K-19 Soviet Nuclear Submarine
The K-19 itself gained quite a bit of notoriety during its life, beginning with its October 1959 christening, where the ceremonial champagne bottle did not break. A few months later, damage to a control rod in the reactor resulted in extensive repairs to that system, including a full dismantling. Following the reassembly of the reactor, the K-19 started sea trials in late summer 1960, where the rubber coating on the hull was stripped off after a full-power underwater run. During those same sea trials, a max depth test down to 300 meters resulted in extensive water leaks, forcing an emergency blow. In autumn 1960, improper disposal of waste onboard jammed the waste system and flooded one compartment.
Finally, on 12 November 1960, the K-19 was commissioned to the Soviet Navy, and the following month underwent its first operational sortie. On that trip, a loss of coolant accident damaged the main circulation pump. A team from the shipyard met the K-19 at sea and repaired the pump in a week. Seven months later, the famous nuclear accident happened, where a loss of coolant and no backup systems resulted in the reactor running uncontrolled. Members of the crew had to go into the heavily irradiated compartment to fix a new cooling system. All seven who had done the work died within a week, and twenty more died over the next few years. After being towed home, the boat contaminated its surrounding environment and the workers trying to fix it. Eventually, the boat was repaired and sent back to patrol, having earned the nickname Hiroshima.
Bad luck continued to follow the K-19, and in November 1969, the boat collided with the USS Gato while operating in the Barents Sea. The K-19 was saved by an emergency blow that brought it to the surface, and it limped back home for repairs. Once again at sea, on February 24, 1972, a fire broke out on the K-19 while operating at depth. Twenty-eight sailors died in that fire, and once again the K-19 had to be towed home. Damage to the ship resulted in a dozen men being trapped in the aft torpedo room, where they remained for the duration of the twenty-four day journey back home. Once again repaired, the K-19 returned to sea and was finally decommissioned in 1991. Destined for scrapping, in 2006 the K-19 was purchased by Vladimir Romanov, who had once served on the boat, with the hopes of converting it into a Moscow meeting place.
- Lang; 325 mm.
Aantal onderdelen; 33