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On this date in naval history… January 27, 1961…

The Soviet submarine S-80 sinks with all hands lost.

Whiskey Twin Cylinder submarine - S-80

S-80 (NATO designation ‘Whiskey Class’) was a diesel-electric submarine of the Soviet Navy.   Built at the Krasnoye Sormovo shipbuilding factory in Nizhny Novgorod, she was launched on 21 October 1950.  After trials, she was commissioned into the Northern Fleet on 2 December 1952.

View of Nizhny Novgorod - attributed to Wiki user Vmenkhov

WWII era products of local factories - T-34 tank - guns - on display in Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin - attributed to Wiki user Vladimir Menkov

During the night of 26 January 1961, S-80 was operating in the Barents Sea at snorkel depth, on her diesel engines. When the boat dropped to snorkel depth, an automatic valve failed to close (due to icing up) and S-80 began taking on seawater.  The diesel engines failed as seawater flooded their air intakes, and the boat sank to the ocean floor, 196 m below the surface of the Barents Sea.

Pressure at that depth crushed several compartments, killing most of the crew immediately.  Those surviving in un-flooded aft compartments later perished when escape attempts failed.  Their fate remained unknown for seven and a half years.

On 23 June 1968, the wreck of S-80 was discovered and she was subsequently raised (a special recovery ship – Carpathia – was built for the recovery of S-80)  and brought to Zavalishin Harbor, where an appointed commission was tasked with determining the cause of S-80’s sinking.  In late 1969, the commission’s findings were that equipment failure and crew errors had caused the sinking and subsequent loss of life of the entire crew of S-80… 68 officers and men.


Other Whiskey Class submarines –

Project 613 Whiskey Class submarine flying Polish flag

Russian Whiskey Class submarine 359

U-194 Russian Whiskey Class submarine

Russian Whiskey Class submarine - Type 613

Whiskey Class submarine at sea

Whiskey Class submarines - derelicts

Whiskey Class Submarine-Yankee Project

Whisky Class submarine S-189, sister-ship of S-178-attributed to photographer Andrew Butko

Whiskey Twin Cylinder submarine

(Except where noted in the captions, photographs are in the public domain.  Attributions to specific individuals implies no endorsement or connection between them and the author of this blog. vmls)

Visit these Wikipedia pages for more information –


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