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http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Divers ... 5246670472
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Divers find Soviet submarine sunk in Åland Sea in 1940
Ten-year search proves successful
On January 3rd, 1940, during the Winter War, J.A. Eckerman, the guard of the Märket lighthouse in the Åland Sea between the Åland Islands and the Swedish coast, was making observations.
Eckerman caught sight of a submarine off the eastern peninsula of Märket. On its tower he could see the inscription “C-2", which suggested that it was a Soviet vessel. In the Cyrillic alphabet the letter C is pronounced “S”.
The submarine appeared to be moving in a northerly direction. Then it suddenly turned east, and then north again.
When the submarine disappeared from view, an explosion was heard. Eckerman turned his telescope toward the sound of the explosion and saw black smoke rising, which was blown away by the wind.
Eckerman wondered what might have caused the explosion. He felt that the submarine could not have reached the position where the explosion took place.
Five days later the Finnish Defence Forces questioned Eckerman about the matter. The report ended up in Finland’s War Archives, and the fate of the submarine remained unknown, as if it had vanished without a trace.
Decades later a group of Swedish divers and one diver from the Åland Islands decided to find out if there really was a Soviet S-2 submarine lying at the bottom of the Åland Sea. The Åland native in the group is Ingvald Eckerman, the grandson of lighthouse keeper J.A. Eckerman, who was the last to see the submarine.
The group started surveying the sea bottom in April 1999. The search lasted ten years, and on Tuesday this week the divers announced that they had found the wreck of the S-2.
Finding the sunken submarine was not easy. The search area was broad and the sea bottom is uneven. Also, the weather in the area is often unfavourable. In addition, there were conflicting reports on the fate of the vessel.
“According to one theory, it was only damaged, and sank later somewhere else. There is also uncertainty on whether or not it had gone down in Finnish or in Swedish waters”, says one of the members of the team, Björn Rosenlöf of Stockholm. According to Rosenlöf, the team was close to giving up five years ago when nothing was found.
“After that we would dive in the area only when we happened to be there anyway. In 2006 the group found another Soviet submarine, an SC-306, in the Åland Sea in Swedish waters.
The S-2 is believed to have hit a mine. Archive information on whether or not the vessel sank in Finnish or Swedish waters, and whose mine it might have hit, is contradictory.
According to the uboat.net website, which specialises in submarines, the fateful mine had been laid by the Finnish vessel, the Louhi.
Rosenlölf says that the S-2 had suffered serious damage. “It is in pieces. There is a rear 30 to 35 metres long, a mid-section about 20 metres in length, and the bow was completely destroyed by the explosion.
The fact that the bow was missing suggests to Rösenlöf that the submarine ran into a mine, which also detonated the torpedoes in the bow.
The 78-metre long vessel had a crew of 46. There were also four other passengers, including Gavril Tutyshkin, commander of the 13th submarine division of the Soviet Navy.
In addition to Finland and Sweden, the discovery of the submarine has raised interest in Russia as well. “The grandson of the captain has been in close contact with us”, Rosenlöf says.
But is the wreck on the Finnish or Swedish side of the sea border? “We know the answer to that, but we are not saying yet. We don’t want it to be plundered”, Rosenlöf answers.