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A submarine wreck has been found in the Baltic Sea!

The wreck of the Soviet submarine S-12 has been discovered and identified in the Baltic Sea. The vessel disappeared during a patrol near the Estonian island of Naissaar. The last contact with the crew took place on 1 August 1943. From the beginning it was suspected that the submarine sank after entering the German minefield
Published: September 4, 2018 - 15:53
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 17:11
A submarine wreck has been found in the Baltic Sea!

The wreck of the Soviet submarine S-12 has been discovered and identified in the Baltic Sea. The vessel disappeared during a patrol near the Estonian island of Naissaar. The last contact with the crew took place on 1 August 1943. From the beginning it was suspected that the submarine sank after entering the German minefield Nashorne. It was then that 46 sailors died.

The wreck on 1 September was visited and identified by a group of Russian divers, well known to our readers, Разведывательно-водолазная команда, led by Konstanin Bogdanov. Upon examination, it was found that the vessel had been torn apart by an explosion and was resting on the bottom, at a depth of 87 metres, divided into two pieces.

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The submarine wreck near the island of Naissaar was first discovered during a joint project with a group of Finnish divers, Divers of the Dark, in 2016. Back then, the Finns classified the object as an “S” type submarine after analysing the collected data. Now the divers have made three dives in two days and recorded photo and video documentation, which will be used, among other things, for further research and the creation of a virtual 3D model.

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The ship S-12 belonged to the class Stalinets, IX-bis series (the same as the ship S-13, which sank the ships MS “Wilhelm Gustoloff” and SS “Steuben”). The ship entered service in the Baltic Fleet of the Soviet Union only on July 24, 1941, although its construction was started already in 1937, and it was completed one year later.

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In the summer of 1942, the entire Soviet Baltic Fleet was confined to the Gulf of Finland, where the Germans had laid minefields between the islands of Gogland and Tyuters. From 19 September to 18 November 1942, S-12, under the command of Vasily Turaev, conducted a 62-day combat campaign – the longest of any Soviet submarine in World War II.

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On July 30, 1943 the ship S-12 under the command of Captain Aleksandr Bashchenko, left the island Lavansaari and went on patrol, trying to get through the German minefields. The ship’s route led near the island of Naissaar, where the Germans also laid anti-submarine mine barrages.

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Calendar of major events during the service of the submarine S-12

30 September 1942.
S-12 fired torpedoes against a vessel identified as a Schlesien-class battleship, sailing from Klaipeda, Lithuania. The crew of S-12 concluded that the attacked vessel was sinking. In reality, however, a small German auxiliary minesweeper was attacked, but the torpedoes fired missed their target.

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5 October 1942.
S-12 fired two torpedoes at a vessel described as a merchant vessel of 8000 tons displacement, sailing from Lipawa. Both torpedoes passed the target.

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6 October 1942.
S-12 fired four torpedoes against a vessel described as merchant, south-west of Klaipeda. The torpedoes passed the target and the ship was attacked by the fire of the 100 mm cannon, but was not hit. As it turned out the attacked ship was the small German auxiliary patrol boat V 1707 / Viking IV.

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21 October 1942.
About 10 nautical miles southwest of Lipawa, S-12 torpedoed and sank the German merchant ship “Sabine Howald”.

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27 October 1942.
About 20 nautical miles north of Lipawa S-12 torpedoed and damaged the German merchant ship “Malgache”. The Swedish merchant ship “Gordias” was not hit during the same attack attempt.

Source: uwex.org, ria.ru, uboat.net
Photo: Innokientij Olchowoj

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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