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

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kgvm
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Postby kgvm » 06 Oct 2007 09:55


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Postby kgvm » 19 Oct 2007 09:22

A picture of "Gruzija" of 1928, possibly in Kiel (erroneously on the page of the second "Gruzija" ex Polish "Sobieski"):
http://www.sea.infoflot.ru/photo/1/239.jpg

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Postby BIGpanzer » 23 Oct 2007 21:50

Sorry, guys, for the long silence - I am in Mediterranean now, a huge amount of work. Thanks, Klaus, for the excellent links. Yes, "Gruziya" represented the very famous type of cargo-passenger ships (the best, largest and most comfortable Soviet passenger liners of 1930s, so called "krymchaki" of Black Sea State Steamship Company) - 4 were built by Baltic shipyard in USSR and 2 were built by Krupp Deutsche Werft in Germany (according to Soviet order and Soviet blue prints) in 1926-1931; Soviet- and German-built sister ships were a little bit differ in a hull shape and superstructure design.

As we've already discussed here, all 6 Soviet mail-cargo-passenger diesel ships of that type ("Abkhaziya", 5770 tons) were lost during WWII except "Krym" which was damaged only. For example, hospital ship "Gruziya" (commander - captain-lieutenant M. Fokin) was sunk 13.06.1942 near Sevastopol: the ship with, probably, 4000 soldiers and 1300 t of ammunition on board (official data - 708 reinforcement soldiers and 526 t of ammunition on board) was damaged by German aviation during convoy run (hospital ship was escorted by mine-sweeper and 5 patrol boats) from Novorossisk to Sevastopol and was towed by mine-sweeper to Sevastopol under strong air attacks. Between 20:30 and 21:35 (12.06) 150 bombs and 8 torpedos were dropped against "Gruziya", there were no direct hits but 3 high-explosive bombs exploded close to the ship (10-50 m).
The ship was attacked by 5 dive bombers just near the berth again (4:48, 13.06) and 1 bomb hit "Gruziya", that caused huge detonation explosion of ammunition on board, hospital ship broke in two parts and sank in 8 min; most of soldiers and crewmembers were lost (only a few survived shell-shocked men were rescued by patrol boats). The ship nose and stern parts were raised between February and November 1949 by rescue service of Black Sea Navy and scuttled in the harbour, but it was ordered later to investigate the wrecks more carefully as there were still shells on board and that was dangerous cargo (especially taking into consideration that governmental airfield located close to the area). In December 1956 "Gruziya" was investigated by naval divers again, and they found quite many chemical shells and bombs (with mustard and lewisite) on board because chewical weapons were transported secretly in June 1942 from Novorossisk ammunition storehouses to Sevastopol (possibly, that Soviets even decided to use chemical shells against Germans who attacked Sevastopol that hard for Black Navy time), so the ship wrecks were raised again and scuttled far away from the shore. Nevertheless, until now this area is of possible chemical danger as nobody knows about the condition of chemical weapons on "Gruziya" board.

http://www.shprints.com/shop/products_p ... 030902.jpg (passenger ship "Gruziya" on tourist postcard from 1930s, all 6 ships of that type transported tourists and summer visitors along Odessa-Batumi line before the war)

Regards, BP

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Postby BIGpanzer » 24 Oct 2007 20:17

The second cargo-passenger ship of "Abkhaziya"-type which was built in Germany - "Krym", survived WWII and was scrapped in 1973 only (that was one of only three Soviet passenger ships of all types which survived the war on Black Sea). “Krym” transported soldiers of Soviet 157th infantry division to Odessa and thousands of wounded men to Tuapse in 1941 and participated in a very hard evacuation of Soviet army from Odessa under strong enemy air attacks also. The transport ship was heavily damaged by sea mine in July 1942 and waterlogged off Gelendzhik, she was towed to Batumi and used there as school for sea boys and floating hotel for staff of steamship company till the end of the war. “Krym” was repaired after WWII by Odessa shipyard (become one of the most comfortable and even luxurious liner on Black Sea as the best Odessa painters and woodcarvers participated in the ship restoration after the war) and used as passenger liner on Black Sea (Odessa-Batumi) and international Black Sea/Mediterranean routes Odessa-Beirut, Odessa-Istanbul-Alexandria and Odessa-Constanta-Varna-Piraeus-Durres since 1954 till 1966 (also made runs to Spain), in 1966-1970 the ship was used as training ship in Sevastopol, since 1970 she was used as floating hotel near Odessa.
http://www.sea.infoflot.ru/photo/1/241.jpg

As for the differences between Soviet-built (I series) and German-built (II series) sisterships, German-built "Gruziya" and "Krym" had the design of superstructures according to the initial Soviet project (Soviet-built ships of "Abkhaziya"-type had additional closed superstructure between stern deckhouse and middle superstructure, and therefore had 120 tons of ballast inside double bottom space to keep metacentric stability). German engineers used only more streamlined shape of stern part of the hull so German-built ships gave the same maximal speed as Soviet-built ships (14.5 knots) despite the fact that Soviet-built ships were equipped with a little bit more powerful Russian diesels (2 x 2000 hp instead of 2 x 1900 hp).

I have a question - several sources mention that German engineers were impressed with very succesive Soviet project of those passenger ships, so Krupp shipyard used it as prototype to built the passenger liners for Spain ("Canarias" and "Baleares"), but I didn't find in Miramar Ship Index such Spanish passenger ships. What is the problem?

Regards, BP
Last edited by BIGpanzer on 25 Oct 2007 18:37, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby BIGpanzer » 25 Oct 2007 11:37

Just to remind the fates of 4 Soviet-built mail-cargo-passenger ships of "Abkhaziya"-type (built by Baltic shipyard in Leningrad). All of those tourist passenger liners (the real pride of Black Sea State Steamchip Company in 1930s, they were called "express diesel ships" and "runners" that time) were lost during the first year of the war on the Black Sea. They participated as transports and hospital ships very active in transportation of evacuated cargos and civilians, military cargos, thousands of wounded men and soldiers; performed many extremelly dangerous raids under German air attacks and played a significant and heroic role in the initial phase of the war on Black Sea. The reequipment of passenger liners into hospital ships was performed by Odessa shipyard No. 1 immediately when the war began in June 1941 - luxurious saloons and restaurants were changed into surgical rooms and dressing rooms for 400 wounded men, additional beds were installed in cabins, huge red crosses were painted on the deck and boards and the flag of International Red Cross was raised; later the armament was installed - several MGs and 4x45mm AA guns as well as ships were camouflaged with naval grey painting. Those diesel ships were the best Soviet military/hospital transports on Black Sea as they had high speed, good maneuvrability and large passenger capacity.

The first loss was transport "Adzhariya" ("Adzharistan" before 1940, captain D. Kaminsky) which was attacked several times by German bombers during stay in Odessa bay (the anchored ship waited unloading after convoy run to Odessa) 23.07.1941, was damaged by bombs, heavily burnt in view of the whole city and ran aground near the port (46.34'N, 30.56'E). Four men were lost, and the majority of cargos were raised next week.

"Ukraina" (captain P. Polovko) was sunk 02.07.1942 in Novorossisk during massive raid of 77 German aircraft against the port, there is no info about amount of lost crewmembers. 23.09.1947 the ship was raised by rescue service of Black Sea Navy and laid up in the port, scrapped in 1950.
http://www.nlr.ru/petersburg/spbpcards/ ... 53_1_m.jpg (passenger liner "Ukraina" in Leningrad in 1930s during the cruise run Leningrad-Odessa with shock workers of Communist labour, who were awarded with tourist trip tickets to visit European countries, on board).
http://www.shprints.com/shop/products_p ... 022307.jpg ("Ukraina" on tourist postcard from 1930s)
http://www.sea.infoflot.ru/photo/1/5.jpg
http://www.sea.infoflot.ru/photo/1/7.jpg
P.S. "Ukraina" was damaged by close sea mine explosion in November 1941 when the ship transported reinforcement infantry battalions - just after beginning of run in Novorossisk harbor; the hull wasn' damaged but shock of explosion jammed screw shaft so the transport was towed back to Novorossisk for repair.

Regards, BP

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Postby kgvm » 25 Oct 2007 22:33

Some links again:
http://www.photoship.co.uk/JAlbum/Old%2 ... ner-01.jpg (Okhotsk of 1912 as Henner)
http://www.photoship.co.uk/JAlbum/Old%2 ... nis-01.jpg (Everolanda of 1908 as Janis Rainis)
http://www.photoship.co.uk/JAlbum/Old%2 ... ano-01.jpg and
http://www.photoship.co.uk/JAlbum/Old%2 ... ano-02.jpg (Volga of 1928 as Juan Sebastian Elcano)
Regards
Klaus Günther

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Postby BIGpanzer » 26 Oct 2007 09:41

Thanks, Klaus, excellent photos!
I just found the photo of interior of passenger liners of "Abkhaziya"-type in 1930s (all six were used as comfortable tourist ships along Crimea-Caucasus routes, mainly Odessa-Batumi-Odessa, that time; "Ukraina" was used also for foreign routes around Europe, the operational range of the ships were 4600 miles). The ship could take 550 men in cabins of 1-3 classes and 462 men on the deck, 1000 t of cargos including mail and 100 t of refrigerated cargos (fruits) in special hold.
So top to bottom: music saloon, saloon bar, entrance lobby to 1st class cabins
http://keep4u.ru/full/070830/8f055f3a7e71bd9f89/jpg

Regards, BP

P.S. Interesting, that Soviet naval specialists noticed the good speed and seagoing ability of passenger ships of "Abkhaziya"-type, so it was planned in 1933 to built improved liners of IIIrd series, which can be reequipped into auxiliary cruisers during the war (with the armament 5x152mm + several 45-76mm guns + 150-200 mines + 2 aircraft). Such auxiliary cruisers should have armor of superstructures (of lower height than liners of I-II series had) and speed around 18 knots. Nevertheless, that project wasn't realized as Soviet shipyards got a new 5-year plan for warships and that reduced production of civil ships. But new postWWII Soviet passenger liners of "Kirgizstan"-type (built in 1958-1963) were based on that "improved Abkhaziya" (my term - BP) project partially.

Regards, BP
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Postby BIGpanzer » 26 Oct 2007 19:37

“Abkhaziya” was the last ship of the type which was lost during the war. That famous hospital ship made 31 extremelly dangerous runs (transported 32355 wounded men, 9500 were operated on board; also evacuated around 65000 civilians and transported 71352 soldiers to Odessa and Sevastopol, also 40857 tons of cargos), despite the almost daily pursuits of German bombers. German pilots nicknamed “Abkhaziya” as “difficult to catch ship”, Luftwaffe commanders planned special operations to detect and sink "Abkhaziya", but her experienced crew under command of senior lieutenant M. Belukha could avoid and repulse all air attacks (escort ships and fighters helped in this sometimes, of course). "Abkhaziya" was armed with several 45mm guns and quad AA "Maxim" MGs. Once the ship was exploded on magnetic mine but she could reach Sevastopol where crew repaired the ship during one day only and took wounded men to Caucasus. During all runs crewmembers accomodated wounded men in their cabins to take more men on board, also crewmembers provided their blood very often. Ship doctors performed operations even during very stormy weather and attacks of bombers, and nobody of them asked for more easy work in shore hospitals, chief surgeon E. Rogozin made 3000 operations including very complicated. "Abkhaziya" was also very lucky with her commissar E. Volkovinsky who didn't disturb crewmembers with ideology lectures as it was often happened that time but did his best to find medicaments for his ship in ports and organized emergency operations during air attacks and shellings; he was heavily burnt and completelly lost his leg during one air attack, and died during surgery operation on board (Rogozin couldn't help in such a hopeless case)

"Abkhaziya" was sunk by several direct hits of high-explosion bombs (at 12:00 - 1 to the stern but the fire was extinguished by crew, at 13:00 - 4 to the engine compartment and hold No. 4) from Ju-87s in the morning, 10 June 1942 in Sevastopol port after the unloading of cargos (ammunition, food supplies, medicaments, reinforcement) and during the loading of wounded men. 8 crewmembers were lost (signalman covered the captain with his body and saved him life) and all wounded men were transported back to the shore without losses despite continued air attacks. One of the reason of successful German air attack against hospital ship and port is the order of army general to the captain of "Abkhaziya" to stop to lay a smoke screen against strong enemy artillery shelling as that could provide cover for unexpected attacks of German soldiers against the port. After the loss of the ship crewmembers of "Abkhaziya" participated together with sailors and soldiers in repulse of enemy tank attacks against the port, medical staff was given to different hospitals and medical battalions soon.
21.12.1951 the waterlogged ship was raised, laid up and scrapped in 1956.
http://www.sea.infoflot.ru/photo/1/238.jpg (cargo-passenger liner "Abkhaziya")
http://www.sea.infoflot.ru/photo/1/245.jpg (hospital ship "Abkhaziya" at Sevastopol berth after attack of German bombers)

Regards, BP
Last edited by BIGpanzer on 28 Oct 2007 20:50, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby BIGpanzer » 27 Oct 2007 22:10

The photo of surgery of hospital ship "Abkhaziya"
http://www.uwms.artefactworkshop.ru/sha ... ris162.jpg

According to memoires of chief surgeon of "Abkhaziya" the doctors attached themselves to operating tables to make operations during stormy weather and continuous enemy aircraft attacks.

Regards, BP

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Postby mjbollinger » 27 Oct 2007 23:45

An interesting photo. Thanks.

I would have thought that the surgery of Abkhaziya would have been a very messy place. The clothing of the doctors and nurses in this photo don't have a drop of blood on them.

MB

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Postby BIGpanzer » 28 Oct 2007 20:37

Sure, that the surgery on "Abkhaziya" was a very hard job because of thousands of wounded men transported during every run and because of continuous air attacks (and shellings in ports); also there was no possibility to replace surgeons and nurses, so doctors slept not every day. All young girls served as nurses were volunteers. But they did their work as much as they could even in such very complicated (I would say almost impossible) conditions, and I found a mentions that surgeons of shore hospitals were often amazing with quality of surgery operations made on "Abkhaziya" board by very experienced chief surgeon Rogozin (he became a Dr. after the war IIRC) when they received the wounded men from "Abkhaziya". A lot of defenders of Odessa and Sevastopol were saved by doctors from "Abkhaziya", this is the fact.

As for the photo - sure, I believe this is a retouched photo or it was made especially for publication in newspaper during the short stay of hospital ship in the port. The reality in most cases was much more hard (sometimes - several hundreds surgery operations per day I guess, often amputations), but, of course, newspapers didn't publish such the horror of war photos. Nevertheless, the photo illustrates the design of surgery quite good in my opinion.

I found the mention that medical staff of "Abkhaziya" was given to Inkerman hospital and 41st naval hospital after the loss of the ship.

http://ship.bsu.by/s.asp?id=6687 (passenger liner "Abkhaziya" in 1930s, home port Odessa)

Regards, BP
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Postby BIGpanzer » 29 Oct 2007 22:19

To finish the miserable list of losses of cargo-passenger ships of "Abkhaziya"-type the loss of "Armeniya" should be mentioned as the most catastrophic. The sinking of that hospital ship represents one of the most tragic event in world's sea history because around 7000 men were lost with "Armenia" - this is the largest Soviet sea mass grave of WWII period and the largest sea tragedy happened on Black Sea during the whole history. "Armenia" was reequipped into hospital ship since 10 August 1941 and was given to medical service of Black Sea Navy as all her sisterships mentioned above.

"Armeniya" was attacked by He-111 from I/KG28, that happened 07.11.1941 (11:25) near Yalta, abeam of Gurzuf (20 miles from Crimea peninsula according to official data, but, most probably, the distance was shorter). Two torpedos were dropped against the ship with large red crosses on boards and on the deck, one torpedo missed and another hit the ship. Strong explosion, fire and great panic among refugees on board occured, in 4 min "Armeniya" sank, none of 16 life-boats for 48 passengers each was hoisted out even. The civil eye-witnesses from the shore saw near 40 bombers which bombed "Armeniya" but that was visible not clear because of large distance, in reality that bomber group just flew not far away from the ship which was attacked directly by single torpedo-bomber. "Armeniya" was guarded with two small patrol boats and two fighters I-153 only, but patrol boats couldn't open immediate fire because of strong rocking on waves and fighter pilots didn't notice the single He-111 even which attacked from the low clouds. "Armeniya" was armed with four 45mm guns but nobody knows did her artillerymen notice the bomber and could open fire against it or not.

"Armeniya" performed run to Tuapse and transported heavily wounded men from four evacuated naval hospitals of Sevastopol and Yalta (the ship made the run to Sevastopol at first where the main naval Sevastopol hospital was loaded during 2 days, then to Yalta), the whole medical staff of those hospitals and civil refugees from Crimea. For many years the info about "Armeniya"'s case and the scale of tragedy was secret in Soviet archives, it was only mentioned that 8 men survived and the number of lost people is unknown. Only several years ago Russians wrote that there were near 5500 men on board, but in reality "Armeniya" transported more than 7000 men according to modern research info and some unclassified documents of KGB - approximately 2000 men were unaccounted and they were taken on board on request of medical staff, most probably. Only 8 men survived and were rescued by patrol boat. The names of the majority of passengers still remained unknown (only several hundreds are known for sure) and the main target of planned new underwater expedition (Ukrainian, Russian and US researches tried to find the "Armeniya" already, but without success; the last expeditions were made in 2005-2006) is to find the safe in the cabin of the head doctor of "Armeniya", the list of passengers should be there. The depth in the point is around 472 metres. The problem is that radioman of "Armeniya" (he could send radiomessage during those 4 min), radioman of guarding patrol boat and German pilot of He-111 gave a little bit differ coordinates (officially - 44.17N, 34.10'E; it is planned to be international memorial place in the case ship will be found), and this makes searches of "Armeniya" with the help of bathyscaphe quite difficult.

There are several interesting additional details about the last run of "Armeniya". I will try to post them tomorrow if I have enough time (a lot of work, and also birthday...)

Regards, BP

P.S. Some photos of hospital ship "Armeniya"
http://ship.bsu.by/s.asp?id=6688 (before launching in 1928 in Leningrad, Baltic shipyard)
http://www.ogoniok.com/common/hash/3/e/ ... 74c5dd.jpg
http://ship.bsu.by/s.asp?id=6686 (sistership "Ukraina")
Last edited by BIGpanzer on 01 Nov 2007 15:43, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby kgvm » 30 Oct 2007 14:59

Thanks, BP, for the links and the interesting informations.
Some new links:
http://www.naviearmatori.net/albums/use ... nfiore.JPG (Lev Tolstoi of 1920 as Italian Monfiore at Capetown June 1949)
http://riversea.tugtalk.co.uk/memories/ ... IA1912.jpg (Katayama as Castillo Ampudia)

Regards
Klaus Günther

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Postby BIGpanzer » 31 Oct 2007 22:12

Some additional info about tragedy with hospital ship "Armeniya" (that catastrophe took several times more lifes than catastrophes with "Titanic" and "Lusitania" together).

The captain of passenger liner "Armeniya" was Vladimir Plaushevsky, and the hospital ship performed 15 extremelly dangerous and hard runs from Odessa to the ports of Caucasus, evacuating the huge amount of wounded soldiers and civilians. "Armeniya" transported around 16000 men that time when Red Army defended Odessa in bloody and hard-fought combats, and retreating main Soviet troops could organize good defence against enemy near Sevastopol area only. Nevertheless, besieged city was planned to evacuate and there was a big chaos in the city as different departments and administrations published differ and often contradictory orders. On the 5th of November tha main naval hospital in Sevastopol as well as all other naval medical organizations there received the order to be evacuated by "Armeniya" despite the fact that experienced medical staff, equipment and medicaments were important during the hard defense of the city. "Armeniya" received wounded men and medical staff in Sevastopol during 2 days (hospitals didn't stop to work and treated the huge amount of wounded men during loading also).

Unexpectedly, the naval HQ received the message that there were several hospitals to be avacuated in Yalta also, and quite many local high-rank communists and head officers with their families waited the evacuation in Yalta in addition. The naval HQ ordered (and that was the wrong order as there were quite many smaller ships in Sevastopol to do this) to send "Armeniya", already full with wounded men and medical staff, to Yalta after Sevastopol. The captain of "Armeniya" received the order to leave the Sevastopol port at 17:00 (2 hours before sundown) and to go to Yalta. To leave the port during the daylight was already very dangerous, but "Armeniya" was lucky that time. In the open sea the captain received the radio message to go first to Balaklava, and then to Yalta; in Balaklava several heavy wooden boxes were transfered to "Armeniya" from motor boats by NKVD soldiers (there is a supposition that those were evacuated gold and values from the museums of Crimea). "Armeniya" came to Yalta around 2:00 am and the loading of wounded men, evacuated civilians and medical staff began again. The Commander-in-Chief ordered the captain of "Armeniya" not to leave the port before 19:00 as it was extremelly dangerous for large passenger liner to perform the run during daylight because of German aviation attacks.

The captain Plaushevsky disobeyed the order and "Armeniya" began her run at 8:00 am, 07.11.1941. Most probably, Plaushevsky (experienced civil captain) thought that the ship was not in such a danger in the open sea than in the port (Yalta port didn't have any AA artillery that time), where the large ship could be detected by enemy bombers easily and where "Armeniya" represented an excellent immovable target for aircraft and artillery, also German troops were very close to Yalta already and occupied the city next morning. Another possibility - there were quite many evacuated NKVD officers and their families on board who didn't like to wait and insisted on the ship departure; and very tired captain had no possibility to disputed with them.

The large ship full of men should be guarded by one patrol boat only. But after protests of the captain, naval HQ added one patrol boat more and two I-153 fighters (which were not enough for good defense in the very possible case of aircraft attacks, of course). "Armeniya" was full of men - a huge amount of wounded soldiers, the whole medical staff of several hospitals, many evacuated civilians, evacuated local communists and NKVD officers with their families (officially there were 5498 men on board, but there were more than 2000 unregistered men in addition); all two decks, holds and all cabins were full, many men could only stay in crowd on the deck. The weather became worser, storm started and at 11:25 the ship was attacked by single He-111 from the distance near 600 m and low altitude. One torpedo missed, the second hit the nose part of the ship which sank in 4 min and only 8 men survived.

The main reason of the loss of "Armeniya" and the whole medical staff of the main Black Sea naval hospitals was the wrongful orders of naval HQ to send the large hospital ship to Balaklava and to Yalta as well as to leave Sevastopol at 17:00 not during the night-time. If "Armeniya" left Sevastopol during sundown (as it was planned initially) she could reach the Caucasian ports without any problems.

The info about the great tragedy of "Armeniya" was secret during the Soviet times, there were no attempts to find and to raise the ship that time also. Ukrainian authorities with the info help from Russian archives tried to find the liner several times in 1990s but without success, it is planned to establish the international sea memorial place in the corresponding area (according to official Ukrainian version) but the main target can be also evacuated gold and values from Crimean museums. US oceanographer Robert Ballard (who found the wrecks of "Titanic" in 1985, "Bismarck" in 1989 and USS "Yorktown" in 1998) began the searches of "Armeniya" in May 2006, but despite of detection of very impressive wrecks of many ships from ancient times to the present, "Armeniya" wasn't found during that expedition also.

Regards, BP

Additional photo of "Armeniya" - http://www.riverstar.ru/albums/album15/ ... .sized.jpg

P.S. The short info about "Armeniya" from George Duncan's source - http://members.iinet.com.au/~gduncan/ma ... sters_1941

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Postby BIGpanzer » 01 Nov 2007 15:21

Some more info about "Armeniya" - before her last run the hospital ship transported infantry battalions from Novorossisk to defend Sevastopol (4500 soldiers). In Sevastopol the ship took on board wounded men and staff from Sevastopol and Nikolaev base naval hospitals, main naval hospital, several army medical units, also staff from ceveral Sevastopol civil health clinics and epidemiological station. Then "Armeniya" came to Balaklava and took NKVD unit with secret cargo, in Yalta the ship took wounded men and staff from naval hospital and Simferopol medical battalion, also local NKVD unit with cargo. So the ship, which was developed for transportation of 980 passengers, was overloaded 7 or more times during that tragic run.

Captain Plaushevsky was the captain of "Armeniya" since the beginning, 1931. He received the order from the Head of Black Sea Navy not to leave the Yalta port during the daytime without aircraft support. But Plaushevsky decided to head for Tuapse in the morning; probably, because stay in Yalta became very dangerous already and because he hoped that fog and bad weather protected the ship from aircraft attacks.
"Armeniya" was armed with four 45mm guns and several MGs. There were no armament on Soviet hospital ships on the Black Sea in the beginning of the war, but after sinking and heavily damaging of several hospital ships by enemy bombers despite of red crosses on board, the AA armament was installed.

As I've already mentioned only 8 men survived but their statements as well as the reports of captains from two escorted patrol boats were immediately sent to Moscow and became top secret. Soviet government didn't want to inform army and population about the tragedy as such info could decrease the morale of the Red Army in Crimea. Among those more than 7000 passengers of "Armeniya" only 173 names of 27 nationalities are known for sure (according to the documents from several evecuated that time medical battalions) but they were always mentioned during Soviet times as MIA and their families didn't have any info about them, others are unknown still.

The fact that large passenger ship sank in 4 min after one torpedo hit from He-111 is also quite strange. Probably, all windows and doors were open because of huge amount of people on board so the water spread very fast; another possibility - "Armeniya" transported also some ammunition evacuated from Sevastopol and torpedo hit caused the detonation of that ammunition so the explosion was very strong (such fact about strong explosion was mentioned in memoires of several survivors and eye-witnesses from the patrol boats and the shore, who described that the ship was broken in two parts).

To find the "Armeniya" in 2000s Ukrainian government used army bathyscaphe "Langust", also more modern deep-ocean vehicle was used during the expedition of R. Ballard. But despite the fact that the ship is large it was not found in the point of known coordinates. In the case of detection of large ship it will be quite easy to identify "Armeniya" because her name was written on board, on each of 16 life-boats and there were 5 m red crosses on board also. It is planned to install memorial table with the inscription "The living remember you" on all languages of 15 Soviet republics, and the most important thing will be to find the full lists of evacuated wounded soldiers and medical staff in the cabin No. 5 of head doctor. Civilians and NKVD officers on board were not listed, most probably. It is also planned to name this place as "international sea memorial No. 2" (the first is "Titanic") after finding the "Armeniya", where all further deep-see expeditions without special governmental permission should be prohibited. 22.06.2005 the warships of Russia, Ukraine and Georgia saluted in the point (official, the real is not known yet) of tragedy and placed flowes there.

Regards, BP
Last edited by BIGpanzer on 01 Nov 2007 22:30, edited 1 time in total.


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