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Russians have found the wreck of a Soviet M-96 submarine in the Baltic

In the waters of the Baltic Sea, a group of Russian UWEX wreck searchers have found the wreck of the 1944 Soviet submarine M-96. The group has spent the past few years searching for the wreck of the submarine M-96, which disappeared after going to sea in September 1944. During this time they have managed
Published: July 14, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:56
Russians have found the wreck of a Soviet M-96 submarine in the Baltic

In the waters of the Baltic Sea, a group of Russian UWEX wreck searchers have found the wreck of the 1944 Soviet submarine M-96.

The group has spent the past few years searching for the wreck of the submarine M-96, which disappeared after going to sea in September 1944. During this time they have managed to locate and identify several other wrecks, but the object of the search has remained elusive. With the finding of the M-96, the number of missing ships that the Russians had set themselves the goal of finding was reduced to three.

diver on the wreck of M-96
Photo: Ivan Borovikov/UWEX.org
Missing

In September 1944, the submarine M-96 went to sea on patrol. The crew was to carry out reconnaissance in the area of the Narew Bay and the Gulf of Finland. Unfortunately, the submarine and its sailors were never heard from again, and only now, after 77 years, has it been located.

The searchers who located the wreckage conducted their operations based on the hypothesis that the ship sank after hitting a mine. This was thought to have occurred during an attempt to overcome the Zeeigel mine barrier, so the search had to be conducted in Russian territorial waters.

However, as it turned out, this assumption was wrong. In fact, the commanding officer of the submarine M-96 Nikolai Ivanovich Kartashov led it through the mine barrage and began to carry out the combat tasks assigned to it.

ship's telegraph
Photo: Ivan Borovikov/UWEX.org
Finding

Eventually, divers located the wreck of the Soviet submarine M-96 on the bottom in the part of the basin that is part of Estonia’s territorial waters. Although it is only a few kilometres from the border of the Russian Federation, it is already on the other side of the Zeeigel mine barrier.

Interestingly inspection of the wreckThe dive team from UWEX has concluded that the cause of the sinking was a mine strike. The divers created preliminary documentation, describing in detail the various elements of the ship and the damage it suffered. They noted, among other things, the setting of the telegraph, the rudder blade and the fact that the hatch was in the open position. The above made it possible to put forward another hypothesis, which states that the ship entered the mine while being submerged.

Inspection of the wreck of the Soviet ship M-96
Photo: Ivan Borovikov/UWEX.org
Further exploration

Certainly further dives on the wreck will be able to provide more information. Undoubtedly, the inspection and making photographic documentation and filming is not facilitated by the large number of accumulated broken fishing nets. It may be necessary to remove some of them.

Based on the analysis of German documents by historian Miroslav Morozov, it can be assumed that the submarine M-96 sank on September 10, 1944 at 3.48 am. It was at this time that a German submarine, which was in the Bay of Narew, registered a mine explosion with its hydroacoustic equipment.

exploration of the wreck of M-96
Photo: Ivan Borovikov/UWEX.org

The searchers from the UWEX group also mentioned that about 120 metres from the wreck of the Soviet submarine M-96, the wreck of the German trawler R63 was found. On 14 June 1944, the vessel also ran into a mine and sank as a result. Both wrecks are therefore located on the seabed, within the same minefield.

Participants of the expedition

Konstantin Bogdanov, Innocentiy Olkhova, Mikhail Ivanov.

Special thanks to the Estonian Maxstar Expedition team.

The expedition was made possible with the support of JSC Sevmash, PJSC Transneft and the Presidential Grant Fund.

Photo: Ivan Borovikov

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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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