Feat Marinesko and disaster Gustloff

January 30, 1945 the submarine "S-13" by the command of Alexander Marinesco sank the German ship "Wilhelm Gustloff". According to various reports then lost from 4 to 8 thousand people. Until now, it's the worst maritime tragedy. Why Marinesko not given the title of Hero Sovestskogo Union and whether the feat of his crew really exploit either on board were civilians Germany?

We turn first to the official Russian sources:

"Submarine" C-13 "under the command of Captain 3rd Rank A.I.Marinesko January 30, 1945 sank to the north-west of the Bay of Danzig German ship" Wilhelm Gustloff "with a displacement of 25,484 tons, which was carrying more than 6 thousand . persons. Coming up to the area of the sinking of the cruiser "Admiral Hipper", destroyers and minesweepers could no longer provide transport any help. Fearing attack Russian submarines, they hastily retreated to the west. February 9 is the same submarine "S-13" sank the ship "General Steuben "with a displacement of 14,660 tons. For military successes in this campaign submarine" S-13 "was awarded the Order of the Red Banner."

That's all that is said about the achievements Marinesko in "War Stories majestically Russian Russian Union, 1941-1945." Should pay attention to the words "six thousand people" and "ship".
But he wrote in his own opus "Captain distant voyage" (published by "Russian writer", 1984), Political Commissar A. Kron:

"January 30, 1945 submarine" S-13 "under the command of Captain 3rd Rank AI Marinesko sunk in Shtolpmyunde great liner fleet fascist" Wilhelm Gustloff "displacement of 25,484 tons, which was carrying more than 7 thousand evacuees from Danzig under the blows of the advancing Russian troops Nazis: soldier, military officers and high-ranking representatives of the Nazi elite, torturers and executioners. On "Gustlove" that served as the exit to the sea floating base for diving schools, is higher than the 3-thousand-trained submariners — about 70 crews for Hitler's new submarine fleet. At the same campaign Marinesko torpedoed a large military transport "General Steuben," it crossed from Konigsberg 3600 soldiers and officers of Wehrmacht. "

And now, "Collegiate Dictionary", 1997:

"Marinescu Al-dr Eve. (1913-63), Submariner, Captain 3rd Rank (1942), Hero of the Soviet. Union (1990, posthumously).. In the Gr. Patriotic. War, commanding a submarine" S- 13 "(1943-45), drowned in the district of Danzig January 30. 1945 it. superliner" Wilhelm Gustloff "(having an on-board communication. 5 thousand soldiers and officers, including approx. 1,300 submariners) and February 10. — auxiliary. cruiser "General Steuben" (over 3 thousand soldiers and officers.) After the war he worked in Leningrad. steamship, then on s de. "

There is a tendency — at first on "Gustlove" according to the official historiography was 6 thousand people, then at Crown 7 thousand Fascists, among which more than 3 thousand sailors, and finally again in the Official Gazette — 5 thousand soldiers and officers, among whom only 1,300 submariners . As for the "Steuben", called a steamer, is a large military transport, the auxiliary cruiser (and Kron in his own opus, and refers to him simply cruiser), the auxiliary cruisers Germans called civilian court, armed with 5-7 guns.

It is not clear who first started the bike to declare Marinesko personal opponent of Hitler and of mourning after the sinking of the "Gustloff". According to Russian sources, the mourning was, in German — no. In general, of course, that really no one else is so not numerous division is not destroyed at a time so a large number of German people. Even during the famous bombing of Dresden, which killed 250 thousand inhabitants, this involved several thousand pilots. But neither then nor after the sinking of the 'Gustloff' mourning was not announced — the loss of these Germans did not advertise, so as not to give cause for panic among the population of Germany.

So who and how many drowned Marinesko? Several thousand people or fascist executioners, or the military? Different sources composition of passengers 'Gustloff' very varied. By the number of drowning — from 4 to 8 thousand. In terms of composition, it is said that a "refugee", that "refugees and war", that "refugees, war, wounded and prisoners."

The more detailed the number of passengers 'Gustloff' are as follows:

918 sailors, 373 of the women's auxiliary of the Navy, 162 the wounded soldiers, 173 crew members (civilian mariners) and the 4424 refugee. Total 6050. Not counting them on the lists, on board the "Gustloff" was able to get another 2 thousand refugees. Only 876 people were rescued. Killed 16 officers of the training division of submarine forces, 390 students, 250 female soldiers, 90 crew members, also wounded soldiers. That military damage caused by the sinking of "Gustloff".

As for drowning on "Shtoybene" — that it really (as it is written in Russian sources) had more than 3 thousand soldiers and officers — 2680 the wounded and 100 healthy soldiers, 270 medical personnel, also 285 crew members and about 900 refugees. Only 659 people were rescued. Some sources include the sinking of the "Steuben" in the first line of the list of a huge number of victims of maritime disasters. By the way, sinking "Gustloff" is always in such lists — either the first or the second-highest number of deaths in world history of navigation. When the second call "Gustloff", then in the first place call or sinking "Goya" (Russian submarine L-3 April 17, 1945) — from 5 to 7 thousand refugees, or the sinking ship "Cap Arcona" (British aircraft May 3, 1945), as a result of which sank five thousand prisoners.

And now imagine how this event looked at the historical background.

Germany irresistibly heading for the abyss. It is understood even by those who have only recently all larynx yelling "Heil Hitler!" Flame war rages on earth the Third Reich. Russian tanks rumble on the roads leading to Berlin, flying fortress suggest nightmare on organized retreating German fighter.

First, in February 1945 in the Crimea brought together the heads of governments of the Allied Powers to discuss measures to ensure that the final defeat of Nazi Germany, and to identify ways of postwar world.

At the first meeting in the Livadia Palace in Yalta, Churchill asked Stalin when Russian troops seize Danzig, where a certain amount of focus under construction and ready to German U-boats? He asked to speed up the capture of the port.

British prime concern was understandable. England's war effort and the supply of the population in almost all depended on maritime transport. But the wolf packs of Nazi U-boats continued to commit excesses in the sea lanes. Although of course, their performance was not the one in the first years of the war, when it appeared that the British ships are powerless before the danger of German U-shek. Danzig was one of the main seats of Nazi submarine pirates. Immediately there was also a German high school diving, floating barracks for which he served ship "Wilhelm Gustloff".

But the British prime minister was late with your question. In Danzig already heard volleys of Russian guns, and "Katyusha". Started scoot opponent. "Thousand
s soldier, sailors and civilian officials boarded the" Wilhelm Gustloff ". Half of the passengers of the liner is highly skilled experts at — the color of the Nazi submarine fleet. Strong outposts in the sea was to ensure the safety of their transition from Danzig to Kiel. The composition of the convoy consisted of the cruiser "Admiral Hipper", destroyers and minesweepers. " So it follows from the Russian post-war sources. In fact, just peruse the vast number of refugees 9000 persons were civilians, otherwise they would be arrested as deserters or brought contrary to any team. Generally amazing to think in those 9000 refugees absolute lack of any military, for example one-legged veteran of the Franco-Prussian War. All the elite German submarine lost 42-44 years. A whole convoy consisted of the 1st (!) Minesweeper.

At the end of January 1945 Russian submarine "S-13" under the command of Alexander Marinesco entered the Gulf of Danzig.

January 30 into the sea was played fierce storm. Pilothouse boats, antennas and periscopes rapidly covered with a thick layer of ice. The commander and commissar to the pain in the eyes peer into darkness. And the silhouette of a tremendous vessel.

"S-13" and 20 3 hours 30 January storm an enemy ship: several torpedoes one after another rush to the goal. You hear an explosion of strongest — and "Wilhelm Gustloff" is sinking.

Who was on board the ship and a survivor of Hitler officer Heinz Shen, in his book "Death" William Gustlava "published in West Germany, confirms that the January 30, 1945 near Danzig" William Gustlav "was torpedoed by a Russian submarine in the end killing more than five thousand people. "If this case can be considered a disaster — says creator — it certainly was the greatest tragedy in the history of navigation, in comparison with which even the death of the" Titanic "in 1913, confronted with an iceberg — nothing" .

On the "Titanic" in 1517 people were killed. This disaster shocked when the entire population of the earth. On the "Wilhelm Gustlove" spared no one.

Heinz Shep carefully outlines the story of the death ship:

"Wilhelm Gustloff was under the command of the double — the ship, the captain of the liner was headed by Friedrich Petersen merchant navy as a training division plavkazarma 2 submarine fleet, the liner voglavlyalsya naval officer William Tsanom.

By the evening of January 22, 1945 the plane was ready for flight and loading of passengers — thousands of emaciated, frostbitten and the wounded refugees. Temperature gauge showed 14 degrees below zero, chaos reigned all around and destruction.

In fact, the harbor Gotenhafn were about 60 thousand refugees, and have been mounted ladders, thousands of people rushed to the assault. In the process of planting many kids, which appeared in the stampede were separated from their parents.

On board the ship climbed about 400 women — women's auxiliary organization of employees of the Navy at the age of 17 to 25 years. They are arranged in a swimming pool on the deck of E. Obviously, the girls were more than happy, since the imminent Russian invasion of East Prussia, leaving Gotenhafn. On the morning of January 29 Gotenhafn another hospital train arrived, the wounded were placed on the sun deck.

Now on board were about 7-8 thousand people, but how many of them were exactly could not be established until the present time. The liner was virtually jam-packed, and the cabins and corridors and aisles were crowded.

As a defense, on the upper deck installed a pair of anti-aircraft guns. Rescue facilities were provided about 60% of the passengers.

On Tuesday, January 30, 12:30 local time, came to the liner 4 tug and brought him up from the pier. The weather conditions were bad things — the wind force of up to 7 points, the temperature is 10 degrees below zero, slush (a little flabby ice — approx. M. Volchenkov).

I was appointed foreman of the zenith of calculation. According to the exit, on the decks of glaciation began, and we had to constantly clean the guns off the ice. Ahead of the liner followed minesweeper to search for mines and destruction. It was getting dark, and it was even colder. At the bottom, to replace the emotions of joy and relief came depressed because Many refugees have begun to suffer from motion illness. But most of the considered themselves safe, firmly believing that in a few days they reached Stettin or Denmark.

My watch began at 21.00. Everything was still and quiet. And suddenly, here and there at 21.10, there was an explosion. At first, I thought, we plumped for the mines. But later learned that we were surprised torpedoes issued Russian submarine S-13, she commanded Alexander Marinesco. Thousands of people panicked. Many began to jump overboard into the icy waters of the Baltic. Initially, the ship heeled over to starboard, but then straightened, and at this time in the liner got another shot in the area of the tank. We were off the coast of Shtolpmyunde, Pomerania. Immediately signaled SOS and started releasing flares.

Beat the second torpedo hit the ship in the area, which has a swimming pool. Practically all the girls died, they are almost broke into pieces. I wanted it to go back to my cabin and take a few personal items, but that was impossible. Thousands of people were torn from the lower deck up, driven by lower water flows.

Clambering up, people are constantly screaming and creepy and pushing, those who fell were doomed, they trampled to death. No one could assist the infirm — pregnant ladies and wounded soldiers. Crowds of people stormed the lifeboats, the question was not about the performance of certain commandments "Women and Kids — First". No one no one obeyed, took the upper hand by those who were stronger at the physical level. Many boats, covered with ice, would not be lowered at all, and I watched as a number of reentry boats broke off one of the painter, and the boat emptied of all people are in it down into an icy hell. Ship continued to sink nose rails tank were already under water, and lowering lifeboats became even more difficult.

A while I was standing on the sun deck, watching the horror. Some families and individuals, in what was a personal weapon, chose to shoot himself, if perish even more tortured death in the icy water and darkness. And thousands of others continued to cling to the ship, at the time, as he continued to sink.

I thought that I did not get out. I jumped into the water and began to rapidly sail away, so I was not sucked into the funnel. Initially cold generally not felt, and soon I was able to catch hold of a crowded lifeboat Brot (along the sides of the lifeboats are stretched special lifelines specifically for this purpose — auth.). The picture, I opened, was truly terrible. Kids, which put life jackets, overturned upside down over the water and are issued only to jerk their legs helplessly. Circle has floated dead. The air was filled with cliques dying and calling for help. As I clutched two kids, they yelled and called their parents. I managed to pick them up on board the boat, but they were saved or not, I did not vyznat.

Then I felt his weakness — it's hypothermia. I managed to cling to a life raft iron — a distance of about 50 yards away from the sinking ship. The nose is almost completely down, feed up into the air, and hundreds of people were still there, screaming wildly. Sinking speed increased. Then, suddenly, came the dead quiet. Wilhelm Gustloff disappeared under the water, taking away the lives of thousands of people. The greatest tragedy in the history of navigation lasted about 50 minutes.

Within about 20 minutes, the worst minutes of my life, I just drifted off somewhere. At times
I was laying ice slurries. Hits around me became quieter and there were all less often. Then something happened that I consider a miracle. I saw a shadow looming at me and yelled, meeting the latest forces. I have seen and taken aboard.

Helped me out a torpedo boat T-36. The crew of the boat helped us saved, by all means — hot tea, massage. But many people have died already saved on board, from hypothermia and shock. In the middle of the rescued were pregnant, and so it was that the crew had to test himself in the role of midwives in the night. Had three children. Boat T-36 was part of a squadron under the command of Lieutenant Herring, and the task was to escort languid cruiser "Admiral Hipper". The cruiser also came from East Prussia, carrying refugees. At one point the boat abruptly changed course, howled machine. As I later vyznat saw track 2-torpedoes, one was on the starboard side of the boat managed to avoid another sharp maneuver. Rotation was so steep that some of the survivors who are on the top deck, fell overboard and drowned. But 550 people were rescued. Because of the high risk of re-attack submarine, the boat moved away from the crash site and at 02.00 on January 31 arrived in Sashshnitts. The rescued have been overwhelmed by the Danish board floating hospital Prinz Olaf, who was standing there at anchor. Many were sent on a stretcher on the saved. We, the sailors, was positioned in the barracks. Lieutenant Herring was always on the bridge and gave honor at a time when the latter left the rescued aboard the boat. As I later vyznat, were saved only 996 of the approximately 8,000 people on board.

We, the survivors military sailors, again escaped death. As the sailors of the German Navy, we were all friends, we loved our country and felt that we do the right thing, protecting it. We did not consider themselves heroes, and our hero's death, we just performed its own debt. "

After 10 days Marinesko boat sank another ship, ship "General von Steuben," 3,500 people have died …

Why not give Marinesko Hero, and in fact the first time the ability of the Navy fired? More than he did, none of the Russian sailors did not. Neuzh something because of drinking? Or it was just an excuse, and the motives were different?

Maybe it was the policy of the ordinary here. Let's count — a couple of volleys, in one campaign, Marinesko sent to the other world, in the most moderate estimates, more than 10 thousand people! Death "Gustloff" was naikrupneyshey in the history of mankind's worst maritime disaster, "Titanic" in comparison with the victorious volleys Marinesko watching the overturned boat on the pond with intoxicated holidaymakers. Steeper Marinesko were, perhaps, only the crews of the B-29 that tamed Japan — nuclear bombs. In general, the figures, is comparable. Here and there — 10 of thousands. Only true Marinesko without atomic bombs cost just 2-for that moment on the entire planet. Marinesco and 10-ka torpedoes enough.

It is possible that destruction "Gustloff" ashamed, because in occupied Germany prepared batch of bread, place the Germans wanted to for myself, and here — the death of such a huge number of people, partly civilian, from a small submarine torpedoes.

The result — a very Marinesko. Mom he was Ukrainian and his father served in his youth as a stoker on the Romanian royal warship fleet. After a quarrel with his superiors father fled to Russia and ass in Odessa. Growing up Alexander Marinesco graduated from high school cadets, and then in the thirties — and Odessa Maritime College. Sailed on ships in the Black Sea. As far navigator sailing Marinesko was drafted into the Navy after graduation and was asked by a submarine.

Always measured, sure, he was very persistent in skilled at achieving their goals. Commanding the ship, he never increased the vote, not yelling at subordinates. All this has made him unutterable authority, he earned the love and respect to the sailors.

In contrast to all this, it remains to add that the Marinesko ousted from the Navy for drunkenness and not a good discipline. Marinesko got zavskladom. There's quite drunk and began to guzzle state property entrusted to him. It caught and convicted in 1949 for 3 years.

As you can see, Alexander Marinesco — the figure is quite controversial. And his feat can be interpreted in different ways … Despite all the controversy, the credit still found a submariner: in 1990 he was posthumously bestowed the gold star of Hero of the Russian Union.


Feat Marinesko and disaster "Gustloff"

Alexander Marinesco — one of the most controversial figures of Russian war majestically around which so far do not calm down debate. A man wrapped up in many legends and legends. Undeservedly forgotten, and then returned from out of nowhere.

Now they take pride in Russia, the state is seen as a hero. Last year the monument Marinesko appeared in Kaliningrad, his name was entered in the "Golden book of St. Petersburg." Published many books dedicated to his feat, among them — published not long ago, "Submariner number 1" Vladimir Borisov. And in Germany it to this day can not forgive the death ship "Wilhelm Gustloff". We have this big-name fighting the episode called "the attack of the century", the Germans also believe it naikrupneyshey maritime disaster, almost more terrible than death, "Titanic."

It is no exaggeration to say that the name Marinesko in Germany is clear to all, and the theme "Gustloff" Now, many years later, shakes print and public opinion. In particular, in the near future, after Germany came out and almost immediately became a blockbuster novel "The Line of crab movement." Its creator — a famous German writer and Nobel laureate Guenter Grass, opens the unknown pages of the Eastern Germans fleeing to the West, and in the center of events — the tragedy of "Gustloff". For many Germans book has been a real eye-opener …

Death 'Gustloff' wonder called "sheltered disaster," the truth of which long concealed both sides: we always were that the ship was the color of German submarines and never mentioned tyschah dead refugees and postwar Germans who grew up with a sense of repentance for Nazi atrocities suppressed the story, because they feared accusations of revanchism. Those who have tried to read the victims 'Gustloff' fears about the flight of Germans from East Prussia, immediately perceived as "very right". Only with the fall of the Berlin wall and the entry of a united Europe was likely a more measured look to the east and read a lot about what a long time it was decided not to recall …

The cost of "Attack of the century"

We wish we like it or not, but we still can not avoid the question: what did stoked Marinesko — Hitler's elite military ship or boat of refugees? What did happen in the Baltic Sea on the night of January 30, 1945?

In those days Russian army moved quickly to the west, in the direction of Konigsberg and Danzig. Hundreds of thousands of Germans, fearing retribution for Nazi atrocities became refugees and moved to the port city of Gdynia — the Germans called it Gotenhafen. January 21 Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz gave the order: "All available German ships to rescue the Soviets all that could be saved." The officers were ordered to relocate students submarine and military equipment, and in any free cubbyhole own ships — place refugees and first ladies and children. "Operation Hannibal" was naikrupneyshey evacuation of the population in th
e history of navigation: above 2-million people have been relocated to the west.

Gotenhafen became the last hope for many refugees — there were not only huge warships, and large ships, any of which could take on board thousands of refugees. One of them was the "Wilhelm Gustloff", which the Germans seemed unsinkable. Built in 1937, the beautiful cruise ship with a cinema and a swimming pool proudly served the "Third Reich", it was intended to show the world the merits of Nazi Germany. Hitler himself was involved in the descent of the vessel, which was his personal cabin. For Hitler the organization of cultural activities "Strength through satisfaction" liner and a half years, delivered the rest of Norway and Sweden, and with the start of the second World War was plavkazarmoy cadets 2nd training division of scuba diving.

January 30, 1945 "Gustloff" was released in his own last flight of Gotenhafen. About how much was on board refugees and war, the German data sources differ. As for the refugees, until 1990, the figure was virtually unchanged, as many of the survivors of the catastrophe have lived in East Germany — and there, the topic was not subject to discussion. Now they have to testify, and the number of refugees has increased to 10 thousand people. As for the military figure has remained virtually unchanged — it is within the boundaries of one and a half thousand people. Counting were engaged in "passenger assistants", one of which was Heinz Shen, who after the war chronicler of death "Gustloff" and the creator of several documentary books on the subject, including "Gustloff tragedy" and "SOS — Wilhelm Gustloff."

The submarine "S-13" under the command of Alexander Marinesco liner struck by 3 torpedoes. The surviving passengers left the eerie memoir about the last minute "Gustloff". People tried to escape on life rafts, but most survived only a couple of minutes in ice water. Nine ships participated in the rescue of its passengers. Horrific picture forever etched in my memory: children's heads harder than the feet, and therefore on the surface can be seen only the legs. A lot of children's feet …

So, how many did manage to survive this disaster? According to Shen, survived 1,239 people, half of them, 528 man, — personnel of the German submariners, 123 ladies auxiliary person of the Navy, 86 the wounded, 83 crew members and only 419 refugees. These numbers are well known in Germany, and now there is no reason to hide them from us. So Makar, survived 50% of submariners and only 5% of the refugees. We must acknowledge that, in the main, were killed ladies and kids — they were just the naked before the war. This was the cost of "Attack of the century", and that is why in Germany, many Germans now believe the act Marinesko military crime.

The refugees have become hostages of the bloodthirsty military machine

But let's not jump to conclusions. The issue here is even deeper — a catastrophe of war. Even the most just war — is merciless, because from her first tormented civilian population. According to the inexorable laws of war stoked Marinesko warship, and not his fault that he sank a ship with refugees. Great wine in the disaster lies with the German Command, which manages military interests and is not intended for civilian people.

The fact that the "Gustloff" was released from Gotenhafen without support and pay tribute to the previously scheduled date, without waiting for escorts, as it was necessary to urgently redeploy German submariners from East Prussia already surrounded. The Germans knew that this area is particularly unsafe for vehicles. Played a fatal role marker lights included in the "Gustloff" after it was reported moving toward him detachment of German minesweepers — specifically for these lights and found Marinesko liner. And, after all, own the last flight left the ship not as a hospital ship as a military transport, painted in gray color anti-aircraft guns and gear.

Up to now, we actually do not know the number of Schoen, continue to be used as evidence that "Gustloff" dead color of the German submarine fleet — 3700 sailors, which could be staffed with 70 to 80 submarines. This figure is taken from the message the Swedish newspaper "Aftonbladet" on February 2, 1945, the number of uncontested and we would not be questioned. Until now, remarkably tenacious legend, created back in 1960 with the light hand of the writer Sergei Sergeyevich Smirnov, who had raised then unknown pages of the war — a feat Marinesko and defense of the Brest Fortress. But there has never been Marinesko "personal enemy of Hitler," and not declared three days of mourning after the death in Germany "Gustloff". It was not made for the usual reason that the evacuation by sea waited even thousands of people, and the news of the disaster would cause panic. Mourning declared by the very same Wilhelm Gustloff, leader of the National Socialist Party in Switzerland, who was killed in 1936, and his killer, a student, David Frankfurter, was named the personal enemy of Hitler.

Why are we so far do not hesitate to call the real scale of the catastrophe? How sad to admit it, but we fear that darkened Marinesko feat. But now, even many Germans understand that the German side provoked Marinesko. "It was a brilliant military operation, thanks to the initiative of domination in which the naval war in the Baltic Sea was intercepted by strong Russian sailors — says deputy director of the Museum of submarine forces of Russia named A.I.Marinesko Yuri Lebedev. — The actions submarine" S-13 "brought closer the end of the war. This was a strategic success of Russian Navy, and for Germany — the largest maritime tragedy. Marinesko feat is that he destroyed the seemingly unsinkable sign of Nazism, the ship-dream, promoting the "3rd Reich". A civilian people who were on the ship, held hostage the German war machine. Because disaster death "Gustloff" — the charge is Marinesko, and Hitler's Germany. "

Recognizing that the sinking of "Gustloff" was not only a German submarine, and refugees, we will create another step towards the recognition of the historic, albeit hard-hitting facts for us. But out of this situation it is necessary, because in German 'Gustloff "- a sign of failure, but in Russia — a sign of our military victories. The question of the "Gustloff" and Marinesko — very complex and spicy, affecting the true and the future of relations between Russia and Germany. Not for nothing has visited not long ago at the Museum of Submarine Forces behalf A.I.Marinesko Consul General of Germany Ulrich Schoening left the following entry in the book of notable guests: "60 years after the catastrophic events of the second world war finally came a time when the Russian and Germans are building the future together. called for the death of the German ship "Wilhelm Gustloff" in January 1945. "

Now we have the opportunity, even in such a languid issue to go to reconciliation — through historical authenticity. After all, the story does not have black and white colors. And the uniqueness of Marinesko that his personality does not leave anybody flegmantichnym. His famous personality, perhaps, destined to immortality. He became a legend and it is …

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