History 11/01/20 “Tallinn breakthrough:” the main tragedy of the Baltic fleet

After the annexation of the Baltic States, the Baltic fleet was located in the water area of Tallinn, which had a well-developed infrastructure and an excellent strategic position. In the summer of 1941 the Baltic fleet adequately met the Germans and organized an effective air defense. By 7 August the troops of the German group “Center” were the Baltic States and came to the shores of the Gulf of Finland.

Tallinn was cut off from the “mainland” and the land communication with the city was terminated. The time for evacuation of the Baltic fleet in Kronstadt was lost, and the permission to waste the people’s Commissar for the Navy Kuznetsov gave only 27 August, when German long-range guns already beaten port and at the Tallinn suburbs were defensive battles with enemy infantry.

the Preparation for the evacuation took place in complete disarray. The cargo ships were Packed with evacuated by the military, who were joined by representatives of the civilian population of the city. The evacuation turned into a rout.

Mines against ships

on 28 August 1941 from the port of Tallinn has reached 151 warship, 20 transports, 54 support vessels. They Board were 19 903 soldiers of the fleet, 8670 red army and 12 806 civil. It turned out that night the Germans managed to put mines. Minesweepers walking in front of military courts, paving insufficiently wide stripes, and often they just had to push it away from the sides of the paddles or poles. RAID of German and Finnish planes were forced Soviet ships to maneuver in and out of safe runway.

the Loss was not long in coming. A mine exploded and sank the icebreaker “Krisjanis Valdemars” and freighter “ALEV”, transporting more than a thousand people, of whom only six survived.

Rear Admiral Tributs ordered to change the order of convoy, and during the rebuild the Soviet ships were in the minefields. Almost immediately Zatonthe distance of three destroyers. The panic was strengthened by the attacks of German Stukas, to reflect which lacked anti-aircraft artillery.

Toward evening the fleet came to the most mined stretch of sea. Went to the bottom of who was walking ahead of the minesweepers, destroyers “Yakov Sverdlov” and “fast”. Serious damage received military ships “Minsk” and “Nice.” Along the way died and transport ships with evacuees on Board. During the day, the Navy lost 26 ships.

air Attack

the next morning, the Baltic fleet passed the minefields, but faced with the attacks of dive-bombers. The German command sent for the destruction of the fleet of 110 aircraft, as virtually all of the destroyers were sunk or damaged, to reflect their attacks was none. Nazi bombers destroyed one transport after the other.

the Attack was supported by fire of enemy artillery batteries, dozens of Finnish aircraft and 3 torpedo boats. By the evening of August 29 in Kronstadt began to receive the first trial. A lot of damaged ships and survivors of people came out to the island of Gogland, where they are also bombarded by German planes.


300 km, the Baltic fleet has lost almost 30% of its composition. Sank 19 combat ships and boats, 25 boats, 18 vehicles. To historians it is unknown how many were sunk and unaccounted civilian fishing ships trying to evacuate together with the Baltic convoy.

During the transition killed up to 15 thousand of Soviet sailors, soldiers and civilians. Only when the death of a transport ship “Balkhash” drowned 3,800. During the battle the Germans lost three aircraft.

the Reasons for the defeat is called the delay of the evacuation, the lack of a unified command, ineffective air cover of the convoy. Important aspects a small number of anti-aircraft weapons and the lack of intelligence on the organization of the German minefields.

Alexander Brazhnik

Andthe source:
© Russian Seven

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