- On 31/08/2010
- In World War Wrecks
From RT (first published 1st of May, 2010)
After a decade of painstaking underwater searching, the wreck of a Soviet World War II submarine has been found in the Baltic Sea.
The vessel went down with its fifty-man crew in 1940 after being sunk by a mine laid by Finland. The relatives of those who died say it is a matter of honor to establish what really happened all those years ago.
For seventy years, it was a mystery how, where and even when the S-2 submarine perished. During the war between the Soviet Union and Finland, the sea around the Aland Islands became a focal point for the naval conflict, much of it underwater.
The S-2 – which set sail on January 1, 1940 – was sent by the Soviet High Command to roam and disrupt Finland's supply lines. Retired submarine captain Igor Kurdin told RT that “surviving on a submarine like this was very difficult. There was no air purification system. The heat was stifling. Besides, the commanders had little information about this area.”
Three days later – just as the S-2 was entering the conflict zone – all communication was lost. A lighthouse officer described seeing the submarine surface on January 3, then hearing a shattering explosion. That officer's grandson, professional diver Ingvald Eckerman, dedicated ten years to finding it.
“My father told me the story of the submarine since I was a child. But there were no specific coordinates. We searched everywhere. The moment we found it – it was amazing!” he recalled. However, not everyone believes the S-2 was lost without a fight.
Aleksandr Tutyshkin was only a toddler when his father, the most senior officer on the S-2, died. To honor him, he became a navy man himself.
“I turn 73 soon. I have only one dream left. That is to visit the place of my father's death, and to find out how he really died,” he said.
Aleksandr Tutyshkin claims the S-2 was engaged in action, battling bravely before sustaining serious damage. Leaking oil, with a failing radio system, it tried to communicate with another Soviet ship – but could not make itself clear. Knowing they were doomed, the crew tried to return home, before being bombed by Swedish boats which were helping Finland.
Tutyshkin claims Sweden's war neutrality meant that the incident was hushed-up. Now the S-2's final resting place has been found, researchers may at last discover how it sank. Yet unless it is declared an official war grave, underwater treasure hunters may get there first.