Throughout the 20th Century naval mine warfare has been a specialty of the Imperial Russian, Soviet and Modern Russian Navies. The greatest success of Imperial Russia, army or navy, in the Russo-Japanese War was through mine warfare. In one day Russian mines sank one third of the Japanese battleship forces in sinking two of six battleships. Baltic naval operations in World War One were a series of chessboard moves in mine and countermine warfare, as mines sank more warships than torpedoes or guns. The pattern continued into World War Two, as mines continued to be one of the major factors to ship losses in the Baltic.
The post-war Soviet Navy continued the Russian tradition of a strong emphasis in mine warfare. In 1984 a new class of minehunting vessels was started with Project 1266.0 "Rubin", NATO code "Gorya" Class minehunters. Displacing 1,228 tons full load (780 tons light, 1,070 standard), the class was larger in size than contemporary NATO designs. Another significant difference from NATO designs was the inclusion of deck armament with a 76.2mm AK-176 dual-purpose (AS/AA) gun and the six barreled 30mm AK-630 CIWS gattling gun cannon.
The primary anti-mine systems are standard Russian acoustic mine countermeasures of the KTK-1, TEM-3M, AT-3, and SHZ-3 systems. The class also operates the remote control Paltus minehunting submersible, tethered to the vessel with 3.1 km of cable. The sliding doors on each side aft conceal quadruple tubes for special Ketmen 402mm anti-mine torpedoes, which are fired in pairs. The two torpedoes are linked by a cable and are designed to cut mine anchor cables. The design has metal hulls, rather than the plastic hulls found in NATO designs.
Admiral Zheleznyakovwas the first of twenty vessels planned for the class. Placed in service on December 30, 1988, this ship was one of the last ships to be commissioned into the Soviet Navy. The modern Russian Navy curtailed the program from 20 to 2. The second ship was Admiral Gumanenko, which entered Russian, rather than Soviet service on January 9, 1994. Admiral Gumanenko was originally part of the Baltic Fleet but was transferred to the Northern Fleet in 1996 or 1997. (Bulk of history on the Admiral Gumanenko is from Combat Fleets of the World 1998-1999)
One of the newest resin models from Combrig in 1:700 scale is the Admiral Gumanenko, modern Russian minehunter. The kit is comprised totally of resin parts. As you can see from the photographs, Combrig has given the model of Admiral Gumanenko some very nice detail. Photo-etch railing can be added from a number of sources to further enhance the appearance of the model. Along with the photo-etch railing, photo-etch inclined ladders substituted for the solid "aztec" steps to further detail the model. The lattice mast on the forward superstructure is a solid piece of resin with additional resin platforms and fittings. Since this kit is brand new, there is no photo-etched lattice mast available yet to replace the solid resin mast with photo-etched. However, the basic design of this lattice mast is fairly simple and could probably be scratch-built by the average modeler, by using the resin piece as a template.
Mine warfare still constitutes a specialty branch in modern naval combat. It is an area that receives no fanfare and little attention in contemporary naval press, compared to the far more glamorous fields of naval aviation, submarines and large surface combatants. However, naval operations in the Persian Gulf in 1990 and in 2003 have shown that anti-mine operations are still of critical importance to the modern naval campaign. There are only a few models available in any scale that portray these unsung heroes that specialize in the under-appreciated, overlooked but highly dangerous occupation of counter-mine warfare. Until now there has been no model of the Russian solution to the ever present threat of the modern naval mine. The Combrig Admiral Gumanenko fills that niche and does it quite nicely.