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Soviet submarines victories and losses in Pacific (WW2)

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Post 07 Apr 2019, 15:57
The naval warfare on the Eastern Front during the WW2 (Great Patriotic War) was the largest conflict involving the Soviet Navy and without doubt it was the greatest naval war ever faced by a socialist or communist nation. In five years of warfare (excluding preliminary conflicts like the Winter War), the Soviet Navy endured times of sacrifice and losses, fighting against a formidable foe and writing bloody and glorious pages of naval war history poorly known in the western world.
Decades after the end of the war, destruction and confidentiality of documents make numerous details still unknown, it is only after modern-day researches of authors that a number of false myths and wrong claims (committed by all sources, post-war) receive a neutral assessment.
Contrary to the popular western belief that the naval warfare played no real part in the war, the Soviet Navy engaged in specific operations in the different areas of competence of the Fleets (Baltic, Black Sea, Northern, Pacific, and other Flotillas).
During the decade before the war, the Soviet Navy initiated large programs of expansion with a number of warships entering service (including cruisers and destroyers): such plans not completed in time, and by the time of the Nazi invasion, the shipbuilding programs stalled or diverted to wartime emergency plans.
The Soviet leadership, wisely realized how the submarine warfare was a key of strategic success and despite all classes of warships increased in numbers, submarines received a peculiar attention (with over 200 submarines in 1941!).


The Soviet Pacific Fleet faced the pre-war immense task to prepare for war with the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Despite attempts to modernize and increase numbers of surface warships, the submarine fleet absorbed many resources and for the end of 1939 it could employ a large number of submarines for offensive and defensive patrols. The much-longed total war with the Imperial Japanese Navy never come: the Pacific Fleet transferred a number of vessels in Black Sea (small “Malyutka” class transferred by trains but they reached the front too late to participate in many combat operations), and most significantly in the Northern Fleet.
Submarines S-51, S-54, S-55, S-56 and L-15 made voyages across the Pacific, the Panama Channel and the Atlantic to make their welcome contribution in the cold Arctic waters. L-16 never reached destination, torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine in mistaken attack (believing it was an American submarine).

The Soviet Pacific Fleet had finally the long-desired chance to engage the enemy in August 1945, but by the time of Soviet operations, the Imperial Japanese Navy retained almost no military ship in the north (concentrating all their depleted forces in the south: to face the potential American invasion).
Soviet submarines made few offensive patrols (out of excessive caution), encountered sporadically potential targets and sunk even less. Main reason for such small numbers was the excessive caution over potential enemy anti-submarine forces. The few targets sunk included heavy losses of passengers: civilians and military personal ferried away in Kurili Islands.
In the end, most of missions just supported the Soviet landing operations, including humble but useful transports of fuel by “Malyutka” submarines on early September 1945.
Secret missions of L-11 and L-18 were going to disembark groups of special units as bridgehead of landings in Hokkaido, but the missions diverted to Sakhalin in last minute for political decision.

Work is an essentially based on the Russian site and work of author Miroslav Morozov: these are the top modern and most updated sources of Soviet Submarine warfare in WW2. German site is also a relatively good source.
Lists of Soviet successes and victories made in other sites (especially English literature) like and Wikipedia are NOT good sources, including many mistakes generated by ‘90s works.
Similar works and tables made on English-based sites ( and wikipedia) and older english literature are not updated and contain a number of mistakes.
Image credits (c)

Summary table of Soviet submarines successes (against Japan - 1945)

ShCh class ( 37 units) no losses 1 ship sunk.
S class ( 2 units) no losses -
L class ( 11 units) 1 loss 2 ships sunk 1 ship damaged.
M class ( 28 units) no losses -

Total 78 unitswith 1 loss with 3 ships sunk ]and 1 damaged
This make a final balance score of 3 : 1 between victories (sinking) and losses.
Enemy military ships lost include only the large auxiliary gunboat (Shinko Maru n°2) that was damaged
The other victims were 3 units: a merchant, a cable-layer and a motorboat sunk.


Shchuka Series V
ShCh-101, ShCh-102
ShCh-103 (lost 4 Nov 1935 accident before the War. No victims because she was on tow after damages due accidental grounding)
ShCh-104, ShCh-105,ShCh-106,ShCh-107,ShCh-108,ShCh-109,ShCh-110,ShCh-111,ShCh-112

Shchuka series Vbis
ShCh-117 (lost 15 Dec 1952 accident after the War. Sunk with all crew during exercises.)
ShCh-119 on 12/Aug/45 a Japanese minesweeper launched depth charges (no damage). It was the only confirmed attack made by Japanese against a Soviet submarine.

Shchuka series VbisII

Shchuka series X
ShCh-126 21/Aug/45 sunk a Japanese motorboat with gunfire
ShCh-127, ShCh-128,ShCh-129, ShCh-130, ShCh-131, ShCh-132, ShCh-133, ShCh-134, ShCh-139

Shchuka series Xbis
ShCh-138 (lost 18 Jul 1942 accident, detonation of a torpedo. Before hostilities with Japan. Three crewmembers survived escaping from wreck.)

Srednyaya series IXbis

Leninist series XI
L-7, L-8, L-9, L-10
L-11 made a single mission transporting soldiers, weapons and ammunition, originally intended for Hokkaido but diverted to Sakhalin.
L-12 22/Aug/45 sunk Japanese cable-layer Ogasawara Maru (1456 GRT) torpedo. (641 killed on the ship, previous estimates said only 375).

Leninist series XIII
L-13 22/Aug/45 wrongly credited to have sunk with gunfire Japanese trawler Daito Maru n°49 (234 GRT), but L-13 made no war campaign.
L-16 (lost 11 Oct 1942 sunk by Japanese submarine I-25 near the American coasts. Before hostilities with Japan. Japanese submarine believed it was an American target. One American translator among victims.)
made a single mission transporting soldiers, weapons and ammunition, originally intended for Hokkaido but diverted to Sakhalin.
L-19 (lost after 22 Aug 1945 mine from a Japanese defensive barrage) The only soviet submarine in Pacific lost during wartime against Japan.
Was also the best Soviet submarine in the Pacific with 2 victories
22/Aug/45 damaged Japanese large auxiliary gunboat Shinko Maru No.2 torpedo (approx. 400 killed on the ship). (Not repaired before the end of the conflict, but repaired postwar.)
Also sunk on the same day the Japanese merchant Taito Maru (887 GRT) torpedo the same day (553 or 667 killed on the ship).
Often wrongly credited with damaging Japanese merchant Tetsugo Maru (1403 GRT) on the same day, but actually ship damaged by air attack.
(Note: Taito Maru also wrongly described as 5950 GRT: both first two victories of L-19 sometimes wrongly claimed by L-12, but she made only one successful attack on 22 August)
Often wrongly credited with to have sunk Japanese escort ship CD-75 with torpedo on 23/Aug/45. She sunk on mines.

Malyutka series VI

Malyutka series VIbis

Malyutka series XII
M-49(lost Aug 1941 likely on Soviet defensive mine before hostilities with Japan)
M-63 (lost Aug 1941 likely on Soviet defensive mine before hostilities with Japan)
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