Today we would like to introduce you to Nina Vasilievna Sokolova, who even before the war had a specialty rare for women and very successfully found its application during the war years. Any story about the feat of the Soviet people during the Great Patriotic War will be incomplete without stories about Soviet women – their courage and stamina. The men went to the front, and the fragile female shoulders fell mainly responsible for the production of weapons, ammunition, food, and the construction of new factories and factories. But How Nina Sokolova Soviet mermaid on the fronts, women showed themselves heroically. The exploits of female pilots, snipers, signalmen and medical instructors are well known. During the war, there was, perhaps, not a single military profession that women did not master.
The story of Nina Sokolova, the first female diver in history, is little known. Meanwhile, she spent 27 days under water to lay a gas pipeline along the bottom of Lake Ladoga, which became the “artery of life” for besieged Leningrad.
In the spring of 1942, the question of how to cross Lake Ladoga along the bottom literally became a matter of life and death: in the besieged city, fuel and lubricants remained for 100 days. It is Nina who is called the author of the idea of the saving underwater gas pipeline. The task was very difficult: it was necessary to work quickly and secretly, and the experience of building such highways did not exist either in domestic or foreign practice. Sokolova’s detachment carried out all underwater work at the bottom of the lake, hydraulic testing, participated in pipe-laying, and provided the necessary water transport for the work.
The task was completed in 43 days. The pipeline, 29 kilometers long (of which the underwater part is 21 kilometers) and a little over a meter in diameter, was laid at a depth of thirty-five meters. Two pumping stations were installed on the eastern bank of Ladoga, and a tank farm and a loading rack on the western bank. The throughput of the gas pipeline, according to various estimates, ranged from 400 to 600 tons of fuel per day. During the total operation time – from June 1942 to March 1943 – about 50 thousand tons of gasoline entered the besieged Leningrad through Ladoga. After the blockade was lifted, the pipe was frozen. The Germans never found out about the “artery of life”.
While working on Ladoga, Nina Sokolova was wounded twice. Her personal account under water is 644 hours, that is, almost 27 days. The legendary engineer-lieutenant colonel of the Naval Forces was awarded two Orders of the Red Star, Orders of the Patriotic War II degree and the Badge of Honor.
After the war, Nina Vasilievna taught at the Higher Naval School. M.V. Frunze (now – Peter the Great Naval Corps – St. Petersburg Naval Institute). She passed away in 2001, at the age of 90. The name of Nina Vasilievna Sokolova is included in the Golden Book of St. Petersburg.