Unknown Pre-World War Two and World War Two Soviet Midget Submarine Designs


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13 April 2006
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I have been researching the two "official" Soviet midget submarine designs of the 1930's, the APSS and PYGMEY submersibles. Were there other Soviet midget submarine designs in the works in the 1930's and 1940's? The best information I can find indicate that the Soviet Union did not start developing midget submarines until after The Great Patriotic War.
I have "discovered" the following images in my files and I need some clarification. I would like additional information regarding the "Blokha" (flea) midget submarine design. Secondly the two images, in Russian, illustrate some interesting designs. I do not read Russian and I am hoping that at least two of the 1936 projects illustrated are Soviet pre-WW2 projects. The others look German to me. Please help me clarify what these are and, if possible, provide a translation and additional information.

Thank you.


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The first two are Norwegian, the second are Germans. Third is a "Blocha" ("Flea") diving torpedo boat, designed in Leningrad in late 1930s. She was supposed to use both speed & stealth to attack enemy warships. The prototype was laid up in 1939, but were stopped when the war started. During the blockade, the incomplete boat was seriously damaged by German shell hit, so in 1945 it was deemed a total loss and scrapped.

The fourth is the scheme of transporting the "Blocha" onboard the large warships to enemy harbors.
I have never come across the Norwegian design before, any chance of translating the details for us?
Soviet projects between 1936 and 1938:
60-ton submarine, like a Type M (VI) serial submarines, but, with habitability and navigability worse than Type M (VI)
6.5/14.5-ton one-man submarine, with two 450 mm torpedoes and one machine gun.
"Moskit" (mosquito), project of engineer B. M. Malinin, between APSS and "Bloha".
Unknown Soviet mini-submarine:
There were also APSS - Aero-Podvodny Samodvijushiysa Snaryad (Aero-Submarine Self-Propelled Projectie):

Essentially it was a midget sub, small enough to be hauled by large twin-hulled flying boat MK-1 (Mosrkoy Kreiser, aka Sea Cruiser). It was capable of lifting up to the 6 tons of payload, so midjet sub transportation was within its capabilities. The APSS was supposed to be hanged between the hulls of the flying boat, and thus could be airlifted into the operational area:


The interesting detail, is that APSS was supposed to be optionally-manned submarine. It was equipped with radio-control system, and fluorescent mix dispenser (so it could be traced underwater), and was supposed to be guided from the same MK-1 flying boat that delivered it to target. Of course, the manned use was also possible.

Two prototypes of APSS were build in 1935-1936, but demonstrated rather abysmal characterstics, and - most importantly - radio control system was not reliable enough. Also, MK-1 flying boat was, while capable, very expensive in building and maintenance. So, in 1936 the whole project was cancelled.
Thank you, Iron Felix!

Interesting illustration. Looks similar to the Japanese midget subs around Pearl Harbor.
Third is a "Blocha" ("Flea") diving torpedo boat, designed in Leningrad in late 1930s

The fourth is the scheme of transporting the "Blocha" onboard the large warships to enemy harbors.

On deepstorm.ru these are two different projects.
The photo of the "unknown mini-submarine" is designated M-400, but I'm not sure about that. Perhaps this is an early version of "Bloha" or another project.

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