NMS Marsuinul

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Romanian submarine Marsuinul.jpg
Marsuinul at sea
History
Romania
Name: Marsuinul
Builder: Galați shipyard, Romania
Laid down: 1938
Launched: 4 May 1941
Commissioned: May 1943
Out of service: 1944
Fate: Captured by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
Name: TS-2
Commissioned: 20 October 1944
Out of service: 20 February 1945
Fate: Sunk by internal explosion
General characteristics
Displacement: 620 tons (surfaced)
Length: 58 m (190 ft 3 in)
Beam: 5.6 m (18 ft 4 in)
Draft: 3.6 m (11 ft 10 in)
Propulsion: 2 MAN diesel engines, 2 electric motors, 2 shafts
Speed:
  • 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph) surfaced
  • 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph) submerged
Range: 8,000 nmi (15,000 km; 9,200 mi)
Test depth: 110 m (360 ft 11 in)
Complement: 45
Armament:

NMS Marsuinul (The Porpoise) was a submarine of the Romanian Navy, one of the few warships built in Romania during the Second World War. She was the largest Romanian-built submarine and the most powerful and modern Axis submarine in the Black Sea.

Construction and specifications[edit]

Launching of Marsuinul

Marsuinul was designed by NV Ingenieurskantoor voor Scheepsbouw in the Hague, at first bearing the designation S-2. Her design was an improvement of the earlier Vetehinen-class of the Finnish Navy. She was laid down at the Galați shipyard in 1938 and launched on 4 May 1941. She had a standard (surfaced) displacement of 620 tons, a length of 58 meters, a beam of 5.6 meters and a draught of 3.6 meters. Her power plant consisted of two MAN diesel engines and two electric motors powering two shafts, giving her a top speed of 16 knots on surface and 9 knots in immersion. She was armed with one 105 mm deck gun, one 37 mm anti-aircraft gun and six 533 mm torpedo tubes (four in the bow and two in the stern), her crew amounting to 45.[1][2][3] Her maximum diving depth was of 110 meters with a range of over 8,000 nautical miles.[4]

Career[edit]

Marsuinul was commissioned, like her half-sister Rechinul, in May 1943. She spent almost a year undergoing sea drills and tests, along with Rechinul, only being declared ready for action in April 1944. She carried out only one patrol mission, between 11 and 27 May 1944, along the Turkish coast, between Eregli and Trabzon, and near the Soviet port of Batumi. Shortly after she departed, she was attacked by German warships off Varna, after being mistaken for a Soviet submarine. After reaching Batumi, she was spotted several times by Soviet forces, each time being attacked with depth charges by Soviet warships and aircraft. On 19 May alone, 43 Soviet depth charges were dropped on her. On 20 May, a Soviet submarine launched a torpedo at her, which missed. The submarine subsequently called for submarine chasers, which dropped 31 more depth charges. On 21 May, she was again attacked with 43 depth charges, as she began her trip back home. After a perilous journey, she reached Constanța at the end of the month with no damage and no casualties.[5][6]

She was captured by Soviet forces after the 23 August 1944 coup and commissioned as TS-2 on 20 October. She was sunk at Poti on 20 February 1945 by the accidental explosion of one of her own torpedoes. She was later raised, repaired, and recommissioned as N-40 in August 1947. She was renamed S-40 in June 1949 and scrapped after November 1950.[7][8]

Sister ship[edit]

Rechinul (left) and Marsuinul (right)

Rechinul (The Shark) was a minelaying submarine, also designed by Ingenieurskantoor voor Scheepsbouw (IvS) and built at the Galați shipyard in Romania. She was also laid down in 1938 and launched on 22 May 1941. She had the same power plant as her sister, with a slightly faster surface top speed of 17 knots, due to her standard (surfaced) displacement of 585 tons (35 tons lighter than her sister). Her submerged top speed was however the same, 9 knots. She was armed with four 533 mm torpedo tubes (all in the bow), one 88 mm deck gun, one 20 mm anti-aircraft gun and could carry up to 40 mines in 10 vertical tubes (5 tubes on each side). Her crew amounted to 40.[9][10][11]

Rechinul's career was more eventful than her sister's, as she carried out two patrol missions. Her first mission took place during the 1944 evacuation of the Crimea, between 20 April and 15 May. Initially, she was only tasked with patrolling the Turkish coast, but on 30 April, she was tasked with the surveillance of the Soviet port of Batumi. The information on Soviet naval movements she transmitted during her mission proved to be very useful to the German and Romanian ships which were carrying out the evacuation of Sevastopol. Her second and last mission consisted in a patrol off the Soviet port of Novorossyisk, between 15 June and 27 July. She was heavily pursued and hunted by Soviet forces, but just like her sister, she managed to return to Constanța without any losses. This was the last Romanian submarine patrol of the war, and with a length of over 40 days, the longest in Romanian submarine history.[12][13]

Rechinul was also captured by Soviet forces after the 23 August 1944 coup, and commissioned as TS-1 on 20 October 1944. She was renamed N-39 in August 1947 and S-39 in June 1949. She was returned to Romania in July 1951.[14][15] Rechinul was withdrawn from active service by 1961 and finally scrapped in 1967.[16]

A third submarine, of a design similar to Rechinul and Marsuinul, was also planned, however she was not laid down.[17]

German propaganda[edit]

The German Propaganda Department made the most of the launching of the two Romanian submarines in May 1941, inferring that these would be the first of a steady supply which would reinforce the Axis in the Black Sea.[18]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Paul E. Fontenoy, Submarines: An Illustrated History of Their Impact, ABC-CLIO, 2007, p. 214
  2. ^ Robert Gardiner, Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Naval Institute Press, 1980, p. 361
  3. ^ W.M. Thornton, Submarine Insignia and Submarine Services of the World, Pen and Sword Publishing, 1996, p. 100
  4. ^ Navypedia: MARSUINUL submarine (1943)
  5. ^ Antony Preston, Warship 2001-2002, Conway Maritime Press, 2001, pp. 83-84
  6. ^ Jipa Rotaru, Ioan Damaschin, Glorie și dramă: Marina Regală Română, 1940-1945, Ion Cristoiu Publishing, 2000, pp. 165-166
  7. ^ Paul E. Fontenoy, Submarines: An Illustrated History of Their Impact, ABC-CLIO, 2007, p. 214
  8. ^ Mikhail Monakov, Jurgen Rohwer, Stalin's Ocean-going Fleet: Soviet Naval Strategy and Shipbuilding Programs 1935-1953, pp. 266 and 274
  9. ^ Paul E. Fontenoy, Submarines: An Illustrated History of Their Impact, ABC-CLIO, 2007, p. 214
  10. ^ Robert Gardiner, Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Naval Institute Press, 1980, p. 361
  11. ^ W.M. Thornton, Submarine Insignia and Submarine Services of the World, Pen and Sword Publishing, 1996, p. 100
  12. ^ Antony Preston, Warship 2001-2002, Conway Maritime Press, 2001, pp. 83-84
  13. ^ Jipa Rotaru, Ioan Damaschin, Glorie și dramă: Marina Regală Română, 1940-1945, Ion Cristoiu Publishing, 2000, pp. 165-166
  14. ^ Paul E. Fontenoy, Submarines: An Illustrated History of Their Impact, ABC-CLIO, 2007, p. 214
  15. ^ Mikhail Monakov, Jurgen Rohwer, Stalin's Ocean-going Fleet: Soviet Naval Strategy and Shipbuilding Programs 1935-1953, pp. 266 and 274
  16. ^ W.M. Thornton, Submarine Insignia and Submarine Services of the World, p. 100
  17. ^ Robert Gardiner, Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Naval Institute Press, 1980, p. 361
  18. ^ Shipbuilding and Shipping Record, Volume 58, 1941, p. 27