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U-boats in Soviet waters and Soviet ASW action (Arctic)

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Post 11 Nov 2011, 17:26
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!).

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Work is a cross-reference between modern Russian sources (sovboat.ru, author Miroslav Morozov on tsushima.su) and modern German sources (historisches-marinearchiv.de)
Similar works and tables made on English-based sites (uboat.net and Wikipedia) and older English literature are not updated and contain a number of mistakes.
Image credits (c) Navypedia.org



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During the World War II, the German U-boat operations against Allied convoy was one of the most prominent naval strategic operations.
German submarines inflicted heavy losses to the Allies, focusing especially in harassing the Atlantic supply lines to the United Kingdom.
An increase of British-American anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities resulted in growing losses for the “Wolf Packs” of U-boats lurking in Atlantic and the conclusion of the Battle of the Atlantic was a strategic global victory for the Allies.On the Eastern Front, the Kriegsmarine submarine operations were relatively limited in numbers and strategic goals.
The U-boats operations in Arctic Sea resulted in the most effective campaign waged against Soviet supply lines, with operations spanning from Kola Peninsula to the Kara Sea.
While German submarine scored the best successes in numerical, tonnage and proportions terms, it brought only little strategic damage to the Soviet coastal sea lines.

U-boats primarily focused in attacking the Allied convoys to Soviet Union: while this page details the Soviet merchants lost on such actions, they are not included in the balance of losses/victories because the convoys were primarily competence of British escort (and operations resulted in higher losses among Allied merchants, with multiple U-boats sunk). This analysis does not include Allied merchants sunk while sailing to Soviet Union, nor U-boat losses during Convoy attacks by Allied forces.



German U-boats in Arctic sunk or destroyed 51 Soviet ships and damaged 1 ship.
However to make a comparative analysis of victory/losses, must be removed 3 Soviet merchants sunk while part of Allied Convoys, one victory must be detracted to counter-balance a single friendly fire accident resulting in a U-boat sinking a German merchant.

U-boats losses included in this article only the ones provoked by Soviet and British Navies in Kara Sea and in Murmansk area, protecting Soviet convoys and coastal shipping lines. German losses included 7 U-boats sunk (2 sunk by Soviet Navy) for 47 victories (after the single detraction due friendly-fire) with a difference between losses/victories of 6.71 : 1 plus one ship damaged.
German losses include U-boats sunk by British warships departing from Murmansk harbor and protecting the local Soviet waters off the city.


Soviet military ships lost include submarine M-175, corvettes (guard-ships) Zhemchug and Brilliant, 9 minesweepers (T-114, T-118, T-120, T-883, T-889, T-896, T-898, T-904, T-911), patrol ships SKR-11 and SKR-27 Musson, submarine-chasers BO-224, BO-229 and BO-230.
Soviet destroyer Razyaryonnyi torpedoed and damaged.

The other victims were 34 merchants, trawlers, tugs, barges, fishing boats and motorboats sunk or damaged beyond repair (including 3 lost during Allied Convoys and 1 merchant damaged and repaired post-war).




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1941



6 August 1941
German submarine U-652 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet tender ship n°70 (also called "PS-70" and described as dispatch vessel).
There were 45 killed and 12 survivors.

On the same day, the armed soviet motorboat Polyarnik faced the German submarine U-451, a single shell of 45mm hit the submarine and despite rebounds without explode, the German commander decided to dive and retreat.


11 August 1941
German submarine U-451 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet guard ship (corvette) Zhemchug. Entire crew of 61 died.


25 August 1941
German submarine U-752 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet auxiliary minesweeper T-898. The ship was sailing alone: there were 41 dead and 2 survivors.


26 August 1941
German submarine U-571 torpedoed the Soviet depot ship Marija Uljanova (3870 GRT), causing the total loss of the ship.
While the Soviet destroyer Uritskyi took care of supporting the depot ship, the destroyer Valerian Kuybyshev launched depth charges.
U-571 damaged and a leak from the door of the tower was flooding the vessel, if it had not been for the efforts of the crew to prevent it.
Image

Photo of the destroyer Valerian Kuybyshev, the first Soviet destroyer in Arctic to damage a submarine.


27 August 1941
German submarine U-752 torpedoed and sunk Soviet trawler n°8 (608 GRT). (Often wrongly reported as “RT-8” sunk on 18 October).


15 September 1941
Soviet patrol ship SKR-25 Briz lightly damaged with depth charges the German submarine U-752


18 October 1941
German submarine U-132 torpedoed and sunk Soviet merchant Argun (3487 GRT). Ship (with a cargo of ballast); crew was saved by hydrographic vessel Mgla.
Later the same submarine torpedoed and sunk the auxiliary patrol ship SKR-11. (Often wrongly reported the sinking of trawler RT-8 Sheld (608 GRT), but she sunk on 27 August).


15 November 1941
German submarine U-752 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet auxiliary minesweeper T-889. Entire crew of 43 died.
The submarine previously missed the auxiliary minelayer Jushar and the minesweeper opened fire with gun against the submarine just to be torpedoed and sunk. The minelayer launched depth charges and searched for survivors, finding none.


25 November 1941
Soviet patrol ship SKR-25 Briz heavily damaged with ramming attack the German submarine U-578. Damage included a hole with leak into the ballast tanks and needed repairs. Interestingly, the very same patrol ship scored battle damages on two different German U-boats in 1941.
Image

The patrol ship corageously made a ramming attack “taran” against the submarine, causing heavy damages but not the sinking. This unique success in 1941 caused the submarine enough damage to stop her operations.


9 December 1941
German submarine U-134 intentionally torpedoed and sunk the German merchant Steinbek (2185 GRT), into a rare friendly-fire incident.
The merchant was part of a convoy on the sea lines often attacked by Soviet (and British, in 1941) submarines, German submarine commander was inexperienced for Arctic water patrols (first mission) and received no warning of the impending convoy.
Post 27 Feb 2014, 18:00
1942 (Arctic)

10 January 1942
German submarine U-584 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet submarine M-175. Entire crew of 21 died.
Soviet submarine was moving to patrol enemy area. It was the only Soviet submarine loss caused by U-boat in Arctic.


17 January 1942
German submarine U-454 torpedoed and sunk Soviet trawler n°68 (1180 GRT) (also known as RT-68 Enisej). There were 2 died and 32 survivors.


1 March 1942
German submarine U-436 torpedoed and sunk Soviet trawler n°19 (579 GRT) (also known as RT-19 Komintern). There were no survivors.


End of March 1942
Soviet sources has usually claimed that the Destroyer Gremyashchiy had attacked and sunk the German submarine U-585 with depth charges during the convoy PQ-13. Actually, the destroyer attacked U-435 that suffered no damage.
The submarine reported as missing in action: probably she sunk north of Rybachy peninsula while returning from the campaign on German drifting mine from the defensive field Bantos-A.
There is also the possibility she sunk on survived mines from two soviet field: one laid by bombers DB-3F and one laid by submarine K-23.
Until the wreck will be located, it is impossible to give a conclusive description of her loss.
While the cause is unclear and even if she just operated against an Allied convoy, U-585 was the first U-boat loss in direct Soviet naval area of competence (and technically after her patrol against Allied convoy concluded).


13 April 1942
German submarine U-435 torpedoed and sunk Soviet merchant Kiev (5823 GRT). Ship was part of the Allied convoy QP-10 en route to Iceland, with a cargo of chrome and timber. 6 sailors (including a woman) died, survivors were rescued by the British patrol ship HMS Blackfly.


24 April 1942
Soviet motor torpedo boats TK-13 and TK-14 found the German submarine U-454, the first unit launched torpedo but missed the target, and then the TK-14 launched depth charges and caused moderate damages to the enemy.


1 August 1942
German submarine U-601 torpedoed and sunk Soviet merchant Krestyanin (2513 GRT). Ship was sailing alone, with a cargo of coal, close the Mezhdysharskiy Island: there were 7 dead and 38 survivors that reached shore on lifeboats.


17 August 1942
German submarine U-209 sunk with gunfire the Soviet tugs Komsomolets and Komiles, towing the barges P-4 and W-500. Only the tug Nord was the survivor of the small unprotected convoy, of the 328 men on board (crew and passengers, port's workers) there were only 23 survivors. The submarine machine-gunned survivors on sea. Auxiliary minesweepers T-53 and T-62 rescued the survivors.The attack occurred in Pechora Sea.


19 August 1942
An interesting surface clash occurrred when Soviet auxiliary minesweepers T-904 and T-885 chased in surface the two German submarines U-456 and U-209 (the latter briefly opened fire). U-456 previously attacked Soviet patrol ship SKR-19, while also the hydrographic vessel Polyarnik was in the area. No ship or submarine suffered damage.


22 August 1942
German submarine U-456 captured the anchored small motor boat (reportedly named “Chaika”) and after towed her for some time, scuttled the boat with explosive. The boat was unmanned at the time of seizure. Currently the loss not confirmed on modern Russian sources. It appears a realistic victory and likely forgotten in most of Soviet main database due minor value (possibly it was a very small civilian custom boat).


24 August 1942
German submarine U-601 torpedoed and sunk Soviet merchant Kujbyshev (2332 GRT), there were no survivors. The merchant was towing the small tug Medvezhonok that was sunk with gunfire. The attack occurred in Kara Sea.


13 September 1942
German submarine U-408 torpedoed and sunk Soviet merchant Stalingrad (3559 GRT). Ship was part of Allied convoy PQ-18 and had a military cargo including aircrafts, tanks and 500 tons of explosives, there were also passengers.
During evacuation, one of the lifeboats capsized with 21 died (16 crew members and five passengers). British auxiliary minesweepers saved the other 66 survivors. One soviet crewmember left the ship by last and spent 40 minutes in the freezing water; he will later receive a British award.
NOTE: This loss, because part of Allied Convoy, cannot be included among the official balance losses/victories (see introduction)


11 October 1942
A mine laid by German submarine U-589 sunk Soviet auxiliary patrol ship SKR-23 Musson. Ship was lost in New Zemlya, there were 25 dead and 18 survivors.


14 October 1942
A mine laid by German submarine U-592 sunk Soviet merchant Shchors (3770 GRT). Ship had a cargo of furs and was part of a convoy. At first escorts launched depth charges, fearing a submarine attack, later auxiliary minesweepers T-879 and T-905 attempted to tow her under escort of guard ship (corvette) Rubin. However the ship sunk while under tow. There were no losses.
The ship sunk in Kara Sea.


23 November 1942
German submarine U-601 torpedoed and sunk Soviet merchant Kuznets Lesov (3974 GRT). The ship, with a cargo of potassium salt, was sunk while part of Allied convoy QP-15, sailing to Iceland: however she had been separated from the main convoy due a storm and was target of the submarine. Entire crew of 41 died.
NOTE: This loss, because part of Allied Convoy, cannot be included among the official balance losses/victories (see introduction)
Post 29 Mar 2014, 11:37
1943


26 January 1943
German submarine U-255 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet merchant Krasnyi Partizan (2418 GRT) (cargo of timber), west of Bear Island. All crew of 51 was lost.


29 January 1943
German submarine U-255 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet merchant Ufa (1892 GRT) (cargo of timber) in Barents Sea. All crew of 39 was lost.


25 July 1943
Soviet auxiliary minesweeper T-904 struck a mine laid by submarine U-592 and sunk (other sources believe it was a mine laid by U-625). She was leading a convoy out the Kara Sea. There were 10 dead and 35 survivors.


27 July 1943
German submarine U-255 sunk with gunfire (3 direct hits) the Soviet survey ship Akademik Shokalskyi (411 GRT). There were 11 dead and 14 survivors.


30 July 1943
German submarine U-703 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet auxiliary minesweeper T-911. The minesweeper sighted the U-boat but could not avoid the torpedo. There were 28 dead and 14 survivors. She was part of the escort of a soviet convoy in Barents Sea that suffered no other losses.


5 August 1943
Old sources report the alleged loss of Soviet motor boat Majakovski (80 tons) on a mine laid by German submarine U-212 sunk.
Currently modern sources discredited this victory.


25 August 1943
Soviet salvage vessel ASO-1 Shkval (572 GRT) struck two mines laid by submarine U-625 and sunk. She was lost into a strait to enter Kara Sea, from Barents Sea. There were 47 dead and only 5 survivors.


27 August 1943
Old sources report German submarine U-354 torpedoed and damaged the Soviet merchant Petrovskyi (3771 GRT) in Kara Sea.
Currently modern sources discredited this victory.


28 August 1943
German submarine U-302 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet merchant Dikson (2920 GRT). Into Kara Sea. All crew saved.

On the same day, the Soviet Navy achieved the first full victory against U-boats in Arctic.
The Northern Fleet command was aware of the U-boats incursions in Kara Sea, and dispatched submarines on defensive patrols to attempts intercept the attackers.
Soviet submarine S-101 discovered the German submarine U-639 sailing to enter in Kara Sea to lay mines: sinking the German vessel with torpedo and loss of all crew. The victory was also the only enemy U-boat sunk by Soviet submarine in Arctic.
Image

Photo of submarine S-101: she received the Order of the Red Banner.
The submarine survived at the war, and had also the German merchant Ajax (2297 GRT)(cargo of straw and oats) on 29 March 1943



6 September 1943
Soviet merchant Tbilisi (7169 GRT) struck a mine laid by German submarine U-636 into the Yenisei estuary and sunk. She had a cargo of coal and suffered 2 dead.


30 September 1943
German submarine U-960 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet merchant Arkhangelsk (2480 GRT) (cargo of machinery equipment), into Kara Sea.
There were 15 dead and 27 saved, but two of them later died. Ship was part of the Soviet convoy VA-18


1 October 1943
German submarine U-703 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet merchant Sergej Kirov (4146 GRT) (cargo of machinery equipment), into Kara Sea. There was only one dead. Ship was part of the Soviet convoy VA-18.

On the same day finally, the German submarine U-960 torpedoed and sunk the soviet auxiliary minesweeper T-896: the whole crew of 43 was lost and the minesweeper was part of convoy VA-18 too.
Post 08 Jun 2014, 14:15
1944

12 - 13 August 1944
German submarine U-365 scored the best success against a single Soviet convoy (BD-5 in Kara Sea) : at first she torpedoed the soviet merchant Marina Raskova (7540 GRT) that still managed to keep sailing. The submarine attacked with depth charges by minesweepers T-118 and T-114 (both ex-American of Admirable class) but she managed to torpedo and sunk both of them. Finally, (after the midnight) the submarine torpedoed again the damaged merchant until she sunk. The merchant was the former American Ironclad, she sunk with 373 lives, while 259 were saved (minesweeper T-116 and MBR-2 seaplanes involved in rescue operations).


22 August 1944
German submarine U-344 usually reported as sunk by British aircrafts. There is still a possibility that instead sunk by the Soviet destroyer Zguchyi (ex-American) the following day with depth charges. Only finding the wreck could shed lights on this event (currently it is considered an unlikely option).


26 August 1944
German submarine U-957 sunk with gunfire the Soviet hydrographic ship Nord (18 KIA, 4 POW): the Soviet ship was armed but managed to fire only a single shell of 45mm that barely missed the submarine.


5 September 1944
Soviet minesweeper T-116 (ex-American of Admirable class) sunk with depth charges the German submarine U-362.
U-362 is the only enemy submarine surely sunk by Soviets in Arctic with depth charges and one of the two U-boats surely sunk by Soviet Navy in Arctic. The wreck explored by Soviet divers.
Image

Soviet painting of the attack. Soviet Navy lacked the main class of non-auxiliary minesweepers in Arctic Sea (Fugas-class was operative on all the other fronts). It was precious the support of the Allies that gave a number of Admirable class minesweepers. They proved useful and even if suffered 3 losses due U-boats, T-116 scored this significant victory sinking U-362.


23 September 1944
German submarine U-957 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet guard-ship (corvette) Brilliant. The ship was escorting the Soviet convoy VD-1 in Kara Sea. The whole crew of 64 died, one man rescued but he died shortly after.


24 September 1944
German submarine U-739 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet minesweeper T-120 (ex-American of Admirable class): she was part of the previously attacked convoy VD-1 in Kara Sea. The minesweeper had previously spotted the submarine and opened gunfire, forcing it to dive, but was later torpedoed when the submarine counter-attacked. 41 sailors died, other 44 survived: part of the crew managed to keep the ship afloat while the rest of the crew evacuated the sinking ship. 26 abandoned the ship on a cutter, 20 on a pontoon and 2 on a raft. The men on the raft disappeared on sea, while the ones on the cutter managed to reach land and helped by local hunters.
The men on the pontoon managed to build an improvised sail and after 3 days reached a desert island: one man died due accident while landing, and another died on the island later. The 8 weakest men were left on the island with food, and the others continued the journey until they reached a manned shore battery on 1 October. A submarine chaser sent to rescue the men left on the island on 6 October.


22 October 1944.
A pair of Soviet seaplanes MBR-2 strafed German submarine U-737. They caused only light damages but 3 crewmembers of the submarine were wounded.


3 December 1944
German submarine U-1163 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet merchant Revolyutsiya (433 GRT). Ship was part of convoy KB-35, sailing to Archangelsk. She had engine issues and was left behind with a minesweeper: once she was hit by torpedo, the merchant sunk very quickly with all the 23 lives and the minesweeper had no time to rescue them.


5 December 1944
German submarine U-995 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet merchant Proletarij (1128 GRT). She was part of Soviet convoy PK-20 (3 merchants and 4 BO-class submarine chasers and 2 MO-class, as escort) and was close Petsamo. There were 29 dead and 27 survivor (a lifeboat capsized).

On the same day, German submarine U-365 torpedoed and sunk Soviet submarine chaser BO-230 (ex-American SC-1477). The ship was on submarine’s hunt close Murmansk and identified the U-365 but the other ships failed to join her and meanwhile the submarine torpedoed the submarine chaser. There were no survivors.

On the same day, German submarine U-387 lightly damaged by 20mm at close range from destroyer Deyatelnyi (ex-American). Submarine then sunk on the same mission.


7 December 1944
U-997 torpedoed and sunk Soviet submarine chaser BO-229 (ex-American SC-1485). The ship had just lead a submarine’s hunt with other BO close Murmansk. There were 23 killed and 13 survivors.


9 December 1944
Soviet destroyer Zivuchyi (ex-American) rammed and damaged German submarine U-1163, forcing the submarine to return at base, the damage will block the U-boat for 2 months.
Image

Photo of ship while serving as USS Fairfax. This destroyer accomplished the second successfull soviet "taran" (ramming) attack against a German u-boat in Arctic. As happened in 1941, the target wasn't sunk but needed a pair of months of works for repair.

Soviets believed that Zivuchyi rammed and sunk U-387, while Western sources assigned it as victim of British corvette HMS Bamborough Castle.
Until recently, other Soviet sources believed Soviet leader destroyer Baku and destroyer Derzkyi sunk the submarine with depth charges, however they attacked and lightly damaged U-318. Only recovering the wreck could give a definitive solution.


21 December 1944
German submarine U-956 sunk with artillery and ramming the Soviet motorboat Reshitel'nyy (20 tons): the boat carried 26 passenger, all killed with 2 sailors: 3 sailors were rescued by a soviet submarine chaser.


26 December 1944
German submarine U-995 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet fishing vessel n°52 Som in Kola peninsula. There were 31 killed and 1 survivor (captured).


29 December 1944
German submarine U-995 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet auxiliary minesweeper T-883. The ship was going to sweep a minefield with other units before the arrival of Soviet convoy KB-37. Other ships came out too late to attempt rescuing crew and the whole crew of 49 was lost.


30 December 1944
German submarine U-956 torpedoed and damaged the Soviet merchant Tbilisi (7176 GRT) with a cargo of food, hay, fuel in barrels and 124 soldiers. Ship was part of Soviet convoy KP-24 in Kola Peninsula. The ship did not sunk, but cargo took fire and some passengers evacuated too fast the ship and died in cold water and bad weather. Ship’s commander died during the evacuation, while abandoning as last man the ship. There were 47 dead and 139 survivors. Several attempts to take in tow the ship failed due the bad weather, but ship refused to sink and finally she was took in tow.
The ship however not repaired until years after the war, in 1959, with the bow of an American merchant damaged too during the conflict.
Post 21 Jun 2014, 16:29
1945 (Arctic):

5 January 1945.
Germans attempted a propagandistic blow.
Submarines U-295, U-318 and U-716 carried each one two midget submarines of Biber class on the hull, the purpose was to torpedo and sunk in harbor the Soviet battleship Archangelsk (ex-British HMS Royal Sovereign). The mission however failed due to weather and unexpected vibrations that damaged all the six Biber submarines.
Image

Hitler and the Kriegsmarine were obsessed with the Archangelsk: a number of plans to sink the battleship attempted (apart the Biber's attack, also other submarines attempted to torpedo her with conventional attacks, but could not find her or struck in anti-submarine nets).
Archangelsk saw not real war activity and the blow wanted to be purely propagandistic. The German plans never realized and Archangelsk fired her only (blank) shots during the celebrations for the Victory Day.



16 January 1945
Often it's said that soviet destroyer Deyatelnyi was sunk by German submarine U-997 or U-956. The ship could be the only Soviet destroyer sunk by enemy submarine in action, however both the claims have poor explanations. The first submarine wasn't on mission (previous campaign concluded on 29 December, next one starts only on 22 February), second submarine, that has an uncompleted war diary, report an attack on convoy on 12 January with explosion, but the destroyer sunk on day 16.
Currently the destroyer believed sunk after accidental detonation of depth charges while attacking a false contact (no real submarine).
Only 7 survivors, they were on the bow of the vessel, at the farther distance of depth charges.


20 January 1945
Soviet destroyer Razyaryonnyi torpedoed and badly damaged by German submarine U-293. It's the most important Soviet warship hit by an enemy submarine (after her (by importance) there was the torpedo boat Storm, torpedoed and damaged in Black Sea).
Image

Photo of Razyaryonnyi


2 March 1945
German submarine U-995 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet submarine chaser BO-224 (ex-American SC-1507). The ship was on submarine hunt with other 2 units. There were 7 killed and 24 survivors.


17 February 1945
British sloop HMS Lark and corvette HMS Alnwick Castle sunk with depth charges the German submarine U-425.
The attack occurred off Murmansk, the British warships stationed in Soviet harbor to help increase the ASW defense.


20 March 1945
German submarine U-997 damaged by depth charges of Soviet torpedo boat Smerch (Uragan class) with support of some BO class submarine chasers. Damage was light, but submarine was forced to return at base.
Image

Photo of Smerch, from wio.ru


22 March 1945
It has been reported that German submarine U-711 launched a torpedo that exploded near the small Soviet motorboat BPS-5 (of just 20 tons), causing some damages. This is an unconfirmed claim.


1 April 1945
Soviet Catalina seaplane lightly damaged with bombs the German submarine U-312.
Image

Photo of an American seaplane Catalina, in Soviet service.


5 April 1945
German submarine U-716 was attempting to torpedo the Soviet merchant Kirov (ex-American of the mass-built Liberty class), but suffered a small collision with one of the three escorting destroyers: Karl Liebknecht, Uritskyi or Druznyi (this one was ex-American). The collision was little (actually it was just a little contact with the submarine's periscope) and not noticed by the destroyer, but the periscope of the submarine was damaged and the U-716 was forced to return to base.




22 April 1945
German submarine U-997 torpedoed and sunk the Soviet merchant Onega (1603 GRT). There were 5 killed and 37 survivors (saved by soviet BO submarine chasers). The ship was part of the mixed convoy PK-9 sailing to Murmansk. Earlier, U-997 missed the soviet destroyer Karl Liebknecht and shortly before the sinking of Onega, the same submarine managed to torpedo and damage the Allied Norwegian merchant Idefjord (4287 GRT).

During the same action, Soviet destroyer Karl Liebknecht attacked with gunfire German submarine U-997 that got damages at periscope, and was forced to return at the base. Soviets believed to have sunk the submarine U-286, but she possibly sunk by British frigates HMS Loch Insh, HMS Anguilla and HMS Cotton on 29 April on ASW patrol departing from Murmansk. It is also possible that U-286 was sunk by mines laid by British minelayer HMS Apollo and British destroyers HMS Obedient, HMS Opportune and HMS Orwell before April 29 (submarine had to communicate back before such date), and there is also the possibility that it was sunk by Soviet destroyer Zarkyi (ex-American) shortly after the attack of Karl Liebknecht. Only the recovery of the wreck could explain the cause of sinking.

On the same day, U-294 was damaged with depth charges by the same destroyer Karl Liebknecht and/or shortly after by destroyer Derzkyi (ex-American) and submarine chaser BO-131 (project122a). Submarine suffers a number of damages and is forced to return.
The Karl Liebknecht was the only Soviet destroyer to have caused the damage of three different enemy submarines during the war (even if including shared successes).
Image

Photo of the Karl Liebnecht, from warships2.eu. A very active destroyer, despite the age, that carried the name of the famous German revolutionary.


29 April 1945
British frigate HMS Loch Insh sunk with depth charges the German submarine U-307. 37 crewmembers killed and 11 survivors.
The attack occurred off Murmansk, the frigate was part of the stationed group of British warships in Soviet harbor to help increase the ASW defense in Soviet waters.


30 April 1945
Soviet B-25 Mitchell bomber damaged with aerial depth charges the German submarine U-711.
Image

Photo of one lend-leased B-25 Mitchell bomber in Soviet service. A famous aircraft that mostly focused on classic ground bombing operations.
Post 18 Mar 2019, 16:16
LARGE UPDATES:
1) Reworked intro
2) detailed and comparative source list
3) Inserted evaluation and summary of German sub. activities in Arctic against Soviet shipping.
4) Major re-writing of text, pics and added extra photos.

NOTE: future Black Sea and Baltic pages soon will be added!
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