Soviet submarine Shch-213

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SC-213.jpg
Shch-213
Career (Soviet Union)
Name: Shch-213
Builder: Sudostroytelnyi zavod imeny 61 kommunara, Mykolaiv, USSR[1]
Yard number: 1037[2]
Laid down: 4 December 1934[1]
Launched: 13 April 1937[1]
Commissioned: 31 October 1938[1]
Out of service: 14 October 1942[1]
Fate: sunk by sea mine
Status: wreck
General characteristics
Class & type: Shchuka-class submarine, Type X[3]
Displacement: 577 tons surfaced
704 tons submerged
Length: 57.00 metres (187.01 ft)
Beam: 6.20 metres (20.3 ft)
Draught: 3.78 metres (12.4 ft)
Propulsion: 2 shaft diesel electric, 1370 bhp diesel, 800 bhp electric
Speed: 12.5 knots (23.2 km/h; 14.4 mph) on the surface;
6.3 knots (11.7 km/h; 7.2 mph) submerged
Range: 6,000 nautical miles at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph)
Test depth: 300 feet (91 m)
Complement: 38[1]
Armament: 4 × bow torpedo tubes
2 × stern torpedo tubes
(10 torpedoes)
2 × 45 mm semi-automatic guns

Щ-213 (transliterated as Shch-213 or sometimes SC-213) was a Soviet Navy Shchuka-class submarine, Type X.[3] She was built at the Sudostroytelnyi zavod imeny 61 kommunara in Mykolaiv, Ukrainian SSR, and entered service in October 1938[1] with the Soviet Black Sea fleet.

In October 1942, Shch-213 struck a sea mine and sank with all hands.

Secret orders[edit]

Shch-213 had secret orders to sink all neutral and enemy shipping entering the Black Sea, to reduce the flow of strategic materials to Nazi Germany. On 23 February 1942 she had sunk the 464 GRT Turkish schooner Çankaya west-north-west of the Bosphorus with gunfire.[1]

Struma disaster[edit]

Main article: Struma disaster
Photo believed to show Struma in port in Istanbul, 1941/42

Struma had left the Romanian port of Constanța in December 1941 carrying an estimated 781 Jewish refugees in an attempt to reach Mandatory Palestine. Turkish authorities had detained Struma and her passengers in Istanbul for 10 weeks because hardly any of them had obtained visas to enter Palestine, and the British authorities insisted that under their policy for Jewish immigration to Palestine they would not permit the remainder to do so. Struma’s engine had failed when leaving Romania and again when approaching Turkey, and despite attempted repairs in Istanbul it was still inoperable.

On 23 February 1942 a Turkish tug towed Struma back out into the Black Sea and cast her adrift about 10 miles off the Turkish coast. Early on the morning of 24 February Shch-213, commanded by DM Denezhko,[2] fired a single torpedo which quickly sank Struma. Many passengers were trapped below decks and drowned.[4] Many others aboard survived the sinking and clung to pieces of wreckage, but for hours no rescue came and all but one of them died from drowning or hypothermia.[4] The only survivor was a 19-year-old refugee called David Stoliar, who was rescued the next day by the crew of a Turkish rowing boat.[4]

Initially it was believed a stray mine had sunk Struma, but in the 1960s the German historian Jürgen Rohwer established that SC-213 had done so.[5]

Soviet authorities commended Shch-213's crew for sinking the Struma:

The Shch-213 submarine... encountered on the morning of 24.2.1942 an unprotected enemy vessel Struma... The ship was successfully torpedoed from a distance of [1,118 meters] and sunk... Junior officers... Unit Commander and non-commissioned officers... and the Red Fleet sailor who fired the torpedo... have shown courage. (Soviet Military Archives)[6][7]

Further action[edit]

On 2 March 1942 Shch-213 fired a torpedo at an unidentified merchant vessel northeast of the Bosphorus but missed.[1] The next day the submarine fired a torpedo at the Turkish sailing vessel Adana east-north-east of the Bosphorus but again missed her target.[1]

On 14 October 1942 off Tulcea, Romania a torpedo narrowly missed Kriegsmarine U-Jäger ("Submarine chaser") UJ-116.[1] Shch-213 may have been the attacker.[1] UJ-116 retaliated with depth charges, and for many years it was believed that these may have sunk the submarine.[1] In fact Shch-213 struck a mine, whose detonation sank her with all hands.[8]


Ships sunk by Shch-213[9]
Date Ship Flag Tonnage Notes
23 February 1942 Cankaya Turkey 464 GRT sailing vessel(gunfire)
24 February 1942 Struma Panama 169 GRT evacuation ship(torpedo)
Total: 633 GRT

Wreck[edit]

On 15 November 2008 the submarine was discovered 12 miles off the coast from Constanta by divers (2 Romanian and 1 Dutch) from Aquarius dive center and the identification of the SC-213 is announced on 23 August 2010 to the Romanian authorities and representatives of the Russian Federation in Romania. [8] Damage to the submarine was consistent with her having struck a mine.[8] The explosion had destroyed her registration markings, so it had taken until 2010 to identify her.[8][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Helgason, Guðmundur. "USSR Shch-213". Uboat. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Щ-213". Советские Подводные Лодки (in Russian). RU: Narod. 23 April 2008. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "ShCh (Scuka) class". Uboat. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Rubinshtein, Shimon. "David Stoliar". Personal Tragedies as a Reflection on a Great Tragedy Called Struma. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Rohwer, Jürgen (1964). Die Versenkung der Judischen Flüchtlingstransporter Struma und Mefkura im Schwartzen Meer Feb. 1942 – Aug. 1944 (in German). Frankfurt am Main: Bernard Graefe Verlag für Wehrwesen. 
  6. ^ Frantz, Douglas; Collins, Catherine (2003). Death on the Black Sea: The Untold Story of the Struma and World War II's Holocaust at Sea. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-621262-6. 
  7. ^ Zvielli, Alexander (18 August 2000). "Soviet fire, cold hearts claimed 'Struma' passengers". Jerusalem Post. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Duikers ontdekken Russische onderzeeër WO II" [Divers discover WW II Russian submarine] (in Dutch). NOS Journaal. 13 September 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2013. 
  9. ^ http://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/5044.html
  10. ^ de Domenico (14 September 2010). "Il Relitto Del Sch 213 Identificato Nel Mar Nero" [The Wreck of Shch-213 in the Black Sea] (in Italian). Betasom, XIe Gruppo Sommergibili Atlantici.