A Dangerous Bouquet
Prokazov's ship, the ZK-40 in 1944
Shortly before the landing of boats at Vyborg, the 7th Unit of Minesweeper boats relocated to the mobile base at Gakkovo – a small fishing village. By daylight we trawled Luga bay, chosing Kurgalsky reef to be trawled and bypassing Haylodu, entering the Narva bay whose waters were crammed with mines.
Even in Ust-Luga naval base they showed us pictures from the decrypted film of the central section of the Narva bay and the south banks of Vigrund. These pictures were especially clear with precise lines, which meant we knew the mines exhibited a small indentation. At the same time in the headquarters we were told that the commander of the gunboat "ZK-40" received orders – to use wooden shields to protect us in the most dangerous quadrants.
On June 13th-14th, panels were towed out and anchored. This “Mine Square” our bombers used as a training ground – practising in precision bombing and simultaneously discharging an enemy minefield.
We learned that the commander of the “40”, at the junction of two waterways – 305G and 306A – discovered a large number of green floats in the water.
He thought of fishing nets: for booby-traps (which exactly they were), but he had no idea. The boat barely escaped from the "networks" and returned to Gakkovo.
The report from the commander of the “40” alarmed the commanders of the Regional Water Protection.
They created a shock-search group. It included the boat “ZK-40”, two boats – trawlers from our 7th battalion - “KT-97” and “KT-356” under the command of Chief Petty Officer G.M Davidenko and Midshipman V.D Rakhaeva, as well as a detachment of boats such as ZIS with a minimal wake.
On June 18th, after careful preperation the shock-search group left Gakkovo. They didn't have to search long for the booby-traps: they were in sight. Seven traps were destroyed on the first day. One, undercut the trawler “KT-97” while being towed in Gakkovo. The head of the shock-search group's flagship miner, Captain 3rd Class Andrei Barabanov easily disarmed her. It turned out to be a anchored electro-percussive mine “type G” with an additional explosive tripwire.
The subsequent search delivered several more mines and they were disarmed. It became clear that the traps had been manufactured and delivered recently on floats as they had fresh paint and a production date of "1944".
For a week - from the 20th to 26th June – the shock-search group destroyed 108 traps and mapped (from northwest to southeast) the places of operation of these new snares.
So what exactly makes up this mine-trap?
A German officer adds some decoraion to some MC type naval mines, similar to the ones Prokazov faced
The device is very simple. A hemp rope - eight millimeters thick and thirty meters long - at one end with two wires with clips attached to an electrical sensor or electro-percussive cap. Secondly, the free end is held on the surface by a serie of cork floats, positioned every six to eight meters. A Rotor, rudder, ship's hull or a submarine periscope, touches the rope, pulls it, the sensors are triggered, there is an explosion, then the ship is destroyed or crippled. These booby-traps are especially dangerous at night, in windy weather and fog.
The first encounter with the enemy's invention in 1943 was by commander of the 1st battalion VK Kimaev. He brought the traps to the island of Lavensari. There they studied them and made a detailed descripton of their workings. We knew about them.
The booby-traps we discovered in 1944 was somewhat reconstructed. The memp rope was replaced with steel and had been shortened shortened and they had used bottles of sea waters as the floats.
In calm, clear weather traps are visible far away. The series of floats, lit by the rays of the sun, shine, shimmer and seem to be sitting on the water like small colorful birds. In bad weather, when the wind blows, waves roll, the floats are tangled, intertwined and become like floating bouquet of flowers. Signalman of "KT-47" sailor Nicholas Tolstopyatov once reported:
“Straight ahead on the water I see the "bouquets of flowers".”
When the "bouquets" had been undermined and the roar of the explosions died down, some of the sailors shouted:
“Well, thank you, Tolstopyatov, you noticed the "flowers" in time!..”
The treacherous traps brought us a lot of hassle. Somehow our neighbors, boats from the 1st Battalion, trawled a minefield, littered with shallowdraft mines and traps. The boat "R-707" of midshipman Vladimir Chernonosova snagged a mine, and a few minutes later - a second. The mines were not hooking. "707" lost speed. Soon the lookout reported:
“Right twenty, distance forty, traps!”
A huge gale of wind blew the boat towards the trap. Chernonosov attempted to manouver but the mines which were located in the trawl didn't allow him to do it. Abandon the trawl? The commander was going to, but he couldn't. The boat carried. Chernonosov stalled the engine, estimating that by drifting facing starboard, the trap will be held astern. It didn't guarantee security, but there was no alternative.
A Soviet crew defuse a mine at sea
They were rescued by detachment commander Lieutenant Yevgeny Arkhipov. His boat "KT-715" at approached the "R-707" at full speed and his second lieutenant with extraordinary dexterity threw the bow a Mooring Shot (ring) over the anchor leg of the "707".
“Hold on, Ensign!” - Shouted Arkhipov and not slowing down he rolled back to the left.
Chernonosov then commanded them to complete their course and the traps, only that now they are just 5 or 6 metres from the side, were left behind. The stern of the trawler had surfaced 2 undercutting mines. Among them they hurried away the boat carrying the demolition squad and soon the explosions thundered.
Boris Prokazov with his son Yuri and daughter Tatiyana on May 9th, 1990
We learned to deal with traps. The commander of the "KT-97" Petty Officer 1st Class Gregory Davidenko proposed such a method. Two sailors on a boat approached the mine trap, tied to her a hundred-meter cable, the free end kept on board the boat where it's fastened his bollard and - full speed ahead! Behind you goes the explosion.
Finnish booby traps were even more dangerous. They do not float on the surface and are at a depth of 10-15 centimeters, and even in high visibility you could detect them only at a distance of 20-30 meters, whereas the German models - 350-500 meters.
In order for the sailors to learn to recognize this insidious weapon, at Gakkovo they conducted special training sessions. All ships as a visual aid received neutralized traps, their description and the rules to combat them.
The intention of the German naval command – to weaken our minesweeping forces, to make the fleet idle, trapped in our bases - failed. We found and destroyed their minefields of booby-traps. Thus we didn't lose a single ship. But it's true, the struggle with traps required the large concentration of effort, skill and time of the personnel.
A naval mine reveals itself
On June 25th, our units received a combat mission - to explore with trawl nets a significant portion of the Gulf of Narva. It was the quadrant that was protected by the boards from boat "ZK-40".
I have already said that our pilots were carrying out bombing training in this quadrant. To the north was another goal - a sunken transporter, its superstructure and part of the body rose above the water. The work of our pilots, we often watched from trawling areas and heard the rumble of explosions. The pilots destroyed the mines, we had to completely clear the place as it was on a very important fairway.
Aerial photographs managed to find mines in our area, set at a depth of 60 centimeters to one and a half meters. For two days - 25 and 26 June - the sea was creeping fog, we trawled. In the next two days we revealed a dense barrage of shallow set anchored mines. We destroyed 19 mines and a number of mine defenders.
Nikolai Mikhailovich Yeramenko
Commander of ship ZK-40
Awarded the Order of the Red Banner by the same decree as Boris Prokazov
“In the Gulf of Narva they had found a minefield of booby traps which in a timely manner they plotted and actively began to look for a method to destroy them in order to prevent the destruction of their ships, and he found this method.
He is currently involved in the liquidation and destruction of a minefield of discovered booby traps.
Under his leadership and direct supervision they have already destroyed more than 50 booby traps whilst contending with enemy artillery and air attacks.
During his work on 21.6.44 while working in a minefield to destroy booby traps the enemy planes swooped down and began to attack our ships that were working in the mine fields. With their fire they managed to fight off the enemy aircraft, not only from themselves but from the other ships which thereby made it possible for them to continue to work on the destruction of the traps.
The boat ZK-40 shot down one FW-190.
With the opening of the route, as an experienced commander they were first to be sent on a combat mission / keeping watch, escorting convoys, search the minefields for the enemy / of these operation they have successfully carried out more than 50.
Personally he has shot five mines and 9 enemy buoys.
During the winter season of 1944 he was well prepared to navigate his ship. He invented a lag technique (method of measuring distance at sea) which currently enjoys success.
During the campaign in 1943 he has taken part in 156 combat sorties, 21 times under heavy artillery fire and conducting caravans under convoy of over 36,000 tons of cargo. 27 postings were under exposure to enemy aircraft.
For exceptional courage and valor displayed in the battles with the enemies of the homeland, he is worthy of the government award of the Order of the Red Banner.”
1. Last Name, Name, and Patrionymic: Eramenko, Nikolai Mikhailovic
2. Born: 3rd January 1910
3. Place of birth: Leningrad
4. Nationality: Russian
5. Party Membership: Not a member
General: 4 classes of NSSh in 1924. FZU Baltic Shipbuilding factory school, coach of physical education
7. Knowledge of foreign languages: None
Lieutenant – Command of the Baltic Fleet – 0502 – 10.7.1943
Senior Lieutenant – MVD – 534 – 17.5.47
Captain-Lieutenant – MGB – 2967 – 26.5.51
9. Participation at the front as a Partisan: None
10. Family: Wife Gibor, Olga Vasilevna – 1914; Son Mikhail 1940; Son Pavel 1946
11. Inducted by which Military organization or commissariat: Since 1941 by the NKVD
12, Positions held:
Instructor for Physical Education
1st Baltic Borderguard Detachment
4th Battalion, 1st Baltic Borderguard Detachment of the NKVD
Deputy Ship Commander
Ship ZK-35 1st Baltic Borderguard Detachment
Ship ZK-40, Destroyer detachment for regional water protection
Ship ZK-40, Water Protection for the area of the Leningrad Naval Base of the Baltiv Fleet
Commander of the 4th unit
8th Battalion of Patrol Ships of the Baltic Fleet
Commander of Ship ZK-40
7th Battalion of Patrol Ships of the Baltic Fleet
Deputy Trawler Commander
Trawler T-352 of the 10th Trawler battalion of the Baltic Fleet
Instructor of Physical Education
Home of the Baltic Fleet
Instructor for Border Patrols
6th Seperate Baltic Patrol Boat Battalion
Instructor for Borderguard Troops
Shipyard at Leningrad Borderguard Sea Port Leningrad Military District
Lecturer, Departnent of Naval Practises
Higher Naval borderguard schoolof the MVD
Ship commander for a detachment of training ships
Higher Naval Borderguard School of the MVD
Commander of Training Ships
Higher Naval Borderguard School
Teacher of Miltary Borderguards
Leningrad Higher Naval Borderguard School
At the disposal of the high command of the Personnel Section of the Navy
Instructor Cach, 1st Category
Team rowing, sailing and water motor sports club center
Released into the reserves according to Para 59a “due to age” with the right to wear the military uniform and special distinguishing devices on shoulder boards.
Dzerzhinsky regional military commissar
Colonel / signed / Grigor'ev
13. Family name, Name and Patrionymic: Yermakov
14. Designation: [blank]
15. On record at: Dzerzhinsky RVK, City of Leningrad
16. Military Rank: Captain Lieutenant
17. Position: Commander
18. Branch of Service: Navy
19. Military Speciality: 103 (Grenadier)
20. Reserve of the 2nd Category
21. State of health: 8.4.59 fit for category 4. Blood pressure 110/56
22. Payment of fees:
23. Place of work and position: Club for motor sport and technical work. Reserve coach
24. Home address: Leningrad, 32/10 Vostan Street, Apartment 19
25. Military ID B£ No.022360 issued on 10th February 1955
26. Special remarks: [blank]
Non hai i permessi necessari per visualizzare i file allegati in questo messaggio.
Camminare via, con la speranza nel cuore e non sarai mai camminare da solo.