Russian shipwrecks


Feb 14, 2011
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I seem to recall reading a book that suggested a relatively large Russian cruise ship/liner went down in the last 25 years..Anyone here familir with Russian liners, and indeed if any Russian liners reside on the sea floor?

regards

Tarn Stephanos
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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There were two major Soviet liners lost. The modern liner Mikhail Lermontov sank, I believe, after striking a reef in either Australia or New Zealand. Loss of life was minimal. The other lost was Admiral Nakhimov- she was the pre WW2 German liner Berlin ( rescuer of some of the passengers and crew of the Vestris) which, after being sunk in WW2 was raised by the Soviets and eventually restored to cruise service. In 1986, while on a Black Sea voyage, she was rammed by another ship (a collier, I think) and sank very quickly with the reported loss of close to 400 passengers. There is a website which details a Russian documentary about the "Soviet Titanic" made a few years back- I am trying to find a copy of the video, 'though it is not in English.
 

Paul Rogers

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OK - it's not a Russian shipwreck per se... but it avoids opening a new thread for what's just a silly story.

Anyone fancy: "..a harmonious combination of carrier appreciation, military recreation, typical seaside lifestyle in south China and military atmosphere."? If so, and if you've got £9m lying around doing nothing, why not buy the Minsk?

A sad end for a warship, methinks.
 

Jim Hathaway

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Dec 18, 2004
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Minsk was in sad shape before the Chinese took her-she had been laid up for some time.
Some time back I saw photos taken in China, there were ladders that were corroded away to nothing from the deck to about 2 feet up, also holes corroded through bulkheads. It was apparent she had been neglected for quite some time.
I also remember a Pepsi-cola stand on the flight deck aft of the island- (that thump you might have felt was Admiral Gorshkov turning over in his grave.)
 
Dec 2, 2000
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As poorly maintained as a lot of Russian warships were when they were laid up, it's a wonder the ship didn't sink under tow. Their harbours are littered with the hulks of ships that were simply abandoned and left to the elements.
 

Jim Hathaway

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The submarine bases are particularly bad, with many boats still having nuclear fuel aboard.
I read reciently that K-19 still exists, and as long as the Hotel class has been totally obsolete, it is scary to think of her with fuel aboard.
I saw a photo in a book of the entire class of Alfas tied to a pier waiting for the end- with their liquid metal reactors, it is extremely unlikely they will go back in service, and they have no money to scrap them.
 

Jim Hathaway

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We only built one submarine with a liquid-metal reactor, that would be Seawolf (SSN-575), and the plant was replaced with a conventional pressurized water reactor at her first refueling.
It was a real maintenance problem, and I heard sodium leaks were a constant problem.
I would love to know the Soviet experience with the Alfas-
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I would love to know the Soviet experience with the Alfas-<<

It wasn't pretty.

That they only built six of them...and one was supposedly converted to a pressurized water reactor...says quite a lot in my book. They didn't serve for very long because of all the problems they had with these boats. The prototype was scrapped after a reactor accident, and another was only returned, briefly, to service after a five year long refit. They were also damned expensive to build and to keep up as well as of questionable utility. So much so that in the Soviet Navy, they were known sarcastically as "Golden Carps!"

The laundry list of problems with these boats is a long one, not the least of which was a crude automation system, a small crew (About 30 guys) and extreme difficulties in maintaining the reactor, all of which made for boats regarded as unsafe by the Soviets. You might want to get a copy of "The World's Worst Warships: The Failures and Repercussions of Naval Design and Construction, 1860-2000" by the late Antony Preston for a more involved discussion of this. Amazon is offering it at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1557500045/qid=1140458362/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/002-9463386-0872062?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

The idea of using a liquid metal cooled reactor in prnciple offered some attractive advantages, not the least of which was greater thermal efficency, but the problem with sodium is that it's corrosive as hell and reacts violently to contact with water. (In other words, it goes BOOM!) Not surprisingly, both the U.S. and Soviet navies abandoned sodium cooled reactors very quickly.

The problem with lead-bismuth used in the Lira class (The Soviet name for the Alfas) was that it had to be kept hot all the time or it would feeze solid. It also had to be regenrated frequently which was not a good set up for boats that would have to make long patrols.
 

Jim Hathaway

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I read about the problem with the alfa's reactor in the Norman Polmar book on Cold War Submarines-
Also some interesting information in "Complete Idiot's Guide To Submarines" (a fantastic reference!) With the problems of the boats, they were lucky they did'nt lose any in service.
Submarines are an especially bad place to put an unproven experiment into production.
BTW, I was looking at the HMVS Cerberus website, they have some manuals available on line-
A stokers manual, a torpedo manual in 4 parts, and a Whitehead Torpedo manual- All from late 1800s-very early 1900s time frame.
I will try to download all next weekend-
They also have a very good paper kit of the monitor available on line.
 
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>>Submarines are an especially bad place to put an unproven experiment into production.<<

Indeed they are, and that the Soviets were apparantly trying to leapfrog ahead of the West didn't help. In a way, it worked against them since these boats scared the living daylights out of western naval authorities. One of the results was the development of the Mk. 48 ADCAP torpedo and the British Spearfish to deal with the percieved threat.

These boats had another problem in that they were extremely noisy, and this didn't endear them to the Soviet submarine community.
 

Jim Hathaway

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>>Submarines are an especially bad place to put an unproven experiment into production<<
Equally unsuccessful would be the British experiments with HMS Excalibur And HMS Explorer, both fueled by Hydrogen Peroxide. (Decomposing hydrogen Peroxide providing heat to generate steam to drive a turbine) Numerous mishaps earned the nickname HMS Exploder for one of the boats. Both were purely experimental with no armament.
The system worked but the peroxide was extremely corrosive and reactive with just about anything organic. Leaks were a constant problem.
I believe the Soviets had a Whiskey modified to test this type of system.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I believe the Soviets had a Whiskey modified to test this type of system.<<

I thought it was a Quebec that was supposed to be the production version of that system, but they quickly changed over to a conventional deisel-electric when it didn't work out. HTP has a long sad history because of how tricky the stuff is to handle. That torpedo that exploded and sank inside the weapons room on the Kursk was fueled by that stuff.
 

Paul Rogers

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"These boats had another problem in that they were extremely noisy, and this didn't endear them to the Soviet submarine community."

Agreed... but they loved the speed and deep-diving abilities of the Alpha; or so I've been led to believe.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Agreed... but they loved the speed and deep-diving abilities of the Alpha; or so I've been led to believe.<<

The Russians may have found that desirable but that was about all they found desirable. These boats were not produced in great numbers and the few that were built never saw a lot of service. All the problems that cropped up simply got in the way.
 
Dec 3, 2005
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I'm not sure that anyone would know this, but a while back I saw a photograph of the wreck of a Russian battleship, I think sunk during WWII. I can't find it to post it, but the photograph showed the ship from its starboard side. She was listing perhaps 15 degrees to starboard and down quite a bit by the stern as well. My curiosity has been nagging me about what her name is. Sound familiar at all?
 
Dec 3, 2005
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I google imaged "battleship Marat." Her shape looks familiar so I believe that you're probably right. I originally thought it might have been one of the Admiral Nakhimov cruisers. They all seemed to wind up on the bottom, too.
 

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