The master chief petty officer scanned his board and gave quiet, forceful orders.
“Presets accepted. Flood tubes one and two, prepare to equalize.”
We could hear the taps open as water from the Black Sea rushed into the tubes, followed by the hiss of air as the michman equalized pressure and opened outer doors. At their report of ready, I gave the orders.
|Loading Torpedos||Flood Tubes 1 and 2|
Tubes 1 and 2
and Open Outer Doors
“Sonar, final bearing?”
“Bearing now 075. Course 179, speed twenty, range still 5000 meters.”
“Weapons free. Match bearings for tubes one and two, and shoot.”
Igor relayed the order. In the torpedo room, the chief flipped open the cover for the firing buttons and uttered a short prayer, then pressed. The hiss-hiss of compressed air told us that our torpedoes were in the water.
|USET-80 Torpedo||Torpedo in Route|
|Wake Homing Torpedo Launches||Wake Homing Torpedo|
“Conn, Sonar, torpedoes running normally.”
“Igor, take her down to seventy meters! Steer course 093!”
I grasped at the overhead support and braced as Novorosslysk sought deeper water. Igor worriedly watched his stopwatch as I looked over the torpedo michman’s shoulder at the active torpedo display. Soon, they would go active and begin their search patterns.
“Make tubes four and five ready in all respects.”
Tube three was loaded with a missile-launched torpedo, what the Westerners call the SS-N-15 Starfish. Quite unsuitable for anti-ship operations, but I wished it kept in reserve in case an Iranian submarine was about. I ordered five loaded with the USET-80, as four already was loaded with the wake-homing type 53.
|Prepare Tube 4||Firing Point Procedures
Tubes 5 and 6
On the screen, it was apparent that the Type 53 already in the water was a miss. Its search pattern could not find the Iranian, which was now maneuvering toward us.
“Igor, firing point procedures for tube four. Quickly!”
Our third torpedo was in the water. On the screen, Master 01’s position could not be determined with clarity. We reduced speed, fought to keep the ship from cavitation, while trying to roll under a thermocline where the enemy sonar lash could not find us. The air bubbles caused by our screw cavitation would give us away as if we set of a grenade by our hull.
Suddenly, the first USET-80 torpedo changed course! Inexplicably, it headed for empty waters, aft of Master 01’s last plotted position. Igor and I looked into each other’s eyes in amazement.
“Captain, do you think…?”
“It has locked onto something, Igor Pavelovich. Let us hope that something is the Iranian. Or we will all be in for an interesting time.”
Suddenly, an explosion in the water, clear for all to hear! The ship erupted in cheering from the crew, cut short as Igor shouted“Silence!”
|Hull View of the Target||A hit!|