Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

To counter the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, the German admirals took an unprecedented step. Six submarines were delivered along rivers and highways across half of Europe to the Black Sea. On a unique transport operation, which had no analogues in maritime history.

Headache kriegsmarine

Germany’s attack on the USSR was a headache for Grand Admiral Raeder (Commander-in-Chief of the Third Reich Navy from 1935 to January 30, 1943. - Ed.). A few kriegsmarines received three new theaters of war: on the Black Sea, on the Baltic, and in the Arctic.

True, the Germans managed to seal the Baltic Fleet in the Gulf of Finland in the first months of the war. But on the Black Sea, the Soviet naval forces ruled much more and completely dominated the German and Romanian fleets.

It did not suit Kriegsmarine, but they did not have their own ships there. The Romanian Navy - the Soviet is not the enemy.How to fix the situation?

First of all, the German admirals came up with the idea of ​​transferring submarines from the North to the Black Sea by land-river route. But Hitler immediately rejected this idea. The operation required huge financial expenses, but the Fuhrer believed that victory over the USSR was near. And if so, why spend the money?

Scam with straits

German admirals fixed their eyes towards Turkey. True, the neutral state complied with the Montreux Convention and passed only civilian vessels through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. But the Fritz decided to change everything.

The Ribbentrop Office (Joachim von Ribbentrop - German Foreign Minister. - Ed.) Was supposed to lay down the bones, but to persuade the Turks to let the German submarines through the straits - or go to the fraud with their "sale".

The essence of the scam was simple. Germany sells Turkey submarines. They pass the straits under the Turkish flag and go to the Black Sea. And after that the Turks sell them back to the Germans.

But in the midst of the negotiations, Raeder suddenly realized: any of the options is a violation of the Straits Convention! But the opponents of Germany, too, observe it.

So, if the Germans break it, the other parties will do the same.

The prospect of the appearance of the British fleet in the Black Sea or the Soviet ships in the Mediterranean was frightened by the grand admiral. Negotiations turned, and Raeder went to the Fuhrer to punch the land option.

Aki dry by sea

In the meantime, the Red Army beside Moscow was attacking the Wehrmacht. It became clear to Hitler that the blitzkrieg had failed. Therefore, he gave the green light for the transfer of submarines across Europe.

Three small type IIB boats were chosen for this operation: U – 9, U – 19 and U – 24. At first they were prepared for transportation - the logging was removed and everything they could get out of the ships. As a result, 250-ton "twos" pretty thin.

They were carefully loaded onto pontoons and delivered by the Kaiser Wilhelm Channel from Kiel to Hamburg. From there, the river tugs went to the Elbe, along which pontoons with "twos" were dragged to Dresden - there the river intersected with the imperial autobahn. Then the boats were pulled onto land and loaded onto huge auto platforms.

German engineers have perfectly calculated everything. The platforms had 32 low and wide wheels, each of which could withstand up to 60 tons. And the role of “mules” was assumed by powerful autotugs of the “Kelble” and “Faun” brands. Their grand admiral Raeder borrowed from Reichsmarschall Goering.

Towing platforms with submarines, cars rushed along the autobahn at a speed of ... eight km / h. The strange caravan overcame more than three hundred kilometers and arrived in Ingolstadt. Curiously, but the German roads have withstood this load.

By the Danube to the Black Sea

Ingolstadt was the next key point of the route. This city stood on the Danube - a river flowing through half of Europe and flowing into the Black Sea. Here the "twos" were again loaded onto the pontoons in order to deliver them to the Romanian Galati.

It would seem that all the difficulties behind, but not here it was.

Nature is clearly not favored by the Germans.

The water level in the Danube rose during the spill. And this hindered the passage of tugboats with pontoons under the bridges. In addition, due to strong winds, the waves rose.

Only after the fall of water transportation continued. The tugboats managed to drag the pontoons to Galati, where the German specialists returned the former two to the "two" at the local shipyard.

After assembling, each of them went down the Danube to the Black Sea under its own power, and then proceeded to Constance. The first in October 1942 U-24 arrived there. Then U – 9 and U – 19.

30th Submarine Flotilla

After the success of this unusual operation, grand-admiral Raeder asked the Fuhrer for funds to transfer three more “twos”. On August 26, 1942, Hitler gave the go-ahead for their transportation.

As a result, by the spring of 1943, U – 18, U – 20 and U – 23 turned out to be in Constanta. They joined the ranks of the already formed 30th submarine flotilla, commanded by the famous underwater ace Helmut Rosenbaum.

Six submarines operated on the Black Sea until mid-1944. But the German submariners did not achieve loud successes there, unlike their colleagues in the Atlantic. Their performance was small.

The flotilla ceased to exist after Romania left the war, in September 1944. Three “twos” died in the harbor of Constanta from Soviet bombs (U – 9 sunk, U – 18 and U – 24 heavily damaged and flooded by crews), the other three were flooded by their crews off the coast of Turkey.

Later, the rescue service of the Black Sea Fleet raised U – 9, U – 18 and U – 24 from the bottom of the Romanian harbor. "German" included in the Soviet Navy, but not for long. In 1946, U – 9 was scrapped, and a year later, the other two “twos” were sunk in training exercises as target ships.

Thus, the submarines that became part of a unique transport operation completed their journey.

However, the kriegsmarine were not the first to transport their submarines by land to the sea. They were the first to do this with a car.transport, and so a priority for us. Even before the start of the war in the USSR, M-type submarines were transferred from Nikolaev to Vladivostok. In 1933–34, the “babies” were delivered to the Far East by rail. And even earlier, in 1904–05, several Kasatka-type submarines were transported from St. Petersburg to the same Vladivostok. This is still the record in distance travel of submarines by land - about 10 thousand kilometers.

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  • Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea

    Submarines on the autobahn: how the Germans moved the fleet to the Black Sea