Lost Soviet hero sub found
And no, this is no sandwich.
The Russkis Schuka (Pike) class diesel subs of the 1930s were designed to be one massive class of boats, envisioned by the Revvoensoviet design bureau, to work effectively in all of the Red Banner Fleets (White, Pacific, Baltic, Black) and as such were smallish sized (187-feet oal, 700-tons max) to be able to get around in the confines of some of those near-landlocked waters.
Capable of carrying a dozen torpedoes and a couple of deck guns, there was supposed to be upwards of 200 of these Stalin U-boats. However, just 87 were completed by 1945 and those in the Baltic and Black Seas saw horrible losses at the hands of Axis sub-busters.
When we say horrible losses, try 34 out of 87.
While most had lackluster and un-noteworthy service save their commissioning and subsequent loss, there was one that stood out.
ShCh-408 (Щ-408) was built in Leningrad and commissioned 10 Sep 1941, just weeks after Hitler broke his non-aggression pact with Uncle Joe and invaded the Motherland with a few million of his buddies.
Her claim to fame was in May 1943 when, under the command of LCDR Pavel Semenovich Kuzmin, she tried to thread her way through German/Finnish minefields sewn off Estonia to break out into the Baltic proper and harass shipping between Sweden and Germany.
We say try…
In a running battle that evolved over a four-day period, she engaged the Finnish minelayers Riilahti and Routsinsalmi along with a host of German armed trawlers in surface actions, dodged land based aircraft (downing several of them with her deck guns) and just basically put up one heck of a fight before she joined Davy Jones, taking all of her crew with her.
Kuzmin and his crew became something a hero in the dark times in the Soviet Union. A street in Leningrad was named in his honor as were several schools. The boat was posthumously named a “Guards Submarine” and her lost sailors Heroes of the Soviet Union. Her skipper was even awarded the Order of the British Empire by her Allies.
The story of the boat and her stand, which included enduing hundreds of depth charges while submerged, became the stuff of Soviet Naval mythos.
Now, apparently, she has been found in (Russian article but has a neat video) 236 feet of water off the Estonian island of Vaindlo.
All of her hatches are dogged down, her conning tower is riddled with shell fire and a PPSh-41 was reportedly observed on the ocean floor, which would seem to indicate a lot of the story is more than myth.