Saturday, November 15, 2008


Responding to a photo posted in 02SEPT2005, Bubblehead asked,What the hell's that red thing I got hanging in front of my crotch?

Two years later on 06Sept2007, Molten Eagle addressed a new Russian photo and again asked the obvious question. Fred Fry had the best answer, but M.E. could not believe what, if correct, it certainly implied (highlighted below). M.E.'s assessment has now proved tragically correct. Although Russian press alluded to the fact Nerpa's crew not being far from their breathing apparatus, they had been vague about wearing them (especially non-crew passengers). Now we have confirmation (the object being worn on crew belts in the photo below).

Confirmed by second source:
[Russian submarine] Crew members carry special breathing apparatus with them at all times as protection from the gas if the fire extinguishing system goes off. They are also trained to use the complicated apparatus.

Why is this important? Here is what we said im 2007 (and thanks, again, Fred Fry):

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.
Perhaps the best indication of low morale in Russia's military is this quote from a 27-year-old man, who preferred not to use his family name:
Everything I hear is that the equipment is old and dangerous and the conditions are not humane.
He is joining countless other young Russian men in scraping together the $800 to $1,000 it costs to bribe his way out of the mandatory 12-month military service.
Submarines are always silent and strange.



At 15 November, 2008 21:07, Blogger Galrahn said...

Nice find, and yes they are.

At 16 November, 2008 02:20, Blogger Fred Fry said...

How many of the dead and injured actually put one of these things on only to have the unit fail?

Seems that in this case at least, not following instructions/orders had serious penalties for those who didn't have theirs nearby.

Did the Russians just think of issuing these things to each member of the crew or is there some other accident that brought about the need to issue these to each crewmen?


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