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Scorpion Down

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Scorpion Down

Postby greenman407 » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:41 pm

Noticing a post by Tom Dougherty back in jan. 2006 on the book Silent steel made me call to mind a book that was given to me as a gift by my new son in law. Its called Scorpion Down. Its not a book that I would have picked out for myself only because I had already read Silent Steel and Blind mans Bluff and had already had formed my own opinion. Its author is ED Offley and it changed my opinion in a hurry. I dont have time to post a lengthy review but a few points stuck with me. The other two books were good but this one seems to fill some of the gaps and is very convincing. Should I ruin it for you? Yeah I think I will! This book contends that the Scorpion was sunk by a Russian Ecco Submarine when it was sent to observe some Russian ships during manuvers on the way home. It tells of some sosus recordings that the pentagon hid from everyone that clearly show two subs locked in a running dogfight, twisting and turning to evade a torpedo fired by the Russian in retaliation for the sinking of a Golf missle sub just before this event. The quick Scorpion evaded several times the torpedo but it finally got them. Also mentioned were some radio calls by the Scorpion to its base that it was on the way home and it was being followed by this submarine and all attempts at out distancing it were not working, then ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,silence! Reading it sent shivers down my spine. Hope that it does for you too!
There are OLD pilots and there are BOLD pilots but there are very few OLD BOLD pilots. MAG
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Postby Polaris » Thu May 01, 2008 9:07 pm

I agree, this was a very good book!

Here is a little correction my father posted on the Scorpion Down website, in it he speaks of a differeing timeline of events that took place in Rota Spain prior to the Scorpions departure. I found this entry on the web during one of my long nights after he went on Eternal Patrol in Oct last year, after I read this I purchased the book.

Regards,
Stuart

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have some concerns about your time-line for the Scorpion, in which you say that the Scorpion left the Med and came to the "entrance to Rota naval base and transfers two crewmen and mail to a navy tug, and then heads out into the Atlantic".

In May of 1968, I was attached to the U.S.S. Von Steuben (SSBN632) Blue crew as an MT1(SS). We were in Rota, Spain at this time doing our 30-day upkeep in preparations for patrol. While there, the U.S.S. Scorpion came along side the pier and tied up. There was a sonar tech onboard the Von Steuben, his name was Harold Snapp, who was scheduled to leave the Von Steuben before it departed for patrol and he was to fly back to the U.S. and report to the Scorpion in the shipyard for duty. However, instead of doing that, it was arranged for a sonar tech on the Scorpion and Petty Offer Snapp to swap positions before the Scorpion left Rota. Of course, Petty Officer Snapp never made it back to the United States. He went down with the Scorpion. I remember this event very well. I even walked over to the area where the Scorpion was moored to have a look at her. A sleek looking nuclear fast attack, I thought to myself. After we were onboard the Von Steuben when we heard of the tragic loss of Scorpion, it was the talk of the boat about Petty Officer Snapp. Why was this event on Scorpion mooring in Rota not mentioned in the time line?

P.S. Go to the web page of the U.S.S. Von Steuben and pull up the crews list of all members on all crews and you will see Petty Officer Snapp's name there with the red writing showing him "on eternal patrol with U.S.S. Scorpion."

Gary M. Trammell sr. USN-Ret. LtJG
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T. Dougherty

Postby Tom Dougherty » Thu May 01, 2008 9:18 pm

I also read "Scorpion Down". It's absolute crap!! The hydrodynamic analyses laid out in "Silent Steel", along with extensive emails I have had on another project with Stephen Johnson, convince me that he has the correct analysis. He spent years and spoke with key naval engineers who carefully analyzed the wreckage. The best scenario is that for reasons unknown, Scorpion suffered some control casualty that took her to a depth at which the weakest point in the hull (the cone/cylinder transition) collapsed forward, causing a massive water hammer. This blew the operation compartment apart, and broke off the bow section. It also ejected the propeller shaft into the debris field. All of the analyses of the state of the wreckage are consistent with this explanation. All of the torpedo theories (either Oflley's or Sewell's new book on the same subject) are not consistent with the state of the wreck.

Add to that the fact that an Echo II is an extremely noisy submarine, having twin VM-A reactors and an unsilenced drive train. The cruise missiles it carries have large (noisy) flame deflector scoops built into the upper deck, which make considerable flow noise. It's a cruise missile launching platform, not an attack submarine. No way for that submarine type to really sneak up on Scorpion and launch. The idea that this was "revenge" for the K-129 sinking is also not tenable. As far as the K-129, the Russians were unsure of the exact disposition of that submarine until well beyond May, 1968, when it was declared officially missing. There was no indication of "foul play" on the K-129 by the US; that theory was developed by certain individuals within the Russian command structure only after the Glomar Explorer lift attempt on the wreck in July/August, 1974. Oh, and the K-129 wreck was not where Sewell claimed, just off Hawaii. It was at 40.06N by 179.57E.

The beauty of these "conspiracy theory" types of books is that no one can really check out the details, which are always attributed to "unnamed sources" etc.
Last edited by Tom Dougherty on Fri May 02, 2008 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby greenman407 » Thu May 01, 2008 11:16 pm

Conjecture is always fraught with danger, and so are what ifs. You seem very convincing also. Too bad dead men dont tell tales. Thanks for your input. Its a wonder that there havent been more subs lost than there have been!
There are OLD pilots and there are BOLD pilots but there are very few OLD BOLD pilots. MAG
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Postby Tom Dougherty » Fri May 02, 2008 8:20 pm

Have a look at the debris field around the Scorpion wreck itself:

Image

Note the right side of the field, the stern section of the wreck, where the tail has telescoped into the aft machinery spaces. In the process, it ejected the propeller and shaft, lying forward of the tail section in the field. The operations compartment has shattered, and the sail lies off to the upper left of the debris field, and the bow in the lower left. Here's another look at the stern section of the wreckage:
Image

Now, if the Scorpion was attacked by a torpedo that shattered the operations compartment, how would the forces of an internal explosion drive the tail section forward into the machinery spaces??

Captain, I canna change the Laws of Physics
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Postby greenman407 » Sat May 03, 2008 3:31 pm

Very good point Tom. I take it that it is obvious that the first picture is a computer simulation of the original picture evidence. I have seen a few pictures in the other books that show very partial images. Could the other testimony have been actual attempts to sell books?
There are OLD pilots and there are BOLD pilots but there are very few OLD BOLD pilots. MAG
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Postby Wayne Frey » Sun May 18, 2008 8:51 am

I was sent a copy of Scorpion Down to review for the Subcommittee. It is a very controversal book.
I have also spent some hours talking to the aurthor of Silent Steel. I have also approached a fairly high rankied Russian submariner on this subject
After reading the book, and weighing what I already know, I felt I should not post a review objectively.
For those truely interested in the Scorpion's story, Silent Steel is closer to reality, and generally backed by those who formerly served on the Scorpion, and those left behind from the disaster.
Having said all the politically correct words, I will now throw in my opinion based on my conversation with the aurthor of Silent Steel, and reading the two books.
My take is the Scorpion imploded after, for whatever reason, going below crush depth. That means the hull must not have been compromised before going to that depth. That would not be likely had a torpedo hit it. Nor is there any photogrpahs showing a hull breach from an impact, nor is there evidence of an impulse bubble sound from a torpedo hit from the audio recordings. And there are other factors as well.
It was a tragedy,not an act of war, and truely saddens me every time I go here.
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Postby BoomerFunker » Sun May 18, 2008 10:41 pm

But wait theres more...

Apparently the Scorpion disaster is becoming the new conspiracy theory hangout and there is yet another book out purporting to "prove" the Soviets deliberately went after the Scorpion in an act of revenge this time using an ASW helicopter and not a submarine asset. The book is called, "All Hands Down--The true story of the Soviet attack on the USS Scorpion" By Kenneth Sewell and Jerome Preisler.

Haven't read it yet but will, though I did read "Scorpion Down" by Offley and agree with Tom Dougherty's brief yet accurate summary of "utter crap". I'd like to hear what he thinks of this one too.

Too much "evidence" is interviews and not enough hard confirmable scientific data which Silent Steels author tried to provide though still coming to the conclusion that we may NEVER know exactly what happened.

The only positive thing about these "Chariots of the Gods?" what-if type books is that people unfamiliar with the Cold War may come away with an appreciation for the sacrifices American sailors made. Whatever the cause, 99 men died for their country that day and THATS the lesson of the USS Scorpion.

Tom Kisler USS Tennessee (SSBN-734) 1983-89
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Postby hakkikt » Mon May 19, 2008 4:09 am

I think that the people who spread these hair-raising conspiracy theories should not be rewarded by giving their products any publicity, let alone buying their books.

Tom, I disagree with your statement that as a positive effect of such a book, people will better appreciate the sacrifices made by American sailors. The accuracy of a description of historic events must always take precedence over the general appreciation of sacrifices (which were certainly made and deserve all the respect they can get).
If we dont fight that tendency, we will get more books like "Scorpion Down" and more crap movies like "U-571". What's next? American airmen winning the Battle of Britain?
- mobilis in mobili -
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Postby Mark » Mon May 19, 2008 8:05 pm

Right now i am reading All Hands Down and i have read Silent Steel, Blind Mans Bluff, and Scorpion Down.

The only way to get to the truth is for the navy to release all info on the Scorpion sinking this includes all the video from all the trips down to the wreck.

This way everyone can see the evidence for them selves
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Postby JWLaRue » Mon May 19, 2008 8:12 pm

...still won't satisfy those inclined to see a cover-up or a conspiracy..... :)
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Postby Tom Dougherty » Tue May 27, 2008 9:35 pm

I'd like to hear what he thinks of this one too.

Same as Offley's-utter crap.
Sewell's is the same basic argument as Offley's: The Russians did it. Totally inconsistent with the photographic evidence of the Scorpion wreck. "Silent Steel" author Stephen Johnson can speak very logically about the evidence and present a very strong case for an implosion accident. The other two hint at dark Soviet conspiracies and anonymous sources. The problem is there is no sign of a torpedo explosion in the Scorpion wreckage.

Sewell was totally wrong about the K-129 as well. More on that later...
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Postby Mark » Tue May 27, 2008 10:52 pm

I just went to the navy web site and looked at the photo's that has been released of the wreck only about 14 photo's and what they show is just parts of the sub.

From the photo's it is hard to tell what sunk the sub this is from my view of the photo's

Also i was wondering if someone who knows about the skipjack class sub and read the USS SCORPION SSN-589 - Court of Inquiry Findings where it talks about what the sub looks like.

Could a perrson do a drawing of what it looks like on the ocean floor?
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