In the next campaign we went out in early March. The purpose of the campaign was to observe the NATO exercises in the middle Atlantic. On the approach to the exercise area, at a distance of 90 km, I found English (American?) anti-submarine aircraft carrier "Essex" on its VHF radio beacon. My new antenna helped. We got close to the squadron. It turned out seven ships. Anti-submarine aircraft carrier Essex, frigate Faragat and five destroyers. One of them turned out to be an old acquaintance of my commander - the destroyer "Courtney". I heard about him from the commander history their dating.
It turns out that a year ago the commander was on the same march and met this destroyer. He came up to our ship and their commander in a megaphone shouted: “Russian, chejndch! Russian Change! ” Our commander knew English well, and they soon agreed to exchange souvenirs. As our souvenirs there was vodka and cigarettes "White Sea Canal". Beers, pineapple cans and Playboy magazines were offered by the Americans. The two ships came together on board, threw the fenders overboard and moved at a slow speed. Began an intensive exchange, which lasted about twenty minutes. Zampolit Armash was not present at the same time (he sat in the cabin) and did not lay the commander. They were friends.
In fact, this political officer turned out to be a good man. Tall, physically very strong, he was engaged in freestyle wrestling and was the champion of the North fleet. One day, we jokingly grabbed his cabin, and he immediately put me with one left, although I was not a wimp.
For about a week, we followed an aircraft carrier, wrote and analyzed radiation, filmed ships, Trekker anti-submarine aircraft, and tried to understand how they were looking for and finding submarines.
They have long understood that we are scouts and will not lag behind them. We managed to intercept their radio message, in which they asked the Pentagon who such a “Vertical”? And soon they received the answer: "Vertical" - Russian reconnaissance ship, commander Leonid Shulpin.
Anti-submarine aircraft carrier "Essex", 1967g.
Destroyer "Courtney", 1967
As it turned out, the submarine was two - one is Norwegian, the other is English. The squadron maneuvered, and we often interfered with their ships.
A week later, we were tired of them and after one unsuccessful maneuvering, when we barely collided with an aircraft carrier, they gave us a place in the marching warrant, aft, to the left of the aircraft carrier. We understood this when we saw their rebuilding on the radar screen. The commander took the place allotted to us, and the next week we went to their warrant and performed all the maneuvers together.
Watched refueling aircraft carrier at sea. The tanker ship went near the aircraft carrier at a distance of 20 - 30 meters. From it to the aircraft carrier hoses were fed and the ropeway was stretched, along which the boxes with all kinds of products crawled up and down. Soon we learned what kind of products. Empty boxes of beer, pineapples, oranges, and bananas flew into the sea daily from an aircraft carrier. We enviously looked at the blacks who served the planes, and in our spare time we stood at the side and ate fresh pineapples and bananas. We felt very sorry for the “poor” Negroes whom the whites so “oppressed” (Soviet propaganda said this more than once).
In our holds there was nothing but rusty water, and in the fridge there was already blackened fish and the same dark meat. Bread and loaves were stored in plastic wrap, soaked in alcohol. They were not stale, but bitter even after heat treatment in the furnace in the galley.
Once, an anti-submarine helicopter hovered over us and began photographing us. He hung over the ship so low that you could see the face of the photographer. The navigator Buturlin stepped onto the wing of the bridge and shook his fist at him. In response, the Englishman got an orange from somewhere and launched into the navigator. I stood nearby and, having caught an orange, threw it back into the photographer, but missed. Then I regretted it. We had to just eat an orange, because we did not have any fruit, except apple juice. Sailors without vitamins were covered with acne, gums were bleeding. The doctor made him a blood transfusion from a vein in his leg to a vein in his arm. For some reason it helped, acne passed.
Generally speaking, we did not notice any hostility from the British and Americans. It was a “cold war” at the government level, and there was no hostility from ordinary people, even the military. There was only curiosity.
I was struck by discipline and training on NATO ships. Everything was done very clearly and quickly. The planes took off with an interval of half a minute. Sat down one by one. But sometimes it seemed that the plane was flying too high, that it would not land. But the plane fell like a stone down from a height of 6-7 meters, clung to the cable with a rear hook and stopped after a couple of seconds. As a pilot endured such overloads, I do not know.
Just before the end of the exercise, I had to observe the catastrophe of our turboprop aircraft — reconnaissance aircraft TU-95 (it was made on the basis of a long-range strategic bomber) (Tu-16P Pliev?). Our planes flew around the aircraft carrier almost daily, passing at the level of its board at the lowest speed. It was terrifying to watch a huge car fly so low. The pilots, talking to VHF, joked: "Let them frighten them, cut them off the mast!". Of course, one had to have great skill to drive like that. And then on one, not very beautiful day, this trick ended in disaster. Our plane, as usual, passed over the side of an aircraft carrier and began to turn around on its nose. But the speed could not be seen, the plane slid onto the wing, caught the wave and fell into the water, raising a cloud of spray. While we were trying to make sense of what had happened and to do something, I saw the aircraft carrier Essex drift down, a niche opened on the aircraft carrier's side and a platform fell out onto which the emergency crew immediately ran out. All in orange life jackets. From somewhere above, from the davits flew down the boat. It flew, and, raising a cloud of spray, swayed near the site. The emergency team jumped into the boat, the guinees were immediately given away, the engine roared and the boat rushed to the crash site. Because of the other side of the aircraft carrier, the same boat jumped out and did the same.
We stopped and waited. We could not give any real help. Our rescue boats could be lowered into the water for half an hour, for another half an hour we would start the motors and, if started, we would go at speed in 8 nodes. But we would not have brought them, because the batteries have long gone. The mechanic did not follow the boats and did not charge the batteries.
And the British soon brought seven corpses on their boats. It was the crew of the crashed aircraft. It turns out that when they hit the water, the cockpit broke off, and the pilots threw into the sea. All of them were dressed in high-rise costumes and therefore did not drown. Two days later we received them from an aircraft carrier sealed in zinc coffins, and placed them in a refrigerator. After that, the team refused to eat meat and fish. I had to go to the canned food. The command ordered to interrupt the campaign and return to base. We again returned to the Hot Streams and started repairing.
In September, we began to prepare for a new campaign. In the factory, a heat finder MI-110K was installed on the ship and a MG-409 sonar buoy was loaded for the submersible sound attenuation. In the laboratory, we installed a receiver for hydroacoustic signals and a new tape recorder. And they also gave three sets of mercury-zinc batteries to power the sonar buoy. Similar radio-technical equipment was installed at the КТТР "Buy" and "Gyro". All this was surrounded by mystery, and we were wondering what the next task for the trip would be.
Mystery opened in November. We were sent to look for positions of combat patrols of American nuclear missile submarines in the North Atlantic. MI-110K was the latest secret thermal direction finding equipment for detecting the thermal wake of a submarine. Hydroacoustic buoy was needed to confirm the contact. By that time, the "Gyro" had already returned from the campaign and reported on several contacts with the submarine.
The search for boats in the North Atlantic took two months. During this time, I fully mastered the new equipment and realized that searching for boats, having the maximum speed at 16 nodes, is a bad thing. We had to zigzag, crossing the submarine wake track many times. (Only this way it was possible to determine the footprint or the temperature heterogeneity of water caused by heating from the sun or jet ejection from the depth). But it reduced our average speed to 10 - 12 knots. Catching up with a boat at this speed was very problematic. In addition, there was a lot of interference in the area. Gradually, I mapped all the permanent jet streams and began to navigate them. Several times I received a mark on the recorder similar to the trail of the boat, but it was not possible to confirm the contact with the help of the sonar buoy. While we were lowering the buoy with the help of the davit, lying in the drift, the boat was leaving us. I developed a whole theory of search for the submarine wake trail, and proved that you need to have a speed of at least 20 knots to catch up with the boat and enter the wake trail, and you also need a good ship GAS (hydroacoustic station) to detect the boat in echo mode . And yet, in two contacts, I was sure. One was in a submarine combat patrol position, and the other when the submarine was returning to base, passing the Scottish Strait.
New 1968 year we met at sea. Soon we were redirected to the area of the British Navy Holy Loch (near Londonondery, Northern Ireland). There we stood for another month, detecting atomic submarines emerging from the base with a locator. They were on the surface because of shallow depths. We accompanied them to the point of immersion and passed the coordinates to the headquarters of the Northern Fleet. Then our submarine was guided into their boat. We saw the English coast, but could not approach it. Then we were very jealous of civilian sailors who came to all foreign ports and rested from the sea, from rusty water in the holds and from rotten fish in the refrigerator.
After only three and a half months, we returned to our base. It was the longest trip in my life.
On the way back near the North Cape (Norway), we met the CTRD “Bui”. He went to replace us in the North Atlantic.
When the "Buoy" returned from the march, it turned out that he was far ahead of us and the "Gyro" in the number of detected submarines. There were more than twenty of them. I understood that looking for boats using a heat finder installed on a low-speed ship like the “Buoy” (full stroke 12 knot.) Is absurd!
Somehow I went to the ship and asked the chief of the RTS, my classmate at the All-Russian Museum of Railway Transport, Zhenya Gorchakov, how did he manage to detect so many boats?
In response, Zhenka smiled slyly and said:
- Need to be able to! The commander said to me: “Zhenya, I need a boat.” “Yes,” I reply. - Will now be". And with the help of simple manipulations with the setting knobs of the equipment I get a jump on the MI-110K recorder. Then, in the same way, I get a record of the noise of the “boat” on the tape recorder.
“But these are the sounds of the sea, not the boats!” - I object.
- And me on the drum. The headquarters do not understand this. I act on the principle "xx-hp" (x..new want-x..new get).
Everything became clear to me.
Soon, the CTRD “Bui” was declared the winner of the competition among the ships performing a particularly important mission of the command, and was awarded the Order of the “Red Banner of War”. Then we, not without mockery, called this ship the “Red Banner Buoy”.
Less than a day before returning to the base, we lost the sailor, the signalman of the sailor Tuvalov from the CU-1. In general, the death of people in the North was commonplace. Shortly before my arrival, sailor Ershov hanged himself on our ship. He did not tolerate rolling at all and more than once asked him to write it off to the shore. But the command was obstinate. “Let him serve like everything, let him get used to it, become a real man.” Realizing that the wall of indifference and demagogy he did not break, he committed suicide.
Already with me, two coast midshipmen drank antifreeze (brake fluid), which includes methyl alcohol - a very poisonous thing. Soon they were blind, and then they died in the hospital.
Mitchman, a first-class athlete on skis, got lost while training, having got into a snow charge. Long wandered in the hills, fell off a cliff, with difficulty got out of the snow drift and froze three meters from the road.
Five seamen-athletes decided to run to the village Retinskoye for vodka. (In Polar vodka was not sold - a dry law). Prior to this fishing village 9 km on a bad road. We ran there normally. On the way back, we drank "for sugrev", after which the two with great difficulty got to the Hot Streams in the order of frostbite, and the three fell and froze.
One sailor ate rats. It happened like this. He was returning from Polar to Hot Brooks. A large section of the road passed by the city dump. I remember very well this landfill with hordes of ever-swarming rats. Why did he get on the stall is not clear. Maybe I saw something interesting, necessary. Rats attacked him. He ran, fell, hit his head on a piece of concrete, lost consciousness. Rats gnawed him to the bone.
With the sailor Touvalov, that's what happened. We were already in our territorial waters and everyone was counting the hours before returning to the base, when the commander ordered ice to be cleaved on the deck so that the mooring team could work normally. Sailors put on life jackets, armed with tools and began to prick ice. Tuvalov worked on the stern. There in the railing, in one place, there was a lack of an average crossbar.
Tired, he leaned his back on the rail and began to rest. The ship rocked. Suddenly his legs slipped, he sat down and fell over on his back. And since the middle crossbar was not there, the sailor fell overboard. This is noticed by others. They shouted "Man overboard!", Ran to the GKP. But while they were running, the ship passed meters 300 - 400. While we turned around, went back, the place where the sailor fell was lost. His lifejacket (like the other sailors) was not inflated and could not keep him afloat. Visibility was poor (polar night). We searched for a whole hour, but to no avail. In such icy water, a person can hold out for a maximum of twenty minutes.
We recorded in the logbook of the death of the sailor Tuvalov and went to the base.
For about a month we were given a break in the Hot streams, then sent on a short two-week trip to the White Sea. The purpose of the campaign was the preparation of logs for the construction of UBTs (combat training center). The fact is that along the Northern Dvina rafts were rafted from places of timber harvesting. The rafts often fell apart and the logs carried off into the sea. Then, during storms, the surf threw them onto the shore. Along the entire eastern coast of the White Sea formed huge debris, five meters in height. Below the logs were already rotten, but from above - quite suitable for construction.
Our second task was to check how protected our northern bases and coastal facilities were from the means of visual and electronic reconnaissance. Two “saboteurs” (KGB officers) were put on the ship and we had to try to throw them unnoticed in Severodvinsk, to the plant where our most modern nuclear-powered submarines were built.
In the middle of March we set sail and went along the coast of the Kola Peninsula. The flag was removed, the inscription “VERTIKAL” was removed from the cabin and went without answering any inquiries of the coastal border posts. We came close to the shore, wrote all the radar radiations, VHF negotiations, took pictures. Everything was mapped and sent to intelligence headquarters. As a result, we uncovered the entire infrastructure of military facilities of the northern coast, coastal air defense missile units, anti-ship BRACH (coastal missile and artillery units) and submarine base stations.
In the White Sea, we entered the test site where the strategic missile submarine was tested at the factory, then we took pictures of the radar detection of space objects at Cape Tolstik (the radar was part of the Blue Belt missile defense system) and headed to the mouth of the Northern Dvina. There they met the factory tugboat, freely put “saboteurs” on him under the guise of hard workers, and went for logs for the UBC.
We anchored near the shore and on the first evening made a grand booze. They opened fire with flare guns, lit up the flares and alarmed the border guards. Those came to us on the boat to find out what was the matter and stayed with us to feast. Then they invited us to their place with a return visit. They had a lot of salmon and caviar, and we have a lot of alcohol.
To hike behind the logs, the boats were lowered. Came to the shore, the sailors landed and began to pull the logs into the water. They made a raft of three logs and dragged him to the ship. There with the help of davits lifted logs and laid along the sides and on the forecastle. The weather was good for a couple of days, then it was stormy. We sat on the ship and waited until the sea subsides.
As soon as it began to subside, they set to work again. I was the oldest on the boat and sat at the helm. Sat on gunwale. At the approach to the shore, we were turned by a wave (there was a strong reel). The next wave hit the side, the boat swooped heavily, the sailors fell off the benches, and I was thrown overboard. The boat washed ashore and began to beat on the stones. With great difficulty, we managed to deploy the boat bow in the sea. All soaked to the skin in ice water. The commander ordered all sailors to take a hot shower and a hundred grams of alcohol. I did the same. As a result, no one got sick.
Two weeks later we returned to the Hot Streams with thirty tons of logs and good reserves of salted salmon (the gift of border guards).
October 30 ships "Val" and "Vertical" took to the sea, never to return to the North. We went with speed 14 nodes on two serviceable diesels. The weather favored us. The sea was calm. Went around Norway and went to the South. Every day it was getting warmer and brighter.
Entered the Mediterranean Sea. The weather was beautiful. The sailors undressed and sunbathed on the deck, hosed with warm water overboard. In the evening, they organized a concert of amateur performances. With a guitar, with a accordion. Sang, danced. Everyone's mood was elevated. Still would! After cold winds and rains, after the gloom of the North, you suddenly find yourself in a Mediterranean resort! Under the gentle southern sun. And now they had to serve on the warm Black Sea.
The Turkish Straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus took place in the afternoon. Sailors were locked in cockpit and combat positions. There was an order Malysheva, on the deck or foot. All officers received weapon (PM pistols) and each was assigned its own sector on the deck. In the case of anyone trying to escape, it was ordered to shoot to kill. I thought to myself, “If anything, I’ll shoot by. I can’t kill a person, much less my colleague. ” The Turks warmly welcomed our ships from their fishing boats and longboats.
In the Bosphorus, I admired Istanbul and the beautiful Cathedral of Constantinople, which seemed to grow out of the water with its high minarets. And life was boiling around, on the water and on land. Alien, bright, unusual.
15 November we arrived in Sevastopol. Stood in Coal Harbor. Soon the ship arrived at the command. Reported the results of the transition, drove with documents to the fleet headquarters. Then again countless commissions, inspections, checks. In the evenings, a restaurant, city parks and squares, music, crowds of holidaymakers. But with all my thoughts I was already at home, in Lomonosov.
Two weeks later, the ship was accepted into the Black Sea Fleet. And a couple of days later I received travel documents and an order to leave for the 40 Institute of the Ministry of Defense for further service.