*Transport ships of USSR in 1941-1945 - any info!!

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Postby BIGpanzer » 05 Jun 2005 14:42

Friends!
During the search in Internet I found the mention that Soviets also used cargo-passenger ships of "Andrey Zhdanov" type (so called "London refrigerators") during WWII as hospital ships, military transports, minelayers and submarine bases. Six were built by Soviet North Shipyard in 1925-1930. But I couldn't find any additional info about this type and any photos..........
Please help, if possible!


Regards, BIGpanzer

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"Andrey Zhdanov" type cargo-passenger ships

Postby BIGpanzer » 07 Jun 2005 08:56

Fortunately, I found yesterday evening by myself that “Felix Dzerzhinsky” we already shortly discussed about above, was the cargo-passenger ship of “Andrey Zhdanov” type (5560-5670 t, 104x14.6x5.95 m, 12.5-13 knots, range 5000 miles, diesel RD-2400 1900 – 2400 hp, 42 men crew + 300 passengers). Six ships of that type (so called “London refrigerators”) were built in 1925-1930 by Soviet North Shipyard: “Andrey Zhdanov”, “Maria Ulianova”, “Felix Dzerzhinsky”, “Smolny”, “Cooperatsiya”, “Siberia”. They were used on Leningrad-London route in 1930s for the transportation of perishable goods in refrigerator holds and passengers (mainly the English), so for increasing the prestige of Soviet ships they had very comfortable cabins (with furniture from the most expensive woods, carpets) and restaurant, which were designed with the help of famous French painters and decorators. English Lloyd gave a highest qualification to those ships.

During WWII all six refrigerator ships were used as hospital ships, minelayers, military transports and bases for submarines. Three of them were sunk, three survived the war.

I. "Andrey Zhdanov" was used as the large hospital ship at Baltic Sea since July 1941. Participated in dangerous navigations from Talinn to Leningrad (evacuation of civilians and soldiers). The ship exploded on mine (12 November 1941, Gulf of Finland) during his way from Kronshtadt to Khanko together with convoy for evacuation the Soviet troops from Khanko naval base. "Andrey Zhdanov" sank after explosion, 66 men from its crew were rescued by patrol boats, 7 were perished.

II. "Maria Ulianova" was used on routes between USSR and England + France in 1930s. During the Spanish Civil War it evacuated many children of Spanish communists to USSR.

Also the ship participated in secret operation of NKVD to capture the previous general of tsarist Russia Miller, who emigrated to Paris and headed the anticommunist organisation of Russian emigrants. General Miller was narcotized by NKVD agents, put into the large suitcase as diplomatic goods to prevent the French customs examination and on board of "Maria Ulianova" (its captain received the secret order to stop the loading in French port, take the diplomatic goods and move to Leningrad) delivered to Leningrad, later he was killed in Moscow.

During the Winter (Soviet-Finnish) War the ship was used as military transport for Soviet landed troops and ammunition transportation to Petsamo port together with other civil ships, several times avoided the Finnish mines.
Later it was moved to Barents Sea and participated in WWII as hospital ship and base for submarines. It was lightly damaged by German bombs in August 1941. 26 August 1941 "Maria Ulianova" was torpedoed by German submarine U-571 (remember the movie? :) ) and lost its stern during the torpedo esplosion. The heavily damaged ship was towed to the port, but wasn't restored and was sent for remelting after the end of the war.

III. "Felix Dzerzhinsky" was launched 29.08.1926, laid down 15.08.1928, accepted 13.09.1929. The ship was also used as cargo-passenger ship on Baltic and Mediterranian routes in 1930s. Between 01.11.1939 and 22.10.1940 the ship was reequipped as minelayer (Baltic Navy), was armed with 4 x 100mm; 4 x 45mm; 2 x 12,7mm; 18 depth charges, 328 mines mod. 1926 or 543 mines mod. 1912, and renamed "Ural" (25.09.1940, 220 men crew). It was one of the largest minelayers of Baltic Navy, used also as the base for submarines. In November 1941 "Ural" participated in dangerous evacuation of Soviet troops from Baltic naval base (Hango) after the German invasion, mined Gulf of Finland in June-September 1941. 13.09.1941 "Ural" was damaged by artillery shell, also damaged several times by artillery fire during WWII. 74 German and Finnish ships were sank by Soviet mines at Baltic Sea, including the Finnish strongest warship "Ilmarinen". Many mines were installed by "Ural". After WWII it was used as training ship till late 1950s.

Another "Felix Dzerzhinsky" - previous German cable layer for Atlantic Ocean, which was bought in Netherlands in 1930s, and after WWII was used by Soviets as the trophy. Those ship was really used for prisoners transportation at Far East. Its crew even planned to free the prisoners (many of them were Soviet soldiers after German concentration camps) and drive the ship away to Japan in 1948. But that plan was detected by NKVD agents.


Photo of minelayer "Ural": http://sovnavy-ww2.by.ru/minelayers/pic/ural.jpg
Picture of minelayer "Ural": http://www.warships.ru/MK-2/MK-11/ural.jpg

IV. "Smolny" was used for Soviet volunteers transportation to Spain during the Spanish Civil War. The ship transported Soviet diplomatic delegation to the first conference of UN in San Francisco in April 1945. For that "Smolny" was equipped with powerful 15 kWt radio station, diesel-generator and parabolic antenna for the direct connection with Moscow via Khabarovsk, 17 radio operators and engineers operated the radio station. “Smolny” is preserved until now probably and serves as the hostel near one of the Far-Eastern Russian ports.

V. "Cooperatsiya" (laid down 18.08.1927, launched 14.07.1928, accepted 06.12.1929 by Baltic State Steamship Company, BGMP) was the very famous Soviet ship in 1930s, made 5 navigations to Antarctica and delivered back to USSR from USA the Soviet airplane ANT-25 and its crew after their non-stop flight from Moscow to Portland through the North Pole in 1937. In pre-WWII period the ship was used at Baltic and North seas (navigations to UK) and Mediterranian and Black Seas (navigations to France). During Spanish Civil War it was used for the transportation of volunteers, medicaments and food from USSR to Spain.
In 1939 (23.11.1939 was given to the North Navy) the ship was reequipped at Murmansk as the patrol ship. It was armed with 4 x 76,2mm + 4 x 45mm + 2 x 12,7mm and renamed as "Veter" with crew of 81 men. Disarmed and returned back to BGMP 29.12.1940 as "Cooperatsiya", mobilized again 30.06.1941 as patrol boat SKR-104 "Veter" of the North Navy (since 02.07.1941). Since 19.07.1941 - depot ship for submarines and torpedo boats. Survived the war despite several hits of German bombs, after WWII the name "Cooperatsiya" was given back and the ship was used again as civil cargo ship at North routes, also it transported Soviet and American scientists to Antarctic stations. Later the old ship was used on short-range routes at Black Sea till late 1970s!


VI. "Siberia" was used as large hospital ship at Baltic Sea since 1941. It was heavily damaged by German bombs despite the red crosses on the sides and deck :x :x . Ship was bombed 22 August 1941 (Gulf of Finland) during the way from Talinn to Leningrad with 890 wounded soldiers/sailors and 410 civilians. 900 men were rescued by Soviet destroyers and patrol boats, but 209 were perished. The heavily damaged ship (with destroyed engine and 30 degree list) was towed to Kronshtadt by rescue vessel, but the new German bombs sank it.

Photos and pictures of "Cooperatsiya":
http://newsletter.infoflot.ru/Articles/47/1.JPG (colour drawing)
http://newsletter.infoflot.ru/Articles/47/4.JPG (colour drawing of the combat between "Veter" and German bombers)
http://sovnavy-ww2.by.ru/minelayers/pic/ural_ld.jpg (side blueprint)
http://newsletter.infoflot.ru/Articles/47/2.JPG (photo of "Cooperatsiya" during the Antarctic navigation)
http://sovnavy-ww2.by.ru/patrolboats/pic/veter.jpg (WWII photo of "Veter" in camouflage colour)

Photo of the Soviet cargo-passenger ship of "Andrey Zhdanov" type (6 copies, 1925-1930)
is from http://newsletter.infoflot.ru/Articles/47/3.JPG

This is "Cooperatsiya"
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Postby BIGpanzer » 07 Jun 2005 18:54

Can anybody help me with the types of the tankers, were used by USSR during WWII, especially at North convoys?

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Postby BIGpanzer » 25 Jun 2005 19:09

Also help me please with the photos of Soviet WWII-period tankers!

Thanks in advance, BIGpanzer

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Postby BIGpanzer » 27 Jun 2005 19:37

So I wrote all info I could find about the fortune of all six cargo-passenger ships of "Andrey Zhdanov" type.
That was really hard because of less information about Soviet transport ships of WWII period. See above!!!!!!!!

Please, enjoy and your opinions and additional info, please! :) :) May be guys from Russia will add something interesting. As for me I am almost completely not experienced in the theme about civil transport ships, so this is my first attempt :)

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Postby BIGpanzer » 28 Jun 2005 19:06

As for Soviet tankers - I could find only the info that USSR had 20 large tankers (total 150.000 t) in 1940; 13 tankers were lost during WWII. But I couldn't find any info about the types of those tankers and their photos....

Nobody can/want to help?

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Postby Victor » 29 Jun 2005 05:59

It's not much, but on 31 March 1943 U-24 sunk the oil tanker Sovietskaya Neft (8,228 tons) in the Black Sea.

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Postby BIGpanzer » 29 Jun 2005 19:41

Hi, Victor!
Thanks for the reply. I made a small search in the literature and Internet, based on the name "Sovietskaya neft", you provided me with. There was only one tanker under such name in the Soviet merchant fleet in 1930s-1940s. Sorry, but your info is not 100% correct, so, please, read what I found. May be it will be interesting for you.

"Sovietskaya neft" or shortly "Sovneft" ("Soviet Oil") was one of the first Soviet large tankers. It and another one "Neftesindikat SSSR" ("Oil syndicate of USSR") were built in 1929 in France for USSR, under supervision of Soviet engineers. "Sovietskaya neft" was used at Black Sea, Baltic Sea and Pacific Ocean in 1930s for oil and petrol transportation. The ship became famous all over the world in 1932, when its crew rescued 437 men from the burning French liner "Georges Philippar" (largest and most modern French liner, 21000 t) after receiving the "SOS" in Indian Ocean. Almost all members of the Soviet crew of "Sovietskaya neft" were awarded with Soviet and French decorations after the extremelly dangerous rescue operation. Also French government decided to allow the ship stay at all French ports and harbors free of charge for term of life.

During the Spanish Civil War the ship made the navigations to Spain with oil and military cargos. When WWII began, "Sovietskaya neft" was used in dangerous operations (Black Sea) to deliver cargos, tanks and trucks; also it evacuated wounded men, equipment and wheat from the occupied Soviet territories.

Victor wrote:
It's not much, but on 31 March 1943 U-24 sunk the oil tanker Sovietskaya Neft (8,228 tons) in the Black Sea.


The info is not correct, sorry.
Germans torpedoed and bombed the ship in October 1941, but the crew of "Sovietskaya neft" could defend the ship with the help of several AA guns and repair the damages during two days in the open sea. So ship reached Sevastopol and even evacuated the civilians and cargos.
In March 1942 the ship was damaged again, but by German bombs. So it was used till the end of the war as the immovable port oil tank. After the war the ship was completely repaired and reequipped. It was used at Far-Eastern routes (Pacific Ocean) as oil tanker till 1964. Probably, it is used untill now as immovable port storehouse.

Specifications: 17500 t; 143 x 17,3 x 8,9 m; 2 diesels (2060 kWt); 11 knots.

Photos of tanker "Sovietskaya neft":
http://www.morvesti.ru/tst/books/steam/img/113.jpg (in camouflage painting at Vladivostok port, Pacific Ocean)
http://www.morvesti.ru/tst/books/steam/img/114.jpg (rescue operation of French liner "Georges Philippar" (Indian Ocean). To the right side - tanker "Sovietskaya neft" with its life-boats)
http://www.morvesti.ru/img/books/steam5.jpg (picture of the rescue operation; in front - tanker "Sovietskaya neft"; behind - French liner "Georges Philippar")

P.S. Page about French largest liner "Georges Philippar": http://www.es-conseil.fr/pramona/gphilip.htm

As for U-24 - it torpedoed (2 torpedoes) on 30 July 1943 Soviet tanker "Emba" at Sukhumi harbor. That large tanker (10500 t, built in 1929) was already immovable (after damage by German bombs in January 1942), so it was towed to Sukhumi and used only as stationary tank.
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Postby BIGpanzer » 30 Jun 2005 19:43

During my searches I found the mention about Soviet tanker "Azerbaijan", which was heavily damaged by two torpedoes and several bombs during the navigation consisting of PQ-17 convoy. Nevertheless it could reach Murmansk and its captain was awarded by British King, also of course by Soviet Government.

Could anybody help me with the more detailed info about that tanker?

Regards, BIGpanzer

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Tankers of "Moscow" type

Postby BIGpanzer » 01 Jul 2005 18:58

I was very lucky today and found some interesting info about Soviet tankers, including one photo :)
Would like to share the info with you as always :) :) :)

Soviet tanker "Azerbaijan" was a medium universal tanker for Black Sea and Mideterranean Sea (also "Moskva", "Sakhalin" and "Ural" of the same type were built in 1928-1941 by Nikolaev shipyard). Specifications: 13250 t (deadweight 8930 t); 124 x 16.6 x 7.95 m; 2 x 1400 hp diesel; 9.6 knots; 13600 miles range; 42 men crew.

1. "Azerbaijan" became famous after the dangerous navigation of PQ-17 convoy (navigation started on 27 June 1942 from Reykjavik, Iceland). There were two Soviet tankers in PQ-17: "Azerbaijan" (medium tanker, transported linseed-oil) and "Donbass" (smaller tanker). The half crew of "Azerbaijan" and "Donbass" consisted of women. On 3 July many German torpedo-bombers attacked convoy for the first time, trying to sink the tankers as the important target. "Azerbaijan" was equipped with two AA guns and one twin heavy MG, had a combat with six torpedo-bombers and was heavily damaged by several bombs and two torpedoes. Nevertheless, both tankers could reach Arhangelsk port (only 11 ships from 37 of PQ-17 convoy could reach it).

"Azerbaijan" with damaged, but repaired engines, burned-out superstructures and two large holes from torpedoes reached the port alone, despite the orders of British commander of the convoy to leave the doomed ship.
Small tanker "Donbass" could repulse 13 attacks of German bombers (brought down two He111s) and one attack of submarine, also rescued more than 50 American sailors during his way. "Donbass" (deadweight 7925 t) sank on 7 November 1942 at Barents Sea by artillery fire and torpedo during the unequal heroic combat with German destroyer Z-27. 49 men from the crew were killed, 16 including captain were captured.

2. "Moskva" served at Black Sea during WWII, equipped with several AA guns. It was attacked many times by German torpedo-bombers. In August 1941 it towed the damaged Soviet submarine S-35, in January 1942 rescued and towed to the port the damaged (5 bomb hits) cruiser "Krasny Kavkaz". On 13 March 1943 "Moskva" was torpedoed at Tuapse by two German torpedo-boats S-26 and S-47 and heavily damaged, burning nearly one week. The ship was repaired only in 1944-1945.

3. "Sakhalin" was moved in November 1941 from Black Sea to Pacific Ocean together with smaller tankers "Tuapse" and "Varlaam Avanesov", where it made navigations to USA during the whole WWII. "Tuapse" (deadweight 6320 t) was torpedoed during his way to Pacific Ocean on 4 July 1942 by German submarine U-129 near Cuba , 10 men were killed. "Varlaam Avanesov" (deadweight 6557 t) also didn't reach Far East, was torpedoed on 19 December 1941 at Aegean Sea by Italian or German (U-652?) submarine. The life-boat with its crew could reach Turkey successfully.

4. "Ural" as the last tanker of that type was built only in 1941. Served at Black Sea during WWII, was damaged by German bombers.

All four tankers of the series ("Moskva" type) survived the war.

Photo of the Soviet tanker of "Moskva" type (4 copies, 1928-1941)
is from http://www.mikekemble.com/ww2/ships/tanker1.JPG

This is "Azerbaijan", exploded by German torpedo and bomb (upper photo); but crew could repair the tanker and it continued the navigation (lower photo)
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Postby BIGpanzer » 02 Jul 2005 10:14

I found the mention that Soviets used tankers very widely at Caspian Sea and they played a great role in Stalingrad battle.
Will try to find the info about those tankers soon.

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Caspian tankers of "Lenin" type

Postby BIGpanzer » 02 Jul 2005 16:39

I found five minutes ago some info about those Caspian tankers (Baku-Astrakhan route)..... :wink:

11 large tankers for Caspian Sea (of "Lenin" type) were produced in 1930-1936 by "Krasnoe Sormovo" shipyard (six for oil transportation and five - for gasoline).
Specifications: 12600 t (deadweight 8500 t); 132,6 x 16,86 m; 2 x 1250 hp diesel; 11,6 knots; 2800 miles range; 41 men crew.

"Lenin", equipped with AA guns, transported petrol and oil for Stalingrad Front under bombs of German aviation. It was awarded with Red Banner after end of Stalingrad battle.

The another 10 tankers of the same type were used also quite widely during the Stalingrad battle and after. Also some of them participated in landing operation of Soviet troops into Iranian territory in 1941, transported soldiers and ammunition.
They had names "Profintern", "Tsurupa", "Agamali-ogly", "VKP(b)", "Komintern", "Sumgait", "Zhdanov", "Geroi Mekhti", "Bolshevik Ahundov", "Azerbaijan".
"Komintern" was burnt down by three German bombers on 30 October 1942 at Astrakhan port despite the manoeuvring. The crew could reach the shore by life-boat, 3 men were killed. In 1943 the tanker was repaired and used till 1960.

Also Google helps me with this excellent colour drawing of "Lenin":
http://techmol.narod.ru/TM/IST_SER/1976/s09_.jpg

It is interesting that several such tankers still used by Russia and Azerbaijan as port storehouses.

Photo of the Soviet tanker of "Lenin" type (11 copies, 1930-1936)
is from http://www.riverships.ru/sormovo/images/tanker_4.jpg

These are "VKP(b)" and "Komintern" at shipyard during construction
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Postby BIGpanzer » 02 Jul 2005 22:01

Also I found short info about Caspian tanker "Kulibekov" (unknown for me type, deadweight 1754 t, so it was small tanker). It was sank by four Ju88 on 15 November 1942 near Astrakhan port, when it towed three small ships and have passengers with children on board. Patrol boats saved 43 men.

Any opinions about the posted information in this thread? It is really hard to find and combine the info about Soviet merchant ships of WWII, even about large ships of relatively good known types.

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Postby BIGpanzer » 03 Jul 2005 11:29

I found some data: in 1928 Soviet merchant fleet had 444.000 t tonnage and transported 6.8 millions t cargos + 1.2 millions export/import cargos + 1.3 millions passengers. In 1932 merchant fleet transported 15.1 millions t cargos + 1.8 millions t export/import cargos.

In the end 1920s/beginning 1930s Soviet shipyards built 139 sea merchant ships (500.000 t tonnage). In 1940 merchant fleet of USSR had near 800 ships (2.000.000 t).

During WWII the most famous operations, in which transport ships took part in, were 1) defense of Odessa and Sevastopol (Black Sea, ships evacuated 125.000 t cargos and 350.000 wounded men and civilians in July/August 1941), 2) Stalingrad and Caucasus battles (Caspian Sea, in August-December 1942 merchant ships transported 468.000 soldiers, 1000 tanks, 200 airplanes, 8000 cannons to the front; in 1943-1944 Caspian Sea ships transported 24 millions t cargos and 21 millions t oil) and 3) North convoys, including Lend-Lease (near 500 large transport ships [80 convoys] were guided by Soviet ice-breakers only during three winter navigations at White Sea).

During 1941-1945 Soviet sea transport ships transported 100 millions t cargos and 4 millions men. During WWII near 50% of port equipment, 123 shipyards and docks were destroyed, 329 sea ships of medium/large tonnage were lost.

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Postby BIGpanzer » 03 Jul 2005 16:05

Does anybody know something about Soviet timber ships of "Volgoles" type? I found a short mention that they used widely in PQ-QP convoys and played a great role in transporting of Lend-Lease locomotives from USA to USSR (after special reequipment for such purpose in USA Portland, according to the recommendations of Soviet engineers).

Probably, I will find the info by myself, but the phorum assumes competent dialogues, as me seems :) :) :)


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