Combat Capability [42%], Role and Missions, Structure of the Navy, in-service ships, surface ships, submarines, chronology.
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Anchors away...Digressions notwithstanding, sooner or later we’d end up at sea. And as soon as we were there we’d immediately proceed to the first order of business: studying the ship’s equipment.
Leave it to Russian submariners to wait until they’re already at sea to start studying the thing they’re sailing on!
But that’s exactly what happens: everybody receives a checklist and all of a sudden the whole crew starts going over the boat’s equipment, moving from compartment to compartment as if in the Louvre, looking for this or that valve. The boat’s already sailing and there we are just starting to explore it! Well, what other choice do we have? In our navy the only time you can study a ship’s hardware is when you’re miles away from home. At home, nobody will let you do any studying. Instead, they’ll think of countless other distractions: shoveling snow, or digging ditches, or standing an astronomical amount of watches.
But just watch what happens if a sub sinks. If a sub sinks the country will be immediately divided into two parts: the first part, the one that thought up all the watches and snow and ditches, will be silent - while the other will begin a grueling interrogation of the survivors in an attempt to find the guilty party.
It’s timeless. And inevitable. You can’t change it. Of course there have been people who’ve tried, but some things are just too timeless and inevitable.
And besides: we’re used to studying this way. We’re so used to it, in fact, that even if you freed us from all the digging and shoveling and standing watch, and even if you gave us the chance to study on shore, we’d just sit down and do nothing, we’d just sit there looking off into the distance, telling the world to kiss our collective ass and waiting for the next trip to sea so that we could begin the studying process for real.
And I was no exception: as soon as we were at sea I received my own checklist and began studying it carefully and unexceptionally. I studied it over and over until the blindfold had been lifted from my eyes and every last pipe was as familiar and friendly as an old family friend.
For a long time after I passed my qualifying tests, I couldn’t shake the thought that with the slightest nudge, with the lightest jab of a finger into the side of our sub, the whole contraption would just slip helplessly and silently into the depths.
I mean, of course we’re going to fight to the last...don’t get me wrong: we’ll run from compartment to compartment sealing ourselves in, we’ll send in compressed air and rise to the surface, we’ll do all of that good stuff and more....but it’s still going to sink in the end - if not this time, then at some later, even more surprising, date.
I don’t know why it is...but after you take your qualifying exams on the ship’s hardware these thoughts tend to follow you in an especially relentless way. Sure, the impression fades over time, but in the beginning all this knowledge can simply curdle your blood.
But hey enough about this. That’s the last time I’m going to refer to the fact that a submarine can sink. I’ve mentioned this fact a few times already, but I was just mentioning it so as not to mention it any more.
And besides, we don’t sink nearly as often as we might.
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