Tass: Matua is one of the islands of the middle group of the Great Kurile ridge. Its length is 11 kilometers and its width is 6.4 kilometers. During the Second World War, it was one of Japan’s largest naval bases. In 1945 the island left the USSR, and the Japanese base was turned into a Soviet one. Despite the small territory and a good degree of study, Matua hides many more secrets that are yet to be revealed. About what is known today about Matua and what are the further prospects for his study – in the TASS material.
Island of a thousand eyes
Matua became Japanese in the XIX century. In 1855, according to the Treaty of Simod, Russia gave the eastern neighbor the southern islands of the Kuril archipelago in exchange for the right to own Sakhalin. In 1875, the St. Petersburg Treaty was concluded, according to which Japan received all the Kuril Islands. This is a ridge, which consists of 56 large and medium-sized islands. Matua in her is considered the middle; according to the description of famous Russian travelers Vasily Golovnin and Peter Rikord, this is the seventh island.
Matua was well supplied and was well fortified. In the book of Charles Lockwood, “Topy them all” about the American submarine fleet, there are these words: “When we passed by the island of Matua, it seemed to us that thousands of eyes are watching us.” In the same place, the American submarine “Hering SS-33” was killed. She sank two Japanese transport vessels, surfaced and two shots in the wheelhouse with Matua was also sunk. She was found on the bottom only last year.
After the Japanese, Soviet troops arrived on the island, there was the first border post in all the Kuriles. Active exploration of the island became possible only since 2003, because three years before that, the border guard was evacuated from there after the fire.
A small island with lots of puzzles
Matua – a foggy island, located 700 kilometers from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Two-thirds of it is occupied by the most active active volcano of the Kurile chain – Sarychev. Plateau, which is located two heavily fortified areas, in the bays of Aina and Dvoynaya, occupies 52 square kilometers. Almost every square meter is covered with ground or underground structures. On the island there is a runway with a concrete-asphalt covering 80 meters wide in the form of the letter G, it can take off under different wind directions. One side of the runway occupies 1200 meters, the second – 800 meters.
“At the time of the island’s surrender and about the end of November 1945, there were about six thousand people living there – three thousand Soviet and Japanese soldiers, but there were times when the Japanese garrison here numbered up to ten thousand military.” The islet is small, foggy, impregnable, with an active volcano , strong winds and snowfalls – why such a defense? The Japanese were clearly preparing to meet with the Americans, both on Shumshu and Matua. Recently it became known that there was a tank battalion, “says Irina Viter, a permanent participant in expeditions to atua since 2007.
On the island there are long-term concrete fortifications, and the concrete is in very good condition. On Matua, a huge number of open positions, artillery and machine gun bunkers (long-term firing point – a small structure of strong materials, serves for defense and shooting from a protected room – TASS comment), but there is not one gun, the fate of which is still unknown.
Also there are four slips – concrete walkways 50 meters wide, outgoing into the sea. They are designed to pull boats to the shore with cargo. One slip is well preserved, three in the Bay of Dvoynaya, which is more exposed to winds, are destroyed.
Active exploration of the island
Matua began to actively study since 2003. The composition of the expedition varies, it includes divers, historians, scientists, artists. Over time, the expedition had its own website , exhibition exposition and documentary films about the island.
Researchers who were helped to get to Matua military men and border guards brought cars to the island – Zaporozhets, Toyota Mark II, excavator and Japanese self-propelled cart, the benefit of the stones laid roads have been preserved. Matua’s infrastructure was studied, and new discoveries appeared every year.
First of all, the system of powerful DOTs around the island, laid out from the inside by coastal cobblestones weighing 150 kilograms, attracts attention. Two- and three-pan long-term firing points, located along the coastline and on a plateau, could shoot through the whole island. All bunkers are unique, the construction of the fortifications is practically not repeated. Many of them remained undisturbed, despite the fact that since 1943 Matua was actively bombed by the Americans.
Several years ago, scientists suggested that part of the infrastructure is safely hidden underground. In favor of this theory is the fact that on the island there was virtually no major weapon (with the exception of one antiaircraft gun and a cannon), and it was not possible to throw such weapons into a volcano or take out from Matua (or these documents have not yet been found).
“For example, on one of the slopes, which is quite difficult to climb, there are two pillboxes, there is a concrete floor, the height of the room is about two and a half meters, obviously, this is a place for a huge gun, for example, light small guns The fragment of one of these was delivered to the Historical Exhibition Center of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, and it was not easy to load it onto a ship, “says Viter.
From the whole equipment, members of the expedition also found a steamroller to lay the runway, several cast-iron stoves and two self-propelled machines that went along narrow-gauge lines. Also, a fragment of the tank was found there, but its type has not yet been determined (the Japanese army had three types of tanks – “Ka-Mi”, “Ha-Guo” and “Chi-Ha”), as well as the headlight of one of them. Much of the island is in a broken state, and scientists have reason to believe that the Japanese deliberately did it, because Soviet troops were forbidden to go deep into the island. The Japanese had a system of communication, ventilation and water supply on the island.
Another interesting object on Matua is the Round Hill. This extrusion dome, actively used by the Japanese. On the hill there are entrances, there are also three bunkers, a ventilation shaft. One of the entrances was piled with sacks of frozen cement.
“We removed the cement, passed ten meters, but collapsed, all the entrances to the slopes are walled with stones, some of the moves are carved into the rock, there are earth courses, there are passages reinforced with log fasteners. Underground city we managed to pass already 270 meters.All underground communications are located near the barracks, in all the slopes, and when the bombing began, the Japanese left there, many of the courses are connected, all the places are piled, many passages are covered, some are blown up. made yapo intentionally – or concealed something, or, perhaps, simply preserved the base, “the researcher notes.
And in 2017 the expedition on the hill of the Round discovered on the sides from the previously identified entrance two stairs leading upward. At the foot of one of them was a water source – a concrete platform, laid out by a large pebble from the shore, on which vascular openings, perhaps for bathing, were preserved. Most likely, it was a ritual place. At the top, scientists discovered a square stone with a through hole, perhaps intended for pillars of the Shinto temple.
Over the past few years, outcrops have been discovered, that is, areas where no roads exist. Under the assumptions of scientists, the entrance can go with a plateau. It is very difficult to find their scientists’ forces, it requires heavy equipment.
The end of the “romantic-spade period”
Further study of the island is possible only with the involvement of large and well-equipped forces. Therefore, the expeditions of the Ministry of Defense, which were already on Matua, must be repeated.
“As the head of our expedition Yevgeny Vereshchagha jokes, the romantic-shovel period on the island of Matua is completed, further serious support of the state is needed.” The island’s exploration needs to continue, because there are still many secrets left, especially about the island, many people know. “We took to Moscow and presented to the minister Defense of Sergei Shoigu, an exhibition of finds from Matua.The activities of our expedition are broader than usual search work.We have crossed the 14 islands of the Kuriles, having designated there the presence of Russia, built a chapel on Matua in the name of the Great martyr and victorious George, as well as the belfry, “- notes Irina Viter.
Matua is really waiting for new, deeper research, like other islands of the Kuril chain. For example, the neighboring island of Rashoi, on which they discovered a fake infrastructure that distracted the enemy’s attention from the garrison on Matua. The island is also interesting to the Japanese side, although they do not already have access to it. But nevertheless, when new materials appear on the site of the expedition – diaries or reports, the peak of activity for viewing comes from Japanese Internet users.