You could read about the underground submarine base – atomic shelter in Balaklava Bay in one of our previous articles, but this is a more detailed description supported by historical photos.
So, as you know, the construction was completed in 1963 and after the disintegration of the USSR the complex was passed on to the Ukraine where it had been plundered until they decided to turn it into a museum. In the picture you see its plan.
The complex contained from 7 to 9 submarines (depending on their size) and 300 members of the crew. It could also stand a 100-kiloton nuclear explosion.
The base consisted of a 600-meter long channel, a dry dock and working areas (storages, a metal workshop, etc.). The entrance to the channel and its exit were protected with special 120-ton and 150-ton gates.
Here they also assembled and stored ammunition (including nuclear). It had a soundproof system and climate and humidity control system.
Its fuel storage contained 9.5 thousand tons of fuel (mostly diesel). This part of the base is closed for visitors.
The walls are concrete and 1.5 meters thick. The maximum width of the rocky ground is 126 meters. The whole complex presents a system of independent underground constructions and passages connecting them, which are mostly bent to take up nuclear explosion shock waves.
Submarines entered the complex only at night to ensure secrecy. Besides, the entrance was camouflaged with a net which imitated the color of the rocks.
About 150 military men served at the base and all of them made a signed statement of non-disclosure.
The complex was equipped with a self-destruction system in case it was captured by an emeny.
As the time went by, new Soviet submarine models were not able to enter the complex and old ones were discarded.
Since 1991 to 1994, Russian submarines left Balaklava.
This underground complex is a unique historical construction which on the one hand impresses with its size, design and pace of construction, but on the other hand, reminds all of us of one the most difficult periods in the history – the Cold War.
‘Keep the Military and State Secret!’
Naval forces of Ukraine.
The entrance passage for submarines.
In the late 50s, Balaklava disappeared from the maps!
Now, it’s time to show you some historical photos of Balaklava Bay and its submarines. This photo of Balaklava Bay was taken in the 50s.
This is how Balaklava Bay looked like in the late 60s.
The late 60s.
This is a Whiskey-class submarine (known in the Soviet Union as Project 613). It was a class of naval submarines that the Soviet Union built in the early Cold War period. The initial design was developed in the early 1940s as a sea-going follow on to the S-class submarine. As a result of war experience and the capture of German technology at the end of the war, the Soviets issued a new design requirement in 1946. The revised design was influenced by the German Type XXI submarine and was developed by the Lazurit Design Bureau based in Gorky. The Project 613 submarine was simple and at the same time one of the most low-noise submarines made in the Soviet Union.
Two submarines in Balaklava, the picture taken in the late 1980s.
The Project 613 submarine in the foreground and the Project 651 submarine in the background. The picture was taken in the 1980s.
1995. The last Russian submarine is leaving Balaklava Bay.
The Project 644 submarine.
The Project 644 submarine in Balaklava Bay.
The Project 633 C-37 submarine.
The Foxtrot class submarine (Project 641B), 1988.
The Project 651, known in the West by its NATO reporting name Juliett class, was a class of Soviet diesel-electric submarines armed with cruise missiles.
The Project 651 B-67 submarine. This submarine established a record by being under repair for eight years (1982-1990). In 1994, it was scrapped.
The B-67 submarine in Balaklava Bay. January, 1993.
The B-67 submarine in Balaklava Bay. April, 1993.
The Beluga class submarine was a Russian SSA diesel-electric submarine. It was an experimental vessel used for testing propulsion systems, hull forms, and boundary-layer control techniques.
The Project 651 submarine.
The Lima class submarine’s purpose has remained unclear. It is suspected that it had an auxiliary role and was used for trying out new technologies, research, and special mission support.
Location: The Balaklava Region