Thursday, September 06, 2007

Russian Submariner Photo Mysteries

In September 2005's The Submarine Service - A Relatively Small World we addressed a photo mystery from the interior (control room) of an unidentified, conventional submarine:

From Lubber, we learned that the foreign sub was soviet and that the officer on the periscope was Russian Commodore Joel Bubbleheadski. The good Commodore commented: "What the hell's that red thing I got hanging in front of my crotch?"

We assumed the red cannister (oxygen, vodka) was an artifact of a bygone era. Why we must never assume:

Notice the recent photo above of Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin inspecting some of his Pacific Fleet submariners. What is it that they are all wearing on their web belts? The red mystery objects are clearly not artifacts from a bygone era, they are standard issue of today's Russian submariners, too. Would you worldly navy types (Canada, U.K., Russia, etc.) kindly advise your American brothers the purpose of Russia's mystery objects (oxygen, vodka, spring water, dosimetry kits, spare primary coolant, n.o.s., etc.) ?

Next, notice the submariners saluting Putin (in the same row as those not). Is this an indication of a discipline lapse (very doubtful) in proper military etiquette by the Russian submariners, or is a faithful performance of a more complex custom than Americans practice?
Finally, is Commodore Bubbleheadski (pictured above at the periscope) also the 4th guy from the left in Putin's line-up, or is it his twin brother?



At 06 September, 2007 19:49, Blogger Fred Fry said...

Might it be a Russian version of a "Emergency Escape Breathing Device". Just in case the air gets smokey?

At 07 September, 2007 13:32, Blogger bostonray said...

I think that it is their lunch pail. A little borsch,a slice of cheese and a half loaf of rye bread. About the salute,I think those guys are blocking the flies from their eyes after the bugs smelled their lunch!

At 07 September, 2007 13:57, Blogger Vigilis said...

Fred Fry, your guess makes better sense than anything so far. Wearing an "Emergency Escape Breathing Device", however, projects minimal confidence in the CO, the crew, and the boat. If your guess is correct, what an interesting commentary on the psychology of Russian sub crew morale it may suggest. Also, if accurate, a major point seems to have been missed by analysts and journalists who covered the intervening (August 2000) Kursk tragedy. An excellent submission, regardless. Thank you!

At 07 September, 2007 14:00, Blogger Vigilis said...

Bostonray, it certainly does resemble a lunch pail. As far as those salutes, well, you would probably make a very interesting political cartoonist. Thank you!

At 07 September, 2007 22:19, Blogger Fred Fry said...


On Merchant ships they are posted in the work spaces to give you enough time to get out. I have no idea where 'out' might be on a sub.

Perhaps this is some way of trying to keep the crew at their stations if the s hits the fan. (Again, not like they have anywhere to run to on a sub.)

As we all know Rule #1 - Protect the ship

At 24 August, 2010 17:46, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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