Operation Wonderland or Alexander Matrosov Nordic Seas

"Operation Wonderland" or Alexander Matrosov Nordic Seas

This year marks 70 years since the events described. And I, to the best of their own forces, we would like to draw your attention and remind again that the unusual and tragic spectacle that unfolded in the summer of 1942 in the Northern Sea Route.

Introduce the actors.

Managing operations in the Arctic, "Admiral Arctic" Admiral Hubert Shmund.
Commander of the Northern Fleet, Admiral AG Golovko.

Kriegsmarine pocket battleship "Admiral Scheer"

"Operation Wonderland" or Alexander Matrosov Nordic Seas

Year built: 1933
Tonnage: 15,180 grt
Crew: 1150 persons.

6 guns of 286 mm
8 guns of 150 mm

6 anti-aircraft guns of 88 mm
8 anti-aircraft guns of 37 mm
10 anti-aircraft guns of 20 mm

2 four-pipe 533 mm torpedo tubes
1 aircraft Ar-196

Icebreaker "Alexander Siberians"

"Operation Wonderland" or Alexander Matrosov Nordic Seas

Year built: 1908
Displacement: 1,384 grt
Crew: 47 people.

2 guns caliber 76 mm
2 guns caliber 45 mm
2 anti-aircraft machine-caliber 20 mm

Description raid languid German cruiser "Admiral Scheer" in the Kara Sea in August 1942 and has been at his reflection in Russian historians special honorable place. Heroic battle icebreaker "Alexander Siberians" and Dixon's defense would be no exaggeration to call feats. They will forever be the events about which they say "posterity — as an example!".

In July and August of 1942, after the defeat of the PQ-17, the movement of Allied convoys in the USSR interrupted. This break feat German command for the operation "Wunderland" (Wonderland). Its essence was to attack on the Russian naval communications in the Kara Sea forces of large surface ships.

Throughout the spring and summer of 1942, the "pocket battleships" in the North obviously toiled lazing and crew quietly zvereli and management Krigsmarine not once had to reject various searchlights commanding cruisers. Asked to bring their ships in the Atlantic ports of France, where it was possible to resume raids by allied ocean communications, etc. In principle, the headquarters of the RVM did not mind the raid in the South Atlantic, but the breakthrough there from the standpoint of good weather criteria and duration of the light day or could not be taken until mid-November. In addition, prior to this campaign, "Lyuttsovu" has to change at least half of the eight main diesel generators that did not seem likely before March 1943 on the "Scheer" similar work has already been carried out, but not before raiding he should undergo a six-week maintenance. So Makar, time is completely lacking in the incarnation of a short-lived campaign in the northern waters.

Order to begin the development of operations against the Northern Sea Route was followed in May 1942, the Navy Command of the "Nord" took for him to be optimistic, but specifically managing fleet operations in the Arctic "Admiral Arctic" Admiral Hubert Schmundt immediately expressed great doubts about the viability of the plan due to lack of exploration data communications, and most importantly, disk imaging on weather and ice criteria. At the initial stage of planning does not exclude the possibility of the creation of the "Lyuttsova" and "Scheer" task force, which would in the presence of suitable criterion assault convoy PQ-17 from the east, is on its way to the mouth of the snow-white sea! The final plan was presented to the operation commander of a group of Navy "Nord" Admiral Rolf Karlsom headquarters PBM July 1.

During the development of the Germans came to the conclusion that the main difficulties arise not as a result of anti-Russian fleet, and because of the weather criterion. Along with them, the enemy arose chance to counterattack, which under certain conditions could even lead to the destruction of the German ships. So Makar, the fundamentals of success were to be clear and comprehensive intelligence, and the greatest secrecy. With the decrease (due to landing "Lyuttsova" stranded) raiding forces to the 1st ship these requirements have grown even more so.

Commander, "Scheer" Captain 1st Rank Wilhelm Meendsen-Bolkenu instructed, acting in the ways of traffic between the Earth and the newest Strait Celebes, attacking convoys and destroy the structures of polar ports. According to the calculations of German staff officers, it could immobilize the movement of the NSR right up to the end of navigation.

Initially, the operation was scheduled for mid-August. Determination was supported by the Germans acquired first month of Tokyo message that the 1st day of the Bering Strait to the west was a convoy consisting of 4 icebreakers and 19 merchant ships. According to estimates of the German caravan had to step up to the Strait of Celebes (connects the Kara Sea and the Laptev Sea) on August 22. Even this conclusion may just realize how little command of the Navy "Nord" represented for the difficulty, navigable northern sea by — really convoy headed for this point only on September 22. In the unlikely event the Germans could reach severe of success — a part of the caravan, who bore the title of "SAS-18" (Expedition special purpose) except two icebreakers and 6 transport input by the North of the Pacific Fleet's favorite "Baku" destroyers "Reasonable" and "furious." For a number of features of the activities carried on ships in preparation for sailing in ice, and the inevitable ice damage combat readiness destroyers significantly decreased, and they can become easy prey to a "pocket" battleship. Rightly note that for an act in the Arctic Ocean and seas "seven" very mildly, did not fit.

The first step of the operation began on 8 August. In this day in the Kara Sea, ran across the submarine «U-601", which was to make the functions of exploration Russian naval communications and ice conditions. After 6 days in the area of the peninsula Snow White — Dixon proceeded «U-251." Two more submarines — «U-209" and «U-456" — operated off the west coast of the Earth and the very newest distract the attention of the military forces of the White Sea Flotilla (BVF).

"Operation Wonderland" or Alexander Matrosov Nordic Seas

August 15 «U-601", which occupied a position at the northern tip of the newest land transferred to Narvik summary of the state of the ice. Rundown was completely appropriate, and soon after an afternoon on
the 16th of "Admiral Scheer", escorted by destroyers "Ekkoldt", "Shtaynbrink" and "Bayttsen" left the anchorage in the bay Bogen. A day raider headed for Bear Island, where the destroyers were released. At sea reigned vague and cloudy because of which the raid was not slipped a bit in the beginning. Days of August 18 in the framework of a 10-cables from the "Scheer" out of the mist at one point popped a single merchant ship. Meendsen-Bolkow immediately gave the order to change course, and soon the ship was out of sight. Most likely found transport was Russian "Friedrich Engels", August 9, commits a single test flight from Reykjavik to Dixon. If "Scheer" sank the ship can be "drip" of flights late 1942 — early 1943 and would not be.

After an afternoon on August 21, when the "Scheer" overcame the rather loose ice, received a message from aviarazvedchika about finding a long-awaited caravan. According to the report, it consisted of nine ships and Twin-powered icebreaker. Court is just 60 miles from the cruiser, the eastern island of Mona, and headed for the counter, the south-western course!

But whom could find the "Arado", because as we know, ships and boats, "EON-18" were from the shores of Taimyr a distance of several thousand miles? The fact that more August 9, from Arkhangelsk came the so-called Northern Sea Route "3rd Arctic convoy" consisting of 8 bulk carriers and 2 tankers, which were sent to the ports of the Far East and America. August 16-18, the court focused on the roads and Dixon went further to the east to provide icebreaker "Krasin" and later joined the convoy icebreaker "Lenin" and the British tanker "Houpmaunt." Escort in the Kara Sea caravan did not have — so far in these parts enemy ships did not appear. Just imagine what could end in a meeting, "Scheer" and defenseless escort!

"Operation Wonderland" or Alexander Matrosov Nordic Seas

Just to see: in a report to the seaplane was pointed out that the court came to the south-west, not east, it stood as a matter of fact. Of course, the fear to approach the steamers, the pilot saw what he had to behold on the basis of the preliminary data. This is a "false vision" cost the Germans dearly — Meendsen-Bolkow decided to end the movement to the east and took a wait in banks Ermak. Then he had to inevitably encounter with the convoy, if he produced a movement to the west, bypassing the Mona peninsula from the north. In case if the court went between the peninsula and the mainland had to find their "Arado", which again flew on reconnaissance.

All evening, August 21, and the night of 22th cruiser producing radar surveillance and expected catch will jump out at him. The wait dragged on, and yet the service intercept recorded the intense radio evenly removes the northeast. Meendsen-Bolkow became suspicious and, despite the fog that limited visibility sometimes up to 100 m, continued to move eastward. But the right time was to a large extent lost.

The plane that was sent in the early afternoon on August 25, for ice reconnaissance and clarify the origin ship when returning unsuccessfully splashed and one hundred percent out of order. He had to shoot a 20-mm anti-aircraft guns. In just 5 days of the operation, "Arado" made 11 sorties. The tragedy, of course, justified the commander of the raider, that fortune obviously not on his side, then he lost the hope to catch up with the convoy and turned in the direction of working.

Retreat to the west failed to significantly higher speeds. By the 11 o'clock cruiser made archipelago Nordenshelda and close to the island of Beluga. Then with the "Scheer" saw the unknown Russian ship, which, as it turned out later, was armed icebreaker Head Administration of the Northern Sea Route (GUSMP) "Alexander SIB" (1384 grt).

The unequal battle "Sibiryakova" with "Scheer" became one of the most famous and heroic pages of Russian fleet in Lofty Russian war. On it is written a lot of pages, but, unfortunately, as with any legend as time began to run wild fight non-existent details, most of which are persecuted 'holy' goal: to make it even more beautiful, even more heroic. In this pursuit some authors crossed the border reasonable, of course, not realizing that the feat can not be comparative degrees.

Icebreaker "Alexander Siberians" though was in the operational management of the Navy and had a military command composed of 32 people, and armament (two 76mm guns, two 45-mm and two 20 mm "Oerlikon"), was a civilian ship and did national economic flight. August 23 steamer out of Dixon to deliver 349 tons of cargo polar stations on the North Land and buildings newest station at Cape Molotov.

In a number of Russian publications, namely, in the memoirs of Admiral AG Golovko, it is mentioned that even on August 22 from the headquarters of the Northern Fleet in the address GUSMP was given the first warning about the ability of penetration of enemy surface raiders in the Kara Sea. 24th Tipo repeated this warning. What was the root cause of these warnings from the memoirs unclear. Immediately, as pointed out by the commander of the Federation Council, arrangements were made for the organization of aerial reconnaissance northern part of the Barents Sea, and to the Cape of Desire target submarines. It was only after the second warning has been located in Dixon, headquarters of naval operations in the Western Arctic (a division GUSMP) sent information to the address of merchant ships.

Archival materials do not confirm the admiral's words. No trace of such a warning in the materials merchant fleet. Housed in an application number 7 of the collection "Northern convoys," an extract from the radio magazine already mentioned transport "Belomorkanal" for 19 — 30 August does not include disk imaging of the receipt of any notice by August 25. First submarine, designed to position the Cape of Desire — Luninsky "K-21" — left the Polar only at 21:00 on August 31.

"Operation Wonderland" or Alexander Matrosov Nordic Seas

Excessive reason to feel the difference in the approaches of memoirs memoirs give Commissar of the Navy Admiral NG Kuznetsov. In them, namely, it is written: "24 August 1942 a senior officer of the military mission in Arkhangelsk England captain Monde said the Northern Fleet Command, which, according to British intelligence, a few days back, the German" pocket "battleship (heavy cruiser) "Admiral Scheer" left the West fjord in Norway and fled in an unknown direction. And to find it has not yet succeeded. " Of course, Admiral Golovko was embarrassed to show the true source of valuable disk imaging — British — specific detractor which he made in his memoirs. More Furthermore, all have reason to believe that in the English disk imaging unequivocally stated that "pocket" battleship departed for specific actions in the eastern part of the Barents and Kara Sea.

In the evening the 23rd of the Kola Bay squad entered the Allied ships in the South American languid cruiser "Tuscaloosa" and five destroyers. With no evidence of a "pocket" battleship somewhere near, the commander of British Home Fleet, Admir
al John Tovey initially expressed their intention to detain ships in Murmansk that, ultimately, the other the chain of command rejected due to the fear of air raids. Command of the Northern Fleet has not raised intrigued by the delay of this massive compound, which in all probability can be achieved by using diplomatic channels. Day or later in the afternoon squad headed to the UK. In the evening on August 25, based on the data acquired from the Admiralty decryption, south of Bear Island British destroyers intercepted and killed its way to the Cape of Desire German minelayer "Ulm".

What still concerns recollections AG Golovko, then put it mildly, biased reporting can not stumble on the idea that his failure to take action to protect shipping in the Kara Sea, he tried to write off allies and omissions management GUSMP. One way or another, but when the board at 13:17 with "Sibiryakova" saw an unknown warship, the commander of the vessel Lieutenant Anatoly A. Katcharava did not have any preliminary information. His ability to independently and correctly understand the difficult situation only increases the respect for the heroism of the commander and crew of the steamer.

"Operation Wonderland" or Alexander Matrosov Nordic Seas
Anatoliy Katcharava

For Meendsen-Bolkow action against a single Russian ship, of course, seemed immediately and normal, and difficult. Her final, of course, did not cause vibrations — cruiser superior "Siberians" in all respects, at the same time, the destruction of an old steamer not add enough to the crown of laurels Kriegsmarine. Even more enticing prospects looked capture of on-board ice conditions, driving convoys shifromaterialov etc. Assuming that Russia will be able to kill or abandon the information you want to tell Meendsen-Bolkow decided to start with, try to get them by false pretenses. "Sheer" turned on his opponent's nose to hide the corresponding "profile", and raised the South American flag. After 10 minutes of mutual discovery on board the raider in Russian prosemaforili first question: "Who are you, where are you going, come closer."

Dialogue between with 2 ships lasted about 20 minutes. Of course, to "Sibiryakov" did not immediately realize that the enemy ship before them. Apparently, Kacharava raised questions superfluous annoying questions about the condition of the ice. It is possible that the cruiser has issued a bad knowledge of the Russian language. At 13:38, when the steamer asked for the title of the ship encountered, in response, instead prosignalennogo "Tuscaloosa" (the Germans were aware of the location of this South American cruiser in the Barents Sea from the intercept data) to "Sibiryakov" parse "Sisiama"! Ship under the South American flag with the Japanese title could not get to think of the Russian people, brought up in the spirit of care. Do not delay, Katcharava ordered to move to the highest increment and turned to the shore, to which the (Fr. Beluga) was about 10 miles. After a couple of minutes on the air in clear text ran a radio message: "I see an unknown auxiliary cruiser, which asks the situation." When he heard that the ship was aired, the Germans immediately began to put the noise and prosemaforili requirement to complete the transfer. Response from Russian ship they have not received. Moments later at 13:45 came the first salvo of 28 santimetrovok.

Many developers write that the "Siberians" first opened fire on the enemy. It generally does not maintain a simple act of criticism and denies AA Kacharava common sense! In 1-x, 64 cables — the distance at which the battle began — is very high for the shooting of 30-caliber guns Lender. In-2, to get out of their problem and the shortest distance, and in the end, the most important thing: to encourage more stupidly powerful enemy ship to fire when the purpose of the above maneuver Kacharava was to save the ship and the passengers on the coastal shelf.

Unequal battle has begun. In fact, no hope of getting into the enemy ship, the gunners' Sibiryakova ", led by Second Lieutenant SF Nikiforenko, opened return fire. Katcharava immediately gave the order to put a smoke Zahav, which at some time sufficiently well covered vessel. Meendsen Bolkow-led shooting with German precision and economically. Over 43 Minutka he made only six volleys, half of which were only performed nasal tower. At 13:45 with "Sibiryakova" sent a telegram: "cannonade began, wait," and almost immediately right behind her, "We fired at." After 4 Minutka the message repeated. It was the last adopted Russian radio stations. "Scheer" managed to firmly suppress wave, but after a couple of minutes the second volley of "pocket" battleship headed for hit.

Information about injuries acquired "Sibiryakovs" before his death, is a very controversial character. Very much tried to "prichesyvateli 'stories draw a decent, from their point of view, the end of the heroic ship. Reliably understood only that after the first ship hit the course and got lost underwater holes in the bow. From the fragments were lit on the deck barrels of gasoline. According to the testimony of survivor radio operator A. Shershavin at 14:05 from the steamer aired last radio message: "Pompolit gave the order to abandon ship. Burn, goodbye. " By this time Katcharava had already been wounded, and hopes to save the ship left.

"Operation Wonderland" or Alexander Matrosov Nordic Seas
August 5 15.00. Last Minute "A.Sibiryakova" … Several surviving members of the team with the "A. Siberians" seen on the front in terms of life jackets …

Approximately at 14:28 cruiser finished fire, releasing a total difficulties languid 27 shells and achieving four hits. During the battle, he approached the "Sibiryakov" at a distance of 22 cables. Despite the fatal injuries Russian ship still has continued to fire from the stern guns! Courage with which the crew of the ship took the fight, it was noted in virtually all zabugornyh research papers. With the "Scheer" let down the boat in order to pick up stranded in the water Russian sailors. According to German reports, most of the water trapped in the abandoned rescue — of the 104 members of the team picked up the Germans only 22 people, including and wounded the commander, the main one of the only surviving boat. Some of them that are saved, as for example, a fireman N. Matveev, even tried to resist, which is why the sailors with "Scheer" had to resort to using guns. Many people, regardless of the order, were on a sinking ship and waited for the German boat leaves, and then they died together with the ship. 23 th became a fireman who survived P. Vavilov, who made it to the empty boat and it sailed to the island of Beluga. On it he had spent 36 days (!) Before he was rescued by seaplane polar aviation. At about 15:00 smoldering skeleton "polar", "Varyag" dow
n into the cool waters of the Kara Sea.

Unlike many of the "leaders" whose military successes not found the evidence of the post-war, or people who did not really committed and made heroes thanks to the efforts of the official propaganda, Anatoly A. Katcharava and his team have done a real feat. He does not need embellishment, and certainly is a 2-things. In-1's, not afraid of death, the captain went on the air and that provided invaluable information about the presence in the area, which was considered earlier time quite harmless, surface ships. In-2, "Siberians" took an unequal battle, and his flag remained nespuschen. Act Kacharava fully comparable with the widely known abroad exploits commanders British destroyer "Glouuorm" (Gerard B. Rup) and auxiliary cruiser "Jervis Bay" (Edward S. F. Fiji). The two officers of His Majesty's Navy received the highest military services in England — Victoria Cross (24 awards in the Navy during the war.) At the same time, "Jervis Bay" was sunk by the same "Scheer". But for AA Kacharava no place in the middle of more than 11 thousand were awarded the Gold Star of Hero of the Russian Union. Moderate Order of the Red Star (end of life — 1982 — devoted his life to the navy patriot of this country received another award of the Red Star, the Order of Lenin and the Red Banner of Labor) considered in this case is completely sufficient.

Sinking "Siberians" and capturing some of his crew Meendsen-Bolkow no closer to answering the questions that interested him on a step. Although there were also rescued in the middle of an engineer and a meteorologist, acquired from their information was not given in fact nothing new, except for disk imaging of the sacrifice of the cruiser. This is confirmed by the materials J. Meister, he could only get from German archives.

Without a doubt, the information "Sibiryakova" became the first news of the harsh Raider opponent, which led rouse SF management and GUSMP. At 14:07 radio Dixon gave the order to all ships at sea to finish work on the transmission. In the search for the icebreaker went flying boat GTS, which came back with nothing, but, in turn, was seen with the "Scheer". Finally, at 15:45 the Germans intercepted and decoded the latest telegram chief of staff of the western sector of marine operations GUSMP AI Mineeva to which all vessels reported the presence of an enemy auxiliary cruiser in the Kara Sea. Meanwhile, the raider has rushed to the north-west of where the battle as counting on new meetings with Russian merchant vessels on a non-existent communication Cape Desire — Dixon. Until the end of the day he crossed the line between Fr. Privacy and Islands of the Arctic Institute. Suddenly, a lot of floating ice will meet in the area. Cruiser even had to overcome one ice field.

All this time horizon remained completely clean, and about the beginning of August 26th Meendsen-Bolkow just concluded that the court find in the sea, especially after the loss of surprise, it will be very difficult. Looked even more enticing prospect attack on a port. It is not enough that there probably will surprise few who had taken refuge zastich steamers, on the basis of more likely one would get information about routes GUSMP, the state of the ice, etc. Even ordinary small-scale maritime charts of the area were already a lot of enthusiasm for the Germans. From this point of view seemed more desirable Dixon. On the one hand, in contrast to Amderma, it is quite remote from the sea and air bases of the Northern Fleet, on the other hand, the Germans have already managed to make sure that this particular Fri manages the movement of vessels in the Kara Sea. So Makarov, there were supposed to be interested in the materials and, in addition, for the Russian defeat of their coastal Fri management would probably weary blow. Despite the past troubles purpose of the operation — paralyzing traffic on the Northern Sea Route — was still completely real.

The setting, loomed in the Russian headquarters, pointing to the fact that the auxiliary cruisers are multiplying like cockroaches. One would be fired as Cape Desire afternoon of the 25th, and another drowned "SIB" (normal speed and distance calculation showed that it could not be one and the same ship). On the 3rd day it was clear on the 26th. At 1:40 the radio station at Cape Cheliuskin said of the enemy ship, held by at high speed to the east. What could be a precursor of this finding is unclear, but the caravan, which is so long persecuted "Scheer", passed the Cape of only 5 hours earlier. The news that an armed enemy ship catches defenseless convoy led management NSR in a state of near panic. At 14:30 Chief GUSMP recognizable Russian polar explorer Hero Union I. Papanin radioed the command of SF and quite nervous and bluntly asked Golovko immediately give orders to the commander of the BWF Vice-Admiral GA Stepanov on the expulsion of sea-level bombers with supplies of bombs for the destruction of the enemy raiders. For a few hours earlier from the People's Commissar of the Navy Admiral NG Kuznetsova in the address and the commanders of the Northern Fleet BVF received orders to strengthen the monitoring of the situation on the track GUSMP, the need to control the movement of merchant ships in the theater (which has never been), and the development of measures to combat the enemy.

But who had the control system for an early incarnation of some specific steps can not count. In the second half of the day or the Chief of Staff reported to the Chief of Staff BVF SF planned activities, namely:
• Provide air reconnaissance in the Kara Sea (area of 883 thousand km2) forces 2-(!?) GUSMP aircraft;
• send three submarines in the SF position to the north of Cape Desire, Kara Gate to the strait and into the Kara Sea, east of the meridian of 80 ° (search raider in the area own a submarine is fully comparable with the problem of finding a needle in a haystack);
• relocate the group seaplane bombers (what a proud title for legacy MBR-2, is not it?) On gidroaerodromy Dickson Island and Cape Cheliuskin;
• deliver to the Allies the question of sending in the Kara Sea cruisers and destroyers (like, laugh, like, no);
• instruct the commander of the Northern Party BVF to strengthen the intelligence and commitment of their own funds, and the tight control of the regime of navigation in his district (which read, thunder clap — a man will not cross!).

In other words, the activities were rapidly developed, which should be reported, about the effectiveness of such "events" quietly keep quiet.

About the upcoming escalation evidence from the post of Staff 14:35 BVF in the address SF headquarters, in which said that "over the head" command SF People's Commissar of the Navy ordered the commander of the BWF to bring about immediate action on the situation in the Arctic. In the evening the SF command said in the address flotilla that with the advent of suitable weather to send a land aerodrome Amderma two DB-ZB and four Pe-3. At 20:36 there was another call from Moscow, in what was declared final "verdict": throw in Dickson 10 MBR-2, 6 of the fleet, and four of the fleet. So Makarov, on the creation of plans and reports on the measures taken away all day, which "Scheer", if he had in fact passed the Cape Chelyuskina, would be enough for the liquidation of several convoys!

More common is a decision taken by the Russian side for the whole day, was the order of Admiral Stepanova dismantled for restoration of coastal batteries in Dixon. The fact is that the good nature of what the enemy did not dare turn to the Kara Sea, has spread so far that when the middle of August, followed by the decision on the formation of Novaya Zemlya naval base, shore batteries for it decided to take on Dixon. If Meendsen-Bolkow thought up a storm the port immediately after the sinking of the "Sibiryakova&q
uot;, he could be in place no later than the afternoon of the 26th, and found a dismantled battery or are not ready for combat. In this case, the final transaction could emerge quite differently …

Back in the late summer of 1941 in Dixon were put into two two-gun naval coastal battery: 130 mm number 226, and the 45-mm universal number 246. Later they added a battery number 569. She was armed with acquired from warehouses Arkhangelsk Military neighborhood of two 152-mm field howitzer reference 1910/1930 years. Specifically to them and had the role of the main force in defending subsequent events soon.

The powerful artillery, drove out the "Admiral Scheer"

There were guns and ships. On the morning of the 26th arrived in Dixon patrol "SKR-19" (last icebreaker "Dezhnyov"), which was due to transport materiel batteries to the latest Earth. Its armament consisted of four 76-mm, the same 45-mm guns and machine guns. Artillery (one 75 — and 45-mm gun and four 20-mm "Oerlikon") stood on arriving at the port in the evening boat GUSMP "Revolutionary" (3292 grt). Apart from them, the berths was only an unarmed transport "Kara" (3235 GRT) in the holds of which were several hundred tons of explosives — ammonal.

You can not force the defense to call impressive, but the Germans, with his own hand, in general, did not expect to meet resistance. According to them, the garrison of the port was less than 60 soldiers of the NKVD. The generated Meendsenom Bolkenom-strike plan on Dixon foresaw landing landing force of up to 180 people, which would be spun off from the crew without harm to the combat effectiveness of languid cruiser. The very process of planting certainly foresaw the approach of the greatest ship to shore, anchoring, etc. These criteria minute opposition to the forces of coastal artillery puts on the agenda the question of the day or getting a more or less severe damage. About how much damage can cause even the ancient seemingly nowhere suitable, tools when used at close distances, read sad experience of breaking through the Oslo Fjord, April 9, 1940, when the "prehistoric" Norwegian coastal defense managed to drown the new hard cruiser "Blucher". So Makar, artillery and small resistance from the shore could disrupt the already landed. From this point of view available to the defense forces and means Dixon was even more than enough (and hunt sarcastic: Well, where are you with your own gunboat flooded into modern fortified something?).

Manufacturing to repel a possible enemy attack began at the port until late in the evening. This, namely, is confirmed by the fact that at the time of the fight, many of the major figures of Defense Dixon — Commissar of the Northern Party BVF Regimental Commissar V. Babintsev and commander of the "TFR-19" Lieutenant AS Gidulyanov — left on a boat to reconnoitre a comfortable place for the 130-mm guns. Do not allow very much time. Marine batteries were on a barge next to overload "Dezhnyov" and the only tool battery number 569 (commander — Lieutenant NM Kornyakov) remained on the dock. Apparently, the preparation for the battle of that battery was only in the return to saving value of ammunition, more or less detailed drawing up the plan of action, and, in the end, giving the Red Army to help a certain number of local residents, as the shortage of its personnel was more than 50 % (I understand that just gathered all: radio operators, cooks, local hunters Chukchi).

Charges were in full swing when at 01:05 hours with the former firing position battery number 226 saw the black silhouette of the "Admiral Scheer". Immediately on the air in clear text has gone relevant message, and the port declared combat anxiety. "TFR-19" rapidly gave moorings, but depart from the jetty to the start of the battle did not have time. After 25 minutes, the cruiser has passed along the shore of the island of old Dixon and slowly, focusing on the poor visibility in the criteria of the misty twilight of the Arctic target, was closer to the entrance of the inner harbor. Found it only when the distance between him and the courts was already 30-35 cables.

Since the Germans seized the Russian message to the surprise attack not count. At 1:37, when the contours of the darkness loomed 2-were on the inner roads, ships, Meendsen-Bolkow, of course realizing that they have to have artillery weapons, gave the order to open fire. Almost immediately he was told 76-graph "Dezhneva" (in battle ship ran senior assistant Lieutenant S. Krotov). Patrol, staged a smokescreen and uniformly increasing stroke rate cruiser moved across the bay Airplane, where he could get out of the fire languid guns.

1st shots, "Scheer" directed specifically against the "SCR-19." Already been achieved third straight hit. 280-mm shells pierced through the hull and exploded already under it. During the first 8 minutes of battle "Dezhnyov" received a minimum of four 28 — or 15-cm shells, two of which have made huge holes. Down came rangefinder, and two 45-mm guns. The loss of six crew were killed and 21 wounded, one of whom died soon. At 01:46 frigate climbed out of the sector of fire, but acquired damage caused to the fact that he sat down on the ground in a small space. During his fight against the enemy gunners fired 35 76-mm and 68 45 mm shells, but, unfortunately, did not have gained results.

SKR-19 ("Dezhnyov")

Then, for about 3-5 minutes, "Scheer" concentrated fire on the "revolutionaries." Hidden smoke zaavesyu this steamer got only three hits. On the upper deck of the fire broke out. Cabins were destroyed, navigational and control cabin. Appeared warped and steam line serving the steam to the windlass, with the result that the vessel failed to weigh anchor and take refuge in airplane bay. Only after the termination of the emergency fire parties managed to remove some damage, then the ship left the port through the Strait of Vega to the south. It was followed by transport and "Kara", fortunately unnoticed Germans.

"Operation Wonderland" or Alexander Matrosov Nordic Seas
Patrol "SKR-19" (last icebreaker "Dezhnyov")

At this critical moment opened fire 152-mm battery. Her shooting Germans codified as fairly accurate, despite the considerable distance and not a good visibility. Bursts of falls observed in the 500-2000 m from the cruiser and evaluated as 130-mm shells. The imminent promotion to the inner harbor was to reduce the distance and, consequently, improve the accuracy of the battery fire, the place where the enemy could not be found. Do not even risk Meendsen-Bolkow lay on the working course at 01:46 gave the order to fire and finish after four Minutka "Admiral Scheer" disappeared over the peninsula of Anvil. During this episode, the battle cruiser has spent 25,280-mm and 21 150-mm shells.

Apparently, even at this stage stock raider commander realized that the landing troops will have to turn away. And yet, the purpose of the raid could still be partly achieved by force of artillery "pocket" battleship. Moving north along the coast, the cruiser turns bombed onshore facilities naikrupneyshey base of the Kara Sea: from 02:14 to 02:23 for a monitoring station on the peninsula mists Big Bear (226 105-mm shells) from 02:19 till 02:45 northern coast Dixon (with breaks, 76 150 mm shells). But the main attack began at 02:31, when, cont
inuing to bypass the Peninsula New Dickson, "Scheer" reintroduced to the cause of major caliber, it is now on the radio center and port facilities. Do not follow the enemy fire took back "SKR-19" and battery number 569. After about 15 minutes because of the raider struck the island, which allowed the Russian gunners to more accurately find the seat of the goal. At 2:43 raider finished consuming, but 5 minutes later it resumed on a residential city. At 2:57, of course knowing that the figure for the spent ammunition firing at Dixon approaches the second part of a conventional ammunition (at the final step of the bombing released another 52 280-mm and 24 150 mm projectile) Meendsen-Bolkow gave the order to finish shooting.

Hard to say whether the German captain considered the base of the defeated, but the destruction of the outside looked very beautiful. Two radio towers transmitting center were shot down by store diesel fuel was rising into the sky thick smoke. In addition, the Germans managed to set fire to a power sub-station radio stations and a few houses. Losses in the people on the shore, fortunately, was not. On the luck of the raid could be judged from the fact that radio Dixon finished work on the transmission and did not go on the air about 2-days.

As for actually attacked ships that eliminate problems of "revolutionaries" took about 2-and "Dezhnev" — 6 days. So Makar, the overall result of the attack can be described as more than moderate.

In conclusion, I would like to describe the battle on the application of the brakes, cycling virtually all Russian publications — "Scheer" got himself into the sea just after getting got three 152-mm and 76-mm multiple projectiles. It should be noted at once — in the German materials no information about hit at all. In principle, this does not seem unusual. Of the 43 shots made Kornyakova batteries accounted for about half of the initial step of the fight. As previously mentioned, the battery opened fire not once, but with a certain delay. By this time, in addition to the fog (again, specifically because of him raider found only at a distance of 32 cables), "Dezhnyov" put across the entrance to the harbor smoke Zahav, which, respectively, to share the cruiser and battery. From the materials YG Perechneva it appears that the battery was missing not only the linear and radio, but even absolutely necessary rangefinder! Personnel do not have the experience of shooting at sea targets. Such criteria may have been hit unless the case. In general, they fired in pure white light, like a penny.

When, after three quarters of an hour cruiser newly opened fire on the port, the battery has made four shots, in general, not the next target. After the "Scheer" Again he found himself within sight to the above conditions of fire added smoke of fires on the peninsula Cone, and the distance to the target has increased to about 45 cables. It is unlikely to be seen from the shore anything more than was dissolved in mist rather weak glow from the gun bursts. It is logical that all the shells are gone "into the milk." In general, without reaching any of the 1st hit, the battery has completed its task — prevented the landing troops and as a result, was saved from destruction by Dixon.

After graduating from the bombing, Meendsen-Bolkow hasty retreat to the north-west.

As a result, in the hours of early August 28 cruiser was in the area, located south-west of the archipelago of Franz Josef Land.

Arriving here, "Scheer" he received a telegram from headquarters "Admiral Arctic." It instructed to start returning to base at noon the next day, and earlier to make another trip to the western part of the Kara Sea towards the island whitewashed. Days of the 28th ship radio operators have taken a few more orders, public directly that cruiser must return to the Kara Sea, search for ships and, in the case of continued secrecy bombard port Anderma. Meendsen-Bolkow not share similar aspirations and believed that in the created criteria on which the headquarters of the Coast still had not the smallest idea makes sense to complete the operation and hold it again after a painstaking preparation.

Finally, bring a result. Operation Germans failed, but she and her sudden failure were for our command, which failed to complete response actions only in hindsight. Has highlighted the failure of naval intelligence and clumsiness of our headquarters. Almost a winner in both combat operations episodes became Russian man capable of showing courage and heroism in the high dramatic situations. But I repeat: now confirmed ancient army theorem — the flip side of someone's heroism is a sin.

Germans were also nothing to brag. In the foreign literature there is a perception that, despite the unimportant direct damage, the operation "Wunderland" had a huge impact, as the Russian forced to divert part of the Kara Sea, the Northern Fleet, deployed there new naval bases, aircraft parts, etc. We conclude this is a made-up, as the forces that are actually deployed in the Kara Sea in the years 1942-1944. were less than the compounds of aqua area. They provided our sea lines of communication are not of a hypothetical, but entirely real submarine and mine threat, which was created by enemy submarines. And even if "Scheer" did not own a raid on the amount involved in the Kara Sea, our strength is hardly affected.

The German Command key finding of "Wunderland" lay in the fact that for action in the Arctic waters requires much more training and intelligence support. Coupled with the fact it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that even took place obmyslen campaign could be organized and better. In-1's, who prevented in advance to ensure cruiser with not one but with 2 onboard spies? In-2-why tragedy victim off Spitsbergen seaplane was not replaced? After all, with, respectively, the development of events, he could obtain intelligence information for the benefit of the cruiser. B-3, why Meendsen-Bolkenu had no documents to implement communication in the radio submarines? After all, is then possible to go on the air, by masquerading as a submarine, and they radioed from the Kara Sea without any restrictions. Moreover, in this case, he would be able to communicate and put puzzles by boats. But submarines, acting specifically in the interests of "pocket" battleship, only received orders from headquarters "Admiral Arctic."

In other words, the German command had huge capacity for the upcoming improvement plans and new methods of operations. In the meantime, it was forced to cancel all shares of this kind and, above all, have almost adopted to implement the "Doppelshlag." In accordance with its break-up in the Kara Sea have already produced two cruisers — "Admiral Scheer" and "Admiral Hipper", and the first act to the east, and the second — to the west of the meridian of Dixon. This plan is real, since the meeting at Hitler's headquarters on Naval Affairs on August 26, Admiral Raeder could not get approval to commit a raid in the South Atlantic. Fuhrer categorically objected to at least some operations more distracting Kriegsmarine ships from defense "zone of destiny" — Norway! However, the main lesson of the operation "Wunderland" is this: without the harsh training and careful planning of all types to ensure even the smartest plan is converted into a failed venture. Moreover, it does not matter what technique, the most perfect, can break the heroism and sacrifice of the defenders of their own land. And this must be kept in mind, and after 70 and 170 years after the events occurred.

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