WW2: Black Sea Soviet naval battles

Сражения ВОВ в Черном море

Russian destroyer Nezamozhnik (Fidonisi type, Novik class) at Black sea
Советский эсминец "Незаможник" типа "Фидониси", класса "Новик" с успехом воевал всю войну в составе ЧФ; награжден орденом Красного Знамени.
Russian destroyer Nezamozhnik (Fidonisi type, Novik class) at Black sea.

Battle of Costanza
26 June 1941. Result: Indecisive (Soviet partial success in mission, but costly).
In Black Sea, the Soviet Navy didn't wait to be attacked. The main Axis naval power in Black Sea was the Romanian Navy and the Soviet Navy carried an heavy attack against them. The first shots were done by the leader destroyers Moskwa and Kharkov that fired 350 shells of 130mm against land's targets causing severe damages on the enemy harbor, train lines and the precious fuel tanks that were set afire with a great damage for the future enemy naval actions. Suddenly appeared the two Romanian destroyers Regale Maria and Marasti that started to fire against Kharkov and Moskwa helped by a German coastal artillery of 280mm and air attack. The Kharkov suffered damage by the German artillery while the Romanian gunfire was too much short to reach the Soviet warships. The Soviet leader destroyers retreated (they had not noticed the action of the Romanian destroyers and believed to be under fire just from the coastal artillery). On the way back to re-join the rest of the Soviet ships (cruiser Voroshilov and destroyers Soobrazitelnyi and Smyshlyonyi) the Moskwa struck a defensive enemy mine and was sunk. Another mine exploded close Soobrazitelnyi causing only a splinter damage to the Voroshilov that was sailing close. Soviets believed that the Moskwa was sunk by a submarine because alleged torpedo tracks. Soobrazitelnyi launched depth charges and has been considered possible a friendly fire accident with submarine ShCh-206 (but the wreck on a different position). Some Romanian sources has alleged participation of motor torpedo boats Viforul and Vijelia (with possible damage on Viforul during engagement) but has not been confirmed.

Soviet minelayer operations by destroyers. Multiple missions occurred on fall 1941
Result: Soviet success, few but important losses were caused.
The two soviet destroyers Smyshlyonyi and Bodryi laid together successful fields and scored relevant victories, they sunk:
Hungarian merchant Ungvar (961 GRT) with a cargo of 141t of gasoline and 916t of aviation bombs. On 9 November 1941.
While attempting to save the Ungvar, the two Romanian motor torpedo boats Viforul and Vijelia were sunk by mines (or were destroyed after the explosion of Ungvar).


9 June 1942
Italian motor torpedo boat MTSM-216 hit with an unexploded torpedo the Soviet destroyer Svobodnyi. The Soviet unit didn’t notice the attack or the enemy. It was however the only event that involved an enemy unit in Black Sea to hit with torpedo a Soviet major warship.

Action of 1 August
1 August 1942 Result: German-Italian partial success.
Soviet cruiser Molotov was bombing German land's position together the leader destroyer Kharkov when she suddenly suffered a combined attack of Italian motor torpedo boats and German torpedo bombers. The two Italian units MAS-568 and MAS-573 missed the Molotov and were forced to escape by the Kharkov's fire, with the MAS-568 that was slightly damaged (the captain was also lightly damaged by splinter). However German He-111 aircrafts attacked again and a torpedo caused heavy damages at the Molotov that lost her bow. The damage was heavy but not deadly, the ship returned safely in harbor and could be repaired even if the damage caused her to not supporting Soviet forces for long time. Italian and German sources had both claimed the torpedo hit, but Soviet data confirmed the German claim. It was the only time that a Soviet cruiser was torpedoed in action during the War.

1 December 1942
The Soviet destroyers Boikyi and Bezposhchadnyi attempted an attack against enemy small convoys but they were intercepted by the enemy that rushed to put in harbor all the merchants. The Soviet ships in bad weather and fog, misidentified a group of coastal rocks for silhouettes of enemy ships and launched 10 torpedoes (7 by Bezposhchadnyi and 3 by Boikyi), firing also with guns. An enemy convoy of 2 merchants, 1 tanker and 1 escort ship was claimed destroyed but actually there was no enemy target on sea.

Action of 13 December
13 December 1942 Result: Soviet missed opportunity. Soviet destroyer Soobrazitelnyi was escorting the minesweeper Tszcz-406, Tszcz-407, Tszcz-408 and Tszcz-412 while suddenly they meet a little Romanian convoy: the merchants Tsar Ferdinand and Oituz escorted only by the very old Romanian torpedo boat Smeul. Only Tszcz-408 and Tszcz-412 were directly involved in the engagement: both claimed one hit (on a merchant and on the Smeul) but no damages were reported by the enemy. Also the Smeul ’s counter-fire caused no harm. A group of German auxiliary minesweepers (R-boats) sailed against the soviet minesweepers to deceive them and make them to believe of being under attack by motor torpedo boats (S-boats) that were very close to size and feature of the R-boats. To avoid risks, the soviet units retreated.

Bombing of Feodosiya harbor
19 December 1942 Result: Soviet success.
While the destroyer Kharkov and destroyer Boikyi bombed Yalta, the older destroyer Nezamozhnik and the torpedo boat Shkval bombed the harbor of Feodosiya. During the bombing were caused unknown damages to the shipping there and an ex-soviet tug, captured by the Germans and used with just the name “D” as identification, was directly hit by a shell of the destroyer Nezamozhnik. The “D” was completely destroyed and sunk in harbor (nothing was left of the wreck, to be repaired).

27 December 1942
The soviet destroyers Soobrazitelnyi and Bezposhchadnyi, with four minesweepers, attempted the third (and last) operation in enemy waters. This time no convoy was intercepted but the lighter Saone to not be found by the Soviet warships, had to rush into harbor and was temporarily run aground as consequence.

Action of 5-6 October
5 and 6 October 1943 Result: Decisive German victory.
That action was probably the worst Soviet naval defeat: the leader destroyer Kharkov and the destroyers Besposhchadnyi and Sposobnyi returned from a coastal bombing operation when they were attacked by the German motor torpedo boats S-28, S-42 and S-45. All the torpedoes missed the Soviet ships and the S-45 was damaged by the fire of the destroyer Besposhchadnyi. Sadly the day after the Germans carried a massive air attack against the Soviet ships. Despite 14 enemy aircrafts were shot down by the ships AAA and by Soviet aircraft after the attacks, all the Soviet units were mortally hit and sunk. Soviet Navy has lost two important destroyers and the last leader destroyer of Black Sea, Stalin ordered to not use again larger ships in Black Sea to not risk other losses. That decision prevented further losses but also ended the surface actions of large warships in Black Sea.


The data presented by Michele Cuccia

Russian destroyer 'Besposchadny' ('No mercy'). Black Sea
Russian destroyer 'Besposchadny' ('No mercy') in Black Sea.
Эсминец Черноморского флота СССР "Беспощадный" в 1943.

Romanian merchant Cavarna (3495 GRT) with a cargo of gasoline. On 1 December 1941.
German merchant Cordelia (1357 GRT) with a cargo of fuel. On 2 December 1941.
All these victories has been previously (and erroneously) described as victims of submarines: also comparing with the operations in Baltic, this pair of destroyers scored the best success against enemy merchant shipping 
(especially considering the critical shortage of available merchants that occurred for the Axis forces in Black Sea).
Destroyer 'Boyky' (Black Sea fleet of the Soviet Navy).
Советский эсминец "Бойкий" ЧФ.

Destroyer leader 'Tashkent' in Black Sea, USSR. Havittaja laiva, Lestr-distruj, Rombolo
Лидер эскадренных миноносцев проекта 20И "Ташкент" со 130-мм корабельными пушками Б-13 (1940).
Destroyer leader 'Tashkent' in Black Sea, USSR.
Havittaja laiva, Lestr-distruj, Rombolo.


WWII destroyers

Soviet WWII fleet

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