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Battle of Nerva Island
Part of the Eastern Front of World War II
T 35 as DD 935 in US seas August 1945.jpg
T-35, of same Elbing-class like T-31 and T-30
Date19–20 June 1944
Locationclose Nerva Island in Gulf of Finland
Result Soviet victory
Belligerents
 Nazi Germany  Soviet Union
Commanders and leaders
Nazi Germany Heinrich Peter-Pirkham Naval Ensign of the Soviet Union.svg S.A.Osipov
Strength
2 torpedo boats Minor units of the
Soviet Baltic Fleet (4 gunboats, 10 patrol boats, 14 motor torpedo boats)
Casualties and losses
1 torpedo boat sunk,
1 torpedo boat damaged
78 killed, 21 wounded, 6 captured
8 units damaged
unknown human losses


The Battle of Nerva Island was a battle in the Gulf of Finland during World War II on 19–20 June 1944 between the Soviet Union and the Germany, occurred amid the 1944 Soviet offensive against Finland. It was one of the few engagements in the Baltic theater with large surface ships.

Background

Nerva (or Narvi) Island was a strategic target conquered by the Soviet forces in preparation for the following Battle of Vyborg Bay (1944). The Kriegsmarine begun the "Operation Drosselfang" on Koivusaari/Piisaari area, to attack Soviet small ships supporting the combined Soviet operations. The action was relevant for the involvement of German large surface vessels: the Elbing-class fleet torpedo boats T-30 and T-31.[1]

Battle

No major Soviet warships were in action (most of them were blocked in Leningrad), and the Soviet Navy engaged possessed in the area 4 small gunboats, 10 patrol boats (MO-4 class submarine chasers), and 14 motor torpedo boats.[2] German torpedo boats shelled the soviets but caused only damage to the two gunboats MBK-503, MBK-505 and on the MO-106, without sinking them. The Soviets counter-attacked with their motor torpedo boats: the first attack was repelled with damage to TK-53, TK-63 and TK-153, while the second attack was another failure with damage to TK-101 and TK-103. Finally, TK-37 and TK-60[3] made a pincer attack and launched their torpedoes at the same time against T-31: The German torpedo boat was hit and sunk. Other sources give credit to the victory only to TK-37.[4] 76 German sailors lost their lives, while 6 were captured by Soviets. Finnish units rescued other German sailors (including 23 wounded, two died of wounds[5]). After the loss of her sister-ship, T-30 retreated after having suffered light damage (one sailor killed and 13 wounded). Germans claimed to have sunk a number of Soviet attacking motor torpedo boats but actually despite some were damaged, none was sunk.

Aftermath

The battle resulted in a rare naval victory for the Soviets: Germans failed to sink any Soviet ship, while losing a torpedo boat. The following month, on 16 July 1944, The Germans attempted a repetition of the mission (“Operation Buckenwald”) engaging the torpedo boats T-30, T-8 and T-10: the action resulted in a brief inconclusive skirmish with Soviet torpedo boat Tucha and minesweepers Tszcz-211 Rym and Tszcz-217 Kontr-Admiral Yurkovskiy. No damage occurred to the major warships, while shortly before the fight the Soviets suffered damage to two small patrol boats.[6]

References

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