A Techno -Thriller Novel
Submarine Warfare, Espionage and Romance in the Pacific Ocean
© Copyright by John M. Olney, August 29, 1996. All Rights Reserved
Correspondence: 1325 Imola West, #409, Napa, CA 94559 E-mail: email@example.com
Since 1997, I have been attempting to establish myself as a fiction writer. My first novel is titled, "The SOSUS Man." SOSUS is a Navy acronym for SOund SUrveillance System. I served in the System for five years which was followed by an additional five years consulting as a civilian. The novel takes place in the mid 1960's and early 1970's. The story line is based on actual events that I personally experienced while serving in the U.S. Navy. The events, dates and names have been changed and expanded. To the best of my knowledge, of the five different Soviet submarine operations detailed in my novel, only two have been made public to date.
This is the story about a young American Naval Officer named Kip Michaels who is an expert in a new, highly secret, Anti Submarine Warfare platform called "SOSUS." This is an acronym for "Sound Surveillance System." The primary objective of this system is to detect and track Soviet submarines. The story takes place in the North Pacific Ocean during the Cold War years 1965 through 1970.
Both the Soviets and the Japanese espionage networks had heard of the secret system and they both wanted to develop their own similar system. Japan is allegedly an ally of the U. S, however, because of the events of WW II, many in Congress and the military harbor doubt about Japanese loyalty. Thus, America will not give the Japanese access to the technology. The Soviets want such a system to counter what they deem to be a large threat to them; the growing strength of the U.S. ballistic missile, nuclear submarine inventory. Japan wants the System to protect against possible Soviet aggression.
Unbeknownst to each other, both Japan and Russia separately develop a plan to abduct a SOSUS expert whom they will drug and extract all the necessary information necessary to develop a SOSUS equivalency. Each plan called for the use of a Japanese airline stewardess to seduce the SOSUS expert and persuade him to travel on vacation to Japan where the abduction would take place. The drug used during the abduction prevents the recipient from remembering anything at all about what he tells others while under the influence of the drug.
The Japanese Kusawake agent, Sachiko Nagasaki (posing as a stewardess), and the Soviet KGB agent, Georgio Petroski (posing as a Public Relations Representative assigned to the Russian Embassy in Japan) have a chance social meeting in Tokyo. They have an affair. Neither know that the other is a spy. He informs her that he is about to travel to Hawaii on special assignment. She lets him know that she too will shortly be assigned to duty in Hawaii. They agree to stay in contact. She then travels to Washington DC for further training. It is here that she learns the truth about Georgio’s background. She informs her superiors about her encounter with Petroski. They order her to stay in contact with him. She still does not know about his true mission.
Michaels has been transferred to Hawaii to serve at the SOSUS Headquarters. Sachiko, upon completion of her training, is transferred to Hawaii where she will undertake her cover of being an airline stewardess. She contacts the Russian Consulate to let Georgio know that she is in town. The stage is now set for the abduction. Georgio had already established a tail on Michaels and now he places a tail on Sachiko.
Meanwhile, Sachiko arrives at the favorite lounge frequented by Michaels. The two meet as she planned. She immediately captivates and seduces him. The Soviet agents tailing the two lovers report this meeting to Georgio. He immediately orders the apartment of each of the two to be bugged. From the bugs, he learns that she is a stewardess. Later on he learns that Sachiko and Michaels plan to vacation in Japan. He can not believe how his plan is working so well. He learns the details of the itinerary of the lovers and plans where he will make the abduction.
Michaels and Sachiko depart for Japan. The Japanese agents are lying in wait at a pre planned stop where they will drug and abduct Michaels. However, Georgio intercepts the two earlier in their travels, drugs them and whisks the two of them off to Russia, thus leaving the Japanese abductors bewildered when Sachiko and her SOSUS man do not show up.
Once in Moscow, the Soviets interrogate Michaels over a 25 day period. They learn everything they need to know about SOSUS including the site location of the sensors used to detect Soviet submarines. They also learn from him about the location of their sunken Golf Class submarine off Hawaii.
Weaving throughout the story line are SOSUS detection's and tracking of Soviet submarines. These detection's are analyzed by Michaels and establish his credentials as a SOSUS expert. Also, there is the high sea drama of both the Soviets and Americans rushing to salvage a lost Soviet submarine off Hawaii. Near war conditions exist as submarines chase submarines and Naval Fleets encounter each other near the site of the sunken Soviet submarine.
When the Soviets complete the interrogation, they return Sachiko and Michaels to Tokyo. Georgio explains to Sachiko everything that happened to her. He informs her that she needs to cooperate with him or he will blackmail her and indeed the Japanese government. His hold on her is that he will provide the Americans with copies of the tapes made of her conversations with her government superiors about the Japanese plan to abduct Michaels. She and the Japanese government have no choice but to cooperate.
Michaels wakes up in a Japanese hospital. He does not remember a thing since being on the shoreline when he first arrived in Japan. Sachiko fills in his memory with a fabricated story that he had suffered a brain clot and had gone into a coma. He believes her story. He finds out that he has been unconscious for 30 days. His leave time is up and he must quickly return to Hawaii or suffer the consequences of being Absent With Out Leave (AWOL). The lovers return to Hawaii. Upon Michaels' arrival, his superiors immediately debrief him in attempt to determine what happened to him during the past month. They sense that Michaels actually believes the story told to him by Sachiko but they think her tale is suspicious. They initiate an investigation into the background of Sachiko. However, before they have a chance to interview her, she accepts a fill-in flight for a stewardess friend. The plane crashes killing Sachiko.
The CIA investigation results in the suspicion that Michaels and Sachiko had turned traitors and sold out to the Soviets. Her father was a very high placed official and receives word about the suspicions on his daughter. His family would lose face if Sachiko was proven to be a paid spy for the Soviets. He uses his influence to force the Japanese officials to divulge their abduction plans to the Americans. That leads them to the Soviet Agent, Georgio. Soon, both Michaels and Sachiko were cleared of any wrong doing.
The Japanese arrest Georgio as a spy and try him accordingly. The Americans admonished the Japanese for their original abduction plan but also agreed that they should have the SOSUS technology and give it to them.
The Soviets and the Americans nearly go to war over American blockage of a Soviet salvage ship that arrives off Hawaii to retrieve their lost submarine. The Americans and Soviets make a behind the scene apology to each other over all the past near war situations and then return to normal Cold War standoff strategies.
The Ending of The SOSUS Man
I haven't decided on the ending of the novel. I'm torn between continuing Kip Michaels serving in the Navy where he becomes a super Intelligence Command operative solving major military problems and conflicts or having him finish his tour of duty and being discharged from the Navy.
Chapter breakdown is as follows: (shown as: number, title, number pages, number words)
1. Intelligence Analysis
2. First Duty Station
3. Military Headquarters Develop Plans
4. All Hell Breaks Loose
5. Michaels Transferred
6. Submarine on Submarine
7. The Abduction, Interrogation and Action Plans
8. Michaels Lost and Found
9. US Salvage Operations Begin
10. Global Navigator On Site of Salvage Job
11. Salvage Lift Begins
12. Soviet Display of Outrage
13. USSR Moscow Stalks Galaxy Task Group
14. Japanese Task Group Pursues Ivan (Preliminary draft paragraphs only)
15. U.S. and Soviet Navies Converge on Hawaii (Preliminary draft paragraphs only)
16. Epilogue, 10, 524 (Preliminary draft paragraphs only)
TOTALS: 16 chapters, 306 pages, 162,419 words
I think that those who enjoy the works of authors such as Grisham, Clavells and Clancy would find my story interesting. The format of my novel is similar to that found in Clancy's Red Storm Rising, the Op Center series and the Power Play series. The reader moves back and forth between submarines at sea and military commands in Moscow, Washington DC, Hawaii and Tokyo. Of my friends who have read the novel, all believe it should be made into a movie.
This is about the detection of the Soviet Golf Class submarine sinking off of Hawaii and includes a flashback where the reader rides aboard the soviet submarine as it races to its destruction and ultimate crash into the bottom some 16,000 feet down. You'll "hear" and "feel" the crushing death of the crew as bravely lead by the Sub's Captain trying everything he can to save sub and men. Warning!! It's a little gruesome and not for the faint of heart.
"THE SOSUS MAN"
A Techno -Thriller Novel
Submarine Warfare, Espionage and Romance in the Pacific Ocean
© Copyright by John M. Olney, November 21, 1996. All Rights Reserved
Correspondence: 1325 Imola West, #409, Napa, CA 94559 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Draft Chapter One -- Intelligence Analysis
Just after midnight on _____, Ensign Michaels was on his second hour of reading intelligence messages. He had reviewed approximately six months worth of the most recent traffic. He noted there had been casual reference from NAVINTELCOM to inconsistent reporting by a deployed Soviet Golf II Class submarine. Michaels suddenly remembered that there had been an intelligence report the previous night that speculated about a Golf II Class submarine that failed to communicate in the past 24 hours. Apparently, this boat had experienced numerous electrical problems while on patrol off the Hawaiian Islands. This message information appeared to match the start up of all the Soviet submarine and surface warship activity in the Pacific. Michaels had to think about all this for a while.
He went back out to the plotting table and spoke to the Watch Officer (also known by the acronym, WO) and instructed him on what he wanted, "Please remove all detection tracks except those associated to Golf Class boats."
The WO looked at Michaels and said, "Sir, with all due respect, The Ops Officer gave us the order to plot all, not just one class. Under what authority do you propose to overrule the Ops Boss?"
"Under the rule that I'm here and he isn't. Now, do as I say. You can trace them can't you?" Michaels looked at the WO, and then continued, "Then you can lay them back down nice and easily later."
The WO thought about that a second and concluded to himself that, indeed, this suggestion worked. "Mr. Michaels, give us about 30 minutes and we'll have the board reduced to just Golf's, Sir."
"Roger, but be sure you have all of 'em for the past year. I'm particularly interested in them." Michaels then moved over to the real time tracking board to see what the two fleets were up to now. He noted no major changes so he left for the vault.
After about 20 minutes, the WO came up to Michaels to inform him the plot board was completed as he had ordered. Michaels got up and walked over to the board. He noticed that there was only one track to the Hawaiian Islands area and that was over 40 days ago. There was also a brief detection of a Golf class in the same general area just a few days ago on ____, which could correlate to the message traffic from intelligence. Other than these detections, there were no other Soviet operations detected in the Hawaiian area nor along the course lines of the current operations of the two Soviet Fleets.
"Ok Ensign Rausch, you can save these two detections and scrub the rest. But I want all of them saved on tracing paper. Also I want the major course lines of the two surface fleets plotted on this chart along with the sub detections."
"First Class, I want you to dig out the LOFARGRAM from the beams intersecting these positions and course lines." Michaels pointed to the most recent short detections. They could represent a return transit of the Golf sub. "I also want the tapes from that time frame played on the super vernier displays. Look for anything unusual and report back to me ASAP." (Verniers are equipment that magnifies and enhances a particular frequency range so that the operator can conduct detailed analysis of the signature.)
"Aye, aye, Sir."
Michaels was thinking about the Golf Class sub having equipment problems that would possibly show up on the LOFARGRAM. He didn't know exactly what he was looking for, but he had a suspicion that maybe, just maybe, the grams would provide a clue. "Hey Sup, I'm going back into the vault and try to get more intelligence reports on the missing Golf. Call me on anything. And, I want you and I to review those super vernier presentations personally, got it?"
"Aye, aye, Sir."
"Sup, please get the Ops Boss on the secure line and patch him through to me in the vault."
Michaels sat down at the desk and started typing a message to Washington D.C. using the informal, working circuit for Watch Officer-to-Watch Officer chit chat (also known by the acronym, WO-TO-WO).
CNO FLAG PLOT, THIS IS NAVFAC ADAK, ENSIGN MICHAELS HERE. COME UP PLEASE, OVER.
NAVFAC ADAK, THIS IS FLAG PLOT, COMMANDER REED HERE, WHAT'S UP? OVER.
FLAG, THIS IS ADAK. JUST READ SOME INTELL REPORTS ABOUT A RECENT MISSING SOV GOLF CLASS SUB. DO YOU HAVE ANY MORE RECENT INFO THAN A WEEK AGO? OVER.
ADAK, THIS IS FLAG. LET ME LOOK AND ASK AROUND. I'LL GET BACK, PAL! OUT.
Michaels was trying to find that last intelligence message when the phone rang. He picked it up and it was the Old Man whom he could tell had been drinking heavily. "Michaels, what the heck are you doing this time? I just got a call from my man who said you been having the Watch Section plot all kinds of stuff and that you have been calling all over Washington D.C. asking questions. Want to tell me what is in the hell is going on?"
"Well Captain, I'm just trying to do my job here and figure out what these Soviets are up to. In order to do that Sir, I need info from all kinds of sources. You DO want us to figure this operation out, don't you?"
"Don't get cute with me Mister! So what have you come up with?"
"Nothing concrete yet, Sir. Really don't know what to make of it yet."
"Well, keep me posted in a timely manner. Don't forget who is the Captain around here, Ensign!"
"No Sir, I certainly won't," Michaels said as he hung up. So I've got a Captain's mole out there on watch, huh? I think I'll set up a little trap. He went out to the plotting table and told the two enlisted men standing there that the Soviets were definitely acting as they were getting ready to attack Japan. He told them not to discuss his theory with anyone else because he didn't think they could handle such news. Michaels stayed on the floor and watched to make sure that the two didn't go talk to the others. About 15 minutes later, and in a similar fashion, he went to the two working on the tape machine and super verniers. He told them he thought the Soviets were setting up for an attack on Hawaii. Again he cautioned them not to discuss this with the others. He then went over to the plotting table and stayed with the two men working the plots. After 15 minutes passed, he went to the Sup and 1st Class and told them the operations probably had to do with a lost Soviet submarine. He cautioned them not to discuss it with the others. He remained on the floor for about 10 minutes and then he told the Sup he was going back to the vault.
"Say, 1st Class what happened to that call to the Ops Boss?"
"Sorry Sir, I forgot to tell you. He went to the Exchange. His wife said he should be back. let's see....," He looks at his watch ..... ” yes....... just about now, Sir."
"Very well, patch him through, ok?"
"Aye, Aye, Sir."
He was going through the message traffic for about five minutes when, sure enough, the Captain called him.
"What do you think you're doing? What on earth makes you think that the Soviets are going to attack Hawaii? For Christ sake, Ensign, you should not be telling these enlisted men such things. They aren't prepared for that kind of information."
"You're right Captain. I don't know what got into me. I'll be more careful in the future." Good, I've narrowed it down to one of the gram readers. He got up and went out on the floor and called the Sup aside.
"Sup, I've got a little problem with one or both of those two gram readers," Michaels said as he pointed to the two working on the super verniers. "You know I told you my theory is that this operation is all about a lost boat. Well, I really don't know yet, but I told each pair of you a different story to see which one got back to me through the Captain. I told those two my thought was an impending attack on Hawaii. One of them is calling the Old Man and telling him everything we're thinking and doing, and that's what the Captain just called me about. Please look into it right way."
The Sup thought about it for a few seconds and then said, "Well, Mr. M, I think it's the 3rd Class. He left the room just a few minutes ago after you returned to the vault. Everybody else was still in the room. I'll isolate him and take care of it."
Michaels went back to the vault to wait for Flag Plot to reply. It was about 10 minutes before he got it.
NAVFAC ADAK, THIS IS FLAG PLOT. MICHAELS PLEASE.
REED HERE. I'VE GOT SOME NEW INFO FOR YOU, OVER.
REED, MICHAELS HERE. WHAT DO YOU HAVE? OVER.
MICHAELS, REED HERE, THE BELIEF IS THAT THEY LOST A BOAT. SUNK OR SOMETHING, BUT THERE'S NO CONFIRMATION YET. OVER.
REED, MICHAELS HERE, THANKS AND PLEASE KEEP ME POSTED IF YOU HAVE TIME. OUT.
Michaels returned to the tactical plot area to get another update. The Sup came up to him and handed him the secure phone. Lt. Tapper was on it. "Hi Boss," Michaels said, "I think you might want to get over here and see the breaking information. The Soviets might be conducting a massive SAR operation. . It's possible that they're looking for a missing Golf II submarine. In fact, the one that we recently tracked down to the Hawaiian Islands."
"Holy shit, Michaels. Here's what I want you to do. First dig out all the LOFARGRAM detections on that boat."
"Sir, I've already done that!"
"Good, second I want the magnetic tapes for that time frame retrieved and play them out on the vernier and super vernier consoles and ......."
Michaels interrupted the Lt., "The tapes are being played as we speak, Sir!"
"Thought of everything, didn't yah?"
"Only because of your superb training, Rip!"
"What a pile of crap, Kip. I'm on my way down."
"See yah shortly." Michaels hung up and went out to the vernier and super vernier consoles. He looked at the two OT's and they looked down. "Now boys, you didn't think I'd figure out that somebody was squealing to the Captain? Come on, I may only be an Ensign, but I'm not dumb! Anyhow, what have you found? Wait a minute. Hey Sup," Michaels shouted across the room, "you better come over and we'll look this stuff over together."
"Aye, Sir, on my way."
As the Sup arrived, Michaels spoke, "Now, you were saying 3rd class?"
"Well, there are a bunch of funny little wiggly lines at some crazy frequencies for submarine characteristics. These are them ...... lets see ..... oh yes, right here." He pointed to a frequency range that was above 200 hertz. "And, there's more down here," he said while pointing to the 20 to 50 hertz range. "I've never seen anything like them before. The watch that originally annotated'em, called 'em, 'Unknown Auxiliaries' off a passing fishing boat."
"Thanks Sup. I'll wait for Lieutenant Tapper to continue this."
Rip arrived about 15 minutes later. Michaels and Tapper scrutinized the lines carefully. They both concurred; the lines were not off a fishing boat. The single biggest clue was that the submarine's propeller blade lines came to an abrupt stop at exactly the same time as did all these odd lines. Such a sudden stop indicates a common origin.
Lt.Tapper then said to Michaels, "Lets call the Scientific and Technical Intelligence Center to see what they know about such odd little lines."
"Sup, we'll be in the vault. Meanwhile have'm keep digging."
"Aye, Aye Sir."
Michaels and the Lt. got through to the Scientific and Technical Information Center (also known by the acronym, STIC) on the secure voice line and explained what they were seeing on the LOFARGRAMS. The STIC Watch Officer wrote up a description and entered it into his data correlation computer program. The computer told the Watch Officer it needed about two hours to cross check against all known frequencies detected with a Golf Class submarine. With that delay, the two men decided to return to the main operations floor to continue their analytic work.
About an hour and a half passed when the Sup noted the red light above the vault was flashing. That meant there was special message traffic coming in. He pointed it out to the two officers. Michaels and Lt.Tapper almost ran to the vault in hopes that the message would be from STIC. It was a teletype reply:
FLASH, FLASH, FLASHMichaels thought for a second, then he looked at Rip. "You know, we didn't ask that question right. Lets go back and ask if they have signature files on what explosions and implosions look like."
TO: NAVFAC ADAK
RE: SUSPICIOUS LINES.
NO KNOWN PRIOR DETECTIONS OF SUCH LINES WITH GOLF CLASS SUBS OR ANY OTHER TYPE SUBMARINE WHETHER FRIEND OR FOE. SORRY COULD NOT BE OF MORE HELP.
BOB SMITH, GS-14, DUTY OFFICER SENDS
Rip caught on immediately. You sharp little son of a gun! "Yes, go ahead and draft it up and send it. Meanwhile, I'm going to go back out on the floor and call Pac Beach and Coos Bay to see if they detected those lines also."
Michaels took about ten minutes to draft and send the message. He then went outside to assist Tapper and told him, "Rip, the message is gone."
"Roger, so are mine. Guess we just sit and wait. Want to go to the O-Club?"
"Lets do it."
The WO interrupted, "I know, call you guys at the Officers Club. See yah."
It was about two hours later when Navfac’s Pacific Beach and Coos Bay reported that they too had detected those different lines and that they were on the same beams as the last detection of the Golf Class sub. The WO thought about calling Lt.Tapper and Michaels at the O-Club but decided he would wait for the response from STIC.
About an hour later, the Sup noticed the Red light above the vault door was flashing. He immediately went to the phone to call the O-Club and inform Tapper that all the message traffic was in. Tapper told him that he and Michaels would be right down.
They burst into the Display Room. "Wha’cha got?" said Rip.
"Both Pac Beach and Coos had those lines too."
"Very good. We're going in the vault, Watch Officer."
"Roger. Oh, by the way, the Old Man called. He wants an update and ASAP."
"We'll just jump right on that, won't we Michaels?" said Rip.
"Oh yeah, trust me!"
The message came from STIC and it reported that both implosions and explosions can create signatures similar to that which Michaels described. However, there are no documented cases of submarine or ship hulls being detected when they reach crush depth. Furthermore, STIC was going through channels to have CNO order that all tapes and grams of the Golf II detection be sent to STIC for detailed analysis.
"What do you think Michaels?" asked Rip.
"I think we're sitting on a real bomb shell. But before we send everything off, lets really conduct an analysis of our own."
"What do mean?"
"Did you see all those RPM changes?" (RPM is the acronym for revolutions per minute)
"Well, each one of those represent a time difference fixing opportunity. If we ask COSP to patch through the tapes from Pac Beach and Coos Bay, we could compute some fairly accurate positional information on where that sub is laying on the bottom. I'd rather us get the credit than COSP or STIC since we're the guys that figured this thing out."
Rip saw the merit to Michaels thinking. It would look good in the old service jacket for promotion purposes. "You got it. Ensign, please go 'WO to WO' and have Pac Beach and Coos Bay relay their tape info."
"Aye, Aye Sir."
"Now, there is the other element that we need to consider."
"What is that?"
"Over 80 officers and men lost there lives at the point we saw all those little lines. I think we need to show respect by offering our sympathies through prayer and meditation to the families of those sailors. They may be the Russians, but they're still men, following orders, just as we do!"
"I agree. I'll have the Old Man call for assembly of the personnel with security clearances and we'll pay our respects appropriately."
"We better send a message of what we now believe. We'll tell them that early indications are a lost submarine and that a detailed reexamination of all detection data is currently underway."
Rip liked that and instructed Michaels to proceed accordingly.
"I also think we should tell them that the Soviet SAR operations are way off the last know track and positional information by about 150-200 miles to the west."
"Yes, include that information."
It was three days later, on ________, that Rip and Michaels concluded their analysis of the tapes from all three Navfac’s. They were able to pick out several separate common frequency changes detected by all three sites. When they added the intersection of beam width data to their calculations, they derived a probability area of less than 100 mile's radius around a point located about 700 northwest of Oahu.
Rip looked at Michaels and said, "This was your baby from the beginning. Why don't you draft the message?"
Michaels got the biggest grin imaginable on his face. "Aye, Aye Sir."
"I'm going to go brief the Captain on what we got. When you have the message ready, please bring it to his office, ok?"
Michaels sat down for a minute to collect his thoughts. My God, we actual witnessed such a tragic event! Well, here goes. He started drafting the message:
FROM: NAVFAC ADAK
INFO: NAVFAC PAC BCH
RE: REEVALUATION OF NAVFAC ADAK TARGET G-47 OF 1968
AFTER VERY CAREFUL REEXAMINATION OF ACOUSTIC INFORMATION ON SUBJECT TARGET, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT OUR SYSTEM DETECTED THE UNFORTUNATE SINKING OF A SOVIET GOLF CLASS SUBMARINE.
BY CROSS CORRELATION OF SIGNATURE INFORMATION RECEIVED FM NAVFAC’S ADAK, PAC BCH AND COOS, WE OBTAINED 25 SEPARATE TIME DIFFERENCE FIXING POINTS.
ON THE BASIS OF THESE POINTS, COUPLED WITH THE BEAM WIDTH INTERSECTION INFORMATION FROM ALL THREE NAVFAC’S, IT IS ESTIMATED THAT THE SUNKEN SUBMARINE IS WITHIN A 100 MILE PROBABILITY RADIUS OF 28N, 160 W.
MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON THE SOLES OF THOSE LOST OFFICERS AND MEN, AMEN.
LCDR. MARC SINGLY, CO, SENDS
Now that Michaels had the Soviet operations figured out, the CO told Rip and Michaels to return to their regular schedule.
FLASHBACK -- Aboard the USSR Petropavlovsk
The Soviet Union was evaluating the effectiveness of ballistic missile station keeping off Hawaii. They knew that Pearl Harbor, on the island of Oahu, was the major Pacific submarine fleet port. For this particular evaluation, they had selected the USSR Petropavlovsk. She was skippered by Commander Razkolnokof, a bright, upcoming officer. He is destined to head up a major Soviet submarine command upon completion of this tour that was only 90 days away.
Cdr. Razkolnokof is skippering a Golf II SSB that had three SS-N-5 sail-mounted ballistic missile tubes. The missiles carried nuclear warheads of 2,000 lbs which have a range estimated to be about 350 nm. She also carried torpedoes and mines. The submarine displaced 2,350 surfaced and 2,850 tons submerged. She is 320 plus feet long, with about a 30 foot beam and had a draught of approximately 20 feet plus. Her propulsion configuration is diesel-electric, capable of a top speed of about 14 knots submerged. Her normal operating range is 9,000 nm at 8 knots. There are 85 officers and enlisted men making up the crew.
Cdr. Razkolnokof was in the Control Room when it happened. Somebody had either turned a set of valves the wrong way, or one or more valves had failed catastrophically. Instead of pumping water to sea, the forward battery room flooded with salt water.
The Cdr. looked over at the XO and screamed, "Damn it, get those pumps shut off before we have an explo...!" Just as he was about to say the most dreaded words that a submariner could hear, there was an enormous explosion that came from the forward compartment area. Suddenly he moved to take the Conn and the Deck from the Duty Dive Officer. He came up on the 1MC line, "Department heads, this is the Captain. I have command. Report all damage immediately!"
The bow of the boat suddenly lurched downward. Cdr. Razkolnokof instinctively reacted, "Engine Room this is the Captain. Give me all ahead full speed. Belay that. Make it flank speed!" He continued with more orders. "Give me up bubble 15 degrees on the bow. Helmsman steer to the shallowest water that sonar can find."
The submarine was over the Hawaiian Trench that reaches depths of over 16,000 feet. They were too far away from any possible “safe depths” of about 1200 feet or less. Again he was on the 1MC line. "Communications this is the Captain. String the low frequency wire and send out our May Day. Send it in the clear and on all known channels. I don't care who hears us as long as somebody does. Navigator, give Comm our latest position and do it fast!"
The XO spoke up. "Captain, shall we blow ballast and try an emergency surfacing?"
"Not a bad idea XO, but we are already too deep for that. If we can get her coming up, we sure will follow your recommendation. What's our depth?"
"Four hundred feet and still diving, Sir," said the Chief of the Boat. "We're having trouble with the bow planes, Sir. I've sent a Damage Control Team forward to find out what we're looking at for trouble, Sir."
"Very well, Chief." Again the Captain came up on the 1MC. "Department heads where are your reports, damn it!"
"This is Communications. We appear to have all communications working. We're still streaming the wire. No crew injuries, Sir."
FLASHBACK -- CINCPACFLTOP, Petropavlovsk
Admiral Korski Commander in Chief, USSR Pacific Fleet Operations, was receiving a briefing from his Duty Watch staff, when a young Lieutenant Commander burst through the briefing room double doors and ran straight up to the Admiral.
"Admiral, with all due respect, Sir, and my apologies for interrupting you, but this message is of the utmost importance, Sir," he said handing the message over to the Admiral.
The Admiral retrieved his wire bifocal glasses and looked down to read the message. Upon completion he looked up and then walked down to the center of the Briefing Room. "Comrades, the situation on our missing sub is getting worse by the minute. This message reports a May Day. Captain Razkolnokof reports an explosion in the forward battery compartment. This does not look good. Commander, I want a message sent to my good friend Comrade Razkolnokof. Tell him that help is on the way, and to hang in there."
The Lcdr. spoke up, "I'm sorry Admiral, all communications circuits were abruptly cut off as we were receiving this message. We're trying to restore contact but have not yet had success."
"Very well. Keep me posted routinely."
"Aye, aye, Sir." With that the Lcdr. departed the room.
FLASHBACK -- Back Aboard the Soviet Submarine
Damage reports were finally coming in. "Electronics here, Captain. We got a mess in the forward battery compartment area. I'm afraid we may have lost a lot of men to death and injury. We're still trying to clear the mess to get to the men. The battery gases are hindering our work."
"What's the depth now, Sonar?"
"Five hundred feet, Sir and still going down."
"Chief of the Boat, got any ideas?"
"Yes Captain, lighten the boat. Start jettisoning anything we can, Sir!"
"Do it Chief and fast!" replied the Skipper as a second explosion shook the whole boat.
"Shit! Where did that one come from?" asked the XO.
The Chief of the Boat just looked at the Skipper with a rather hopeless look and said, "Captain, I think that came from the engine room. We probably lost our main battery bank." The primary lighting system stared blinking on and off just as the Chief finished his assessment.
"Engine Room this is the Captain, come in now."
All in the Control Room turned towards the speaker and waited for a reply. About 10 long seconds passed with nothing but static, crackling and hissing sounds. Again the Cdr. cried out, "Engine Room come in, come in!"
Everybody looked at the Skipper then back to the speaker. Nothing. About 15 seconds later, a voice is heard.
"Captain this is the Crew Chief for DC1. We've just reached the main Engine Room and it looks bad, Sir. There are dead and dying everywhere. Lots of fire that we're trying to put out. Its the 4 inch by 2 inch wooden structural beams that are burning. The whole engine system is going to collapse to the keel if we can't put out the fire! Gases are building up to very dangerous levels. I think we may have lost the entire Division, Sir."
The XO was the first to speak. "Gentlemen, prepare yourselves for the worst!"
"Sonar, what's our depth and rate of descent now?" yelled the Skipper.
"We're at 300 feet and dropping fast. I can't see the dial hand. It's moving so fast- 650.… 700... 800, Sir. How are we going to stop this? I haven't seen my new baby boy, Sir. I don't want to die!"
"Knock off that death talk and get back to work. Now all of you implement your training and get this boat back to the surface, immediately. DC1 can you get to the engines and reverse from flank ahead to flank astern? Or do we even have power?"
"This is DC1, Sir. Yeah, we still have power from the aft battery compartment. We have to clear more debris but it looks like we can do that, only you won't get that speed you want, probably only half."
"Do what you can and report back when it is implemented."
"Aye, Aye, Sir!"
"Captain, this is Comm, come in please."
"Captain here, what you got?"
"Captain I'm afraid we don't have comms with the trailing wire. It is either wrapped around the shaft or was cut in two by the propeller blades. I don't think we got any messages out, Sir."
Unbeknownst to them, they did get a partial message out.
The Chief of the Boat and the Skipper looked at each other with that special contact look of two seasoned veterans. They were in deep problems and probably wouldn't make it. All they could do would be to put the mind of the crew at ease as best as possible before the boat reached crush depth and the painful death that would follow.
"Sonar, what's our depth?"
"Nine hundred fifty feet Sir, maximum recommended operating depth!"
Rated crush depth was about 1200 feet but they could probably go to about 1250 before the hull would collapse inward like when you suck the air out of a milk carton. Not known to the Skipper and his crew were the facts that the metal thickness on Soviet hulls varied and the welding was atrociously bad displaying a combination of uneven welds and often badly pitted welds. Therefore, the sub would probably crush at a lesser depth.
"Captain, this is DC1. We're in the forward battery compartment. The bow planes mechanism is blown apart. I afraid they will be useless to help us, Sir."
The Skipper could hear men screaming in the background. "What's going on DC1?"
"Sir, some of the men are starting to feel the pressure. Their ear drums are bursting. We've got to get the nose of this boat up, Sir."
"I know. Is their anything you can do on those bow planes?"
"We're trying everything, Sir, including trying to jam them in an up angle. I'll report back later."
The Skipper turned towards the Watch Crew in the Control Room with him and he noticed effects of depth. Shit, over half are bleeding from their ears and nose. Yet, to a man, not one has screamed!
They've held their pain and are just doing their work, the same as me. The Skipper just then began to feel pain and blood running out of his ears."Depth please," the Skipper asked.
"Twelve hundred feet, Sir. We seem to have slowed our rate of descent."
Now, a loud cheer went out from all. The officers and men began to see survival after all. The crew were going about their work when all of a sudden there was the largest explosion of all. It was the aft battery room.
"Sonar, how far to the bottom?"
"Another 13,500 feet or so, Sir."
"Is there any shallower site close by?" asked the Skipper.
The explosion shock the boat so violently that seals on pipes gave way. Now both burning hot return water and cold sea water were spraying the crew. Men were screaming everywhere. The boat reeled starboard and started to turn completely over as the nose was dropping straight towards the bottom.
The Skipper was holding on to the periscope stand and looking at the Chief of the Boat. They saluted one another as the boat was now increasing speed dramatically while headed for a collision with the ocean floor.
Men were screaming while undergoing excruciating physical and mental pain.
Cdr. Razkolnokof suddenly felt a tremendous amount of pressure about his head and it was rapidly increasing. Oh no, the hull is about to crush in! Just then he felt both of his eyes bulge and pop out of their sockets. Blood was now streaming from every orifice on his head. He could virtually feel his intestines being squeezed out of his body through his lower orifices. He knew he was undergoing massive hemorrhaging throughout his whole body. It was only a matter of seconds now. The pain was unbearable. He wished death would come quickly.
As the crushing sound of the collapsing hull entered his dying head, he cried out, "May God have mercy on our soles. I ..... I........ love ......... you ......... M .. o .. t .. h.. e.............." In that moment, a true communist found the savor.