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Old 07-13-2019, 07:34 AM   #1
ferenci
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Default Strange bearings in Peter Huchthausen's Hostile Waters

In Hostile Waters ( https://www.amazon.com/Hostile-Water.../dp/0312169280 ) by Peter Huchthausen, Alan White and Igor Kurdin, there is a part (Chapter 3) where USS Augusta is chasing the K-219.


At one point, we get information from both subs at almost the same time:


  • USS Augusta: "Course is two five five." (p. 56)
  • K-219: " "Engines all slow," said Britanov as the submarine slipped through the layer and cruised in the deeper, colder waters. "Course one eight zero." [...] "One eight zero." " (p. 57)
  • K-219: " "Evaluate as a possible submarine. Bearing zero nine five!" " (p. 57)
  • USS Augusta: " Possible contact bearing zero one zero" (p. 58)


For me, these doesn't add up.


If the reported bearings were absolute, then both would be west of the other, so that's not possible. But even if these are relative bearings, they don't make sense: if K-219 is going exactly south, then a 095 bearing would mean Augusta is west from it, and, if going to 255, K-219 would be behind it, more precisely at (15+180+5=) 200... almost exactly the opposite of 010! (Okay, I could accept a slight deviation, as the subs perhaps maneuvered meantime, but this is a drastic difference.)


So my questions are:
1) Is it customary to report relative or absolute bearing? (I was sure in the former, but I'm somewhat confused now... not that it makes sense either way.)

2) Whatever the answer is to the previous question, how is it possible? Hostile Waters is said to be a well-researched, technically accurate book, so I don't think they would just drop in numbers randomly, especially in such a trivial issue.... (Or at least they'd do it in a consistent manner, authors are all experienced naval officers, including submariners.)


Thanks!
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Old 07-13-2019, 11:45 PM   #2
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Having spoke to Igor Kurdin myself and questioned him on the subject of K219 he has stated she was not involved with a collision, its been a very long time since i have read the book so i cant recall it off my head.

What i do know is Igor and the submarine veterans club successfully claimed damages against the film maker for the portrayal of Captain Britanov and his crew.


Quote:
An article on the U.S. Navy's website posted by Captain 1st Rank (Ret.) Igor Kurdin (former XO of K-219) and Lieutenant Commander Wayne Grasdock denied any collision between K-219 and Augusta. Captain Britanov also denies a collision, and he has stated that he was not asked to be a guest speaker at Russian functions, because he refuses to follow the Russian government's interpretation of the K-219 incident.

In a BBC interview recorded in February 2013, Admiral of the Fleet Vladimir Chernavin, the C-in-C of the Soviet Navy at the time of the K-219 incident, says the accident was caused by a malfunction in a missile tube, and makes no mention of a collision with an American submarine. The interview was conducted for the BBC2 series The Silent War.
https://www.public.navy.mil/subfor/u...8/yankee2.html

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Old 07-14-2019, 06:35 AM   #3
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Well, I can help with that: in contrast to the film, the book leaves this question open with a very elegant solution. The relevant part goes like this: "We are close - said the sonar operator of the Augusta. We are very... And then they heard the noise" or something like that, so it's really up to the reader to decide.


My question of course has nothing to do with this matter. I totally understand that no one knows the exact bearing and course of the submarines at one specific point in time, especially in a fictionalized work, what I found surprising was that the authors (including Kurdin!) gave numbers that are simply inconsistent with each other. Or my understanding is wrong -that's why I asked it...
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