions in the Baltic changed a lot with the Soviet Baltic Fleet finally corked up in the very eastern Gulf of Finland. New mine fields restricted movement by the Soviet navy into the southern Baltic Sea. Actually the Swedish Navy on Germany's request extended a new mine field from the southern tip of the island land, to link up with a German field from the German coast.
Ironically on July 9, 1941, three large auxiliary mine cruisers - Tannenberg, Preussen and Hansestadt Danzig - went straight into the Swedish mine field and sank with terrible loss of life. The vessels were coming from Finland with wounded and military on leave to Germany.

The Soviet Baltic fleet was the far strongest navy in the Baltic at the time of 'Barbarossa' and had very strategic bases in Finland which had to be ceded to Russia by the Finns after the 'Winter War' of 1939/40, and on the Baltic coast after the Baltic states came under the Soviet regime under the umbrella of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact 'secret protocol' which granted the then free and neutral Baltic states to Soviet's descretion of acting. And they acted!
However the war events under 'Barbarossa' led to that the Russian submarines and other vessels became blockaded into the Russian corner of the Finnish Gulf.
No attacks on the ore trade was possible in 1941 by Soviet subs. In 1941 47% of all iron ore was shipped on Swedish ships, 33% 0n German the remaining being Finnish and Danish.

1942 came to see the highest losses on the iron ore trade route. 17 vessels sunk and 106 Swedish lives lost.In the North Sea the British attacked and the Russians in the Baltic. The Swedish navy started escorting merchant men in the Baltic, but the protection was not very effective. Of the five Swedish ore vessels sunk in the Baltic in 1942, two were escorted by the Swedish navy; Lulea and Liljevalch. Three were sank alone; Ada Gorthon, Margareta and Bengt Sture.
The Soviet submarines slipping out of their blockade under huge problems, probably tried to damage the Finnish and German war effort as much as they could. The fact that Sweden was neutral was probably of little importance as the iron ore trade with Germany was well known and less iron ore to German ports meant less German weapons produced which could be used against Russia. Having ore shipped on Swedish keels also freed German vessels for other tasks and loads. Four of the five iron ore ships were torpedoed inside Swedish territorial waters.
Iron ore laden ships often sank very fast when torpedoed why the loss of life often was big.

In 1943 twelve Swedish iron ore ships sank on the trade route. However, the Russian offensive against the iron ore trade in the Baltic was not resumed. Not that the plans or intentions lacked, but they were simply not able to pass the blockade across the Finnish Gulf which now possessed steel nets 60-90 meter deep. Several submarines were caught in the nets or mined.
Had the Soviet Navy been able to reach the shipping lanes it is very probable they would have taken a heavy toll on the iron ore shipping. The Swedish navy escorting was not in the forefront when it came to sub hunting technology.
In 1944 it was not much doubt about that Germany was losing the war. Despite this they insisted on being supplied by Swedish iron ore. 1943 was a record year with 10 million ton imported from Sweden. 1944 ended at around 7 mill ton. In 1944 11 Swedish ore vessels sank.
The Russian subs bided time in Kronstadt training their crew and replenishing equipment in the beginning of'44. Gradually the Germans were pushed away from Leningrad and the Baltic States until also Finland had to sue for a peace agreement with Russia in September '44. This dramatically changed the situation for the Russians who got access to Finnish mine field maps and access to harbours and facilities. The Soviet Navy sub offensive in the autumn of 1944 was primarily directed towards the German supply lines to and from Estonia and Latvia. The beginning of the end to Swedish supplies of iron ore to Germany came in August 1944 when it was declared that no Swedish vessels going to German harbours could be insured any longer as the risks were to high. The trade was stopped in October 1944.
However, the Swedish steamer S/S Venersborg loaded with paper pulp from Sundsvall to Copenhagen was sunk by Soviet sub K-56 on December 29 1944. 19 crew, whereof two women, out of the crew of twenty died in the ice cold waters.
I have to add that official Soviet Navy records does not on all points agree with Swedish data on sunk vessels. Some believe that important data was changed after the war in the official history of the Soviet Navy. I can not comment on that.

I hope the above was of interest to you.

08-21-2005, 05:47 PM
Very interesting read. Thank You. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

08-21-2005, 07:06 PM
Indeed, most interesting, good job. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

08-22-2005, 04:18 PM
As I wrote yesterday, that the iron ore ships often sank very quickly, I here give a free translation from a chapter in the book 'Krigsmalmens offer' by Lennart Lundberg, 1993, covering the sinking of S/S C.F. Liljevalch of 8470 BRT. I hope the writer does not feel offended by my effort to shed some light on one of many tragic events involving Swedish sea men during WW2 in this web forum, by writing this. Most of the events at most got a few lines in the world press at the time, or in later history books.

S/S C.F. Liljevalch left Lulea on August 14, 1942, loaded with 7463 ton of iron ore destined for a North German port. On the 18:th she passed by Id¶n outside of regrund. She was lead ship in a convoy which totalled 16 ships of Swedish, German, Finnish and Dutch nationality.
At 14.50 on the 18:th Liljevalch passed Kungsgrundets light buoy. At 15.15 the watch at the back shouted loud; "Torpedo on starboard!" The pilot immediately ordered 'rudder hard starboard!' The manoeuvre was not even started when a torpedo hit the boiler room and soon after by another torpedo between third and fourth cargo boxes.
The explosion was enormous. Machinery parts, steel sheets from the deck, hatches and cargo was thrown high into the air. The first torpedo made both boilers explode, which increased the destruction. All life boats and one of the three life rafts were completely crushed. The ship sank in 30 to 35 seconds. 32 of the crew died including the pilot. Seven men were saved by other ships in the convoy. All who were rescued had life wests on. Everyone on board were issued with life wests and 'M¶rner's rescue suit'. Extra floating devices were also placed on the back, the boat deck, the bridge and in machinery and boiler room. One can assume that any crew not wearing a life west was without a chance to survive a sinking like this.
Right after the torpedo attack on Liljevalch, the ships were gathered and stopped (!?). The escort ships created a smoke screen and performed repeated depth charge attacks, trying to sink the submarine.
According to Soviet archives, accessible after the war, the Swedish navy escorts did not inflict any damage at all to the submarine. These sources reveal that Liljevalch was sunk by the Soviet submarineL3 under Captain Gristjenko.

Liljevalch was the fourth Swedish iron ore cargo ship being torpedoed by the Russians in summer of 1942; S/S Ada Gorthon on June 22, S/S Margaretha July 9, M/S Lulea July11 and S/S Liljevalch August 18. Altogether 69 Swedish sea men died in these four acts of war. A few weeks later another Swedish ore transporting ship was to be torpedoed by the Russians €" S/S Bengt Sture €" This time with the loss of the entire crew. This loss created one never fully explained mystery: What happened to the six Swedish crew members, whereof one woman, was taken on board by the submamrine SC406 after sinking S/S Bengt Sture? Apparently they were put ashore in Leningrad but after this they disappear.
For those interested in the events involving Soviet submarines in the Baltic, the renowned German historian Dr. Jürgen Rower's articles and published material is recommended for further studies.

This is not a submarine sim forum, but I hope the above can add to the understanding of the many tragic events on the Baltic sea during WW2 and also encouraging our generation to making it impossible to happen again.
War is best confined to simulator games only.

08-22-2005, 05:13 PM
Well executed attack. I didn't know the German side used convoys too, to protect against subs. Thanks~

30 second sinking. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif Even the fast sinking "iron ore" FB/PF ships don't sink that fast.

08-23-2005, 06:21 AM
The following very brief excerpt is from Soviet Bloc Elite Forces and deals with the often overlooked Soviet Naval Infantry during WWII.

"The Soviet Naval Infantry is a far smaller force than the VDV, but enjoys a far longer tradition, tracing its lineage back to the landing parties of the Imperial Fleet of Peter the Great. It reached its peak during the Second World War, totaling over 350,000 troops in 40 brigades, six independent regiments, and a number of smaller units. Five of these brigades were honoured with the Guards distinction.


Soviet accounts of the war indicate that 114 landings were carried out by these troops, but most of these were small raids by platoon or company-sized teams. There were only four amphibious operations during the war which involved several thousand landing troops: two on the Kerch peninsula [one of which, the Soviet Kerch-Feodosia amphibious operation on the Crimea in the winter of 1941/42, was sucessfuly repulsed by German and Rumanian troops], one at Novorossiysk on the Black Sea, and one at Moon Sound in the Baltic [There was also an amphibious landing carried out by the Soviet 70. Naval Infantry Brigade, which made a landing in the rear of the Finnish 5. Division on the 23rd of June 1944, on the eastern shore of the lake Ladoga near river Tuulos].


The main reason for the abnormally large size of the Naval Infantry in the Second World War was the inactivity of the Soviet Fleet. Desperately short of manpower, the Red Army drew on the Fleet for troops and improvised units throughout the war; Naval Infantry were mainly used as ordinary foot soldiers with no particular amphibious training. Indeed, there was no better indication of the true Soviet attitude towards these forces than the decision in 1947 to completely disband them. What few naval infantry units remained were subordinated to the Coastal Defence Force. Attitudes eventually changed, and in 1961 the Naval Infantry was resurrected."


08-23-2005, 08:50 AM
It's not the first time I ask for this but does someone have a lots of info to share(ideally in English or French) about the Soviet Naval Aviation in WW2?

In particular, its organization, order of battle, pilots and major operations.


08-23-2005, 02:57 PM
LEXX_Luthor. The ships were actually escorted by the Swedish Navy! Both Swedish and German ships as well as ships from neutral states were protected by the Swedish escorts. This was actually a Swedish political and moral dilemma. It started after June 1942 and the sinking of Iron ore transport ship S/S Ada Gorthon by a Russian sub, SC317, but was named 'Escort' rather than 'Convoy' to give it a distinction from the war combatants more elaborate convoys. Under 'escort' each ship still decided when and where to enter or leave the convoy. In a 'convoy' the convoy leader decides and all ships have to obey. The 'escorted' ships mostly stayed inside Swedish territorial waters until reaching the southern part of Sweden, in the vicinity of Trelleborg, from where the ships continued south to ports in northern Germany or the North Sea.
The Swedish escorts were in the beginning old destroyers and patrol boats. Later in the war more modern destroyers could join as protection.The later "Town-Class" (named after Swedish cities)destroyers were clocked at top speeds above 40 knots and more up to the job in other aspects as well.

08-23-2005, 03:49 PM
eiffel68, I believe you would enjoy reading Red Stars No 5, Baltic Fleet Air Force in Winter War by Geust, Tirkeltaub and Petrov. Available from several web book shops. It gives an interesting insight into the war in the Baltic and Finnish Gulf during the Winter War in 1939-40. It is however only covering one part of this large subject. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

08-23-2005, 11:57 PM
Excellent. Ships carrying Iron Ore to Germany or USSR shall not be allowed to sail with the neutral Swedish "escort" formation.

Swedish political and moral dilemma Solved. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif

08-24-2005, 04:24 PM
LEXX. Exporting iron ore to the USSR was not much of an option as it was sealed off by the German and Finnish armies and navies.
Sweden was in a trade dilemma as the only viable export partner for it's ore was Germany which was vital to export in exchange for coal and cox, which Sweden had to import for energy and the domestic industry.
Britain was interested in buying not only ball bearings, of which they could never get enough of, but also iron ore. Swedish ball bearings was of vital supply to the British aero engine industry, by the way. Due to the "geopolitical situation" during this phase of WW2, it was not realistic to ship ore to England as they were on the "wrong side" of the German Skagerak blockade. (AC and speed boats carried ball bearings to the UK though) Only Germany remained as a trade option for the iron ore.
Sweden was of course under big pressure from Germany as the country was surrounded by strong German Forces since Denmark, Norway, Poland and the Baltic States were all under German occupation. Together with strong German forces positioned in nortern Finland and Norway, they could have attacked Sweden from practically four directions and no help from the Allied forces to be expected as they were cordoned off by land seized by Germany.
It was a political and moral dilemma, no doubt.
As I believe you know, the Swedish air force in 1941-43 could at best muster Gladiators, Re2000, Fiat CR42 and Seversky P35's for defence. AC's with performance equal to ac used as trainers or communications ac by most allies in '43 or earlier. These ac could at least not take up a realistic fight against the then very experienced and victorious Luftwaffe for many hours or even minutes.
Sweden received P-51Ds in April and May 1945 but that was a bit late.
By then a licence to build the DB605 engine had already been aquired, which found it's way into the innovative SAAB J21 twin boom push prop fighter and the B18B Bomber (Sort of a Swedish "Ju88" type of ac). The J22 designed around a Twin Wasp engine and developed in Sweden also strenghtened the SAF in '44, even if it was not comparable with the latest German or Allied fighters.

08-24-2005, 07:33 PM
All I know is if Swedish Iron Ore got to Germany, Bomber Command and 8th Air Force would have taken good tender care of the Ore (with accurate bombsights http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif). Failing that, the Russian T-34 and Ussian Sherman crews would have to Deal with Steel Tigers. We may say that the Soviet sub saved thousands of lives, so we can't just say they committed "act of war" when war itself is so nasty and ugly, sucking nearby neutral parties into the Fire.

08-24-2005, 08:28 PM
Let me point out that the iron ore exports did not constitute a breach of the Hauge convention and did not in anyway effect Swedish neutrality:

Hague V - Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land: 18 October 1907

Art. 7.
A neutral Power is not called upon to prevent the export or transport, on behalf of one or other of the belligerents, of arms, munitions of war, or, in general, of anything which can be of use to an army or a fleet.

As for the figures of the contribution of Swedish imports to German iron ore:

Year / Thousands of Tons of Iron Content / Percentage of Total Iron Supply
1935 / 3305 / 40
1936 / 4949 / 46
1937 / 5450 / 46
1938 / 5395 / 39
1939 / 6226 / 41
1940 / 5339 / 40
1941 / 5027 / 27
1942 / 4205 / 23
1943 / 5568 / 27
1944 / 2628 / 24