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Shchuka-class Submarines

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Shchuka-class Submarines

In the middle of 20s, the USSR began to build a submarine fleets.
Technical Bureau N4 war established and it was headed by designer Boris Malinin, the government required the design of medium class submarines.
Preliminary design of the first submarine model was born in 1928, It was approved on November 1. The project was officially completed by the end of 1929. The Project received designation “Shchuka” (northern pike) and it was intended for mass production. It’s worthy to note that the British submarine L-55 examined in 1928 had a big influence on the project.The Soviet submarine borrowed its exterior lines and general type of the hull. 

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The first three "Shchuka" were built at the Baltic shipyard. and introduced into service in October of 1933.



Shchuka-class submarine batch 3:
Length: 57 m
The greatest width: 6.2 m
Surface draft: 3.76 m
Displacement on surface: 572t
Displacement on underwate: 672t
Power plant:
+ 2 diesel engines 600HP
+ 2 electric engines 400HP.

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Speed on surface: 11,5 knots
Speed on underwater: 8.5 knots
Range on surface in full speed: 1350 miles
Range on surface in economic speed: 3130 miles
Range on underwater in economic speed: 112 miles
Operating depth: 75 m
Max Depth: 90m

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+ 4 bow and 2 stern torpedo with 10 torpedoes
+ One 45mm AA gun. (500 shells)
Operate independently for 20 days


Another 4 batches of Submarines were built of all Fleets of the Ussr later. Various changes, which were improving subs quality, were entering in construction passing from one batch to another. More modern equipment for navigation, radio communications and hydro-acoustics were getting installed.

Despite few disadvantages, “Shchukas” were distinguished for simplicity of construction, reliability of its mechanical parts and they had a big reserve of durability. The could dive and emerge with sea conditions to 6 degrees and they were not loosing their seaworthiness in 9-10 degrees storms. And thanks to their relatively small dimensions these submarines were very agile and practically impossible to get caught by hunter-boats. 

Submarines of this type started being built in big numbers for all Feets of USSR in the middle of 30s. The system of assigning of tactical number war created about at the same time All ”Shchukas” were intended to have a latter “Shch” with addition of  a three-digit number.The first digit in the number war meaning a belonging to fo the fleets:
 + 1 for the Pacific Fleet
 + 2 for the Black Sea Fleet
 + 3 for the Baltic Fleet 
 + 4 for the Northern Fleet.

”Shchukas” received their baptism by fire during the Sovet-Finnish war. They were the first among domestic ships, which used their weapons. The combat score was opened by the “Shch-323”. The crew of this ss sank enemy transport in stormy conditions at 10th of Dec 1939. The war with Finland continued for 3,5 months. Shch were on combat patrols in Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia all that time. They sank a lot of enemy transports.

The submarines showed themselves and their best properties in harsh winter conditions. There had been 86 submarines of Shch-class in the Navy till the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. Almost all “Shch” went to combat patrols after Germany attack on the USSR.

The first combat success was brought by Shch-402, under command of First Lieutenant Stolbov.. At 14th of July of 1941, it sank an enemy transport after penetrating to roadstead of Homhenswok port.. And later severe war-time working days started for the entire ss fleet of the USSR. Constant patrolling of the seas, endless dives and emersions, torpedo attacks. In addition to fighting the submarines have to do many other tasks such as delivery of ammunition, fuels and provisions to besieged cities of Primorye, evacuation of population, delivering of landing troops.

Submarines passed through modernization multiple times during the war. In 1942, the Shch-101 war equipped with a special onboard equipment, which was containing 40 mines. Meanwhile it retained its torpedo armament.In same year, many Shch got installed a device for cutting of barrier nets.This net-cutting device helped a lot USSR SS sailors during breakthrough of the powerfull anti-ss lines in Guif of Finland



Durability of type “Shch” submarines deserves a dedicated mentioning 
The Shch-318 under command of Captain Lozhkaryov was returning to base at 10th of Feb of 1941. Course of the submarines going alongside of Finnish shores. The submarines had used all of its ammunition in patrol. Boat’s hull had insignificant damages. In conditions of bad visibility the Commander saw too late a German transport moving on collision course.
“Emergency Dive!” 
Command sounded, but there wasn’t enough time. The enemy ship rammed the submarines.The damaged submarines started sinking. The crew managed to stop an uncontrollable submarines at depth of 65m. The damaged boat remained under water for entire hour. Finally, the hydro-acoustician report “Horizon is clear”. Order of emerging on surface was issued. Examination of damages led to an uncomforting conclusion. Movement back to the base is possible only on surface. Almost uncontrollable sub war crawling back to home for 4 days. The crew managed to return back home only thank to USSR designers, who installed a triple reserve of durability in the boat.  Meanwhile the boat returned to base, while the enemy ship sank.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho shchuka class submarines

In 1942, command of baltic fleet has a task to breakthrough powerful anti-submarines line of the enemy. It’s decided to assign the main part of the operation to Soviet Submarines.
First one, which accomplished the mission successfully, was the submarines Shch-304, under command 3rd Rank Captain Yakov Afanasyev.
After successful passing through mine lines, it went to the sea to operational space. During its combat patrol the ss had crossed enemy mine lines 22 times, got attacked 7 times by aviation and 3 times by shore artillery. Anti-submarines ships of the enemy dropped more than 150 DC on it. Despite taken dmg, the Shch-304 destroyed a floating base of the enemy and returned from the patrol with victory.

Type “Shch” submarines were the most effective ones during the Great Patriotic War. 30% of sank and damage tonnages of the enemy on their scoreboard.


Edited by Erica_of_the_Greenhouse
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