Baltic Fleet Submarine L-21

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jringbom
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Baltic Fleet Submarine L-21

Post by jringbom » 14 Sep 2016 10:53

I am a swedish historian. I am going trough some material regarding the sinking of S/S Hansa (Swedish liner) 24 november 1944.
She was sunk by the leninclass uboat L-21 (Captain Mogilevskij)

The problem is that there are some (or many) questions regarding this incident.
First of all the sources I have got dont make sense. Regarding swedish source Hansa was struck by 1 torpedo, but russian source say 2.
Some people say that the uboat used a searchlight to confirm the hit and other sources say that there was a swedish freighter, accidentaly nearby using their searchlight...
I need to get this information confirmed and need som solid information about the L-21 as well.
Was ther searchlights at all at a baltic sub (more than a lamp used for morse-code)
Anyone here who has got some tips where to start searching? Any reliable sources?
Cheers,

Art
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Re: Baltic Fleet Submarine L-21

Post by Art » 15 Sep 2016 20:48

There is a relatively recent Russian book on L-class submarines by Miroslav Morozov:
https://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/4868934/
Also an older book by the same author on Baltic Fleet's submarines:
http://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/4179704/
Can be found downloadable online, as far as I understand.
Speaking generally Morozov is an ultimate authority on Soviet submarines in war, you probably might to contact him personally.

jringbom
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Re: Baltic Fleet Submarine L-21

Post by jringbom » 19 Feb 2019 15:50

Hi! I have been in contact with Mirolsav Morozov. We established contact in 2016-2017. He answered a lot of the questions but since 2018 I havent been able to reach him. Does anybody know if he still is active?

Havent been able to get a hod of his books though, they are all sold out.

Cheers, Jakob

lupodimare89
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Re: Baltic Fleet Submarine L-21

Post by lupodimare89 » 21 Feb 2019 10:48

He is active on site tsushima.su
http://tsushima.su/forums/viewforum.php?id=14
There is a Questions&Answers ( Вопросы Морозову М.Э. )

Based upon his work, there is also the good site sovboat.ru
http://www.sovboat.ru/ship/l21.php3
Making a brief google-translation:

Code: Select all

On the way back on the morning of November 24, 18 miles west of the lighthouse Hallskuk (the northern tip of Gogland), the L-21 sank the Swedish vessel Hansa (493 bt) owned by the AB Gotland shipping company and sailed from Newneshamn to Visby.[b] Of the three torpedoes fired, two hit the target.[/b] The ship broke and instantly went to the bottom. Of the 85 passengers and crew members, only two managed to escape. The Swedish auxiliary cruiser “No. 4”, passing by, “Varia” did not take measures to rescue those in distress, and, fearing a repeated attack by the submarine, chose to leave. Suddenly finding another ship, the submarine sank and also left the crash site.
Not a word of Searchlights, and i cannot remember this practice put in use by Soviet subs.
Most of times, attacks occurred in submerged position with later visual (periscope) check: quite commonly the visual check was done after the target survived the torpedo attack, commander assumed ship sunk, and Soviet submarine sailed away thinking to have scored victory.

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Re: Baltic Fleet Submarine L-21

Post by jringbom » 22 Feb 2019 12:25

Thanks!

You are right! No searchlight according to the log, but attack occured from surfaced position. I (as mentioned) contacted Morozov via mail acouple of times but since then no answer. Im working on a book on the SS Hansa and there is a "mystery" regarding this searchlight. My theory is that the searchlight came from the swedish Helpcruiser 4 (Waria) but no one aboard the Waria (9 people were interrogated) have any recolection of this. Wich makes it strange. But of course theres always a possibility that they didnt want to admit using a serach light. It is stated in the L-21 report that they dive since they see a light from a ship coming from the north.
Just want to get closer to the truth. And as you say, Morozov also stated that the use of searchlight aboard a submarine is out of the question, at least in this incident. The only time I have heard of use of searchlight on a sov. sub during ww2 would be the incident with swedish freighter Bengt Sture. From what I know the SC 406 torpedoed the freighter and then picked up the crew of Bengt Sture. (using a searchlight to find them) although I havent seen any attack report so I cant be sure.

Thanks!

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Juha Tompuri
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Re: Baltic Fleet Submarine L-21

Post by Juha Tompuri » 22 Feb 2019 20:23

Hi!
jringbom wrote:
22 Feb 2019 12:25
Just want to get closer to the truth. And as you say, Morozov also stated that the use of searchlight aboard a submarine is out of the question, at least in this incident. The only time I have heard of use of searchlight on a sov. sub during ww2 would be the incident with swedish freighter Bengt Sture. From what I know the SC 406 torpedoed the freighter and then picked up the crew of Bengt Sture. (using a searchlight to find them) although I havent seen any attack report so I cant be sure.
Another case where the use of searchlight is mentioned:
The steamboat “Kassari” had transported cargo (conserved food stuff) to Sundsvall (Sweden) and departed the harbour of Sundsvall 7 December 2 PM heading back to Tallinn.

The captain of the ship Alfred Sergo estimated that at the moment of the attack 10 December 3.50 AM the ship’s position was: latitude 59°26’ N; longitude 21°48’ towards Ost. It was clear night. The ship’s lights were on.

The first mate Hans Sergo (the father of the captain), who was on watch, and the steerman Albert Press said that at this moment an unknown ship sent a morse signal with flash. It was short and it wasn't understood. After that machine gun fire followed – about 10 short bursts. Then an artillery shot which penetrated the fore of the ship. The second shot hit the engine room at the surface of the water and water started to pour in. The shell didn’t explode. After that one of the crewmembers Johannes Proos pulled up the Estonian national flag. Proos estimated that because of the ship’s lights the attacker had to definitely recognize the flag. The third shell hit the saloon on the back deck.

After that the attacker continued to shoot about 5 shots in a minute while making circles around the target. At the same time also machine gun fire was targeted towards the ship. When passing the fore and rear of “Kassari” the attacker didn’t shoot. While passing the fore the attacker was only about 3–4 meters away from the target and human figures were seen on the submarine. Proos yelled in English and German that they are an Estonian ship. Proos’ neighbour heard how after that on the submarine it was repeated the word “Estonia”.

The shooting continued about 20 minutes. It was dark and the attacker had to shoot at random. The captain of the ship collected his crew to the lifeboats. One of the boats was hit and therefore couldn’t be used but the second was usable. Proos estimated that the attackers didn’t notice this lifeboat because of its dark colour while the lifeboat which recieved hits was white. When the crew started to release the lifeboat, machine gun fire was directed at them. 9 out of the 10 crewmembers entered the boat while tenth – Georg Randman – was before this hit and was left to the ship after the captain had estimated that he is dead. When departing the ship the lifeboat was fired from machine gun and the first mate was wounded from his arm and the heater from his leg. The attacker’s lights were at first not on; after “Kassari” had sunk two electric lights and a torch were lighted on the submarine.

The lifeboat rowed towards SO. After about one or two hours (nobody had watch) about one mile away two ships were seen with part of their lights on. It was guessed that the attackers were searching for survivors. The lifeboat reached the coast of island Hiiumaa 10 December 6 PM. The wounded were placed into hospidal in Kärdla. The lifeboat contained 11 shellsplinters and besides this bullet marks in its body.

All the crew members who survived were then questioned by the order of the commander of the Estonian Navy.

Alfred and Hans Sergo were together with their families deported in June 1941 to the Kirov oblast. Hans and his wife died because of hunger in 1942–1943.
viewtopic.php?f=79&t=117516&p=1049273&hiliti#p1049273

Regards, Juha

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Re: Baltic Fleet Submarine L-21

Post by jringbom » 22 Feb 2019 20:35

Wow, Thanks Juha! I learned about Kassari just a couples of months ago since the Kassari i similar to Hansa (They look really similar). I tried to find som info on google but found more or less nothing so this is perfect!

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Juha Tompuri
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Re: Baltic Fleet Submarine L-21

Post by Juha Tompuri » 22 Feb 2019 20:42

Artists impression about what happened;
Image viewtopic.php?f=59&t=70091&p=1496469&hilit#p1496469

Regards, Juha

lupodimare89
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Re: Baltic Fleet Submarine L-21

Post by lupodimare89 » 23 Feb 2019 18:37

IThere were other cases also in other Soviet Fleets (like Black Sea) similarly to Kassari case: searchlights to better aim at target with gunfire during night attack. Bengt Sture was an exception and a rare case of Soviet submarine capturing some sailors from a merchant.

Concerning your subject (L-21 on Hansa), there was no gunfire and no capture of sailors, so the two main reasons for use of searchlight (with risk of discovery) doesn't fit.
Moreover submarine was on lone patrol in enemy waters and very distant to every possible aid in case of discovery and attack. Using searchlight just to get confirmation of a victory in such situation doesn't sound much a likely choice for a Soviet commander like Mogilevsky.


For your book, i strongly advise you to base upon Morozov works of course for L-21 list of targets:
Hansa, V-2022, LAT-7 with torpedoes; Eichberg, Elie, Vs-302, T-3, T-5, U-367 with mines.
Morozov some time ago placed U-367 in doubt, but there was a detailed brainstorm on tsushima.su (with my partecipation) after Polish diving on wreck and controversy on certain data, and L-21's assignment was strengthed.

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Re: Baltic Fleet Submarine L-21

Post by jringbom » 25 Feb 2019 15:14

Great!
Thanks for every advice! And Im pretty sure as well that the L-21 Mogilevskij) didnt use any search light. Im have established contact with Morozov again. Interesting facts about U-367!

Ill propably post some more questions about the baltic campaign regarding soviet subs! Cheers.

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Re: Baltic Fleet Submarine L-21

Post by jringbom » 06 Mar 2019 13:04

Question.

Reading about the attack of Hansa at 08.00 in the morning of the 24 nov 1944
I found in the HMA: archieves the following:

Beobachtungs-Zeit : 14:41

What is this? Time of writing the log?

How did the L-21 get from Åbo out to sea? Other ships (finish?) guiding her through the archiepelage?

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John Hilly
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Re: Baltic Fleet Submarine L-21

Post by John Hilly » 06 Mar 2019 13:07

jringbom wrote:
06 Mar 2019 13:04
Question.

Reading about the attack of Hansa at 08.00 in the morning of the 24 nov 1944
I found in the HMA: archieves the following:

Beobachtungs-Zeit : 14:41

What is this? Time of writing the log?

How did the L-21 get from Åbo out to sea? Other ships (finish?) guiding her through the archiepelage?
They had Finnish pilot on board.

With best, J-P :milwink:
"Die Blechtrommel trommelt noch!"

jringbom
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Re: Baltic Fleet Submarine L-21

Post by jringbom » 06 Mar 2019 13:10

And this:

The ship broke and instantly went to the bottom. Of the 85 passengers and crew members, only two managed to escape. The Swedish auxiliary cruiser “No. 4”, passing by, “Varia” did not take measures to rescue those in distress, and, fearing a repeated attack by the submarine, chose to leave. Suddenly finding another ship, the submarine sank and also left the crash site.

(The L-21 didnt know at the time that this was the "No. 4" I suppose.)

Is this an indication that there were more than one ship close? Or could it be that Mogilevskij is refering to the same? Waria?
It would be very strange since the two survivors only mentions the search light from one ship. And no other ship close...

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Re: Baltic Fleet Submarine L-21

Post by igorr » 07 Mar 2019 03:24

Beobachtungs-Zeit means time when attacked side registered this event. In this case some error, or maybe time when survivors was rescued? You can contact with Tomas Weiss, who is "head director" of ASA branch of HMA, or simly write on HMA-forum.

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Re: Baltic Fleet Submarine L-21

Post by igorr » 07 Mar 2019 03:30

jringbom wrote:
06 Mar 2019 13:10
The ship broke and instantly went to the bottom. Of the 85 passengers and crew members, only two managed to escape. The Swedish auxiliary cruiser “No. 4”, passing by, “Varia” did not take measures to rescue those in distress, and, fearing a repeated attack by the submarine, chose to leave. Suddenly finding another ship, the submarine sank and also left the crash site.
(The L-21 didnt know at the time that this was the "No. 4" I suppose.)
Is this an indication that there were more than one ship close? Or could it be that Mogilevskij is refering to the same? Waria?
It would be very strange since the two survivors only mentions the search light from one ship. And no other ship close...
This is strange symbiosus of data from both side. One side know, that WARIA pass along. Soviet side konow that some ship appears suddently. Then someone put this two views togheter separatedly - and we have two ships! No, of course, there was only one ship, i think. L-21 see only one at least.

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