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Technical data
  • WWII-era Soviet Shchuka-class diesel-electric X-bis series submarine (“shchuka” is Russian for “pike”)
  • Length: 58.8 meters
  • Armament: 2 x 45mm guns, 6 x torpedo tubes (4 x bow, 2 x stern), 10 x torpedoes
  • Crew: 40 men
  • Lost without a trace on 29 May 1943
  • Found and identified in the area of Bolshoy Tyuters Island by our team on 2 May 2017. She sank as a result of a mine explosion in the German “Seeigel” (Sea Urchin) minefield.
  • Depth: 60 meters
Submarine history

Shch-406 is one of the most famous Soviet Baltic Fleet submarines. The submarine took part in three combat campaigns (four combat campaigns counting the last one, when she sank) under the command of Hero of the Soviet Union Evgeny Osipov. During these campaigns, the submarine crew carried out 12 torpedo attacks and launched 18 torpedoes.

According to the official data, Osipov managed to sink five ships. However, the success of two attacks has not yet been confirmed.

Osipov and Shch-406 crew

Osipov was a very famous and lucky Navy Commander. The results of Shch-406’s patrols were used in propaganda hailing the achievements of Soviet submarines. This boat was mentioned in Soviet military chronicles (see the Russian-language video below, which shows Shch-406 in action beginning at 3:40 min). Osipov is one of two Soviet Baltic Fleet submariners who received the title Hero of the Soviet Union.

Book about Osipov

Her fourth and final combat patrol started at on 25 May 1943. The target was to cross the minefields and enter the open Baltic Sea.
After a few days, the submarine was loaded with fuel and provisions at the last Soviet Navy base on Lavensaari Island. On 29 May 1943, she left Lavensaari, submerging just past the island, and disappeared for 74 years.

You can find more details about the sub’s history at the following sites (Russian only): “World War II under water” and Wikipedia.

You can also scroll through the album below to see a few historical photos of Shch-406 and her crew:

There were a few hypotheses about the sub’s fate:

  • She sank after a mine explosion at the “Seeigel” minefield
  • She sank as a result of a successful ASW attack near Nargen-Porkkala
  • She sank after a mine explosion at the “Nashorn” minefield
  • She sank as a result of an attack by ASW forces near the Porkallan-Kalbod lighthouse

We found the lost submarine on 2 May 2017 near the northern tip of Bolshoy Tyuters Island at a depth of 60 meters, at the coordinates of the “Seeigel” minefield, literally 500 meters from the Shch-320 wreck.

Our exploration of the wreck revealed some important details:

  • Based on the design features, we identified the hull as a Shchuka-class X-bis series submarine
  • Due to the wooden shelling of the hull and the anti-magnetic coil of the external components, we concluded that boat sank not earlier than 1943
  • The boat’s heading is 290 degrees, on the way out of the Gulf of Finland
  • The submarine sank as a result of a mine explosion on starboard side near the 1st compartment
  • We found visible evidence that the surviving crewmembers attempted to leave the sinking ship: the main bridge hatch is fully open, and the stern emergency escape hatch is half-open

The boat was identified using its design features and assumptions based on historical data.

According to Finnish archives, soon after the loss of Shch-406, the body of a Soviet submariner wearing rescue gear was found on the shore of Ristisaari Island. The Finns buried the body on the island. Most likely, it was one of the ship’s crewmembers.

Discovery and identification report (PDF, Russian only)

Photos of Shch-406 made during the expedition:

3D model of Shch-406’s conning tower built using real footage

(photogrammetry technology)

Discovery and exploration report as a photo gallery (Russian only):

History without politics

Underwater Exploration Team

a year ago

"Малютке" М-32, чудом спасшейся из предыдущего похода, когда экипаж был отравлен парами бензина, продолжало везти.

Learn more
a year ago

У подводников всего мира главным мерилом результативности является тоннаж потопленных судов противника.

Имя самого результативного по тоннажу русского подводника общеизвестно, это - Александр Маринеско...

Learn more
Our team

Konstantin Bogdanov

Founder, mastermind and main driving force behind the team

Russian Geographical Society’s “Person of the Year” in 2015. Has been diving since the year 1812, prefers Inspiration Vision. CMAS instructor.

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Mikhail Ivanov

Universal soldier and walking encyclopedia, all in one

Knows everything about any events connected with the Gulf of Finland and military activity around it from any time period. Able to find things in archives and perform the most complex tasks under water. Holds the honorary title "High Efficiency". Special interest: submarines.

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Ivan Borovikov

Diver, underwater photographer and videographer

The team’s chief beard, GUE-fanatic and part-time expeditionary medic. Dives with JJ-CCR in GUE modifications.

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Alexei Ivanov

Irreplaceable gasblender and tech guru

Military composure and liver training. IANTD instructor, diving since 2005, prefers CCR Inspiration.

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Иннокентий Ольховой

Дайвер, подводный оператор, священник

В жизни - священник, эконом Даниловского монастыря. В команде с 2017 года. ПредпочитаетJJ-CCR, добросовестно исполняет обязанности корабельного священника, а в редкие минуты отдыха сочиняет песни и поёт их под гитару.

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Olga Akulova

Irreplaceable team member, photographer and, more recently, land-based expedition operator

Charming lady who cannot be found with fewer than two cameras in her hands 🙂 Doesn’t dive, but strongly sympathizes.

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Evgeny Abramov

Better known as “John”

Chief dolphin master, old soul, cupbearer and diver with vast experience.

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Sumbat Alexandrov

Laugher in Chief

Professional diver. Cave dweller, handiman and a giant of a man with huge experience.

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Evgeny Tutynin

Hydroacoustics expert, eyes and ears of the team

Began diving relatively recently and is now exploring the objects he finds not only on a sonar screen, but also in real life.

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Nikolai Kudryashov


Enthusiastic open-cycle diver. Always ready in difficult times to offer support, help, stage bottles or snacks.

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Nikolai Fetisov

Diving since 2005

Prefers JJ-CCR, main diving interests are caves and wrecks. Has been participating in the team’s projects since 2013. Always ready not only to dive, but also to help support the technical side of a dive.

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Murat Kurbanov

Photoshop god

Doesn’t dive. Takes care of all the difficult jobs involving images (such as the “Lefort” mosaic), master of imagery, design guru, helps support dives.

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L-2 submarine

L-2 submarine sunk after she hit the mines near Juminda peninsula in 1941. All crew, including famous poet, navigating officer of L-2 Alexander Lebedev, died with the ship.

Sch-302 submarine

Sch-302 was the one of four three subs of "Pike"-class Soviet WWII subs. She disappeared without a trace in her first war patrol in 1942. Submarine wreck was discovered only in 2019.

Sch-308 submarine

Sch-308, the "Pike"-class Soviet WWII sub took part in two war patrols and disappeared without a trace in 1942. The submarine wreck was found by our team in 2018. Russian president Mr Putin has visited the Wargrave in 2019 while taking part in the memorial ceremony.

Sch-405 submarine

Sch-405 was the unluckiest of the Soviet Baltic fleet subs of WWII times. She survived two commanders, and the third one died with the submarine. She managed to take part in one war patrol, nearly survived and sunk on her way to the second one by Nazi mine in Soviet-controlled waters.

“Kalinin” destroyer (formerly “Pryamislav”)

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“Novik” destroyer (former “Yakov Sverdlov”)

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S-12 submarine

S-12 Soviet WWII submarine was one of five subs sent with order to break thru the German minefields, crossing the Gulf of Finland in 1943. She struck the mine and was torn apart by the explosion. Submarine wreck is laying at 87 meters depth.

Sch-317 submarine

This WWII-era Soviet Shchuka-class submarine is probably our most unexpected find of 2017, from a historical perspective.

Sch-406 submarine

Sch-406 was one of the most famous WWII-era Soviet Shchuka-class submarines, commanded by Hero of the Soviet Union E.Y. Osipov. She was lost without a trace in the Gulf of Finland in the spring of 1943. Our team found and identified Shch-406 on 2 May 2017.

Sch-320 submarine

Shch-320 was a WWII-era Soviet diesel-electric X series submarine, commanded by Ivan Makarovich Vishnevsky. She was lost without a trace during a combat patrol mission in the Gulf of Finland in October 1942. Our team found and identified Shch-320 on 1 May 2017.

Sch-408 submarine

Probably one of the most tragic tales of the Baltic submarine fleet. Sch-408 "Baltic Varyag" was forced to engage in an artillery battle with three German ships and submerged without lowering its flag.

Sch-324 submarine

This legendary Shchuka-class submarine – a veteran of the Finnish war – embarked on a unique 30-mile passage under the frozen Gulf of Finland with no navigational references, and was later sunk during its first WWII combat patrol.

M-95 submarine

The Malyutkas were one of the most numerous classes of WWII-era Soviet submarines. The M-95's crew fought to save their sub for two days and only attempted to abandon ship after exhausting every opportunity for survival...

Vaindloo freighter

One of the many victims of the so-called "Russian Dunkirk" – the Soviet evacuation of Tallinn. A huge number of ships in several waves broke through the minefields, aviation attacks and artillery fire at Kronstadt. Many of them did not make it, leaving the route from Tallinn to Kronstadt strewn with sunken ships, many of which have yet to be found.

XIX-century tall ships

The Gulf of Finland is the cradle of northern civilizations. Trade and sea traffic have existed there from time immemorial. The old trade routes are strewn with a huge number of sunken tall ships of all eras, nationalities and sizes. Most of them are in excellent condition: they are hard to access, but the cold waters of the Gulf of Finland keep the wood perfectly preserved. Artifacts can be found on almost every wreck: dishes, bells, personal belongings of crewmembers, anchors, helms, and remains of cargo. Among ourselves, we call these ships "Scanias" because they served as the long-haul trucks of their time.

MKT T-387 minesweeper

This Soviet naval minesweeper, which sank in 1944 after being hit by a torpedo from a German U-boat, was quite a puzzler. The extensive damage made it rather difficult for us to identify it and uncover its history.

Pallada armored cruiser

This giant armored cruiser with a crew of 550 tragically sank within minutes of a submarine attack, marking Russia's entry into WWI in the Baltic region.

Akula submarine

The legendary Akula submarine – the forbearer of the Russian submarine fleet – was lost without a trace more than 100 years ago, but has now been found.

T-18 torpedoboot

The German T-18 torpedoboot sank as a result of a skip-bombing attack by Soviet bombers near the Finnish port of Hanko. The ship's hull is broken into two parts that stand on the seafloor almost vertically, in a V shape. This was the only successful skip-bombing attack conducted by the Soviet Air Force in the Baltic theater. Our team found and identified the ship on 16 June 2014.

Vzryv and Provodnik minesweepers

WWI showed all of the world's governments that the rules of war at sea had completely changed. Mines, torpedoes, submarines, steamships and long-range artillery forced all naval powers to reconsider their shipbuilding plans. The need for a special class of ships appeared: minesweepers. This is the story of the Russian Imperial Fleet's very first minesweepers.

S-9 submarine

This S-class Soviet submarine was one of five that tried to break out of the Gulf of Finland in 1943. The sub's history is full of strange and surprising facts: she sank twice, was shelled and torpedoed, but remained in service until the very end.

Lefort – Russian wooden battleship

The last real wooden battleship of the Russian Imperial Fleet. This giant was considered unsinkable but went down in minutes, taking over 800 souls with her. This was the largest peacetime sea tragedy before the sinking of the Titanic and Estonia ferry. The event inspired Ivan Aivazovsky to create one of his best-known paintings, the Sinking of the Lefort. The nearly forgotten ship was found 150 years after the tragedy.

P-1 “Pravda” submarine

The Pravda submarine's developers envisioned a huge submarine, the size of a destroyer, surfacing among enemy ships and taking part in an artillery battle. We will tell the story of the sole attempt to send a P-class submarine on a combat patrol.


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