Military Review

Who is responsible for the death of K-129

One of the most mysterious underwater catastrophes fleet in the post-war period, the death of the Soviet K-129 submarine in the Pacific Ocean in March 1968 is considered. Based on those events in our country and abroad, several documentaries were shot, dozens of books and articles were written. However, the key to the death of the submarine missile carrier and its crew is still far from clear. It is possible that it will never be possible to establish for certain the circumstances that led to the tragic outcome.


In January, 1968, due to the unavailability of the same type of K-99 from the 29 division of submarines to perform routine combat service, the crew of K-129 was withdrawn from vacation, began working out the course of combat training and preparation for entering combat service (BS ). However, the crew only 30 November 1967 of the year returned from the previous BS.

In February, the boat completed a control exit to the sea, moreover, due to the non-arrival from the leave of a full-time commander of the captain 1, rank VI. The captain of the 2 rank V.V. Kurenkov, the commander of the K-75. According to the results of the captain 2 rank V.V. Kurenkov reported to the command about the unavailability of the K-129 crew to perform BS due to low coordination. However, in order to prevent a BS plan’s disruption, the crew still received permission to go to sea, which took place on February 24, after intensive testing of coastal and sea elements of the combat training course.

In 00.00 8 in March, K-129 did not enter the planned control session. A day later, on March 9, a fleet alarm was announced and a large-scale operation was launched to search for the missing submarine, continuing in severe weather conditions for a total of 70 days. In addition to the forces of the Pacific Fleet, vessels of the Ministry of the Navy and the Academy of Sciences of the USSR were involved in the operation. As a result of searches on the ocean surface north-west of the Hawaiian Islands, aerial reconnaissance forces detected only a large field of diesel fuel, presumably formed above the place where the submarine was killed.


Based on the publicly available information, it is not possible to give an unequivocal answer about the causes of the death of K-129. There are several well-founded versions, but it is unlikely that in the near future they will be supported by physical evidence and original documents. The most complete picture, which allows revealing the causes of the rocket carrier’s death, is available only to the CIA, who oversaw the lifting and inspection of submarine fragments and has at its disposal photographs, inspection reports and other materials.

The most frequently replicated in the domestic media version says about the collision of the K-129 with the American nuclear submarine (NPS) "Suordfish". But a careful analysis and comparison of it with other similar events reveals several weighty arguments indicating the complete inconsistency of this assumption.

Who is responsible for the death of K-129First, when 17 arrived on March 1968 of the year, the boat passed through the international fairway during daylight hours at the Japanese port of Yokosuka and was photographed by Japanese journalists; its photos were published in local newspapers. Visible damage to photographs of exclusively retractable devices gives every reason to believe that the object the submarine collided with had significantly less weight and dimensions than the Suordfish submarine itself, or the collision was light and occurred on a tangent. All known cases of the collision of submarines, when the participants in the incident were on the verge of death, ended in obtaining comparable damage. Those of "Suordfish" missing. In this case, the very fact of the appearance of a damaged American boat in the Japanese port refutes the assumption of its involvement in the event in question and an attempt to conceal the participation of this submarine in the incident. For reasons of secrecy, under such circumstances, it is most advisable to make repairs at the submarine's location, especially if there is a developed network of American ship repair enterprises in the area and appropriate conditions for disguise.

Secondly, the Japanese port of Yokosuka is significantly farther from the point of death of the K-129 than the American submarine base in Hawaii, and therefore the decision to send a damaged submarine for repair to a remote foreign port on the other side of the Pacific Ocean looks at least very illogical. It is enough to measure the distance from the point of death of K-129 to Oahu Island and to Japan using a map. The path that “Suordfish” would have had to go to the opposite side of the Pacific Ocean to the port of Yokosuka and back to Pearl Harbor, if it had actually participated in the collision with K-129, is more than three times longer than the way from the point of death to Pearl Harbor . Comments, as they say, are superfluous.


Indicative for comparison are the actions of the American command after the collision of the Soviet submarine K-108 of the 675 project under the command of Captain 1 of the rank B.S. Bagdasaryan from the American “Totog” submarine of the “Sturgeon” type off the coast of Kamchatka 20 June 1970, just two years after the death of K-129. The noises following the collision, recorded by the American acoustics and recorded on a tape recorder, were classified as the destruction of the durable hull of the Soviet submarine, so the latter was considered dead.

Coming up for 200 miles from the Soviet coast and installing an improvised communications antenna instead of a damaged one, Commander B. Bolderston, the commander of the American submarine, reported the incident to the command and was recalled to July 1 port at night without running lights. The submarine commander in the Pacific met the arriving submarine on the pier, and US Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird reported the incident to President Richard Nixon about the incident.

The boat was docked, and until the damage was covered with an awning, the crew was not allowed to leave the compartments. Both the American and Soviet submarines were seriously damaged, only by chance did they avoid the tragic consequences: the K-108 had a light hull pierced in the area of ​​the right propeller shaft, and the propeller shaft itself was jammed. The US submarines damaged the rudder horizontal rudders, the cutting itself received a two-degree bend with all the withdrawable devices jammed, the right screw K-108 piercing the Totoh top manhole cover, and part of the conning tower was flooded.


As a result, we can conclude that if “Suordfish” really was involved in the collision with K-129, as it is stated by experts, the most suitable place for its shelter and repair would be Pearl Harbor, and not the Japanese port of Yokosuka. Yes, and the damage would have been more impressive. So there is no reason to accuse "Suordfish" of involvement in the death of K-129.

One of the officers aboard the Swordfish submarine in March 1968, when its periscope was damaged on the ice, Lieutenant Commander Richard Lee, later recalled: “... for those of us who were aboard the Swordfish (about 115 person), it’s interesting to know how a writer historical fiction can take individual events and draw any conclusion he wants. ”

With regard to the Suordfish submarine, another version looks quite logical, which was previously voiced by the American side, but did not say that it was one of the 9 American submarines sent to the waters of the Sea of ​​Japan after the North Korean X-YUMX of the American reconnaissance ship Pueblo (AGER-1968), and was engaged in exploration near Peter the Great Bay. According to this version, in March, currents and winds flow out of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, the Tatar Strait and Peter the Great Bay into the Sea of ​​Japan a lot of floating ice, with which 2 of March clashed. The damage did not require urgent repairs, so the call at the port of Yokosuka was scheduled for March 2. Moreover, at the request of the Japanese port authority, the call was eventually postponed to March 15.

However, even after visiting Yokosuki, the submarine did not leave its operational zone, in which it had been located since the beginning of February, and after repairing the periscope, continued to carry out reconnaissance tasks. In May, she was noted in another Japanese port of Sasebo, where local environmentalists suspected her of discharging radioactive water into the water area and made a corresponding scandal. As a result, Japanese Prime Minister Eisak Sato had to declare that US nuclear submarines would no longer enter Japanese ports if their nuclear safety was not ensured by American specialists at the proper level. Only the 5 of September returned to the place of permanent deployment of the Suordfish submarine.
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  1. alekc73
    alekc73 26 November 2017 15: 39
    According to the article, a logical conclusion is not a ready-made crew. It’s their own fault or a technical malfunction.
    1. Grandfather
      Grandfather 26 November 2017 15: 52
      Who is responsible for the death of K-129
      according to "Kursk" the question is the same ... so what ??? official version: "she drowned ...".
      1. jjj
        jjj 26 November 2017 19: 05
        Ilya! Post your new ones. Have not seen!
    2. kapitan92
      kapitan92 27 November 2017 11: 27
      Quote: alekc73
      According to the article, a logical conclusion is not a ready-made crew. It’s to blame themselves or a technical malfunction

      This article with the author must be lowered in one place! What is she talking about? About the author’s doubts in the official statement about the causes of the death of the submarine?
      The clue must be sought in the secret archives of the United States, where there are video and photo pictures of the damage to our boat, located at almost 5 km depth. A few years later, the Americans designed and built a vessel capable of raising K 129 from this depth, hoping to obtain codes and weapon systems. We managed to raise the bow compartment, because the boat “broke” when lifting, raised a couple of torpedoes from the YaB and the corpses of our sailors, who were later buried to the sounds of the Soviet anthem and according to all the marine traditions that we have adopted. Everything was filmed and presented to our command.
      It is necessary to write about the ugly attitude of the Soviet command to the dead crew, about how our admirals, having abandoned the families of the dead without pensions, began to cover up their ass.
      PS Similar operations to detect and raise submarines from such a depth our admirals only dreamed about! Shots of the burial of Soviet sailors by the Americans are publicly available on the Internet.
  2. turbris
    turbris 26 November 2017 16: 10
    Those who survive until the 3000s may find out some truth.
    1. 210ox
      210ox 26 November 2017 17: 35
      Until this time, the secret of Kennedy’s murder will not be revealed ..
      Quote: turbris
      Those who survive until the 3000s may find out some truth.
      1. Alf
        Alf 26 November 2017 23: 10
        Quote: 210ox
        Until this time, the secret of Kennedy’s murder will not be revealed ..

        Why not disclosed? They said in a box that the assassin, Kennedy Oswald, had visited the Soviet embassy twice before the assassination attempt, so ... draw conclusions. laughing
    2. In100gram
      In100gram 26 November 2017 21: 11
      Quote: turbris
      it will survive until the 3000s, maybe it will find out some truth.

      Surely earlier. So many do not secret.
  3. faiver
    faiver 26 November 2017 17: 56
    the title of the article does not match the article itself ...
  4. papas-57
    papas-57 26 November 2017 18: 01
    `` Who is guilty of the death of K-129. '' I understood one thing from the article - I'm not to blame. I’ll sleep peacefully.
  5. Glory1974
    Glory1974 26 November 2017 18: 39
    The Japanese port of Yokosuka is located much farther from the point of K-129 death than the American submarine base in the Hawaiian Islands, and therefore the decision to send the damaged submarine for repair to a remote foreign port on the other side of the Pacific Ocean looks, at least, very illogical.

    If the damage is not significant, it is very logical to send the boat for repair away from the place of collision.
  6. Sailor
    Sailor 26 November 2017 20: 37
    Americans from the very beginning knew where she sank, so there was a precedent.
  7. water
    water 26 November 2017 23: 37
    It must be assumed that if the boat broke during the rise in the region of the third compartment, so it got something that categorically violated its longitudinal strength and led to death.
    1. Town Hall
      Town Hall 27 November 2017 11: 39
      Quote: watermark
      It must be assumed that if the boat broke during the rise in the region of the third compartment, so it got something that categorically violated its longitudinal strength and led to death.

      The boat could get this Something as a result of an accident on board .. or as a result of a blow to the bottom when it drowned or when it collapsed when it reached a critical depth.
  8. Dzafdet
    Dzafdet 27 November 2017 16: 49
    Quote: Alf
    Quote: 210ox
    Until this time, the secret of Kennedy’s murder will not be revealed ..

    Why not disclosed? They said in a box that the assassin, Kennedy Oswald, had visited the Soviet embassy twice before the assassination attempt, so ... draw conclusions. laughing

    they just shot Kennedy from three points and the bullets hit from three sides. Evidently Oswald was Superman and flew through the air ... tongue
  9. Indifferent
    Indifferent 27 November 2017 20: 31
    I will write the most reliable information about the death of the boat. I lived on Kobzar Street in Rybachy in Kamchatka, but after the death of the boat. But I was friends with an electrician with K-129. He accidentally survived. Not because he miraculously swam out, but was waiting for a discharge in the reserve and therefore was not taken into combat service. Commander Kobzar personally offered him a choice. To go or stay on the shore, because he managed to prepare a replacement for himself. He remained on the shore and therefore alive. He told me that the boat was really not ready for military service. And this is not so much the fault of the crew as the old battery. Kobzar tried to convince the authorities to overload her, but could not. There was not enough time. And to report upstairs that the boat was not ready, the local chiefs were afraid. He told me that hydrogen was gassed so that the afterburners could not cope and had to be constantly ventilated into the atmosphere, starting diesel engines. And when it turned out that the boat was lost to everyone who knew the true state of affairs, they immediately said that hydrogen had been pulled. Well, then, the dead were to blame. They don’t know how to talk. So they dumped them on the "unworked" crew. The "unsoldered" team and so on. And the bosses who did not give the opportunity to overload the battery are to blame. I hope many people know that the K-129 had three groups of batteries. And if during charging they start to gas a lot with hydrogen, then it will not seem enough. And so it happened. And how hydrogen explodes, I know for myself. Very impressive!
  10. Sergei75
    Sergei75 29 November 2017 23: 19
    Today we know the place where the boat died, can send the WORLD there and look?