The Russian submarine D-2, a veteran of World War II combat in the Baltic Sea, is the centerpiece of a new historical exhibit facility opening later this year in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad). The D-2, originally named Narodovolyets, and two sister submarines were laid down at the Baltic Shipyard in Leningrad on 5 March 1927, the first major warships begun under the Soviet regime. All were completed in 1930-1931. The D-l was lost with all hands during a test dive in 1940, while the D-3 was probably lost to a German mine off the coast of Norway in 1942.
The D-2 made several war patrols in the Baltic during the war but with very limited success because of the ice, geographic, and tactical conditions affecting Soviet operations in the Baltic and Gulf of Finland, where Leningrad/St. Petersburg is located. After the war, the D-2 was moored at the Kronstadt naval base in the Gulf of Finland and employed as a battery charging barge, then a stationary training ship, and later abandoned at Kronshtadt.
As a memorial exhibit, the D-2 has been placed on dry land as part of a new naval visitor’s center on Vasilyevsky island, adjacent to the passenger ship terminal and near the Baltic Shipyard (which built the D-2). The exhibit center includes film and slide shows as well as static exhibits on submarines and the Baltic Fleet.
The submarine has been completely reconditioned and refitted with equipment—either original or recreation— resulting in a like-new look. There are dummy torpedoes; the periscopes and engine telegraphs work; and visitors are blasted by various diving and action alarms.
The D-2 is entered from the exhibit building through a doorway cut into the forward battery compartment. There are several exhibit displays from which the visitors climb stairs up into the forward torpedo room (fitted with four 21-inch tubes). Visitors then proceed aft to the submarine’s seven compartments, connected by standard, circular submarine hatches. The craft is exited from the after torpedo room (two tubes) back into the exhibition building. The after battery compartment— reached by stairs—also contains submarine exhibits.
The rehabilitation of the D-2 was directed by Rear Admiral Y. V. Butuzov (Retired), who had earlier served in the D-2 and is now with the Rubin submarine design bureau. Technical director of the effort was V. P. Semenov, also a Rubin designer. That firm—previously known as design bureau No. 18—had originally designed the D-class submarines. Collaborating with Rubin in the D-2 restoration project was the Baltic Shipyard, the nearby Admiralty Shipyard, and more than 15 submarine- related factories and naval activities as well as the central Naval Museum, located in St. Petersburg.