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    The Kursk tragedy.

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    Post  Mir Tue Nov 23, 2021 2:09 pm

    The Russian Prosecutor General Ustinov released a 133-volume top-secret report. The government published a four-page summary in Rossiyskaya Gazeta that revealed "stunning breaches of discipline, shoddy, obsolete and poorly maintained equipment" and "negligence, incompetence, and mismanagement" and that the rescue operation was unjustifiably delayed.

    One thing to consider is that the Barents Sea is not particularly deep and the Kursk came to rest on the seabed at about 108m. As mentioned - not exactly a problem for any deep sea rescue submersible. It took more than 16 hours to locate the Kursk! Despite being partly embedded in mud the sub is not exactly a sardine size object!

    Clinton's phone call was also mentioned but the Russian Navy only started rescue operations more than 6 hours after the accident occurred. It also became clear during the investigation that the submarine's emergency rescue buoy had been intentionally disabled during an earlier mission in the Med.

    The investigation also revealed that the equipment that automatically recorded the operating activity of the boat had been turned off the day of the accident in violation of procedure.

    The internal tube door was designed to be three times stronger than the external torpedo door, so that any explosion inside the tube would be directed out into the sea. The investigation concluded that the internal door was not fully closed when the explosion occurred.

    So yes a lot of discrepancies and whatnot's - we'll probably never get to know what actually happened on that tragic day.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kursk_submarine_disaster

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    Post  ALAMO Tue Nov 23, 2021 3:08 pm

    That incident appeared as a final point of 10 years overall mess and negligence.
    That was a miserable shape of the Russian Navy. They lacked everything, and I remember the comments from Antey class designer.
    He stated clearly, that a must of inviting the westerners for a salvage operation was just the last dot in a line of tragic events lasting for 15 years, and a proven fact how far behind the Russian maritime SAR became.
    It is easy to judge now, 20 years after the events - but at that time, Russian military had to handle the situation with resources they had.  They shoot old torpedoes, because didn't have the new ones.
    The report you are mentioning is a shortcut, and I don't remember it being publicized.scratch  
    What I do remember, was a story about a torpedo that dropped while loading, leading to the undiscovered leakage.
    Back in 2000, it was a Dagestani shura, an illegal Islamic organization, that claimed the explosion was triggered by a Dagestani "martyr".
    As I see the tone of what you are saying, I would guess that you are basing on the Radio Liberty materials, citing Pavel Falgenhauer? Right? He is a shmuck and well known Russia eater, so I would not waste a minute readying his defecations. Seriously Laughing

    And last but not least, it is not true that the rescue operation was started too late. It was started as soon, as they were physically capable. The first explosion was at 7:29:50GMT, and the big one at 7:32:00. GMT is 3h earlier than Moscow time, so we have 10:30AM. Kursk was scheduled to make a practice torpedo shootings from 11:00 till 18:00, and to surface & report 23:00. Before 23:00, its goal was to stay invisible.
    That is in general what stated chief of rescue operations, Aleksander Teslenko, in an interview for Na Strazy Zapolarja - a Northern Fleet daily gazette :
    He was was called at 17:00, ordered to start the preparations. The Rudnitsky rescue vessel was alarmed and was ready to leave the port at 22:20, with Altay following an hour after. Rudnitsky appeared on the scene on 13th Aug, 08:39. Anchored at 12:05, started search operation, with AS-34 put on water at 16:15. There was a real mess there, with harsh weather condition, zero visibility due to heavy waves&currents, resulting in that AS-34 collided with some part of Kursk, probably rudder, and forced to emergency surface&lifting off the water. Action was continued with AS-36, but in general, the location of a sub took 6h27min after the search party dispatched.

    And by the way, an interesting fact. The interval between the explosions is very similar to the official data about Type 65/76 torpedo resistance to high temperature. It's hydrogen peroxide is stored in a steel tank, and should withstand a 2 min exposure to open fire. For reference, USET-80 torpedo should last more than 6 min before catches fire itself or explode, but it is a battery driven piece.


    Last edited by ALAMO on Tue Nov 23, 2021 3:27 pm; edited 2 times in total

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    Post  Mir Tue Nov 23, 2021 3:19 pm

    Here is a fairly recent article from TASS that more or less follows the same lines from the documentary I've mentioned.

    https://english.pravda.ru/opinion/144928-toledo_incident/

    Mention is made here of three seismic events - the first one being very small in magnitude - followed by two major peaks one after the other.

    The first one is likened to the collision between the Toledo and the Kursk. The second seismic event is thought to be the torpedo strike from the Memphis and the third is the massive internal explosion that ripped the front of the Kursk apart.
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    Post  ALAMO Tue Nov 23, 2021 3:26 pm

    You still remember that Pravda is a tabloid, do you :-) ?

    It requires a very huge spoon of salt Laughing

    And finding "the small explosion" on the seismic data is kind of spiritual experience rather than objective one ...

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    Post  Mir Tue Nov 23, 2021 3:31 pm

    @Alamo

    No Pavel Falgenhauer sited above Laughing Laughing

    The 133 page secret report is widely mentioned but only 4 pages were ever published (because it's secret).

    With regard to the seismic events - the ramming would definitely not register as a huge event for sure - BUT there were two significant events that would both correlate to two explosions and not a collision and one explosion in my opinion.
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    Post  ALAMO Tue Nov 23, 2021 3:40 pm

    Hah, no Pavel for sure, they hang at the different side of a rope Laughing

    The point is, that I have never seen those mystical "4 pages".
    Not that I felt a must of it at any moment, simply never saw it, while digging into a matter quite deep I would say.  scratch

    And as I am not trained to interpret seismic data, I won't dare to judge a shit out of that graph.
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    Post  Mir Tue Nov 23, 2021 3:45 pm

    Well if you analyze my avatar you will see I like to look at things quite "deeply" Laughing

    I do take a lot of things with a pinch of salt - especially official documents that are marked "secret"! Laughing

    I'll see if I can find those 4 pages for you.

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    Post  Mir Tue Nov 23, 2021 4:26 pm

    One other crucial bit that was also mentioned in the documentary and also in the TASS article from which I quote the following from:

    Further evidence of this scenario can be seen in the US forgiveness of a very large Russian Sovereign debt by Bill Clinton. No country pursues its debt like the US does, they are hard-minded and Shylock in nature, demanding their pound of flesh. At a time when the US especially, wanted to destroy Russia once and for all, they could have economically crippled Russia, which was still struggling from the 1998 Rouble crises by demanding the loan payments. But it was forgiven! Recall that there were also many telephone calls between the Kremlin and the Whitehouse at this stage. I believe the presidents negotiated a price for the KURSK.

    It suits both Russia and the US to have this matter conveniently swept under the carpet - there is embarrassment on both sides. And so, the false narrative of how and why the KURSK sank, will never be revealed - well, not in my life-time anyway.

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    Post  ALAMO Tue Nov 23, 2021 4:32 pm

    That part is obvious to me.
    Only the torpedo is not. Way too complicated, beyond the Ockham razor.

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    Post  Mir Tue Nov 23, 2021 5:29 pm

    The director of the company that manufactured the old Russian torpedo alleged to have caused the accident denounced the report, which is perhaps obvious BUT he also disclosed some interesting information. (see Wikipedia link above)

    According to him Kursk was designed with two autonomous, independent control systems that would have detected a rise in temperature while the torpedo was stored on the racks. The sub was equipped with a special drain system that could rapidly drain hydrogen peroxide fuel from a torpedo into the sea. If a temperature rise was detected in the torpedo tube, the torpedo would have automatically been ejected into the sea. In addition, any fire in the torpedo compartment would have triggered a powerful fire-extinguishing system that would have dumped "tons of water" on the fire.
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    Post  Isos Tue Nov 23, 2021 7:29 pm

    Mir wrote:The director of the company that manufactured the old Russian torpedo alleged to have caused the accident denounced the report, which is perhaps obvious BUT he also disclosed some interesting information. (see Wikipedia link above)

    According to him Kursk was designed with two autonomous, independent control systems that would have detected a rise in temperature while the torpedo was stored on the racks. The sub was equipped with a special drain system that could rapidly drain hydrogen peroxide fuel from a torpedo into the sea. If a temperature rise was detected in the torpedo tube, the torpedo would have automatically been ejected into the sea. In addition, any fire in the torpedo compartment would have triggered a powerful fire-extinguishing system that would have dumped "tons of water" on the fire.

    But it seems the collision made that impossible. The torpedo may have been shaked too much and it increased the chemical reaction that made it explode.
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    Post  Mir Tue Nov 23, 2021 8:35 pm

    Anything is possible I guess but it is highly likely that both these subs would have moved at low speed (5kts) at the time and it appears that only the Toledo was badly damaged in the collision but the Kursk continued it's path unabated. The Kursk was a giant compared to the Toledo and wouldn't have felt the impact in the same way as the Toledo. Both subs also have a thick rubber coating that would have dampened the impact to some extend and it is also probably the reason why the first seismic event was very small compared to the next two.

    Then you have the company director who manufactured these torpedoes claiming that they tested these torpedoes by dropping them from 10 meters without exploding.
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    Post  pukovnik7 Tue Nov 23, 2021 10:16 pm

    Mir wrote:Anything is possible I guess but it is highly likely that both these subs would have moved at low speed (5kts) at the time and it appears that only the Toledo was badly damaged in the collision but the Kursk continued it's path unabated. The Kursk was a giant compared to the Toledo and wouldn't have felt the impact in the same way as the Toledo. Both subs also have a thick rubber coating that would have dampened the impact to some extend and it is also probably the reason why the first seismic event was very small compared to the next two.

    Then you have the company director who manufactured these torpedoes claiming that they tested these torpedoes by dropping them from 10 meters without exploding.

    What about a possibility of collision causing a water leak, which got into torpedoes and caused an explosion? A bit of a long shot, I know, but if torpedo fuel was as unstable as it might have been...
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    Post  ALAMO Tue Nov 23, 2021 10:21 pm

    That could be a case as well.
    We know nothing in reality, other than there was a massive maskirovka applied.

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    Post  limb Tue Nov 23, 2021 10:25 pm

    Wasn't the exercise that the kursk was in done in haste with very little safety considerations, like checking if the torpedos are damaged? I remember reading that the Kursk was far from seaworthy, yet the admirals insisted it be brought to the exercise as a show of strength.

    BTW Why did soviet subs use hydrogen peroxide for torpedos?
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    Post  ALAMO Tue Nov 23, 2021 10:34 pm

    You are seeking another shitstorm, right? Laughing
    They have used it, because it powered a Type 65 torpedo.
    A piece with parameters outstanding even to today's standards. Damn fast, with enormous range, and an amazing diving cap.
    A trade-off.
    That is why strict security measures were applied while handling them in a Soviet Navy, and some of them used to be out of reach for Russia in the late 90s.
    But that would be an excuse only if we can determine, that it was a Type 65 a real cause of the trouble - but we know shit about that.
    Kursk was one of the best maintained subs in the whole WMF, performed a really outstanding patrol in the Med just a year before the event, targeting 6th Fleet offshore of Yugoslavia.

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    Post  pukovnik7 Wed Nov 24, 2021 12:51 am

    limb wrote:Wasn't the exercise that the kursk was in done in haste with very little safety considerations, like checking if the torpedos are damaged? I remember reading that the Kursk was far from seaworthy, yet the admirals insisted it be brought to the exercise as a show of strength.

    BTW Why did soviet subs use hydrogen peroxide for torpedos?

    Basically, hydrogen peroxide provides much greater performance than the alternatives. Kinda like Japanese oxygen-fueled torpedoes: you have greater speed and range, but for this you have to suffer from a greater possibility of your ship blowing up in case of a hit. A deal with the devil if you will.

    I was wrong about a water leak. Water will have in fact rendered it inert. What will have caused the explosion would be if hydrogen peroxide had somehow come into contact with fuel:
    en . wikipedia . org / wiki / High-test_peroxide # Safety

    Anyway, I found this and decided to cite possibilities that would have applied to Kursk:
    webwiser . nlm . nih . gov / substance?substanceId=322&catId=63
    "A severe explosion hazard when highly concentrated or when pure hydrogen peroxide is exposed to: heat, mechanical impact, or detonation of a blasting cap, or is caused to decompose catalytically by metals (in order of decreasing effectiveness: osmium; palladium; platinum; iridium; gold; silver; manganese; cobalt; copper; lead)."

    So it seems that some sort of a collision may have been the most likely cause of the explosion. That being said:
    "Another source of hydrogen peroxide explosions is the sealing of the material in strong containers. Under such conditions, even gradual decomposition of hydrogen peroxide to water + 1/2 oxygen can cause large pressures to build up in the containers, which may then burst explosively."

    Spontaneous explosion? And getting better:
    "Evaporation of an ethereal solution of hydrogen peroxide gave a residue of which a drop on a platinum spatula exploded weakly on exposure to flame. When the sample (1-2 g) was stirred with a glass rod (not fire polished), an extremely violent detonation occurred."

    I found this as well, may be illustrative:
    web . archive . org / web / 20141210234520 / http : // www . histarmar . com . ar / InfGral / SubmarinosAcc / Peroxide%20Accident%20-%20Walter%20Web%20Site . htm

    I think I would rather play Russian roulette than use hydrogen peroxide as a torpedo propellant...
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    Post  hoom Wed Nov 24, 2021 1:50 am

    Kursk was designed with two autonomous, independent control systems that would have detected a rise in temperature while the torpedo was stored on the racks
    IF all that stuff was working.
    But we know that a whole heap of other stuff wasn't working because the economy was wrecked and maintenance was sparse & poor training/safety standards -> not unreasonable to assume it wasn't working.

    Poor maintenance/lax safety standards & Peroxide is a bad combo.

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    Post  PapaDragon Wed Nov 24, 2021 4:39 am


    Can mods move this tread to Military History section?

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    Post  Mir Wed Nov 24, 2021 7:50 am

    Poor maintenance/lax safety standards & Peroxide is a bad combo.

    Very likely if handled incorrectly but fortunately we don't see too many exploding subs these days!

    The truth is probably a combo of much of the above. The 90's was a really bad period in Russia's history and a lot of neglect - esp in the navy - took place. But as Alamo said the Kursk was brand new and really a showpiece for the Russian Navy. It also proudly displayed the double headed eagle as a symbol of national pride.

    A lot of things happened on that day and many questions are still unanswered. Just looking at the initial rescue effort leaves a lot of questions. The sub was lying on the seabed 108m down which is quite shallow. The Kursk itself is 144 meters long. If they lifted the tail above water the rear escape hatch would have been exposed. There was claims that the rescue hatches were badly damaged and could not be opened, yet it took the Norwegian diving team only 25 minutes to open one of the "damaged" hatches. Hindsight is always easy but a lot of things don't quite add up.

    Naval command was convinced that the two American subs were involved in the tragedy. They also knew about the presence of the British sub Splendid. The task force was stacked in such a manner in order to detect spy subs in the area. The investigators on the other hand dismissed the admirals version and excepted the possibility of the exploding peroxide torpedo as the likely cause, long before the Kursk was raised.
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    Post  ALAMO Wed Nov 24, 2021 8:35 am

    Mir wrote:
    Poor maintenance/lax safety standards & Peroxide is a bad combo.

    Very likely if handled incorrectly but fortunately we don't see too many exploding subs these days!
    The truth is probably a combo of much of the above. The 90's was a really bad period in Russia's history and a lot of neglect - esp in the navy - took place. But as Alamo said the Kursk was brand new and really a showpiece for the Russian Navy. It also proudly displayed the double headed eagle as a symbol of national pride.
    A lot of things happened on that day and many questions are still unanswered. Just looking at the initial rescue effort leaves a lot of questions. The sub was lying on the seabed 108m down which is quite shallow. The Kursk itself is 144 meters long. If they lifted the tail above water the rear escape hatch would have been exposed. There was claims that the rescue hatches were badly damaged and could not be opened, yet it took the Norwegian diving team only 25 minutes to open one of the "damaged" hatches. Hindsight is always easy but a lot of things don't quite add up.
    Naval command was convinced that the two American subs were involved in the tragedy. They also knew about the presence of the British sub Splendid. The task force was stacked in such a manner in order to detect spy subs in the area. The investigators on the other hand dismissed the admirals version and excepted the possibility of the exploding peroxide torpedo as the likely cause, long before the Kursk was raised.

    Well, the hatch on the stern we can call "damaged", as it was inexisting Laughing
    The one on the bow was cracked. At least the sealing collar was because I saw it.
    I would not exploit the "25min" factor either.
    It is not true.
    First, the hatch was opened on the second expedition, under the Rubin-Stolt Offshore contract, that took place Aug 17th-22nd from a deck of Seaway Eagle.
    The inspection of stern rescue hatch and air valve started on 20th in the morning only. They have tried to open the covering hatch for a whole day, with help of a hydraulic manipulator of the ROV used for inspection, support, and water samples collection (they monitored the radioactivity level for a whole operation). Without much success, and the covering hatch was opened manually at night only, with the help of 500l balloon as I have said previously. They have opened the hatch, only to find out that the rescue shaft was already flooded. The team held a meeting on Aug 21st in the morning, how to proceed, and decided to increase radiation safety measures. They needed a special tool to open the lower hatch, and that was constructed by 10:30 Aug 21st. They finally opened the lower hatch about midday, reporting a big bulge of air coming out of the already flooded 9th compartment.
    No idea where the "25min" story came from, but is not true.
    Naval command was claiming lot's of things, in need to cover up th emess, but the most informative would be the officially considered scenarios. There were three of them, inspected simultaneously. A collision with underwater object, hitting a WWII mine, or on board weaponry cooking off. All three however consider the hull breach as initial cause trigging the sequence on.
    Some misunderstandings emerge, because people are mixing the events.
    We must keep in mind, that we talk about several different operations there.
    The first one, was a Russian Navy serch&rescue operation, executed Aug12th-Aug17th with the assets of Northern Fleet, involving 22 ships&vessles and 3000 sailors under a direct command of admiral Popow.
    The second one, involved Nowvegiand and Brits, with Seaway Eagle, Aug 17th-22nd. This operation, started as a rescue one, was transferred to non-rescue one on the evening of 19th August, in a curse of meeting of the staff with commanding officer, admiral Wericz. That led to the withdrawing of the British personnel and LR5 SAR submersible.
    The third one, was performed Oct 2000 from the deck of Regalia platform, belonging to Halliburton Norge. The main task of this mission, was to recover bodies, find documents, and make a close inspection.
    The last but not least, a fourth mission, however it can be divided into two phases as well, was lifting of Kursk, after cutting off the whole remains of the 1st compartment. It was a year later, Sep 2001, with help of the Mammoth platform.

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    Post  GarryB Wed Nov 24, 2021 9:26 am

    Most navies have used hydrogen peroxide in submarines at one time or another and guess what experts... AIP systems requires pure oxygen for them to work so most western subs with AIPs have HTP as the main source of oxygen for the process of running a hydrogen fuel cell.

    There is no evidence of any collision.

    The Clinton gang were ass raping Russia of assets.... when Browder is asset stripping companies of billions of dollars, of course they have to do something in return... like forgive debt... they had full control of the junkie...

    A 133 page report where only four pages are released is normal, because the details of the problems of the Russian Navy are not something they want the world to know about, so obviously... and like most governments around the world the thing that is published is the report summary... with any secret bits removed of course.

    Suggesting this is proof of collusion is ridiculous... clearly the Democrats and the UK with their Russian hacking and Russian poisoning fictions have seriously lowered the bar.
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    Post  Mir Wed Nov 24, 2021 10:49 am

    Still Popov insists to this day that a collision occurred.

    https://www.rt.com/russia/540944-sinking-kursk-submarine-nato/

    Video footage of his official speech during the tragedy clearly shows a deeply distraught man and he sincerely apologized to the families that he was unable to save the crew. Off camera he apparently remarked that he will make it his life's mission to hunt down those that were responsible.

    It must be said that the crew had no chance whatsoever of surviving the tragedy. Only those in the 9th compartment had about three hours to survive but it appeared that one of the officers accidentally dropped a potassium superoxide chemical cartridge into the oily water causing a fire that burned up all remaining oxygen. RIP to all those 118 submariners that have lost their lives in the tragedy.
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    Post  ALAMO Wed Nov 24, 2021 1:21 pm

    I have watched the film made by the diving team on Aug 21st, where you can clearly spot a crack in the hatch surrounding, but this time with English narrative.
    What they say is that the hatch sealing collar is fine, and the crack that is visible, is made in a rubber coating. I will try to find the original, Russian materials made a few days before to compare both things, because it may be a case, that what I remember (watching that 20+ years ago on TV), was probably the stern hatch remains. The international team was forbidden to make any footage of the stern at all, so anything they made, presents the bow of Kursk.
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    Post  flamming_python Wed Nov 24, 2021 1:49 pm

    ALAMO wrote:That incident appeared as a final point of 10 years overall mess and negligence.
    That was a miserable shape of the Russian Navy. They lacked everything, and I remember the comments from Antey class designer.
    He stated clearly, that a must of inviting the westerners for a salvage operation was just the last dot in a line of tragic events lasting for 15 years, and a proven fact how far behind the Russian maritime SAR became.
    It is easy to judge now, 20 years after the events - but at that time, Russian military had to handle the situation with resources they had.  They shoot old torpedoes, because didn't have the new ones.
    The report you are mentioning is a shortcut, and I don't remember it being publicized.scratch  
    What I do remember, was a story about a torpedo that dropped while loading, leading to the undiscovered leakage.
    Back in 2000, it was a Dagestani shura, an illegal Islamic organization, that claimed the explosion was triggered by a Dagestani "martyr".
    As I see the tone of what you are saying, I would guess that you are basing on the Radio Liberty materials, citing Pavel Falgenhauer? Right? He is a shmuck and well known Russia eater, so I would not waste a minute readying his defecations. Seriously Laughing

    Pretty much this ^

    And the rest of the speculation in this thread might as well be white noise. You don't need some conspiracy to explain this event. Anyone who lived in Russia during the 90s would recognize the incident for what it was.

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