After having almost left the dangerous zone, they got contact to an underwater target at a depth of about 20 metres. Though, the object was moving in the opposite direction, so they could not at once determine what the object that was: a rather clumsy missile carrier or a manoeuvrable rapid destroyer. There are no contingencies in the world, only fatal coincidences, which are being prepared, according to the plausibility theory, with often repetition of similar situations. This was why, the X ship commander declared fighting trim. The Kursk commander, unfortunately, could not foresee that in this same quarter, there was a NATO submarine. He was, certainly, an experienced commander, ready to any surprises. And, of course, the Kursk sonar were switched on in following regime. The question is that the Russian sonar distance range is not as big as that one of the opponent, the counter object was discovered by the Kursk hydro sound ranger only after a training torpedo was launched. The torpedo moved to X ship. Further activities of the X ship commander were automatic – this is, unfortunately, the underwater war’s drastic law: if an unknown object shoots at you, you must also shoot, without hesitating, because you have no choice.
The practice which exists since WW II shows that Americans prefer to shoot four torpedoes in one volley. This time, one of these torpedoes was a simulator torpedo which intercepted the Russian torpedo and took it away from X ship. The Kursk commander received a report that three torpedoes were moving toward Kursk and decided to deviate from the attack. There was only one way to do it – to surface. That this was a deviate manoeuvre, the fact signifies that Kursk was fund lying turned on one side. Moving-out devices were moved out at a maximal length to contact with Russian ships as soon as possible. Everything happened not very fast, because Kursk was bulky and not adapted to rapid activities. The first torpedo hit at the second compartment, at its ground part and left typical sign. At this moment, the Kursk commander ordered the crew to stern compartments. In the central compartment, only that sailors were remaining who were obliged to carry out battle activities on the schedule. The torpedo blow which damaged a part of air mains was, most likely, the beginning of the tragedy. It should not be forgotten, that the submarine was surfacing, therefore an intensive expulsion of the whole water ballast took place.
The third torpedo moved along the deck, without damaging it. This, probably, was this third torpedo which stroke against the rescue hatch coaming. After having gone the proper distance, the torpedo self-destructed. As a result of air reserve losses, Kursk got a dangerous trim by the bow. The commander made the only correct decision: to cut off the reactors, to mechanically lock the lids of missile shafts to avoid their opening at the moment of the submarine’s colliding with the bottom. Having used motion inertia and the rudders fixed on surfacing, as well as the corpse’s shape, the commander managed to straighten out the submarine, therefore the ship did not get 30 degrees more trim by the bow. It is not difficult to calculate the intensity of the blow and all possible consequences, while knowing the submarine’s mass, its speed at the moment and the growing trim. The commander practically glided with the submarine, trying to reduce the intensity of the blow as much as possible. However, he could not reduce it completely. During this gliding, one of the torpedo hatchways from which the torpedo had moved out was most likely open. This, probably, caused a battle situation, and detonators were put on some torpedoes. The four torpedo reached Kursk already on the bottom and flew directly into the torpedo-tube.
Taking into account the intensity of the explosion, one could conclude that this was a mine torpedo which caused detonation of the Kursk detonators. They detonated one after another, blast’s fronts were imposed on each other and became intensified, according to the resonance theory. The corpse shape much more intensified the blast front and turned it into a spiral. This conclusion could be made from the seriousness of the destruction and from the small size of fire flow. The blast put out the fire flow in the closed space. Any locked hatches and solid bulkheads between the compartments can not protect the construction from the explosive spiral effect. This is why, the spiral literally twists metal constructions, tears them away and tears them to pieces. It is hardly believable that the submarine was controlled till the very last moment, though the commander was a real professional.
Human brain takes a decision within 0.28 second after the influence of some outward irritant. The Kursk commander had 179 seconds, however he did not know about it. Being a real Russian officer, he was securing the ship and the crew and did not think about his own life. Russian history knows a similar feat: commander Rudnev fought for his cruiser Varyag till the very end and was not conquered. While the feat of the Kursk commander will be evaluated by our offspring. And not only in Russia.
A year ago, in my letters to admiral Popov, I described the version of the Kursk wreck, while following one purpose: to try to protect honour and dignity of the late heroic sailors from some far-fetched publications. I promised to the admiral not to publish that thoughts of mine. Although one year has passed, I still have not received a confirmation of my thoughts having been heard and understood. This is why, I suppose to have the full right to report my surmises through other information sources, because as a fact, this version is only a product of my mind. From legal and moral point of view, it belongs only to myself, and any juridical person cannot assume the right on it. In my own will, I hand over this piece of information to people to try to protect the heroes who cannot do it on themselves. Whether this my attempt was a success, you should judge. I did not have any obligations towards admiral Popov, because my letters to him had a private character. All the more that my letters did not contain secret information.
Spite statements of some journalists, since the Great Patriotic War, the word of the commander has force of the law in Russian submarines, this is why, all movements inside the submarine are done only with the commander’s permission. Therefore, the crew got to the stern compartments only after the command. In the conditions, when carbon monoxide part in the air grows with the lack of oxygen, in a faint light, human subconsciousness starts to go out. In these conditions, any physical efforts, all the more, assault and battery, are out of the question. The two young sailors who tried to go out, also were heroes, as well as the command staff, because they understood that rising from such a depth in imperfect diving suits was pregnant with death risk. Though, the young sailors tried to rise to the surface, while hoping for their youth and qualification, with the only one purpose: the rescue equipment they had included signal rockets and radio beacon, which could expedite the rescue work. Though the fate plaid a mean trick on them. The lieutenant commander was burned up to the waist, while the reason could be only one: in the cramped space of the compartment, the exhaust cord of the signal rocket caught on a fragment of internal constructions. When the rocket worked, the whole reserve took fire. One more thing I find strange is that in the compartment to which outboard water arrives fire-hoses were stretched. I cannot understand this nonsense. It hardly could be the truth, because the young sailors, while acting in complicated circumstances, kept their human face. This is proved at least by the fact that their bodies were posed in a quiet way, and there were no signs of blows on the light bulkheads.
The enemy submarine probably acted in this way: having hovered over Kursk, the submarine gave SOS signal which was heard by Russian ships’ sound rangers, as admiral Popov reported, while specifying that this system existed only on foreign submarines. Afterwards, the X submarine commander ordered to let out floating buoys, dived at the most possible depth and left the manoeuvre area. In some time, a fishing schooner as if by chance entered the manoeuvre area and liquidated the signal buoys with radio signal. All the activities of the X submarine commander were automatic, for he had been trained in this way.
There is only one hope that the tragedy could have been avoided. We suffered from love to huge things for many years, while forgetting monsters like that should have a secure protection. Sometimes, a missile carrier put to sea for a long autonomous navigation without a fighting protection, while US ships of such class have destroyer boats along their sides. If Kursk, even during the training navigation, had had a fighting protection, the story could have a different end. Though, this simple truth is hard to understand for our leadership.
A powerful fleet, able to execute universal military tasks is a pledge of successful diplomacy. Unfortunately, these diplomatic methods are being still used in our “democratic” time.
PRAVDA.Ru prefers not to comment on this letter in any way, which, according to our information, will be one more time handed over the leadership of the country. We would like only to stress a coincidence: after the full text of the first analytic note of “The USSR Internal Predictor” was handed over to the President Administration, clouds started to gather above the heads of many Russian military functionaries, while as a result, many Russian admirals were dismissed. On the other hand, relations between the Russia and the US presidents became warmer. It turns out, that the military sailors have become scapegoats in the global game.
Andrei Mikhailov PRAVDA.Ru Severodvinsk
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/06/12/42555.html
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969