The second stage of the expedition of the Russian Geographical Society "180 miles to Leningrad. The history of the Tallinn breakout on the modern sea map" begins today, July 1, in the Estonian part of the Gulf of Finland. The expedition is now international. Divers will have to find and identify the ships that sank in August 1941 in the area of Juminda Peninsula.
The backbone of the team is made up of the specialists from "Underwater Exploration Team" under the leadership of Konstantin Bogdanov. Earlier, they had received permission to search in Estonian territorial waters. And the day before, they arrived at the port of Vergi, which is about 35 km by sea from the search area.
Konstantin Bogdanov emphasizes the special status of the expedition, “This is the first time we go out to sea on the basis of an agreement with the Heritage Conservation Department (Muinsuskaitseamet) of the Republic of Estonia. Therefore, the attention to the results will be special. Our small international team includes representatives from Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Finland."
The researchers are planning to carry out a series of dives to a depth of 100 meters in order to identify and film the ships of the Tallinn Breakout, that sank on the night of August 28-29, 1941, in the area of the Juminda mining and artillery station. Back then, literally within a few hours, more than 40 ships and vessels were sunk, and with them about 10 thousand people.
The largest, in terms of human losses, was the destruction of the transport ships “Balkhash”, “Everita”, “Naissaar” and the command ship “Vironia”. At the same time, the last destroyers of the Baltic Fleet of the “Novik” series, including the lead ship “Yakov Sverdlov”, were sunk as well.
During the expedition, it is planned to inspect at least six objects selected based on the sonar data and the archival materials analysis carried out in previous years by the members of the expedition "A bow to the ships of the Great Victory".
“The experience of diving to the ships of the Tallinn Breakout in previous years has shown that you never, even using high-quality sonograms, can accurately predict what will be at the bottom,” notes Konstantin Bogdanov. “We have, so many times, dived to ‘submarines’, only to find minesweepers or other participants in the tragedy ... "
Nevertheless, according to the leader of the expedition, the members of his team are full of optimism. All research materials at Juminda Peninsula will also be transferred to the Heritage Conservation Department of the Republic of Estonia.
The expedition of the Russian Geographical Society, dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the Tallinn Breakout, began in May with searches south-west of Moshchny Island in the Russian part of the Gulf of Finland. The result of the dives was the identification of four transport ships that sank in August 1941, carrying more than 2.5 thousand people.
In total, during the redeployment of the Baltic Fleet from Tallinn to Kronstadt from 27 to 29 August 1941, more than 60 military and transport ships were sunk and over 15 thousand Soviet citizens were killed.
After the identification of the found vessels, it is planned to make then publicly available on an interactive geo map developed by “Fertoing” for the 80th anniversary of the Tallinn Breakout, which will be celebrated in August this year.