WW2: Northern Sea Soviet naval battles

Североморские сражения в ВОВ

Soviet destroyer Valerian Kuibyshev (Northern fleet)
Советский эсминец Северного флота Валериан Куйбышев (ранее Капитан Керн и Рыков)
Soviet destroyer Valerian Kuibyshev (Northern fleet)

Soviet motor torpedo boats of D-3 type (Northern fleet)
Советские торпедные катера Д-3 Северного флота
Soviet motor torpedo boats of D-3 type (Northern fleet)

Arctic Sea

Action of 17 December 1941
Result: German failure and escape.
German destroyers Z-23, Z-24, Z-25 and Z-27 attacked the British minesweeper Hazard and Speedy damaging the Speedy. Soviet destroyers Sokrushitelnyi and Groznyi together the British heavy cruiser Kent attacked the enemy that was already escaped. Germans didn't manage to sunk a pair of more little and less armed minesweepers with their destroyers and escaped without confronting British and Soviets.

Battle of Convoy PQ-13
30 March 1942. Result: British-Soviet victory.
German Z-24, Z-25 and Z-26 during the attacks against the Allied Convoy PQ-13 faced the British light cruiser Trinidad. The Trinidad fired a torpedo that because of the cold water did a long circle's turn and hit the same cruiser. While being torpedoed (and heavily damaged) by herself the Trinidad managed to damage the Z-26 that was separated by the other destroyers. The soviet destroyers Sokrushitelnyi was sailing with Gremyashchyi and Eclipse when suddenly they noticed the shells of the same Trinidad falling close to them and the Sokrushitelnyi sailed to engage the Z-26. 20 shells were fired and one direct hit was observed. At the same time the British destroyer Fury appeared in front of the other destroyers causing some misidentification accidents. While old soviet sources were confused about the number of destroyers appeared (because the two soviet destroyers were on both sides of Eclipse, and could see only 1 destroyer each one in the thick snowfall), the war diary of Eclipse identify correctly the Fury and the other destroyer as separate units. Later the Eclipse chase the Z-26 and further hit her: the Z-26 was then self-sunk by the Germans and the Eclipse was damaged by Z-24 and Z-25. German official war diaries gives further credit at the Sokrushitelnyi’s claim because the Z-26 actually reported of having been chased and attacked by two enemy destroyers and that the first one was larger (that’s reasonable, because British destroyers were smaller than the soviet ones).

Zerstorer Z.26 Z-26 Z/26 Немецкий эсминец Zerstorer Z.26 тонет.
German destroyer Z26 just before the sinking.

Battle of Convoy PQ-11
2 May 1942. Result: German costly victory.
The British light cruiser Edinburgh had been damaged by the German submarine U-456, and was escorted by British destroyers Forested and Foresight , the Soviet destroyers Sokrushitelnyi and Gremyashchyi and the British minesweepers Hussar, Gossamer, Niger and Harrier. German destroyers Z-7, Z-24 and Z-25 attacked the units when the Soviet destroyers have left the group replaced by the Soviet corvette Rubin. The Forested was heavily damaged and the Foresight remained alone, however the Edinburgh kept firing protected by the British minesweepers and by the Rubin too. The Z-7 was so heavily damaged that had to be self-sunk. During the action also the Z-25 was damaged and escaped together the Z-24, even if the Edinburgh received another torpedo. The Soviet corvette Rubin fought with energy together the minesweepers and the Germans believed to have facing a larger escort of many destroyers. During the action however the Rubin accidentally rammed the Harrier, after a wrong interpretation of a request (Rubin approached too much at the Harrier, the aim was to reduce the chances of being hit covering each others) but the damage wasn't serious. However the Edinburgh was now almost split in two and was finished by the same British destroyer Foresight with a torpedo after having evacuated the crew. Full data of the Soviet point of view of the battle will probably not be avaible for years: the Rubin was a ship under NKVD control and her war diary was not shared with the Navy.

Battle of Sytlefjord
19 January 1943. Result: Inconclusive.
Soviet North Fleet had been reinforced with new ships from the Pacific Fleet, two of them the leader destroyer Baku (and first and larger Soviet-made unit in North during the War) together the destroyer Razumnyi 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. One torpedo didn't left the tube.
Old sources claimed that the Norwegian merchant Tanja (134 GRT) was torpedoed and destroyed but the ship was actually reported lost on a different location. The German convoy was formed by the minelayer Skaggerak, the submarine chasers UJ-1104 and UJ-1105 and the minesweeper M-322 and M-303. During the following exchange of fire no damage was caused on both sides (despite mutual claims).
Soviet destroyer leader Baku of Northern fleet in 1943
Советский лидер эсминецев Северного флота Баку.
Soviet destroyer leader Baku of Northern fleet in 1943.

Bombing of Vadso and Vardo
26 October 1944. Result: Soviet success.
Soviet Navy carried an 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. A Norwegian drifter-boat was hit and heavily damaged by the combined gunfire, Germans abandoned her and was later found by the advancing Soviet forces.

Failed sabotage of Archangelsk
5 January 1945. Result: German failure.
The naval activity of Kriegsmarine in Arctic Waters was now mainly reduced at submarine raids, that scored few successes and heavy losses against the Soviet-British anti-submarine actions. However Germans were aware of the presence of the first Soviet battleship in North: the Archangelsk, an ex-British battleship (named Royal Sovereign) that was given to Soviet Fleet as compensation for the delayed division of the captured Italian Fleet. Hitler wanted inflict a moral blow to the Soviets and sinking their first and only North Fleet's battleship was an excellent method. Germans prepared an attack with a number of Biber midget submarines, three U-boats (U-295, U-318 and U-716) carried 2 Biber each one for a total number of six midget-submarines. However the Germans showed once more their low success and experience in Soviet waters (during the War their submarines sunk a low numbers of merchants and little ships and a single escort destroyer without inflict the heavy damages that they did to Allied). During the operation all the Biber midget-submarines were damaged while on transport without possibility to be used in action and the entire operation was aborted. The Archanglesk has been in Hitler's mind by months, another failed attack happened in November 1944 whent he submarine U-315 got itself trapped inside the anti-submarine defensive nets in Kola Inlet, only to manage escaping but abandoning the operation.

Destroyers successes against submarines:

U-571 badly damaged by destroyer Valerian Kuybyshev with depth charges on 26/Aug/1941

U-344 could have been sunk by destroyer Zguchyi with depth charges on 23/Aug/1944 (shared with British planes)

U-387 could have been lightly damaged by destroyer Deyatelnyi with 20mm fire on 5/Dec/44 (submarine then sunk on the same mission)

U-1163 damaged by destroyer Zivuchyi with ramming on 9/Dec/44 (submarine on repairs for 2 months).

U-387 could have been sunk by leader destroyer Baku or destroyer Derzkyi with depth charges on 9/Dec/44 
(also could have been sunk by British corvette Bamborough Castle)

U-716 lightly damaged by destroyer Karl Liebnecht, Uritskyi or Druznyi with ramming on 5/Apr/45 (submarine was attempting 
to attack a merchant: one of the three destroyer rammed the submarine causing damage to periscope and submarine had to 
return at base: soviet destroyer had not noticed the collision).

U-997 lightly damaged by destroyer Karl Liebnecht with gunfire on 22/Apr/45 (submarine had damages at periscope and had to return at base).

U-294 damaged by destroyer Karl Liebnecht or Derzkyi (the last one with support of submarine chaser BO-131) 
with depth charges on 22/Apr/45 (submarine have to return at base).

U-286 could have been sunk by destroyer Zarkyi with depth charges on 22/Apr/45 (shared with British frigates Loch Insh, 
Anguilla and Cotton that has claim some days later, also shared with minefield laid by British minelayer Apollo 
and destroyers Obedient, Opportune and Orwell )


Destroyers losses against submarines:

Destroyer Deyatelnyi exploded by accidental explosion of her own depth charges on the deck, while attacking 
submarine U-956 on 16/Jan/45 (117 killed, only 7 survivors)

Destroyer Razyaryonnyi torpedoed and badly damaged by submarine U-293 on 20/Jan/45. It was the only Soviet 
destroyer ever hit by enemy submarine (39 killed). 

The data presented by Michele Cuccia

Warships of USSR North fleet in combat
Корабли Северного флота СССР в бою
Warships of USSR North fleet in combat

WWII destroyers

Soviet WWII fleet

War is over

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