The loss of the steamship

History 31/01/20 the Loss of the steamship “Metalist”: under what pretext the Soviet Union invaded Estonia

When the summer of 1940 the Soviet Union annexed Estonia, the country has 8 months were Soviet troops. The reason for the entry of the red Army in the Baltic Republic was a mysterious incident in the Gulf of Finland in the autumn of 1939.

“the Tragedy” in the Baltic sea

September 27, 1939, at 6 PM in the Narva Bay stranded Soviet ship “Metallist”. On the ship with a displacement of 4 thousand tons were 24 members of the team. 19 sailors were rescued by the crews of Soviet ships lookouts. The fate of five remained unknown.

the next day the Soviet Newspapers came out with sensational news: “Metalist” sank after it hit a torpedo that was released by “unknown submarine”. In addition, on the same day, as reported in the press, for the same reason that almost killed the Soviet transport “pioneer”. Saved sailors that the ship managed to jump out on the rocks near the cliff Vigrund.

All this occurred against the background of an international scandal on a visit to the port of Tallinn, the Polish submarine Orzel (“eagle”). The submarine stood in the Estonian capital for two days, but contrary to the rules was not interned by the Estonians, and swam away to continue the war with the Germans. Skillful editing of the events in the Newspapers created the impression that the Polish submarine responsible for the attack on Metallist.

Soviet foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov accused the Estonian authorities that their territory is supposedly a secret base for hiding foreign submarines. Claiming that Estonia is not able to control its territorial waters, he insisted on the conclusion of a Treaty on “mutual aid”. In fact, this meant the transformation of the Republic into a protectorate of the Soviet Union.

“For inclusion in a Treaty of mutual assistance points, which would regulate the issue order of enforcement of the Soviet howlSK on the territory of Estonia, their number, place of deployment, the Soviet leadership used the incident associated with the sinking of the ship “Metalist” – said the candidate of historical Sciences Kirill Karnaukhov.

the conclusion of the contract entailed a chain of events which ended in the loss of independence of Estonia in 1940.

Who “drowned” the ship?

it was an incident of “fan”, not completely installed. Some Russian historians shared the view that it really could sink a Polish submarine. However, the poles could provoke aggressive actions of the Russian. For example, on September 25 Tallinn guards “spotted” two cruisers with Russian letters “L. G.” and “S. M.” in the vicinity of the Peninsula of Parikia and heard in the area with 4 shots.

Other researchers (including Finnish and Estonian) believe that the Soviet military themselves could sink the ship, to give the diplomats a “trump card” in the negotiations with Estonia. One of the first of this version was put forward by the Finnish historian of the Navy Per-Olof Ekman who relied on the testimony of Soviet sailors, who were captured by the Finns in 1941-43. Following Ekman, a number of authors argues that “re-enactment” in the Narva Strait was organized with the participation of the submarine U-303 (“Ruff”) and the patrol ship “Cloud.” Probably, Metalist were not even torpedoed, and there were a transfer of seamen from one deck to another.

However, as noted researcher Nikolai Nikolaev in the book “TASS is authorized… to remain silent”, the submarine U-303 at this time was not in the Baltic. In his opinion, no attack on Metalist and rescue operation did not, and the whole story of the steamer “pure provocation”, organized to put pressure on the government of Estonia. By the way, the view that the incident with the “fan” is a “hoax”, shared and created in the USA in 1953, the Committee to investigate Communist aggression and the forced incorporation of the Baltic States into the Soviet Union.

later, long swim “Metalist” was not necessary. In RRossiyskom state archive of the Navy is, data about the coal transport of the Baltic fleet “Metalist” – the last documents relating to it belong to 1936. It is also known that the eponymous Soviet transport was sunk off Hanko Peninsula – 26 June 1941.

Timur Sagdiyev

© Russian Seven

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