To the Allied sailors of many nations who sailed there during WW2 it certainly seemed to live up to its name. Getting there was bad enough with all the hardships of freezing cold conditions, massive storms, and seas that could swallow up a ship leaving little trace. If forced to abandon ship in such waters they were under no illusions that they chances of survival were slim. There were some remarkable stories of survival but the privations endured by those who made it back alive were just as remarkable in that there were so few who lived to tell the tale of being sunk on the Murmansk run.
Of course, although the port facilities available were Spartan and poorly equipped to handle the huge amount of stores delivered, then there was the problem of getting such cargoes there in the first place.
Having arrived, there were almost no amenities for the crews of ships to use in order to rest up after fighting there way to Murmansk. Indeed the Soviets were reluctant to give the crews much freedom to go ashore at all. Food was scarce. That supplied was grudgingly given, boring and lacking nutrition. So for those who had arrived, the long wait until they could join a convoy back to the UK was like a prison sentence. Perhaps the only thing the Russians seemed to have plenty of was Vodka and with that they could be extremely generous.
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