This book is the first complete English-language edition of D. A. Romanov's vigorous defense of the people and institutions that built the ill-fated Soviet nuclear attack submarine Komsomolets which caught fire and sank in the Norwegian Sea on April 7, 1989, while on its first patrol. Afterward, the Soviet Navy claimed that numerous technical imperfections had caused the accident. In addition, official investigators portrayed the crew as self-sacrificing and well trained, upheld the commanding officer's actions, and found no fault in behavior among the dead or surviving crew members.
Buoyed by Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost, dissident voices challenged the official view. The resulting controversy ruined careers, damaged personal and professional relationships, and divided the Navy itself. Romanov refutes the Soviet Navy's claim that from the very beginning it had done everything to ensure that Komsomolets was well prepared for independent patrolling, that it had trained the crew well, and that the submarine's personnel had performed capably during the accident.
Observers familiar with the issues and the acrimony that surround the loss of the Russian submarine Kursk in August 2000 will find startling antecedents in the Komsomolets incident. Readers interested in submarine operations and technology, Cold War navies, Russia, and the dark side of personal and bureaucratic behavior will be thoroughly satisfied by this comprehensive study of what really happened and the ensuing cover-up.
Publisher: Potomac Books Inc
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 230 x 150 x 25 mm
"Dimitri Romanov, deputy chief designer of the Soviet nuclear-propelled submarine "Komsomolets", provides an unprecedented look at the submarine s design, brief career, and tragic loss in 1989. Beyond his unique technical perspective, Romanov addresses the personnel, training, material, and political issues that impacted the submarine s loss. "Fire at Sea" is also important for its discussion of history s only operational use of an escape chamber from a submarine, the issues related to deteriorating nuclear-tipped torpedoes within the submarine, and the Soviet reluctance to seek foreign assistance as the submarine was floundering on the surface of the Norwegian Sea."
"From the first days of the project, D. A. Romanov was actively involved in designing, building, and commissioning the submarine KOMSOMOLETS. He participated personally in the most critical trials and practical tests of the specific operations of this unique ship as a whole, as well as in the tests of the technical concepts embodied in its design. A deep knowledge of all of the circumstances of the tragedy and a high level of technical erudition, combined with honesty and principles, led Romanov to his own opinion regarding the causes of the accident on board KOMSOMOLETS and the subsequent loss of it and most of its crew. The designer s truthful and honest narrative should be useful both to all levels and ranks of specialists in the shipbuilding industry and naval personnel in service afloat."
"A horrifying, but fascinating, analysis of the loss of the Soviet Mike SSN in 1989, this book provides insights into the bureaucratic infighting and inefficiency of the old Soviet nuclear submarine fleet and illustrates the danger that all navies face when they attempt to economize by cutting back on training and safety."
"Reconstructs the disaster in exquisite detail. . . . Anyone with an abiding interest in naval warfare, and submarine warfare in particular, will find this book to be fascinating reading. Those who have served in submarines may find it more than a little horrifying as well."
." . . The book is riveting in its revelation of the extraordinarily low state of training permitted in the submarine force of the Soviet Navy in its final years, and there is little reason to believe things have since improved."