The death of three destroyers: the main tragedy of the black sea fleet

History 02/01/20 the Death of three destroyers: the main tragedy of the black sea fleet

According to Admiral Nikolai Kuznetsov, expressed in his autobiography “fleets battle alert”, 6 October 1943 for the Soviet Navy in the degree of tragedy and number of victims can be compared only with the Tallinn transition of 1941. With one huge exception: “rainy day” came in the second half of the war, when the enemy retreated to the West and had not thought about the attack. And the consequences of those events almost a year has apcalis Soviet black sea fleet.

the Background

In 1942, the Black sea was an important theater of war. The Germans rushed to the Caucasus oil, and the Soviet command of the forces of the North Caucasus front, and imparted to him the black sea fleet tried to prevent this. Kriegsmarine actively used small transport ships to supply the army. After the fall of Sevastopol caravans transport relatively freely moved along the coast from one port or harbour to another. This method of overflow allowed the German fleet with minimal risk to organize the movement of caravans.

the Soviet forces were trying to counteract this, causing sudden strikes on harbours and ports, where concentrated the German transporters. Raiding against enemy communications became especially important in the fall of 1943. At that time, blocked in the Crimea, forces of the Wehrmacht can be provided only by sea. 5 October 1943 intelligence reported about a large gathering of German transports in the area of the ports of Feodosiya and Yalta. Black sea fleet commander Vice-Admiral Lev Vladimirsky ordered on the night of October 6, a group of three destroyers supported by aircraft and torpedo boats to attack the enemy.

operation Failed

About the operation, recounts in his memoirs, Engineer-rear Admiral Boris Krasikov. At night the destroyers “Esposaday”, “Capable” and their leader “Kharkov” left Tuapse and headed to Crimea. In the vicinity of the Peninsula the ships separated, the leader went to Yalta, and destroyers – to Feodosia. Here, on the approaches to the ports of the squadron was reconnaissance detected enemy aircraft, and that no longer produced them. On the way to Feodosia destroyers were attacked by torpedo boats. Two of these Soviet ships managed to damage, but under the barrage of torpedo attacks they were forced to retreat. “Kharkiv” is also could not perform a task on the way to Yalta, he was fired by the shore batteries and withdrew. After connection the squadron – at dawn – it was decided to return to Tuapse, but intervened fatal accident.

Escorting ships fighters shot down a German spy, and the squadron paused to pick up out of the water pilots to take languages. And then they attacked the dive-bombers of the Luftwaffe, appeared from the sun. The planes cover managed to destroy two but the forces were unequal: three falling into the “Kharkov” took it down. The leader had to take in tow, which slowed the progress of the squadron. And the dive-bombers continued their attacks and soon got “the Merciless”. The captain Who decided to take turns to tow both ships, hoping for rescue from Noumea, but she obviously did not have time. And sent to the commander of the fleet fighters could not save the situation.

the First of the falling bombs sank “Relentless”, followed by “Kharkiv”. While “Able” tried to save the sailors, followed by a third airstrike, and the last destroyer also went to the bottom. The rescue of what is called “at the finish” torpedo and patrol boats managed to save part of the team. But three modern and well-armed ship and nearly 800 sailors were lost.

Unfavorable consequences

According to official figures in the attack, the enemy lost 14 dive bombers. But even at twice the number of obsolete aircraft would be too small price to pay for three ships and 8 hundreds MorJacob. After all, with leadership only by a few destroyers and gave them torpedo boats and aircraft could control a huge area. According to the memoirs of contemporaries, the black sea fleet commandment then received a “cap” from Stalin personally, and all surviving ships were transferred to the reserve and active participation in hostilities is not accepted until the complete liberation of the Crimea in 1944.

Yaroslav Gorbunov

© Russian Seven

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