Sailors of the Ladoga flotilla!
From your work to a great extent
depends the success of the fighting
on the Leningrad Front and the Baltic Sea.
All efforts to ensure a continuous flow
of goods and their safety !
6-inch standard magnetic compass GTU-5
15 - 25-ton self-propelled barge and landing craft Ladoga Tender
Soon after the start of the Leningrad siege, the heads of the city's defense, Andrei Zhdanov and
Alexey Kuznetsov recognized the need of constructing a new series of barges for transporting supplies
and persons over the only remaining escape route, the Lake Ladoga.
The design was supposed to be robust, seaworthy, sufficiently motorized as well as easy and fast to built.
The result was a 43-feet (14.3m), 25-ton scow driven by a ZIS-5 truck engine giving a speed of 5-6 knots.
The shallow draft and steel armed keel enabled it to land on almost every kind of shore.
Up to 50 civilians or fully equipped soldiers could be transported under deck on either the short track between
Osinovets and Kobona (2.5h) or the long track between Osinovez and Novaya Ladoga (10h).
Though starving almost to death, the shipbuilders in "Petrozavod" and other shipyards succeeded
to built no less than 118 barges between may and August 1942 of which a certain amount were the 15-ton
short version with only one cargo hold.
Though in 1942 the heroic "tenderistov" accomplished some 10,000 trips while transporting 150,000 tons
of urgently needed supplies to the besieged town, the journeys were very dangerous and far from comfortable for
the crew and passengers.
Enemy aircrafts were everywhere and constantly attacking the small ships which, initially unarmed, soon
received 12.7mm DShK heavy machine guns for self-defense.
These and the ability to literally turn on the point and thus escaping the air attacks led to the astonishing fact
that from the 118 barges in service none (!) was sunk albeit many seriously damaged..
Neither rough spring and autumn seas nor hopeless overloading stopped the evecuation of several
thousand inhabitants per day, spreading an enormous popularity among the people of Leningrad who
often insisted of being transport in nothing else than those "unsinkables".
As a major improvement, a faceted shape of armour was added to the steering place giving
the sailors at least some kind of protection against the aerial thrust.
But it wasn't only at the Leningrad front that the "Ladoga Tender" excelled.
From early 1943 on, they played a significant role at all major and minor landing operations,
be it in the Baltic Sea (Vyborg) , the Black Sea (Myskhako - "Malaya Zemlya" - Small Land,
Kerch-Eltigen and Odessa) or during the large river and lake crossings (Dnepr, Vistula, Lake Peipus).
The "Ladoga Tender" became a legend and more than once earned his nickname "Comrade Tender".