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> Soviet minesweepers against romanian ships 13 Dec 1942
Posted: July 10, 2003 03:35 pm
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Hello all!

In book about soviet destroyers type "7-U" (S.A.Balakin "Eskadrennye minonostzy proekta 7-U",1997) I found a mention about the fight between soviet minesweepers and romanian ships 13 Dec 1942. There said that minesweepers "Mina" and BTSC-412 participated in fight with romanian transports near the Romanian coast. Destroyer "Soobrazitel'nyj" covered them.

Does anybody know circumstances of this event and which vessels participated in fight from romanian side?
Posted: July 10, 2003 06:55 pm
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Between 11-14 December 1942, a formation of four Soviet gun-boats/minesweepers (T406, T407, T408, T412) lead by a destroyer (Soobrazitelnii) managed to get close to the place were the Danube flows into the sea (I do not remember the English term :D ), without being observed. They split into two groups: T407 and T412 headed towards Bugaz-Jibrieni and T406 and T408 towards Sf. Gheorghe.

This was on 13 December. That day, at 0715, the convoy made up of the cargos Czar Ferdinand and Oituz and the NMS Smeul torpedo-boat and four German R-boote left Sulina for Odessa. At 0830 the observation point on Serpeant Isle reported the presence of two Soviet destroyers in the area. Because of the difficult weather conditions, it was probably difficult to identify the ships so this is why they were designated as destroyers. At 0900 they were also spotted by a seaplane. But because of the complicated system of communication between the German and Romanian commands (coding and decoding several times) the information was received too late. At 1037 the convoy made contact with 2 Soviet "destroyers" near Shagany. The Soviet ships opened fire from 12 km (the Soviet T class had 1x102 mm, 1x45mm and 1x37 mm). Cpt. D. Mitescu (the commander of the convoy and of NMS Smeul) ordered the cargos to head back to Sulina, where they would be protected by the coastal batteries and Danube monitors, and they started immediately to cover their retreat with smoke. As the distance to the Soviets diminished only to 9 km, the shells were also closing in on NMS Smeul. It replied with its 66 mm main gun, but without effect. The gunboats then started to fire on the cargos, but this only caused them to increase their speed (Czar Ferdinand was very well known for its lasyness, but this time it established a record and outran Oituz). The R-boote could have easily been confused with S-boote from distance, so they and NMS Smeul (which didn't have any torpedoes at board on this mission) made it look like they were prepairing for a torpedo attack. Thus the Soviets kept their distance. At 1145 the second gunboat group was spotted by a patrol airplane SW of Sf. Gheorghe. Meanwhile the fight continued up north and at 1226, several shells fell very close to NMS Smeul. By 1300 the visibility decreased and the Soviets only fired from time to time. At 1315, NMS Smeul announced that contact had been lost with the enemy ships. At 1710 the escort entered Sulina harbor. As they were entering, the German radio station greeted them with "Gut gemacht!". Cpt. Mitescu will later receive the Mihai Viteazu Order, 3rd class for this action.

At 1320, finally, the air force sent 3 He-111H6 to bomb the Soviet ships, but because of the weather conditions, they failed to find them.

Perhaps things would have came out differently if the Romanian destroyers would have been at Constanta and not at Odessa, blocked by a very thick fog (a veteran remembered that they couldn't see the NMS Marasti from the NMS Marasesti, even though they were only a few meters away).
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