The naval forces of many states have rare ships. They will never go to sea, but exclude them from the lists fleet it would mean tearing out the heroic pages of the past from memory and forever losing the continuity of traditions for future generations.
Therefore, the cruiser Aurora stands eternal on the Petrogradskaya Embankment of St. Petersburg, and the masts of the Victory Gunship 104-gunship towers on the docks of Portsmouth. The naval flag of the country flies over each veteran, the abbreviated crew of sailors keeps the watch on board, and the Navy’s budget has a special column for them (note: the Aurora was excluded from the Navy in 2010 and transferred to the category of ships - museums).
Even the pragmatic United States has its rare ship - the USS Pueblo (AGER-2). Perhaps the most unusual of all warships in the world.
To remove the Pueblo from the lists of the US Navy would be to raise the white flag and capitulate in the face of the enemy. The little scout is still listed on the Pentagon as a valid combat unit. It does not matter that the Pueblo itself has de facto almost half a century moored at the embankment in North Korean Pyongyang, and its secret radio engineering "stuffing" was pillaged in pieces in the interests of the secret research institutes of the Soviet Union.
... The muzzles of uncovered 50 caliber sticking out helplessly. On the walls of the superstructures of the “Pueblo” blackened wounds from splinters, on the decks one can see brown spots of blood of American sailors. But how did the Yankee warship end up in such a degrading situation?
The Pueblo radio intelligence reconnaissance ship passed under official documents of the US Navy as a Banner-type hydrographic ship (Auxiliary General Environmental Research - AGER). Former cargo-passenger ship FP-344, launched in the 1944 year, and subsequently converted to conduct special operations. Full displacement - 895 tons. The crew is about 80 people. Full speed - 12,5 knots Armament - 2 machine gun caliber 12,7 mm.
A typical Cold War scout disguised as an innocent scientific vessel. But behind a modest appearance was hidden wolfish grin. The interiors of the Pueblo interior resembled a giant supercomputer - long rows of racks with radio receivers, oscilloscopes, tape recorders, encryption machines, and so forth with specific equipment. The task is to monitor the Soviet Navy, measure the electromagnetic fields of Soviet ships, intercept signals at all frequencies in the interests of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the naval intelligence of the fleet.
11 January 1968 of the year USS Pueblo (AGER-2) left the port of Sasebo and, after passing through the Tsushima Strait, entered the Sea of Japan with the task of monitoring the ships of the Pacific Fleet of the USSR Navy. Having rotated for several days in the area of Vladivostok, the Pueblo moved south along the coast of the Korean Peninsula, simultaneously collecting information about radio emission sources in the territory of the DPRK. The situation was disturbing: on January 20, when the scout was 15 miles away from the naval base on Fr. Mayan-do watch found on the horizon a warship. Poor visibility prevented the exact establishment of its nationality — the object, which turned out to be a small anti-submarine ship of the North Korean Navy, completely dissolved in the evening twilight.
On January 22, near the Pueblo, two North Korean trawlers appeared, accompanying the American throughout the day. On the same day, a group of North Korean special forces attempted to assassinate South Korean President Pak Jong-hee, but died in a shootout with police.
Bad signs were ignored: the Pueblo calmly continued on its way along the coast of the DPRK.
23 January 1968 has struck the hour X - in 11: 40 a small anti-submarine ship SC-35 of the DPRK has approached the Pueblo. With the help of the flag semaphore, the Koreans demanded to indicate the nationality of the ship. The Americans immediately raised a star-striped flag on the mast of the Pueblo. This was supposed to cool the hotheads and eliminate any provocation by the enemy.
Small anti-submarine ship of Soviet production
However, on board the SC-35 immediately followed the order to immediately stop the course, otherwise the Koreans threatened to open fire. The Yankees pulled time. At this time, three more torpedo boats appeared alongside the Pueblo. The situation took a threatening turn. The flag of the United States somehow did not particularly cool the Korean fervor.
The Pueblo commander Lloyd Bucher checked the map again and checked the navigation radar with his own hands - that's right, the Pueblo is located 15 miles from the coast, outside the DPRK territorial waters. However, the Koreans did not think to lag behind - the air was filled with the roar of jet fighters. Aviation and the North Korean fleet was surrounded on all sides by a lone American intelligence officer.
Now, the commander Bucher realized that the enemy was planning to take the unarmed Pueblo into the ring and force him to go to one of the North Korean ports. When they left Sasebo, he attended a meeting with officers from the crew of the Banner reconnaissance ship. Colleagues confirmed that the Soviet and Chinese fleets regularly use similar tactics, trying to drive American reconnaissance ships into a trap. However, unlike the Soviet Navy, the North Korean fleet acted more boldly and decisively. After 2 hours of an inconclusive chase, the first projectile flew into the Pueblo superstructure, tearing one of the American sailors' legs off. Following, on the scout trim, a shot of machine-gun shots crashed.
The Yankees screamed about the attack on all frequencies and rushed to destroy the secret equipment.
Tens of tons of radio electronics and cryptographic machines, mountains of secret documentation, reports, orders, magnetic tapes with records of the negotiations of the North Korean and Soviet military - too much work for the three fire axes and two electric grinders for paper. Details, documents and magnetic tapes should be bagged for later discharge overboard - giving the necessary orders, Boucher rushed headlong into the radio room. What does the command of the 7 fleet promise to help him?
The signal of an attack on a US Navy ship was received by a carrier strike group that was located 500 miles south of the Pueblo. Task Force 71 commander Rear Admiral Epes ordered the Phantom duty group to be immediately lifted into the air and all the North Korean tins trying to get close to the American reconnaissance ship would be destroyed. To which the commander of the supercarrier Enterprise, only threw up his hands - he is unlikely to be able to help in this situation. The Enterprise’s wing has not yet come round after a long trans-ocean crossing, half of the planes are damaged by a violent typhoon, and the four combat-ready Phantoms on the deck do not carry any weapons other than air-to-air missiles. His guys will need at least an hour and a half to change their weapons and form a full-fledged strike group - but, alas, by that time, it will probably be too late ...
The destroyers USS Higbee, USS Collet and USS O'Bannon, which were stationed in Japanese ports, were too far away to provide any assistance to the attacked scout. The promised fighter-bombers F-105 "Thunderchief" also did not arrive ...
At this time, the Koreans continued methodically shooting the bridge and the Pueblo superstructure from 57 mm guns, hoping to kill the commander and senior officers of the ship. The "decapitated" ship must quickly raise the "white flag" and accept the conditions of the Korean sailors.
Finally, Coder Boucher realized that help would not come to them, and the Koreans would shoot them all if the Yankees did not fulfill their conditions. The Pueblo stalled the course and prepared to take on the group of capture. The Yankees did not even try to take the fight - the “Browings” on the upper deck remained undisturbed. Later, the commander justified that only one person from the Pueblo’s crew knew how to handle it. weapons.
From the approaching torpedo boat, 8 of Korean sailors landed on the deck of the Pueblo, none of whom spoke English. Komander Bucher tried to explain that he was the senior on the ship. A Korean officer ordered the crew to line up along the side and gave a line of Kalashnikov above their heads, obviously showing the frightened Yankee that he was in charge now. And he does not intend to joke with them.
Coming down with the Koreans to the working premises of radio engineers and cryptographers, the commander Boucher was startled: the entire deck was littered with bags of documents, details of secret equipment and pieces of magnetic years. They were collected in bags, but no one bothered to throw them overboard! No less surprise was waiting for them in the radio room: according to Bucher, the narrow eyes of the Koreans widened at the sight of how the teletypes continue to knock out secret radiograms - the Yankees did not destroy the equipment, but did not even try to turn it off!
Captured "Pueblo" was escorted to Wonsan. In total, the crew of the scout lost one person killed in the clash with the North Korean Navy, the remaining 82 sailor were captured. 10 Americans had injuries of varying severity.
The next day, negotiations began at the Korean militarized zone checkpoint between representatives of the United States and the DPRK. Rear Admiral John Victor Smith read out the American appeal: the Yankees demanded the immediate release of the hostages, the return of the confiscated hydrographic court, and an apology. It was emphasized that the seizure occurred at a distance of 15,6 miles from the coast of the Korean Peninsula, outside the territorial waters of the DPRK (according to international rules - 12 miles from the coast).
North Korean General Park Chung Hook just laughed in the face of the Americans and said that the border of the territorial waters passes where indicated by Comrade Kim. Currently, this distance is 50 miles from the coast of North Korea. He, on behalf of his country, strongly protests against the brutal aggressive invasion of the North DPRK's armed forces with an espionage equipment aboard, and any discussion of the release of the Pueblo crew members will be conducted only after a formal apology from the United States.
Negotiations are deadlocked.
January 28 using the high-altitude supersonic reconnaissance A-12 (predecessor of the SR-71) was obtained reliable evidence that the "Pueblo" captured by the armed forces of North Korea. The pictures clearly showed that the ship was located at the Wonsan naval base, surrounded by the ships of the DPRK Navy.
"Pueblo" from a height of 20 km
At the same time, a letter from Commander Bucher came in from North Korea, in which he confessed to espionage and other sins. The text was compiled in accordance with the Juche idea and could not be written by an American. But the signature was real. As it became known later, the Koreans beat the commander of the Pueblo, and when it did not help, they threatened to witness the execution of the entire crew, and then he would die. Understanding with whom he is dealing, Bucher wisely signed a confession.
The Pueblo crew spent months in captivity 11. Finally, December 23 9: 00 am The Americans made an official apology to the North Korean side, on the same day at the Panmunjon checkpoint, the procedure for issuing prisoners of war began at the Panmunjon checkpoint. Medical examinations revealed traces of ill-treatment and beatings at seamen, all suffered from exhaustion (although who in the DPRK does not suffer from exhaustion?). At the same time, no serious injuries, injuries or mental disorders were recorded: Koreans treated Americans as prisoners in a regular prison. Sensational reporting on the atrocities in captivity did not work.
At home, the sailors were greeted like real heroes. However, as early as January 1969 a trial was opened - 200 meeting hours, 140 witnesses. Pentagon representatives were outraged that for the first time in 160 years, an American ship was surrendered to the enemy. With a complete set of secret equipment!
Why did the commander, when threatened to capture the Pueblo, decide to sink his ship? Or at least destroy the most valuable equipment? Encryption machines fell into the hands of the North Koreans - a direct threat to the national security of the United States, plus the captured ship would most likely be put somewhere in a prominent place, which would damage America’s image.
Lloyd Boucher made excuses that even a couple of months before the march he appealed to the fleet command with a request to install explosive devices - for a quick detonation and destruction of secret equipment. However, his request remained unsatisfied.
Finally, why did the great and invincible American aircraft not come to the rescue of the Pueblo? Where at this time did the Supercarrier Enterprise enterprise click its beak?
At the trial, all new facts of the mess in the US Navy were revealed. Finally, the Yankees decided to stop the tragicomedy and begin to constructively solve the problems identified. By decision of the commander of the Navy, John Chaffee case was closed. Commander Boucher was fully acquitted.
The main mistake in the Pueblo incident was the incorrect calculation of the adequacy of the DPRK. The Yankees were confident that they were acting against an ally of the USSR, and therefore, there was no one to be afraid of: Soviet sailors always observed the norms of international maritime law and would never touch an American ship outside the 12-mile zone of territorial waters. Even in the open ocean, the Soviet intelligence officers (communications vessels - CERs) and their American “colleagues” (GER / AGER), such as miserable, unarmed pelvis, boldly approached the squadrons of the “probable enemy”, believing fairly that their security was provided by the military and political power of their countries, interpreted as a flag flying over them.
American concerns about the seizure of secret equipment were not in vain: Soviet specialists immediately dismantled and removed a number of secret equipment to the USSR, including encryption machines class KW-7. Using this equipment along with tables, codes and descriptions of cryptographic schemes obtained by the KGB with the help of a warrant officer, Johnny Walker, Soviet cryptographers managed to decipher about a million intercepted messages of the US Navy.
NSA on 12-20-2006