Thunderbolts of Poseidon
In 2009, the 20 anniversary of the two most terrible tragedies that occurred during the years of perestroika, the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the death of the strategic submarine rocket carrier K-219, is being fulfilled.
It is difficult to say whether the Chernobyl drama could have been prevented, but we are sure that the emergency on board the nuclear-powered ship could have been avoided. At least simply not sending this ship to combat service in the ocean. For this there were not only purely organizational, but also political reasons. Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev was just going to Reykjavik for a meeting with Ronald Reagan.
Generally, during the reign of Mikhail Gorbachev, we lost two nuclear submarines (Komsomolets in 1989), but what happened in 500 miles from Bermuda with K-219 is difficult to explain with logic, except for the logic that started the collapse of the fleet. By the way, the first (and last) president of the USSR made a significant "contribution."
From accident to ... catastrophe
Why are there disasters at sea and under water? This question, it seems to us, concerns not only sailors, but also arouses the keen interest of any person on earth. And no wonder. After all, as is known, a significant number of people die in a sea crash. In addition, the sea always hides and hides an inexplicable mystery. All this is sufficiently substantiated in the multitude of books setting forth the tragedies at sea. At the same time, the riskiness of the maritime profession became especially acute when mass submarines sailing, even equipped with atomic energy, began. It was believed that in the past, the main root cause of an emergency on ships was mainly natural anomalies - storms, squalls, tsunamis. The man, in turn, improved the vessels themselves, the systems and mechanisms, and increased their technical equipment. But along with the development of civilization, the improvement of technology, the rapid growth of the shipbuilding industry, these new technical solutions, as a rule, became the root cause - at the beginning of the accident, and then of the catastrophe. But this does not mean that the natural forces have ceased to be dangerous when exposed to a ship or a submarine. They just kind of faded into the background, and the root cause of accidents were either admitted errors in a technical center, or the so-called human factor. However, after the manifestation of this initial factor, nature entered into force, translating the accident into a catastrophe. And then the sea absorbed the ship, seemingly perfected. Together with the ship his crew perished. In this case, only a modern, highly equipped search and rescue rescue service could assist.
In this regard, we take the liberty to say: it is progress (but not itself, but the overly complex technique and weaponswhich become beyond the control of a person under extreme conditions) today must be considered as the root cause of an accident.
We believe that we should "decompose" into separate components of ship accidents. We propose to divide it into navigation and constructive-technical (let's call it engineering). The first one is more dependent on personal mistakes of the person, the second one - on the reliability, perfection and survivability of the ship, its systems. Of course, such a division is very conditional. Still, the experience of swimming, analysis of accidents and catastrophes gives the right to make such an assumption. To this it should be added that in order to prevent navigational accidents, one must first of all have high navigational skills of navigators and well-trained ship commanders. To exclude engineering accidents and disasters, constructive perfection and high quality of ship construction are necessary.
Of course, the professional skill of the crew cannot be ruled out in the prevention of engineering accidents, but the main, first and foremost, element in the prevention of engineering accidents is the reliable design of the ship. And if an accident happened, it is required by the efforts of people to prevent an emergency. Of course, in an emergency, much depends on the crew, on its level of preparation for the struggle for the survivability of the ship. But this is the second time. And further. Although actions for the fight for survivability are being worked out in the base and on the move, the actual ability to fight for survivability has always been shown in the actual conditions of a particular emergency situation of a particular ship in distress.
We know from our own experience: on new ships in critical situations, difficulties often arose that became insurmountable not only because of psychological unavailability and insufficient practical skills of a person, but also because of the technical features of the most complex device, which is a modern ship. In addition, the sea element has always been and remains a factor of increased danger for people.
However, in the post-war period, when the rapid development of submarines, especially nuclear, began, it was customary to assume that a modern ship has exceptional reliability, survivability, and sophisticated means of ensuring accuracy and safety of navigation. This is of course so. Nevertheless, we must not forget that a modern ship is the most complicated product of the development of large-scale industry, and the sea is an extremely dangerous environment for such a heavy structure, and even supersaturated with flammable components, and it is not robots that serve it, but people who are mistaken.
The above reasoning may explain to some extent that with the growth of scientific and technical achievements in military affairs (and not only in it), the accident rate does not decrease, but actually increases. History fleet development confirms this pattern. If the end of the first post-war decade in the Soviet Navy was marked by the tragedy of a large surface ship — the death of the battleship Novorossiysk, which represents a relatively old technology, then in the second decade a series of accidents and even disasters occurred at the newest submarines. Thus, in 1956, the second of a series of boats of the 615 project M-256 (commander, captain of the 3 rank Yu. Vavakin) died in the area of Tallinn. 22 August 1957 was sank by another submarine of this project on the Black Sea (at the exit of Balaclava). She was able to raise, there were no casualties among the personnel.
At the SF 27 in January 1961, the 644 C-80 rocket boat (commander and captain of 3 rank A. Sitarchik) died at sea with the entire crew. 4 July 1961 in the North is another tragedy - the accident aboard the first Soviet nuclear-powered missile project 658 K-19 (commander captain 2 rank N. Zateev). It was the first accident of the Soviet submarine with the death of people from radiation exposure. 11 January 1962, a fire broke out at the Federation Council, followed by an explosion of military torpedoes on a diesel submarine B-37 (commander, captain of 2 rank A. Begeb) standing at the pier. The fire and the subsequent torpedo explosion led to the death of part of the crew of the B-37. The other boat, which was side-to-side with the B-37, was seriously damaged. In all, this tragedy has taken 122 to the lives of sailors from both submarines and people who were nearby on the pier and on the shore.
The circumstances that led to the listed submarine disasters evolved differently. Of all the accidents, if they developed into catastrophes, in our opinion, the death of nuclear submarines was the most painful. The public reacted very sharply to this, but the sailors themselves perceived these tragedies very painfully.
The very first nuclear submarine disaster in the world occurred in the US Navy. 10 April 1963 in the Atlantic Ocean at a distance of 22 miles from the largest industrial center and port of the USA Boston sank the "best anti-submarine strike" Submarine. "The deepest!", "The most silent!", "The fastest!" - so this submarine advertised in the American press.
11 April 1963. All the world’s telegraph agencies transmitted news of a catastrophe unprecedented in the history of the submarine fleet. It was the first destruction of the submarine in history. On board the submarine were 129 officers, sailors and civilian specialists who provided the test of the ship after repair. They all died.
The Thresher is the lead ship in a series of 30 units according to the plan to build atomic anti-submarine submarines with high submarine speeds - up to 30 nodes and a depth of diving - up to 360 meters. The construction of the Thressers lasted three years and two months. The ship cost 60 million dollars to the American taxpayer. 3 August 1961 Propulsion The "Trecher" was transferred to the Navy. From this day began the warranty period of operation, calculated for one year.
In the summer of 1962, the warranty period expired, and Threscher was delivered to the shipyard to eliminate the defects. In just one year of operation, the 875 order revealed various defects, the vast majority of which concerned the crew’s life and ease of operation, but 130 of them required structural changes, and 5 posed a potential threat to the ship’s safety.
The next day after the tragedy with the "Tracher" an investigatory commission was established to clarify the causes of the ship's death. The reasons could not be established, as, however, and in most cases with the death of the submarines in any of the countries. In the materials of the commission, published only after a year and a half, the blame for the death of the "Tracher" was placed on top US military leaders.
A series of disasters
The US Navy in 1968 lost another submarine - the Scorpion, and from then until today, that is, for almost forty years, there has been no such emergency in the USA. It can be assumed and even argued that the termination of disasters in the US Navy is largely determined by the availability of open information, on the basis of which operational organizational and technical measures were taken.
It would seem that in the Soviet Navy at the initial stage things were more well. With two catastrophes of US nuclear submarines in the USSR, there was not a single such case. But it was apparent well-being.
8 September 1967 on the Lenin Komsomol K-3 submarine, the first Soviet nuclear submarine, known throughout the country on the 1962 campaign in June to the North Pole, a fire occurred. 39 people died - almost the entire staff, who was in two nasal compartments. The ship managed to be rescued, he returned to the base under his own power.
Three years later, in April 1970, there is an emergency with a torpedo submarine K-8 in the Atlantic. She sank many hours after the start of the fire on her board.
The death of K-8 is not only the first catastrophe of the Soviet nuclear sub-melt, but it is also the first loss of the submarine for a precisely established reason - because of a fire on its board. For the serviceman, conclusions were made, but technically: For years after the death of K-8, the idea was instilled that the new ships have exceptional reliability, survivability, and advanced means of ensuring the safety of navigation. Achievements in these areas, undoubtedly, were, but the design of ships, their armament and equipment became more and more difficult, and the sea still remained an extremely dangerous environment for any ship, and even oversaturated with fire hazardous components.
In the ascertaining part of the orders of the commander-in-chief of the Navy in each case of an accident or catastrophe, the usual expressions in the fleet were listed: "low organization of service", "irresponsibility", "weak knowledge", "weak control". In the mandative part it was required to “strengthen”, “increase”, “achieve”, “exclude”, etc. But in fact, radically increased nothing and achieved nothing. In practice, the tragedy with K-8 did not become a lesson for the future, since after that, because of the fires, K-219 and Komsomolets were killed.
Recall the decisive influence on the development of submarines had a weapon. The development of ballistic missiles was particularly intensive. During 20 years, several ballistic missile systems were created and put into service with the submarines, with a consistent increase in their firing range, accuracy of impact and degree of destruction. To improve the accuracy of firing, long-range missiles were equipped with autonomous systems and astrocorrection devices.
All strategic missile submarines (SSBN) were designed in the same design bureau under the supervision of Chief Designer S.N. Kovalev. MS was the main observer from the Navy for a long time. Fadeev, and then - SA Novoselov and Y.F. Pilyugin.
The creation of the first SSBN of the 667-A project armed with 16 ballistic missiles (D-4 missile system) was an important step and in fact a new stage in the improvement of the Soviet missile submarine fleet.
This complex on the layout of missiles on the submarine, the design of the launcher with the depreciation of missiles in the mine, the automation of pre-launch preparation systems and day-to-day maintenance became the basis for the development of long-range liquid missiles firing all modifications of subsequent naval ballistic missile complexes.
Missile launchers were located in vertical stationary mines, of equal strength to the robust submarine hull. The mines were located symmetrically with the diametral plane in two rows of eight mines in the fourth and fifth rocket compartments. The combat information system installed on the boat became the first domestic multi-purpose automated shipboard system that allows solving the tasks of using missile and torpedo weapons.
Horizontal cushioning rudders, in contrast to the bow horizontal rudders installed on the boats of the previous generation, made it possible to change the depth of submarines without small speeds at small speeds, simplified the retention of the boat at the starting depth when using rocket weapons. The location of the horizontal rudders on the cabin fence increased their efficiency in comparison with the nasal horizontal rudders of the same area. The boat of the 667-A project is also the first Soviet nuclear submarine that switched to power supply with alternating current, which was caused by the need to increase the reliability of the electric power system, the duration of its operation without repair, as well as the possibility of voltage transformation while providing various types of consumers.
Further development of the second generation of ballistic missile carriers proceeded along the path of improving missile weapons. It was under the weapon that each of the subsequent projects of the SSBNs surrendered.
Project 667-B. Placing more powerful and heavy rocket weapons on this submarine led to a reduction in the number of rocket mines to 12, to an increase in the normal displacement of about 1000 t and to a decrease in the full stroke speed by more than 2 node. An important feature was the possibility of launching the entire ammunition of missiles in one salvo. An autonomous shipborne digital computer system was provided in the missile control system.
Project 667-DB. The number of missiles is 16 (due to the lengthening of the robust hull on 667 meters in the fourth and fifth missile compartments compared to the 16-B project and, accordingly, an increased displacement of more than 1500 tons).
Projects 667-БДР and 667-БДРМ. The basis of these SSBNs was based on new missiles, more advanced electronic weapons and torpedo weapons, and a number of constructive noise reduction work was carried out. In particular, low-noise propellers with improved hydroacoustic characteristics were used.
Summarizing the development of ballistic missile weapons of the 667 family of submarines of the 667 project, including the 667-BDRM, it should be noted that all samples of ballistic missiles were based on the use of liquid propellant components, and the work on the solid-propellant rocket started for another modified XNUMX-A on one of the ships were postponed for several years. It was necessary to overcome a number of difficulties in creating solid fuel, the main of which was to ensure safety during the operation of the rocket engine.
The need to create solid-propellant ballistic missiles for SSBNs was dictated by significant drawbacks of liquid missiles, whose fuel components were highly toxic, fire and explosive, and aggressive to the environment. Violation of the tightness of the fuel tanks of these missiles (the likelihood of which increased dramatically under combat conditions) and the combination of the oxidizer with the fuel was the strongest source of fire or explosion. In addition, the specificity of liquid rockets required in the implementation of an underwater launch to pre-fill the annular gap of the mines with seawater - the so-called "wet start". For this, an extensive network of pipelines was created and the volume of seawater tanks was significantly increased, which led to an increase in submarine displacement, and the installed high-capacity transfer pumps during the pre-launch preparation created an increased level of noise unmasking the preparation of the missiles for launch. These shortcomings could be completely eliminated when using rockets with solid-fuel engines.
We also note that rockets equipped with solid-fuel engines were less fire and explosive, and consequently reduced the risk of a possible accident when the fuel components exploded in the rocket shaft. But in the USSR, all the SSBNs of the 667 family were equipped with liquid-fuel rockets. In total, by the middle of 1986, the following number of SSBNs were part of the Soviet Navy:
1. The submarine project 667-A with a different degree of modernization, there were 34 units. Of them on the SF - 24. The first K-137 boat was commissioned on 5 in November 1967, the last one - K-444 - 9 in December 1972. K-219 entered the SF 31 in December 1971. It was assumed (according to the SALT-2 agreement between the USSR and the USA from 18 June 1979), that all boats of the project 667-A will be withdrawn from the Navy to 1989, with a cutting of the missile compartments.
2. The submarine of the project 667-B had 18 units, the last submarine of this series was commissioned in 1977.
3. The Federation Council also had more advanced SSBNs of the 667-BD project - 4 units that were commissioned in 1975, as well as 14 CCBNs of the 667-MDD project, which became part of the fleet during the 1976-1981 years. Also on the SF to 1986, in the ranks were two of the latest submarines of the project 667-BDRM, and five more submarines were in construction. This, we will explain, Karelia-type SSBNs, in which Russian President V.V. went to sea in 2000. Putin Such cruisers were considered the most reliable and safe in operation.
There were no serious accidents on 667 from B to BDRM over the entire history of their existence. So, in 1986, there was a sufficient number of SSBNs in the composition of the Federation Council to send them to the ocean to carry out combat patrols, while there was a minimal likelihood of a possible accident on board the missile carrier.
Decided and ... forgot
It is impossible to completely eliminate the accident on the ship, and even more so on the submarine at sea. At the same time, the post-war period testified that the fires arising on board the ships served as the primary cause of the accident and even catastrophes. This was confirmed by the Anglo-Argentine conflict in 1982. According to its results, the commander-in-chief of the Navy S.G. Gorshkov 6 July 1982 held a special meeting. To the shortcomings admitted by the British, our commander-in-chief attributed the heavy losses of the ship composition. And this is in conditions where, during the transition to 8 thousand miles there was no opposition. And Argentina is not the strongest enemy at sea. At the same time, the United States was an ally of the British, providing the ships of the Royal Navy with intelligence and material resources. France also actually helped London by failing to deliver the promised cruise missiles to Argentina under previously concluded treaties.
In total, the British lost 7 ships, 17 had damage. All the Argentines struck cruise missiles from aircraft and only once - a coastal rocket launcher 4-rocket salvo, from which one rocket hit the English destroyer. But the British ships sank not only because of the destruction, but also because of the strong fires that occurred on board. All this was expressed by the commander-in-chief of the Navy and set the task: urgently on ships, if possible, replace equipment made of combustible materials with non-combustible materials, pay special attention to fighting fires and working out standards for fighting for survivability.
Analysis S.G. Gorshkov, his personal conclusions and recommendations on the experience of the Anglo-Argentine conflict did not cause doubts about their legitimacy. But how to implement these instructions, it was not specified and was not disclosed. So, many of the requirements were declarative, emotional. In fact, radical measures to prevent disasters due to fires on ships were not taken. The state of emergency on board the K-219 is a tragic confirmation of this.
As you know, before the fire on the boat an explosion occurred. In this case, some military commanders expressed that, they say, there was no fire. These versions are doubtful for any sailor. In a confined space (meaning the submarine compartment) there are numerous electrical appliances, electrical systems, all of this is under voltage. In the case of flooding the compartment, before all this is de-energized, there will most likely be a short circuit. And, naturally, by virtue of this, a center of ignition develops, developing into a fire (around paintwork and other combustible materials).
Fire as the root cause or as a consequence of an explosion on board the submarine creates extremely difficult conditions for the struggle for the life of the ship. And the preservation of an atomic ship is a special concern of the crew in order to prevent radioactive contamination of the environment. In the case of K-219, there was another side that required a special approach. It was at that time that the MS meeting was urgently prepared. Gorbachev with R. Reagan (it took place on October 11-12). Recall that the topic of their negotiations envisaged "not limiting nuclear weapons," as it was in the SALT-1, SALT-2 treaties, but frank opinions "on eliminating them in a relatively short time" (see Gorbachev MS, Perestroika and New Thinking. M .: Politizdat, 1987, p.251).
And in this situation, the nuclear-powered project 667-A is sent to the US coast to combat service. What for? For what, at such a moment, send SSBNs, and, as it turned out, unprepared for accident-free sailing (for example, the missile carriers, of the 667-B project, carried combat patrols from their shores, since their ICBMs had an increased range and got from their native pier "States). At the same time for K-219 it was the last trip, and then, according to plans, followed the withdrawal of the ship from the combat strength of the Navy.
But first about the state of emergency, as we present it. One of the authors (IG Kostev. - Ed.) At the time of the K-219 disaster was at sea, commanding a submarine of the 671-RTM project and received a radiogram of an explosion and fire in the K-219 rocket mine. Another author (GG Kostev. - Ed.) Was under the operational control of the Northern Fleet headquarters when a radiogram about the accident on board the SSBN arrived there. Here are some details of this incident. Early in the morning of October 3, while being in a patrol area on a boat that was moving from one side of a power plant, an explosion occurred in the rocket shaft No. XXUMX of the fourth compartment. The shock wave tore off the lid of the shaft and damaged its communications associated with the compartment. Propellant components began to flow into the compartment, a fire broke out. K-6 has surfaced to the surface. Part of the personnel of the fourth compartment was poisoned by toxic fumes and its combustion products.
By order of the central office, people left the fourth compartment. Commander CU-2 and two sailors carried on their hands in an unconscious state. Soon they passed away. The fourth compartment is sealed. The second side of the power plant was put into operation. The fire in the fourth compartment intensified, seawater continued to flow into the compartment. After a short circuit in the electrical system, the emergency protection of the starboard reactor worked. The left side of the nuclear power plant continued to work properly. As water entered the inside of the solid casing, the K-219 sediment slowly increased. The boat remained on an even keel. The commander decided to evacuate the crew to the approached Soviet ships using their rescue craft. The very same, as expected, stayed with 10 crew members in the felling fence. And only when the water began to approach the feet, ordered everyone to leave the SSBN, leaving the sinking ship the last of the remaining on the upper deck. The sea was calm. Soon the boat lost buoyancy, longitudinal stability and with trim on the nose, exposing the screws, went under water.
Inside the SSBN, sailor S.A. remained forever in the reactor compartment. Preminin. Until the withdrawal of people upstairs, a constant, uninterrupted communication from the central post was maintained with the reactor compartment. After shutting down the reactors, Preminin lowered the absorbers onto the lower limit switches manually, but he could not get out of the compartment - the resulting pressure difference did not allow him to remove the bulkhead door, and attempts to assist him from the adjacent compartment were unsuccessful.
6 in October 1986 in the 11.03 nuclear-powered vessel in 500 miles from Bermuda went into the depths of the sea to a depth of more than 5000 meters with sailor Sergei Preminin in the reactor compartment and 16 ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. So K-219 forever became a submarine. After 11 years, in 1997, Preminin was awarded the title Hero of Russia for his feat.
All this happened during the Gorbachev perestroika period. It was when our Secretary General directly included his Armed Forces, and especially their top leadership, in the senseless process of discussing "new thinking", although in the West, at the same time, armies and fleets were actively developing. Without any reservations, Gorbachev declared: "The new political thinking: categorically dictates the character of military doctrines. They must be strictly defensive." In the USSR, it was time for fruitless discussions, during which pundits and marshals were forced to invent (in the literal sense of the word) substantiations about the ratio of offensive and defensive actions both for the state as a whole and for the types of Armed forces: for the Ground Forces, Air Forces, Navy RVSN. All this was far from the practice and theory of military art. Gorbachev himself, having no idea about war and military science, declared: "The formula -: war is a continuation of politics, only by other means - is hopelessly outdated. Its place in the library". The system of building and training the army and navy began to crumble rapidly.
Returning to the events of 1986, when the Secretary General began to demonstrate his friendship with the West, we should, in our opinion, note the following. It would seem that Gorbachev’s statements and his behavior should have alerted the leadership of the Armed Forces, including the Navy. That is, it was necessary to exercise caution, even waiting, to determine the true reaction of the West to the behavior of the new Soviet leader. It follows that it was hardly advisable then to direct our SSBNs to remote areas of the ocean and target them to the United States. Especially if the Supreme Commander proclaimed the thesis that war is no longer a continuation of politics! And he personally showed a clear indifference to the Armed Forces. Such a position of the head of state could not but give rise to negative processes in the army and the navy, in particular the reduction in the combat capability of the units, and in the Navy - of ships. Hence the drop in the level of crew training. Naturally, the risk of accidents increased, especially on long hikes.
Yes, this is the most "new thinking" and was one of the first reasons for lowering the combat capability of the Armed Forces of the USSR. And most importantly, the loss of prestige of military service began. From year to year, the loss of responsibility for the combat readiness and cohesion of the military collective from top to bottom increased. So the tragedy of K-219 is also an indicator of the initial link of the coming fall of the Navy.
The truth has not been disclosed
Unfortunately, in the works considering the K-219 catastrophe, many details were not disclosed, although these books and articles were already published in post-Soviet Russia. Here is a list of the most significant of them, which tell about the tragedy that took place in October 1986 g .:
- 1997 Admiral of the fleet V.N. Chernavin. Nuclear submarine fleet. M .: "St. Andrew's flag", p. 354-357;
- 1999. Rear Admiral N.G. Mormul Disaster under water. Murmansk, s.147-164;
- 2000, the Admiral of the fleet I.M. Captain At the service of the ocean fleet. M .: "St. Andrew's flag", p. 587-589;
- 2002. Vice-Admiral E.D. Chernov. Secrets of underwater disasters. S.-Pb, Publishing House "Neva". M .: "Olma-Press", s.39-62;
- 2005 V.I. Larin. Russian atomic sharks. M .: KMK, p.158-159.
There are practically no fundamental differences in the description of the K-219 catastrophe in these works. But differences in approaches to the cause of the tragedy exist. In this respect, the book by E.D. Chernov. So, he believes that there was no fire aboard the boat. He does not consider him guilty of the catastrophe and the commander of K-219 captain 2 rank I.А. Britanova.
In this regard, we will express our opinion as the submarine commanders in the past, as well as more than once sailed by senior ships aboard submarines:
1. We affirm that with the entry of water into the compartments of the boat, it floods the electrical systems, the appliances, which causes a short circuit, and with it a fire, that is, a fire.
2. In our opinion, with the departure of the ship from the pier, the commander of the ship bears full responsibility (for the readiness of his crew, for the readiness of the ship, for the prevention of the accident, for the safety of navigation, etc.). In the case of any personal doubts about the successful outcome of the trip, the ship commander is always obliged to report on command, up to a written report about the unwillingness to go to sea.
Without dwelling on other works describing the K-219 catastrophe, since there are no fundamental differences in them, it seems to us important to convey to our readers the opinions of the commanders-in-chief of the Navy, voiced in 1985 and 1986. Perhaps then the reader will be clearer the circumstances and causes of the tragedy of the Britanova boat.
1985 was the last year of leadership of the Soviet Navy S.G. Gorshkovym. Let us turn to the estimates that he gave in the last month of his tenure as commander in chief. It was the last, with more than two-hour speech of the elderly commander in front of the fleet leaders practically on all the problems of the Soviet Navy during the 1984-1985 years. The 2 performance on November 1985 took place from 15 hours 15 minutes to 17 hours 50 minutes without a break. These were the results of two years of activity of all fleets, as well as an explanation of the instructions of the Minister of Defense of the USSR for the next two years - 1986 and 1987. The central idea was what measures should be taken and what should be done to master the ability to fight.
I must say that in the speech of SG Gorshkov was dominated by almost only negative examples of the state of affairs on ships, in formations and in the Navy as a whole. Of the global positive, only a general formulation was heard that, in general, ships and units of fleets successfully solved tasks, and of specific facts, only the replenishment of fleets in 1984-1985 was given. nuclear submarines of the third generation.
Separately, the problem of combat service was highlighted. For 1985, 494 was hike boats and surface ships! However, before leaving, changing the composition of the crews. So, on one of the submarines for 15 days before exiting, they replaced 20% of personnel and even: the commander (!). And in such a composition the boat left the Pacific Fleet base in the Indian Ocean. Result: 2 people died, the submarine had to be returned to the base as unprepared.
In the speech, a high percentage of accidents, a low level of practical preparedness of personnel in the struggle for survivability were noted: they do not even know how to use IPS (isolating gas masks) on a submarine, do not perform NBJ, etc. Low discipline. As a result, said the commander in chief, before 2 November 1985 (for less than a year) 306 people died, 1325 sailors were convicted. He also said that over the past year and a half, 500 officers and 1000 midshipmen were fired from the Navy due to drunkenness.
We cited all these facts only to present a picture of the state of the fleets. 2 November 1985 Mr. Sergey Georgievich said: fleets at sea (meaning SF, PF, BF, BSF) are not ready to fight. The result was an involuntary tough assessment of himself. Of course, the commander in chief of the Navy had in mind primarily the leaders in the fleets. But still, objectively, he could not exclude himself from this process. And through 4 of the week in farewell speech, although softly, but his involvement in the sad picture above, in the growing crisis in the Navy S.G. Gorshkov confirmed: "Not everything was smooth with us, there were serious incidents."
This was said during the transfer of the fleet to the new commander-in-chief - fleet admiral V.N. Chernavin. It can be said, Gorshkov fleet passed, Chernavin fleet accepted. The first serious report of the new commander-in-chief of the Navy took place exactly a year after the final performance of Gorshkov (November 23 1986 - Chernavin, Gorshkov - November 2 1985). We present only one thesis from the speech of the new commander in chief of the K-219 disaster. The admiral noted that this SSBN was sent to the area with major violations. During 45 days, 3 senior assistants were replaced before the march: 25 was one day, the second was 5 days and the third (the one that went into military service) stayed in the post 15 days before going to sea.
According to V. N. Chernavina, Commander-in-Chief of K-219, Admiral P.N. Medvedev. In his speech, he called gross violations by the command of the SF, the 3 of the SF flotilla (and the 19 division of the NPS in its composition) to replace the personnel of the X-2 (missile) personnel before the release: 50% of officers and 60% of midshipmen. And he added: "We checked the readiness of the papers, formally." In the light of the above, we will repeat the question again: was it necessary to send this SSBN with missiles aimed at the US at all to America? After all, Gorbachev's position is not to take any decisive steps against the United States. The situation is on the verge of absurdity. It is clear that Gorby neglected the interests of the USSR. But he finally “sold off” with his own country, nevertheless, somewhat later. Already under the curtain of the "reign", in 1990, Gorbachev, having the world's largest Armed Forces subordinate, voluntarily destroyed more than 50% of Soviet conventional weapons. At the same time, in general, much more missiles and their launchers were destroyed than in the United States.
It’s hard to say how the secretary general’s intelligence worked, but the fact is known that after Reykjavik, US Secretary of State Schultz said in 1986: "He put the presents to our feet ... They (the Russians) made the best concessions." And Brzezinski even admitted: "We could not understand that Russians can be bought first with flattery, and then with money." Bitter read! Especially since the same Brzezinski cynically believes that "America should base its policy on its own interests, imitating respect for other people's interests."
Of course, it is impossible to foresee the true intentions of our secretary general at that time. And yet, specifically for K-219, we believe that there was a more optimal option, safe enough for the submarine. Even without understanding Gorbachev's underlying ideas (even if he then believed that the military-political situation dictates the need to deploy SSBNs near the US coast), it was necessary to exercise caution and restraint. Why in the current circumstances, the submarine cruiser of the 667-A project should be sent to combat service, and in fact not ready to carry it. These submarines in 1986 already in the number of 50% of the total number of them removed from the Navy, according to OSV-2, putting them in sludge. There were, as we have already noted, more advanced and newer SSBNs from the 667-B project and subsequent 667 varieties. Perhaps they should have been used, and not K-219, scheduled for withdrawal from the fleet's combat operations after this campaign. This tragedy is a sign that the country has gone to ruin.
Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, more than ever in the entire post-war period, the state of the navy is extremely deplorable. The combat capabilities of the fleets after the collapse of the USSR decreased by 2,5-5 times (see Volkov L.I., Russia on the way to a brighter future. M .: SIP RIA Publishing House, 2006, p.75). In this regard, we consider it very important that past mistakes be a lesson for the future. We hope that after the 15-year failure in the development of the country, our fleet will be revived.
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