July 27, 2006

Soviet sumbarine-base photos. I've lost my first-year Russian a long time ago, so I have no idea as to the context. But it's a Soviet sumbarine base. Inside a mountain. You need more?

Some Ukrainian flags in there, so Black Sea is my guess. But I leave it to the inestimable Dreadnought to correct me.

  • I've said it once, I'll say it again -- preview is for chumsp.
  • horrorshow, tovarisch!
  • I've lost my first-year Russian a long time ago He's probably still at the library, unable to aske for directions to the man's room.
  • great link..thanks...
  • it's in balaclava (warning popups). great photos and what a wonderful place.
  • That's some barine you've got there, Captain.
  • Ware?
  • Try the babelfish webpage translator at http://babelfish.altavista.com/babelfish/tr Find the Translate a Webpage, plug in the name of the website, and you'll get direct translations (and we all know how good those are) but they will at least give you an idea of what is being said. I particularly liked the translated phrase, "...Holy of holies of complex - arsenal." Yeah, that's what I'm talking about!
  • Oh, BTW: cool link!
  • It is a Dr. Evil hideout waiting to be used.
  • Incidientally, I'd love to live in it.
  • "incidentally"
  • Whatz up wid dis? Sumbody deklare Nashional Bad Speling Day today? A Russian submarine dock under a mountain? This is a job for Bond. James Bond.
  • Woah, I can't believe I'm so late to a thread about Soviet submarines! As roryk correctly pointed out, this is the former Soviet submarine base at Balaclava (or, as we're all supposed to say now, Balaklava (which is closer to the Russian Балаклава)). This is a very ancient town situated on a natural inlet of the Black Sea on the Crimean peninsula. Its excelent natual harbour made it an important place in the Crimean War and in the Second World (Great Patriotic) War where marked the southern extent of German occupation (if I remember correctly; it's been a while). Balaklava is also idealy situated for a submarine base. - It's right around the corner from the main Soviet (now Russian/Ukranian, there's some tension here) naval base in the region, Sevastapol. This was the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet (ChF) of the Soviet Navy. - It has imediate access to deep, open water. A submarine can slip out of Balaklava very quickly without having to traverse shallows or choke-points in which it would be vulnerable to attack. - The narrowness of the inlet and precipitousness of the hills surrounding it make it very difficult to wipe the base out with a nuclear bomb. Contrary to popular belief the tunnels at Balaklava would probably not survive a direct hit by anything other than very small nuclear bombs. But they would have a good chance to survive an indirect hit as they would be shadowed by the hills from the full force of the blast. The tunnels would also have provided strong protection from conventional air attack, at least until the development of 'sterioscopic' bombing in the late '60s. Indeed the crumbling concrete porch vissible in some of the earlier photos may have been intended to defend against just this kind of weapon. According to the captions, the base was used by older diesel/electric submarines, called ROMEO and WHISKEY by NATO. This is bourne out by the memorial mural in a couple of the early photos which seem to have an image of a WHISKEY submarine. The Black Sea, however, was a major operating area for guided missile submarines like the Pr. 651 JULIETT (don't ask me why the two T's on the end; it seems to be the way they spell it). These units were supposed to sortee out into the Mediterranian and attack US aircraft carriers. Balaklava would seem to have been an ideal place for JULIETTs to live. On the other hand, they were about ten meters longer than the WHISKEYs and ROMEOs, so they may have been too big for the tunnels, which would have been completed around the time the first JUILETTs were coming online. Assuming that the tunnels only served torpedo (as opposed to missile) subs, the references to nuclear weapons in the captions of these photos might seem, at first, a little mysterious. How is a submarine with no missiles or aircraft supposed to launch nuclear weapons? This leads us to one of the most disturbing facts about the early Cold War; that within ten years of being shocked and disturbed by Japanese Kamakaze planes, both sides had developed atomic suicide weapons, in this case nuclear torpedoes. Bear in mind that torpedoes don't go all that far, so if you put a nuclear warhead on one then it's going to kill you as well as the enemy. If this website is telling the truth then that little room with dismantled torpedo bits in it was the stockroom of the end of civilized sanity.
  • Thanks, Dreadnought!
  • Thanks for posting on a subject with which I'm dangerously/sadly obsessed Capt! :-)
  • *hearts* Dreadnought Nice post, Capt!
  • MonkeyFilter: the stockroom of the end of civilized sanity thanks for das linky, Louis!
  • I think I've mentioned it before, but the Diefenbunker is well worth a visit for a good dose of Cold War paranoia. No submarines, though. And not inside a mountain, but a gravel pit. But it does have the Loneliest Bar In The World TM. My fav bit was about how they needed a recording to go out over the radio, telling everyone that we were now engaged in nuclear war, go down in your basements, but don't panic or anything. So they kidnapped this announcer from the CBC, threw him in a van, drove him to the bunker and got him to give the broadcast. It was only after that they told him that no, there was no nuclear war, your wife and kids are fine, we just needed your voice to sound authentic. GOTCHA! Ha ha! Also nice was how upon visiting the bunker, Trudeau commented that he would take his chances with a nuclear holocaust rather than living in that thing. Good times, good times...