Soviet M-class submarine
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The M-class submarines, also Malyutka class (Russian: Малютка; baby or little one), were a class of small, single-, or 1½-hulled submarines built in the Soviet Union and used during World War II. The submarines were built in sections so they could easily be transported by rail. The production was centered in the Gorky Shipyard on the Volga River, after which the sections were transported by railway to Leningrad for assembly and fitting out. This was the first use of welding on Soviet submarines.
1930s to 1940s
Submarines of this class were in four series: VI, VI-bis, XII, XV. The number of VI and VI-bis series boats were almost equal. Series XII was a re-developed project with equivalent tactical characteristics. The first series were powered by one diesel engine and one electric motor. Series XV had developed separately with improved characteristics, including the main ballast in light hull and two shafts. These vessels were mainly used by the Black Sea Fleet and the Baltic Fleet.
Although the design was satisfactory, only limited results were obtained and losses were heavy with 33 submarines sunk between 1941 and 1945. Seven submarines were lost in the Black Sea, four depth-charged and sunk by Romanian warships (M-31 by the flotilla leader Mărășești, M-58 by the destroyer Regina Maria, M-59 by the destroyer Regele Ferdinand and M-118 by the Romanian gunboats Ghiculescu and Stihi)(both M-58 and M-59 however are also reported as lost on Romanian laid mines , while M-31 was also claimed by mines or German boat  ) and three were sunk in minefields laid by the Romanian minelayers Amiral Murgescu, Dacia and Regele Carol I. By 1945, some 111 M-class submarines had been completed, with another 30 XV-series completed between 1945 and 1947.
Two submarines of the early series of this class, along with two Soviet S-class submarines, (S-52 and S-53) and two Shchuka-class submarines (under lease, S-121 and S-123) were sold to the People's Republic of China in June 1954 as the foundation of the People's Liberation Army Navy Submarine Force. Both the M- and S-class submarines were sold to China, and two more M-XV series of this class (M-278 and M-279) were sold to China a few years later. Those purchased by China were renamed, but the two leased Shchuka-class submarines were not. The four M-class submarines bought by China were renamed National Defense # 21, 22, 23 (ex M-278) and 24 (ex M-279) respectively.
An M-class submarine was discovered near Tallinn in May 2012. The submarine is located in the Tallinn Bay between the islands of Aegna and Naissaar, at an approximate depth of 65 to 66 metres (213 to 217 ft). It is believed to be M-216, which was intentionally sunk in the area in 1962 for training purposes. Divers have confirmed that many components, including the periscope, are missing. It is also believed that the training exercise may have been ordered as a result of several deadly submarine accidents in the 1950s. One such accident happened near Paldiski, where the entire crew died during a failed rescue operation.
Another M-class (series XII) submarine was found in July 2015 by divers from Aquarius Dive Center Constanta, in front of Costinesti, at an approximate depth of 40 metres (130 ft). It is believed to be either M-34 or M-58, both being lost to Romanian minefields. The submarine is buried in the sand up to the deck level, and also completely filled with sand, making any further identification almost impossible. The upper part of the hull shows a pretty high level of damage - many ribs are exposed. The aft hatch was partially opened. The hull is in one piece, conning tower and deck gun intact.
- Series VI
- 30 submarines constructed between 1932 and 1934
- Series VI-bis
- 19 submarines built in four sections between 1934 and 1936) were 37.5 m long and displaced 202 tons submerged (161 tons surfaced).
- M-71 (lost on 24 June 1941)
- M-74 (lost on 23 September 1941)
- M-78 (lost on 23 June 1941)
- M-80 (lost on 24 June 1941)
- M-81 (lost on 1 July 1941)
- M-83 (lost on 27 June 1941)
- Series XII
- 45 submarines built in six sections between 1936 and 1941 were 44.5 m long, and displaced 258 tons submerged (206 tons surfaced).
- M-31 (lost on 17 December 1942)
- M-33 (lost on 22 August 1942)
- M-34 (lost on 3 November 1941)
- M-36 (lost on 4 January 1944)
- M-57 (lost in August 1941)
- M-58 (lost in October 1941)
- M-59 (lost in November 1941)
- M-60 (lost in September 1942)
- M-63 (lost in August 1941)
- M-94 (lost on 21 July 1941)
- M-95 (lost in June 1942)
- M-96 (lost on 8 September 1944)
- M-97 (lost on 15 August 1942)
- M-98 (lost on 14 November 1941)
- M-99 (lost on 27 June 1941)
- M-103 (lost in August 1941)
- M-106 (lost on 5 July 1943)
- M-108 (lost on 28 February 1944)
- M-118 (lost on 1 October 1942)
- M-121 (lost in November 1942)
- M-122 (lost on 14 May 1943)
- M-172 (lost in October 1943)
- M-173 (lost in August 1942)
- M-174 (lost in October 1943)
- M-176 (lost in July 1942)
- M-175 (lost on 10 January 1942)
- Series XV
- 4 submarines built in seven sections during World War II while other 11 built after it, until 1953 were 53.0 m long, and displaced 420 tons submerged (350 tons surfaced).
- M-200 (lost on 21 November 1956)
Completed after World War II:
Both series VI and VI-bis were constructed by A. N. Asafov. Series XII was made by P. I. Serdyuk and series XV was created by F. F. Polushkin.
- M. J. Whitley, Destroyers of World War Two, p. 224
- Donald A Bertke, Gordon Smith, Don Kindell, World War II Sea War, Vol 4: Germany Sends Russia to the Allies, p. 389
- Donald A Bertke, Gordon Smith, Don Kindell, World War II Sea War, Volume 5: Air Raid Pearl Harbor. This Is Not a Drill, p. 63
- Mikhail Monakov, Jurgen Rohwer, Stalin's Ocean-going Fleet: Soviet Naval Strategy and Shipbuilding Programs 1935-1953, p. 266
- Antony Preston, Warship, Conway Maritime Press, 2001, p. 75
- Donald A Bertke, Gordon Smith, Don Kindell, World War II Sea War, Vol 8: Guadalcanal Secured, 2015, p. 77
- Mikhail Monakov, Jurgen Rohwer, Stalin's Ocean-going Fleet: Soviet Naval Strategy and Shipbuilding Programs 1935-1953, pp. 265 and 266
- In Estonian: The submarine in the bay of Tallinn is of the Malyutka class.
- [self-published source]
- [self-published source]
- "M (Malyutka) class - Allied Warships of WWII". Uboat.net. Retrieved 2016-12-28.