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Soviet Naval Battles -Arctic during WW2 (re-done)

Soviet cogitations: 284
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 08 Aug 2013, 13:21
Note: this page is a no-profit work made with multiple cross-referencing. Sources used: (German text, neutral source) (German, Finnish, Russian contributions) (Russian, highly effective contributions and Q&A with current authors like Miroslav Morozov, and others)
Direct sources over the US Navy translations of original Kriegsmarine war diaries (Main diaries and Black Sea operations).
Note 2018: anti-aircraft operations are a cross-reference of works with authors Mikhail Zefirov&Nikolay Bazhenov and original translation of Luftwaffe dataset of losses on Eastern Front.



30 November 1939
Soviet auxiliary minesweepers Tszcz-895 and Tszcz-897 intercepted and captured two motorboats (abandoned) that attempted to evacuate Finnish civilians from Rybachi Peninsula.

1 December 1939
Soviet torpedo boat Groza, while escorting auxiliary minesweepers Tszcz-895 and Tszcz-897, encountered and captured the abandoned Finnish trawler Syväri (238 GRT).

Battles during the GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR:


30 June 1941
A German bomber Ju-87 (GroupIV,1st training squadron, serial 5878) shot down by anti-aircraft gunfire from Soviet destroyers Uritskyi and Valerian Kuybyshev. Pilot wounded but escaped to German lines, co-pilot killed. Solely Uritskyi claimed victory but it is possible the other ship achieved it. Submarine chaser MO-223 claim over a Ju-88 discredited: MO-121 was also damaged claiming to have shot down a Ju-87, but the sole victory is confirmed to destroyers.

11 July 1941
A German bomber Ju-87 (serial Nr. 5424) shot down by the Soviet submarine chaser MO-141 north-west of Murmansk, while suffering damage. Both crewmembers survived, reached the shore and German lines. A second German bomber Ju-87 (serial 5469) was also lost while flying back to the base when the engine caught fire possibly due ship’s anti-aircraft hits: after an emergency landing the aircraft completely burned (crew saved), this possibility by other source.

13 July 1941
A small convoy formed by the Soviet auxiliary patrol ship Passat and the unarmed small ships RT-67 and RT-32 (both were towing pontoons) was attacked and destroyed by the German destroyers Z-4, Z-7, Z-10, Z-16 and Z-20. (all the soviet ships were sunk except the RT-32 that run aground and was lost due it, same fate for the pair of towed pontoons)
The Passat attempted to make resistance with her 45mm guns fire but it was an unequal battle with an already written outcome.
Painting of the sinking of Passat

19 July 1941
During an attack performed by 9 “Stuka”, German bomber Ju-87 (serial 5502 "L1 + FW", crew MIA) shot down by the combined anti-aircraft fire from auxiliary patrol boat Shtil and auxiliary minesweeper Tszcz-31, the patrol ship however was sunk.

24 July 1941
The small unarmed transport Meridian (840 GRT) was sunk by the German destroyers Z-4, Z-7, Z-16 and Z-20

6 August 1941
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.

10 August 1941
The German destroyers Z-4, Z-10 and Z-16 found and attacked the soviet auxiliary patrol ship Tuman. As the previously sunk Passat, the Tuman was armed only with 45mm guns and despite her resistance she was sunk. This time however other Soviet forces reacted: coastal artillery fired against the German ships and an air raid of bombers SB-2 managed to inflict damage to the destroyer Z-16 (often it's wrongly said that Z-4 was damaged by coastal artillery, instead of Z-16).
Due the increased Soviet reactions and the little value of the target sunk, Germans decided to stop this kind of destroyers's raids on Soviet waters.
Painting of sinking of Tuman

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 was hit and damaged and a leak from the door of the tower was going to sink the unit, if it had not been for the efforts of the crew to save her.

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

14 September 1941
The soviet motor torpedo boats TK-13, TK-14 and TK-15 of D-3 class had the first clash with the enemy. They met the larger German patrol ships V-6109 Nordwind and V-6111 Franke. During the short engagement, the V-6109 Nordwind got one hit.
Photo of TK-15. In Arctic the Soviet Navy at first deployed only a small number of D-3 class motor torpedo boats. Later will arrive leased allied units.

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

16 September 1941
A German bomber Ju-88 (Group II, 30th Squadron, serial 3306) shot down by anti-aircraft fire from corvette Sapfir and submarine chaser MO-252. Crew saved.
Germans officially report the plane as lost due crashing, while the two Soviet ships claimed two planes.

6 October 1941
The first victory for a Soviet motor torpedo boat in Arctic is achieved by TK-12 of D-3 class, she managed to sink with torpedo the Norwegian coaster Bjornungen (165 GTR). The ship was carrying materials for a railway.
Painting of TK-12

25 November 1941.
German submarine U-578 attacked with ramming and heavily damaged by Soviet patrol ship SKR-25 Briz.
The damage is quite heavy, with an hole and leak into the ballast tanks and needed repairs.

On the same day there was the first combined British-Soviet naval action: the British heavy cruiser Kenya and the British destroyers Bendouin and Intrepid and the Soviet ones Gremyashchyi and Gromkyi, made a raid on enemy coasts, resulting in the bombing of Vardo.
Unclear the results but no damage on shipping reported.

3 December 1941
The soviet large submarine K-3 had missed with 4 torpedoes the German merchant Altkirch (4713 GRT) and was then heavily attacked with depth charges by the German submarine-chasers UJ-1403, UJ-1416 and UJ-1708. The submarine touched the bottom and got damages, being forced to emerge. Crew of the submarine was prepared to make a last stand and faced in gunfire battle the three enemy ship. The K-3 opened fire with all the weaponry, and 39 shells of 100mm and 47 of 45mm were shot. Enemy submarine chasers had only 20mm and 88mm guns and fired 60 shells (of the main 88mm guns) without scoring hits. The German submarine chaser UJ-1708 directly hit on the bow at the fifth volley of the submarine and sunk. The other submarine chasers withdrew (some sources wrongly claim that also UJ-1403 was damaged).
This powerful submarine managed to score the naval battle victory that smaller patrol boats could not achieve during the first engagements against the enemy destroyers. The soviet Katyuska class was successful but the few units were heavily engaged in battle and most of the ones active in Arctic were lost. K-3 was lost in March 1943 after a depth charge's attack. The submarine had scored until that moment a total of 4 victories (3 sinking, including the UJ-1708, and 1 damaged ship).
Painting of the battle (it show wrongly 2 targets sinking).

17 December 1941
Another British-Soviet naval action: the German destroyers Z-23, Z-24, Z-25 and Z-27 attacked the British minesweepers Hazard and Speedy, damaging the last one (one direct hit, 2 wounded). The British heavy cruiser Kent escorted by the Soviet destroyers Sokrushitelnyi and Groznyi, sailed to face the enemy but the Germans already retreated, leaving the minesweepers.
Photo of destroyer Groznyi.
Last edited by 1redItalian on 14 May 2018, 12:35, edited 36 times in total.
Reason: minor corrections
Soviet cogitations: 284
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 30 Aug 2013, 18:27
19 February 1942
Soviet submarine ShCh-403 was at first attacked and missed with ramming on surface by the German minelayer Brummer, then the submarine was successfully rammed by the auxiliary minesweeper M-1503. The ShCh-403 also damaged by artillery fire yet managed to dive and survived (even if Germans believed to have sunk the submarine). However the commander Kovalenko was on the tower during the ramming, was knocked out of the submarine falling in water, and was later recovered by Germans. He was wounded and had a leg amputated, later he will be brought in prison camp and shot in 1944.
He was one of the two soviet submarine commander captured in action by enemy during the conflict.

7 March 1942
Soviet merchant Izhora (2815 GTR) part of convoy QP-8 to United States, was attacked by a large German naval group (including the battleship Tirpitz) and to sink her are needed 11 direct hits of 150mm and 43 of 127mm, to be finished by depth charges launched at close distance by destroyer Z-14 after torpedoes missed.
The merchant managed to give a radio alert and the enemy failed to intercept the convoy PQ-12, while British aircraft of carrier Victorious forced the enemy to retreat.
The whole crew of the Izhora was killed (31 KIA + 1 POW later dead in prison).

16 March 1942, the German merchant Utlandshorn (2643 GRT) was sunk by the mines laid close Petsamo. Often is wrongly reported as sunk by mines laid by motor torpedo boats, but the field was laid by the submarine chasers. Mines were laid by MO-122, MO-123, MO-153 and MO-163 on 7 December 1941 (only the last two units laid the field) or 21 January 1942 (all 4 made the field).

29 March 1942.
Battle of Convoy PQ-13
The only naval engagement that resulted in a Soviet hit on enemy destroyer.
Soviet sources are unclear on detail of the battle due disposition of the ships but the official report of the British destroyer Eclipse (available online from 2010) gives more clear details.
So it was the disposition of the Allied squadron:
In forward position there is the British light cruiser Trinidad shortly followed by destroyer Fury.
At the middle there is the destroyer Eclipse with on each side a soviet destroyer: Gremyashchyi (at her right, toward convoy) and Sokrushitelnyi (at her left).
Behind them was following British destroyer Oribi.
The first part of the engagement resulted in the attack of German destroyers Z-24, Z-25 and Z-26 against the first ships: however Z-26 was separated from the comrades and faced alone the Trinidad with terrible results. Z-26 was hit multiple times and turned away escaping, chased by the same Trinidad (both sailing now in the opposite direction of the convoy).
Now multiple events occurred in short distance of time:
During the chase, Trinidad and Z-26 crossed their own route and found themselves at north-east position of the 3 destroyers Sokr. Eclipse and Grem.
These three ships saw splashes of shells firing in front of them and they were surely shells fired by Trinidad that flew over their intended target (it's impossible that Z-26 fired, because only the rear gun was not damaged now. (EDIT 2013: it's however probable that this sighting reported was actually related to the following friendly fire from HMS Fury).
It was now that Sokrushitelnyi sailed against a visible target and fired 20 shells on it, claiming a direct hit when the target was visible.
At the same time the British Fury appeared in front of the Allied formation (firing against them), being shortly misidentified for an enemy target due strong snow-falls.
Some sources claims that Sokrushitelnyi could have fired against the Fury, but from the details of the Eclipse it appears that the truth is different.
And the mistake is logical, because from its external position and with poor visibility the Sokrushitelnyi could see only the target coming from left. At the same time the Gremyashchyi managed to see only the Fury (being the Grem. on internal position, closer to convoy) and with both Soviet destroyers that wrote of a single destroyer seen, it's easy to mix them. However the Eclipse (being in the middle) was able to see both the destroyers and clearly identified them as two different ships: from the documents it's clear that the Eclipse's commander believed that the "ship coming from left" was the Trinidad, and that the one "from ahead" the Fury.
However he wasn't aware that shortly before Sokrushitelnyi's attack, the Trinidad attempted to launch a torpedo but due cold water it malfunctioned and after having run a circle, hit and damaged the same cruiser! (Even if actually the Z-24 claimed to have scored a torpedo hit, such possibility it's more likely rather the self-torpedoing).
The Trinidad had stopped the chase and turned back, so leaving it as the only candidate for being the target of Sokrushitelnyi's fire the Z-26.
This is further confirmed by the later descriptions of events. After having realized that the Fury wasn't a German ship, Eclipse's commander decided to join the "mysterious ship", believing it to be the Trinidad still chasing the enemy destroyer (he received a radio information about an enemy being damaged and damages to the Trinidad but not that Trinidad had stopped the chase).
Eclipse found the Z-26 and still believed that it was the Trinidad (with clear identification of her, as target of Sokr.'s fire) until it reached close range. In the following engagement the Z-26 suffered additional damages from Eclipse and the Z-24 and Z-25 finally reached the two units, chased the British destroyer (that was damaged) and evacuated the Z-26 before she was self-sunk.

Only from 2010 has it been possible to read this account of the battle which confirms that the first and only direct battle with a soviet destroyer that attacked a enemy destroyer, causing (probably) at least 1 hit and the same destroyer then sunk due accumulated damages.

Photo of the Z-26 sinking. This warship was the only destroyer during the WWII that suffered probably a direct hit from a major soviet warship.

The official German sources give further credit to such description of the events because the Kriegsmarine war diary gives a short but interesting descriptions of the events: the Z-26 reported, after having left behind the Trinidad, to have been chased by TWO different Allied destroyer (not only the Eclipse), and that the first one was "larger" than the second one. Such description perfectly match with the actual size and length difference between the soviet destroyers and the British ones. Germans doesn't give detail if the first larger destroyer (the Sokrushitelnyi) managed to damage the Z-26, but her action it's confirmed.

Photos of the ships involved:
The Soviet destroyer was larger and more armed than the British: the German observation gives further credit to the engagement's evaluation that see the Sokrushitelnyi having actually attacked the Z-26.

11 April 1942
During Convoy QP-10, a German Ju-88 bomber (serial 880197 4D+GA, crew MIA) probably shot down by anti-aircraft fire from Soviet destroyer Gremyashchyi, but maybe also by British merchant Empire Cowper (7164 GRT). Bombers just mortally hit the British merchant ship; and aircraft crashed 100 meters in front of Soviet merchant Kiev (4853 GRT) torpedoed and sunk the next day by submarine U-436. Other sources giving the loss to other British merchant or as shared victory with Soviet destroyer Sokrushitelnyi are wrong.
Other two Ju-88 bombers (both from II./KG30) suffered significant damages while a third one suffered light damage with pilot wounded: however these cannot be likely attributed to Soviet ships due lack of indication/specific claims and heavy presence of more numerous British escort units (5 destroyers and 4 minesweepers, while Soviets had only Gremyashchyi and Sokrushitelnyi).

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

29 April 1942
During an air raid on Murmansk, German bomber Ju-88 (Nr.140210 "4D + GH") and Ju-88 (Nr.0883701 "4D + CK) were shot down by anti-aircraft fire from ships in the harbor (7 killed, 1 POW). Soviet corvette Smerch opened fire against the Ju-88 and while made no claims, it is possible she shot down one or both, while sources state it was ground anti-aircraft fire.

1-2 May 1942
Battle of Convoy QP-11
On day 1 May, German destroyers Z-24 and Z-25 attacked convoy QP-11, sinking with torpedo the Soviet merchant Tsiolkovsky (2847 GTR) and damaging with gunfire the British destroyer Amazon .
The next day, Soviet destroyers Sokrushitelnyi and Gremyashchyi, the British Forested and Foresight and British minesweepers Hussar, Gossamer, Niger and Harrier escorted the heavy British cruiser Edinburgh that has been torpedoed by submarine U-456.
Sadly before the beginning of the battle, the Soviet destroyers had to left due lack of fuel, and they were replaced by the corvette (patrol ship) Rubin and the tug n°22.
German destroyers Z-7, Z-24 and Z-25 attacked the Allied ships: Edinburgh, despite damage managed to fire against the enemy and mortally hit the Z-7 while Z-24 was damaged as the British destroyers Forested and Foresight, while the same Edinburgh had to be self-sunk due to damages (she got another torpedo by Z-24).
The actions of the Rubin during the battle are probably destined to be secret because the ship was officially part of the NKVD naval force and documents about her are now in possession of FSB Russian secret service.
According to British forces, the minesweepers were engaged in battle and fired against the enemy even if it can't be said if they caused some kind of damage to the enemy, and Rubin fought with them.
It's known that at some point Rubin and Gossamer tried to tow away the Edinburgh but failed due lack of engine's power and the large weight of the cruiser (however the Soviet sources states that actually it was the tug n°22 that tried to tow the cruiser, probably the British sources merged the two units). Rubin fought close Harrier at the point that due to misunderstanding the two ships collided and caused some little damage to each other. It's interesting that after the battle the Soviet commander of Rubin wrote a personal letter to Harrier's commander to apologize about the collision (British often reports it as a act of gallantry between allied forces)
Even short descriptions show clearly how the Rubin wasn't a "little tug" as sometimes claimed by western source, but an unit that could have put her efforts in battle together the Allied minesweeper. Sadly there are not full detailed British accounts (for now) and the Soviet one will be probably remain a secret for many years, because the Rubin was a ship under NKVD control.

3 May 1942
During Convoy PQ-15 (contemporary to QP-11), Soviet Icebreaker Krassin opened fire with 76mm guns against an incoming assault of He-111. The German torpedo bomber He-111 (n°4950, crew MIA) hit by anti-aircraft fire was almost going to crash on the ship but Krassin managed to avoid it stopping the course. During the assault, the British merchant Botawon (5848 GRT) was torpedoed and sunk, while a second He-111 was damaged by British escort ships. Icebreaker Krassin was a famous ship, having served before the war as explorer and rescue ship during a number of events and by the time of WWII was considered a capable ship despite in need of constant repairs, rising the interests of the US Coast Guard that offered to buy her in 1941. Ship is currently preserved as museum-ship.

12 May 1942
The soviet large submarine K-23 had missed with 4 torpedoes the German merchant Karl Leonhard (6115 GRT), then the escort forced the submarine to surface with depth charges and started a gunfire battle. German submarine chaser UJ-1101 fired 78 shells of 88mm, whole UJ-1110 fired 44 shells of same caliber. However the submarine counter-fire with 100mm was heavy and only the third submarine chaser UJ-1109 kept firing before calling help from German aircrafts. It was only with the arrival of German bombers Ju-88 that the K-23 was forced to dive and probably damaged to be then finished by UJ-1109 with depth charges.
This engagement, that share similarities with the battle of 3 December 1941, had a different outcome due the presence of German aircraft but the submarine had managed to defend and repulse the enemy during the surface engagement.
K-23 had previously scored 2 victories (sunk a merchant with torpedo and damaged a minesweeper with mine).

17 May 1942
A raid by German Ju-88 bombers at Yokanga sunk the Soviet patrol ship SKR-21, while SKR-22 and SKR-25 were damaged. 6 Soviet sailors died and 24 were wounded. A German Ju-88 bomber (n°882033 from II./KG30) suffered damages from the anti-aircraft fire but returned to the airfield.

28 May 1942
During an air raid on Murmansk, Germans made four raids against shipping in harbor but without damage reported. One Ju-87 (n°5709 from I./StG5) was hit and lost while attempting an emergency landing not reaching the airfield. The victory his shared by Soviet fighters of 122nd IAD PVO, ground anti-aircraft battery and fire from Soviet destroyer Gremyashchyi.

29 May 1942
During Convoy PQ-16, Soviet destroyers Sokrushitelnyi, Groznyi and Valerian Kuybyshev took cover of the last transit protection: most of the other Allies escort previously left and the left had depleted ammunition. The three soviet units opened a coordinated barrage with 130mm guns against an incoming attack, shooting down a German Ju-88 bomber (n°882100 "4D + EM", crew MIA). Anti-aircraft fire also damaged a German torpedo-bomber He-111 (I./KG26) suffering 1 crewmember wounded and making an hard landing in airdrome. The Soviet destroyers can collectively share these two victories, because no specific claim can be identified (first two destroyers claimed 2 aircrafts and third destroyer claimed one alone). No merchant was lost during this phase. Soviet aircrafts engaged also in protection but the Soviet ace Safonov on fighter “Kittyhawk” was killed when his aircraft shot down by a Ju-88 recce aircraft. An additional Ju-88 (1760 "4D + CM") by fighter, possibly by Safonov himself. German bomber Ju-88 (serial 430244) crashed while landing on Kirkenes airfield on day 30 May, after air-damage suffered from the same ace Safonov.

1 June 1942
During an air raid on Murmansk, 21 bombers Ju-88 and 14 Ju-87 covered by Bf-109 and Bf-110 made three raids on Murmansk ports aiming at the shipping (including ships from Convoy PQ-13).
American merchant “Empire Starlight” (previously damaged by air attacks during the Convoy) and the smaller Soviet merchant Subbotnik (325 GRT) hit by Ju-87 and sunk. Soviet aircrafts and air defense claimed up to 8 planes shot down, however only a German Ju-87 (n°6234 "L1 + CV" from I./StG5) was truly lost (pilot survived and reached German lines, co-pilot MIA): shared victory between anti-aircraft defense and Soviet destroyer Gremyashchyi.

25 August 1942
The Germans made the only attempt to operate a major warship in Kara Sea.
The pocket battleship (heavy cruiser) Admiral Scheer could have inflicted heavy damage intercepting the convoy EON-18 and other ships, but found the armed icebreaker Alexander Sibiryakov. This Soviet unit was a famous ship, and questioned the larger one that at first used US Flag and claimed to be the Tuscaloosa cruiser, soon the trick was discovered and the Germans fired a shell and expected the surrender of the Soviets. There was no surrender and even if it was an impossible battle to win (or survive), the Sibiryakov attacked the cruiser even if less armed than the opponent (76mm guns against 280mm) making a brave resistance that surprised the enemy, also it's important that she alerted the closer Soviet radio station of the presence of such enemy warship. The Soviet ship was sunk (of 88 crew, 22 were saved and captured by enemy, 13 of them including commander survived in the concentration camps. A sailor managed to reach a desert island and survived 34 days (thanks to some food that was brought by the sea from the sinking point of the ship) before being rescued by an hydroplane). Another sailor was killed in the life-boat when attempted to attack the capturing enemy party with an axe, other sailors were almost surely left abandoned on sea to die).

The sacrifice of the ship, that faced the enemy battleship and alerted about the presence of her, has been a famous event of the Soviet Navy during the war.

26 August 1942
Battle of Dikson
Thanks to the sacrifice of the Sibiryakov, the battleship Admral Scheer found no target on sea and the ship was forced to attack a secondary target.
The small harbor of Dikson was poorly defended (being the larger Soviet warships on south, at Murmanks and Archangelsk), but the Admiral Scheer was faced with courage by the guard-ship (armed merchant) Deznev that opened fire with her 76mm.
During the engagement the Deznev was hit by 4 direct shells and heavily damaged but survived even if run aground, also the merchant Revolutsioner received 3 hits and minor damages. Coastal artillery (two old guns) of 152mm fired too and even if the enemy warship wasn't hit, she retreated (thinking there could be stronger coastal guns).
Minimal damage was done (the radio station quickly returned operative even before the Admiral Scheer returned in harbor) and the only true naval target (the merchant Kara of 3235 GRT, still loaded with ammunitions) remained undamaged.

Deznev firing against the enemy. Once again, even if the enemy wasn't hit, the Soviet Navy had a new page of courageous behavior in battle.

Another painting.

18 September 1942
Soviet destroyers Sokrushitelnyi and Gremyashchyi opened a barrage fire against incoming He-111 torpedo bombers against Convoy PQ-18. Immediately at the beginning of the action, German bomber He-111 (n°7168) exploded mid-air after direct hit from Gremyashchyi main 130mm gunfire, before the other ships could start their own fire. The attack was coordinated with bombers Ju-88 and American merchant Kentucky (5446 GRT) sunk after bomb hits. Germans lost a Ju-88 (n°2130) shot down by escort: it is impossible to define the ship responsible. It is worth to stress how the Soviet destroyers numbered four units, in addition to the above-mentioned ones also Uritskyi and Valerian Kuybyshev and all Soviet ships reported an aggressive anti-aircraft while the reduced British escort had depleted ammunition (in a similar way to what occurred during PQ-16). This second victory is considered shared by the destroyers, in addition to damages inflicted to bomber Ju-88 (n°1562) that suffered moderate damage (30%) with 4 wounded, while bomber Ju-88 (n°6599) suffered heavy damages (70%) without casualties.

7 November 1942
Soviet tanker Donbass (7925 GRT) was sunk by German destroyer Z-27 (part of “Operation FB”, independent sailing of ships not arranged in convoy due temporary lack of escort), was also sunk the submarine-hunter BO-78. Tanker attempted defense with 76mm but her range was insufficient.

12 November 1942
9 Soviet submarine chasers of MO-4 class laid a successful small field of 18 mines at Petsamo.

19 November 1942
The auxiliary torpedo boat (decoy-ship) Schiff-18 Alteland was sunk on mines that were just laid the night between 18 and 19 November, by 10 MO-4 submarine chasers, close Kirkenes.
(ex-merchant converted in armed ship with 1 gun of 88m and 2 torpedo launchers.)

30 November 1942
German merchant Westsee (5911 GRT) (cargo of hay and straw) and German merchant Hans Rickmers (5226 GRT) (cargo of hay and straw) struck mines laid by MO-4 class chasers on 12 November, the second merchant was actually heavily damaged, run aground, and finished by soviet coastal artillery, while the first one directly sunk.

On this same day other mines were laid by 7 MO-4 class chasers.
Last edited by 1redItalian on 06 Mar 2019, 10:05, edited 46 times in total.
Reason: minor corrections
Soviet cogitations: 284
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 25 Sep 2013, 17:28

19 January 1943
Battle of Sytlefjord
Soviet North Fleet had been reinforced with new ships from the Pacific Fleet. Two of them were the leader destroyer Baku (the larger active Soviet-made unit in North during the War) and the destroyer Razumnyi were quickly involved in action when attacked a German convoy close Sytlefjord.
Baku attacked first, launching 4 torpedoes. It was the first and only Soviet torpedo attack in the North Fleet done by a destroyer-size unit. The other torpedo-launcher could not be used due ice and no hits were obtained.
The German convoy was formed by minelayer Skaggerak, the submarine chasers UJ-1104 and UJ-1105 and the minesweeper M-322 and M-303.
In the following gunfire battle no damage was inflicted on either side (despite the widespread mistake that Razumnyi got one hit from a minesweeper).
Also the claim of Baku sinking the merchant Tanja (137 GTR) is not correct, the ship being lost due storm on another location.

Photo of Baku.
Excessive caution and overestimation of enemy force were an habit for all the soviet destroyer's operation: in many cases, heavy damages could have been inflicted but the Soviet warships often fired at the medium-large distance.

1 February 1943
The large patrol ship V-5909 Coronel sunk on the MO-4's mines laid on 30 November 1942

Photo of the Coronel. It was a whaling ship (1100 GRT, in civilian duty) armed and converted.
Many German patrol ships were actually ex-civilian ships.

17 February 1943
A German Ju-88 bomber (serial 881203 "4N + EH") hit by anti-aircraft fire from Soviet merchant Andre Marti (2352 GRT). Crew saved, but plane crash-landed and was completely lost. It was the only fully confirmed case when a Soviet merchant managed to shot down an enemy aircraft during the war (not a shared victory). Ship sailed independently (“Operation FB”).

March 1943
New mines are laid by the soviet submarine chasers MO-113, MO-114 and MO-115 of MO-4 class

14 April 1943
Norwegian tug Pasvik (238 GRT) was sunk by the mines laid by MO-113, MO-114 and MO-115 of MO-4 class laid the previous month. This victory has been confirmed for years to submarine L-22.

15 April 1943
Soviet defector motorboat Shchuka (46 GRT) with six crewmembers reached the German-controlled shore during a resupply mission with a cargo of food. Germans recovered the cargo and intended to use the boat but the submarine chasers MO-123 and MO-133 shelled and destroyed her with three direct hits. It is the only full victory scored by soviet MO-4 class in Arctic (excluding the successful fields of mines).

18 April 1943
Soviet motor torpedo boat TK-13 got two hits by German R-boats, while R-63 got machine guns hits on return. The same auxiliary minesweeper also got two hits by other two German minesweepers during a friendly fire accident.

11 May 1943
A German fighter Fw-190 (serial 524, pilot Günter Busse KIA), was shot down in Motovka Bay by fire from Soviet submarine chaser MO-112. Other sources previously claimed by ground artillery, but modern research indicate the MO-112 as solely responsible. The submarine chaser was towing the auxiliary minesweeper n°404 (due engine failures) when seven enemy fighters attacked them, the minesweeper suffered a direct bomb hit and grounded in shallow place without human losses.

5 June 1943
A group of German aircrafts attacked a small but locally important Soviet convoy in Motovka Bay (tug n°21 towing the barge S-1, escorted by four submarine chasers:MO-111, MO-113, MO-122, MO-133). An aerial engagement erupted and were shot down 5 Soviet “Hurricane” fighters (plus other 4 previously shot down) for the loss of 1 German Bf-109 fighter (serial 7480, pilot Helmut Steinle), two Soviet pilots died. Germans dispatched a seaplane Do-24 (serial 0094) to attempt recovering the pilot but it accidentally turned upside down while touching the sea: Soviet submarine chaser MO-116 (ex-MO-123) approached the seaplane while under enemy air attack, captured 2 prisoners and sunk the seaplane with gunfire, other 4 crewmembers died (all declared MIA). The German fighter pilot was missing in action, while the barge delivered the cargo and passengers (10 new 122mm artillery gun and 60 artillerymen). Both Soviet fighters and boats claimed multiple German fighters shot-down, but the Bf-109 assigned to fighters.

12 June 1943
During a series of air raids in Motovka Bay to intercept a Soviet convoy of motorboats, German fighter Bf-109 (serial 14237, pilot killed) shot down by submarine chasers MO-131 and MO-136. MO-131 suffered damages during the attack (1 killed, 8 wounded), but no motorboat was lost that day.

18 June 1943
While attacking a group of Soviet motorboats in Motovka Bay, German fighter Fw-190 (serial 135488) crashed after accidentally touching the mast of motorboat OS-4. Another German Fw-190 (serial 135528) shot down by anti-aircraft fire from auxiliary patrol ship Priliv: other sources wrongly report it was shot-down by fire from motorboat Chelyuskinets but while attacked without success by three planes, she made no claims. Both German pilots died.

21 June 1943
Norwegian motorboat Foula (109 GTR) was sunk with gunfire by Soviet motor torpedo boat TK-13, while carrying cargo and personnel of the Luftwaffe after also being damaged by friendly fire of German aircrafts. Boarding the motorboat, Soviets took 2 POWs and killed 2 others. Germans believed the boat was attempting to defect, but actually she had the engine broken and drifted in Soviet waters.

5 July 1943
Soviet submarine M-106 was rammed and sunk by German submarine-chaser UJ-1217 on surface (previously the submarine was damaged with depth charges and forced to surface by the same unit together UJ-1206, UJ-1212 and UJ-1214). It was one of the 2 soviet submarines lost on surface due ramming by enemy ships (additionally to one sunk by submarine), and the only one in Arctic. Two months later the soviet submarine M-107 will take revenge on the loss of the brother, sinking the same UJ-1217 with torpedo. M-106 had scored no victory before the sinking.

18 August 1943
Soviet auxiliary patrol boats SKA-222 (ex-drifter Nokuyev) and SKA-211 (ex-drifter Tayfyn) successfully unloaded a cargo of shells when attacked while anchored at berth, in Eyna harbor in Motovka Bay. Gunners managed to lightly damage an Fw-190 (serial 2167, damage at 10%) during a first raid, but when both the ships left they faced a second heavy attack. SKA-222 sunk alongside motorboat PMB-61 (that was towing her after earlier damage), while SKA-211 suffered damages and grounded (other sources wrongly report lost). Soviet aircrafts attempted to defend the ships but failed and lost 4 “Hurricane” (2 pilots killed) and 3 Yak-1 fighters). Germans lost only one Bf-109 (serial 15597, pilot Christian Stolz MIA) shot down by patrol boats (or ground artillery according other source).

15 September 1943
Soviet motor torpedo boats TK-13 and TK-14 attacked the German merchant KT-3 (834 GRT) escorted by the MFPs F-196 and F-226. The merchant suffered a single bullet hit.
Picture of the TK-14 fighting

21 September 1943
German merchant Antje Fritzen (4330 GRT) was sunk by mines laid by MO-4 class submarine chasers laid on 11 February or the ones laid 6 April (can’t be said from which field). The ship sunk with a cargo of 742t of food, 361t rations, 2019t of concrete, 100t of ammunitions and 130t of building materials. In the past it has been claimed by soviet MTBs but they only saw the sinking.

8 December 1943
New mines are laid by submarine chasers MO-112, MO-113 and MO-131.

12 December 1943
On the new laid mines, was sunk the German patrol ship V-6106 . Sometimes she's wrongly listed as sunk in the following battle of 22 December.

22 December 1943
During a Soviet motor torpedo boats attack on an enemy convoy, TK-13 managed to torpedo and sunk the merchant Maria (200 GTR). TK-14 was sunk by gunfire of minesweeper M-365 or patrol ship V-6108 (both claimed a sinking) with 5 POWs captured by V-6115 (this patrol ship also collided with the TK-14), which took the prisoners.
Also TK-12 (commander wounded), TK-22 and TK-201 were damaged by gunfire, while Germans suffered machine guns fire on patrol ship V-6115 (1 KIA, 1 WIA) and minesweeper M-274 (7 WIA). Also on patrol ship NKI-10 there were 2 WIA due to accidental explosion.


19 January1944
New mines are laid by submarine chasers MO-112, MO-113 and MO-131 in Varangerfjord.

25 January 1944
On the new mines laid on 19 January, was sunk the German tanker Mil (244 GRT).

9 April1944
With 3 submarine chasers, 4 minesweepers and 6 patrol boats, Germans ambushed the group of Soviet motor torpedo boats TK-212, TK-213, TK-216 and TK-218. The first unit was sunk by submarine chaser UJ-1219. 2 POW

29 April 1944
A pair of German MFP (armed landing motor-barges) was attacked by motor torpedo boats TK-211, TK-213, TK-215, TK-219, TK-220 and TK-221. F-295 received machine gun fire and there was a sailor wounded, the second unit was F-252.

7 May 1944
Norwegian motorboat Moder-2 (124 GTR) sunk after being set on fire by Soviet (ex-British) motor torpedo boats TK-215, TK-218, TK-219, that boarded and captured the enemy ship. 15 POWs, including the collaborationist Norwegian major of Vadso.

8 May 1944
German ambushed, with patrol ships V-6101, V-6102, V-6107 and V-6108, the Soviet motor torpedo boats TK-217 and TK-209.
First ship was sunk by V-6107 (2 KIA, others were saved by TK-209), Germans had 5 wounded by machine guns fire on the units,
2 sailors were wounded also on TK-209. The day after TK-209 exploded, probably due battle damage (3 KIA).

Photo of TK-217

28 June 1944
German merchants Paloma and Nerissa escorted by 10 R-boats were attacked by Soviet MTBs. TK-239 manage to torpedo and sunk Nerissa (992 GTR), while R-160 and R-223 fired back but without hits.
Merchant ship was empty

15 July 1944
A large engagement: a convoy attack done by 8 Soviet MTBs erupted in fierce fighting. At first it was damaged the Norwegian motorboat Rossfjord that fired back, she was carrying Germans on board but there are no data of losses when she was heavily damaged by TK-242, TK-240 and TK-243. Other units, TK-238, TK-239 and TK-241 met Hugin (124 GTR) (cargo of lumber) that was boarded by TK-239, got one POW, additionally to 2 KIA and 2 WIA, then it was heavily damaged with charges. The ship didn’t sunk but was not repaired and was then blow up in October by Germans. TK-239 was then attacked and hit by M-251, M-252 and M-31 but was finished by R-154 and R-202 (5 POW, 7 KIA). TK-238 was damaged (3 WIA) too, as TK-242 and TK-243 (1 WIA). Motorboat Storegga (41 GTR) with a cargo of ammunitions, was lost. Unlikely due to German friendly fire by R-boats because they were more distant, more likely by shelling of damaged TK-239 just before her sinking. Storegga (as Hugin) didn’t sunk but was beached and lost.
The action was part of the "Combined Operation RV-6", but did not saw results obtained against this convoy by other crafts (airplanes, submarines etc...)

Photo of TK-243

19 August 1944
Another big battle erupted with 14 Soviet attacking MTBs, 6 enemy merchants and 18 enemy escort ships.
Before the MTBs engagement, the soviet submarine M-201 attacked the convoy and managed to torpedo and sink the enemy patrol ship V-6112 Friese.
TK-219 managed to torpedo and sunk the merchant Colmar (3992 GTR), (cargo of 1500t of cement, 642 t of feed, 12 t of ammunition) , and the patrol ship V-6102 Koln was torpedoed and sunk by TK-222 and TK-215 (20 KIA, 5 WIA) (TK-215 received hit with a wounded). German minesweeper M-202 managed to sunk TK-203 (9 pow, 6 KIA) while TK-206 and TK-214 hit with machine guns fire the patrol ship V-6104 (1 WIA). Auxiliary minesweeper R-151 got 12/15 hits in battle with no casualties by friendly fire and by TK-205 (she received hits too) after being taken by cross-fire. Also TK-204 received hits in battle (no casualties ) and two more TK received this kind of machine guns hits.

Photo of the merchant sunk.

Photo of TK-222

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

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

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

Painting of the attack.

6 September 1944
On mines previously laid by the Soviet motor torpedo boats TK-172, TK-192, TK-213 and TK-214, was sunk the German auxiliary minesweeper R-304.

14 September 1944
German minesweeper M-252 hit by unexploded torpedo when attacked by TK-211, TK-242 and TK-243. In the next gunfire exchange, TK-242 got 22 hits but no casualties while M-252 had 10 WIA by gunfire.

15 September 1944
Failed attempt to attack convoy by 6 Soviet motor torpedo boats (the only clear failure of soviet MTBs in Arctic during an attack). TK-13 (a veteran unit) was sunk by German R-boats (9 POW), there was another sailor wounded on TK-214 that got damage. No German casualties . A squadron of 15 Il-2 bombers attempted to give support but without effect.

25 September 1944
3 German patrol ships escorting the MFP F-152 were attacked by TK-202, TK-222, TK-242 or TK-208 and TK-240 (there were 2 groups attacking at same time). Patrol ship V-6101 sunk by torpedo with 34 KIA and 9 WIA. No damages on Soviet side by reaction fire.
For the first time in Arctic, the operation was successfully coordinated with Air Force: 33 fighter-bombers Il-2, 14 fighters Yak-9 and 24 ex-American fighters Kittyhawk attack the convoy: the F-152 hit and grounded as the V-6105. Also V-6110 and the just arrived (joined the convoy after the MTBs attack) auxiliary minesweeper R-309 were damaged. The MFP was also named D.152.P and used as floating workshop (some spare parts were also lost).

12 October 1944
3 Soviet TK attacked a convoy, the minesweeper M-303 was sunk with torpedo by TK-241 with 52 KIA, no damages on Soviets with reaction fire.

21 October 1944
6 Soviet motor torpedo boats attacked convoy, auxiliary minesweeper R-311 was hit and damaged by unexploded torpedo from TK-230. Minesweeper M-31 sunk by TK-244 or TK-237. (56 KIA). TK-230 damaged by German reaction fire.

23 October 1944
A German seaplane BV-138 (3(F)/SAGr130, serial 0135) suffered troubles and landed on sea north of Morzhovets island: the seaplane sent distress signals and was located by Soviet seaplanes MBR-2 and the Soviet hydrographic vessel Mgla seized it: crew of 5 surrendered without resistance. Soviet destroyer Zhguchiy was dispatched to tow the seaplane away but due heavy storm took water and sunk (1 soviet died while attempting to prevent the sinking).

26 October 1944
Soviet Navy carried a heavy bombing attack against both the harbors of Vardo and Vadso. (The first one was already attacked in 1941 with British units). Soviet leader destroyer Baku lead the attack’s group, formed by the veteran destroyer Gremyashchyi and the ex-Pacific Fleet destroyers Razumnyi and Razyaryonnyi. They fired the large number of 597 shells of 130mm. Some damages were inflicted at Vardo including a Norwegian drifter-boat that was damaged and not repaired.

5 December 1944
Submarine U-387 was lightly damaged by light fire of 20mm at close range from destroyer Deyatelnyi (ex-American). Submarine was then sunk on the same mission.

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.

Soviets believed that Zivuchyi rammed and sunk U-387: this one is usually described by Western sources as victim of British corvette Bamborough Castle. Has also been considered possible however that Soviet leader destroyer Baku and destroyer Derzkyi (ex-American) sunk the submarine with depth charges, however further recent analysis seems to confirm that they attacked U-318 causing light damage.
Only recovering the wreck could give a definitive solution.


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 Royal Sovereign). The mission however failed due to weather and unexpected vibrations that damaged all the six Biber submarines.

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

16 January 1945
Often it's said that soviet destroyer Deyatelnyi (ex-American) 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.
It's probable that Deyatelnyi was sunk by accidental detonation of depth charges while attacking the same submarine: the 7 survivors were on the bow and reported an huge explosion on stern, on the Deyatelnyi had just made a general alarm for submarine presence and was going to launch the depth charges. The explosion on stern gives credit to the hypothesis that one of the first charges was accidentally detonated on the ship, blowing up the others.

20 January 1945
Soviet destroyer Razyaryonnyi torpedoed and badly damaged by 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).

Photo of Razyaryonnyi

20 March 1945
German submarine U-997 was 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.

Photo of Smerch.

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
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 Loch Insh, Anguilla and Cotton on 29 April. It is also possible that U-286 was sunk by mines laid by British minelayer Apollo and British destroyers Obedient, Opportune and 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-hunter BO-131. 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).

Photo of the Karl Liebknecht , from A very active destroyer, despite the age, that carried the name of the famous German revolutionary.
Last edited by 1redItalian on 01 Apr 2019, 11:14, edited 67 times in total.
Reason: minor corrections
Soviet cogitations: 284
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 15 May 2014, 13:23

Re-done: viewtopic.php?f=149&t=54799
Soviet cogitations: 284
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 13 Aug 2015, 16:34
Added some painting and restored some pictures, plus some edits.

For the readers: comments, questions, suggestions or grammar corrections are extremely welcome! Thanks ^^
Soviet cogitations: 284
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 28 Jan 2016, 23:04
In December 2015 from German documents was found the new entry for 15 April 1943.
The first (and only) fully confirmed victory for the MO-4 class in Arctic with surface action (excluding success of boats as minelayers).
Original source:
Soviet cogitations: 284
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 30 Nov 2016, 15:53
Integrated the few events occurred in 1939 during Winter War. Few seizures achieved by Soviet ships.
Soviet cogitations: 284
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 14 May 2018, 12:39
Update: Integrated confirmed Luftwaffe losses due Soviet AA flak fire: detailed specific engagements and fights. Planes colored in green to differentiate from ships and boats.
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