It is customary for submariners to believe that there are lucky submarines, and there are unlucky and simply poor ones. Such can be considered the K-324 multipurpose nuclear submarine (according to NATO classification - Viktor 3, in our country this type of submarine appears under the code "Pike"), which was pursued by misfortunes throughout the entire service in combat fleet.
So, even during the factory tests in the summer of 1981 at about. Askold "Pike" rammed an unknown nuclear submarine into the 4 th reactor compartment (according to some sources, the Chinese Han-type submarine, which Japan claims to have sank. The Chinese themselves keep death silence on this score). Then there was a battery explosion and a voluminous fire in the 1 torpedo compartment, where the full ammunition was located — the 24 conventional torpedoes and the 2 with a nuclear warhead. And only some incredible miracle saved the K-324 and its crew from destruction and nuclear catastrophe: the compartment was completely destroyed, but the torpedoes did not detonate. It used to be that the nuclear-powered icebreaker suddenly plummeted to a depth to that fateful point from which the boats no longer emerge - they, like a shell, were crushed by the wild pressure of water. Moreover, the state of emergency was being pursued by the “Pike” even after putting it to sludge. It all started, they say, from the fact that during the descent from the stocks at a shipbuilding plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, a bottle of traditional champagne did not break about the PLA keel. Four times in a row (!), Which is considered an unkind omen ...
Describing all the misadventures of K-324 over 20's years of service as part of the Pacific and then the Northern Fleet is not enough for an entire newspaper. And therefore we will focus only on one stories from the life of this submarine. Stories exciting, just incredible, worthy adventure story.
The campaign "K-324" to the shores of America in the fall of 1983 made a stir throughout the Atlantic. At the end of October, the American media rumbled to the whole world with a sensation, publishing pictures of the K-324, a Soviet multi-purpose submarine, which had emerged abnormally in the Sargasso Sea off the US coast. The boat lay in drift, giving a trim to the bow and exposing partially to the stern with a propeller.
I must say that at that time the Cold War was in full swing, and the attacks of the Americans, incl. and about the USSR’s nuclear submarines with the nuclear weapons aboard and representing a mortal threat to America "and the whole free world", the military-political leadership of the USSR did not react. And what could have been said, if in Moscow they didn’t really know what had happened in the Sargasso Sea with K-324 in military service?
In fact, Americans were not worried about the fact of the ascent of our submarine. The reason for such a nervous reaction was completely different. In that it turned out that it was wound on the screw "K-324". The situation was very serious. And on the edge of this confrontation, by chance, were the commander of K-324, captain of 2 rank Vadim Terekhin and his crew, in whose hands in those days was the fate of the whole world.
So what happened to the Soviet submarine at the end of October 1983 in the Sargasso Sea?
Unexpected catch in $ 500 thousands
It was the first military service in the Atlantic "K-324", which shortly before it was transferred from Kamchatka under the ice of the Arctic to the Northern Fleet and was included in its composition. Two lines of the NATO’s rather complex antisubmarine defense of NATO were passed covertly. In any case, no surveillance of themselves was found. However, five days later, they heard the work of sonar buoys. This indicated that they were spotted. Reporting to the fleet's CP did not. Because it is a minus to the commander for the loss of secrecy. The captain of the 2 rank Terekhin hoped that he would be able to break away from the adversary. And the case turned up. In the right direction went some big ship. K-324 successfully settled under its bottom and followed four days to its position in the Sargasso Sea. As a result of this maneuver, the enemy lost contact with our boat.
Arriving at the Sargasso Sea, K-324 took up a position in 38 miles from the United States Navy base Jacksonville. Here was the shipyard where the Yankees built the Ohio-type SSBNs. Just at that time, according to our intelligence, the 5 th ship of this type of Florida was to be tested. At the edge of the US territorial waters, its output was controlled by the NFM (reconnaissance ship) of the Nakhodka Northern Fleet. The plan of our command was this: as soon as the scouts find the “Florida” leaving the base, they must immediately transfer contact with it to the crew of the K-324, so that the submariners can already work with the American submarine - write its characteristics, elements of maneuverability, etc. In addition, K-324 was supposed to carry out reconnaissance of American systems for long-range acoustic detection of our ships. After a while, the Terekhi residents received a ciproradiogram: the output of the “Florida” is delayed by several days, change the area of duty, follow in such a square. Submariners moved to the specified area. Hydroacoustic found some kind of vessel. On our submarine they decided that it was a fishing trawler. Then the crew of Vadim Terekhin was again ordered to change the area. Together with this “fisherman”, having ducked under him, our guys changed their position.
As it turned out later, the Terekhi people “adjoined” under the bottom of the US Navy frigate McCloy (McCloy), who was looking for K-324 using the latest super secret towed sonar (this is a few hundred meters of special cable at the end of which is in the capsule smart sonar filling). Soviet intelligence was hunting for this new American early warning system for foreign submarines, but so far it has not been able to get it.
Then the boat and frigate courses diverged. The McCloy, never having discovered the Russian submarine (hiding beneath it), returned to base. And then the Yankees were horrified: it turned out that in some strange way they had lost their top-secret, expensive towed antenna. The commander of the frigate, the superior officers "fought" so that he cursed the day and hour when he decided to go to serve in the US Navy. In the end, a conclusion was made: the antenna came off as a result of a severe storm. Although it was still hard to believe in it: it was painfully securely fixed, a tank don't tear off! It might not really be possible to tear off a tank, but a submarine, and even a Soviet one ...
“From 00 to 8 in the morning of October 25, I was keeping watch at the central post,” recalls the former commander of K-324, Captain 1 of reserve rank Vadim Terekhin. - Speed 12 nodes, go at a depth of about 100 meters. In 3 hours decided to drink tea. Just sat down, vibrated the case and an alarm signal rang out. The emergency protection of the turbine worked. We lost the move. We have a single-shaft boat, so the situation is very serious! Under the keel is more than 4 thousands of meters. We keep the depth on thrusters on a quiet course under the node electric motors 3-4. About two o'clock they tried to figure out: what happened? Tried to start the turbine, but it failed. The mechanic captain of the 2 rank, Anatoly Sedakov, understood that something had happened to the screw, but what? If the fishing net were wound, nothing like this would have happened, the screw would have broken it. So it was something else. In the meantime, the time had come for the communication session with the Northern Fleet command post. At about 5 in the morning I gave the order to ascend under the periscope. However, at the periscope depth, the boat could not resist, we were thrown to the surface. We blew through all of the KGB (tanks of the main ballast. - Comm. Aut.) And surfaced in a cruising position. It is clear that thus violated secrecy. A violent storm raged. To get to the bridge was not possible. In the periscope I managed to see some kind of loop on the feed stabilizers centimeters 10 in diameter. Apparently, this out of nowhere came from the cable and wound on the screw. Supposed that this is some kind of military cable. When they managed to establish a connection, they gave a radio to the fleet's control unit, reported on an emergency ascent, a situation. Then twice tried to go under the water. In vain.
And the second time they began to fall so rapidly into the depths that the thought flashed: that's all, the end! After all, on 140 meters, on which we have already been, it is hard to blow tanks. With difficulty, but managed to prevent the fall of the boat to the beyond depth. Surfaced. The storm does not stop. The 7,5 displacement boat threw thousands of tons on the waves like an empty can. In the compartments, everything that was not secured and even that attached was torn from the ground and scattered around the deck. Got a radio. The command of the Northern Fleet brought us into contact with the NKT TsPP. The situation is very serious. Moscow has long thought what to do. General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Andropov was ill, and no one wanted to take responsibility for possible consequences due to our abnormal ascent. ”
In late October - early November 1983, the world once again stood on the brink of nuclear war. The crew of the Soviet K-324 PLA in the Sargasso Sea accidentally took possession of one of the most important secrets of the US Navy — a super modern antenna for detecting submarines. The Americans were furious and took such actions to discourage their secret that it almost came to an armed clash that could escalate into a war between two superpowers ... This is how the former K-324 commander, captain 1- retired rank Vadim Terekhin, now living in Vladivostok.
"Boat not to risk"
"... The headquarters of the Navy finally gave an encryption, in which he asked to determine: what kind of cable did the boat wind on the propeller?" And then he ordered not to risk the ship and people. And what can we do if the ship without a course and a storm rages? By the evening of October 26, the element subsided a bit, I took the machine gun, caught the safety end and began to wade to the stern. It was impossible to get close to the stabilizers and the screw. Meters with 6-7 began to shoot on the cable. Sparks fly, bullets do not take it. So armored. The second attempt made midshipman. With an ax he made his way to the stern, sat astride a skein of cable and how he would cut! The ax flew in one direction, the midshipman in the other. What to do? We decided to wait for the storm to completely subside. While waiting, a Canadian airliner appeared. We immediately understood: now they will inform the Americans and we will have a headache. And for sure, two minutes later, through 40, two anti-submarine "Orions" of the US Navy were right there. We were thrown with hydroacoustic buoys, overlapping with red flags from all sides like wolf hunters. When this couple flew to the base, they were immediately replaced by another. And so more 10 day. Moreover, helicopters were constantly hanging over us.
On the night of October 27, we receive radio from Moscow: the Nakhodka reconnaissance ship and the Aldan rescue ship from Cuba are sent to assist you. They figured: "Find" - a small boat, a little good with him. A "Aldan" to us slap no less than 10-11 day ...
The OSNAZ group commander, Senior Lieutenant Sergey Arbuzov, seconded to K-324, learned from radio interception that the Americans had stormed Grenada, and now two Nicholson and Peterson destroyers of the US Navy are heading to our boat at full speed. I declared a battle alert. We are without a move, helpless, what to expect from the Yankees is unknown. Especially since Arbuzov was able to find out that the K-324 had hooked and cut off the top-secret supermodern towed cable antenna of the TASS GAS system, which the American destroyer McCloy was experiencing. So unwittingly, we stole a big secret of the US Navy. It became clear that the Americans would try to repel this cable. ”
Standoff on the verge of foul
Approaching the helpless Russian submarine, the Americans began to clamp it into ticks: they were dangerously maneuvering from two sides at a distance of 30 meters. At the same time, they mockingly and politely offered help. The commander of the "K-324" Terekhin ordered to post a signal on the periscope: "Thank you, do not need!" Stop dangerous maneuvering! I have a dangerous cargo on board! ” And the cargo was really dangerous: torpedoes and missiles with nuclear warheads with a range of 3 thousand km, which easily reach Washington. Meanwhile, their ships could, if not specifically, then because of the wave, hit an icebreaker and seriously damage it, or even sink it. Destroyers, having come from the stern of "K-324", tried to hook the cable antenna with hooks. The same operation was carried out and hanging over the boat helicopters. But it could not be done. There was a real struggle of nerves, threatening to turn into fighting.
Especially critical is the situation of November 5. The Yankees raised the signal: we are preparing to descend assault assault vehicles! Fighters appeared on board the destroyers, defiantly dressing in scuba diving suits.
Nuclear-powered ship "K-324" - the territory of a sovereign state. It is located in neutral waters. If the Americans really decide to seize the boat - this is war! The captain of the 2 rank Terekhin invited to the council the first mate, the political officer, the osobist and the miner. It was clear: if the assault begins, submariners do not fight back. In any case, the commander of the "K-324" ordered the miner to prepare the nuclear-powered icebreaker for undermining and flooding. The crew was planned to be transplanted into rafts, and then on the approaching Nakhodka reconnaissance ship.
When the Americans began to prepare the amphibious-boarding group, the commander sent eight officers with assault rifles and grenades to the aft superstructure. Ordered: shoot, if the Yankees decide on the assault. For the sake of peace, the submariners defiantly blew the fodder ballast tanks with pressure in 200 atmospheres. Bubbles with noise up to the sky! To combat the landing in the current conditions, it is also a weapon!
Here Moscow has just sent an encryption: do not succumb to provocations, the situation is extremely dangerous! At the time, Terekhin did not yet know that all NATO forces were on high alert and were just waiting for an order to begin hostilities. The world was on the verge of war. In another encryption signed by Glavshkov, Commander-in-Chief of the USSR Navy, it was ordered to save the trophy antenna by any means and send it to Moscow with opportunity. The tough standoff between the two superpowers continued until November 7. But the Americans did not dare to take the Russian submarine to the boarding.
Yankee left with a nose
8 November came the rescue ship "Aldan". Lowered divers. On the hub of the screw "K-324" found a powerful tangle of torn metal and two cable ends, stretching far across the stern. It was not possible to loosen the screw in field conditions. As for the cable of length 420 m, then the whole day our guys picked it out of the water with an electric chute and placed it in the 1 compartment. After that, the TsKP Navy instructed: to follow in tow to Cuba.
Easy to say - follow! Start the tug was not so simple: until recently, the Yankees did not want to let the Soviet submarine with "prey". "Aldan" stood up in the wind, "K-324" - under the wind. With the help of rubber rafts, our sailors began to tow a dredge, which took about 10 hours. And when almost everything was ready, an American officer from the board of the destroyer Peterson shot rafts from a carbine. Began to do everything again. And the Yankees again shot, sank our rafts with a tug. On the "Aldan" was the last set of rafts. What to do? This time they decided to cover the operation of loading the tug with the Nakhodka reconnaissance ship. Happened! And the emergency "K-324" led to the shores of Cuba. The destroyers of the US Navy escorted the boat to the territorial waters of Liberty Island.
Cubans met Soviet submariners cordially. They singled out a platoon of combat swimmers to guard the boat, and at the entrance to the bay they set up two small anti-submarine ships. On the very first day, the secret cable was sent by plane to Moscow. But two Cuban brothers, gas cutters, had to smelt metal from the K-324 screw hub for four days. After 11 days, the Soviet submariners left Cuba and headed for the Sargasso Sea, where they were in military service for two weeks. And only then received an order to return home. Came to the database a week before the new, 1984 year. At the command of the boat, the Special Forces took away the logbook and all other documents. They say that all official documents on the epic "K-324" in the Sargasso Sea are classified to this day. And from our, and from the American side.
- Vadim Alexandrovich, you were rewarded for the fact that, although unintentionally, by chance, you did, in fact, do the work of the scouts, having obtained the super secret of the US Navy?
- Thank God, not punished! In our case it was the best reward!