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The Presidential Library tells of a submariner hero and lines from his last letter

22 March 2019

Two years ago, in the area of ​​the Bolshoy Tyuters Island in the Gulf of Finland, a search expedition discovered the submarine Shch-406, which crew had been missing for more than 70 years. The last trip on this submarine was made by engineer-lieutenant-commander Konstantin Matveyevich Maksimov (1915–1943).

As part of a joint campaign to collect documents on the siege and defence of Leningrad, initiated by the Presidential Library, the Petersburg Diary newspaper and Radio Rossiya - our electronic collections received photographs and letters from the Maksimov family.

Engineer-lieutenant-commander Konstantin Maksimov graduated from the diesel faculty of the F. Dzerzhinsky Higher Naval Engineering School and was distributed to the Red Banner Baltic Fleet. From the beginning of the war he commanded the warhead (BC 5) of the submarine Shch-406.

Vsevolod Azarov, the writer who knew Maksimov, recalled him as a man "with a tenacious memory, golden hands and a brave heart". According to the writer, our hero treated his submarine as a living organism, and from his comrades even received the nickname “machine god”.

Shch-406 set off on June 23, 1942. At the moment when in the Gulf of Narva the submarine surfaced to charge the battery, it was attacked by a German plane. One of the bombs exploded near the stern, disabling the electrical steering, as well as the periscopes and gyrocompass. However, the personnel managed to repair the boat, while it “lay low,” lay at the bottom. And soon the military campaign was continued, during which Shch-406 sank five German transports with a total displacement of 40 thousand tons.

On August 6, 1942, when returning to the base, the submarine was attacked in the Gulf of Narva now by a German patrol ship and several boats. One of the enemy bombs exploded near the starboard, because of which Shch-406 literally fell to the bottom. However, the efforts of engineer Maximov and other members of the team managed to tear the submarine from the ground and go to great depths. Later it left the pursuit and returned to base.

By decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of October 23, 1942, the submarine was awarded the Order of the Red Banner, and Konstantin Maksimov - the Order of Lenin.

On its last trip, Shch-406 was released on the night of May 29, 1943. And already on June 1, stopped connecting with. It is believed that on this day it was blown up by a German mine.

On May 25, 1943, shortly before the last departure to the sea, Konstantin Maksimov wrote a heartfelt letter to his wife Serafima Fyodorovna, or Simulka, as he called her. This letter was given to the Presidential Library’s e-collections.

The Presidential Library continues digitizing diaries and letters received by us as part of the campaign to collect evidence of the exploits of Leningraders in 1941-1944. About 250 people responded to the corresponding call, who brought more than 2500 documents for digitization.

This list contains a photograph of the war years, thanks to which the survivor of the siege found out more than 70 years later what her father looked like, a letter to the past written to a deceased elder brother, a diary that interested the author of The Two Captains Benjamin Kaverin, etc.

With the participation of the Presidential Library in St. Petersburg, the Unified City Information Center, coordinating the coverage of events dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the complete liberation of Leningrad from the Nazi siege has been established. The Presidential Library’s portal provides access to a virtual tour of the exhibition halls of the temporarily closed State Museum of Defence and Siege of Leningrad and get familiar with the electronic collection “Defence and Siege of Leningrad”, which includes official documents, periodicals, memories of Leningraders, food cards, photo and newsreels .