mysterious Danube river fightings in 1944/1945

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lupodimare89
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mysterious Danube river fightings in 1944/1945

Post by lupodimare89 » 30 Mar 2019 17:07

While I usually post in a larger old thread, i wanted to split content because of peculiarity of cases.

I tried to collect information about some naval clashes occurred in Danube river in 1944:


1)) The biggest interest clash occurred on 24 August 1944 during the Soviet operations in Vylkove.
Soviet small gunboats BK-32, BK-33, BK-215, BK-422 and BK-434 (all 1124 project) briefly engaged with a unidientified Romanian monitor shelling Soviet forces. BK-434 sufffered 1 WIA.
It was either Mihail Kogălniceanu or Lascar Catargiu, as aftermath, raids of Pe-2 bombers sunk both in different locations.
Monitor-1 (the one engaged also by BKA) was firing "5 Km from Vilkovo"
Monitor-2 sunk "6 km east of Kiliya"
Someone know the exact disposition of the two monitors and their sinking place? It could be useful to identify the monitor that engaged the gunboats.

Interestingly, as aftermath of the battle, the same group of BKA reportedly shelled both the harbor Kiliya Veki and later Novaya Kiliya, claiming one steamboat and two barges in the first harbor, and one tugboat and four barges in the second harbor.
Considering how rare is the confirmed destruction of enemy naval/riverine targets by Soviet boats, it would be of great interest to have some kind of confirmation (given the low importance, it is possible this could exists in own Soviet damage assessment in harbors).

Main source: https://www.litmir.me/br/?b=235386&p=41



2)) Plentiful of western sources indicate German (ex-Czech) monitor Bechelaren having sunk "two gunboats" in April 1945 at Melk (Austria).
Reading the above-mentioned book, it is clear no Soviet gunboats operated in the area at the time nor reported such clash. However it is said that on 20 April 1945 unidentifed German monitors covered the retreat of own riverine crafts, it is likely in my opinion that Bechelaren made some shelling during the operation.


3)) In the night between 25 and 26 March 1945 (Sharengrad, Yugoslavia), Soviet gunboats BK-214, and later BK-4, BK-231, BK-241 and BK-313 reported contacts with unidentified enemy boats, claiming 1 sunk during the second engagement.
Making a cross-reference on this work (https://historisches-marinearchiv.de/ab ... u-Drau.pdf), it appears there were German spec-ops with "Linse" assault/explosive crafts. Germans claims of damages inflicted on that month, but this appears uncomfirmed/inflated, reading the Soviet account.
During the 25/26 March clash, one "Linse" suffered damage (3 WIA), i think after fighting the second group of BKA.
Quite interestingly, on 25 March arrived the Soviet (ex-Romanian) monitors "Azov" and "Kerch": to strike such targets could have been potentially both a material and moral victory for the Germans.


In my opinion, these are the main direct riverine clashes occurred in Danube in 1944/1945 involving Soviet forces
Extra information - corrections - evaluations are welcome.

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Re: mysterious Danube river fightings in 1944/1945

Post by lupodimare89 » 02 Apr 2019 09:05

EDIT: Concerning the first fight between Romanian monitors and Soviet BKA at Valcov in 1944, After this source (http://www.geocities.ws/dangrecu/VaseArmF.html) there is indication Soviet BKA engaged Lascar Catargiu (with above-mentioned results) off Valcov, while Mihail Kogălniceanu sunk shortly later off Novaya Kiliya.
Interstingly both that source and the romanian forum worldwar2.ro indicate minor riverine crafts losses around 24 August (especially ships seized etc.).

----------------------------------------

Sorry double-post (But i guess despite views few people had extra things to say). With some personal satisfaction, on HM very polite users pointed me some DEFE/ULTRA Files concerning the "Linse" operations in Sharengrad. I attempted a direct comparison between the German and Soviet version. I don't believe this has been exposed by other authors (Russian or otherwise).

In short German "Linse" attack crafts came close to have a contact with Soviet monitors "Azov" and "Kerch" (ex-Romanian "Ion C. Bratianu" and "Basarabia"), but the three-groups attack likely come to a failure (claims of destruction of some minor targets by one group is unconfirmed).
Soviet BKA damaged one of the attacking boats. So-far this is the strongest case of riverine naval fight between German and Soviets in Danube.
Interestingly from modern russian literature, it appears operations of Soviet larger monitors (like ex-Romanian "Azov" and "Kerch" or the famous "Zheleznyakov") is indeed overestimated in widespread references on western/past soviet literature. Soviets were quite fearful to loose them by enemy action and in the end it appears the opeations at Sharengrad/Ilok by "Azov" and "Kerch" were the peak of such activity.


1) Neuwsatz/Novisad: 2 boats
Outcome reported: 4 ships (plus one probable), one ferry, one crane blowed up
No casualties/own damage, strong enemy defense
Zitat
25 марта в 19 ч. 00 мин. мониторы «Азов» и «Керчь» прибыли из Белграда в Новисад в сопровождении речных катеров-тральщиков № 214 и 931, тральщиков № 657 и 659 и двух буксиров с магнитными баржами.
Soviet presence at Novisad: "Kerch" and "Azov",
minesweeping boats: n°214, 931, 657, 659.
Two tugboats with barges.

Possibly this is their activity as reported by Soviets. 2 enemy boats spotted, attacked but not chased.
No report of damages or losses.
26 марта в 3 ч. 20 мин. два катера противника пытались прорваться через линию фронта вниз по Дунаю, но были отбиты огнем бронекатеров и артиллерии наших частей, занимавших оборону на правом берегу реки в районе Илок — Шаренград. Наши бронекатера не преследовали противника из-за опасения попасть под огонь своих частей.


2) Ilok: 2 boats
Outcome reported: 2 "Monitors" spotted, strong defense.
One panzerfaust fired.
One "Linse" hit, 3 WIA.

Quite clearly, this group suffered the worst Soviet reaction:
No own Soviet damage reported. Clearly the "Linse" hit was claimed as sunk.
В 6 ч. 10 мин. два катера противника начали прорыв из района Илок. Наши бронекатера №№ 4, 231, 241 и 313 с огневых позиций, а также части армии с берега открыли по ним огонь. В результате артиллерийского обстрела один катер противника был потоплен. Бронекатера № 231 и № 241 вышли преследовать противника, но из-за минометной стрельбы с берега возвратились.



3) Sarengrad: 3 boats
Outcome: boats turned back without accomplish operation due alerted enemy and strong defense.
Probably BK - 241 engaged/attempted chase this group of "Linse" crafts.
В 23 ч. 00 мин. два катера противника в районе Шаренград прорвались через линию фронта, но были замечены и обстреляны нашими бронекатерами. В 23 ч. 20 мин. бронекатер № 241 начал преследовать катера противника, но они, имея преимущество в ходе, ушли вниз по течению Дуная. Бронекатер, потеряв их из виду, стал в районе Илок.

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Re: mysterious Danube river fightings in 1944/1945

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 13 Apr 2019 01:09

This is a pretty interesting subject of riverine warfare on the Danube river that is not well known during WWII. I like to learn more about the German special ops on riverine warfare during the Eastern front campaign of WWII. This is the first time that I know about German monitors in action.

Edward L. Hsiao

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Re: mysterious Danube river fightings in 1944/1945

Post by lupodimare89 » 16 Apr 2019 16:45

There is scant reference of Bechelaren spread in english-based literature here and there, but technically i think she was the proper warship that could be named "monitor". Germans however had plans to introduce in Danube/Wien area some riverine-designed gunboats, but most went uncompleted or had scarce actions.

The German spec-ops operations in Yugoslavia -1945 are indeed extremely interesting!
I don't think it was much explored by authors before, and i think most of the survival original source it's that DEFE Ultra files.
Eventually i will read more and if i will find something else interesting, i will share it on the internet.

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Re: mysterious Danube river fightings in 1944/1945

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 19 Apr 2019 00:07

Dear Sir,

I'm looking forward for more information about German spec-ops operations in 1945 thank you. German riverine warfare during WWII was very little covered indeed.

Edward L. Hsiao

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Re: mysterious Danube river fightings in 1944/1945

Post by lupodimare89 » 21 Apr 2019 14:30

I should stress it is unlikely i will write more on this very soon due busy time.
Currently I am also reading the DEFE ultra files to attept detect unreported skirmishes between Soviets and German light forces (S-boats, R-boats, MFP, SKA, TKA, BKA etc.). in Baltic in 1945 plus a general check of the whole Black Sea operations (an area full of interesting clashes), with an eye open for the less-known 1944 operations.

Sadly while reading that book text at some point i found trace of another possible similar German operations made earlier, targeting a Yugoslavian partisan riverine boat and some barges but I gave it little importance at first and did not pointed the page/date and details. Eventually I could search it more, but it was only a half-line scant reference with little clear confirmation (I am guessing something that Soviets were told about by Yugoslavians).
It COULD be another similar operation by Linse (or other) crafts, but also maybe some other kind of sabotage operation.

If someone has time&interest&extra knowledge of Yugoslavian riverine boats-crafts in 1945, it would be cool to gather these info

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Re: mysterious Danube river fightings in 1944/1945

Post by TISO » 30 Apr 2019 16:32

What was the couse for sinking of BK-321 (project 1125 bronnekater) near Vukovar?

All i have is what i saved from now defunct sovnavy site (my translation):
37. No.37 (from 18.09.1942 No.32, from 16.11.1942 No.53, from 21.03.1943 No.321, from 22.03.1944 BK-321):
laying of keel in 1940, floated in summer 1942, taken on by VMF in october 1942 and from 31.10.1942 part of Volga flotilla. Participates in defence of Stalingrad. 30.05.1943 transferred to Azov flotilla. Participates in Kerch-Eltigen landing operation (31.10.-11.12.1943). From 13.04.1944 part of Danube flotilla. Participates in Budapest strategic offensive operation (29.10.1944-13.02.1945). Sunk on 9.12.1944 by enemy artilery near Vukovar.
Also worth of note is that Ilok was a site of ill fated soviet naval landing operation. Also worth of note that last HSU was given to participant of that operation chief petty officer Demina Ekatarina Mihaylovna (medic in naval infantry) on 5th of May 1990

there was some talk about some ops here:
viewtopic.php?t=108973

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Re: mysterious Danube river fightings in 1944/1945

Post by lupodimare89 » 30 Apr 2019 21:11

BKA-321 was lost while attempting to help BKA-338 (both lost as consequence). Soviet describe a mix of artillery, self-propelled guns, tanks and machinegun fire from ground forces. They were not the only losses of the Danube Flotilla of course, but so-far all of them appears to be entirely due shore/ground artillery/tanks or mines (claims of Bechelaren is unproven).
В 16 ч. 15 мин. бронекатер № 321 пытался подойти на помощь бронекатеру № 338, но был обстрелян противником. Снаряд попал в боевую рубку катера. Были убиты сигнальщик и второй пулеметчик, ранены командир катера, рулевой и пулеметчик. Рулевое управление на катере было выведено из строя. Неуправляемый катер врезался в плавни у берега.

The site actually exists but changed name: http://sovnavyww2.aiq.ru/





Commenting the older topic, i should say it is quite clear the ex-Romanian monitors were not the "most important ships used by the Soviets during these missions.": actually they only saw limited use out of fear to lose them by enemy action (their peak of activity was these late April operations).
The brunt of the operations was of course for the BKA.
Also worth of note is that Ilok was a site of ill fated soviet naval landing operation
The above-mentioned clashes with "Linse" are closely related with a successful landing (12 April 1945): little casualties on beach (2KIA, 32WIA) and none on ships, troops pushed forward and took Opatovac and Lovas. Earlier (4 April) there was a failure of a Yugoslavian partisan offensive but Soviet ships only provided shelling support (without landing troops).
You can find a more detailed description of operations here (chapter 10): https://www.litmir.me/br/?b=235386&p=70

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Re: mysterious Danube river fightings in 1944/1945

Post by TISO » 02 May 2019 22:29

lupodimare89 wrote:
30 Apr 2019 21:11
The site actually exists but changed name: http://sovnavyww2.aiq.ru/
Much obliged. I have been searching for it.

BTW from where did you quote the fate of BK-321 if may i ask?

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Re: mysterious Danube river fightings in 1944/1945

Post by TISO » 02 May 2019 23:42

I see BK-338 was of projekt 1124 type:
92. БК-338
Зав. №372. Заложен в 1942 г. (Зелнодольск), спущен летом 1943 г., вст. в строй 11.12.1943 г. и 13.04.1944 г. вошел в состав Дунайской флотилии. Участвовал в Ясско-Кишиневской 20 - 29.08.1944 г., Белградской 28.09 - 20.10.1944 г. и Будапештской 29.10.1944 - 13.02.1945 гг. наступательных операциях. Тяжело поврежден 9.12.1944 г. береговой артиллерией противника в р-не Вуковара и затонул.
my translation:
92. BK-338
Factory No.372. laid down in 1942 (Zelenodolsk), floated in summer 1943, taken on service on 11.12.1943 and on 13.04.1944 entered in composition of Danube flottila. Participated in Yassko-Kishniev (20.-29.08.1944), Belgrade (28.09-20-10.1944) and Budapest (29.10.1944-13.02.1945) offensive operations. Heavily damaged by coastal artilery of enemy on 9.12.1944 in Vukovar area and sunk

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Re: mysterious Danube river fightings in 1944/1945

Post by Sid Guttridge » 03 May 2019 16:32

Hi Guys,

It is worth pointing out that any sinking of Romanian vessels later than 23 August occurred after Romania had already switched sides.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: mysterious Danube river fightings in 1944/1945

Post by lupodimare89 » 03 May 2019 20:25

Sid Guttridge wrote:
03 May 2019 16:32
Hi Guys,

It is worth pointing out that any sinking of Romanian vessels later than 23 August occurred after Romania had already switched sides.

Cheers,

Sid.
Edit: I checked some extra description of events, officially the King declared on evening 23 the change of side, and Soviet Union acknowledged the peace (on line with an older Soviet peace proposal of April) on day 25. So while possibly Romanian and Soviet local reparts got news of the political changes, de-facto ends of hostilities was only 1-2 days after the end of the coup.

On 25 August the Soviet landing party at New Kiliya received incoming fire from shore before the landing. Other operations on 25-26 August apparently saw no other similar episodes. On 26 August there was a Soviet-Romanian meeting of Flotilla commanders: Soviets rejected a proposal to "cease hostilities before the arrival of a commission of the new Romanian government" and just made an "ultimatum of surrender" by 27 August: Romanians (formally) accepted and further negotiations occurred that day (there are no further details on what they discussed).
From text, it appears the local Soviet command was not much inclined to diplomatic formalisms.

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Re: mysterious Danube river fightings in 1944/1945

Post by lupodimare89 » 05 May 2019 17:53

TISO wrote:
02 May 2019 22:29

BTW from where did you quote the fate of BK-321 if may i ask?
The book I mentioned above: https://www.litmir.me/br/?b=235386&p=41
It is quite detailed and doesn't waste text in comments but describe operations in detail.
I should re-read it eventually to try track the line i missed to quote about Soviets reporting Yugoslavian partisans suffering some losses for German (Linse?Assault boats?) riverine actions. But currently i am trying to read all the Ultra files of Black Sea naval warfare.

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Re: mysterious Danube river fightings in 1944/1945

Post by lupodimare89 » 20 May 2019 10:30

I should re-read it eventually to try track the line i missed to quote about Soviets reporting Yugoslavian partisans suffering some losses for German (Linse?Assault boats?) riverine actions. But currently i am trying to read all the Ultra files of Black Sea naval warfare.
Quoting myself, but i tracked down the incident(s):
Between 11 and 12 March 1945 Yugoslavian partisans reportedly lost (according Soviets) the steamer " Kastelac " and four barges, because of German assault crafts actions. Very scarec details, it could need both confirmation/extra details from Croat/Serbain sources and of course a full German report.

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Re: mysterious Danube river fightings in 1944/1945

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 02 Aug 2019 06:32

So what else is new for German naval special force operations on the lakes and rivers? No hurry.


Edward L. Hsiao

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