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On a mysterious island off the coast of the Black sea, the soldiers were transformed into "people-amphibians"
Material posted: Publication date: 16-11-2014

Created on the orders of Prince Potemkin, the island became a base for Soviet naval spetsnaz. Here trained the best fighters in the country, and they went AWOL swimming.

The mysterious island of Ukraine — the island may be located in the estuary of the Dnieper-bug estuary, where it joins with the salty waters of the Black sea. Its contours are clearly visible from the coast of Ochakovo, but most residents of the seaside town, having lived in it my whole life, never been on this island, which is called in common parlance a secret. And those who came to its banks on a debt of military service, gave a subscription, pledging not to divulge his secrets. This island is not even inflicted on civilian maps — in fact this was the main base of Soviet naval spetsnaz. And even now, when the main military secret of our army is its deplorable state, may remain a protected area — a random person in there to continue to get.

History May unique — after all, this island, which today is one and a half kilometers, was created by human hands, and since its inception has always been used for military purposes. Known even to the time of his birth — the island ordered some in 1790, Prince Grigory Potemkin. Man-made island, called the Battery, had to close from enemy ships entering the estuary, closing it, like a cork in a bottle. In its construction participated actively Cossacks of the black sea. They were driven into the stranded strong oak piles, covering them with the debris of the Turkish fortress on the Kinburn spit, destroyed the troops of Suvorov.

All ships that passed this sea of construction, had to pay a kind of tax, giving the barrels, planks and trash, which built up a new island. And subsequently, the Battery was rebuilt by the famous military engineer Eduard Totleben, turning it into a real fortress where even was laid railway line for transportation of heavy artillery shells. Fortress cannons rose from the underground casemates of the Islands on special and lifts, making the shot, fell down, so they don't hit a return volley. In 1906, these casemates were sitting before the execution of Lieutenant Schmidt, who led the uprising of the black sea fleet. And after the victory of the revolution on the island was established as a monument to the mast of the rebellious battleship "Potemkin", renaming the island Battery in may day in may colloquially. So, the irony of history, the name Potemkin was reiterated in the biography of the island.

Saboteurs: shelter sea lions

During the war, the island fortress held six months after the Nazis took Ochakov. But in the early 60-ies of the Soviet military decided to place the 17-th separate brigade of spetsnaz of the Main intelligence Directorate of the General staff — a unique secret unit, which was to learn in that remote from prying eyes skills submarine war. Shortly before this, in 1955, on the RAID of Sevastopol trophy blew up the battleship "Novorossiysk", which was formerly named Giulio Cesare, and fought in the Italian Navy. Immediately after the crash under suspicion by Italian frogmen-saboteurs, which was then considered the best in the world underwater special forces. Then killed more than 600 sailors. This tragedy pushed our generals and admirals to the creation of elite units of the Soviet Navy seals, who soon surpassed the level of combat readiness and Italian counterparts, and units of the naval special forces in other countries.

Soldiers and officers who had been sent from specialized military schools in Odessa and Leningrad, lived in the old artillery casemates and trained in a special program, which was to make each unit of this "man-amphibian". With the difference that the riot police had to feel not only a fish in the water, but the birds in the sky. Because special forces soldiers had to get to the goal by any means — and under water and from the air, using parachutes. And besides, officers-swimmers had to learn the Turkish language as a potential military opponent.

The islanders: AWOL — across the sea

Here on the island, at the same time there were more than 300 people, — tells Dmitry Chalenko, underwater special forces veteran, who served on the island May in 1986-1988, and then twenty years in this secret unit. — No chance to get bored of the job were many, and they were all interesting to me. We have mastered the art of survival, practiced landing divers-saboteurs through the torpedo tube of a submarine, learn to work with unique underwater technology, which was developed specifically for us, landed the sea from the air in diving suits in any weather and at any time of the day. AWOL swam to the mainland — three miles to Ochakov and back. And we were punished only for being caught. Like, you're a commando, if you could not unnoticed for vodka to swim?".

According to Dmitry Chalenko, which is now organized in Ochakov naval Museum, the secrecy was so strictly maintained that it knew nothing even the relatives of the commandos.

— We had no right to talk about who and where we serve. According to the legend, our part was a rescue station in the channel, between the estuary and the sea. When past the island was a foreign ship, we were pre warned about this, and the ushers were driven on shore in the clothes of rescuers, pierce sweep. Classes are held in underground dungeons, to air nothing. The level of alert was high — we were ready at any moment to come to full alertness, knowing that the job can be martial.

For example, in 1986, we secretly crossed the estuary, landed near Nikolayev, dressed in civilian clothes and in the morning captured one of regional departments of militia. And only one policeman tried to give us the resistance. This operation was carried out on the initiative of the KGB wanted to test how ready the police to attack the bandits, whose role we played. And two years later our fighters stormed the headquarters of the air force's black sea fleet at Sevastopol. Of course, it was dangerous, because those who we attacked, did not know that it is an online game and had to shoot at us to kill. Alas, once because it killed one of our colleagues, who, in carrying out the job, stealing a police car.

In the seventies, "people-amphibians" served combat missions in Cuba and in Egypt, guarding the Soviet ships and ensuring the safety of our delegation at the world festival of youth and students in Havana. In the eighties, the saboteurs acted in Libya, Nicaragua, Mozambique, Angola, Ethiopia, Vietnam. The strategic importance of the parts of divers has increased, because one of the brigade units focused on working with portable nukes that were stored on the island. In the event of war they had to be delivered to enemy territory. These charges were the biggest secret of the island.

Spinanger. pool for submarines and wall paintings of fighters

After the collapse of the Soviet Union brigade on May first in the Navy swore allegiance to the Ukrainian people, and soon frogmen took part in a unique operation "Shield of Ukraine", providing delivery of the first batch printed in Canada Ukrainian hryvnia on Board the cargo ship "Pyotr Aleynikov". Then the forces transferred to Ochakov — although may is still a military area the Ministry of defence. But the database is preserved, the teachings here are no longer held, many premises are empty. The island is guarded by five soldiers of the special forces. We managed to get to the secret island on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the part, which involved combat swimmers from the Club of veterans of the special intelligence of the Navy "frog". They showed us the nooks and crannies of May — including a huge swimming pool, lined with baby blue tiles, where he kept the special submarines for saboteurs.

— There were midget submarines "Triton-2" — to them we could almost silently penetrate into any port — it tells me a veteran swimmer Alexander. Each boat fits up to six people, and her compartments were flooded, and we sat there in scuba gear. There were other special devices — for example, underwater towing "Siren" or "Proteus".

The fortress May would make a great backdrop for fiction fighters-- although, actually, there should be a Museum that certainly would be a success among tourists. We are on a well-preserved underground tunnels and dungeons, and climb the bastions, where there are well-camouflaged armored pillboxes. Under foot and then across the steppe Viper — there are so many, that we think, not the island called Snake. According to the frogmen, before the vipers come across here much less frequently — in part because that commandos were accustomed to eating them.

Toads, vipers, — and everything in it went. They have enough tasty, nutritious meat, but when you have a job to go through dozens or even hundreds of kilometers, not making any contact, then hand feed from the swamp is simply irreplaceable.

On the walls of the casemates are depicted unusual figures — divers, who descend from the heavens on parachutes, with their torpedo-like devices. And some sea monsters, fighting with Soviet underwater saboteurs. In the light of a lantern in the dark underground corridors these paintings look animated scenes stories about the sea deity Cthulhu. As it turned out, this is the fruit of creativity of soldiers who whiled away the leisure island by painting colorful murals.

— Commando should be able to do everything, — says Alexander. — We are winning and the Americans. Their seals often came to our teachings. It is good people, and they have the latest equipment. But they can't parachute on the parachute from a height of 60 meters, jump from the boat to a speed of 25 knots or do push-UPS on one hand as much as any of us. With a bottle they honestly admitted. We have a commando can jump off the plane right into the barrel on the Ochakov winery. Yes and in the battle under the water we will be stronger. And all of this skill was acquired right here on a secret island.


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