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Wreck of the Soviet destroyer Kalinin found in the Gulf of Finland

Today, news broke that the wreck of the Soviet destroyer Kalinin had been found in the waters of the Baltic Sea. The ship sank in 1941 during the evacuation of the Baltic Fleet from Tallinn. The discovery and identification of the vessel was announced by shipwreck searchers operating in the Gulf of Finland. The wreck
Published: August 28, 2018 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:44
Wreck of the Soviet destroyer Kalinin found in the Gulf of Finland

Today, news broke that the wreck of the Soviet destroyer Kalinin had been found in the waters of the Baltic Sea.

The ship sank in 1941 during the evacuation of the Baltic Fleet from Tallinn. The discovery and identification of the vessel was announced by shipwreck searchers operating in the Gulf of Finland.

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Sonar image made by SubZone ltd
The wreck of the Kalinin destroyer as seen in the side scan sonar image Photo: SubZone Ltd.

The first trace of the Kalinin was found by Immi Wallin of Sub Zone, well known to our readers. The wreck of the Soviet destroyer was located at a depth of 90 metres, during a search conducted using side scan sonar. Then in August this year, dives were carried out on the position to identification of the object.

International expedition

The wreck of the destroyer was found by a group working under Konstantin Bogdanov, from the Russian underwater exploration team Разведывательно-водолазная командa, consisting of Mikhail Ivanov, Innokientij Olchowoj, Toni Nevalainen, Pasi Lammi and Immi Wallin. Also on board was senior inspector Maili Roio from the Estonian Heritage Board.

wreck of a soviet destroyer - propeller
Bolt of the Kalinin destroyer Photo: SubZone Ltd.
Evacuation

The ship was one of nearly 200 vessels that in 1941 the USSR had to evacuate fromTallinn, which it had occupied for a year. All because of the German front, which was approaching the city at a rapid pace. On board evacuated ships and ships there were Soviet soldiers, wounded, civilian workers, specialists of all sorts, and prisoners.

The Kalinin was part of the third group of ships that made up the rear guard of the main forces of the Soviet Baltic Fleetwhich tried to evacuate from Tallinn to Kronstadt on August 28, 1941. Both the destroyer and the whole team were commanded by Rear Admiral J.F. Rall. Without a doubt, we can say that the black series that befell the group of twelve ships began with Kalinin. Because on that day as many as six of them were sunk and rested at the bottom of the Gulf of Finland.

Photo of the wreck of the destroyer Kalinin
Gas mask near the side of the Kalinin Photo: SubZone Ltd.
Sinking

In the evening the destroyer ran into a drifting mine, which immediately caused a huge explosion. Although the Kalinin’s astern The ships Volodarskij and Engels immediately stopped the work of machines, it was already too late. Moments later, both vessels exploded in collision with more mines. The sources say that the number of mines drifting in the water that evening was so high that the minesweepers could not keep up with sinking them.

The scale of the operations carried out, the losses suffered and the drama of the evacuation of Tallinn are best demonstrated by the fact that the event has come to be known as the ‘Soviet Dunkirk’ or ‘Tallinn catastrophe’.

Avtroil Iziaslav-class destroyer
Ship Avtroil – another Iziaslav class destroyer
Before the revolution

Prymyslav entered service in the Baltic Fleet of the Russian Empire on 9 August 1915. The vessel belonged to the Iziaslav class and was one of five that were successfully built. The ship measured 99.1 metres long and 9.4 metres wide, with a draft of 3 metres. The destroyer developed an impressive speed of 33 knots. As a result of the civil war and the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks, the vessel was renamed Kalinin in 1918.

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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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