Military Review

Battle magnets against Soviet boats

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Battle magnets against Soviet boats

In the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War and amid the unfolding Cuban missile crisis, NATO sailors were increasingly worried about Soviet submarines. The number of these boats was quite large, so a variety of options were considered as means of dealing with them. Even at first glance, they are absolutely strange and stupid. It was these ideas that included the use of special magnets that would mark boats.


At the same time, some crazy, at first glance, ideas really took off. For example, the hydroacoustic system of anti-submarine surveillance proposed in those years, which was a gigantic network of bottom microphones located in the water column. These microphones had to patiently listen to the ocean and the conversations of marine life, waiting for the appearance of Soviet submarines. This system works and is still in use.

To a less elegant and even stranger version, which has come down to us more in the form of anecdotes, include the idea of ​​dropping special "flexible magnets" from aircraft, which were to be attached to the hull of Soviet submarines, making them more "noisy", and therefore less secretive.

In the American edition of The National Interest, back in September 2019, an article was published about this unusual weapons... All material was based on information from the book "Hunter Killers", which was written by naval writer Ian Balantine.

How did the idea for the battle magnets come about?


After the end of World War II, the world quickly plunged into the Cold War. For obvious reasons, the USSR could not count on a serious superiority of the surface fleet... The main stake was placed on submarine warfare and numerous submarines.

The Soviet industry in a short time mastered the production of hundreds of submarines that were quite good and perfect at that time, which posed a real threat to the fleets of NATO countries and their sea transport communications.


Submarine S-189 project 613

In many respects, the rapid development of Soviet shipbuilding was facilitated by rich German trophies. The technology that fell into the hands of Soviet engineers after World War II was thoroughly studied and comprehended. By the time the Cuban Missile Crisis began in 1962, the Soviet fleet already numbered about 300 diesel-electric submarines and several nuclear-powered submarines.

At the same time, the most massive Soviet diesel-electric submarine was the project 613 submarine. The boat was built from 1951 to 1958 and was produced in a monstrous series - 215 copies. This project was based on the German submarine of the end of World War II - type XXI. Moreover, this practice applied to the fleets of almost all countries. Project XXI boats, the crowning achievement of the German submarine war, influenced the entire post-war submarine shipbuilding industry.

Less massive, but only in comparison with Project 613, were the Soviet submarines of Project 641. They represented a logical development of the boats of Project 613. The boat, named Foxtrot by NATO codification, was built in a series of 75 copies. The construction of boats for this project began in 1957.

The navies of the NATO countries could not fight the armada of Soviet boats at that time, the forces of the alliance were not enough for this. British Admiral R.M.Smeaton spoke about this openly. Smeaton believed that only nuclear weapons, namely strikes at their bases along the Soviet coast, would help to cope with so many Soviet boats. But this solution was even worse than the problem itself.

Against this background, a variety of options and methods of dealing with submarines were considered. First of all, it was necessary to solve the problem of submarine stealth. It is stealth that has always been the main strength and protection of submarines, allowing them to go unnoticed.


Submarine Project 641

Since stealth is the main defense of submarines, then it is necessary to find a means that will make them more noisy. Approximately so reasoned the Canadian scientist, who proposed his own version of the solution to the problem. He believed that some kind of "sticky" device was needed that would create underwater noise and make the boat more visible. As a result, the scientist constructed a simple structure of hinged magnets that could be attached to the metal hull of the submarine.

The movement of the boat would force them to knock on the hull like a loosened door, giving out the position of the submarine to hydroacoustics. At the same time, the devices could be removed from the case only upon returning to the base. It would take time and effort. The calculation was exactly on this. In an attempt to find a means to reduce the activity of the Soviet submarine fleet, it was decided to experiment.

Battle magnets tested on the British


As the hero of the film "Operation Y" and other adventures of Shurik said, it is better to train on cats. The British played the role of cats. The British regularly mobilized their submarines for joint exercises in the Atlantic. At the end of 1962, Great Britain sent the Auriga submarine to joint anti-submarine exercises with the Canadian Navy.

At that time it was a veteran boat, it was launched at the end of World War II - March 29, 1945. During one of the training operations, the boat was literally covered from above with combat magnets. They were thrown from a Canadian patrol plane flying over the boat.

The effect was achieved, exactly the one expected. Some of the magnets got in and remained on the hull of the submarine. It was literally a deafening success, since they really emitted a roar that the hydroacoustics could hear well. However, further problems began. When surfacing, some of the magnets slipped and fell through the holes and slots in the light hull of the boat, ending up in the upper part of the ballast tanks.


British submarine "Auriga"

The problem was that it was not possible to shoot them at sea. The magnets were only retrieved when the Auriga was in dry dock in Halifax. This happened only a few weeks later. All this time, the submarine could not boast of stealth, even during an underwater course. Until all the magnets were found and removed, the submarine could not take part in operations at sea.

These magnets would act in a similar way on Soviet boats. According to Ian Balantine, the crews of two Soviet boats of Project 641 Foxtrot collided with a similar magnetic weapon. Because of this, they allegedly had to interrupt their voyage and return to base. Moreover, the Soviet submarine fleet could afford to send several submarines on a forced vacation, but NATO at that time could not.

At the same time, NATO anti-submarine forces could not practice using these developments, having received an unpleasant experience with the "Auriga", which for a long time dropped out of the operating fleet units. As a result, the whole experiment was deemed unsuccessful, and soon NATO naval specialists were disappointed with the new "weapon". And the idea itself with magnets was assessed as a failure.

The fact that a special rubber coating - noise-absorbing plates - began to appear on the hulls of new submarines (at first nuclear), also played its role. There would be no magnets attached to it.

The expert considered the information about the combat magnets unreal


Vladimir Karjakin, a lecturer at the Military University of the Russian Ministry of Defense, candidate of military sciences, military political scientist, commenting on an article in the American magazine The National Interest to Russian journalists, called the material nothing more than fiction. In his opinion, история about NATO's plans to bombard Soviet submarines with special magnets looks more like science fiction than truth. He told about this to the publication "Radio Sputnik".


US anti-submarine aircraft, the period of the Cuban missile crisis

Vladimir Karjakin believes that the material was designed for those people who believe in fairy tales and myths. According to the specialist, the USSR even had titanium boats, and this is the material that does not have magnetic properties. At the same time, the steel hull of the boats was also covered with a special shell, which reduced noise.

For clarity, the expert gave a household example with a magnet and a refrigerator. The magnet will attach through a thin sheet of paper, but not through a thick sheet of cardboard. Likewise, a thick layer that protects the submarine from detection would prevent the magnets from attaching. In Karjakin's opinion, the ideas voiced were unrealistic. He called the material itself a weapon of information war, designed to strengthen the common man's confidence that something can be opposed to our submarines.

The expert's answer refers us to modern times, in which he is actively fighting "Western propaganda". Moreover, titanium boats were really not built by any fleet in the world, except for the Soviet one. But the first such submarine appeared only in the mid-1970s, and the Sharks became the last titanium submarines. After them, Russia again returned to the practice of building steel boats.

At the same time, boats built in the 1950s, which are described in the article by The National Interest, did not have any rubber coating. We are talking about submarines of the first post-war generation - massive Soviet diesel-electric boats of projects 613 and 641. The events described in the article relate to the beginning of the 1960s and precisely to these boats. Then there were no titanium boats, no mass distribution of noise-absorbing hull coatings.

In any case, the idea of ​​battle magnets never ceases to look very strange and looks like an anecdote. At the same time, it could well be implemented in practice in an experimental manner. In an article describing the events of 1962, it is said that such magnets were not used on a large scale, and their very use was quickly assessed as a failure. In this regard, it is not very clear which element of information warfare was dispelled by the teacher of the Military University of the Russian Ministry of Defense in his interview to Sputnik.
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  1. knn54
    knn54 April 19 2021 18: 12
    +5
    In order to "stick" the magnet of the submarine, it is necessary to detect. And if found, then why the magnet?
    1. Blacksmith 55
      Blacksmith 55 April 19 2021 18: 47
      +4
      The discovered boat can break away from the pursuit. If it "rumbles", then you can always find it again.
      I have never heard of such an "idea".
    2. Aag
      Aag April 19 2021 18: 55
      +4
      Quote: knn54
      In order to "stick" the magnet of the submarine, it is necessary to detect. And if found, then why the magnet?

      Apparently because the detection of a submarine is not always a reason for its destruction ...
      ... And a cow with a bell is more likely to get to the butcher))).
    3. your1970
      your1970 April 19 2021 19: 10
      +3
      Quote: knn54
      In order to "stick" the magnet of the submarine, it is necessary to detect. And if found, then why the magnet?

      After a few hours, they lost ... And the magnets would have flapped ...
      If they were effective against their boat, why wouldn't they work against ours? It's all strange ...
      1. AUL
        AUL April 20 2021 07: 31
        +3
        Actually, the very concept of using this method is puzzling!
        During one of the training operations, the boat was literally covered from above with combat magnets. They were thrown from a Canadian patrol plane flying over the boat.

        If this happens in peacetime, then this is an obvious act of aggression against a warship, 100% of the incident was white. Such rudeness must be answered immediately.
        And if the time is war - wouldn't it be easier to throw not magnets, but something like PTAB? Much more convincing it would be, and then there would be no need to look for a boat!
        1. your1970
          your1970 April 20 2021 14: 38
          +1
          When the Soviet Union under Stalin bombed the airfield in the Sukhaya River - it was not even an incident - it was a war ... The bombing of the territory of the USSR with the death of our people and equipment is not a reason for war ????
  2. Paragraph Epitafievich Y.
    Paragraph Epitafievich Y. April 19 2021 18: 37
    +11
    I knew that fridge magnets were a waste of mighty military thought! soldier
    1. Thrifty
      Thrifty April 19 2021 18: 51
      +1
      Paragraph hi imagine a refrigerator made of a single piece of magnetic iron, dropped onto a submarine from an airplane recourse
    2. Aag
      Aag April 19 2021 18: 58
      +3
      Quote: Paragraph Epitafievich Y.
      I knew that fridge magnets were a waste of mighty military thought! soldier

      Wow! We urgently need to outweigh our magnets on the neighbor's refrigerator! Times are not calm now ...)))
    3. 3x3zsave
      3x3zsave April 19 2021 19: 00
      +3
      Believe it or not, Operation Westford is even crazier.
      1. Paragraph Epitafievich Y.
        Paragraph Epitafievich Y. April 19 2021 19: 07
        0
        Quote: 3x3zsave
        Believe it or not, Operation Westford is even crazier.

        Forerunner of the #nano era laughing
        1. 3x3zsave
          3x3zsave April 19 2021 19: 16
          +2
          What, in aphedron "nano" ?! Humanity cannot master the "micro" level!
      2. Undecim
        Undecim April 19 2021 19: 27
        +2
        What's so crazy about her? The project has contributed to the contamination of near-earth space and would have developed further, apparently. But then communication satellites appeared.
        1. 3x3zsave
          3x3zsave April 19 2021 19: 36
          +1
          So what? Was the result as expected? Besides the hysteria in the press of a potential enemy?
          1. Paragraph Epitafievich Y.
            Paragraph Epitafievich Y. April 19 2021 19: 56
            -1
            Quote: 3x3zsave
            Besides the hysteria in the press of a potential enemy?

            Was there hysteria? Something I very much doubt.
            1. 3x3zsave
              3x3zsave April 19 2021 20: 02
              0
              Was. From TASS reports to verse verses.
              1. Paragraph Epitafievich Y.
                Paragraph Epitafievich Y. April 19 2021 20: 22
                0
                Quote: 3x3zsave
                Was. From TASS reports to verse verses.

                Ehm ... Do you call this "the press of a potential enemy"?
                Quote: 3x3zsave
                In addition to hysteria in the press of a potential enemy

                Or were the coupletists also American, say, brothers Everly or Shimon and Gurfinkel ?? laughing
                1. 3x3zsave
                  3x3zsave April 19 2021 20: 30
                  +2
                  Let's not grimace? You are an intelligent person and you perfectly understood what I meant.
                  1. Paragraph Epitafievich Y.
                    Paragraph Epitafievich Y. April 19 2021 20: 41
                    0
                    Quote: 3x3zsave
                    Let's not grimace? You are an intelligent person and you perfectly understood what I meant.

                    I don’t know what to mean by hysteria in the press, other than hysteria itself. Which was not.
                    1. 3x3zsave
                      3x3zsave April 19 2021 20: 45
                      +1
                      Wasn't it in the Soviet?
                      1. Paragraph Epitafievich Y.
                        Paragraph Epitafievich Y. April 19 2021 21: 00
                        0
                        Quote: 3x3zsave
                        Wasn't it in the Soviet?

                        Okay, let's omit
                        Quote: 3x3zsave
                        in the press of a potential enemy

                        but to call one article in Pravda and a TASS report hysteria is too much, I think.
            2. Undecim
              Undecim April 19 2021 22: 16
              0
              Was there hysteria?
              Was. Scientists from almost all over the world, especially astronomers. The issue was on the agenda at the UN and the US Ambassador was unable to convince others of the safety of the experiment.
              The 1967 Outer Space Treaty included a special clause on international consultations when conducting such experiments.
          2. Undecim
            Undecim April 19 2021 22: 12
            +1
            The first attempt, in 1961, was unsuccessful. The second, in 1963, fully confirmed all expectations. The project was stopped by communications satellites and massive protests from scientists, especially astronomers, especially the British. The case reached the UN.
            1. 3x3zsave
              3x3zsave April 19 2021 22: 27
              +1
              especially British
              Essentially! For I almost lost my national pride, the Ariel space program.
              1. Undecim
                Undecim April 19 2021 22: 44
                +2
                Much more "Ariel 1" suffered from the American high-altitude thermonuclear explosion Starfish Prime. And Project West Ford didn't interfere with the first Ariel. It is in low orbit with an apogee of 1200 km. probed the ionosphere.
                Dipoles were put into orbit 3500-3800 km.
                1. 3x3zsave
                  3x3zsave April 19 2021 22: 52
                  +1
                  Much more "Ariel 1" suffered from the American high-altitude thermonuclear explosion Starfish Prime.
                  About whom the Americans informed the British in advance?
                  1. Undecim
                    Undecim April 19 2021 23: 04
                    +3
                    Notify then they were notified. But the result of the explosion was, to put it mildly, not at all what was expected. EMP exceeded the calculated one at times, most of the measuring instruments were out of order. The Americans and three of their companions burned.

                    This is a view from Hawaii, 1450 km from the explosion site.
    4. Undecim
      Undecim April 19 2021 19: 07
      +3
      Vladimir Karjakin believes that the material was designed for those people who believe in fairy tales and myths.
      That is about 80 percent of the site's readers.
      This is nothing more than an anecdote.
      At the end of 1962, Great Britain sent the Auriga submarine to joint anti-submarine exercises with the Canadian Navy.
      In fact, Auriga left for Canada in early 1963 and not for training. Since 1955, the Sixth Submarine Squadron (SM6) Royal Navy has been based in Halifax on a permanent basis. Naturally, the boats were changed periodically. Returned to Davenport in October 1964. All the details of this mission, up to the evacuation of one of the crew members with an attack of appendicitis in the Bermuda region by helicopter and the failure of the latrine when crossing the Atlantic, are described in detail. But about "magnets" - not a word.
      http://www.godfreydykes.info/THE_BRITISH_SUBMARINE_HMS_AURIGA.html.
      1. ccsr
        ccsr April 19 2021 20: 34
        +1
        Quote: Undecim
        are described in detail. But about "magnets" - not a word.

        If the tests were carried out under the stamp of secrecy, and no one from the crew of the boat was initiated into the purpose of the experiment, then no records of this could remain. And in our Soviet era, tests were often carried out in units, but no one, not even the unit commander, was allowed to participate in the test program, he did not know the goals, and he could not see the equipment itself if it was small. And what then could they know in the unit, except for the marks of travel in the front line and marks in the logs for receiving and returning sealed containers?
        1. Undecim
          Undecim April 19 2021 22: 54
          +3
          And the dry docking was classified, and the search for magnets in the ballast tanks was classified. And still not declassified. They even write about the current SOSUS in books, but the experience with magnets has been classified for centuries. Was it classified in the USSR too?
          1. ccsr
            ccsr April 20 2021 11: 40
            -1
            Quote: Undecim
            Was it classified in the USSR too?

            It depends on what - some documents of the Great Patriotic War have not yet been declassified, and no one is in a hurry to do this.
            Quote: Undecim
            They even write about the current SOSUS in books, but the experience with magnets has been classified for centuries.

            Maybe they think it will come in handy for them.
            By the way, how Hess was hanged, will the British also declassify materials for you?
    5. Nikolaevich I
      Nikolaevich I April 20 2021 01: 12
      +2
      Quote: Paragraph Epitafievich Y.
      I knew that fridge magnets were a waste of mighty military thought!

      Paragraph Epitafievich! If you hear the refrigerator slamming in the kitchen at night, this does not mean that the magnets are definitely "to blame"! yes
  3. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins April 19 2021 18: 49
    +4
    Thanks to the author - I read it with interest.
  4. CTABEP
    CTABEP April 19 2021 18: 50
    +1
    Hmmm, but remind me, how many of this armada of submarines was actually able to go on alert to that area during the Cuban missile crisis? Something less than a dozen, if my memory serves me right.
    1. Aviator_
      Aviator_ April 20 2021 08: 29
      +3
      How many of this armada of submarines were able to go to that area on combat alert during the Cuban missile crisis?

      Only 4 pieces. Only one passed secretly.
  5. Avior
    Avior April 19 2021 19: 17
    +4
    actually the idea of ​​a beacon suggests itself
    during hostilities, the idea is dubious, since they found it, they drowned it, the beacon is an extra link
    but during the threatened period it would be useful - and there is no attack and the boat must be returned from duty, as it rattles
    Better yet is the idea of ​​a responder beacon that responds to a specific search query from an airplane or buoy.
    but how real it is is a big question ...
  6. Petrol cutter
    Petrol cutter April 19 2021 20: 13
    0
    Presumably, due to such grief, our shipbuilding company, together with steelworkers, began to build a light hull from "Yushka" which does not magnetize. Plus they added rubber gumming with a thickness of about 100 mm.
    I hope this is no longer a military secret.
    Bo- give more for disclosure!
    Do I need it? repeat
  7. Basarev
    Basarev April 19 2021 20: 47
    -7
    Bad idea. Submarines are weapons of despair, pirate weapons. It was more correct to admit that the ocean was lost to the Union forever and not even try to twitch further than its native shores. It was also perfectly clear that the air was also lost. Only on land was it possible to resist.
  8. dgonni
    dgonni April 19 2021 21: 49
    -1
    Actually, since the early 80s, the idea of ​​low-frequency backlighting appeared.
    It was new. But they brought it to operational use!
    Not all around in the late 80s, but it was highlighted.
    I don’t know at the moment
  9. Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I April 20 2021 01: 21
    0
    Interestingly the girls are dancing ... 4 pieces in a row! But I heard about the demagnetization of ships "once something"! It seems that they did the same with submarines! what And if the seas were covered with magnets, how would the "anti-submarine" magnetometers react to them? sad
    1. ccsr
      ccsr April 20 2021 12: 28
      0
      Quote: Nikolaevich I
      ! But I heard about the demagnetization of ships "once something"! It seems that they did the same with submarines!

      I think that this development was not aimed at ensuring that magnetometers could record the movement and course of the nuclear submarine using these magnets, but most likely the possibility of attaching some special equipment to the hull of our submarine using magnets was studied. Something like a radio beacon or tracker, so that you can easily detect it when surfacing (or sub-surfacing) and then direct ASW planes to the desired area.
      Therefore, it was important to understand whether dropping the magnets to get into the boat itself, to stick reliably and how many of them would be needed to guarantee the tracking system to work. But this is just my guess.
  10. Alexey RA
    Alexey RA April 20 2021 11: 34
    +2
    Less massive, but only in comparison with Project 613, were the Soviet submarines of Project 641. They were a logical development of the boats of Project 613.

    The logical development of the medium-sized diesel-electric submarines of the 613 project was the diesel-electric submarines of the project 633.
    And large diesel-electric submarines of project 641 were the development of large ocean-going diesel-electric submarines of project 611.