Yes, that the world, the native country did not know ... And still does not know. And then, on January 18, the 1981 of the year, under the pack ice of the Central Arctic, a nuclear submarine with two nuclear reactors, with 150 ballistic missiles (atomic warheads which concealed fire power equal to four times the fire power of the entire World War II), was burning 16 meters deep. In ten compartments - 130 live souls, not counting the three goldfinches in the aviary of the recreation area ... Fire is always terrible. But when the thermonuclear giant burns under the ice, it is no longer a fire, it is the beginning of the apocalypse ...
The TASS report, if it were allowed to report this, would have sounded like this: “On January 18, 1981, under the Arctic ices, the nuclear-powered submarine cruiser K-3 sank at 424 thousands of meters in depth. There was a 130 man on board ... The causes of the crash are being clarified. ” It could have been that way, but it didn’t happen, because on board the K-424 there was a man who managed to replay fate, cancel the catastrophe, return the ship home to the base ... It was the commander of the submarine cruiser - 37-year-old captain of 1 rank Nikolai Ivanov .
Today this unknown hero lives in Balashikha near Moscow, works as a security guard at the customs ... The author of these lines came to visit him. While the hospitable hostess Svetlana Petrovna laid the table, Nikolai Alexandrovich took out photo albums, unfolded sea charts ...
The old sailor tried to start this horrible history with a joke:
- One friend of mine once asked me: "Why do submariners start their stories like this - I sleep and suddenly ..." Exactly noted. And I, too, could have started this story if I had managed to get to the bed then. In 12.00, I passed my commander's watch to the senior officer - Captain 2 of rank Boris Plyusnin, and went to the second compartment to lie down in the cabin ...
There was an ordinary military service in the Arctic region. We were just north of Franz Josef Land.
There were 23-day under heavy pack ice, without the slightest opportunity to break through them, to surface if necessary. I tried not to think about the ice shell, which hung over us like a coffin ...
The country was preparing for the XXV Congress of the CPSU, and our march, in the success of which very few people doubted, should have been a gift to the congress from seamen-North Seamen. So we were instructed before entering combat service in high latitudes ...
I did not even have time to undress, as the silence of the residential compartment was pierced by the shrill long trill of the emergency bell. And then the alarmed voice of the maid:
- Emergency alarm! Fire in the central post!
I immediately rushed to the third compartment. Barely removed the bulkhead hatch, as he caught the acrid smell of smoke.
- Where does it burn ?!
- The enclosure in the area of the latrine!
The enclosure, filled with boxes of spare parts - spare parts, was on the middle deck. I ordered to unload it to get to the fire. Scattered boxes, but the flame was not visible. Smoke poured from a carbon filter that cleared the air in the latrine. The fire broke out in earnest. In the Central there was an oppressive silence. I caught on myself disturbing glances, and some of whom had eyes with fifty dollars. That's when I understood the meaning of the expression - fear has big eyes. In every glance - a mute plea: commander, save! You know, you should know what to do now!
If it were somewhere in the Atlantic, I would immediately surface. But we had a powerful pack ice over our head and a categorical prohibition not to show ourselves on the surface.
With every minute the toxicity of our air grew. The chemist reported that the concentration of carbon monoxide increased 380 times.
The political officer, Captain 1 of the rank of Arkhipov, climbed into the center and asked for permission to lead people who were not engaged in the struggle for survivability into the second compartment. I allowed. But first he ordered pressure to be raised in the second and fourth, that is, in the compartments adjacent to ours, the third, so that smoke would not pour in there.
No one has the right to leave the emergency compartment. This cruel law Ivanov decided to break, on the basis of his commanding right to make decisions on the situation. What is the use of people not engaged in the struggle for vitality? Let there be fewer casualties ... True, then the deputy was tried to impute cowardice: why did he leave the emergency compartment, and also led people away from the military posts. Ivanov covered his deputy: “I told him to go to the second compartment. If Plyusnin and I had died, Arkhipov would have headed the crew. ”
It is hard to imagine how Arkhipov would operate with a boat, if the control room of the ship, the central post, had burnt out.
Most likely, the submarine cruiser would have wandered under the ice by itself, becoming a kind of “flying Dutchman”, until it was filled with burnt out glands with water and did not sink to the bottom of the polar basin.
After all, the fire blazed with such force that the steel door of the latrine melted.
It is difficult to make error-free decisions in a matter of seconds, even in a poisoned atmosphere, without having complete information about what is burning and where it is burning. But Ivanov’s order to inflate adjacent compartments was salvagely correct: when the “extra” sailors went into the second compartment, carbon monoxide did not follow them, the residential compartment did not smoke. In the dim light of emergency lighting, smoke thickened to the point that no fingers were visible on the outstretched arm. Blue smoke strata lay on the remotes, dashboards ... Sweat rolled in hail - because on the middle deck blazing flames. The third compartment turned into a gas death chamber. The hardest thing was on the console from which the reactor was controlled. From this post you will not leave, die, but ensure the submarine move, otherwise all Khan. Most often the way it happened - pullover-managers died in their enclosures, holding fingers to the last button. Thus, the watch in the control station of the Main Power Plant, the main power plant, on the nuclear submarine K-8 perished. So three captains-lieutenants died in September 1975 during a fire on the atomicine K-47, commanders of remote control groups. So died on K-19 senior lieutenant engineer Sergey Yarchuk. He was dying, poisoned by carbon monoxide in the eyes of his commander, Lieutenant-Commander Milovanov, who could not tear himself away from managing the reactor for a second ... All this was heard a lot by the commander of the K-424 movement division, engineer Vladimir Morozov, who provided the progress of the underwater movement rocket carrier. Realizing that he was doomed, Morozov wrote a suicide note to the commander (the intercom was out of order): “Comrade commander, your order has been fulfilled - the ship’s course is secured. I lose consciousness, but remain in office. ”
So acted those who without pathos can be called heroes. But there were others ... Sergeant-Sekretchik ran over an emergency alarm in the central post (his duty to keep a draft log), saw what kind of smoke was standing there and turned back. Later he was found in the farthest compartment, in the tenth. God only knows how he walked through the interceptor doors that had been dragged in alarm. Perhaps, in fact, the thirst for life has turned him into an ethereal spirit. I could not answer the question of how he found himself in the stern, and not at the fighting post:
- I don’t know how I ended up here!
The sailor on the Kama console did everything himself, did everything right, saying: “DMB is in danger! DMB is in danger ... ”He was fixated on this phrase - it was slightly damaged in the mind. But the rest of the crew stayed until the last and acted as it should.
- I ordered to ascend to the periscope depth and prepare to launch the LOH system. To be honest, I was afraid of including it, I heard a lot about its deadly effect on those who did not have time to put on the masks ...
The LOCH System - Marine Volumetric Chemical is a fire-extinguishing gas freon that can be discharged from the LOH station cylinders into any compartment. Freon perfectly extinguishes the fire, but is dangerous to humans, like any gas that does not support life. Therefore, all those who were in the third, no longer included in the remote control (portable breathing devices), such lightweight type insulating gas masks, which divers always carry with them in plastic cases, but in respiratory devices IDA-59, whose cylinders filled with oxygen and nitrogen, allow you to hold out in the smoke and under water three times longer than in the light of the remote control. For some reason, neither the PDU nor the IDA junior navigator (“navigator”), Lieutenant N. Shemitov, and midshipman E. Balamatov, did not have time to join in and immediately paid the price ...
- They bring me a note to the central post. Red paste hastily inscribed: “We have two dead bodies.
Shemite and Balmakov died ... ”. And then there is a mechanical engineer captain 2 rank Anatoly Chumak with a report: “Comrade, half of the respiratory equipment has already been spent. Another half an hour and all will perish ... "
Himself barely standing on his feet - swallowed smoke, while giving orders. After all, every time you need to remove the mask ... Well, I think seven troubles - one answer. Once the corpses are on board, they will be removed from their positions anyway, to hell with her with secrecy, you need to emerge.
It is now easy to tell - under the vodka with homemade cucumbers, and then the captain of the 1 rank Nikolai Ivanov, as no one else understood that it was impossible to ascend - over-the-meter multi-pack ice. Unless a miracle happens ... And a miracle happened! It happened, perhaps, only because the commander was named after the sailor in heaven, the mariner, Nicholas the Wonderworker. There is no other explanation for the fact that among the icy mountains a polynya suddenly appeared, stretched only by a meter thick ice, - no. The submarine cruiser broke it like an egg-shell knife and floated under the low gray January sky of the polar circle. Somewhere far to the south were the northern spurs of Franz Josef Land ... Polar night gave them thick gray twilight.
- The first thing was to bring the victims to the bridge. But how to do it when the lifeless bodies do not hold at all in the vertical shaft of the hatches. And do not pick them up from the top - deep, and not push through the bottom - high. Try, get out of the well drowned. The way out was found by our boatswain.
- Comrade commander, and if we tie them to the beds, yes, and so we will raise them ?!
They took out the suspended beds, tied the bodies of the lieutenant and midshipman to them, and without any problems raised them to the bridge, to the wheelhouse fence. Now the boat doctor, captain of the medical service Anatoly Dvoyakovsky, got down to business. He began to give them artificial respiration. And then another miracle happened! The dead are alive. Heavily poisoned guys began to breathe. If his subordinates had not looked at Ivanov in all eyes, he would have probably crossed himself: thank God, let us go back without corpses!
Anatoliy Chumak, a mechanical engineer, also caught his breath upstairs. The maximum permissible concentration (MPC) of freon and carbon monoxide in the compartment atmosphere exceeded the norm by 420 times!
The commander did not begin to climb the bridge, although the temptation to take a sip of fresh air was very great. But Ivanov was needed in the Central ...
The flames were choked with freon. The third compartment was ventilated. Began to understand what happened. And then it was the time to break out a three-story mat. But Ivanov - restrained. The chief of the chemical service, captain-lieutenant N. Simonov, established that the young sailor had secretly lit a latrine and put a cigarette butt into a coal filter. Almost pure carbon was not slow to ignite. There was an effect of the open-hearth furnace. Since the filter went into the fence with spare parts, it seemed as if the boxes were burning; they tried unsuccessfully to scatter them, and as a result they blocked the entrance to the latrine ... From a penny candle, they say, Moscow burned down. And from the filthy cigarette butt barely burned down the icebreaker. The young sailor did not even give up for trial: what to get from fatherlessness? He started smoking from the third grade. And although the K-424 had a special cabin for the tobacco heads, the young slob lit a cigarette where he thought of it.
From that campaign, K-424 returned on its own - without casualties, without losing secrecy, having completed all the tasks. Even the birds in the recreation area, very sensitive to the gas composition of the air, and they remained alive.
Now, no one complained that the commander was tormenting them with frequent training alarms and that they switched on their breathing apparatus instantly. Thunder does not burst, the crew will not cross.
On the pier in Gadzhiyevo, the submarine cruiser was met with an orchestra.
- When I reported to the Chief of Staff of the division who met us, Captain 1 of the rank Khrenov, that we had a fire, he interrupted the march on a semi-tact. The orchestra subsided.
“Come on in more detail!” - His voice did not foretell anything good. Reported everything as it was. And in the answer immediately reproach:
- Why are so many respiratory equipment used up? And if there was a second fire?
- I had the first fire, and if I had not put it out, the second one would have definitely not already been ...
We dealt with the commander for a long time and strictly.
Of course, no one received any awards for decisive and competent actions to combat a fire under ice. "Emergency workers" were not awarded. From serious punishment (the commander is responsible for everything, even for the fact that the military enlistment offices send mentally defective guys to the submarine fleet) Ivanov voluntarily or involuntarily saved the commander flotilla Vice Admiral Lev Matushkin, who announced a severe reprimand to the K-424 commander. And although it came to the fleet commander and above, they confined themselves to a “strict worker”, because it was not allowed to punish twice for one sin according to the charter.
“But the worst was ahead,” Ivanov grins. - The next day, the regular party congress began and all the crews lit up the grand opening in the Leninist rooms on TV. And we, unfortunately, the TV refused. Does not work. Inspectors from the political department went to the floors. If it were reported that “the crew of K-424 is not looking at the discovery of a historical event in the life of the Soviet people,” oh, such a noise would arise, everyone would have remembered us at once. But the boat craftsmen for half an hour to establish a "box". Again carried by! A miracle
I rashly - the nerves were still inflated by the fire - announced the reprimand for the "unavailability of technical propaganda." He was offended - he was older than me and by rank and age - complained to the political department of the division.
They flew up there: how is it so - on the opening day of the party congress the commander announces the reprimand to the political leader ?! Tyranny, apolitical! In the history of the fleet was not like this! ..
But in the history of the fleet there was no such thing as to extinguish the fire under the ice. And the crew of Ivanov did it.
In the end, Moscow figured out what hell the commander got from without loss. And they presented Ivanov to the Order of the Red Star. But political workers recalled the history of the political commander - they did not sign the submission.
And after a couple of months, Ivanov left for military service again — out of turn, without rest. The commander of the submarine cruiser, which was supposed to go under the ice according to the plan, had a heart attack. Ivanov had to help out the division. And he went, though, in memory, in his soul, his nerves were still living under the stress of an ice fire.
Then his friends asked him:
- Was it scary?
- At first there was no time to be afraid. It was necessary to act, make decisions. It became scary when reports came out about the corpses. It is terrible when your people are dying ...
“How was the smoking sailor punished?”
- None. He himself realized what he had done. This lesson is for him, and for the whole crew - for life, worse than any punishment. The team appreciated this. We also needed to go out to the sea soon ...
* * *
If it were not for the error-free and timely actions of Nikolai Ivanov, the captain of 1, there would have been more victims at K-424 than at Kursk. And the ecology of the central Arctic was put under a serious radiation threat. No "Mamut" would have pulled the sunken rocket carrier from the kilometer deep and even out of the ice. However, this did not happen. And because the story of the ice fire was quickly forgotten, as well as those who acted in a super-extreme situation, boldly and competently. Ivanov was transferred to Moscow to serve as a teacher at the Gagarin Air Force Academy. He taught aviators the basics of navy tactics. And there and in retirement carried out. That's when calculating the pension, they forgot about 17 years of service in the Arctic on nuclear-powered ships, calculated as an ordinary teacher.
Well, okay, the order was surrounded - not for the sake of awards, Ivanov went under the ocean ice, but in order to cut the pension so vilely the retired commander of the atomic strategist, it was necessary to have a cast-iron conscience.
And where only Ivanov did not write - both to the Minister of Defense, and to the President of Russia, and to his deputy. The answers came ornately polite, but with reference to the same clerical incident: the former authorities did not include an indication of the offset of the polar service on nuclear ships in the “outright order”. The authorities forgot to impose the necessary resolution in this most notorious outset. And no one can do anything now. There is no such administrative force in the country to correct an unjust order. It remains to be comforted by the fact that the name of the captain 1 of the rank of Nikolai Ivanov, is not included in the "side order", but the history of the Russian submarine fleet.
A few words about the fate of the members of the heroic crew. The resurrected "navigator" Nikolai Shemitov, eventually became the flagship navigator of the Russian Navy. The chief commander of 2 rank Boris Plyusnin soon became the commander of the nuclear submarine cruiser. He was killed by the Estonian nationalist during the withdrawal of the Navy training center from Paldiski. Dr. Anatoly Dvoyakovsky lives and works in St. Petersburg. Well, Nikolai Ivanov quit his post as a watchman and lives on the banks of the Pehorka River for his reduced pension.
“My pension is good,” he jokes, “only a small one.”
Maybe the current Minister of Defense of Russia, Sergei Kuzhugetovich Shoigu, will be able to give an order: correct flagrant injustice, add the name of the former commander of the atomic cruiser and return him a well-deserved order "to the side" of the ill-fated order?