Military Review

Unsolved Secrets of the Cold War Period

Fifty-five years ago, on October 29, 1955, at 01:30 48,5 minutes XNUMX seconds, a strong explosion occurred in the Sevastopol Bay under the bow of the flagship of the Black Sea fleet - the battleship Novorossiysk. After 2 hours and 45 minutes, the battleship capsized and sank. Killed 611 people, hundreds of people were injured, concussions and injuries. The biggest tragedy in stories Soviet navy, but for almost thirty years all its circumstances were kept in the strictest confidence.

An eyewitness to the terrible tragedy was the commander of the 6 th anti-mine caliber battery, LK Novorossiysk, a graduate of Chvvmu them P.S. 1953, the year Zhilin Karl Ivanovich, the future rear admiral. Then he was able to swim out of the water funnel himself and save the young sailor.

Many memoirs and monographs have been written about this terrible tragedy, many books and brochures have been published, over a hundred reports have been prepared, hundreds of different documents have been collected. The authors of many works, presenting their version of what happened,
rush from one extreme to another, trying to convince readers that they are right.

As a boy, I witnessed the terrible nightmare that occurred on the night of October 29 1955. In my boyish memories, the Sevastopol Bay and a long whale, lying on its side, illuminated by the rays of searchlights, remained on the side - we saw this from the street of Chastnik. Then - a crowd of people on the Count's pier, crying, screaming, sirens of cars, patrolmen, who pushed onlookers and demanded to go home. Then we observed the funeral of Novorossiysk at the Communards cemetery.

They, for some reason, wrapped in white sheets, were buried in mass graves at night. And in the morning, only a flat, damp earth reminded of nocturnal incidents. But now it is a distant story. Details about this are described in the book 3 Secrets of the Sea from the Secrets of Sevastopol series.

Six months passed after a nightmare in Sevastopol, but the city and the fleet continued to stir stories and eyewitness accounts of the events of the tragic death of the battleship Novorossiysk. The theme of the mysterious death of the Soviet battleship continued to excite the imagination of counterintelligence, the leadership of the KGB, diplomats and representatives of other special services and agencies of the Soviet Union and foreign ones.

According to a “strange coincidence of circumstances,” in six months in April 1956, a state visit of the USSR party and government delegation to the UK led by Khrushchev and Bulganin took place. The trip did not involve the signing of any agreement and was declared a “goodwill visit”.

Unsolved Secrets of the Cold War Period

But the interesting fact is that the visit to London was planned not as usual on a government plane, but on a warship. Why?

Looking ahead, I note that the visit to England was overshadowed by a strange episode: a British underwater swimmer was trying to inspect the hull of the Soviet cruiser.

Will, of course, the guests were good. However, they went to the shores of Albion on the battle cruiser Ordzhonikidze.

On the tanks do not go to visit. However, it was the cruiser, armed with the most modern artillery of various calibers at that time, that was supposed to play the role of a symbol of the power and inaccessibility of the USSR.

Regarding the use of the cruiser, there was one more reasoning, so to speak, of a tactical nature. The time was uncertain, and in any case the ship of the name of the flaming Sergo with bottomless gun barrels could guarantee the delegation security. And for greater confidence, the cruiser was accompanied by two squadron destroyers, the “Watching” and the “Perfect”.
“We agreed with the English government that we would arrive on a military ship,” Khrushchev wrote in his memoirs. - We wanted to arrive on the cruiser because we thought: when we get to the port city, we will have our own temporary support there

The composition of the Soviet delegation, in addition to N.A. Bulganin and N.S. Khrushchev, a group of scientists and cultural workers entered, in particular, academician I.V. Kurchatov, Minister of Culture Mikhailov, aircraft designer A.N. Tupolev, Deputy Foreign Minister Gromyko, son of Khrushchev Sergey.

However, on the eve of departure, another passenger suddenly added to the train departing. Incredibly, but a fact: a soldier from a capitalist country was on the deck of the highly secret flagship of the Soviet combat fleet.
“When we set off,” we read in Khrushchev’s memoirs, “the British embassy in Moscow offered to take the British military attache with them. True, some people have objections: we will sail on a warship, a new warship
The attache will certainly be interested in them and will be able to reveal some of our military secrets.

Such a judgment, of course, was nonsense, inspired by the manners of Stalin's times. The military attache with the rank of colonel was a very handsome man.

When they went out to sea, a small gala dinner was arranged, and the British attache was invited to it. It turned out that he was well versed in alcoholic beverages and drank so much that he was no longer able to inspect the ship. He barely got to his cabin and slept soundly all day. ”

“During the memorable campaign in England, I had the opportunity to see Nikita Sergeyevich almost every day,” said the former senior officer of the first article of the cruiser’s radio engineering service, Miroslav G. Dyachok.
- Bulganin, silent and impregnable, usually sat in the mess-companies - his own and the captain of the ship - Captain 1 of the rank of Stepanov.

By contrast, Khrushchev was on a ship, as well as on land. He visited all corners of the cruiser - headquarters, galleys, the captain's bridge - and everywhere spoke with the sailors, was interested in the details of their service. His appearance, manner of communication, a tendency to joke prompted to talk, called for frankness.
- Where are you from? - He asked once one of the sailors.
- From Ukraine, from Lviv.
- Lviv is a beautiful city. I have been there on the eve of the war, and after. Ternopil suffered, shattered it, and Lvov was saved. Drohobych, Borislav, Transcarpathia - I have been there too. Do you know such a city of Sokal?
- Of course. It's a two or three hour drive from Lviv.
- So I know. My wife, Nina Sergeevna Kukharuk, is your compatriot. She comes from
sat out from under Sokal. Now it has moved to Poland ... "

On that memorable day, April 17, the entire crew of the cruiser solemnly lined up on the deck to congratulate Nikita Sergeevich on his birthday. He made an impromptu speech that stretched for more than two hours. He spoke interesting and boldly about international relations, the inevitable end of capitalism.

On behalf of the crew he was given a gift - a model of our cruiser.
What was most surprising was the fact that no one followed Khrushchev on his heels and did not breathe in the back of the head. That is, unlike other officials, he somehow did not recognize personal protection. ”

In Porstsmut, Soviet warships moored to the southern railway pier of the military port.
The history of Portsmouth for many centuries is inextricably linked with the history of British navigation. The settlers, who sailed from the city on 13’s eleven ships on May 1787, founded the first European colony on Australian soil. This expedition also initiated the shipment of prisoners to the fifth continent. One of the traditional branches of the urban economy was formed by the enterprises of the system of material and technical support of the Royal Navy. In the era of the industrial revolution, this industry became the engine of regional economic development. In 1802, Portsmouth Block Mills opened the world's first mass production line for hoists in Portsmouth for installation on British warships. During this period, Portsmouth shipyards were one of the largest industrial complexes on the planet.

During World War II, Portsmouth enterprises carried out a defense order, making the city a target for the Luftwaffe. Many city buildings were damaged by bombing, and the town hall was completely destroyed. Builders still find unexploded during excavation aviation the bombs. June 6, 1944, in the harbor of Portsmouth, the Union forces were loaded onto military transport ships. North of Portsmouth, at Southwick House, was the headquarters of the Expeditionary Force Commander Dwight Eisenhower.

After the end of the Second World War, several large-scale urban projects were carried out in Portsmouth, providing for the clearing of slums and rubble and the construction of residential buildings. One of them, Ley Park, is one of the largest in Europe. Much of the citizens moved to new residential areas on the outskirts of the city, in Buckland, Landport and Portsy. Many buildings built in the post-war decades were subsequently criticized for their inconsistency with the historical and architectural appearance of Portsmouth, at the end of the century some of these houses were demolished.

In 1959, the renovation work in the town hall building was completed. This time the Queen of Great Britain took part in the solemn ceremony dedicated to its opening.

V. Ivanov with the Mayor of Portsmouth

The author of the book “Secrets of Sevastopol” in 1994, visited Portsmouth, where the mayor of the city showed me (then I was the vice-mayor of Sevastopol) a British naval base, the legendary sailing and steam ships introduced the port infrastructure. Modern, clean and very beautiful sea closed port, where next to the sailing ship of Admiral Nelson "Victoria" are rocket corvettes and large warships, many tourists from around the world, shops, cafes and restaurants.

But back in the 1956 year. Khrushchev acquainted with the country with interest, visited several cities. Bulganin and Khrushchev took the Queen of England Elizabeth II.

At one of the gala dinners hosted in honor of the Soviet guests, a place near Khrushchev was taken for Churchill, and they talked for almost an hour and a half.

And at a time when loud toasts at the festive table were accompanied by a peal of crystal glasses, an alarm signal sounded on the cruiser Ordzhonikidze.

About what happened on the cruiser "Ordzhonikidze" said an eyewitness to the captain 1 retired rank Viktor Mukhortov:
- In April 1956, a detachment of Soviet ships as part of the cruiser Ordzhonikidze, the secretary of the party organization of which I was at the time, the destroyers Watching and Perfect were on a visit to England. He delivered there a large party and government delegation of the USSR — N.S. Khrushchev, Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers N.A. Bulganin, the country's leading aircraft designer A.N. Tupolev, nuclear scientist I.V. Kurchatov and other officials.
Early in the morning of April 19, the watch of one of the destroyers noticed how someone surfaced at the cruiser and immediately sank. This was immediately reported to the captain, and he handed over to the cruiser. There was a suspicion that the British intelligence officers were trying to carry out a secret survey of the ship's bottom and propellers, since the cruiser had a great speed — the 32 node and very good maneuverability. Sabotage was not ruled out - the installation of a mine under the bottom, so that when the cruiser leaves the North Sea, it explodes. The death of the ship with the government delegation could be explained by the fact that the cruiser was blown up by a wartime mine.

Appropriate security measures were taken, the English authorities were informed. Soon, on one of the islands near Portsmouth, they found a corpse in a light-diving suit, in which they identified ace of underwater sabotage operations of the British Navy combat swimmer, Lieutenant Commander Lionel Philip Kenneth Crabb, formerly a famous underwater swimmer, who fought with Italian divers, who went to live with Italian divers, who didn’t fit the world, he was on the world for world wrestlers, who didn’t make up for wrestling with the Italian diving world, who fought with Italian diving swimmers, who fought with Italian diving world war.

A scandal over the so-called “Crabbe case” flared up in British government circles. British Prime Minister Anthony Eden was forced to speak in the House of Commons and declare that the government was not notified of the Crabbe operation by the intelligence services and could not sanction it. The Labor Party, which at that time was in opposition, condemned the government of England for the spy act during the friendly visit of the Soviet ships and demanded an investigation.

19 On April 1956, the command of the British Navy said that the Crabbe "did not return after an experimental dive to the bottom, which aimed to test some underwater vehicles in the Stokes Bay of the Portsmouth District."

I personally happened to hear one military propagandist, who claimed that when they found the underwater swimmer, a command was given, and the cruiser turned the screws, with which the saboteur was destroyed. After the lecture, I went to the lecturer and tactfully explained: for the cruiser to stand on anchors to turn the screws, four hours of preparation are needed, and urgently two hours. During this time, the saboteur would have swum away in the direction he needed. ”

Recently a clarification of the event that took place on 19 on April 1956 of the year in Portsmouth under the cruiser Ordzhonikidze. On the channel “RenTV” a documentary film “The revelation of the sea devil” was shown, in the preparation of which I took part. His main hero was Edward Koltsov. In an interview Koltsov said that at that time, at the age of twenty-three, he was an underwater scout. When the acoustics of the cruiser discovered a suspicious object under the bottom of the ship, the head of the reconnaissance team called Koltsov and ordered him to descend under water and act according to circumstances.

Koltsov did just that. Soon he noticed the silhouette of a man in a light-watering suit, who set up a mine on the starboard, exactly where the charging cellars are located. Observing caution, our scout approached the saboteur, grabbed his shoes and pulled at himself. When the body of the saboteur sailed next to him, the rings with a knife cut the respiratory device, and then the enemy's throat. The swimmer's body let go with the current, took a mine from the board and dragged it to the corner of the pier, where there were no people, a lot of silt and all kinds of garbage accumulated. For this feat, Edward Koltsov received the Order of the Red Star.

So we learned what really happened. As for Leonel Crabbe, the English archives about him are classified until the 2057 year. Why? Apparently, on his conscience and on the conscience of the English government, the death of many ships, including, perhaps, our battleship Novorossiysk, which exploded in 1955 in Sevastopol. In any case, at the time, Crabbe commanded the 12-th naval commando group.

Here is what Roy Medvedev wrote about this in the book about Khrushchev. “The visit to England was overshadowed by a strange episode: a submariner on the instructions of the intelligence service tried to inspect the cruiser hull. When our sailors noticed him, he disappeared under the water, and they never saw him again.

We declared a protest to the British and explained that our sailors watched as the underwater swimmer examined the underwater part of our ship in special gear. How should this be understood? Many remembered the tragic death of the battleship Novorossiysk in the Sevastopol Bay. We did not exclude that swimmers can attach magnetic mines to the cruiser, and this can cost us dearly.

Therefore, we thought about returning home by plane. But the Tu-104 was just passing the test and was not safe, and it seemed indecent to fly to the IL-14 after the furore produced by the Tu-104.

We did not believe in the possibility of any provocation. To undermine a cruiser with the head of a foreign government is a war. The British will not allow this! And we decided to return home by cruiser ... "

Khrushchev himself remembered this episode: “It turns out that this was some kind of special intelligence officer - a diver with the rank, it seems, of a major. Our intelligence explained its appearance by the fact that the English might have been interested in the cruiser propellers and the shape of some parts of the ship's hull, determining its speed.

Intelligence was engaged in the own business. They were interested in what our ship was, and they were not satisfied with what the military attache saw.

We did not attach much importance to this, although we said that they invited us to visit, while they themselves rummaged in their pockets. A scout died, and in the press wrote a lot about the fact that we, in all probability, captured him and taken to Moscow. Then it was announced that they had found his body. We don’t know exactly who was there. But the fact that it was a scout - we had no doubt. "

Another participant of the trip tells: “That day I was annoyed because the crew had gone ashore for a tour of Portsmouth, and I had to stand on watch. However, it was not long to annoy.

Suddenly, on the radar screens, our service spotted some foreign object, which quickly moved from the coast towards Ordzhonikidze.

The duty attendant reacted instantly. Then just repeat the line from the order for the cruiser: “agent of the British intelligence service neutralized.”
- And what could the British have a goal? Maybe they really just wanted to look at the screws?
- I think that this construction, like many others, was more or less known to the British. But they could easily attach a time bomb or a remote control mine near the screws.

“But after all, one mine could hardly have destroyed such a powerful ship?”
- Of course, the cruiser Ordzhonikidze had solid parameters: 210 meters in length, 25 wide, and height - from a twenty-story house! However, if even one mine exploded far into the open sea, and even during a storm, the damaged propellers and steering could cause a lot of trouble.

- You can imagine how embarrassing the British felt then! And the Soviet leaders, of course, were outraged.
- The war of nerves has begun - who will not stand the first to announce this incident to the whole world. And this war was lost by cold-blooded Englishmen.

Believing that an attack is the best method of defense, they declared that such-and-such Soviet people destroyed their “peaceful” innocent lover of sea bathing in cold water. And now they have to answer for it.

Moreover, they appealed to the Hague International Court of Justice for support. But it was all in vain! A certain sea area around our cruiser, as is customary, was surrounded by red signal buoys. And all that was within these
at the time was considered the territory of the USSR.

So an international court could only, at the request of the UK, invalidate long-signed international agreements.

“So thanks to you and your crew mates, the return trip was calm.” And therefore, in the order for the cruiser, there were probably a few more lines ...

- All participants of the campaign for excellent service were thanked. And then they offered help with admission to any university. ”
Perhaps the provocation with the British underwater swimmer was a routine check on the vigilance of our anti-sabotage forces, perhaps it was a continuation of a series of owls. secret operations of the British naval intelligence.

As long as it remains a mystery.

It is curious that the further fate of the cruiser Ordzhonikidze is connected with the name of Khrushchev. In February, 1960, Nikita Sergeevich arrived in Indonesia. During the visit, an agreement was signed on the supply of ships, aircraft, helicopters, tanks and other weapons. Undoubtedly, the cruiser Ordzhonikidze was the most expensive object among them.

Until that day, the Soviet Union had not transferred such a displacement to other fleets. 5 August 1962, the cruiser Ordzhonikidze arrived in Surabaya and after the ceremony of transfer and renaming to "Irian".

January 24 1963 was expelled from the USSR Navy. In the 1965 year, Suharto came to power in Indonesia. The cruiser was turned into a floating prison for opponents of the new regime.

In 1972, "Ordzhonikidze" - "Irian" was demolished for scrap
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