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File - GIUK - "Diesel Boats Forever": the great USS Grenadier Soviet ballistic missile submarines chase, May 1959. Historical Scenario.

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File Name: "Diesel Boats Forever": the great USS Grenadier Soviet ballistic missile submarines chase, May 1959. Historical Scenario.

File Submitter: broncepulido

File Submitted: 27 Jun 2016

File Category: GIUK



"Diesel Boats Forever": the great USS Grenadier Soviet ballistic missile submarines chase, May 1959. Historical Scenario.

A Harpoon Commander's Edition scenario for EC2003 Battle for the GIUK Gap Battleset and the HCCW-140314 Cold War 1950-1975 Platform Database. This scenario is designed with advanced Scenario Editor and to be run with HCE 2015.008+ or later.

Image: USS Grenadier (SS-525) in 1951, after the Guppy II conversion (Guppy stands for Greater Underwater Propulsion Power Program) with the original stepped Portsmouth Sail (changed to a taller Northern Sail circa 1960), but probably previously to be fitted with a BQR-2 (circa 1953), and apparently with WFA (dome) and JT (abaft it) sonars on deck. US Navy photo, and in consequence in public domain, took from navysource.org.

This scenario is designed to be played from the Blue/US side or from the Red/Soviet side. To avoid a few spoilers you should play a few times first the Blue side, and only later play the Red side.

Well beyond the commissioning of USS Nautilus (SSN-571) in May 1954, five years later USN can count with only six nuclear attack submarines, some of them experimental. It should wait to 1975 to see the last GUPPY conversions retired (USS Tiru, SS-416), and to 1990 to see the last operational combat-capable conventional diesel-electric decommissioned (USS Blueback, SS-581).
Also, the first US nuclear ballistic missile submarine was to start her first patrol only from November 1960 (USS George Washington, SSBN-598).
Meanwhile, from 1957 was suspected the Soviet Union has in service diesel-electric ballistic missile submarines in patrol near the US coast and of other Allies in North Atlantic.
To confirm the suspects, a drill was planned, centring four wartime period diesel-electric boats modernized to GUPPY configurations. They were also equipped with the medium-frequency long-range passive sonar BQR-2 (a direct derivative of the wartime German Balkongerat, employed in Type XXI-class submarines). But were not employed specialized hunter-killer submarines equipped with the longer range BQR-4 (Installed from 1951-1953 in seven SSK GUPPY IIA, and in three Balao Fleet Snorkel conversions near 1955, reducing the number of torpedoes and torpedo tubes)-
The four boats left their homeport of Key West, Florida, in April 1959, to conduct "special antisubmarine exercises", and were deployed somewhere in the GIUK gap.
Also were secretly deployed three maritime patrol squadrons at NAS Keflavik, Iceland.
At last, after about a month of sailing and more of 18 hours of chase, on 29 May 1959 a Soviet Zulu V-class/Project VA611 diesel-electric ballistic missile submarine, was caged in the trap and forced to surface, and some photos were took. The secretive mission was a success, and as pretended was demonstrated the presence of Soviet ballistic missile submarine in Atlantic Ocean. Was also a success of the intelligence community, and of the US strategic planning and tactical execution of anti-submarine (ASW) warfare.
And one case of Jack Daniels Old No. 7 black label Tennessee sour mash whiskey was awarded to the crew of USS Grenadier and her captain Ted Davis, by Admiral Jerauld Wright, then commander-in-chief of the Atlantic Fleet, as no unit award was presented to the boat for surfacing the Soviet ballistic-missile submarine, except a medal presented by the crew to Lt. Cmdr. Davis, made out of a mayonnaise lid and pieces of an old flag.

Enrique Mas, 27 June 2016.



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Some sources:


The original history, an interview to Captain Ted Davis:











The two very probable Soviet SSB submarines capable to be in the action:


1958 Abril-May

выполнила задачи дальнего автономного похода

(She) carried out tasks of a distant autonomous campaign



About early Guppy conversions equipped with BQR-2 in the keel:

Tench-class Guppy II:


Balao-class Guppy IA (USS Atule SS-403):






About SS-1A/R-11FM:



"Diesel Boats Forever" is not only a catch-phrase, also employed by Norman Polmar and Kenneth J. Moore in "Cold War Submarines" (Potomac Books, 2004) as title of Chapter 13, there's a real history on it:

http://www.submarinesailor.com/history/dbfpin/dbfpin.asp(very good site).


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Some relevant notes in the scenario:


US side:

- All the US submarines were almost 100% sure equipped with long-range chin-mounted 48-elements medium-frequency BQR-2 passive sonar (first one was the ill-fated USS Cochino (SS-345), with a semiconformal Balkongerat directly took of U-3008 "Elektroboote" in 1949, BQR-2 was a direct derivative), one of the two passive sonar sets capable to accomplish the pretended mission (the other was the bigger 58-elements low-frequency/medium-frequency BQR-4, installed only in specialized and relatively rare submarine hunter-killer submarines, both new built and conversions).
- The USN probably disposed the GUPPYes in this operation forming a barrier as described in "Cold War Submarines" (Polmar and Moore, 2004), page 19: "three to five SSKs per 100 miles could be expected to detect practically all of the transiting submarines". The barrier concrete placement between Greenland and Iceland is only an informed guess, it perhaps was placed somewhere between Iceland and UK.
- As stated in "US Submarines since 1945" (Friedman, 1994), page 30, and other sources, hints and graphic and operational evidence, at last all the US operational GUPPYes were fitted with the useful BQR-2: "Guppy IIAs were all fitted with BQR-2 passive sonars, BQS-2 (or equivalent) active sonars in deck domes, as in the Tangs. All Guppies were later so fitted" .
- As consequence of this and similar researches (GUPPY IIA were in service from 1952, probably a good date for wide installation of BQR-2 in other GUPPYes and Fleet Snorkels is 1954), all the submarines in this operation should be equipped with BQR-2, BQR-3 and 2xBQS-2 (or BQR-2 and BQS-4 from 1955, date of introduction of BQS-4, replacing BQS-2, and deleting BQR-3).
- Mk37 mod 0 ASW torpedo was in service from 1957, is clear they should be in provision in these submarines for a submarine hunter-killer mission.
- As consequence of the aforementioned points, the submarines employed are represented by:
1.- USS Grenadier (SS-525), USS Amberjack (SS-522) and USS Grampus (SS-523), all Tench/GUPPY II conversions, by Argentine Santa Fe/GUPPY II (submarine entry 6342), with BQR-2 and Mk37 Mod 0-1. Historical speeds: submerged 16.5-17.5 knots, surfaced 18 knots.
1.- USS Atule (SS-403), Balao/GUPPY IA conversion, is represented by Turkish Dumlupinar/GUPPY IA (submarine entry 6344), with BQR-2 and Mk37 Mod 0-1. Historical speeds: submerged 15 knots, surfaced 17.3-18 knots.
- Active sonar differences are almost irrelevant for gameplay effects.
- Sidenote for comparison: Fleet Snorkel conversion speed (austere and a lot slower): submerged 10 knots, surfaced 18,5 knots.
- The PatRons deployed for the exercise at NAS Keflavik were the resident VP-11 Proud Pegasus, and the in secret visitors VP-7 Black Falcons and VP-5 Mad Foxes.
- All were provided with PV2 Neptune variants. VP-11 was equipped with P2V-7/P-2H, and VP-7 and VP-5 with PV2-5F/P-2E. Both variants were devoid of without Julie/Jezebel processor.
- In consequence, both types are represented in this scenario by Argentine P-2E Neptune (employed in Argentina 1958-1971), a DataBase entry identical to the ASW aircrafts deployed in NAS Keflavik for the exercise.
Soviet side:
- The boat historically detected and forced to surface by USS Grenadier was probably B-78 or B-79, both Zulu V/Project 611VA conversions; others were in maintenance, conversion or other fleets in May 1959.
- Is not clear if were equipped with ASW torpedoes or anti-ship homing torpedoes, but SET-53 was introduced in 1958 and SAET-50M in 1955.
- Zulu V/Project 611AV historical speeds: submerged 12,5, surfaced 16,5.
- SS-1A Scud/R-11FM/8A611FM was actually an operational testing missile; never equipped with nuclear warheads (I think read that in an old Russian source).
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