Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Cold War Stories: Guardfish Vs. K-184, Part VI
07 June. We got a message from Pacific Fleet Command: “Maintain caution, do not execute a trail of the American submarine.” We detected a possible BPS-9 bearing 172 relative in single sweep mode. By the end of the broadcast, sonar detected and held propeller sounds bearing 090 relative for five minutes. We detected a leak of KhGTsEhN-601 (TR Note: again, in Russian ХГЦЭН – 601) from the starboard reactor and I decided to vent it since the level of radioactivity and aerosols began to rise in the 6th compartment. The crew heard the propeller noises from a possible submarine on the port side throughout the boat.
08 June. Our break-off maneuver from the American submarine didn’t yield any results. Sonar could still detect it periodically. We sent three messages about detecting the American submarine. During the broadcast that night all the lights on the “Nakat” ESM screen were lit up (“flash” type), which gave the impression that there was, maybe 1-2 cables away, a radar operating nearby, so we immediately dove to 60 meters. The next time we came to PD to catch the broadcast, we detected a BPS-9. We continued our break-off course, speed and depth while using active countermeasures.
09 June. Sonar detected a submarine bearing 150 relative. I decided to break contact with the American boat, creating two pockets of water turbulence, placing two active countermeasures between the boats and opening range by changes in course, speed and depth. I went to the navigator’s stand when the junior navigator, Junior Lieutenant A.V.Konev (now a Vice Admiral and Deputy Commander of the Pacific Ocean Fleet) told me a joke: “Comrade Commander, isn’t it just like a circus ring, where our boat runs in a circle while the American boat plays trainer?” I smiled. Right then the Political Assistant, K2R G.Ya.Antonov, called me up and asked, “Can’t we just talk to the Americans?” Once the joking started, I answered back in jest, “Don your IDA-59s!” The situation on the conn was tense. You could read on people’s faces the weight on their souls, but if you joked around a little bit, it meant that everything would be okay. We broke off from the Americans, since we couldn’t detect them anymore. An Orion ASW aircraft flew in the area of the lost datum, conducting a search, but we were already gone. We got the order to begin searching for an SSBN along a route measuring 400 NM and then return to base, arriving on the 19th of June. The route back to base was exactly the same as the route out.
10 June. We took up our assigned position an began to search for the SSBN at 0600. Periodically we executed a maneuver to uncover any submarines following us. None were found.
11 June. Mid-day we came to PD for the broadcast and detected a ship visually bearing 070, range 40 cables. Sonar once again didn’t detect anything. Acoustic conditions for us were terrible. At 1837, sonar heard propeller sounds. While maintaining caution, we came to periscope depth. At periscope depth we saw the stern of a 15,000 ton displacement ship heading away from us at a distance of about 9 cables. In this way, you can say that we determined the effective range versus surface contacts of our passive sonar.
12 June. At 2200, we finished our ASW search for the SSBN and began to transit back to base. Forty days on deployment and there wasn’t one message that came in that wasn’t inflammatory in some way, and this was peace time!
13 June. We got the intel summary: “The ASW carrier “Tripoli” is en route Okinawa”. We will soon pass Okinawa and exit the East China Sea.
14 June. We continue in the East China Sea.
15 June. We came to PD that night for the broadcast and nothing came to our address. Cloudiness was 3, sea state 2, visibility 3 miles. We shot stars and used Loran to determine our position. The crew is preparing the boat and the reports for the return to base.
16 June. At 0200 we fixed out position near the island of Dandzo: we got a visual bearing to the light and distance to the island using the radar in single sweep mode. At 0600, we fixed our position again and entered the Korean Straits submerged at a depth of 40 meters. At 1200 we fixed our position using Loran A (four lines intersecting in one spot). On the approach to Tsushima, I wanted to confirm our position, but sonar heard the sounds of propellers bearing 148 which escorted us for 40 minutes. Sonar couldn’t classify the noise. After that we again came to PD to confirm our position. The weather: still, hazy, visibility 20-30 cables.
17 June. We passed Ulin-Do island in front of surfacing point one. The depth there went to 2000 meters and more. Weather: fog, sea state 2.
18 June. There is a mass hair cutting and showering amongst the crew and everyone changes into their special clothes.
19 June. And now we have moored. The staff, an orchestra and the division commander, Kontra-Admiral I.I.Verenikin met us. A new task was put before the crew: meet the Minister of Defense of the Soviet Union, who will inspect the boat and the shore accommodations. They just took away our rest and relaxation.
Next: The conclusion...