RE: MOVIE REVIEW: K19: The Widowmaker

Subject: RE: MOVIE REVIEW: K19: The Widowmaker
From: "whitedh" <whitedh -at- attbi -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2002 21:35:01 -0400


<Immediately the audience is made aware of the improper use of technical

documentation. On a first voyage, nobody onboard looks at any of the
manuals.>

Soviet policy limited the propagation and dissemination of technical
documentation to an extremely narrow audience. They did this because
they very seriously implemented strong, stifling 'need-to-know' rules to
prevent the accidental or deliberate loss of classified information to
potential enemies. Every foreigner and foreign nation was a potential
enemy.

Another factor that influenced the depth of detail present in manuals
distributed to individual commands was the education of the majority of
the crew or command. The majority of Soviet service men were conscripted
for two- or three-year tours of duty. Most had some equivalent
high-school experience; a lot did not. Soviet submarine commanders
relied upon warrant officers (Michmani) and junior officers to do the
job an enlisted Petty Officer or Chief does in a western Navy. The
technical manuals they used were written accordingly.

I do not write or claim that the average Soviet sailor, enlisted or
officer, was illiterate, incompetent, or unprofessional. The Soviet
government, especially between the 1950s and 1970s, pushed out platforms
to 'keep up' with or appear to exceed the capabilities of western ships
and submarines. The first November-class nuclear-powered fast attack
submarine used a reactor design that leaked primary coolant, which is by
definition the most highly irradiated substance on the ship save for the
fissionable material itself, through the channels used by the control
rods. Sailors went into the reactor tunnels wearing rubber galoshes and
used common mops and buckets to soak up and remove that water. (This was
related by the retired first commander of that boat in an interview for
The Discovery Channel.)

Those men performed heroic acts routinely because they were not provided
with better, safer means and methods. They were intelligent and creative
in their service and they kept their boats at sea, ready to do their
jobs if needed. They served their country with honor.

Sovershenno uverenno.

Don White
804.795.2914
whitedh -at- attbi -dot- com




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References:
MOVIE REVIEW: K19: The Widowmaker: From: Matthew Nankin

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