- The death of "Armenia" - one of the most violent in the history of mankind - says Sergei Voronov, director of the Department of Underwater Heritage of Ukraine Institute of Archaeology NASU. - The vessel carrying the wounded, killed about 7000 people (!), All the eight survivors picked up their patrol boat.
In this story, a lot of white spots. It is known that in 1941. Sanitary ship evacuated from the environment of Sevastopol and Yalta seriously injured from 23 hospitals. Not far from the coast of Yalta "Armenia" attacked the German aircraft torpedo, ignoring the red cross on the deck Korablin. A 4-minute break, and the ship went to the bottom. One of the causes of death, historians suggest, was that "Armenia" violated the order and went out to sea in the morning and not in the night, becoming an easy target for bombers.
The biggest losses in the history of the world of navigation has brought catastrophe associated with the German liner "Wilhelm Gustloff". It happened at the end of World War II in the waters of the Baltic Sea. Ship attacked torpedo Soviet submarine "S-13" under the command of Alexander Marinesco. On board were about 10 000 people. About 700 passengers survived. The latter, who was able to save the baby appeared, wrapped in a blanket. The boat he spent seven hours after the sinking of the liner when the air temperature - 18 ° C.
- If "Titanic" in 1503 killed a man, the "Armenia" - is nearly five such "Titanic"! - Says Sergey. - In addition, the passengers of "Titanic" could still be saved. In the case of "Armenia", they were doomed. Independently wounded could not move, and the chance to survive in the cold water was not, - says the scientist.
Speculation in this matter more than actual facts. During the Second World War, about the collapse of the floating hospital "Armenia" held back.
- Apparently, the government did not want to hurt the citizens of the Soviet Union with new catastrophes, traces of the tragedy swept, - the Ravens. - Even now, Ukrainian scientists can not find a reliable archival documents about the death of "Armenia».
- For information about the disaster collected bit by bit, - says Sergey. - Since 2003, we have carried out four expeditions to the place of the alleged crash. In the past year, "scoured" square up and down, examining the bottom of the 700-meter depth, but to no avail ... Soon plan to hire more powerful equipment and to continue the search.
As it was ...
Before the terrible tragedy remained day. In its last voyage "Armenia" went from the port of Sevastopol around 17:00. On board the floating hospital were seriously wounded and evacuated residents, they were to be delivered in Tuapse (Caucasus). However, the ship was sent to Yalta, where "Armenia" waiting for new wounded. On the beach was something indescribable. On mountain roads were Wehrmacht units. The capture of the city was a matter of a few hours. Yalta was in ruins: wine cellars were blown up, wine bloody river flowed into the sea. Groomed in peacetime streets turned into a pit dug in the apartments wielded looters. Residents in panic rushed through the city. For a night Yalta, November 7, 1941 and approached the "Armenia". From the port sanitary ship left only in the morning. After a few tens of kilometers, "Armenia" reached the southern coast, where it was attacked by German torpedo bombers "Heinkel He-111." German fighter ignored the signs of health Korablin - the red crosses on the deck. How could this happen? Historians say that the blame for the "Armenia": it violated the sanitary status of the vessel, as was armed with four anti-aircraft guns. In addition to the wounded and refugees on board were soldiers and members of the NKVD. The ship was accompanied by two armed boats and two fighter-153. In connection with this, "Armenia" was "legitimate" military target. At 11:25 in the nose of the vehicle hit one of the two outstanding aircraft torpedo and the ship went to the bottom.
From the words of witnesses
Now the witnesses of this terrible tragedy is no longer alive. Two years ago, died last witness - Anastasia Popova, in that fateful day, she was on board the "Armenia" and survived.
- We have heard her testimony, - says the Ravens. - In them, she says that to reach the shore by swimming, being pregnant. It is difficult to imagine how she could do this in the November cold water at a temperature 7 ° C. We assume that the most likely Popov caught on the lifeline or a door torn from "Armenia", and it was thrown to the shore. Here are her memories: "November 6, 1941 on the advice of friends, I decided to be evacuated from Yalta. With great difficulty, I was taken on board as the "Armenia" and was so full of wounded and refugees. Coming into the sea, the ship was attacked by enemy aircraft. It began hell. The bombings, panic, people screaming - all mixed up in an indescribable nightmare. People were running around the deck not knowing where to hide from the fire. I jumped into the sea and swam to the shore, losing consciousness. As it turned out on the beach, I do not remember ».
The archives are preserved memories and another witness, who at the time of the tragedy was on the shore: "From the mountain heights of Yalta - at a glance. We saw the November 7th day from the pier of the Yalta port departed the ship "Armenia" with the wounded. The ship had not yet come out into the open sea as bumped group of enemy aircraft and, despite the fact that on board the ship were clearly visible health crosses the start of precision bombing of floating hospital ... Until we could hear not only the bombings, but also the people's voice. "
Passengers on board no one believed
Now no one can tell the exact number of victims of this tragedy. During loading was a mess, sadivshihsya on the ship is not something that is not overwritten by the last name, even one they are not counted. If in Soviet times, it was thought that killed about 5 thousand people, now it sounds figure - 7-10 thousand chelovek.
"The story does not fit a lot - says Sergei Voronov. - Perhaps the most amazing thing is that from 7000 only the eight escaped. It just does not fit in my head! After all, the plane dropped a torpedo, and left. In addition, the beach was very close, life-saving - more than enough. At least half of the passengers "Armenia" could survive.
"Armenia" was carrying gold?
What is transported "Armenia", in addition to the wounded? According to one version, the ship was carrying a lot of valuables. In Yalta, on the ship NKVD loaded several dozen boxes. Perhaps they were gold and the value of the Crimean museums. There is even speculation that the ship transported in the lower holds of chemical weapons.
It is unclear why the patrol boat, accompanied by "Armenia", took only eight, because he could take on board for at least another fifty.
Strangely, for example, that the entire medical staff of the Sevastopol Defense Region suddenly loaded onto a ship and taken away. After the defense of the town was just beginning, many were wounded, and medics were needed there on the spot ».
"At least it surprises me - recognized Ravens - as" Armenia "was on the bottom. How such a huge vessel sank all of a torpedo fired for some 4 minutes? It does not happen! »
Without a trace
Ironically, the exact place of the death of "Armenia" has not yet been established. Coordinates at the hands of underwater archaeologists, were false and did not lead to the crash site.
They say you need to look for the wreck on the trail. After all, when the ship goes down, it flips into the water drop different things, break off part Korablin ... That is how, for example, the famous American scientist Robert Ballard found the "Titanic." First I discovered at the bottom of the lone shoe, then the mirror pipe, and then the whole body. Such traces of "Armenia" and did not find ... yet. But even when this happens, the ship will not raise to the surface - is not accepted, as it is one of the largest mass graves in the number of victims of the Black Sea.
Nevertheless, underwater archeologists still plan to inspect and examine the wreck.
"I especially want to get into the cabin number 5 - says Ravens - a doctor's office of the chief" Armenia ". We know that all the documents of patients doctors folded into the cabin. So we can find out the names of all those who died in this terrible accident.
The largest maritime disaster of the XX century
Vessel Year Country Number of victims of the cause of death
"Wilhelm Gustloff" The Third Reich in 1945 ~ 9300 attack submarine (submarine)
"Goya" the Third Reich in 1945 ~ 6000 attack submarines
"Armenia" in 1941 ~ 7000 Soviet attack aircraft
"Cap Arcona" The Third Reich in 1945 ~ 4500 Attack Aviation
"General Steuben" The Third Reich in 1945 ~ 3500 attack submarines
"Tilbek" The Third Reich in 1945 ~ 2800 unknown
"Vusung" China 1948 ~ 2750 unknown
"Dona Paz" Philippines 1987 ~ 2000 unknown
"Titanic" in 1912 UK 1503 collision with an iceberg
"Lusitania" UK 1915 1198 attack submarines
War ship bombing