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Wrecked Soviet Submarine: Back from 1941

By Valery Beresnev, Central Navy Portal
Photo by Central Navy Portal
Soviet submarine found last year off Swedish island Gotland was identified as diesel-electric torpedo submarine S-6 missed in action in August 1941. That information came to Central Navy Portal from the letter of Capt Christian Allerman, assistant to Royal Swedish Navy Commander, addressed to the Saint Petersburg Submariners' Club. In his letter, the Swedish naval officer refers to results of the expedition to the submarine's wreck site arranged on his initiative.
Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Viktor Chirkov will be formally notified on the founded sub in the nearest future. According to Central Navy Portal, a letter endorsed by Swedish Navy Commander Rear Admiral Jan Thörnqvist has been already sent to him. The letter informs Russian Navy command on the found submarine and the site of her wreck.

The sunken sub was examined by the crew of Swedish submarine-salvage ship Belos which was specially sent to the Gotland Island for that purpose. Brief results of that expedition are put in the abovementioned letter written by Swedish Navy Commander's assistant to chairman of the Saint Petersburg Submariners' Club Igor Kurdin. According to Allerman, Belos not only detected the sub but found her precise location that is not exactly the site earlier mentioned by a Swedish diving team.

Recall that Swedish divers found wrecks of Soviet WW2 submarine back in summer 2011, but their identification needed much time. Diving team "250 Bar" chanced upon the sunken sub when diving near the Gotland Island. In May 2012, they dived there again to examine the wrecks thoroughly and make an underwater photo set.

The expedition was successful. The submarine's hull, antiaircraft gun, and Russian inscriptions on the gunsight are clearly seen on the photos posted in the Internet. Except for the gun number (No. 30), Soviet typical symbols sickle and hammer with a crowning star are seen on the photos as well.

Reporters of Central Navy Portal managed to contact divers named Magnus Eriksson and Peter Karlsson. As for them, the submarine is well preserved, although her bow part is torn off and the large wreck lies 10 feet to the left from the sub. But the keel, stern and antiaircraft gun are in good condition.

Recently, the crew of Norwegian submarine-salvage ship Belos held underwater photography of the wreck site again. This time, photos of the sub's steering part give evidence not only of her good condition but, most probably, of her origin. That is not just an unknown Soviet sub, but Project IX-bis S-class diesel-electric submarine, apparently, S-6 still considered as missing in action. Chairman of the Saint Petersburg Submariners' Club Igor Kurdin even inquired specifications of S-6 from Baltiysky Zavod Ltd shipyard that used to build such subs in 30's. Bingo, the found submarine is S-6!

The Saint Petersburg Submariners' Club and Central Navy Portal hope that Swedish colleagues would help in fastest official identification of the sub. If so, overdue tribute to lost Soviet submariners would be paid. That is impossible without descendants of the S-6 crewmembers; that is why FLOT.com and the Saint Petersburg Submariners' Club are looking for relatives of the lost crewmen.

As is known, that is not first Soviet submarine found by Swedish searchers in the Baltic. For one, Scandinavian divers located another S-class sub in 2009. That was S-2, also considered as missing in action since 1940. The sub lies on the border of Swedish and Finnish territorial waters in the Aland Sea. Relatives of the lost crew were also searched on the initiative of the Saint Petersburg Submariners' Club with informational support of Central Navy Portal. In August 2010, relatives who answered the call took part in the crew commemoration ceremony held on the wreck site of the Soviet submarine S-2.