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Gulf of Finland U-boat campaign (WWII)
Part of the Baltic Sea campaign of the Eastern Front of World War II
Date 1944-1945
Location Baltic Sea
Result Allies victory.
Belligerents
Flag of German Reich (1935–1945).svg Nazi Germany
Flag of Finland.svg Finland(until September 1944)
Flag of the Soviet Union (1924–1955).svg Soviet Union
Flag of Finland.svg Finland(from September 1944)
Commanders and leaders
Nazi Germany Albrecht Brandi
Strength
13 u-boats (first phase) small ASW boats
Casualties and losses
5 u-boats sunk and 1 damaged. 1 Finnish merchant sunk
1 Soviet landing craft sunk
1 Soviet survey vessel and 2 barges sunk
Finnish minelayer Louhi sunk
1 Soviet minesweeper sunk

4 Soviet small submarine chasers sunk and 2 damaged
4 Soviet small minesweepers sunk and 1 damaged
1 motor torpedo boat damaged
4 Finnish fishing boats sunk and 1 damaged

The Gulf of Finland U-boat campaign lasted in the Gulf of Finland during the WWII against the Soviet Union between summer 1944 and spring 1945. During the campaign Finland switched sides and joined the Allies.


BackgroundEdit

The Baltic Sea proved a difficult theatre of operation for submarines as experienced by Soviets during the Soviet submarine Baltic Sea campaign in 1942 and during the failed operation in 1943. The German command dispatched the following units in Kotka from the end of June to operate against the local Soviet shipping in the Gulf: U-481, U-748, U-1193, U-242, U-250, U-348, U-370, U-475, U-479, U-679, U-717, U-745, U-1001.[1]

Main campaignEdit

German operations until Moscow Armistice when Finland joined Side with Allies.[2]

On 15 July 1944, U-679 was attacked by small Soviet boats: during a gunnery battle, the motor torpedo boat TK-57 suffered damages and two of her torpedoes barely missed the submarine. U-679 fled under cover of Finnish ground artillery.

On 18 July 1944, U-479 damaged the Soviet submarine chaser MO-304 (later repaired).

On 28 July 1944, U-475 damaged the Soviet submarine chaser MO-107

On 30 July 1944, U-481 attacked a group of small Soviet minesweepers, sinking KT-804 and KT-807 while KT-806 was damaged. On the same day U-250 sunk the Soviet submarine chaser MO-105 but was then chased by other units until she sunk by depth charges launched by MO-103. 6 crewmember of U-250, including the captain, were captured by Soviet and the submarine sunk at low depth: Soviet divers worked to collect intelligence despite Axis attempts to prevent it (with mines, depth-charging the wreck and artillery shelling). Despite the efforts, Soviets managed to raise and recover the wreck, acquiring secret documents, an ENIGMA machine and the new acoustic G7es torpedo, gaining the interest of the Royal Navy that asked (and failed) to obtain one of the torpedoes.[3]

On 31 July 1944, U-379 sunk the Soviet submarine chaser MO-101.

On 25 August 1944, U-242 sunk the Soviet survey vessel KKO-2 (600 tons) that was lost together the towed barge VRD-96 Del'fin (500 tons.

On 26 August 1944, U-745 sunk the Soviet auxiliary minesweeper T-45.

Finland join AlliesEdit

After Finland Joined the Allies, The Germans lost their base at Kotka and Finnish Navy laid other mine fields after Soviet directions.[4]

On 15 October 1944, U-481 sunk with gunfire the Finnish fishing boats Dan, Endla and Maria.

On 17 October 1944, U-1165 sunk the Soviet submarine chaser BMO-512. Soviets believed she was sunk by mine.

On 24 October 1944, U-958 sunk the Finnish fishing boat Linnea and damaged Piikkiö On 28 October 1944, on a mine laid by U-242 was sunk the Finnish merchant Rigel (1495 GRT). She was the only proper merchant ship sunk by U-boats during this campaign.

On 29 October 1944, U-958 sunk the Soviet landing craft SB-2 (720 tons). The ship was carrying military equipment, supplies and guns and was heading to Saarenmaa for the Moonsund Landing Operation.

On 18 November 1944, U-679 sunk the Soviet patrol boat SK-62.

On 19 Novemeber 1944, U-481 sunk the Soviet barge 112600 (1000 tons) On 27 November 1944, U-479 sunk on mines. On 28 November 1944, U-481 sunk the Soviet coastal minesweeper T-387.

On 24 December 1944, U-637 sunk the Soviet submarine chaser BMO-594.

On 9 January 1945, U-679 sunk on mines.

On 11 January 1945, U-745 sunk the Soviet minesweeper T-76 (previously Lithuanian ship Presidentas Smetona)

On 12 January 1945, U-370 torpedoed and sunk Finnish minelayer Louhi. The Finnish ship had just laid the mine barrage "Vantaa-3" together Ruotsinsalmi and was under escort by two Soviet submarine chasers.

On 31 January 1945, U-745 sunk on mines from the barrage "Vantaa-3".

On 12 February 1945, U-676 sunk on mines from the barrage "Vantaa-3".

OutcomeEdit

German submarines operated in difficult conditions, with large number of naval mines and light antisubmarine boats. Only few targets, mostly small patrols, were sunk and no large merchant or significant target was found at the cost of different U-boats lost: the only proper merchant ship sunk was the Finnish Rigel. The loss of U-250 was particularly important for the technology and intelligence obtained by the Soviets.

ReferencesEdit

SourcesEdit

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