Soviet submarine Shch-215

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Shadowgraph Schuka class X series submarine.svg
Shchuka-class X-series submarine
Soviet Union
  • Shch-215 (1937–49);
  • S-215 (1949–56)[1][2]
Builder: Sudostroytelnyi zavod imeny 61 Kommunara, Mykolaiv, USSR[3]
Yard number: 1039[4]
Laid down: 27 March 1935[3]
Launched: 11 January 1937[3]
Commissioned: 30 August 1938[3]
Struck: 29 December 1955[3]
Fate: scrapped 18 January 1956
General characteristics
Class and type: Shchuka-class submarine, Type X[5]
  • 577 tons surfaced
  • 704 tons submerged
Length: 57.00 m (187 ft 0 in)
Beam: 6.20 m (20 ft 4 in)
Draught: 3.78 m (12 ft 5 in)
Propulsion: 2 shaft diesel electric, 1,020 kW (1,370 bhp) diesel, 600 kW (800 bhp) electric
  • 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 (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph)
Test depth: 91 m (300 ft)
Complement: 38
  • 4 × bow torpedo tubes
  • 2 × stern torpedo tubes
  • (10 torpedoes)
  • 2 × 45 mm (1.8 in) semi-automatic guns

Щ-215 (transliterated as Shch-215 or sometimes SC-215) was a Soviet Navy Shchuka-class submarine, Type X.[5] She was built at the Sudostroytelnyi zavod imeny 61 kommunara in Mykolaiv, Ukrainian SSR, and entered service in October 1938[3] with the Soviet Black Sea fleet based at Sevastopol. Shch-215 survived the Second World War, was reclassified С-215 (S-215 in the Roman alphabet) in 1949 and was decommissioned in 1955.[3]

Shch-215 is notorious for an attack in February 1944 when she torpedoed and sank the motor schooner MV Mefküre[3] and machine-gunned survivors in the water.[1][2][4] Mefküre was carrying between 300 and 400 Jewish refugees, all but five of whom were killed.

Wartime service[edit]

On 9 October 1941, north of Cape Emine in Bulgaria, Shch-215 attacked what she identified as a patrol vessel. The submarine fired a torpedo but it missed.[3]

On 18 November, east-north-east of Tsarevo, Bulgaria, Shch-215 torpedoed and sank the 641 gross register tons (GRT) Turkish steamship Yenice.[3]

On 20 June 1942, south of the mouth of the Sulina branch of the Danube Delta, Shch-215 attacked the German minesweepers FR 1 and FR 11 with two torpedoes at the vessels, both of which missed.[3]

Late on 23 January 1943, south of Cape Tarkhankut in Crimea, Shch-215 fired three torpedoes at a German barge, all of which missed.[3] In the small hours of the next day, west of Yevpatoria in Crimea, Shch-215 attacked the German barge F 125. The submarine fired three torpedoes and her deck gun at the barge, all of which missed.[3]

On 8 March, west-south-west of Cape Tarkhankut, Shch-215 attacked the German 965 GRT tanker Wolga-Don escorted by two patrol vessels. The submarine fired three torpedoes at the tanker, all of which missed.[3] On 13 March, south-west of Cape Tarkhankut, Shch-215 attacked the Hungarian 465 GRT cargo ship Budapest. The submarine fired two torpedoes at the freighter but both missed.[3]

On 16 May, south of Sudak in Crimea, Shch-215 fired two torpedoes at the German barge F 170. On 24 May, north-north-west of Sevastopol, Shch-215 attacked the Italian 3,740 GRT tanker Celeno with four torpedoes, all of which missed. On 29 May, 40 nautical miles (74 km) south-east of Feodosiya in Crimea, Shch-215 fired a torpedo at the German tug Netty, but missed.

On 30 August, north of the Bosphorus in Turkey, Shch-215 torpedoed and sank the German 1,782 GRT cargo ship Thisbe.[3]

Early on 11 November, west of Yevpatoria, Shch-215 fired two torpedoes at an unidentified merchant ship, both of which missed. Two hours later Shch-215 fired two more torpedoes at a merchant ship, probably the same vessel, but again both missed. Early on 15 November off Cape Tarkhankut, Shch-215 fired two torpedoes at a German convoy of barges and smaller vessels.[3] Four hours later she fired two torpedoes, sinking the German barge F 592. The next day, west of Yevpatoria, Shch-215 fired two torpedoes at the German minesweeper MT 1, both of which missed.[3]

On 27 March 1944, in the western part of the Black Sea, Shch-215 sighted the German 2,760 GRT cargo ship Totila being escorted by U-Jäger ("Submarine chaser") UJ-117. She attacked with four torpedoes, all of which missed.[3]

On 16 April, midway between Constanța and Sevastopol, Shch-215 attacked a German convoy. The submarine fired four torpedoes, missing U-Jäger UJ-115.[3]

On 24 August, north of Cape Emine, Shch-215 torpedoed and sank the Bulgarian 180 GRT sailing vessel Vita.[3] The next day she torpedoed and sank the Turkish 712 GRT cargo ship Yilmaz.[3]

MV Mefküre massacre[edit]

On 5 August 1944, north-west of the Bosphorus, Shch-215 sank the Turkish small motor schooner Mefküre by torpedo and gunfire.[3][6] Mefküre's tonnage is uncertain: some sources state 52 GRT;[3][6][7] others 120 GRT.[8] As well as torpedoing Mefküre, the submarine fired 90 rounds from her 45-mm guns and 650 rounds from her 7.62 mm machine guns.[1][2][4] Shch-215's commander, A.I. Strizhak, claimed that he had seen about 200 armed men aboard Mefküre.[1][4]

In fact Mefküre was carrying Jewish refugees who had embarked at Constanța bound for Palestine. Exactly how many refugees were crowded aboard is unknown, but a number estimated to be between 289 and 394 were killed.[6] Six of Mefküre's seven crew and only five of the refugees survived.[6] At daybreak they were rescued by the merchant ship Bulbul, which was also carrying Jewish refugees on the same route as part of the same charter.[6]

Ships sunk by Shch-215[9]
Date Ship Flag Tonnage Notes
18 November 1941 Yenice Turkey 300 GRT freighter (torpedo)
30 August 1943 Thisbé Nazi Germany 1,782 GRT freighter (torpedo)
15 November 1943 F-592 Nazi Germany 155 GRT barge (torpedo)
5 August 1944 Mefküre Turkey 52 GRT motor schooner (torpedo and gunfire)
24 August 1944 Vita Bulgaria 180 GRT sailing vessel (torpedo and gunfire)
Total: 2,469 GRT

Post-war fate[edit]

On 16 June 1949 Shch-215 was reclassified S-215 (С-215 in the Cyrillic alphabet).[2]

S-215 was laid up on 13 July 1953, decommissioned on 29 December 1955 and scrapped at Inkerman on 18 January 1956.[1][2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Nikolaev, Aleksandr S. "Щ-215, С-215 туп "Щ" X серии". Энциклопедия отечественного подводного флота (in Russian). Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Подводная лодка "Щ-215". Черноморский Флот информационный ресурс (in Russian). 2000–2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Helgason, Guðmundur. "USSR Shch-213". Guðmundur Helgason. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d Щ-215. СОВЕТСКИЕ ПОДВОДНЫЕ ЛОДКИ (in Russian). 23 April 2008. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Helgason, Guðmundur. "ShCh (Scuka) class". Guðmundur Helgason. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "מפקורה SS Mefküre Mafkura Mefkura". Haapalah / Aliyah Bet. 27 September 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  7. ^ Lettens, Jan (24 December 2012). "SV Mefkure (+1944)". The Wreck Site. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  8. ^ Lawson, Siri Holm. "Re: Identity of MEFKURE sunk 1944.". Norwegian Merchant Fleet WW II. Warsailors. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  9. ^ "ShCh-215". Retrieved 14 July 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.