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Operations Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya

Page Created
September 18th, 2023
Last Updated
October 27th, 2023
The Soviet Union
Additional Information
Order of Battle


Eastern Front

August 1941
Destruction of the bridge over the Narva River
Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya
Two men from the Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya, led by Senior Lieutenant Pupkov (the second scout’s name is unknown from archival records). They are tasked with the destruction a bridge over the Narva River. The Narva River is the border between nowadays Estonia and Russia. The southern bank of this river is held by German troops who are amassing forces for an upcoming offensive.

The men swim downstream during the cover of night. Their mission is to attach a sea mine with a timed fuse to the bridge’s support. The men succeed in doing so. The bridge collapses due to the explosion caused by their efforts, and the saboteurs quietly return to their base without drawing much attention.

September 1941
Gather intelligence on Finnish positions and activities on the Island South of Vyborg.
Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya
In September 1941, Finnish forces launch an offensive as part of the Continuation War in the area around Lake Ladoga, and one of the actions involves taking an island south of Vyborg (Viipuri in Finnish), a city in southeastern Finland that was then part of the Karelian Isthmus. The Finns, having crossed the Vuoksa River, occupy a bridgehead south of Vyborg. They capture a small island, cutting off the escape route by ships of units of the Soviet 23rd Army from the port of Vyborg.

The Soviets plan a mission to evacuate the encircled Soviet troops. Combat Divers of the Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya are assigned to a mission to potentially gather valuable intelligence on Finnish positions and activities on the Island South of Vyborg and try to crecapture the island.

Two combat divers of the Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya swim to the island, laying a guide cable as they move towards it. This cable would serve as a guiding line for additional Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya Combat Divers to follow. Approximately fifty Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya Combat Using this cable as a guide, the men reach the enemy shore and, turning to attack, rush to the enemy positions. The Finnish positions fail to respond. Once reaching the Finnish Positions they find out that the Finns have left. They have removed the locks from the cannons and machine guns, instead of taking them with them, indicating a hasty retreat. The haste was possibly due to having observe the Soviet preparations for the evacuation operation.

September 23rd, 1941
Destruction of the pier at Staraya Peterhof
Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya
On September 23rd, 1941, one of the most intense German air raids on Kronstadt is carried out, involving up to 270 aircraft. During this raid, the transport ship Barta is sank in a shallow area opposite the old Peterhof. Given its location, Lieutenant Prokhvatilov decides to utilise it as an observation post.

On the very first night, the divers of the Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya notice flashes of long-range guns firing at Kronstadt from the shore. They swiftly identify the coordinates and relay them to their base. Thanks to this intelligence, the batteries are effectively neutralised by fire from the Kronstadt forts.

Subsequently, divers receive instructions from their command to scout around the statue of Samson, and they observe suspicious activity near the pier in Old Peterhof. They discover that the Germans are constructing a large pier, and piles of sea mines stacked nearby.

An order is issued to destroy the pier. The plan is to tow anti-ship mines underwater. After several days of practice at the Kronstadt pier, where divers practice silently entering the water from boats in their diving gear, laying mines, and transporting them along the seabed, the divers report their readiness.

They load two mines onto a rowing boat, attach it to an armored boat, and, under the cover of almost complete darkness and the excitement in the bay, they make their way to the sunken Barta. From there, they proceeded using oars.

Approximately three hundred metres from their target, three divers in diving equipment disembark from the boat. They carefully traverse the seabed, dragging the mines behind them, complete with fuses featuring clock mechanisms. They also extend a reel of telephone wire behind them to ensure they won’t lose their way when returning. Once they reach the pier, the divers secure the mines to its piles.

After setting the fuses to a predetermined time, they make their way back to the boat using the telephone cable. Sometime later, observers aboard the Barta report a powerful explosion. The pier, along with the mines and the enemy forces on it, is obliterated. In the operation report, Prokhvatilov notes with satisfaction, “No one fell behind.” The construction of the pier ceases, and the shoreline is fortified with mines and encircled with barbed wire.

September 1941
Resupply operations
Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya
Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya Combat Divers conduct crossing operations at Nevskaya Dubrovka over the Neva River to provide provisions for Leningrad. These crossings involve equipment, weapons, ammunition, and food. People cross from the right bank to the Leningrad bridgehead as well.

September 23rd, 1941
Sinking transport ship Barta
Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya
Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya Combat Divers the transport ship “Barta” opposite the Grand Peterhof Palace in Leningrad, Soviet Union. The ship sits on the seabed but remains partly out of the water.

October 1941
Ice reconnaissance on Lake Ladoga
Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya
Ice reconnaissance on Lake Ladoga, led by Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya commander Lieutenant Prokhvatilov, plays a crucial role in the construction of the famous Road of Life. This ice road over Lake Ladoga provided the people and Army inside the besieged city of Leningrad from supplies. The operation provides essential data that guides the development of this vital supply route during challenging winter conditions of the first winter.

Winters of 1941 to 1943
Patrol the supply road (Road of Life) to Leningrad
Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya
During the siege of Leningrad in the winters of 1941 to 1943, the Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya Combat Divers patrol the supply road (Road of Life) over the ice of frozen Lake Ladoga.

Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya, Meereskämpfer
Men of the Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya clash with German Divers at a Tsemes Bay seaport at Novorossiysk. The skirmish results in some knife battles underwater.

August 1942
Salvage Operation
Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya
Nine Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya Combat Divers conduct an operation unloading a large barge sunk by the Germans with 10,000 machine pistols on board in a little more than a week in the Volga River round Stalingrad.

February 4th, 1943
Landings at Malaya Zemlya
Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya, 255th Naval Infantry Brigade
Soviet Combat Divers of the Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya participate in the landings with 250 men of the 255th Naval Infantry Brigade at Malaya Zemlya and at Mys khako. At Malaya Zemlya the Combat Divers construct moorages for a tank crossing while under enemy machine gun fire and bombardment.

February – October 9th, 1943
Operations along the shores of the Crimean Peninsula
Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya
During the liberation of Taman Soviet Combat Divers of the Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya conduct operations on the shores of the Crimean Peninsula.

July 1943
Destruction of railroad bridge across the Dnieper River
Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya
Combat Divers of Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya, led by Viktor Khokhlov, blow up a railroad bridge across the Dnieper River that the Germans are actively using to concentrate their forces toward the front line at the Battle of Kursk

August 1943
Submarine Landing
Podvodno-Desantnaya Komanda
A group of twenty-three men from the Podvodno-Desantnaya Komanda Pacific lands successfully from the submarine “Shch-113,” which is positioned on the seabed at a depth of thirty metres and four hundred metres from the shore. Simultaneously, under the same conditions, another group of forty men from the Podvodno-Desantnaya Komanda Pacific is deployed from a Leninets-class submarine.

September 1943
Attack of the German naval base at Strelna.
Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya, Decima Flottiglia Motoscafi Armati Siluranti
During the siege of Leningrad, a group of Combat Divers of Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya enter the German naval base at Strelna and destroy Italian combat boats of the Decima Flottiglia MAS.

Throughout the siege of Leningrad, the Germans make persistent attempts to block the Leningrad-Kronstadt route, strown with mines at the river fairways and the mouth of the Neva River. In September 1943, the Germans introduce a new threat: high-speed boats that launch swift attacks on transport ships and combat vessels of the Soviet Baltic Fleet during their combat service. These boats, armed with machine guns and artillery, swiftly sink Soviet ships before disappearing.

It is later revealed that these attackers are Italian boats from the X flotilla MAS, which have previously been intensively used in the Mediterranean Sea against Allied ships. These boats, loaded with torpedoes and explosives, operate at speeds exceeding 70 kilometres/hour, rendering them difficult to intercept. These Italian boats pose a grave danger to the Soviet Baltic Fleet stationed in Kronstadt, Leningrad’s bridges, communication lines, and facilities.

The RON is tasked with locating and neutralising this new enemy. Scouts diligently scoure the coastlines where these boats could potentially be based, even resorting to hiding in garbage cans. The Germans, however, are vigilant, firing upon anything that moves.

Ultimately, thanks to the knowledge of a sailor serving in the RON who is familiar with the area, a site near the dam near Strelna is identified as the most likely location. However, on the day of the mission, rain and thick fog envelopes the area, prompting a daytime landing. Vsevolod Ananyev, dressed in full diving gear, lays on the deck, with Prokhvatilov at the helm and the motor operator controlling the engine. Their approach to the shore is concealed by dense fog, bringing them close to the shoreline. Suddenly, the sun breaks through the fog, exposing the boat directly in front of German positions. Prokhvatilov swiftly pushed Ananyev overboard, while the Germans, observing from the shore, assume the Russians are surrendering. Prokhvatilov, his heart pounding with tension, wipes away perspiration with a white handkerchief, further convincing the Germans that they are there to surrender. He gestures to them, explaining that they can’t reach the shore due to rocks, and pretends to scout for a mooring location.

Initially, the Germans accepted this calmly, but as time passes, they begin firing shots into the air. Prokhvatilov orders the mechanic to “drive right” and go full speed ahead. At the last moment, he hurls himself overboard, grabbing onto the boat’s railing. Struggling to climb back aboard, he manages to take control amidst a hail of bullets.
The boat rapidly traverses the Gulf of Finland and comes to a halt near the Fox’s Nose, sporting numerous bullet holes in its sides.

Under the cover of night, RON fighters disembark from rowboats in the dam area, guided by Ananyev’s signal, and take out the guards. They find the boats, lined up on rails for swift, quiet deployment and return. Explosions echo as fighters toss hand grenades with extended handles tied to additional TNT blocks at the captured boats. The entire operation takes only 20 minutes, instead of the anticipated 2 hours.

They return through the German rear, catching the Germans off guard. Along the way, they also destroy a fuel depot and manage to depart just in time as ships arrive to evacuate everyone. Interestingly, Prokhvatilov remains convinced throughout his life that he has destroyed German boats, only discovering in the late 1980’s that they had been Italian.

April 5th, 1944 – April 10th, 1944
Razvedyvatel’nyy Otryad Osobogo Naznacheniya.
Ten Combat Divers of the Razvedyvatel’nyy Otryad Osobogo Naznacheniya under command of Senior Lieutenant Osipov. Their mission is to observe and report the movements of German ships in Sevastopol Bay, Soviet Union.

On April 5th, 1944, they disembarked from a surface ship near the village of Lyubimovka. Over the course of five days these scouts provide regular reports to the command regarding the movements of enemy ships in Sevastopol Bay. Subsequently, the Razvedyvatel’nyy Otryad Osobogo Naznacheniya begins to inspect and examine sunken enemy vessels, extracting valuable documents from them, including cipher tables, codes, mine-laying maps, and other critical intelligence materials.

May 1944
Reconnaissance mission
Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya
From intelligence reports, the Soviets learn that the Germans are constructing launching pads near Luga, Soviet Union for firing V-1 missiles at the besieged city of Leningrad. In addition to this, they are building a radio navigation station in the Strelna area to guide these missiles accurately.

RON scouts, stationed at the Sea Canal dam, observe the enemy-occupied shore, and spot a road concealed with camouflage nets, with signs of activity on it.
On a moonless night, combat diver Vladimir Borisov enters the water near the enemy shore and discreetly conceals his diving gear among the reeds. He then changes into a German uniform and proceeds to the entrance of the Pishmash plant, where the road leads to. While surveilling the enemy, Borisov notices a constant stream of cars and carts approaching a checkpoint. To gather more precise information, Borisov takes advantage of a situation where another cart carrying boxes approach the checkpoint. He swiftly jumps up from behind and supports the cart as if preventing it from tipping over. The sentry, witnessing this scene with the boxes, doesn’t bother to inspect any documents and raises the barrier.

As the cart comes to a halt at the entrance to the workshop, Borisov shoulders one of the boxes and begins strolling around the plant premises with it. Discovering that equipment is being installed in one of the workshops, Borisov returns to the cart and assists in unloading the remaining boxes. He leaves the premises on the same cart, nodding friendly to the sentry who smiles back at him and suggests that he should load the equipment more securely to avoid trouble with the authorities.

At a bend in the road, Borisov discreetly jumps off the cart and vanishes into the natural terrain folds. Under the cover of night, he makes his way underwater to the waiting boat. The gathered intelligence is relayed to headquarters, leading to the subsequent destruction of the radio navigation station and missile launch sites by Soviet aviation and artillery.

July – September 1944
Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya
Combat Divers of the Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya salvage the U-Boat U-250 after being sunk.

In July 1944, while on combat duty in the Bjorke Sound area, the naval vessel MO-105 meets a mysterious fate and sinks to the bottom, following in the footsteps of MO-304 and MO-107, which have met similar fates under approximately the same circumstances. None of the surviving sailors witness either the trail of a torpedo or the periscope of an enemy submarine. In broad daylight and under calm conditions, the ship seems to vanish, and the submarine manages to escape without being hold accountable. However, this time their ploy failed.
A watchman on a passing scow, notices an enormous shadow beneath the water’s surface. Fortunately, MO-103 is in close proximity moves in and prepares for battle.

On July 30th, 1944, hunting boat MO-103 commanded by Senior Lieutenant Kolenk deploys a pattern of depth charges in Vyborg Bay, resulting in a signifmen facech in the pressure hull of U-boat U-250. As a result of this attack, only six crew members, including Kapitänleutnant Schmidt, manage to escape the sinking submarine and are subsequently captured as prisoners of war. Forty-six other crew members lose their lives. U-250 comes to rest at a relatively shallow depth of twenty-seven metres in Vyborg Bay.

In response to these developments, Soviet Admiral Tributs, the commander of the Baltic Fleet, orders reconnaissance officers of the Rota Osobogo Naznacheniya to locate and inspect the sunken German submarine. The Soviet command was aware that a year and a half prior to these incidents, convoys delivering cargo to Britain have started experiencing significant losses. Strikingly, these losses occur under circumstances remarkably like those of the three naval vessels’ demise. Torpedoes seems to target the propellers exclusively. Consequently, the ships, once hit by a torpedo, would swiftly descend to the depths, leaving them no time to evade or counterattack.

It becomes imperative to salvage the submarine.
This daunting task fell upon Prokhvatilov’s unit. Ivan Vasilyevich interrogates Corvette Captain Schmidt, who conducts himself with dignity: “You may have bested me, and I respect that, but I will not divulge any information about the submarine.” That’s when Prokhvatilov cunningly baits him, remarking, “You seem to be quite inept when it comes to navigation. Only a fool would follow such a course.” Ivan Vasilyevich disdainfully traces the route on the map haphazardly. The German was affronts, retorting, “I was adhering to the only correct course given the circumstances. We ended up here purely by chance!” – and he points at the map.

Now, the next challenge was to locate and retrieve the sunken submarine. To carry out this mission, a team of sixteen divers is assembled, led by Captain 3rd Rank Prokhvatilov, the company commander. The men face depths that exceed the maximum limits for their light diving equipment, continuous enemy shelling, and stormy weather conditions. To protect the divers against harassing artillery fire, a continuous smokescreen is employed, the divers manage to complete the task within three days. However, everyone working at the depths of inspecting U-250 suffers from oxygen poisoning.

Upon examination, the sunken submarine reveals it is carrying a new and advanced German weapon: two electric, acoustically guided T-5 torpedoes equipped with proximity fuses.

The Soviet leadership notifies London about this discovery. In a confidential exchange of correspondence between Stalin and Churchill, an agreement is reached to urgently dispatch British specialists to the Soviet Union to conduct on-site examinations of the German torpedoes. Meanwhile the U-250 is raised and transported to Kronstadt in September 1944 for further examination and analysis.

August 1945
The 140th ROUN executes a series of successful operations in Korean ports such as Yuki, Rassin, Seishin, Genzan, and others. Remarkably, these missions were accomplished without the utilization of diving equipment.