29 thoughts on “First Missile Submarine in Russia, Then and Now”

  1. What is the name of this vessel and when was it commissioned/decommissioned? Since it is historic, perhaps it could be drydocked and await restoration.

      • I mean, she should be served as an museum-ship. HMS Warrior was decomissioned 120 years before, and you can visit it todays. U-505, U-534, U-995 or HMS Victory, Mikasa, USS New Jersey and a lot of other ones of U-boots and ships with great significance. Imho.

        • Yeh, but this is a communist boat; so no one really gives a damn about it. It would be like preserving Hitler’s remains for future worship: Not really a good idea.

          • About U 534:

            The historic warships attraction it was part of was closed down in February 2006, and most of the ships have been moved elsewhere. U 534 is still there in Birkenhead docks, but it’s just been left to rust away and you can’t take a tour round it any more.

            I live not far away and managed to get a lump on my head as a result of taking a tour round U-534 before the warship attraction was closed (apparently to allow other `developments’).

        • You forgot severe economical destruction in 90’s, that was MUCH more serious than american great depression, or even WW2 (about 2 times more, if you are counting in dollars, not human lives). This is not sole evidence of this “shame”, but in 90’s we had to just survive.

  2. I served on this ship. I was the captain’s personal cock washer. My jaw still hurts and the skin on my lips has never fully grown back. Ah, memories.

  3. It’s Project 629, NATO: Golf class

    According to:


    1st – BS-83, circa 1983
    2nd – BS-93, circa 1980
    8th – BS-110, circa 2004

    and on 4th (with rocket launch it’s clearly visible number 127 on the submarine, but according to FAS http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/slbm/629.htm there wasn’t a submarine with number 127

    • Golf class was not limited to eight boats – there were several variants, going back to 1958. In 1969, one sank in the Pacific. To be accurate, there were dozens of nuclear missile armed Russian subs before this one – modified Whiskeys, far earlier variants of the Golf, etc. If FAS says otherwise, its seriously flawed. We recovered parts of the sunk Golf in the 1960s, two decades before this sub became “the first of its kind”. This hull may well have been the first Golf III, or Golf IV, but there is no way in hell it was the first Golf, or the first Soviet nuclear missile sub. There is plenty of bad information on the net – FAS.ORG is certainly not immune.

      I never tracked or detected a Golf, mainly because there were very few and as SSB’s, they were considered a stop-gap until more capable SSBNs could be fielded.

      We went after Victor I, II, & IIIs, several Echo I & IIs, and Charlies, as well as quite a few Foxtrots and Whiskeys.

      I would like at this point to send my condolences to the crew of the Charlie II SSGN that we confronted at sea in 1983. It was a fine submarine and had a very capable captain and crew. It sank with all hands just outside of Petropavlovsk in June 1983 due to a weapons malfunction that I believe was due to a mechanical failure of one of its missiles. The loss was unexpected and tragic and I often think of those sailors, unsung heroes to their country. I feel honored to have faced them at sea.

      v/r Gordon

  4. The Golf-class were not nuclear powered, they were based on Type III diesel submarines, such as the improved Whiskey and other types of SS.

    The fleet number on the sail (conning tower) was not the same as the hull number, so it is common to see a number that does not equate to a specific hull. One Soviet ship that I used to encounter, the Kara-class “Tashkent”, on one cruise, had different numbers on each side of his hull!

    The dates provided on the Golf are wrong – they were in service long before the 1980s, and were actually being decommissioned then. The final units of the class perhaps, but the first of the Golf’s were long gone by the time I began chasing Soviet submarines. One of their problems was that they had to surface for a relatively long period of time in order to fire their missiles.

    The first Soviet sub I chased was an Echo I SSN in 1980. Altogether, I held contact on 28 Soviet subs from 1980 to 1988, from the North Arabian Sea to the Sea of Ohkotsk.

    I always felt the Soviet Navy to be a wonderful adversary and it causes me some amount of pain to use Google.Earth and see the broken hulls of all the fine ships and subs I used to encounter out at sea. Makes me feel quite old.

    v/r Gordon

  5. Thank you for your service to our(US) counrty Gordon. It is a shame to see pieces of history, ours or any countries, tossed away like garbage after they have no further use for it.

  6. agreed. this blog has given me wanderlust… a million diamonds in the rough waiting to be found and photographed =]

  7. I agree with Zach; that is no fate for a war ship. People served, lived and died for that ship and the future of the country. It’s a sad thing to see, even for an outsider.

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  11. Back in the late ’50s I remember reading a magazine article which had a picture of a Soviet sub with a missile coming out of its conning tower. Was living in Hawaii at the time and this was a fearful thing when you’re on a tiny isolated island.

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