Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dutch Submarine Walrus

Back in October, the Dutch made a little visit to the East Coast in one of their subs, HNLMS Walrus (S802). The return trip to Norfolk brought back a few good old subvet memories. The Walrus made a trip to the D&S piers in the early 90's and played host to this sailor.

I have to admit that I was a little shocked when I came down the ladder of the Walrus. Now, keep in mind, American sailors; Submariners especially; are constantly told how advanced our gear is when compared to the rest of the world. That theory comes up a little short while serving on any boat named after a fish.

As I stared at the Walrus' Chief Of the Watch station computer control screen, couldn't help but think about the control panel on the Ustafish with those clumsy fuses. These Dutch boys had top of the line electronics from Philips. The also have an x-shaped rear control surface instead of horizontal stern planes and a vertical rudder like the one tested on the USS Albacore AGSS-569.

I also recall the Dutch hospitality the Walrus crew provided. While I can take a pass on that swill, Heineken, I'll take Dutch coffee everyday. I have several more memories of the Dutch Navy from when we went to Holland, but that's a story for another time.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hostile Waters

I just finished reading Hostile Waters. Deep in the midst of the cold war, the Soviet Union tried its best to keep up with the US Navy's mighty Submarine Force. Outmoded subs were pushed to the brink of their endurance by commanders safely ensconced in the creature comforts of Moscow.

The Yankee I missile sub, the K-219 was the price the Russians paid for playing loose with nuclear weapons safety. The bravery of their submariners just wasn't enough to prevent the loss of life and the boat. It lies in 18,000 feet of water in the Atlantic.

If you ever wondered what Ivan was up to while you were out there turning 5 knots to no where, check out this book.