Over the Battlefield of Iwo Jima = burning of bunker, Mass Burial
Published on Jul 15, 2015 June 24, 2015 at Iwo Jima in the Bonin Islands, known as a hard-fought areas of the Pacific War, Maritime Self training of Mamoru-tai is published in the press, also tours around the Battlefield of the island took place the day before the 23rd.
February 19, 1945, the US military of the total troop strength of about 10 million people (landing force of about 60 000 people) landed on Iwo Jima. Tadamichi Kuribayashi about 20,000 garrison led by Lieutenant General has been countered by guerrilla tactics to be hiding in underground bunkers, the volcano in the bunker that became a burning state in the geothermal, supply also received are not, while suffering in hunger and thirst The majority were killed. Still not collected about 60% of the remains is, sleeping on the island throughout.
If there is a history thread, idk where it is. Ran across a site called War History Online, which imho, has some great articles.
I hope you enjoy..
The Incredible Story of Joseph Beyrle, the Only American to Fight for Both the U.S. and Russian Army in WWII
For much of the last 70 years, someone who fought for both America and Russia might bring to mind some Cold War espionage, a double agent or a defecting citizen. But in World War II, for the only American to have fought in both the U.S. Army and that of the U.S.S.R., the story is one of diligence, endurance, luck, and a journey home.
Joseph Beyrle was a paratrooper from Muskegon, Michigan. He was born in 1923, graduated high school in 1942, and turned down a baseball scholarship to the University of Notre Dame and instead joined the army to serve in the parachute infantry.
This is the part of an already incredible story where one might start to wonder if we’re taking this from WWII or some Hollywood fantasy! The captured American soldier, making a desperate bid to return home meets a female captain leading tanks for the Red Army to avenge her destroyed home where her husband and entire family were killed during the German invasion.
Beyrle waved a pack of Lucky Strike Cigarettes and called out the only Russian words he knew, “Amerikansky tovarishch!” (American comrade). Alexandra Samusenko (the same age as Beyrle, 22), the only female Russian tank commander, would soon be convinced by the American soldier she saved to let him fight by her side on their advance to Berlin—a common enemy for two young soldiers in anything but common positions.
After lying submerged for nearly 100 years, a German U-boat that legend holds was sunk by a sea monster appears to have been found off the Scottish coast.
Engineers making preparations to lay subsea power cables came across the surprisingly intact sub while working off Scotland's far southwestern coast. The wreck has been confirmed as a UBIII-Class submarine, meaning it is either UB-85 or UB-82, two German U-boats known to have been sunk while prowling the UK coast toward the end of World War I.
Remains of 19th century Russian soldier found in Turkey
Officer probably served during Russo-Ottoman war of 1877-78
A skeleton thought to belong to a 19th century Russian soldier has been found by builders in northeastern Turkey, officials said Wednesday.
The corpse is believed to belong to an army captain who was part of the forces that captured Ottoman territory in the 1877-78 Russo-Ottoman war.
The body was in a coffin decorated with the Russian Orthodox cross in the Karagol neighborhood of Ardahan province, which fell to Russian troops in May 1877.
“Probably [the body belongs to] a soldier who served during the Russian occupation in Kars and Ardahan after the Ottoman-Russian war in 1877-1878,” Necmettin Alp, the director of Kars Museum, told Anadolu Agency.
The soldier’s body, still clad in the remains of a military uniform and boots, was discovered on Tuesday evening and reported to police by locals carrying out building work.
Alp described it as the body of a “Russian captain who worked in a Russian garrison in Ardahan.”
He added: “There are three stars and the number 20 is written on his uniform. Probably this figure is his service number.”
The body and coffin was taken to the Kars Museum.
Unver Solaklioglu, an archaeologist at the museum, said: “The Russian soldier was found buried in according to the Christian religion. There are no valuable objects in the grave, only the Russian soldier’s skeleton and dress.”
The 1877-78 war saw the Ottoman Empire lose territory to Russia in the Caucasus while other Orthodox Christian nations secured independence in the Balkans.
Remains of 19th century Russian soldier found in Turkey
An interesting account. Soviet military aid to Chile was turned to Peru because of upcoming coup
New details in the history of the Soviet-Peruvian military-technical cooperation
At the readers' request, the bmpd blog details the interesting story related to the beginning of the history of the Soviet-Peruvian military-technical cooperation, which the AST Center was able to learn during the recent SITDEF-2017 exhibition in Peru.
In mid-July 1973, in accordance with the agreement reached earlier, the Soviet Union sent several commercial cargo ships to Chile, with weapons, in particular, T-55 and MLRS "Grad". However, in connection with the ensuing known sharp change in the political situation in this Latin American country, the route of their movement at the last moment was changed.
There are two versions that describe the details of this story. According to one of them, known to the director of the ACT Center, two weeks before the historic events, the Cuban leadership informed the KGB of the USSR about the upcoming coup.
Another version is given in the notes on the discussion on Soviet-Chilean relations held at the Center for Public Studies (Centro de Estudios Publicos, Santiago) in 1998. One of the participants of the event told that the Soviet intelligence service learned about the preparation of the putsch from its own sources in the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States.
Anyway, having this information, the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU could not allow a situation in which Soviet weapons were used against the legitimate government of Chile and directly during the storming of the presidential palace, therefore, an order was given to deploy ships and send weapons to another destination. Thus, Soviet tanks and volley fire systems were in Peru. Part of the military equipment transferred in that lot is still in the arsenal of this country.
Today it was allowed to be published: in June 1982, the Navy submarine [of Israel] sank an unknown vessel opposite the coast of Lebanon, killing 25 people, including the captain. On the 10th ITV channel, a 10-minute report on the incident was shown, mainly journalists interviewing Colonel (rez.) Mike Eldar; The publication was banned by the military censor, but allowed by the High Court of Justice (High Court) after the lawyers of Channel 10 applied to it.
The vessel probably carried refugees from Lebanon to Cyprus
Or the myth of that King Charles XII of Sweden was undefeated before the Battle of Poltava, or a baron defeats a king.
The battle was fought in the southern part of the Wielkopolska region, in the western Poland, close to the border with Silesia.
There is lots of confusing and even contradictory claims about this battle on the Internet, with the English-language Wikipedia even claiming it as a "Swedish victory."
A detailed article about the battle by the Polish historian Marek Wagner is available here in Polish:
Numerical strength of the Polish-Saxon army: 5 000 - 8 000 (mostly infantrymen, but also some artillerymen, cavalrymen, and dragoons), and also nine cannons. But it is claimed that only less than 3 500 participated in the battle with the rest of the troops being held in the reserve.
Commander: Lieutenant-General Johann Matthias Baron von der Schulenburg of the Army of the Electorate of Saxony.
Numerical strength of the Swedish army: 7 000 (entirely made up of cavalrymen and dragoons). It is claimed that only four regiments of the drabants and dragoons took part in combat, or some 4 000 troops.
Commander: King Charles XII of Sweden.
So it was probably less than 3 500 Poles and Saxons who defeated 4 000 Swedes.
And those "Saxons" are actually not real Saxons, but Thuringian-Slavic imposters, or "Saxony" is Northern Serbia.
Polish-Saxon were between around 200 to 289 killed, some more were wounded, approximately 200 captured (all of these were apparently the wounded left behind with the baggage train during the withdrawal towards Silesia that took place the next day after the battle).
Swedish were much heavier, or around 1 500 to 3 000 (including especially many officers killed and wounded), it was claimed after the battle that "the Saxon infantry wiped out six cornets of the Swedish drabants." The Swedes later admitted to only 180 soldiers and NCOs killed, but that appears to be a cover up of a more significant defeat.
This Polish web page gives the number of the Polish-Saxon fatalities at 500, while the Swedish killed amounted to around 1 000.
About the Swedes covering-up their significantly heavier losses and in general downplaying the importance of the Battle of Poniec you can read here in Polish: http://www.dabrowka.powiatgostyn.pl/BITWA_POD_PONIECEM,9909.html
Aftermath: After hearing about the presence of additional Swedish forces near Kosciany and Krobia, Lieutenant-General Johann Matthias Baron von der Schulenburg decided to withdraw his army in the direction of Silesia in order to avoid being encircled. During the withdrawal at least part of the baggage train with 200 wounded was abandoned.
Other Polish and also combined Polish-Saxon as well as Polish-Russian-Saxon victories against the Swedes and their pro-Leszczynski Polish collaborators during the Great Northern War that took place before the Battle of Poltava:
Battle of Pinczow (1702) https://twojahistoria.pl/encyklopedia/leksykon-bitew/bitwa-pod-pinczowem-13-wrzesnia-1702/
Battle of Chybice (1704) https://twojahistoria.pl/encyklopedia/leksykon-bitew/bitwa-pod-chybicami-czerwiec-1704/
Battle of Poznan (1704) https://twojahistoria.pl/encyklopedia/leksykon-bitew/bitwa-pod-poznaniem-wrzesien-1704/
Battle of Kalisz (1706) https://twojahistoria.pl/encyklopedia/leksykon-bitew/bitwa-pod-kaliszem-29-pazdziernika-1706/
The Swedes claim that in this battle they were "heavily outnumbered" but that is a blatant misrepresentation, since they forgot their numerous Polish collaborators they had on their side in this battle, so it was actually 32 000 Russians, Poles and Saxons against 27 000 (20 000 pro-Leszczynski Poles and 7 000 Swedes).
Battle of Koniecpol (1708) https://twojahistoria.pl/encyklopedia/leksykon-bitew/bitwa-pod-koniecpolem-21-listopada-1708/
This was a purely a civil war battle among Poles themselves with the Russian-allied Confederation of Sandomierz Poles defeating the Swedish-allied pro-Leszczynski Poles.
There was also the Battle of Lesnaya fought in Belarus (at that time Grand Duchy of Litva, Samogatia, and the Rus), when 14 000 Russians defeated 16 000 Swedes mostly in hand-to-hand combat, but that was a purely Russian victory.
Also, Poles won many minor clashes and engagements against the Swedes during the Great Northern War of 1700-1721, which in Poland practically lasted only until 1709 (excluding some minor fighting against the Leszczynski's supporters which did not last long), and which the Belarussian-Lithuanian-Polish Commonwealth only formally entered in 1704.
One of the greatest Swedish victories in the war at the Battle of Kliszow (1702) was mostly won by the Swedes due to the treasonous retreat of the Polish commander, who was in opposition to the King August II the Strong of Poland, thus forcing the exposed and inexperienced Saxons to fight the Swedes on their own.
Also the Swedish occupation in the Commonwealth was so horrible that it alienated many Poles so the pro-Leszczynski faction always consisted of only a minority. Of all the armies who fought on the territory of the Commonwealth - Saxons, Swedes, Russians, and all the Commonwealth factions - during the war the Swedes were regarded as the most brutal, bloodthirsty, and prone to plundering and raping, with the Germans in the Russian service being regarded as second-worst.
Great Northern War of 1700-1721
Looks like Ukraine was allied with Sweden.
What that pretty good map fails to show however, is that the Swedes were never able to really conquer Poland, not even with their pro-Leszczynski collaborators, and not even when the Electorate of Saxony was temporarily out of the war during 1706-1709. Thus their vain attempt to enthrone the anti-king Stanislaw Leszczynski, and they did not even dare to annex any lands of the Commonwealth despite their alleged "military superiority." Even after King Augustus II the Strong was ousted from the throne, the anti-Leszczynski and anti-Swedish Poles declared an interregnum and as the Confederation of Sandomierz they continued to fight alongside their Russian allies.
In many areas this map shows as under Swedish or Swedish-allied rule there was in reality either little or no control by the Swedes and/or their pro-Leszczynski Commonwealth collaborators.
And who said that Poles and Russians were never allies? Other examples are Poland and Russia being allied in a war against the Ottoman Empire during the late 17th century.
I think that puts to rest some blatant falsehoods and misrepresentations from some "Internet historians."
Video discussing historical revisionism including Katyn, so fits in this thread. The case of Napoleon's campaign in Russia is cited as an example of historical narratives based on perspective. If Russia were to adopt the French view of Napoleon's "victor" then it would need to engage in all sorts of contorted BS apologia and discount its own successes. So, by definition, the French view is not valid regardless of whether the Russian view is or not. But Russians don't sugar coat and whitewash this period like the French, so the Russian narrative is closer to the truth.
Today we have the unprecedented situation where the internet can feed all sorts of rivisionist crap to the masses and convince them of its validity. In my opinion, this is not so hard as I see the effect in the climate science "debate". All sorts of paid shills spout denier BS with some technical polish that people think sounds plausible. Non-experts can be hoodwinked easily if the lies have the ring of truth. And lying is not some obvious thing if you have no context and independent information. Forged documents are a favourite revisionist tool. The guy in the video brings up the fake document supposedly issued by Alexander I to attack the French outside of Russia. This is the "Hitler had to attack the USSR to prevent the USSR attacking Germany" shtick.
In regards to Katyn, the Soviet army took over 200,000 POWs of Polish forces which included Belorussian and Ukrainian conscripts (recall that Poland occupied western Belorus and Ukraine in 1920, and my Ukrainian side of the family comes from this region). These POWs were "filtered" to remove the Belorussians and Ukrainians who were sent home. The residual POWs were mostly higher ranked Polish officers and government agents. The NKVD investigated them for their 1920s activities and found that some of them were involved in the concentration camps for Soviet POWs seized by the Polish forces in 1920. Note that on the order of 60,000 Soviet POWs seized in 1920 died in Polish concentration camps. The Poles love to claim that they died due to disease. But that is the usual Polish lying since typhus and other such diseases and starvation reflect maltreatment of the prisoners. Soviet POWs were also killed for the slightest offense. So the Polish POWs who were associated with the concentration camp crimes were put under criminal investigation. Around 4,000 of these POWs were found to be guilty and sentenced to execution. This process was not done in secret and was open for everyone to see. The revisionism comes in the form of the claim that the 16,000 additional POWs were executed in secret.
The historical lie omits the fact that these 16,000 Polish POWs fell into the hands of the Germans. The Germans staged the whole massacre and propagandized it as a Soviet crime. If these 16,000 Poles were dead already, the Germans would hardly care about them since they were untermenschen just like the Soviets. I posted about a forensic digs that found Polish officer tags in locations that demonstrate control of the prisoners by Germans. But these facts are ignored or suppressed to maintain the Soviets did it narrative. The Germans seized the relevant territory in 1941 but waited until 1943 to start propagandizing the alleged "Soviet crime". This shows that they indeed could care less about any executed Poles and were only using this incident as a way to undermine the anti-German alliance when things started going south (i.e. the German loss at Stalingrad which was basically a turning point in the war on the eastern front).
The other detail that this false Katyn narrative is burying is that between 1941 and 1943 the Nazis were busy murdering 100s of thousands of civilians and other untermenschen in the territory they controlled. So killing the 16,000 Polish POWs would have been par for the course for them. There are all sorts of memorials to the "Soviet crime at Katyn" but none to the vast numbers of civilians. That proves historical revisionism.
Even the Nuremburg trials documents state that the Germans were responsible for the killings at Katyn. But this part has been excised since then and you will not find it in the online versions of the documents. So we have a clear information war here.
Kookoo Polaks deny that a Soviet diversant helped prevent the destruction of Krakow by blowing up a German storehouse with explosives intended for the destruction of the city during their retreat. Next time kookoo Polaks will have to fend for themselves.
Kookoo Polaks are throwing a tantrum after a plaque commemorating the false narrative on Katyn was removed in Russia. These asswipes demolish monuments to real heroes of WWII and then bitch about some fake "atrocity" attributed to the USSR but perpetrated by the Nazis.
Russia does not deny that 4,000 Polish officers were arrested and tried for crimes during the 1920 Polish invasion of the USSR. The rest were murdered by the Nazis as a frame job against the USSR. Gorbie's "admission" of guilt based on a forged document is not worth used toilet paper.
I already posted links to a research article that outlines the implications of excavations done by a Polish-Ukrainian team which found Polish officer number tags in territory controlled by the Nazis during the massacre. The Nazis actually seized the Polish POWs from the Soviets. But the fake narrative keeps on attributing control over these POWs to the USSR.
Removal of the fake history plaque from a building in Tver. The plaque was illegally erected by 5th column elements and claims that thousands of Polish POWs were shot by the NKVD in the basement of the building. There is no evidence at all for these claims and in fact there is evidence that contradicts them.
Gorbie's acceptance of false guilt for Katyn only inspired the Polaks to be more rabid in their hate for Russia and to make more and more demands.
The Polaks are indeed kookoo. They lie in bed with Ukrs who murdered over 200,000 Polish civilians in western Ukraine but are foaming at the mouth attributing a fake narrative to the fate of 20,000 Polish POWs.
More revisionist BS from the "saviours of Europe from the Russian hordes". The fact being omitted is that Poland launched a war of aggression against the USSR. It grabbed both Belorussian and Ukrainian lands in the process. These same lands were later returned by the USSR during the so-called carve up of "Poland" in 1939. Considering that Trotsky surrendered on the eastern front in 1917 and gave up all sorts of real estate, it was not the Bolsheviks who attacked Poland right after the revolution. The USSR was fighting a civil war in which ten million died and was not in a state of territorial expansion.
The USSR between 1917 and 1939 was not on a roll to grab real estate. Poland grabbed a piece of Czechoslovakia in 1938 after its deal with Germany. That was a real carve up of Czechoslovakia between the Nazis and the Poles who had a real alliance under their non-aggression pact. The Polish ambassador to France asserted the policy of the Polish regime in which they envisioned themselves as part of a crusade against the USSR together with the Nazis. Poland was by no means neutral in 1938 and that it got shafted by its crusader pals in Berlin is its own fault and problem.
BTW, the Wikipedia content on this subject is pure revisionist propaganda as well.
Walther von Oldenburg wrote:Also, in Poland the battle pf Warsaw is often called a miracle but in reality the forces involved on each sides were even.
No, it is even more laughable than that, at the 1920 Battle of Warsaw Poles enjoyed numerical superiority over the Red Army.
It is one of the reasons for the Poles winning it, and also the fact that by that time the Red Army was itself rather exhausted and overextended.
I have read about it in a U.S. professional military periodical, it is possible that Wikipedia gives numbers that make the Poles look more favorable (I have not checked Wiki before writing this), but the facts studied by professional historians show a Polish numerical superiority.
Calling this a "miracle" is a blatant misrepresentation.
Skirmishes began soon after the armistice of 11 November 1918 (although a case could be made for citing the Dowbor-Muśnicki uprising of January–February 1918 as the beginning of the conflict), but escalated rapidly following the Red Army’s capture of Minsk on 5 January 1919, as Belarussian, Lithuanian, and Polish self-defense forces began to organize for the defense of “their” homelands in what was an ethnically mixed region of intractable complexity. Hostilities remained at a relatively low level for most of 1919, however, as the Soviet government prioritized its campaigns against the Whites and Warsaw calculated that it was to its advantage to grant the Red Army a free hand to crush forces that were unabashedly committed to the reestablishment of a “Russia, One and Indivisible.” Moreover, this breathing spce merely granted the newly created Second Polish Republic the opportunity to begin concentrating forces along its still undemarcated eastern border; by September 1919, the Polish Army numbered 540,000 men, of whom 230,000 were deployed in the east. As the Whites fell back in the autumn of 1919, these forces began to engage with Red forces with increasing frequency, contesting the claims to sovereignty over the disputed border regions voiced by the newly created Litbel (the Lithuanian–Belorussian Soviet Republic, proclaimed on 27 February 1919), for example.
For its part, the Soviet government was seeking to preempt the imposition of a border such as that suggested by the Allies at Paris (the Curzon line), which it regarded as too generous to Poland. However, with the Red Army forced to concentrate its resources on the Eastern Front and the advance of the Russian Army of Admiral A. V. Kolchak, the Poles gradually gained the initiative during the spring of 1919. Forces under General Stanisław Szeptycki captured Słonim (2 March 1919) and crossed the River Neman; forces under General Antonu Listowski took Pinsk (5 March 1919) and crossed the Jasiolda (Iasel′da) River and the Oginski Canal; and other units entered the outskirts of Lida. (Although Poland also, it should be recalled, was distracted by its border disputes with Czechoslovakia over Cieszyn Silesia, Orava Territory, and Spiš and by the risings of Poles in Silesia against German rule.) The situation was then further complicated, during the summer of 1919, by the northward advance of the White Armed Forces of South Russia (AFSR), whose leadership appeared disinclined to recognize Polish independence, never mind negotiate about borders (despite the fact that the AFSR’s main commander, General A. I. Denikin, was half Polish). In the light of this, Piłsudski determined in April 1919 that, although his army should counter any Red incursions into territory held by Poland, it should avoid challenging the Red Army to a degree that might grant respite or succor to the Russian Whites. Nevertheless, the Poles not only pushed Soviet forces out of the recently captured centers of Grodno and Vil′na (19 April 1919), but launched a counteroffensive that led to the capture of Mołodeczno (4 July 1919), the Polesie region (10 July 1919), Minsk (8 August 1919), and Dubno (9 August 1919). Further advances were made in the northwest, with territory from the Dvina to near Daugavpils secured by early October 1919. Thus, by early January 1920, Polish forces had reached the line of Uszyca–Płoskirów–Starokonstantynów–Szepietówka–Zwiahel–Olewsk–Uborć–Bobrujsk–Berezyna–Dyneburg (Daugavpils).
In this period, Polish relations with the Lithuanian government were reaching crisis point over border issues (particularly their rival claims to Vilnius/Wilno), but Warsaw’s negotiations with the Latvian government at this time had some success, and by early 1920, Polish and Latvian forces were conducting joint operations against the Red Army (notably in the capture of Dyneburg/Daugavpils, 3–21 January 1920). In spring 1920, the Polish–Ukrainian War also drew to a close with the Treaty of Warsaw (21–24 April 1920), and thereafter Poland enjoyed a military alliance with the Ukrainian Army of the Ukrainian National Republic. This emboldened the Poles, as did the defeat of Denikin and Kolchak’s forces over the winter of 1919–1920, which had neutralized any threat of the establishment of a White government in Russia. Likewise, with the last significant White force (General P. N. Wrangel’s Russian Army) confined to Crimea, a peace settlement having been negotiated with Estonia (the Treaty of Tartu, 2 February 1920), and a cease-fire in operation on the front with Latvia, the Bolsheviks felt that their hands were now free to deal with Poland and potentially, to export the revolution to Europe.
What had essentially been, throughout 1919, a low-level border conflict, was thus primed to erupt into full-scale war. By April 1920, the Red Army had over 700,000 troops concentrated on its Western Front and South-West Front facing Poland; the Poles could draw on an army of approximately the same number. Anticipating a Soviet offensive, Piłsudski launched his own (“Operation Kiev”) on 24 April 1920. This was a joint operation, with the Polish 3rd Army (under General Edward Rydz-Śmigły), 6th Army (under General Wacław Iwaszkiewicz), and 2nd Army (under General Listowski) advancing into Ukraine alongside the two remaining divisions (around 15,000–30,000 men) of S. V. Petliura’s Ukrainian Army. It was initially a remarkable success; Kiev was captured on 7 May 1920. Preparations were then made for an offensive against Żłobin, to secure the most direct rail route between Kiev and Minsk (then in Polish hands). However, the Polish and Ukrainian attackers had failed in their objective to entrap defending Soviet forces, and the 12th Red Army and 14th Red Army had both retreated beyond the Dnepr in good order. On 15 May 1920, a Red counteroffensive was duly launched on the South-West Front (commanded by A. I. Egorov), with S. M. Budennyi’s 1st Cavalry Army joining the fray. Bolstered by over 100,000 new volunteers (responding to a flood of Soviet agitprop directed toward rousing anti-Polish feeling) and some 14,000 new officer volunteers (answering a call by the former tsarist commander General A. N. Brusilov urging fellow officers to join the Red Army), by 10 June 1920 the Red Army had Polish forces in retreat along the entire front and on 13 June 1920 recaptured Kiev. Over the following weeks, the Poles attempted a series of counterattacks (at Usza on 19 June, at Horyń on 1 July, and at Równe on 8 July), but Egorov and Budennyi’s men pressed on.
Anyone claiming that the USSR invaded Poland in 1919-1920 is a liar or a credulous moron. Polish ambitions is what got them a push-back form the Soviets. The Soviets actually lost since Poland managed to seize pieces of Belorus and Ukraine which were only returned to those republics in 1939.
War on Cape Sterlegov. Nazis' failed mission in Siberia
In September 1944, amphibious assault force landed from Nazi submarines to capture Cape Sterlegov's meteorological station, which sent forecasts to vessels carrying military cargo along the Northern Sea Route and thus disrupt Soviet Arctic transportation
MOSCOW, September 30. /TASS/. A mission in September 1944 in the Arctic’s Kara Sea remains among understudied events of World War II. Amphibious assault force landed from Nazi submarines to capture Cape Sterlegov's meteorological station, which sent forecasts to vessels carrying military cargo along the Northern Sea Route. The attackers hoped the radio station’s personnel would be taken aback and they would be able to disrupt Soviet Arctic transportation.
The polar station
Cape Sterlegov's station went into operation in 1934. It was named after Russia’s participant in the 18th-century Great Northern Expedition, Dmitry Sterlegov.
The station is located in the area where the Lenivaya River flows into the Kara Sea forming a cape. It makes a very convenient place for polar explorers with its rocky shores and the surrounding tundra with small hills.
The area is hard-to-reach. The station sent clear radio signals from the cape, and observers could see approaching vessels an hour before they reached the shore.
"The station transmitted meteorological data to vessels passing along the Northern Sea Route. It’s covered area was a passage between Cape Chelyuskin in the east and Dikson in the west," Pavel Kochkarev of the Russian Geographical Society’s Krasnoyarsk branch said.
During the war, the Northern Sea Route became a key route to deliver strategic military cargo from the US and the UK to the Soviet Union, Krasnoyarsk’s historian Alexei Yeliseyenko said.
Pilots dispatched to the frontline from Alaska across Siberia requested weather reports from the station, Pavel Kochkarev added. Before the war, the station issued weather reports four times a day, and during the war the forecasts would come out much more frequently.
During the war, security at all polar stations was tightened. The station had the so-called observation and communication teams. However, those, who served on Cape Sterlegov, must have believed the place was inaccessible and were rather negligent, Kochkarev said.
It was a dramatic mistake to think the Kara Sea is the safe rear. Back in 1942, the German Navy organized the Wunderland mission, plotting to disrupt Soviet navigation along the Northern Sea Route.
Hitler’s submarines, working in groupings, dubbed "Wolfpack," attacked vessels and convoys. The U-251 submarine opened fire at the polar station on Cape Uedineniye, and the Admiral Scheer cruiser in August 1942 attacked the Dikson port (the Krasnoyarsk Region’s north).
Attacks continued in 1943. In 1944, when the Soviet Army was approaching Germany, the situation in the Kara Sea seemed to have calmed down. The illusion of being in the far rear that reigned on Cape Sterlegov turned into a disaster and almost a catastrophe in September.
At least three Nazi submarines entered the Kara Sea: Greif U-711, U-957 and U-739. On September 24 - some historians claim it was on the night to September 25 - the Nazi submarines' amphibious assault force attacked the polar station.
"Interestingly, those submarines did not succeed much in sea missions. They planted mines and destroyed two mid-size vessels. The attack on the meteorological station leaves many questions: was it a desire of the Nazi officers to have at least any success?" Yeliseyenko continued. "We cannot rule out the task was to reconnoiter and then set up a base on Taimyr, the more so since the Northern Sea Route lies close to the shore near Cape Sterlegov, making vessels vulnerable for attacks from the shore."
In the 1990s, Doctor of Philosophy Lev Ventskovsky, who served as a radio operator at the station in 1944, wrote a letter to the station, where he described the past events.
"I turn off the radio and hear steps up the stairs outside the radio cabin <…> I was about to reach for the door, when it swung open, and people in fur coats attacked me, threw me on the floor, then put me face to the wall and began asking something. Here I realized they were Germans," he wrote in the letter.
Admiral Arseniy Golovko wrote in memoirs that those were twenty-five gunners from the German submarine, plus an assistant, a bosun, and a translator. The latter sailed on ships of the Soviet Northern Shipping Company before the war. According to German sources, the operation was organized personally by U-711 Commander Hans-Gunther Lange. The submarines took shelter at the bottom of Lozhnykh Ognei Bay.
The station’s personnel was seven people: the station’s head, radioman and mechanic Poblodzinsky; technician for the runway for hydroplanes Bukhtiyarov, radioman Ventskovsky, meteorologist Markov, and three Red Fleet officers engaged in the observation and communications.
Grigory Bukhtiyarov and Red Fleet officer Nogayev were in the tundra during the attack: they searched and defused the mines, which had got ashore. Bukhtiyarov, an experienced hunter, soon returned to the station and was taken prisoner.
The Germans made the personnel continue radio communication. The Nazis plotted a radio game to entrap Soviet vessels and find out information about convoys.
In those days, a convoy of four vessels was about to cross the Kara Sea. Admiral Yuri Panteleyev, the Commander of the White Sea Flotilla, which during the war provided security for sea communications in the Western part of the Arctic, later recalled numerous requests during one day regarding the convoy’s coordinates. This weird activity aroused suspicion among the command, and they decided to send a warship to Cape Sterlegov.
The polar station’s personnel were trying to signal the attack: they included an SOS signal "we are captured" in the messages, but inexperienced radiomen in Dikson failed to identify it. Meanwhile, events at the station made the Germans stop the radio game before they could learn information about the convoy’s sailing. Escape
The Nazis were looting. According to Kochkarev, they were stealing anything they could grasp, including dishes and linen. They took the trophies to Lozhnykh Ognei Bay on Bukhtiyarov’s dog sleds - the only transport for miles around.
Bukhtiyarov was an experienced polar explorer. He had spent a few winters at the station and knew all the surroundings. He persuaded the Nazis that it would be much easier to take the cargo by a different road, along the Lenivaya River. The enemies did not suspect the trap.
"The very idea of an escape seemed unrealistic, as on the one side there was the river still without thick ice, and on the other side - the sea <…> Bukhtiyarov made it to a certain place, threw the cargo onto the ground and together with the dogs crossed the river. The thin ice was firm enough for the dogs, while the man had to crawl in a few places, holding onto the sled. When on the other side, he started running, holding the sled," recollected Aref Minayev, the wartime Arctic Fleet’s Chief of Sea Operations in the Northern Sea Route’s Western Sector. He had read Bukhtiyarov’s report about the escape.
The guard, who remained on the other side of the river, kept shooting, with no result though. After the escape, the Nazis took the station’s five staff members to the submarines and destroyed the station’s facilities with artillery. After that they left the Kara Sea for good. A British destroyer is believed to have sunk one of the submarines near Norway.
"A Soviet pilot found Bukhtiyarov and Nogayev in the tundra. During questioning, the polar explorer had listened attentively to what the talkative Nazis would say. They were sure an escape across the Arctic desert is impossible, as the nearest settlements were hundreds of kilometers away. According to Admiral Golovko, Bukhtiyarov managed to learn the circumstances of the Nord vessel's sinking, the location of the Nazi submarines in the Kara Sea and the route they took to get into the sea," Alexei Yeliseyenko said.
The Nazis declared the submarine’s mission a success. They lauded it as an excellent and thought-out operation, according to a German archive. Hitler’s Navy explained the failure in hunting Soviet ships by another "General Frost," meaning "freezing water temperatures, icing and magnetic disturbances," the historian said.
The polar station’s personnel were taken to a concentration camp. In 1945, the Soviet Army liberated Ventskovsky, Poblodzinsky, Utkin and Kondrashov. After the war, Ventskovsky and Bukhtiyarov participated in reconstruction of the station on Cape Sterlegov.