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Russian expedition recovers unique naval gun from Kerch Strait

July 27, 2017, 8:18 UTC+3 KERCH (Crimea)

The ships sank during a major landfall operation in November 1943

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© Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

KERCH (Crimea), July 27. /TASS/. A 76 mm anti-aircraft naval gun from aboard a Soviet gunboat, BK-73, which sank during World War II, was recovered on Wednesday from the Kerch Strait that connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

The recovery was done by members of a search party under the umbrella of the Russian Defense Ministry, the head of the party, Andrei Taranov told reporters.

The search for ships sunken during World War II in the Black Sea and the Kerch Strait began on July 19.

"In the course of the works, the expedition found a naval gun, the fragments of plating and the post the gun had been attached to," he said. "The gun itself is in a good condition and we’ll install it in Patriot Park in Kerch after restoration."

Alexander Yolkin, the chief scientific supervisor of the expedition who represents Batareya 29 Bis public association said the gun fell into the category of the so-called Lender Guns as it belonged to Pattern 1914/15 designed by Franz Lender. The latter man was the Russian designer of artillery weapons who made an important contribution to the theory and practice of delivering gunfire at aerial targets.

"Pattern 1914/15 guns were the first antiaircraft weapons installed on Russian naval ships," Yolkin said adding that their combat employment continued during World War II.

The searchers have tracked down another three sunken gunboats in the Kerch Strait. One of them was a fire support vessel. The party recovered the Katyusha salvo system and cartridges from it.

The ships sank during a major landfall operation in November 1943. In part, the BK-73 that had a twelve-strong crew and was carrying 42 marines tripped a mine some 10 km away from the Crimean shore. All the sailors and marines died.

All the sites where the ships sank are charted now and the authorities have listed them as military tombs protected by the state.

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