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Posted: 5/26/2008 9:35:24 PM EST
Titanic search was Cold War cover story for secret mission to find nuclear subs

www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1021640/Titanic-search-Cold-War-cover-story-secret-mission-nuclear-subs.html

A mission to find the lost wreck of the Titanic was actually a cover story for inspecting the wrecks of two nuclear submarines, the man who discovered the famous liner has revealed.

Dr Bob Ballard led a team in 1985 that pinpointed the wreckage of the enormous ship 73 years after it sank in the Atlantic. But he almost didn't succeed after his top secret mission to find two Cold War subs left him with just 12 days to find the Titanic.

The United States Navy lost two submarines during the 1960s - the USS Thresher and USS Scorpion - which had more than 200 men on board.

Officials feared at least one of them had been sunk by the USSR. When Dr Ballard approached the Navy for funding to find the Titanic using his robotic submarine craft, they asked him to discover the submarines first.

"I couldn't tell anybody," the oceanographer said.

"There was a lot of pressure on me. It was a secret mission. I felt it was a fair exchange for getting a chance to look for the Titanic."

He added: "We handed the data to the experts. They never told us what they concluded – our job was to collect the data. I can only talk about it now because it has been declassified."


The USS Scorpion was lost in 1968
The USS Thresher (SSN-593) was the lead ship of her class of nuclear-powered attack submarines. She was lost during deep-sea diving tests in 1963 after a high-pressure pipe blew causing the vessel to lose power and implode as it sank.


However, the USS Scorpion disappeared in 1968 amid speculation that it was sunk by Soviet forces.


Dr Ballard mapped both submarine wrecks using his newly developed underwater robot craft. He concluded that the most likely cause of the Scorpion's destruction was being hit by a rogue torpedo it had fired itself.


Investigating the wrecks gave Dr Ballard the idea of finding a trail of debris that would lead him to the Titanic. Both the Thresher and Scorpion had both broken into thousands of pieces.


He criss-crossed the North Atlantic seabed and eventually found a debris trail that led him to the luxury liner's final resting-place.

He found the Titanic split in two but had little time to explore further. It was not until he returned to the site in 1986 that he was able to make a detailed study.


Link Posted: 5/26/2008 9:43:18 PM EST

"I couldn't tell anybody," the oceanographer said.

"There was a lot of pressure on me. It was a secret mission. I felt it was a fair exchange for getting a chance to look for the Titanic."

He added: "We handed the data to the experts. They never told us what they concluded – our job was to collect the data. I can only talk about it now because it has been declassified."



seems like he kept his end of the bargain..

hats off to him..
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 9:43:56 PM EST

Originally Posted By 2A373:
Dr Ballard mapped both submarine wrecks using his newly developed underwater robot craft. He concluded that the most likely cause of the Scorpion's destruction was being hit by a rogue torpedo it had fired itself.



Is that even possible - to be hit by your own torpedo?

Link Posted: 5/26/2008 9:46:13 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/26/2008 9:50:24 PM EST by Maccrage]

Originally Posted By The_Macallan:

Originally Posted By 2A373:
Dr Ballard mapped both submarine wrecks using his newly developed underwater robot craft. He concluded that the most likely cause of the Scorpion's destruction was being hit by a rogue torpedo it had fired itself.



Is that even possible - to be hit by your own torpedo?


Happened at least once in WW2. USS Tang, SS-306.

ETA: Make that 4 times.
USS Tang (SS-306)
USS Tullibee (SS-284)
U-377
U-972
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 9:46:25 PM EST
But he is still not allowed to tell anyone the REAL reason the Titanic sank was Chupacabras.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 9:46:49 PM EST

Originally Posted By The_Macallan:

Originally Posted By 2A373:
Dr Ballard mapped both submarine wrecks using his newly developed underwater robot craft. He concluded that the most likely cause of the Scorpion's destruction was being hit by a rogue torpedo it had fired itself.



Is that even possible - to be hit by your own torpedo?



Yes it is.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 9:48:48 PM EST

Originally Posted By The_Macallan:

Originally Posted By 2A373:
Dr Ballard mapped both submarine wrecks using his newly developed underwater robot craft. He concluded that the most likely cause of the Scorpion's destruction was being hit by a rogue torpedo it had fired itself.



Is that even possible - to be hit by your own torpedo?


- You arrogant ass, you've killed us!
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 9:51:23 PM EST

Originally Posted By Maccrage:

Originally Posted By The_Macallan:

Originally Posted By 2A373:
Dr Ballard mapped both submarine wrecks using his newly developed underwater robot craft. He concluded that the most likely cause of the Scorpion's destruction was being hit by a rogue torpedo it had fired itself.



Is that even possible - to be hit by your own torpedo?

Happened at least once in WW2. USS Tang, SS-306.

ETA: Make that 4 times.
USS Tang (SS-306)
USS Tullibee (SS-284)
U-377
U-972

Okay then.

Damn that would suck.

Link Posted: 5/26/2008 10:00:04 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/26/2008 10:01:15 PM EST by guardian855]

Originally Posted By The_Macallan:

Originally Posted By 2A373:
Dr Ballard mapped both submarine wrecks using his newly developed underwater robot craft. He concluded that the most likely cause of the Scorpion's destruction was being hit by a rogue torpedo it had fired itself.



Is that even possible - to be hit by your own torpedo?



From my understanding, the current theory is that one of their torpedoes went hot unexpectedly. Maybe it was in the tube, maybe not. If it was in the tube, they might have launched it to get it away from the sub, but likely it was in storage and caught fire and then detonated.

That's what happened to the Kursk probably, and I believe the torpedoes used the same fuel type.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 10:01:31 PM EST
If you are interested in subs, I highly recommend the book Blind Man's Bluff. Great read.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 10:09:48 PM EST

Originally Posted By guardian855:

Originally Posted By The_Macallan:

Originally Posted By 2A373:
Dr Ballard mapped both submarine wrecks using his newly developed underwater robot craft. He concluded that the most likely cause of the Scorpion's destruction was being hit by a rogue torpedo it had fired itself.



Is that even possible - to be hit by your own torpedo?



From my understanding, the current theory is that one of their torpedoes went hot unexpectedly. Maybe it was in the tube, maybe not. If it was in the tube, they might have launched it to get it away from the sub, but likely it was in storage and caught fire and then detonated.

That's what happened to the Kursk probably, and I believe the torpedoes used the same fuel type.


I believe that a few of those that got sunk by their own torps got struck by them after they fired them. The rudders stuck to the left/right and pulled a big circle.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 10:11:26 PM EST

Originally Posted By pagansmurfen:

- You arrogant ass, you've killed us!


Link Posted: 5/26/2008 10:12:45 PM EST
Why isn't this in any US papers?

Dailymail is not very reliable.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 10:14:18 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 10:14:57 PM EST
its my understanding that "SECRET" INFO is classified for 20 years..

and "TOP SECRET" info for 50 years....NOW,when did they find the Titanic?
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 10:16:22 PM EST

Originally Posted By GUNSFORHIRE:
its my understanding that "SECRET" INFO is classified for 20 years..

and "TOP SECRET" info for 50 years....NOW,when did they find the Titanic?

1985. So if SECRET, yes, it was declassified in 2005.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 10:17:02 PM EST
IIRC, we knew where the Thresher was, but did not have a precise fix on Scorpion. Both were in deep water and would have required a bathyscaphe for survey (in the days before advanced submersible robots)

Ballard seems to be a bit of a self-promoter, although he does have some accomplishments worth crowing about.

Link Posted: 5/26/2008 10:18:41 PM EST
Damn, that was unexpected. Very cool story.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 10:19:56 PM EST
I can't escape the feeling that I saw pics of the Thresher long before 85.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 10:21:43 PM EST

Originally Posted By Hoppy:
I can't escape the feeling that I saw pics of the Thresher long before 85.

The .gov knew where they were. They just wanted better data on the wrecks than they were able to get back in the '60s.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 10:27:44 PM EST

Originally Posted By g3shooter:
Why isn't this in any US papers?

Dailymail is not very reliable.


It was one of the headlines on FOXNews.com a few days ago.

www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,358029,00.html


I just posted this tonight after the USS Thresher and USS Scorpion was brought up in the other thread.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 10:30:43 PM EST

Originally Posted By Hoppy:
I can't escape the feeling that I saw pics of the Thresher long before 85.


www.history.navy.mil/danfs/t/thresher.htm


In company with Skylark (ASR-20), Thresher put to sea on 10 April 1963 for deep-diving exercises. In addition to her 16 officers and 96 enlisted men, the submarine carried 17 civilian technicians to observe her performance during the deep-diving tests.

Fifteen minutes after reaching her assigned test depth, the submarine communicated with Skylark by underwater telephone, apprizing the submarine rescue ship of difficulties. Garbled transmissions indicated that--far below the surface--things were going wrong. Suddenly, listeners in Skylark heard a noise "like air rushing into an air tank"--then, silence.

Efforts to reestablish contact with Thresher failed, and a search group was formed in an attempt to locate the submarine. Rescue ship Recovery (ASR-43) subsequently recovered bits of debris, including gloves and bits of internal insulation. Photographs taken by bathyscaph Trieste proved that the submarine had broken up, taking all hands on board to their deaths in 5,500 of water, some 220 miles east of Boston. Thresher was officially declared lost in April 1963.

Subsequently, a Court of Inquiry was convened and, after studying pictures and other data, opined that the loss of Thresher was in all probability due to a casting, piping, or welding failure that flooded the engine room with water. This water probably caused electrical failures that automatically shutdown the nuclear reactor, causing an initial power loss and the eventual loss of the boat.

Thresher is in six major sections on the ocean floor, with the majority in a single debris field about 400 yards square. The major sections are the sail, sonar dome, bow section, engineering spaces, operations spaces, and the tail section.

Owing to the pressurized-water nuclear reactor in the engine room, deep ocean radiological monitoring operations were conducted in August 1983 and August 1986. The site had been previously monitored in 1965 and 1977 and none of the samples obtained showed any evidence of release of radioactivity from the reactor fuel elements. Fission products were not detected above concentrations typical of worldwide background levels in sediment, water, or marine life samples.


Pictures from 1963: history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-t/ssn593-k.htm

Link Posted: 5/26/2008 10:32:23 PM EST
I took these photos at the USS Albacore museum in Portsmouth, NH last summer.




For all the submariners still on eternal patrol.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 11:33:03 PM EST
It had been well known (in Wikipedia, no less) that Woods Hole had been doing a search for the Scorpion when they were supposed to be looking for the Titantic.

The current theory is that they (Scorpion) had a torpedo go hot in the tube.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 11:43:05 PM EST

Originally Posted By USPcompact:

Originally Posted By pagansmurfen:

- You arrogant ass, you've killed us!




Adm. Painter: What's his plan?
Jack Ryan: His plan?
Adm. Painter: Russians don't take a dump, son, without a plan.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 11:52:32 PM EST

Originally Posted By Screechjet1:
It had been well known (in Wikipedia, no less) that Woods Hole had been doing a search for the Scorpion when they were supposed to be looking for the Titantic.

The current theory is that they (Scorpion) had a torpedo go hot in the tube.


That is a very plausible theory, IIRC the torpedoes at that time had a known issue with their thermal batteries. Thermal batteries for those who don't know get VERY HOT, not an issue with a torpedo in the water as the water keeps things cool but if the torpedo runs hot in the tube it can generate enough heat to cause the HE filler to deflagrate (burn). IIRC, the HE filler at the time probably would have been Torpex which is very sensitive to heat. Deflagration of the HE in an enclosed area like a torpedo room would be very devastating, it would be just like letting 600 lbs of smokeless propellant burn. It would be a matter of seconds before the torpedo room buckled from the extreme pressure built up from the super heated gases produced from the venting of the torpedo warhead.

IIRC, I believe I read something from Dr. Craven stating that pics from the torpedo room area show that the bulkheads are buckled outward exactly like what would have happened in a deflagration. I have always been impressed with Dr. Craven, I'd love to get a classified briefing from him on the shit he has been on.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 11:56:32 PM EST

Originally Posted By Merrell:

Originally Posted By Hoppy:
I can't escape the feeling that I saw pics of the Thresher long before 85.


www.history.navy.mil/danfs/t/thresher.htm




I thought so. I was working at Charleston Naval Shipyards in the late 70's and early 80's overhauling and riding fast attack subs. I thought I remembered many pictures of the Thresher scattered along the ocean floor that were posted all over the shop.
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 11:57:16 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/26/2008 11:59:46 PM EST

Originally Posted By USPcompact:

Originally Posted By pagansmurfen:

- You arrogant ass, you've killed us!


Link Posted: 5/27/2008 12:00:37 AM EST

Originally Posted By The_Macallan:

Originally Posted By 2A373:
Dr Ballard mapped both submarine wrecks using his newly developed underwater robot craft. He concluded that the most likely cause of the Scorpion's destruction was being hit by a rogue torpedo it had fired itself.



Is that even possible - to be hit by your own torpedo?




Circular runners are a worry… I know one one RN sub hit by a practice shot in the 1970's.
Link Posted: 5/27/2008 12:13:55 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/27/2008 12:56:38 AM EST by 77grBTHP]
This method is not too surprising or entirely unique.
(no intent to hijack OP's thread - just throwing some different wood on the fire)

find more cold-war, lost-submarine searches/recovery efforts and (somewhat declassified) cover-up strangeness at:

project jennifer
glomar explorer

(Edited for choice of words)

Attempts to find the USS Scorpion and USS Thresher bring this story to mind. It certainly makes sense to try to locate these sunken subs and their weapons, communication technology before someone else does/did.. no matter what it takes. It cannot go without saying that the investigation was also to prevent the future loss of so many more who are willing to risk their lives in the line of service to our country..

Regarding the discovery of the Soviet sub by secret staff on the the Hughes boat, I thought it was a interesting expression (of respect?) that they supposedly gave the recovered remains of those on board K-129, a 'proper' burial at sea. The official declassification of the whole thing renewed some old tensions with Moscow. Apparently and understandably, a very serious situation came of this retrieval mission.

Whatever.. weird, wild stuff.
Link Posted: 5/27/2008 1:55:45 AM EST
Interestingly enough it seems the Navy actually had a recording of the Scorpions sinking. They started to launch ships in what appears to be a search operation three days before she was reported overdue.

"Some recent reports[4] now indicate that a large and secret search was launched 3 days before Scorpion was expected back from patrol; this combined with other declassified information led many to speculate the the US Navy knew of the Scorpion's destruction before the public search was launched."

This was after the navy had released sound tapes (reported as, but apparently not[citation needed]) from its underwater "Sosus" listening system which contained the sounds of the destruction of Scorpion.

Dr. John Craven mentions that he did not work on the Mark 37 torpedo's propulsion system and only became aware of the possibility of a battery explosion twenty years after the loss of the Scorpion. In his book The Silent War, he recounts running a simulation with former Scorpion Executive officer Lt. Cdr. Robert Fountain, Jr. commanding the simulator. Fountain was told he was headed home at 18 knots (33 km/h) at a depth of his choice, then there was an alarm of "hot running torpedo". Fountain responded with "right full rudder", a quick turn that would activate a safety device and keep the torpedo from arming. Then an explosion in the torpedo room was introduced into the simulation. Fountain ordered emergency procedures to surface the boat, stated Dr. Craven, "but instead she continued to plummet, reaching collapse depth and imploding in ninety seconds — one second shy of the acoustic record of the actual event."
Link Posted: 5/27/2008 2:00:09 AM EST
This story was released more than a few years ago, as I recall.
Link Posted: 5/27/2008 2:30:09 AM EST
For the Bubbleheads in here..

Link Posted: 5/27/2008 2:34:28 AM EST

Originally Posted By Pita_146:

Originally Posted By USPcompact:

Originally Posted By pagansmurfen:

- You arrogant ass, you've killed us!




Adm. Painter: What's his plan?
Jack Ryan: His plan?
Adm. Painter: Russians don't take a dump, son, without a plan.


LAUNCH COUNTERMEASURES EMERGENCY BLOW!!!
Link Posted: 5/27/2008 2:58:52 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/27/2008 3:18:48 AM EST by Owen5981]

Dr Ballard mapped both submarine wrecks using his newly developed underwater robot craft. He concluded that the most likely cause of the Scorpion's destruction was being hit by a rogue torpedo it had fired itself.


I disagree, based on the few released photos (both the Mizar's and Ballard's). It appears the Scorpion suffered a catastrophic implosion based on the telescoped propulsions spaces and the distorted torpedo compartment frames.

Scorpion photos

If she's taken an external hit (or torpedo room explosion), at least one compartment would have been exposed to sea pressure. Since the internal bulkhead design strength was less than the hull design strength, this means the internal bulkheads would have collapsed first, equalizing the boat's internal spaces to sea pressure long before the hull would collapse. In other words, you would have ended up with an intact hull on the bottom instead of the documented implosion debris. As examples, there are many WWII submarine hulls still on the bottom intact.

Even the Titanic wreck site provides examples of both wreck mechanisms. The bow section had a chance to flood at the surface before the ship split and the bow sank to the bottom. As a result, the bow is sitting relatively intact on the bottom. In contrast, many stern compartments remained relatively dry until after the split. Those compartments imploded during or shortly after the descent to the bottom, resulting in the catastrophic state of the stern wreckage.

My own theory is, she suffered a loss of depth control (either through control jamming or machinery flooding) and passed through her crush depth before the crew could recover. Examples of machinery flooding could include shaft cracking/separation or TDU malfunction.

My theory is drawn on my own experience and not based on any access to restricted data.
Link Posted: 5/27/2008 3:07:37 AM EST
Damn, you guys are just now finding this out? It was announced about 5 years ago, and there's been a book that describes the search, plus there was a show about it on the Discovery channel.
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 7:11:12 PM EST
Typical Navy boondoggle, he gets to use Navy time, money and equipment to find the Titanic.
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 7:36:57 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/2/2008 7:40:42 PM EST by 5subslr5]

Originally Posted By Owen5981:


My own theory is, she suffered a loss of depth control (either through control jamming or machinery flooding) and passed through her crush depth before the crew could recover.




Scorpion would have been running at maybe 400 feet and probably 20-22 kts. She loses primary hydraulic power in the planes..............if the planes were set to dive, she would have gone through test depth and then crush depth pretty fast. IIRC, Scorpion had not been put through Sub-Safe overhaul...........did the planes lock on dive ?? Do NOT discount that possibility.

I went through the crew list carefully about a year ago. Scorpion didn't have enough sonarmen to stand watches. The boat was due for overhaul..................appeared to be many, many problems with that boat.

5sub


Edited to add: There was a possibility of a torp running hot while still IN THE TUBE and blowing.........not a fired torpedo that came back and hit the boat.

There was a maneuver to prevent the torpedo blowing even if it did run hot.......think that was an immediate turn to starboard but NOT sure.
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 7:39:47 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/2/2008 7:42:47 PM EST by omega62]
It's pretty well established that the THRESHER loss was caused by a flooding casualty that scrammed the breeder reactor, resulting in a complete loss of power.

The SCORPION tragedy is a lot more mysterious, but the odds-on theory about that is that it was also some type of a flooding casualty or else a torpedo malfunction.

A lot of corners were being cut in the nuclear sub shipyards in the 1960s by the civilian contractors.
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 7:42:32 PM EST

Originally Posted By omega62:
It's pretty well established that the THRESHER loss was caused by a flooding casualty that scrammed the breeder reactor, resulting in a complete loss of power.



Yes, we understand why Thresher was lost. Many procedures were changed immediately after that accident.



5sub
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 7:44:06 PM EST
American and Soviet tin-foil hat players checked in.....
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 7:45:03 PM EST

Originally Posted By 5subslr5:

Originally Posted By omega62:
It's pretty well established that the THRESHER loss was caused by a flooding casualty that scrammed the breeder reactor, resulting in a complete loss of power.



Yes, we understand why Thresher was lost. Many procedures were changed immediately after that accident.



5sub


I highly recommend the book SILENT STEEL if you are interested in the Scorpion. It came out a few years ago. I couldn't put it down.
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 7:49:34 PM EST
The USN found the Scorpion wreckage within months of its loss. Ballard just went back and took better pictures than the Navy was capable of during 1968.
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 7:52:13 PM EST

Originally Posted By omega62:

Originally Posted By 5subslr5:

Originally Posted By omega62:
It's pretty well established that the THRESHER loss was caused by a flooding casualty that scrammed the breeder reactor, resulting in a complete loss of power.



Yes, we understand why Thresher was lost. Many procedures were changed immediately after that accident.



5sub



I highly recommend the book SILENT STEEL if you are interested in the Scorpion. It came out a few years ago. I couldn't put it down.


THINK that's the book I bought and had read only a few pages. My puppy was also a reader - AND an eater of books - and he finished off that book !!

Guess I should re-buy.

5sub
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 7:52:30 PM EST

Originally Posted By USPcompact:

Originally Posted By pagansmurfen:

- You arrogant ass, you've killed us!




Ah the Hunt for Red October! Good movie!
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 7:57:40 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/2/2008 8:04:35 PM EST by 5subslr5]

Originally Posted By 5subslr5:

Originally Posted By Owen5981:


My own theory is, she suffered a loss of depth control (either through control jamming or machinery flooding) and passed through her crush depth before the crew could recover.




Scorpion would have been running at maybe 400 feet and probably 20-22 kts. She loses primary hydraulic power in the planes..............if the planes were set to dive, she would have gone through test depth and then crush depth pretty fast. IIRC, Scorpion had not been put through Sub-Safe overhaul...........did the planes lock on dive ?? Do NOT discount that possibility.

I went through the crew list carefully about a year ago. Scorpion didn't have enough sonarmen to stand watches. The boat was due for overhaul..................appeared to be many, many problems with that boat.

5sub


Edited to add: There was a possibility of a torp running hot while still IN THE TUBE and blowing.........not a fired torpedo that came back and hit the boat.

There was a maneuver to prevent the torpedo blowing even if it did run hot.......think that was an immediate turn to starboard but NOT sure.





I went through the crew list carefully about a year ago. Scorpion didn't have enough sonarmen to stand watches. The boat was due for overhaul..................appeared to be many, many problems with that boat.



Below is what I was trying to remember when thinking of problems:


During Scorpion's last six months of operational life, at least two sailors, EM2 Daniel Rogers and Radioman Chief Daniel Pettey, struggled to be released from duty aboard Scorpion due to the bad morale problems they witnessed. Rogers sought disqualification from submarine duty -- which was then allowed -- while Pettey actually attempted to transfer to the U.S. Army only to be released from Scorpion while in the Mediterranean just months before it was lost.



In 7 yrs 2 months active, I saw ONE sailor TOTAL leave the submarine service.
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 8:01:41 PM EST

Originally Posted By Maccrage:

Originally Posted By GUNSFORHIRE:
its my understanding that "SECRET" INFO is classified for 20 years..
and "TOP SECRET" info for 50 years....NOW,when did they find the Titanic?

1985. So if SECRET, yes, it was declassified in 2005.

Per E.O 12958, classified material is automatically declassified at the 25 year mark unless
it meets a certain criteria to not be declassified (there are 9 reasons that the classification
authority can use not to declassify them).

Material can also be declassified before the 25 year mark if the material no longer meets the
E.O.'s criteria for being classified. This is what it sounds like happened.
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 8:02:28 PM EST
As I recall from the book, three different SOSUS acoustic listening stations which monitored gear under the ocean detected two "bangs" which were triangulated to the coordinates that the SCORPION was lost at.

The first "bang" was somewhat faint, and the second one was much louder (possibly caused by a hull implosion).

The time of these strange noises also matched the approximate time the SCORPION was lost at.

The first "bang" is the most mysterious. IIRC, investigators did not think it was loud enough to have been caused by a hot-running torp. But that is uncertain.

Those torpedos had a safety switch that would deactivate the warhead if it turned 180 degrees, to prevent a "suicide" shot in the event a torp accidentally locked onto it's own launch submarine after firing.

If there were a hot running torp in one of the tubes, then emergency procedures called for the skipper to turn the sub one eight zero degrees, to activate the gyroscopic safety switch in the warhead.

One of the things that the Navy hoped to learn from studying the wreckage was whether or not it appeared the SCORPION had made (or tried to make) a 180 degree turn at the time of her loss, because this would give strong support to the torpedo malfunction theory. However, the way the wreckage fell to the ocean floor, it was impossible to tell for certain.

The other theory that gets explored in the SILENT STEEL book is that (believe it or not) a toilet valve that was designed to deep-six the sailor's bodily waste might have malfuctioned while running at depth, resulting in uncontrolled flooding.

Again, it's a fascinating book.
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 8:03:59 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/2/2008 8:08:34 PM EST by 5subslr5]

. In his book "The Silent War," he recounts running a simulation with former Scorpion XO Lt. Cdr. Robert Fountain, Jr., commanding the simulator. Fountain was told he was headed home at 18 knots (33 km/h), at a depth of his choice. Then there was an alarm of "hot running torpedo". Fountain responded with "right full rudder"; a quick turn would activate a safety device to keep the torpedo from arming. Then an explosion in the torpedo room was introduced into the simulation. Fountain ordered emergency procedures to surface the boat, Dr. Craven stated, "But instead she continued to plummet, reaching collapse depth and imploding in ninety seconds — one second shy of the acoustic record of the actual event."

In Silent Steel, Fountain reveals he does not believe Scorpion was sunk by her own torpedo, and during the Court of Inquiry, physicists and engineers who carried out the simulations demanded by Dr. Craven testified that the massively complex simulations, using the crude computing power of the day, were of little value since they were so speculative. This testimony brought a rebuke from the court's members who were somewhat persuaded by Craven's theories and defensive of Craven's efforts. What has become apparent is that many investigators, even according to a Navy history of the investigation, were upset by Craven's devotion to his hot-running torpedo theory.
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 8:07:22 PM EST

Originally Posted By magnumtc:

Originally Posted By USPcompact:

Originally Posted By pagansmurfen:

- You arrogant ass, you've killed us!




Ah the Hunt for Red October! Good movie!


I preferred the novel over the movie. The movie simplified the plot too much like how Jack Ryan got the information about the sub. In the novel it took him a while to get the info but in the movie he already had the info.

For the crew and civilians of the Scorpion and Thresher
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