If the status of the pre-revolution Russian merchant fleet is of great interest,let me know.
It will be interesting to have the info about merchant ships, built in Imperial Russia, and participated in WWII.
JT wrote about cargo steamer "Ilga" from Latvian Steamship Company
Actually captured by Finnish forces at Mantsi island at lake Ladoga 22th September 1941.
Sailed during the war as transport ship Aunus.
After the war, autumn 1944, the ship was given back to the USSR.
the "Oleg" of 1896 was seized in 1927 by China in the mouth of the river Khaykhe (?, Babelfish-translation).
Are there additional informations about this seizure? Was "oleg" the only ship seized?
I've tried to track the movements of the individual Soviet ships during the war as they were repositioned across the theaters. That is where my estimate of 80% came from. Those ships all redeployed to the Pacific for Lend Lease operations. After that point no Soviet ships operated on the North Atlantic routes. In part it was because they were too slow to keep up with the convoys, and in part it was because only Soviet ships could operate on the Pacific route, so they were especially valuable there. The remaining 20% of capacity continued to intra-Soviet operations in the Northern Theater, as you state.
In case you don't know it:
has a good collection of shipfotos.
I've found the following pictures of ships belonging to our thread (I've used the spelling of photoship, even if it's clearly wrong, because the pictures are in alphabetical order):
Andre Marti-01; Baltika-01, -02; Cooperatzia-01; Desna-01; Janis Rainis-01; Juan Sebastian Elcano-01, -02; Kapa-01; Kara-01 (two different pictures of the same ship); Otto Sumiot-01; Petrovski-01; Petrovsky-01 (again two different pictures of the same ship); Spartak-01; Unja-01; Varlaam Araneson-01; Varlaam Avaneson-01 (the same picture, you can choose if you like it more or less dark ); Venta-01 (should be the Venta of 1908); Volga-01
May be there are more pictures of ships under former names, but my alphabetical list of renamings isn't finished yet
The nature of the Atlantic convoys changed with the introduction of large numbers of Liberty and Empire ships. Convoys speeds were able to increase to 10-11 knots as opposed to 7-8 knots. Many Soviet ships could not keep up with this increased speed. As it was, many had struggled to keep up with convoys before, such as IZHORA with QP-8.
Here how it was described in the novel of "Requiem to convoy PQ-17" by Valentin Pikul.
On March, 5th 1942, a German recon plane found PQ-12 convoy. The "Tirpitz" was ordered to intercept it.
It moved to the Yan-Maien Island.
On March, 6th a British submarine saw the "Tirpitz" and informed the British Navy Command about it. The convoy was ordered to change its course.
Historians defined later that sometimes the "Tirpitz" was in the distance of 80 miles from convoy and from British covering forces of Admiral Tovey.
The "Tirpitz" didn't find PQ-12, the British ships also didn't find the "Tirpitz".
Here are some direct quotes later
"The Soviet timber ship "Izhora" remained behind of QP-8 convoy because it spent some time to repair at sea a breakage in its engine...
And that "Izhora" was unlucky to run up against the "Tirpitz", the flagship of Hitler's Navy
Ziliaks asked the commander of the "Tirpitz":
"Kapitan-Zur-Zee, fire a salvo by your main caliber to these logs."
Topp answered contemptuously:
"You know the price of a salvo of the "Tirpitz" for Germany. We shoot by gold..."
The expensive lanky fellow didn't want to get mixed up with the shy timber ship and let his destroyers to finish it off. We don't know what the Soviet people on board of the "Izhora" felt when they saw that the pitiless enemy was approaching on the distance of a salvo...
Anyway at least one thing is clear: they didn't get down their banner in the spite of the fact that they had no reasons to hope that the enemy would give quarter to them...
Ziliaks talked through radio to the destroyers:
"Approach to it closer and then open point-blank fire... I think that about a dozen shells will be enough to this floating trough!"
The destroyers shot 10, 20, 30 shells....
The "Izhora" which was being torn to pieces by the shells was not sinking.
Suddenly a heart-rending shout resounded in Ziliaks' phones:
"The Russians have begun radio transmission... by a code!"
The matter was taking a bad turn. But here the jammer installations of the "Tirpitz" have begun to work at full power. "Boom-boom-boom", - it have resounded in air. "Urrl...ur-r-rl...ur-r-rl... boom-boom". The Germans began to surpass the signals of the Soviet ship by radio noise.
"Crush their radiocabin!" Ziliaks ordered.
The Metropolian Fleet received weak signals. Admiral Tovey received the fresh text in the "King George V". He was amazed:
"They are being sunk but... where are the position data of that "Izhora?""
"The radiooperator cut off the transmission. He was probably killed right during the transmission, sir..."
A half of an hour pasted but the "Izhora" wasn't sinking.
The 3 destroyers fired again and again but the worn out "Izhora" didn't surrender and didn't sink. At last exhausted Ziliaks understood that the amazing vitality of the ship was the result of its non-sinking cargo.
Ziliaks ordered to the destroyers:
"Spare your magazines... If it is impossible to destroy it with shells so to hell with them spend two torpedoes!"
Nice and exact attack of the "Fritz Inn" against non-moving target began. It was easy like on an training area. But the beauty of the attack was the only success. The two torpedoes went by the spell-bound "Izhora".
Topp, the commander of the "Tirpitz" smiled wryly:
"It looks like this Russian steamer, all in holes, will cost to Germany much more than the price of my main caliber salvo..."
Ziliaks ordered to the destroyers to approach to him.
"I want to see the blush of a shame on your faces!" – The admiral said to the commanders ofthe destroyers.
The three unlucky destroyers were pitching on waves nearly the flagman ship. And some further "Izhora" with Archangelsk timber was smoking.
Ziliaks waited a little and shouted
"Whereis your valour? Is it possible that you are not able to break even this floating shed?"
The young commander shouted from the bridge of the "Z-25":
"It is not our blame that this shed doesn't burn and doesn't sink."
"You will end by that this shed will sink you"
Suddenly the "Fritz Inn" made a gyration and raised the signal to the others to not disturb to him. Than he went right to the "Izhora" at full speed. The ships drew together headily. The "Fritz Inn" aimed to come right nearly with a board of the Russian timber ship. It was a risky manoeuvre but the enemy ship did it successfully...
When the boards of the ships came alongside a set of depth charges, tuned on the minimal depth of explosion, was thrown from the destroyer. Those bombs exploded in a low depth. The powerful explosions which killed submarines beated the bottom of the "Izhora" and almost throw of the timber ship from the water. Only after that the "Izhora" sank. Remember, people, that "Izhora"!..."
After that the "Tirpitz" became to retreat and was attacked by 12 "Albacores" from the "Victories". All the torpedoes missed!
has a good collection of shipfotos....
Cooperatzia-01....Kapa-01; Kara-01 (two different pictures of the same ship); Volga-01
As for "Volga", please, remind me what kind of ship is it? This could be cargo ship built in Netherlands in 1936 for USSR [Baltic State Steamship Company, BGMP]
http://www.photoship.co.uk/JAlbum/Old%2 ... lga-01.jpg
Yes, it's the "Volga" of 1936 (sister ships "A. Andreev" and "Tsiolkovsky")