February 26, 2021 marks the 111th anniversary of the birth of Sergei Georgievich Gorshkov, Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union, twice Hero of the Soviet Union, Commander-in-Chief of the USSR Navy from the beginning of 1956 to the end of 1985, the creator of our first ocean-going fleet and everything that is at least formally ranks our Navy as a politically significant factor in world politics.
In Russia, in relation to S.G. Gorshkov today is dominated by indifference, occasionally interspersed with criticism. It is a different matter outside of it. So, in India, Gorshkov is considered one of the "fathers" of the modern Indian Navy, in the United States, his legacy is also deeply studied. And to this day. Moreover, the Americans are surprised to note the almost complete indifference of Russians to the personality of Admiral Gorshkov and his activities.
They say that if God wants to punish a person, then he deprives him of his reason. The way S.G. Gorshkov and his activities are a clear indicator that something like this happened to us.
But not a single punishment can be and does not exist forever, except for death. In a funny way neglect of the development of the Navy this very death can bring us in the future, and in the near… But until this happens, it makes sense to look into the very recent past. To the past that has caught in one form or another the majority of people living in Russia today. But which is mostly forgotten by them.
It's time to remember. We cannot live with an amputated mind forever. As usual, it makes no sense to focus on what was the biography of this admiral and the stages of his service. All of this is available today in a variety of sources. Much more interesting is what lessons for today we can learn from what was just recently.
The entry of Sergei Gorshkov into the post of Commander-in-Chief took place on January 5, 1956. And, as today's authors write, it was accompanied by somewhat contradictory behavior in relation to the past commander-in-chief N.G. Kuznetsov.
Without further developing this topic, we will only say that Gorshkov clearly showed himself not only as a politician, capable (when necessary) of "contradictory" actions, but even as a politician who knew how to catch the wind directions in the Kremlin corridors well and follow them even then when a principled person would not.
Was it “ugly” from an ethical point of view? Yes. But just below we will see what the admiral was able to do and weigh his actions objectively.
The mid-fifties turned for the Navy into what the Americans call the perfect storm.
First, there was the N.S. factor. Khrushchev.
Previously, Khrushchev was credited with almost destroying the Navy. Today, a more balanced position is "in use" about the fact that under NS. Khrushchev, the fleet "threw away the unnecessary" and moved in the direction of creating a modern nuclear missile fleet, such as we learned it later.
In fact, both are right.
A significant part of the decisions that N.S. Khrushchev were indeed acquitted. So, obviously, the continuation of the construction of large artillery ships was no longer relevant. Let us recall that such kind of forces as the Naval Missile Aviation became a real force also in Khrushchev's times. The atomic submarine appeared at the same time.
But on the other hand, the pogrom still took place and became real.
The attitude towards new ships, which could well gradually become carriers of missile weapons (and practice has shown this), was simply wasteful.
Khrushchev's understanding of the nature of war at sea was nil.
So, we can recall the attempts to "scare" the Americans with submarines during the Cuban missile crisis. Unsuccessful and stupid, even from the point of view of banal logic. Until a certain moment, Khrushchev professed a truly manic approach, which was that even if the fleet is needed, it cannot be used. And again, the Cuban missile crisis was a prime example of this.
Khrushchev also got into tactical issues.
So, it is known that Khrushchev criticized Project 58 missile cruisers from the position that
"This ship cannot defend itself against aviation", not realizing that the ships do not go into battle alone.
Khrushchev was sure that submarines are a universal solution, allowing to neutralize the enemy's superiority in forces. Today we not only know that this is not so, but through our sad experience we have become convinced how much it is not so.
Khrushchev's voluntaristic decisions, of course, had a negative impact on the development of the Navy. So, today it is customary to exaggerate his dislike of aircraft carriers. (Although he, in principle, admitted that under some certain circumstances, such ships can be built. But, again, by virtue of his understanding.) Still, it is impossible not to recognize his decisive role in the fact that we were so late with this class of ships.
But Khrushchev was not the only problem.
Few people remember today, but the second half of the fifties was the time when the navy, which was just "raising its head", faced a powerful offensive by the army generals, who were simply trying to prevent this type of armed forces from developing and getting out of control.
In the open press, this was briefly mentioned in an article by Captains 1st Rank A. Koryakovtsev and S. Tashlykov "Sharp turns in the development of the national maritime strategy":
“It should be noted that the new provisions of the naval strategy were focused on the prospects for the development of the fleet, which opened up with the beginning of the qualitative rearmament of the Navy, turning it into a nuclear missile-carrying fleet.
However, the new military-political leadership of the country considered the issues of using the Navy in a future war, proceeding from the actual state of the forces of the fleet, which, after the adoption by the head of state, N.S. Khrushchev's voluntaristic decisions were significantly reduced.
Corresponding was the assessment of the role of the Navy, whose actions, in the opinion of the top military leadership, could not have a particular impact on the outcome of the war.
As a result of this approach, the competence of the naval leadership in the field of construction and preparation for war of the naval forces was artificially limited to the operational level.
In October 1955, in Sevastopol, under the leadership of N.S. Khrushchev, a meeting of members of the government and the leadership of the Ministry of Defense and the Navy was held to work out ways of developing the fleet.
In the speeches of the head of state and Minister of Defense Marshal of the Soviet Union G.K. Zhukov expressed views on the use of the Navy in a future war, in which preference was given to the actions of the forces of the fleet at the tactical and operational levels.
Two years later, the question of the illegality of the existence of naval strategy as a category of naval art was raised again.
The point in its development was set in 1957 after the publication of an article by the Chief of the General Staff of Marshal of the Soviet Union V.D. Sokolovsky, which emphasized the inadmissibility of separating naval strategy from the general strategy of the Armed Forces.
In this regard, V.D. Sokolovsky noted that one should speak not about the independent strategy of the Air Force and the Navy, but about their strategic use.
Guided by these instructions, the scientists of the Naval Academy prepared a draft Manual on the Conduct of Naval Operations (NMO-57), in which the category of "naval strategy" was replaced by the category of "strategic use of the Navy", and from such a category of naval art as "war on the sea”, completely refused.
In 1962, the theoretical work "Military Strategy" was published, edited by the Chief of the General Staff, which argued that the use of the Navy should be limited to actions "mainly on an operational scale."
It is worth noting that all this happened when the United States was actively deploying nuclear weapons in the Navy. When the question arose about arming submarines with nuclear missile weapons. When on the decks of American aircraft carriers "registered" heavy bombers - carriers of nuclear weapons. And when the whole weight of the hypothetical confrontation in a future war with the United States and NATO "shifted" into the air and into the sea.
This is a very important lesson - even in the face of the threat of the death of the country, the supporters of the thesis "Russia is a land power" will stand their ground, destroying the only means that will protect the country, simply because of their unwillingness to understand complex matters.
The traditionally strong army command in our country will also go to the end in these matters, disregarding reality in general and using its control over the General Staff as a battering ram.
So, today the fleet is practically eliminated as a single type of the Armed Forces, to tell the truth, our country simply does not have it. And then there are the naval forces of the military districts. And now the army men are attacking the military aviation. And this is when we have almost no significant military opponents on the ground (with a common border with us), but there is the United States (with its aviation and the Navy).
That is, real military threats will not be an argument. Let's see what kind of consequences this army approach led almost immediately then, in the 60s.
“During this time, the situation in the Atlantic has become extremely complicated.
The unusually high traffic intensity of Soviet cargo ships in July and August finally attracted the attention of American intelligence. Regular overflights of Soviet ships by aircraft began, and on September 19 the Angarles dry-cargo ship was intercepted by an American cruiser, which accompanied it for more than a day, directing the trunks of the main caliber turrets to the ship.
The next day the vessel "Angarsk" was intercepted by an American destroyer.
This practice continued on all the following days. And all this time, surface ships and submarines of the Soviet Navy continued to stand in bases awaiting orders.
Only on September 25, 1962, at a meeting of the Defense Council, the question of the participation of the fleet in Operation Anadyr was considered.
The Council decided to abandon the use of a surface squadron, limiting itself to sending to Cuba only four diesel torpedo boats of Project 641 ("Foxtrot" according to NATO classification).
This decision, which radically changed the idea of using the Soviet naval group, received various explanations in domestic and foreign historiography.
Russian authors explain this decision by the unwillingness of the Soviet leadership to risk the secrecy of the operation.
At the same time, however, the question remains unanswered why the requirement of secrecy was not taken into account in the initial planning of the fleet's actions.
Foreign researchers, on the contrary, attach much more importance to the refusal of the Soviet leadership to use the surface squadron.
American researcher D. Winkler believed that the reason for this was "the inability of surface ships of the Soviet fleet to conduct operations in the ocean."
One of the participants in the Cuban Missile Crisis, US Navy officer P. Huchthausen, suggested that the Soviet leadership feared "further strengthening of the American fleet off the coast of Cuba."
To foreign researchers, this decision seems illogical and erroneous.
The famous American historian of the fleet E.Beach believed that "an escort of Soviet surface ships escorting bulk carriers that delivered missiles to Cuba in 1962 could have influenced the outcome of the crisis."
Moreover, the crews of American ships were expecting this and were pretty surprised not to find even "the slightest escort of merchant ships by the warships of the Soviet Navy."
And the final output:
Foreign historiography is unanimous in assessing the participation of the Soviet Navy in the Cuban missile crisis.
“The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 was the sixth humiliating defeat for the Russian fleet in the last 100 years, - wrote in 1986, P. Tsoras, an analyst at the Center for Threat Analysis of the US Army Intelligence. -
The Soviet Union found itself in a stalemate in Cuba, and only the Soviet navy could help Soviet diplomacy …
But the Soviet navy showed complete helplessness in the face of US naval power, which may have done more damage to its prestige than defeat."
Actually, it was so.
Source - "New Historical Bulletin", article by A. Kilichenkov "The Soviet Navy in the Caribbean Crisis".
Of course, the Navy is also to blame. But could he develop in conditions when it was possible to stand up to the wall for the development of correct theories of combat use (in the 30s) or ruin his career (50s)?
It is worth noting that the superiority of the US Navy in forces could not be an argument in any way, since the Americans would not have started a war without a decision from Congress. And if they did, then completely different forces would be used than the Soviet military escort of merchant ships. For example, long-range aviation, which then already had hundreds of bombers, would have gone. The Americans would have to take this into account.
It is also known, and in the article on the link, this fact is neatly bypassed, that the General Staff itself had a significant impact on the Kama operation plan. But the sailors were appointed the last for the emergence of diesel-electric submarines.
The destructive influence of army generals, however, was not the last factor that S.G. Gorshkov was forced to take into account in his politics (namely in politics).
The third factor was the influence of the military industry in the person of its long-term "curator" Dmitry Fedorovich Ustinov. A lot has been said about this. And we are still reaping the fruits of those times. After all, both then and now, the industry could simply order the Armed Forces what weapons should be adopted. This is still the case. In fact, the decisions about what to use the state money for are made by those who use it. And this is precisely what caused those monstrous (you cannot say otherwise) imbalances in the construction of the Navy that we have today.
And a politically possible order to the fleet to accept incapacitated ships, so as not to disturb the public (see the history of the air defense of our corvettes), and massive "sawing" projects (from the corvette of project 20386 and patrol ships of project 22160 to the nuclear torpedo "Poseidon", ekranoplanes and aircraft with short takeoff and vertical landing) - this is the legacy of the "monster" of the defense industry grown under the rule of Ustinov.
As well as today, then this factor existed "in full growth". And Gorshkov had to deal with him too.
The last factor was the intellectual level of the Soviet party elite - it was technically impossible to explain to yesterday's peasants, who reached Berlin in their youth, that in the war of the future, the land fronts would be deeply secondary (in relation to the exchange of nuclear missile strikes) and the struggle for supremacy at sea and in the air was technically impossible. …
Similarly, today we have a large mass of citizens, simultaneously believing that Russia does not depend on sea communications and those who know about the existence of the Northern Sea Route, Kamchatka, the Kuriles and the group of forces in Syria. This is a pathological problem that seriously complicates the adoption of correct decisions by the political leadership, if only because pathological thinking finds its supporters in the highest echelons of power.
In theory, in such conditions, the Navy, in general, could not survive then, in 1956-1960, leaving "under the army."A little later we will see that as a result of this, the country as a whole could not survive. A much less complex set of negative factors in 2009-2012 led precisely to the actual liquidation of the fleet as a single type of Armed Forces. And Gorshkov, finding himself exactly in the epicenter of this collapse, not only survived, but also built an ocean-going fleet, which everyone had to reckon with.
Yes, it was not optimal and had a huge number of shortcomings. But who would have done better in that situation?
Yes, this fleet could not have won the war with the United States. But there is one caveat. And in this nuance, the greatness of Gorshkov stands up in full growth precisely as a military theorist, until now very few people have fully understood.
The Navy was not supposed to win the war with America.
He had to make it impossible.
Theory and practice: a pistol at the temple of imperialism
It is believed that the theoretical views of S.G. Gorshkov were presented in his works, the most famous of which is the book "The Sea Power of the State".
Indeed, to a large extent the work of S.G. Gorshkov also reflect his military theoretical views. However, none of his works reflects them entirely.
The views of S.G. Gorshkov and those senior officers who served under his leadership, reflects only the real activities of the Navy. And it, since the early sixties (immediately after the Cuban missile crisis), has been described in one word - containment.
The essence of how the fleet operated under the leadership of S.G. Gorshkov, and what tasks he performed reflects precisely this word.
In the "Sea Power of the State" there is a red thread an indication of the vital role of submarines armed with ballistic missiles, and the combat services of these boats in the Atlantic (up to the areas adjacent to the territorial waters of the United States) and the Pacific Ocean, which have become a symbol of the Cold War, as well as on American attempts to disrupt these services, or vice versa, to covertly monitor our boats. Some dramatic episodes of those clashes can be found in the article “At the forefront of the underwater confrontation. Cold War submarine ".
But in the "Sea Power of the State" there is nothing about what has become the "calling card" of the general purpose forces of the Soviet Navy - tracking the naval formations of the United States and NATO (readily use weapons against them).
It was pure containment.
It started at a tactical level.
The American commander always knew that this Russian patrolman, clinging to him like a tick, with its 34 nodes of maximum speed, is now transmitting somewhere to the command post, which controls and carriers of missile weapons, surface, air or underwater, its current coordinates, course and speed. And it is not known what orders Ivan has there - maybe he will strike in response to the rise of aircraft from the deck? Or maybe a volley will come in response to an attempt to detach from tracking? Maybe then we must continue to follow our own course, smoothly and without twitching, without undertaking anything?
These actions were carried out even by small missile ships, which were able to independently destroy almost any surface target in the 70s, even without nuclear weapons.
These were frequent situations, and the US Navy did not have an answer to them for the time being. There is no war yet, but there are no guarantees that the Russians will not strike first at the slightest attempt at aggressive actions.
And what to do in this case?
There was no answer for a very, very long time.
But at the operational level it was the same.
More than once, Soviet nuclear submarines with cruise missiles targeted American units of warships, using data on their position, course and speed, which they received from surface forces or from Tu-95RTs reconnaissance target designators. The commander of the American carrier group knew that he was at gunpoint. And he understood that he could not guarantee the non-use of weapons by the first on the part of the Soviet forces. It only remained not to provoke.
In the seas adjacent to the territory of the USSR, everything was further complicated by the factor of the Naval Missile Aviation, which, perhaps, could win in a battle with the US Navy, or maybe not. But the losses would have been enormous anyway. With some degree of probability, excluding the continuation of offensive military operations. And that "gunner" who would bring it to the target could be some ancient "57th project", catching on after a formidable powerful group of American ships. And this also had to be taken into account.
And it was the same at the strategic level.
Soviet SSBNs held at gunpoint American cities. And for all its technical superiority, the US Navy could not guarantee that their salvo would be completely disrupted. Even now they cannot fully guarantee it, and in the 60s and 70s it was simply impossible.
Thus, it became unrealistic to start a war under favorable circumstances.
The real start of hostilities led to the fact that those Soviet forces that did not die from the first strike of the Americans (and it would be impossible to ensure the simultaneous delivery of a covert first strike in almost the entire world), deliver a powerful missile strike against the US Navy forces that they hold at gunpoint, reducing the offensive potential of the US Navy at times and making it impossible for their further effective action against the USSR from the sea.
The victory would go “on points” to the Americans - they would still have a lot of strength by the time our fleet almost completely ceased to exist.
But this is formal.
And in fact, the US Navy, after the losses suffered, would turn into a thing in itself, capable, at best, of escorting convoys and carrying out raiding operations. After such a pogrom, the US surface forces would not have been able to achieve any strategic results if it had been carried out to the maximum extent possible.
And if the Americans tried to use strategic nuclear weapons against the USSR, then missile submarines would be used, of which there were simply too many to be able to track them all at the same time. Moreover, before the appearance of the Mk.48 torpedo, the tactical and technical characteristics of American torpedoes did not guarantee that it would be possible to win a battle with a Soviet submarine, even suddenly firing first. It was only later that they "swung the pendulum" in their direction.
This means that a strike by Soviet ballistic missiles on American cities would inevitably take place. Which guaranteed - there will be no war. And she was not there.
There is a famous expression by S.G. Gorshkov, which he personally used to characterize Project 1234 small missile ships -
"A pistol at the temple of imperialism."
It must be admitted that this expression perfectly characterizes everything that he did and the entire fleet that he built, in general.
It was a "mental revolution" in military affairs, including in the naval one. All military theorists of the past had the goal of their intellectual efforts to find ways to victory, while S.G. Gorshkov deliberately reduced the confrontation to what in chess is called mutual zugzwang - each move of the parties leads to a deterioration in their position.
But in the case of confrontation at sea, the enemy was not forced to “go down” after all. And he didn't go. Thus, it was not about winning the war, but about not letting it start.
Nobody has done this before. Nobody even thought that before.
Gorshkov was the first. And he did it.
Theory embodied in metal
The whole point of what the Soviet Navy could and did was boiled down to a demonstration of the threat and putting pressure on the enemy by this demonstration. However, for the threat demonstration to work, the threat had to be real, real. And for this it had to be done as such. This required a completely specific technique, which was only in the USSR Navy.
The Soviet Navy gave the world a lot of concepts that did not exist before. And it was not supposed in principle.
So, it was with the USSR Navy that the build-up of superiority began not in the number of forces, but in their total missile salvo. Domestic discussion on tactical issues in the first half of the 60s as a whole led the command of the fleet to a theoretical consensus on issues of naval combat with missile weapons. And since then, the build-up of the volley has become a constant phenomenon.
But in order to strike at the enemy, superior in strength and having numerous carrier-based aircraft, a salvo had to be sent from afar. And also, to ensure its irresistibility by means of enemy air defense. For this, missiles were made truly high-speed and with a long range, which, with those technologies, meant enormous dimensions.
Both large heavy and fast missiles have become the hallmark of the fleet, starting with the Project 58 missile cruisers and Project 651 diesel submarines. And then through the Project 1134 BOD cruiser ("clean", without letters) and Project 675 nuclear submarines to Project 956 destroyers, Project 1164 missile cruisers, Project 1144 nuclear missile cruisers and Project 670 and 949 (A) SSGNs.
In order to strike accurately from a long distance, it was necessary to provide target designation. And for this purpose, a naval reconnaissance and target designation system "Success" was created, in which the "eyes" of the shooting ships and submarines were the Tu-95RTs reconnaissance target designator aircraft and the Ka-25Ts shipborne AWACS helicopters, capable of detecting enemy surface ships from hundreds of kilometers.
It is generally accepted that the Tu-95RTs were very vulnerable. In practice, even if the Tu-95 crew performed a “dumb” flight to the target at high altitude, without trying to evade detection and without doing anything to protect themselves, the enemy would need at least an aircraft carrier to “get it”. Moreover, it is the American aircraft carrier with the American air group.
And if the flight to the target (the position of which is approximately known from intelligence data, at least some last bearing to the target) were carried out precisely with the use of different techniques that allow avoiding detection, then the chances of successful target detection and transmission of data about it to the carrier of the missile weapon increased.
Moreover, the same applied to the Ka-25Ts, with all its disadvantages.
The West had no analogues of such a system in the 60s.
Only after many years the systems of mutual exchange of information within the Navy reached such a level that it became possible to use any F / A-18 as such a reconnaissance. And then it was unrealistic.
The very concept of submarines armed with anti-ship cruise missiles launched according to data from external sources of information is purely Soviet.
Synthesis of a naval understanding of the importance of a missile salvo and the ability to provide external data for the development of target designation, as well as Khrushchev's (and not only him) belief that only submarines can reliably evade the defeat of the omnipotent (in fact, not) carrier-based aircraft of the US Navy.
It was a specific technique, created for a specific military theory, which directly followed from again a specific goal - not to win the war, but not to allow it to start, keeping the enemy at gunpoint.
The "Legend" space system of naval reconnaissance and target designation, which appeared later, was also born within the framework of the pottery approach. It was to ensure the actions of those forces that were once originally created within the framework of his military-theoretical views. Today "Legend" is usually overestimated, although in reality its effectiveness was low. And the old system "Success" continued to retain its importance until the very end of its existence, and in the end remained indispensable.
Of course, it would be a big mistake to ascribe to S.G. Gorshkov has done everything.
This is not true.
But in a completely obvious way, it was he who in many ways created the system of views and attitudes that gave birth to such a fleet. And directly for solving such problems by such methods.
Politics as the art of the possible
The way S.G.Gorshkov achieved what he achieved, was tortuous.
It is not for nothing that we can safely say about him that it was precisely a politician. As befits a politician, he adjusted, maneuvered and sometimes made ethically ambiguous decisions.
But could it have been otherwise?
For example, the epic with vertical take-off and landing aircraft was a clear concession to D. Ustinov's subjective sympathies, like many other things - the industry then wanted people's money no less than it does now. And this had to be taken into account.
How much in the actions of S.G. Gorshkov was dominated by ideological prospects - to provide the country with a fleet capable of protecting it, and how much careerism?
The answer to this question is absolutely irrelevant. If only because the first task - to ensure the creation of the fleet, was fulfilled by him. And there are no guarantees that it would also have been performed by someone else under the current conditions.
But the "flexibility" of S.G. Gorshkov possessed considerable.
When it was necessary, together with Khrushchev, to "roll" into the submarine, he did it. When it was necessary to rejoice in the "verticals" with Ustinov - he rejoiced. When, instead of re-equipping the brand new cruisers of the 68K and 68bis projects with missile weapons, they were simply taken to the reserve at best, and at worst they were cut or donated to Indonesia, he did not protest.
Then the industry received one desired “fat order” after another. True, this was already under Brezhnev.
So the fleet at the same time received a lot of different missiles. In parallel, different types of ships of the same purpose (the most striking example of which were projects 1164 and 1144, which were built at the same time). There was a terrible inconsistency in projects, and in some places unjustified specialization. For example, the BOD project 1155 was left without the ability to strike at surface targets. As earlier BOD (later reclassified in TFR) projects 61 and 1135.
But everyone was in business.
Gas turbines for some ships came from Ukraine, steam turbines for others from Leningrad, all were at work and with money. How it ended for the country is known today. But then this ending was not at all obvious. And the friendly disposition of the industry commanders, together with the all-powerful Dmitry Fedorovich, was very important.
Then, when they finally succeeded in pushing through the aircraft carriers, the first of which was Riga-Brezhnev-Tbilisi-Kuznetsov, they immediately began to build them, at the same time giving work to the Yakovlev Design Bureau with their project of the Yak-41 vertical not a single new carrier was planned.
In military theoretical works (in the same "Sea Power"), Gorshkov assented to the army generals who sought to "crush" this incomprehensible and such a complex fleet, repeating slogans about the unity of military strategy (which in Soviet newspeak meant somewhat differently from what it seems) of all services of the Armed Forces, without raising the issue of an independent naval strategy.
While in reality such an independent strategy for Gorshkov was … Moreover, he put it into practice, making the USSR Navy an independent strategic factor in the global balance of forces. And in the event of war, by a force capable of exerting a strategic influence on the course of hostilities. On one's own.
But you have to understand - this was the specificity of the Soviet system.
You couldn’t just fulfill your duties honestly. This would mean, with a high degree of probability, simply an early resignation under some pretext. And that's all.
And Gorshkov could not ignore all this. For comparison, one can look at the situation now, when, in order to become Commander-in-Chief, one must be ready to cave in to industry without restrictions, to rapidly accept unfit for combat submarines and turn a blind eye to their critical shortcomings, etc. And disagreement with such approaches automatically means a quick departure "out of the cage" of promising commanders, or simply dismissal.
Today, even the question cannot be raised about the restoration of the powers of the High Command as a body of military command, or about the revival of the former role of the General Staff of the Navy.
Then it was all the same, but the results of the Korotkov leadership of the fleet, frankly speaking, are different than those of the current naval "commanders".
And this also characterizes him.
Victories and achievements
America's manic lust for unrestricted world domination is not a new phenomenon.
But during the Cold War, it was also burdened by an unbridled desire to stop the spread of leftist regimes with an ideology close to socialist. Religious America saw this as an existential threat. (And this became very aggravated later, closer to the 80s. That had serious consequences for the USSR).
In such conditions, a nuclear war was quite real. And it could well have begun. But it didn't start. And the Navy played a decisive role in this.
Modern man perceives modern history in a distorted, fragmentary manner. So, for example, the majority of people who are convinced that today the strategic missile forces - the Strategic Missile Forces - are the main deterrent, carry in their minds the idea that somewhere after Korolev's "seven" this has become so in a few years. And then it was always.
Everyone has heard that nuclear parity with the United States is in the 1970s. And before that, it seemed like there was no parity? There were few rockets, but somehow it worked. How did it work? God knows …
In fact, the situation with nuclear deterrence looked like this.
The first real ICBM in service with the missile forces is the R-16. Adoption for service - 1963. Deployment began at the same time. But in significant quantities, the silo modifications of these missiles were put on alert only by the end of the 60s. At the same time, due to this and other missiles, it was possible to deploy almost a thousand ICBMs. But the development of the command system, bringing the organizational and staff structures to the state necessary for waging a nuclear war and the achievement of the Strategic Missile Forces of full combat readiness as a whole is already the beginning of the 70s. It was then that we reached nuclear parity.
In addition, there was no way to carry out a retaliatory strike. The early warning system was just being created. And ground-based launchers are vulnerable to a sudden nuclear strike.
That ensured nuclear deterrence (until a sufficient number of missiles entered the Strategic Missile Forces). And what later made the guaranteed possibility of retaliation realistically feasible? These were Soviet missile submarines.
Since the mid-sixties, the "diesels" of projects 629 of various modifications begin to go "under America" - under the most American shores with the task of carrying out combat duty with ballistic missiles of the D-2 complex (SLBM R-13). The missile range of several hundred kilometers required these boats to be literally under the coast of the United States.
And the fact that the boats were diesel-electric prevented a hidden transition to the combat service area. But the trouble is that the United States did not have such anti-submarine forces as later. The search for boats from the air, in general, was carried out by flying boats with magnetometers. And the United States could not guarantee the success.
The reality is that in the first half of the sixties, suicide bombers from the crews of missile diesel-electric submarines performed the tasks of US nuclear deterrence. Yes, there were relatively few combat services, and boats were often tracked. But they were never tracked all at the same time. And besides, the United States never knew exactly how many boats actually sail along their coast in the Atlantic and later in the Pacific.
Soon nuclear missile carriers joined the diesel submarines. First, project 658. These boats were imperfect and rarely went to services at first. But together with the Tupolev and Myasishchev bombers, this was already a serious deterrent. If only because a nuclear strike by several submarines, without even inflicting fatal losses on the United States, temporarily destroyed radio communications and made radar impossible. And, as a result, it created the possibility of a breakthrough by bombers. Even without knowing whether the USSR was planning something like this or not, the Americans simply could not ignore these factors in their actions.
And this became the very insurance, thanks to which we first reached parity.
By the end of the sixties, the US PLO made a breakthrough in its development, the SOSUS system appeared, tracking our noisy submarines became easier, but the Navy already had a Project 667A with missiles with a range of 2,400 km, capable of attacking the United States from the middle of the Atlantic. The Americans also tracked these boats. But then the quantity factor arose - the old boats continued to go to services too.
Now the principle “do not overheat everyone” began to work.
The Strategic Missile Forces now had enough missiles. But it was also necessary to provide a guaranteed retaliatory strike if the enemy could destroy most of the missiles of the Strategic Missile Forces on the ground. And this was done by the fleet - in full accordance with the ideas that were promulgated later by S.G. Gorshkov in his famous book.
Soon the Cold War took on the form in which we remember it. The same tense underwater confrontation, sung by the same Tom Clancy, albeit in a grotesque "cranberry" manner and with a strong distortion of real facts, but with a very accurate transfer of the spirit of the era, the tension that accompanied everything then.
That is why the question can be raised - is it so bad that Gorshkov was, in fact, a politician in uniform?
Would it not have turned out that we would have made more tanks if another person, more direct and principled, was in his post? Or would you set up a "coastal defense force"?
And what would have happened to the country if, in the hot years between the Cuban missile crisis and the first hundred ICBMs on alert (then, by the way, the United States had already fought "communism" in Indochina and had a huge grudge against us), the "peaceful sky" over the heads of Soviet workers would not insure naval submarines with ballistic missiles on board?
Our doctrine of nuclear deterrence has not changed since the days of S.G. Gorshkov.
SSBNs still have to provide a guarantee of a retaliatory strike in the worst scenario for the country. How this is done today is a separate issue. And the answer is very sad. But the fact is, we haven't come up with anything new since then.
But it’s not all about nuclear deterrence.
On December 15, 1971, in the midst of the Indo-Pakistani war, the US Navy Task Force 74, consisting of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Enterprise and ten other ships, entered the Bay of Bengal. Formally, the United States declared its goal of helping Pakistan to evacuate its troops from the territory of present-day Bangladesh. In practice, the compound was supposed to put pressure on India up to direct entry into hostilities.
The Indians suspected something. But what could they then do against such a force?
It is known today that the Indian Air Force had by that time selected a detachment of forty experienced pilots who were to launch an airstrike on the aircraft carrier "Enterprise" if the Americans entered the hostilities. The pilots were initially explained that they would not have a chance to return from this departure, but their families would be properly taken care of - for then India this was not the norm in all cases.
But nothing of the kind was needed - the USSR Navy by that time had several ships in the Indian Ocean and one diesel submarine. In addition, the compound as part of the missile cruiser pr.1134 "Vladivostok", BOD pr.61 "Strogiy" and two submarines (one with cruise missiles pr.675 "K-31", and the second torpedo pr.641 "B-112") left Vladivostok to help India.
It is still unclear what other forces the Navy had in the Indian Ocean at that time. Indian, and with them, American sources indicate that the aircraft carrier group of the US Navy was held at the sight of the SSGN pr. 675, which had anti-ship cruise missiles with a nuclear warhead on board. And supposedly it thwarted all American plans. Our sources do not confirm this. But the personal statement of S.G. Gorshkov that it was all the same.
One way or another, the actions of the Navy then had a strategic effect, which continues to be felt to this day in relations between Russia and India.
Here is what the Commodore wrote (the rank is higher than our captain of the 1st rank, but lower than the rear admiral, there is no analogue to this rank in the Russian Navy) Indian Navy, retired Ranjit Rai, about the importance played by the Navy created by Gorshkov and he personally in the formation of the Indian Navy (link, eng.):
"The old-timers of the Indian Navy still recognize him as the architect who laid the foundations for today's powerful Indian fleet."
In another Indian article, former intelligence officer Shishir Upadhiyaya directly refers to S.G. Gorshkov "The Father of the Indian Fleet." (link, eng.)
Few people remember today, but in that famous missile boat attack on the port of Karachi, Indian commanders conducted radio communications in Russian so that Pakistanis, who could intercept their radio communications, did not understand what they were doing.
And the story about the cruise missile submarine that drove away the American aircraft carrier group from India will now forever remain in Indian history, regardless of how it really was there.
And this is also Gorshkov. And the relations with India that our country still has was largely ensured not only by Soviet diplomacy (although it would be deeply wrong to deny the role of the Foreign Ministry and diplomats), but also by Soviet naval capabilities, which were created largely in accordance with ideas of Admiral Gorshkov.
But the "high point" of the Navy was another crisis - in the Mediterranean Sea in 1973, caused by the outbreak of the next, fourth Arab-Israeli war.
Then, in order to prevent open US intervention in the conflict on the side of Israel and the Americans to disrupt the tasks of supplying the Arab armies, the need to transfer Soviet troops to Egypt was considered, which by the end of the war was more than real and for which the USSR was intensively preparing. It was assumed that Soviet naval strike groups and submarines with anti-ship cruise missiles would take American forces at gunpoint. In the same unique style. And, by providing continuous tracking with weapons, they will make active military operations impossible for the enemy.
The format of the article does not allow retelling the course of those events even briefly. Moreover, they are described in the press in sufficient detail. All those interested are invited to read the essay "The Yom Kippur War 1973. The confrontation between the fleets of the USSR and the USA at sea" on A. Rozin's website and with a different description of the same events “The fifth squadron of the USSR Navy against the 6th US fleet. 1973 Mediterranean Crisis " from the magazine "Science and technology".
Minor contradictions in the texts are due to the lack of open documents, but the general course of events, the intensity of the situation that took place in those years, both essays convey very well.
Below is a diagram of the deployment of Soviet forces in the region in those days, reconstructed from open sources.
As you can see, the naval strike groups are kept at a certain distance from the US Navy, without entering the zones over which cruise missiles from submarines will go. The effect of that operation was simply devastating. For the first time, the United States realized that it might not win the war at sea. And it terrified them.
But the Soviet forces did not have a numerical superiority.
But they had the upper hand in the volley.
And they could have fired this volley first.
Read more about the value of this in the article. "The Reality of Missile Volleys: A Little About Military Superiority".
It would not be wrong to make the following statement: it was in the mid-seventies that the Soviet Navy reached its peak of development.
Exactly. Even before the nuclear cruisers and the SSGN of project 949A, before the submarines of the 971 project and before the massive arrival of the Tu-22M3 in the naval aviation.
It was 1973-1980 that the navy ensured the maximum return on investment in itself. Directly during this period, with his help, the USSR pursued a really active and effective foreign policy.
You can also recall the deployment of the fleet in the South China Sea during the war between China and Vietnam in 1979. And the operation to put pressure on Thailand (see article "Aircraft-carrying cruisers and Yak-38: retrospective analysis and lessons").
Why was it this way?
Because the Navy had a doctrine of combat use, which made it possible to influence the situation without sliding into open military operations. Including influencing a stronger opponent. In fact, while Gorshkov wrote that the Navy and other types of the Armed Forces have only a general strategy, in reality, he was implementing a completely separate naval strategy, which had little to do with what the ground forces or the air force were doing at that moment.
And it provided the country with foreign policy advantages and security. And the fleet, which developed within its framework, became an increasingly important factor in world politics.
You can go even further and say that the USSR was made a superpower not so much by economic power (Germany also has it) and not by tens of thousands of tanks and millions of soldiers (China also had them in the early 60s, but it was not a superpower in the full sense of this definition). The USSR superpower jointly made the ideology in demand at that time, the nuclear missile arsenal, astronautics and the navy with a global reach. Moreover, the role of the fleet was in no way less than that of other factors.
And this is also the legacy of Gorshkov, which few people in our country think about today.
But everything in the world comes to an end.
The decline and fall of the Great Fleet
Created under conditions of a mass of political, ideological and industrial constraints, the navy had a lot of structural weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
So, under the conditions of the USSR, for a variety of reasons, it was impossible to achieve technological parity with the United States in those areas in which the United States seriously invested, and it was impossible at the cost of any investment.
Because in addition to money and resources, a comparable intellectual and organizational level was needed. Which country, which in 1917 had much less than half of the literate population, simply could not provide. There was nowhere in the USSR to take the school of management, intellectuals capable of pointing out the right or wrong paths of development, politicians, capable of subordinating their vision of the issue to expert assessments. On a systematic basis, not sometimes.
Poverty and the inability to allocate resources comparable to the United States for development fell on top of this problem. And also the initial technical lag from the West, which has not gone anywhere.
And for the implementation of the tasks of the same nuclear deterrence, it was necessary just a lot of missile submarines. The ships were also needed quickly.
As a result, imbalances began to emerge. We are building submarines, but we cannot catch up with the United States in secrecy, which means we need to have a lot of submarines so that they simply do not catch up with everyone. We are investing in shipbuilding, we are building with strain for the economy, but there is no longer enough for repair capacity. As a result, boats and ships do not take care of their resource, but they still need a lot, which means they need to be built further. And they will still remain without repairs.
Added to this was the influence of the industry, which wanted budgets.
The voluntarism of politicians and ideological clichés such as "aircraft carriers are a weapon of aggression" and similar clichés did not allow building a truly balanced fleet.
The same voluntarism left Soviet ships without artillery. If, for example, a battleship in an American battle group had survived an exchange of missile strikes, and Soviet ships would have had to fight with it at best with 76-mm cannons (except for Stalin's projects - 68K, 68bis, and pre-war cruisers), there would not be enough speed to escape. This, incidentally, was the personal merit of Khrushchev.
The very organization of the Soviet system of orders for weapons added complexity.
In the United States, for example, the navy orders its own aviation on its own, based on its specific naval requirements. The Marine Corps also independently determines its technical policy. The Air Force buys the aircraft they need. The navy is the one they need.The Marines do not buy the Bradley BMP, like the army does, but buy specially designed amphibious transporters, and so on.
This was impossible in the USSR. Since a new bomber was being created, at best, some of the requirements of the Navy could be taken into account in its development. The marines received the same armored vehicles as the ground forces, etc.
In the same Naval Missile Aviation, at first it turned out that, after the Air Force, it began to receive aircraft of the Tu-22M family. Then, that the MPA was left without refueling in the air, since the Tu-22M was refueled using the "hose-cone" system, and not with the help of wing refueling, which, with a reduced combat radius in comparison with the Tu-16, unexpectedly cut its shock capabilities. It was simply impossible to raise the question of a special naval strike aircraft in those years. The organizational specificity was such that this question could not even be born.
It was also impossible to leave in production the Tu-16 with the updated avionics and special naval weapons. The order of such aircraft was overseen by the Air Force. And they had their own requirements.
The missile-carrying aviation itself, on the one hand, turned out to be an unprecedentedly successful tool - it made it possible to increase the missile salvo at times when the USSR could not yet afford to build numerous missile ships. And build up quickly. It immediately provided an opportunity for a quick inter-theater maneuver, which other naval forces did not possess. But by the 80s it became clear that this is a very expensive instrument.
There were also mistakes, sometimes very expensive ones.
The same submarine of project 705, which M. Klimov wrote well in the article "Goldfish of Project 705: Mistake or Breakthrough into the XXI Century".
The stake on "a pistol at the temple of imperialism" required not only winning the fight for the first salvo, it needed this salvo to be powerful enough so that no air defense system could repulse it. This raised the question of the number of missiles in the strike, and, consequently, their number on the carriers. And since the missiles were huge, theoretically a situation could arise when they simply would not be enough.
There were a lot of such examples. And they all created vulnerabilities that there was nothing to compensate for.
But for the time being, Gorshkov's successful strategy covered it up.
In the late seventies, however, a turning point was outlined. And on both sides of the ocean.
The Americans, seriously frightened by 1973, made a firm decision to take revenge. And the nation devoted the lion's share of its efforts to this revenge. The Americans hit in two directions.
The first was the creation of the overwhelming technical (and then based on it, qualitative) superiority of their Navy. It was within the framework of this work that Los Angeles-class submarines, Ticonderoga missile cruisers, AEGIS air defense / missile defense system, F-14 interceptors, Mk.41 vertical missile launchers, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and Spruance destroyers appeared. From there grow the roots of American communications systems and automated command and control of forces and assets in the theater of operations. From the same place - and super effective anti-submarine defense.
AEGIS has become a separate issue. Now the Navy needed much more missiles to penetrate the defenses created by ships with this BIUS. And then it meant more speakers. It was not for nothing that a poster was hung on the first ship with this system, the missile cruiser Ticonderoga.
"Get ready, Admiral Gorshkov:" Aegis at sea"
(Stand by adm. Gorshkov: Aegis at sea).
This was really the problem.
Americans at the turn of the 70s and 80s seriously believed that in order to protect their Western capitalist way of life, they would have to fight the atheist communists. And fight seriously. They were preparing precisely for an offensive war, for the last war. And we were preparing really seriously.
But gaining quality superiority was only one side of the coin.
Its second side was the increase in the number of forces.
How to prevent a Soviet strike group from hanging at the tail of each battle group?
Yes, simply - we need to make sure that the Russians do not have enough ships.
And they went for that too.
The first sign was the most massive post-war warship - the frigate of the "Oliver Hazard Perry" class, designed to give the mass necessary for "stumbling" the Russians. Later (already under Reagan) battleships returned to service. There was the question of returning the Oriskani aircraft carrier to service.
More about "Perry" - "The frigate" Perry "as a lesson for Russia: machine-designed, massive and cheap".
Most importantly, the Tomahawks appeared.
The USSR air defense got a chance to intercept such missiles only with the massive appearance of the MiG-31 interceptors and the S-300 air defense missile systems. Before that, there was simply nothing to intercept them. It was necessary to destroy the carriers, but now this required winning large-scale naval battles - the US Navy greatly increased both in quantity and quality.
In addition, the question arose, what to do with the underwater media? To cope with which the USSR could not in any way.
All this was superimposed on the fact that the Americans have invested enormous intellectual resources in tactics, in achieving superiority in the art of war. In the seventies, it was not entirely and not always clear what to do with the tracking of weapons by the USSR Navy.
In the eighties, a well-established standard scheme appeared for this:
“The Worthy, appointed by the direct tracking ship, hung at the aft heading angles of AVMA America - it took 5 days to complete the combat mission.
The task consisted in the continuous issuance of the control center to the command post of the Navy via AVMA, the continuity had a discreteness of 15 minutes, the issuance was in the form of a telegram "rocket" containing information about the place / course / speed of the AVMA and the nature of the order.
Fuel and water were slowly and surely spent - it was time to think about refueling, but in the process of tracking a possible massive takeoff of aviation from AVMA, Worthy went west pretty well, leaving the Dniester at 52 points in the Salum Bay."
“The telegram was being prepared, the gauges paced the map, marking the boundaries of the depletion of fuel supplies, and night fell on the Ionian Sea, scattering an incredible number of stars on the black southern sky.
The silhouettes of the ships of the AVMA order disappeared, navigation lights flashed in their place.
"The drowsy situation on the undercarriage was violated by the signalman's report:" The ships of the warrant turned off the running lights, "and after a while reports from the BIP began to arrive on the rebuilding of the ships of the warrant;, trying to understand what is the meaning of these close encounters. Out of 6 targets, there were five … four … three … Instead of 6 neat marks, one hundred percent identified, three hefty badges stuck out on the radar screens, which, among other things, also began to diverge in different directions, increasing the speed before our eyes!
The team in the PEZH was late for launching the second sustainer, and then afterburners - the distance between us and the blamb, in which, according to our calculations, AVMA was, grew noticeably quickly - 60, 70, 100 cables, - the blamb rushed 28th, no, 30- ty! no 32 nodes! The plaque split into 150 cables, and both components continued to move in different directions. I must say that at such a distance it is impossible to identify the marks on the radar by size, and for which of them to continue moving, while sending telegrams with the coordinates of the symbol of American sea power - God knows …
Nevertheless, four vehicles whistled, the ship's hull was filled with tremors, the speed on the log was approaching 32 knots: "Behind him!" - Zharinov pointed a finger at one of the specks spreading at the limit of radar observability. And we rushed off. Good luck. And they raced all night to make sure in the pre-dawn haze that this was not an AVMA America, but an integrated supply ship - almost as hefty."
The outcome of history should not deceive - the Americans have worked out the gap.
In a combat situation, they really got off the hook, for example, when they hit Libya in 1986.
Schemes that allowed a slower ship to break away from tracking in the afternoon were also.The Americans have brought the skill of their commanders to heights that they themselves cannot achieve today. And, alas, we were not ready for this.
Coupled with superior Western technology, an aggressive willingness to fight and numerical superiority, this made the US Navy an enemy of a completely different level than they were in the 70s.
The most important thing was knocking out of the Navy's arsenal of its most important trump card - the SSBN. It was in the 80s that the Americans reached such a level of development of their anti-submarine forces and submarine, which called the viability of our strategic missile carriers into question. And this seriously devalued the fleet as such, because by that time the protection of the areas where the SSBN was located was one of its main tasks.
In fact, the Americans have brought their combat power and combat readiness to a level that, obviously, told the Soviet leaders that it would be simply useless to resist, if anything. That is, the Americans, preparing to fight exactly, did it in such a way that they demonstrated to the USSR the hopelessness of a military confrontation at sea.
But (an important point) this was not the introduction of a conceptually new strategy.
The American response was extensive - more ships, better equipment and weapons, "pump" tactics to the limit, remove SSBNs to "bastions" in the North Atlantic and the Gulf of Alaska. This, however, was not an ideological revolution in naval affairs.
They decided to win Gorshkov's strategy "head-on" - stupidly investing more resources in everything, and making stricter measures to save them. The Americans could not defeat her "beautifully". They did this by overwhelming the Soviet fleet with mass and suppressing quality at the same time. Without the "mass" it wouldn't have worked.
Americans in the early 1980s showed a spasmodic increase in aggressiveness, driven by their belief in the need to fight communism to the death to save America. And a thirst for revenge for Vietnam and the 70s.
They were ready exactly fight.
Second point. Since the early 1980s, the Reagan administration's Maritime Strategy has also come under the control of intelligence. And detailed information about the moods of those who enter this administration. And the mood there was exactly the military. Today it is generally accepted that Reagan was bluffing, trying to ruin the USSR in the arms race. This is true.
But apart from bluffing, sometime before 1986, when the Americans had a feeling that these communists would soon "fall down," they were really going to wage a nuclear war with its inherent huge losses. And lead her to victory.
Theoretically, at this moment, Gorshkov should have understood a simple thing - the increase in the number of enemy forces would not allow him to act as before. There just won't be enough ships. And the quality gap is too big. And, in addition, the enemy is no longer stopped by the threat of a missile salvo - he is determined to fight. He will take this volley. He will lose hundreds of ships and thousands of people. And then he will continue to fight. And his numerical superiority will provide him with the necessary amount of forces left after the first exchange of blows.
And this meant one simple thing - a strategy that was based on the fact that the enemy does not work with these losses when he is with these losses. Moreover, when he comes to them
In the late 70s and early 80s, the USSR needed a new naval strategy. But her appearance was impossible.
It is impossible because the first, successful one, was used unofficially - well, there was no possibility in the USSR even to pronounce the word “naval strategy”.
It is impossible because the old de facto existing strategy was then successful and it continued to be adhered to by inertia until the very collapse.
Impossible because the industry required an extensive response to American actions - are they building more ships? We should too. And more submarines and more planes.
The military mentality of the Great Patriotic War veterans, who then constituted a significant part of the representatives of the supreme power, also worked. Is the enemy pressing? We accept the fight, we will win as we did then.
As a result, the country entered an arms race with the united West, without even close to having comparable resources. And there was simply no one to assess the long-term consequences of this approach.
In the late seventies and early eighties, the USSR began to give an extensive response to the Americans - new destroyers, new BODs, new submarines, new ballistic missiles. The answer to their every challenge.
Are you a Tomahawk for us? We give you a MiG-31.
Are you AEGIS? We are a series of missile cruisers (two projects at once) and a series of SSGNs, and Tu-22M, and new missiles.
And so at all levels.
The aircraft carrier construction program began, which was delayed by thirty years.
And then there was the introduction of troops into Afghanistan, sanctions and a collapse in oil prices, which dramatically "released the air" from the oil-dependent Soviet economy. The efforts of Gorbachev's reformers finished off both the economy and the country over the next few years.
In the mid-eighties, the USSR found itself in a situation where investments in the Navy (huge) did not help it maintain any kind of parity with the Americans: neither qualitative nor quantitative. Gorshkov's old strategy (so successful in the 70s) turned out to be a bat.
And he did not come up with a new one.
And nobody came up with it.
But in the 70s, the United States also had a numerical superiority. It's just not like that. But there wasn't that overwhelming quality. Then the American superiority was beaten by a competent strategy. In the 80s, the weak USSR, instead of the same unexpected move, made an attempt to play by the rules of a rich and strong opponent.
Since 1986, the Navy has begun to collapse its presence in the world, to reduce the PMTO and bases.
This was due to the fact that the USSR actually began to prepare to repel the Western invasion and pulled forces to its territory. And also the fact that the Americans really put pressure on the sea and very hard. And it was clear that it would not be possible to cope with them using conventional methods.
The economy was staggering, there was not enough money. Combat readiness was falling, ships and submarines were waiting for repairs. And they didn't get it or got fiction.
Gorshkov retired in 1985.
And he died in 1988.
But he saw the end of his creation. End of the Great Fleet.
I wonder if he understood what he was wrong about?
We won't know. But it is our duty to understand this now. Because soon we will also face challenges on the seas. And no one will wait when we collect our thoughts and figure out what to do
Was it possible to create a new, more adequate strategy for the development of the Navy then, in the early 80s?
And the military had a request for change - the scale of the rearmament being deployed by the Americans was obvious, as was the growth of their aggressiveness at sea. But nothing was done. Both the country and its fleet have sunk into oblivion forever.
There is still an opinion that the collapse of the fleet is the nineties. In an extreme case, the times of Gorbachev.
No, it’s not like that.
Everything began to die much earlier.
Here are two stories about the combat service of the same submarine K-258, only one about 1973, and second about 1985… They are short. And they are truly worth reading.
This was the case at all levels.
The mistake was the very attempt to compete numerically with the United States, and not oppose them with a subtle game for which they would not be ready.
And this mistake became irreparable.
We still live on the legacy of the old admiral.
We ensure the inevitability of a retaliatory strike against the United States (in words so far) by submarines - carriers of ballistic missiles. As under Gorshkov.
We keep them in areas we consider protected. Because then they did it.
Our fleet is preparing, if anything, to ensure the deployment of SSBNs by all means, as under Gorshkov. Because we believe in the ability of our missile submarines to stop the enemy with the threat of launching their missiles, as under Gorshkov.
We thoughtlessly copy the decisions of those old times, building submarines with a large number of Yasenei-M anti-ship missiles. Not because that is what is needed now. But because we did it under Gorshkov. And the tactical and technical assignment for the "Ash" was also signed by Gorshkov.
We know that basic strike aircraft are the only way to maneuver between theaters in a defensive naval war. Because then, in those years, we had such aircraft. Now she's gone. But at least we know about what it should be. And about what she gives. Because she was with us and gave it to us under Gorshkov. And then for a while.
We know how to give us an answer to the geographical closure of our exits to the sea - by deploying forces in the ocean in advance. We know this because we had operational squadrons - OPESK. And we remember how it was invented and worked under Gorshkov.
We know that distant foreign naval bases, in our case, are also needed for the defense of their territory. As it was under Gorshkov, when OPESK provided advance deployment of forces in peacetime, and the bases allowed these squadrons to rely on themselves in deployment. We are the opposite of others. And the base in Vietnam will help us defend the Kuriles much better than the base on the Kuriles themselves. As under Gorshkov.
Our fleet is a shred of his fleet.
Still not killed from the past cataclysms. What's left.
He is not just small, he is crippled.
His target designation was "torn off", but tactical schemes were not invented that would make it possible to do without the "Legend", "Success" and dozens of high-speed patrolmen, which can be assigned to the enemy's battle group in peacetime.
He still cannot make up for losses in warships without losing size, tonnage and the capabilities they give.
We patch holes.
By building frigates instead of retiring cruisers, destroyers and APCs. Corvettes with 24-26 nodal speed instead of high-speed SKR capable of keeping up with the nuclear aircraft carrier. And drawing pictures instead of aircraft carrying cruisers.
Yes, our frigates are more powerful than the old cruisers in some respects. But these are still frigates. We build them not because we need them just like that, but simply this is the maximum that we can build.
We don't have a strategy like Gorshkov did. And we build ships just like that. Without her. Some - very good results. Others, however, are so-so.
This fleet has no purpose.
And when there is no goal, then there are no criteria for what is right and what is wrong.
Is it right to build unarmed ships with the last money?
No? And where did you get the idea that not?
True, since 1985 we have learned something new. Now we have cruise missiles and vertical launch systems, like the Americans did under Gorshkov. Thirty years after Gorshkov's resignation, we applied them. But this is still all from completely new things, there is nothing else. They promise hypersound, but it is without a control center. Oh yes, they also tried to fight with an aircraft carrier, it turned out - so-so. But this is not about the aircraft carrier …
What was the success of the Navy under the leadership of S.G. Gorshkov in the 70s?
In the unity of the political goals facing the country, the tasks that the fleet had to solve in order to achieve them, with a strategy corresponding to these tasks and with a technical policy corresponding to this strategy.
Complete unity, which was born in spite of the position of a significant part of the military-political leadership. But in the end it led to a resounding success.
At the same time, the fleet acted offensively - the submarines broke through into the ocean and dispersed there. The missile ships chased the enemy to provide the naval forces with the opportunity to deliver, if necessary, a fatal blow.
Surprisingly, in many ways this became so because Gorshkov himself decided so. And not because of objective circumstances. It is a fact.
What caused the failure of the Navy in the 80s?
An attempt to outplay a stronger opponent extensively without creating a new strategy capable of reducing his superiority in forces to zero, as it did before.
The navy then began to slide towards the defense. Submarines with SLBMs became huge, expensive and few in number. It was no longer possible to arrange "melee" on them in the Atlantic. I had to go under my own shore, into and around protected areas of hostilities. And the enemy seized the initiative.
And we lost.
We lost because Gorshkov could no longer do what he once did.And we did not find a new figure of this level. This is also a fact.
Everything was decided by the strategy in both cases. In one case, it is adequate, and in the other, it is not.
And this is the most important lesson that we can learn from the heritage of S.G. Gorshkov.
We can, but we can't stand it.
Yes, OPESK and preliminary deployment, aviation (as the main striking force) remained with us. And, probably, they will return sometime.
If the Americans, who are going to a new assault on the heights of world domination, do not kill us earlier because of our stupidity.
But the main lesson is different - our strategy, for which the enemy is not ready. Moreover, it also beats our inner weaknesses and vulnerabilities, reducing their significance to zero. But they didn’t understand anything.
This is what we must understand and realize at last. This is the main thing that S.G. Gorshkov by his service and life.
Yes, then in the end he lost.
But first, he showed us all that we can win.
And if we ever again create a strategy for which the enemy is not ready, then it will again give us a chance to win - with all our weaknesses and with all the overwhelming (seemingly) superiority of the enemy. As under Gorshkov.
Will we ever realize all this?