Daily Event for September 24, 2013

The Soviet submarine Shch-319 was built in Leningrad, Russia and launched on Feb. 15, 1936. The Shch X class boat was 192' long and displaced 587 tons on the surface. Top speed of this class was 13.6 knots and they carried six 21" torpedo tubes (4 bow, 2 stern) with four reloads and was manned by a crew of about 40.

While the activities of the German, British, American and Japanese submarines are well documented, Soviet submarines are given little ink. Of course one reason for this is the decades of Communist rule which allowed very limited access to military information. A lot of the time when information was available, it was incorrect. Another symptom of totalitarian societies. There is no doubt that the German U-boats and their record are the most studied of the iron sharks, this is because the majority of the records were captured after the war and the looser is in no position to complain about state secrets.

With that in mind here is the little I know about Shch-319. She sailed on (or about) September 24, 1941 from Kronshtadt near St. Petersburg for a patrol in the Baltic, the boat and her crew were never seen again. It is thought that the boat was mined in the Gulf of Finland, of course this is always the first explaination given for the disappearance of a submarine, usually with little or no evidence. In this case I have no evidence as to what happened to the boat, nobody does.

Some sources link two attacks on German ships to Shch-319, the cruiser Lepizig was attacked on Sept. 28 off Sworbe, Estonia, at the mouth of the Gulf of Finland and two minesweepers claim to have been attacked with torpedoes off Liepāja, Latvia on Sept. 29. If this was Shch-319 then they had mad it into the Baltic, but again this is just the best guess of historians. I don't know the disposition of Soviet submarines on Sept. 28 and 29 so I can not say if these attacks were made by Shch-319 or another boat. To the best of my knowledge no trace of the boat has ever been found, although the Soviets may have located the wreck and just neglected to tell anyone.
© 2013 Michael W. Pocock

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