What was the Naval Situation ln the Baltic like after the start of Barbarossa?

I’m curious as to whether there were significant naval engagements between the Kreigsmarine and the Soviet navy as I don’t believe there has been any mention the naval situation in the weekly episodes, and if not what were the navies doing?


I thought there would be done in the Baltic itself. I do know the Luftwaffe sunk a LOT of Soviet ships in Leningrad harbor including a frickin battleship, I believe in 1944.

I do know the Baltic was more or less a German Lake and that it was safe enough for the Kreigmarine to train all their U-Boat crews which is why I’ve always considered the British High Command the worst kinds of idiots for shitcanning the original Operation Jupiter, the liberation of Norway.

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At the time the Soviets had occupied the Baltic states and maintained a military base at Hanko (southernmost cape of Finland). Main Soviet naval bases were at Kronstad, Tallinn and especially at Liepāja. Germans ships used Finnish waters when they started their minelaying efforts.

The Germans however did not deploy large warships at the start - not that they all that many ready either. So after the minelayers had done their tasks most of the action was handled by the smaller craft and submarines. The Soviets on the other hand were forced to retreat with haste. Several ships could not be made at Liepāja and had to be destroyed.

What happened at Gulf of Riga area: There were naval actions at or near the Gulf of Riga from June to August 1941 where Soviet (mainly) destroyers and cruisers engaged German S-boats and other lighter vessels (including M-boats). Both sides spent a lot of effort on minelaying and minesweeping. The Germans came clearly better off from these engagements losing few S-boats and minesweepers while the Soviets lost 3 destroyers as sunk and several more destroyers and a cruiser damaged (as well as some lighter vessels too).

What happened in the Gulf of Finland - Finnish side: Soviets laid defensive minefields which the Soviets believed that together with the coastal artillery at Hanko and Naissaar would be enough to close the Gulf of Finland. However once the white night started to go away the Finns swept a route past Hanko and had made it wide enough that freighter convoys could sail past quite early on. The Soviets also sent their own convoys to Hanko as well. These actions typically took place at night to reduce the risk of coastal artillery and air attacks on both sides. So at least once a Finnish and a Soviet convoy actually run into each other. Soviets did try to make an effort at Hanko at capturing nearby small islands and islets - likely to get Finns to move forces form Karelia to there - but they amounted to very little actual results. In the end the Soviets were forced to evacuate the base (but this happen much later in 1941) which succeeded but with heavy Soviet casualties from naval mines and coastal artillery. The Finns lost the coastal defense battleship Ilmarinen to a mine in a decoy operation that the Soviet failed to even notice.

Gulf of Finland - Estonian side: The German advance towards Leningrad cut the land connection between the Soviet forces in Estonia (centering on Tallinn) and Leningrad. Effectively encircling them. The Germans and the Finns also laid a mine barrier (known as ‘Juminda mine barrier’ after the nearby cape) to block the route - and the Germans even deployed artillery to the shore. On the sea in addition to the mines were German and Finnish torpedo equipped ships. And the Luftwaffe was also waiting for their turn. The Soviets evacuation from Tallinn is really a whole another chapter (aka the Russian Dunkirk) where the Soviet operation both succeeded and failed at the same time (depending on the point of view). Evacuation of most of the people succeeded but at the cost of (estimated 13 000 lives) which is said to have made one of the bloodiest naval operations to have taken place.

A lot more could be written however. Those are just some snippets of information.

As to the exact questions from the OP… There were no real ‘classic’ naval engagements between fleets. Plenty of action of lighter vessels, immense amounts of mine warfare (results of which can be seen even today: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2018/10/26/estonia-mines/ ), considerable amount of submarine warfare, but not actual fleet elements facing one another.