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Wreck of the patrol vessel Uisko sunk by a Soviet aircraft in 1943.

A group of technical divers took the first underwater photographs of the wreck of the Finnish patrol ship Uisko, sunk in 1943. Technical divers from Finland have visited the wreck of the patrol ship Uisko, which was sunk by a Soviet torpedo bomber I£-4 on 16 September 1943. The wreck of the vessel flying the
Published: June 7, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:43
Wreck of the patrol vessel Uisko sunk by a Soviet aircraft in 1943.

A group of technical divers took the first underwater photographs of the wreck of the Finnish patrol ship Uisko, sunk in 1943.

Technical divers from Finland have visited the wreck of the patrol ship Uisko, which was sunk by a Soviet torpedo bomber I£-4 on 16 September 1943. The wreck of the vessel flying the flag of the Finnish Navy rests at a depth of 68 metres. The remains of the ship in the middle of the Gulf of Finland were found on 8 May 2008 by researchers from the Estonian Maritime Museum.

historical photograph of a finnish ship
Archival photograph of the patrol vessel Uisko
Celtic

Uisko was built in a Belgian shipyard in 1938 and measured 40.4 metres long and 7.1 metres wide. Originally, while still a Celtic trawler, she fished in the North Sea. However, this lasted rather briefly, only until 1939. Then the ship was bought by the Finns, who in 1941 incorporated her into navy their country.

From then on, the vessel was known as the patrol ship Uisko. The recent trawler was armed with a 75mm cannon, anti-aircraft guns and depth charges. The main task facing the crew was the search and detection of Soviet ships submarines. The Soviets, wanting to get to the Baltic Sea, had to cross the Gulf of Finland first.

diver on the wreck by the 75 mm cannon
Divers photographed the wreck for the first time Photo: Sami Paakkarinen
Last day of service

On 16 September 1943, together with another patrol vessel, Tursas, Uisko drifted with her engines off. Both vessels were in the middle of the The Gulf of Finland. The crew was conducting a routine search for enemy submarines, using hydro-acoustic listening devices. Just then a Soviet torpedo bomber Il-4 appeared in the sky, with Alexander Ivanovich Razgonin at the helm.

While the escort ships Uisko and Tursas were in submarine listening position 59°47’5 and 24°58′, an enemy aircraft approached them from the Tallinn side at 15.54 h. The aircraft flew at low altitude and turned from the west side of Tursas towards Uisko. It dropped a torpedo at a distance of about 800-1000 metres from a height of less than 50 metres.

A torpedo hit the starboard side and the ship exploded at 15.55. Tursas rescued the two surviving men (Sergeant Kjellin and Sailor Antikainen) and Corporal Eskelinen, who was killed in action. The site of the ship’s sinking was marked with a spar buoy, depth 75 metres. The plane was observed and an alarm was raised on both vessels. Both ships were underway when the torpedo was dropped. 2 officers, 10 NCOs and 6 sailors were killed The course of events as written in the war diary – link to original

telegraph on a shipwreck
The wreck of the Uisko lies in the middle of the Gulf of Finland, at a depth of 68 metres Photo: Sami Paakkarinen
Thunderbolt

While the crew of the patrol boat Tursas managed to get the engine running, the Uisko sailors were not so lucky. The attack from the Soviet bomber was swift and surprising, and therefore deadly effective. Only two sailors from the Finnish ship’s crew were saved, and the Uisko, after being hit by a torpedo sank in less than 10 minutes.

Due to the low cloud cover, Alexander Ivanovich Razgonin was walking at a low altitude, as a result of which his attack was completely sudden for the Finns. The ship, which had stopped for a hydroacoustic search, did not have time to move or open anti-aircraft fire and received a torpedo hit in the middle of the hull. Nothing prevented the pilot from making two circles and watching the agony of his victim, who disappeared completely under water after 8-10 minutes. Along with the ship, 19 sailors were killed, including Lieutenant Commander Sandholm. In the following days of the month, the crew of the Razgonin was unsuccessful, although it flew several times in cross-country flights – – transcript from

Today the wreck of the patrol vessel Uisko rests on the seabed at a depth of 68 metres. As the vessel suffered extensive damage from the explosion it broke through and is in two parts.

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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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