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Hide and Seek

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Hide and Seek

Postby Wayne Frey » Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:48 am

Found a new (2009) one on amazon called " Hide and Seek" about the soviets and cold war submarine espionage.
I got it in the mail yesterday. After a quick scan, it looks like a VERY promising read.
It coveres some topics that I spent time talking to submariners in the former soviet union about.
Looks like a good read.
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Postby Tom Dougherty » Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:28 pm

I found the book very disappointing. I was a fan of Hutchausen's earlier books, but this one is just awful!!! The chapter on the K-129 is so bad, it's not even wrong! (paraphrasing physicist Wolfgang Pauli's comment "your theory is so bad, it's not even wrong"). It has been known for 30 years that the HMB-1 never went to the wreck site in the Pacific; just the Glomar Explorer. The partially recovered submarine was analysed in the moonpool of the Glomar, not in the HMB-1. Other details are total fabrications as well. There is more accurate information in the public domain on that operation than they are employing in the book.

There are numerous technical details that are wrong; twice they mention the use of U-238, once to power the Ivy Bells tap pods and once as part of the Soviet torpedo nuclear warheads. Plutonium was used to power the pod, as it gives off heat which allows thermionic electrical generation. U-238 doesn't. Also, it is the more scarce U-235 that is fissionable; U-238 is not (except in extreme conditions, like a fusion explosion, where it is used to boost explosive yield). If U-238 were fissionable, all those mid-East countries wouldn't need those expensive centrifuges to separate the scarce U-235 isotope from the more abundant U-238. Didn't these guys read newspapers?

The chapter on the mid-1980's Soviet incursion into Swedish waters seems to be going along fine, then suddenly the two authors pull a non-sequitor out of their rear ends. Without producing one real shred of evidence, they suggest that the submarines involved in later excursions into Swedish waters were the NR-1 and Seawolf (SSN-575). Why? Because witnesses (unnamed) claim to have seen submarine sails that were "square shaped", and Soviet submarines don't have square shaped sails. Well, actually the Whiskey and Foxtrots have more or less square sails. And the submarine caught on the surface by the Swedes just a few weeks earlier was a Whiskey. Yes, all US nuclear submarines do have square shaped sails...with the exception of one...which is...(wait for it!) Seawolf (SSN575)!! She has a very distinctive stepped sail. And, oh yeah, Seawolf was in the Pacific at that time, and suffering from mechanical problems due to her age. Wait, let me check my map...nope, Sweden isn't in the Pacific. They also mention that Seawolf was converted in 1965 to permit SEALS to lock out. No, it was converted to allow saturation divers to operate, and the conversion was in the 1971-73 time period at Mare Island.

And then there is the chapter on UFOs. That's right, the Soviet Navy encounters with UFOs. Where is the Smoking Man when you need him? Another part of the same chapter describes sounds first encountered by the then new Soviet nuclear submarines in the 1960's. These are termed "Frogs of the Deep" (you can't make up stuff like this...). Probably sounds shorts from their own (loud) propulsion systems.

This book is so chock full of wrong information (which can be easily shown to be wrong from multiple sources) that all I can think of are two possible explanations: 1.) Hutchausen and his French co-author regularly drank bottles of wine at a sidewalk bistro in Paris, got a good buzz on, and sketched the book out on paper napkins. 2.) Hutchausen wrote a decent draft, but unfortunately died last year, and Sheldon-Duplaix rewrote the book, maybe with an eye on a screen play adaptation. The only thing that would have helped the utility of the present form of this book would to have printed it on softer paper, in a roll format, with regular perforations.
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