The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Some of the Ocean related equipment used by the Soviets in "Red Storm Rising"

I will post this on Sunday, I will be out of the country the rest of the week and will return on Sunday.  I hoped to load a bunch of "Red Storm Rising" equipment on next week but was unable to, time conspired against me.  I had to settle for various items in the scheduler thingie and will continue the series upon my return. 

 Soviets seized Iceland in a covert surprise attack with the Soviet merchant ship Julius Fucik

In the 1970s, the Soviet authorities issued a request for tenders for the construction of a vessel capable of carrying 25 to 30 barges with displacement of 1,300 tons. At that time, the Soviet Union had the most extensive inland waterway system in the world and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal connecting the North Sea to the Black Sea was expected to open in the near future. Together with the increasing oil prices, the development of efficient barge-carrying systems with high loading and unloading rate generated considerable interest in the Soviet Union.
The contract for two ships was awarded to the Finnish state-owned shipbuilding company Valmet and was, at the time, the largest single contract made by a Finnish industrial company at FIM 700 million (US$200 million). Although Valmet had been developing its own barge handling system, it was agreed that the proven American Seabee concept would be adopted instead of the shipyard's own design due to the relatively short timescale before delivery. The Soviets purchased two sets of drawings from the American owners for US$1 million. However, a number of changes were made to the original design, and as a result the design costs accounted for some 25 percent of the man-hours spent on the project. The work included extensive model testing, which resulted in the adoption of a bulbous bow that alone increased the ships' service speed by 0.5 knots.
Yulius Fuchik, named after a Czech journalist, was launched on 3 March 1978 and handed to V/O Sudoimport, the Soviet foreign trade organization with a monopoly for the foreign trade of ships, on 20 October of the same year. At the time of her delivery, she was the most expensive ship ever constructed by a Finnish shipyard. The second ship, Tibor Szamueli — named after a Hungarian Communist leader — followed in 1979. The ships were later followed by two smaller feeder-type barge carriers, Boris Polevoy and Pavel Antokolskiy, in the 1980s.

Julius Fuchik was 226.4 metres (743 ft) long overall and 210.3 metres (690 ft) between perpendiculars. She had a beam of 35.0 metres (114.8 ft) and her depth to the upper deck was 23.0 metres (75.5 ft). From keel to mast, she measured 50.5 metres (166 ft). The draft of the ship when loaded to the summer load line was 11 metres (36 ft), corresponding to displacement of 60,262 tons. Her gross register tonnage was 35,817 register tons, net register tonnage 15,497 register tons and deadweight tonnage 37,850 tons. In terms of the main dimensions, Yulius Fuchik was slightly wider than the older Seabee ships, but otherwise her main dimensions were nearly identical to the original design.

Yulius Fuchik belonged to the distinct group of cargo ships known as barge carriers which offered, at the time, the highest theoretical loading and unloading rate of all cargo ships. The lighter aboard ship (LASH) system was based on unpowered barges, also known as lighters, that were loaded on board a larger vessel for transport between inland waterways separated by open seas. For this purpose, Yulius Fuchik had vast cargo decks and a large lifting platform in the stern.

Although the basic design of the ship was based on existing Seabee ships with a capacity of 38 1,000-ton lighters, Yulius Fuchik was designed for 26 slightly different "Danube-Sea barges" weighing 1,300 tons each. Both the lower deck and the 'tweendeck could accommodate eight 38-metre (125 ft) barges, two side-by-side, while the longer weather deck had enough space for ten barges, each capable of carrying 1,070 tons of cargo. The barges were moved longitudinally in the cargo holds on remote-controlled platforms. Although the bottom deck, located 0.8 metres (2.6 ft) below the waterline at maximum draught, was protected by a watertight stern door, flooding it while the ship was underway would not have compromised the stability of the vessel.
The most striking feature of the ship was the lifting platform in the stern, abaft from the propellers and rudders, which was supported by high cantilever structures on both sides. Although the arrangement was similar to the original Seabee design, the "Syncrolift" cargo elevator was electric instead of hydraulic. Eight winches in four pairs were capable of hoisting 2,600 tons of cargo at a speed of 0.7 metres per minute (2.3 feet per minute), giving the ship a calculated loading capacity of about 2,600 tons per hour in optimum conditions.
In addition to the purpose-built barges, Yulius Fuchik could also carry other types of cargo. Although each barge could be loaded with 15 standard 20-foot shipping containers, they could also be carried on the cargo decks and even moved around with the barge-handling equipment. Using special container adapters on the cargo rails, Yulius Fuchik could carry 1,312 loaded containers plus an additional 240 empty containers on the upper deck stacks, bringing the total container capacity to 1,552 TEU. In addition, 54 LASH-type barges (the type used by the nuclear-powered Sevmorput) could be carried with another set of adapters, and the decks were strengthened for ro-ro cargo with axle loads up to 22 tons. Furthermore, the ship carried two 440 kW (590 hp) pusher tugs for handling the barges.

Yulius Fuchik played a prominent role in the 1986 techno-thriller Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy and Larry Bond. In the novel, she was disguised as the American-flagged Seabee carrier Doctor Lykes and used to transport Soviet troops to Keflavik, Iceland. In order to conform with the slightly different silhouette of the Lykes Lines ship, parts of her superstructure were removed and the shape of the funnels was altered with prefabricated parts. Furthermore, the twenty-foot Interlighter markings on the side of the ship were painted over and replaced with "Lykes Lines," and the white L on a blue diamond of the Lykes Brothers Steamship Company emblem was added on the forward superstructure.
Later in the book, Yulius Fuchik was spotted by an American P-3C Orion shortly after launching four Lebed class hovercraft from her cargo deck. After an SA-7 surface-to-air missile launched from the ship failed to hit the Orion, the American plane retaliated with a Harpoon anti-ship missile and called in two F-15s to strafe the ship with their 20 mm cannons. The damaged Yulius Fuchik eventually reached the port of Keflavik and, after running aground during the approach, slowly settled to the bottom next to the quay in water only a few feet deeper than the draught of the vessel

One of the Hovercraft that the Fucik used to ferry the Airborne Division to Iceland
The Soviets were successful,"Operation Polar Glory" was a total success, it allowed the Soviet Airborne Division to capture the NATO air station at Keflavík and eliminating the GIUK-SOSUS line to allow the Soviet Navy to surge its submarines into the Atlantic Ocean without being detected. In addition, the Soviet Navy takes steps to protect its ballistic missile submarine fleet in coastal waters behind minefields and ASW assets, freeing up its attack submarines to engage and destroy NATO shipping. Thus, the Soviet Navy is able to act as an offensive weapon contrary to prewar NATO expectations, becoming a major strategic threat against resupply convoys coming from North America with both aircraft and submarines. This advantage is put to immediate use as a NATO carrier battle group, led by , USS Saratoga and the French carrier Foch, is successfully attacked by Soviet Badger and Backfire bombers, the latter firing Kingfish missiles. The Soviet Badgers fire modified Kelt missiles as decoys whose radar transmitters make them appear to be Backfires on the predicted attack vector, far out from the main air fleet. The American carriers' F-14 interceptors are committed against the decoys, leaving an insufficient number of Crusaders from the Foch and the ships' surface-to-air missiles to defend against the 'real' Backfires approaching from another direction. A few of the Backfires and most of their Kingfish missiles are shot down by the F-8 Crusaders, the Aegis missile cruisers, the destroyers whose surface-to-air missiles can guide on the AEGIS radar signals, and the Phalanx antimissile gun systems, but some of the Kingfish get through. The Foch is sunk, the amphibious assault carrier Saipan explodes, taking 2,500 Marines with her, and the two American carriers are forced to spend several weeks under repair, Nimitz at Southampton, England and Saratoga at Norfolk, Virginia.

I also decided to roll with the "Grisha class corvette", they were used mostly in coastal waters, most of the Grisha's were controlled by the Soviet Navy but some were controlled and staffed by the KGB.

     In the book, the Grisha's did attack some of the submarines in the book and damaged the U.S.S Providence with a hit on her sail with an Anti submarine Rocket.  The damage did lead to the demise of the Providence  at the hands of an ALFA as she tried to leave the Berent straits.

  • Grisha I (1124.1)- 12 ships built 1970-1974 and decommissioned by 1979
  • The Grisha II class (1124P) were built for the KGB border guard, These ships had a second 57 mm gun mounting replacing the SA-N-4 missile system forward. 17 ships were built in the 1970s. Two were transferred to the Ukrainian Navy and around seven are in service with the Russian Maritime Border Guard.
  • The Grisha III class (1124M) were built in the late 1970s to early 1980s. These ships incorporated several small scale modifications, including a 30 mm gun and new electronics. Thirty four units were built. About 20 remain in Russian service. Two ships were in service with the Lithuanian Navy until 2009.
  • A single Grisha IV class (1124K) ship was built. This ship was a trials ship for the SA-N-9 missile system and has been decommissioned.
  • The Grisha V class (1124 ME) ships were built between 1985 and 1994. This incorporated further modifications with the twin 57 mm guns being replaced by a single 76 mm gun. Thirty ships were built. About 28 ships remain in the Russian Navy. Ternopil entered service in 2006 with the Ukrainian Navy.

Type: Anti-submarine corvette
  • Project 1124/P/M: 980 tons full load[1]
  • Project 1124K: 1,070 tons full load[2]
Length: 71.6 m (235 ft)
Beam: 9.8 m (32 ft)
Draught: 3.7 m (12 ft)
  • 3 shaft, 2 M-507A cruise diesels, 20,000 shp, (2 shafts)
  • 1 boost gas turbine, 18,000 shp, (1 shaft)
  • Electric Plant: 1 × 500 kW, 1 × 300 kW, and 1 × 200 kW diesel sets
Speed: 34 knots (63 km/h; 39 mph)
Range: 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km; 4,600 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 60
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • 1 Don-2 navigation radar
  • 1 Strut Curve air/surface search radar
  • 1 Pop Group SA-N-4 fire control radar
  • 1 Muff Cob AK-257 fire control radar
  • Bull Nose low-frequency hull-mounted sonar
  • Elk Tail medium-frequency through-hull dipping sonar
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Bizan-4B suite with Watch Dog intercept


  1. Grishas are some 'nasty' little bastards... :-)

  2. Never knew that the barge carriers were an actual thing. Neat.

  3. I'm loving your series on Red Storm Rising stuff. That book, and Hunt for Red October, were just the bomb as far as I was concerned. Those books weren't the only reason of course, but they certainly played some part in me joining the Navy through the NUPOC program (nuclear power officer candidate) and doing a JO tour in submarines 1987-1995.
    After a year and a half of sucky training (4 months OCS, nuclear power training 12 months) the 3 months of submarine school was finally "the cool stuff" with classes on Soviet ship recognition, (torpedo) fire control, and lots of other cool stuff. A couple years training up for all that, and then the Cold War ended!

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