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The first wartime navigation. The autumn of 1941

In July 1941 the Ladoga Navy was supplied with two divisions of gunboats, a division of mine sweepers, two divisions of armor boat mine sweepers, a squadron of transport ships, a group of special task ships, anti-air artillery batteries, a communication service and other management and provision divisions. Further the composition of the fleet was supported by patrol ships, armored boats, patrol boats of the MO type, transport ships and land regiments.

In summer 1941 the Finnish fleet started advancing on the Eastern and Western banks of Lake Ladoga, moving fast to the south. Three artillery divisions of the 7th army held back the advance of the exceeding forces of the enemy, but had to retreat. In order to threaten the flanks and the rear of the enemy and to support the retreating forces of the 7th army the Ladoga Navy received an order to perform a number of battle operations by landing naval assault forces to the islands near the Eastern bank. The ships of the fleet also provided regular delivery of ammunition and food supplies to the army and performed patrol duties in order to prevent the enemy from moving his forces to the islands near the shore.

By the middle of August a critical moment came by for the forces defending Leningrad. They had to take out of encirclement the Soviet troops that had been pressed to Lake Ladoga and move them to the crucial districts of the battle for Leningrad. This task was put before the Ladoga Navy. The seamen of the Navy performed this mission successfully, and thanks to the Ladoga Navy the 168th division broke out of encirclement. Around 23 thousand people, 140 weapons and a lot of equipment were evacuated. In this operation the most outstanding bravery was shown by the “Purga” patrol ship, “Stalinets” rescue ship, “Selemdzha” and “Bira” gun boats, MO type boats etc. The flag of the “Purga” patrol ship was held by the commander of the Ladoga Navy, the 1st rank captain B. V. Khoroshkhin. “Purga” evacuated land troops from the shore many times. A model of this battleship can be found in the exposition of the museum.

The workers of the North-West river shipping company fought side by side with the seamen who served on battleships. The biggest part of transportation of the soldiers and equipment of the 168th division was performed by the North-West shipping barges, which had been specially reequipped for that, and by transport ships. The divisions that had been moved from the banks of Ladoga to the front line of Leningrad contributed greatly to the defense of the city.

The closed off ring of the siege left only one way of bringing to Leningrad everything necessary for the city’s life and resistance – via Lake Ladoga. After the fall of Shlisselburg cargo could be accepted only on the West bank of the lake. Here, next to the "Ladozhskoe ozero" railway station, piers were hastily built in the havens of Osinovets and Golsman, the bottom of the lake was made deeper, narrow railways were built together with warehouses and ground dwellings. On September 12, 1941 the first food cargo was delivered to the West bank, to the Osinovetsky lighthouse, amounting to 626 tons of grain and 116 tons of flour. During the 79 days of the first navigation, apart from the emergency transportation (transporting the 191st and the 44th artillery divisions and a marine brigade to the East bank) around 33.5 thousand Leningrad citizens and more than 3 thousand wounded soldiers were evacuated via Ladoga.

The museum exhibits tell the story of many exploits of the Ladoga seamen that had to face constant attacks of the German "Junkers" and "Heinkel" planes. The museum holds exhibits that tell about glorious war deeds of the crew of the “Constructor” patrol boat. On November 4, 1941 the ship that was carrying 250 citizens of Leningrad to evacuation was attacked by the enemy planes. After being hit by two bombs “Constructor” suffered serious damage and started filling up with water rapidly. The situation of the ship was critical. The crew struggled relentlessly in order to save the ship and the people. The "Bureya" gunboat came to the rescue and took the surviving passengers on board, and the crew of the "Constructor" kept fighting to save the ship. Thanks to the great professionalism and bravery of the crew the "Constructor" patrol ship was saved and returned into service after the repair.

The seamen of Ladoga demonstrated bravery and valor during the laying of a telephone cable line at the bottom of Lake Ladoga. When the siege started the telephone and telegraph wire communication between Leningrad and the rest of the country was broken. Radio communication was not very reliable. In very difficult conditions, in stormy weather, under the systematic attacks of the enemy the communication workers of the Leningrad frontline and the seamen of the Ladoga Navy managed to lay several telephone and telegraph cable lines at the bottom of Lake Ladoga. Before laying the cable lines the route was studied by the hydrographs of the Ladoga fleet, and the "Saturn" ship performed the hydrographic support of the cable line construction. The underwater works were performed by the emergency and rescue group of the Baltic fleet and the Ladoga navy.