This story is dedicated to one of the first commanders of the professional crew of the submarine of the 705 project: the nuclear submarine fighter of the Alfa class according to the western classification.
The intersection of the seventy-fifth parallel — known to all submariners of the line — was noted only by the modest “battle leaf” near the passage to the mess-room. Instruments buzzed in the same way, lighting was burning, the turbine whistled; and acoustics through this whistle tried to hear the "foe" - the submarine of a potential enemy. There could be no other noise in this area: the submarine was moving under the ice.
That during the last ascent the boat broke the ice, not all the crew members were interested, but everyone knew that the march would pass under the ice for some time.
The crew of the PLA consisted of 30 people, mostly officers: the only seaman conscript service was the assistant Coca.
The best graduates of the strongest universities of the country were selected in the units ensuring the technical readiness of the PLA. The initial ratio of floating crew members to directly serving personnel was 1: 32, which made it possible to minimize the crew.
At the long-distance training exits that preceded the entire crew, on alertness no. 1, during 2 – 3 hours, four times a day, learned to emerge according to the rules of the submarine ascent — without running and with very little change in depth, using special audio and video equipment observations. People fell from tiredness: it was a dream to snatch an hour of sleep in a day. During the rest of the shift, having touched my head to the pillow in the vacant sleeping place, after 15 – 20 minutes I had to rise to the sound of a training alarm and run to my battle post. Training exits were training in everything: including the ability to rest for the next 15 minutes for 6 minutes for 8 – XNUMX hours.
It is based on just doing repairs, and not at sea ...
At the pier - PLA pr. 705: nuclear submarines-class "Alfa"
Cinema on "Ukraine"
After the control and training exits, in which the most varied situations of accidents in the compartments were worked out - from the ignition of a turbine, reactor, electrical panels, oil systems and to the entry of water into any compartment, from depressurization of the high pressure air pipeline to the ammunition accident - a long hike was seen as a sanatorium.
It was possible to sleep for four hours from the 12-hour cycle, there was time to watch the movie, then another (1983 year) through the Ukraine cinema camera, it was possible to safely eat lunch and even physically warm up.
Therefore, the fact that the PLA was under the ice was of no concern to anyone - the equipment seemed too reliable, the commander was calm and confident, announcing that from such and such time the PLA had started a new stage of the campaign, during which it was necessary to increase attention to the reliability of the working equipment and appearance of any doubt immediately report to the main command post (GKP).
From the diary of the officer of electromechanical service Ozigin “15.01.83. Today in 07.32 75 parallel parallel in longitude 49 degrees 12.7 crossed, a week of swimming was left behind, and there are still 6 units and 2 of the day. Today, Saturday is a bathing day, I, however, washed myself on Wednesday during the soul testing, but I will not miss my turn. ”
On Monday, finding a field with crushed ice, surfaced under the periscope for a communication session. Anyone who wanted could, with the permission of the commander, admire the majestic picture of the ice kingdom in the light of television searchlights working from under the water. Blue and black boulders slowly rocked, shimmering.
Then no one had imagined that the idyll was soon over.
It all started with little things. After taking over the watch, the mobile watch during inspection of the central compartment found extraneous sounds in the main air conditioner. It seems a trifle - it is necessary to disassemble and replace individual parts of the fan, but this is simple at the base, and not at sea, when the main distributor of the entire electric power industry of the ship is under load, there is additional property and products in the aisle. By order of the commander of the BC-5 Leonid Zhuk with the permission of the commander began repairing the air conditioner.
But trouble does not come alone. By loading the DUK (apparatus for shooting garbage), contrary to the rules, they were allowed to do coca, and during the next shooting some rubbish fell under the outer cover. There is an urgent need to carry out special measures to eliminate these consequences. It took only the ninth day, what will happen next?
During the briefing of the next shift, officer of the watch Smirnov told the officers that there was no ice at the top, according to the testimony of the instruments - 4 meter and more, there could be no underwater targets. Only sounds of hummock of ice fields are heard.
The mechanics were given the mode of the reactor, the turbine, the power supply circuit.
Everything as usual. After intense preparation for the hike, we slept off and rested, we, the “suites” (not all mechanics, in the terminology of the crew), bored, but the mechanics were not bored ...
It looked like the central post PLA pr.705. Hydroacoustic sitting, places of navigator and boat commander are visible
View of the torpedo deck. A torpedo hatch was opened, into which torpedoes go along guides during launch.
An explosion in the aft central compartment woke the entire crew in 05.20. Thick smoke sprawled across the compartment, crawling into cabins, rising and falling on decks and holds. All the ventilation stopped, the normal lighting went out, the emergency one turned on, the usual “squeak” of the devices and the noise of the air coming out of the fan hatches were gone. Deathly silence reigned, an incomprehensible hissing and humming came from the stern.
Having played an emergency alarm with a bell, Leonid Zhuk, the commander of the warhead-5, declared an emergency alarm: “The fire in compartment III, the main switchboard (main switchboard) of the starboard is on, to personnel in personal protective equipment. The LOCH (boat volume-chemical fire protection) is served in the third compartment. Look around, report on what is happening at the scene of the accident. ”
First thought: “Finally, not training!” Then, wearing an insulating gas mask, including a trigger to start breathing, “Did they all have time?”. After all, one breath at the compartment in case of fire is enough for death.
From the diary of the officer Ozhigina. “17.01.83. 14.00. It turns out that everything I described before was flowers, today's night from 16 to 17 in January will be remembered by everyone who is aboard our steamer for a long time. In the morning, at 05.00, those who were asleep were awakened by a terrible crash and an emergency voice of the Beetle: “The main switchboard lights up - starboard.” The first thought is three meters from your head! The second is most likely to get into the breath through the remote control. Having dangled the head and legs from the bed of the 20 tier, I saw two people, after 5 – 6 seconds they jump out of the cabin. I usually jump down - the hand stretches into a corner, where, after the watch, I left my remote control ... it's not there. Thoughts cling to my head: one or two breaths - and you are not. To get to his fighting post, there is a saving isolating gas mask, just from the cabin to the left, 5 – 6 steps, then through the hatch down - and on the spot, but ... Luke is just between MSB left-right, and there is a fire. I jerked the door of the cabin. On the middle deck there is dark brown smoke, and, oh, a miracle, on the contrary there is someone's remote control. I do not remember how I got involved and found myself in my service post. Everything happened on the machine. But he managed to inhale poisonous muck. ”
Everyone in his place
In the central, like peas, reports poured from the consoles: “Emergency protection (A3) reactor” triggered ”,“ A3 turbines triggered, stroke lost ”,“ 0 insulation resistance ”in the main power grid along the right-hand side. “The boat slowly floats without a turn, trim 0,3 feed, roll 0. To the surface of the ice 65 meters.
Through the membrane of a gas masking device, the information received by the commander is difficult - and visibility is zero.
The beginning of the accident is much more serious than on the deceased “Komsomolets”. At the training centers, during frank conversations, teachers confessed that the fire of the main switchboard on the 705 submarine of the project most likely promises the death of a submarine. This was known by many. And here there is ice, the course is lost. The role of the PLA commander is immense in this situation. Neither the fussy political officer, nor our executive technician, nor the moss-headed senior assistant could more effectively, without panic, make decisions soberly and competently and seek their implementation. The commander on a submarine always remains the first message from God, no one except him is ever capable, with full responsibility, full knowledge, will, to save people gathered in a crew, a warship, honor and dignity of military order.
An omniscient zampolit, ready on the orders of the party to shoot anyone on the aft superstructure, was unable to properly use even personal protective equipment, confusing in a hurry and grabbing the assistant’s gas mask, tearing it off from vanity, depriving the assistant’s defenses and finally reaching his gas mask people did not suffer from his zeal). About the leadership or some kind of help from him in the organization of the struggle for survivability and the speech could not be. Because after some time, the political officer went already in the individual equipment of the submariner to leave the ship from under the water.
The mechanic paid all attention to the main power plant (GEM), and it was necessary in that situation. Opportunities to put the reactor into action were limited by the life of the battery, and there could not be any extra attempts: otherwise, the eternal captivity under the ice.
Everyone at the PSC understood the meaning of what the mechanic is doing with the commander of the energy division, but no one ever got into their work. No matter how the matter ended, no one doubted that they would do the maximum possible.
The first mate, realizing that he would not get his gas mask, quickly found a spare, and as a maneuver, he scrupulously carried out all the orders of the commander: he kept in touch with the compartments along the main and spare lines, led the tablet of the situation, and without panic told the compartments 40 meters, the boat slowly emerges (well, that does not sink), look around in the compartments, so and so the crew members leave the emergency compartment and go into the bow compartments, so and so go to the stern.
The emergency party at that time, having assessed the situation in the area of the accident, reported that the fire was localized, the open fire was extinguished in sight, and the devices were damaged. A copper tire was burned as thick as a hand through which all the starboard power passed.
Finally, a backup power supply system was assembled at the very edge of the ice, a depth stabilizer was launched without a turn.
Then the reactor was put into power, the turbine was started up, the left-side turbogenerator began to emerge from under the ice, the estimated exit time was 8 hours. Only the minimum of the crew could remain in the center, since the supply of regenerative cartridges for gas masks and the time of their work was limited.
At the same time, it was necessary to urgently restore the working capacity of vital equipment, find out the causes of fire to prevent relapses, resolve livelihood issues in the "uninhabited" compartments, and so on.
In that campaign, coming out from under the ice, having healed the “wounds”, having no losses among the crew, even without rising to the surface, the submarine continued to perform the combat mission. The accident, as a mortal danger, was forgotten the next day.
From the diary of officer Ozhigin: “... today we received a radio, where, among other things: ... in the families of the crew, everything is fine. I wonder if someone really walked around our families or is it just another formal trick of the political department chief Burdin? Today my son is 8 months old, and when we return, there will be 9 and a half. ”
We burn on trifles
Despite working ashore and at training exits of all conceivable measures for localizing and reducing the consequences of an accident in any compartment, including in the absence of lighting and inoperative hydraulic actuators, some little things that must be observed were still not worked out to unconditional automatism. For example, finding the remote control within reach, using only your own protective equipment, etc. The presence of an active political officer on board who did not complete a full training course with the whole crew, who has great authority but is not responsible for anything, can only aggravate the situation, cause distrust of the entire command group.
It all started with the repair of the air conditioner in the area of the accident, which was not vital for the boat at that time. The risk associated with its repair (presumably, some parts of the disassembled mechanism got through the ventilation windows of the main switchboard on the busbar) when the boat was in combat service under the ice, was unreasonably high.
With the same commander, our crew, carrying out a long hike, in the area of Bear Island was attacked by an unknown enemy. I stood watchman hydroacoustics in the central, was the usual peaceful atmosphere after working out training tasks, the commander read something, the time was evening. Suddenly, a mark from the target appeared on the screen of the sonar complex, which could not be unequivocally classified in the first few seconds. The sound from the target began to grow sharply, and I have no doubts on the classification criteria that this is a torpedo. The bearing on the target did not change, and this clearly meant that it was approaching us. During training, such attacks continued from 1 to 5 minutes, but this is at the test sites, off its shores.
I reported: "Torpedo on the right 15". At the beginning, there is no reaction, too big a difference between the “peaceful life” and the report on the “beginning of the war”. Someone at the center had a joke to notice: "The acoustics at dinner no longer pour."
Only the commander instantly gave the command: "Raise the power of the power plant to one hundred percent." Turning on the sound of a torpedo on a speakerphone instantly sober everyone, but time has passed! The commander, the officer of the watch on duty, jumped; the teams fell out: "Left aboard, the most complete turbine." Without the percent of reactor power output to 100, this would have been impossible.
From the memories of the mobile watch Kostyuk: “I just walked into the central - to report on the inspection of the compartment, and then I heard the sound of a torpedo on the dynamics, and the report“ torpedo ”, well, I think they came, I remembered my whole life.
Then we ran away, the speed of a madman could develop. (Soviet submarines of the 705 project were the fastest production submarines in the world - approx. "Courage") But if it were not for the commander, not his readiness to react in any situation with the only right decision, you might not have time. What was there, who attacked, what, there was no time to understand.
Commander and his crew
I had a lot of trips with my crew and with others, but not always the ships were commanded by commanders from God. There were those who, in a difficult situation, clutched their sides, sat down in a chair and wept: “Oh, oh, oh, what will happen to me now when I return,” naturally, like a woman. Then they were immediately replaced by real men, with their own will, knowledge, and skill, pulling the ship and crew out of trouble.
Now a lot has changed. Almost all of the professionals from my and neighboring crews are laid off on staff reductions. The senior engineer of the power plant (in that campaign) Nekrasov was killed in the line of duty, the deputy commander was fired for sadism with military personnel already in another crew, the senior assistant Syrgin was in Gomel military commissar. Scattered were all but the commander. He still performs his military duty. I deliberately do not call his name: those who have ever met him in the service will always recognize him or remember him.