68 Year Ago, the USS COCHINO (SS 343) Was Lost While Attempting to Snorkel in State 4 Seas
We know exactly why the USS COCHINO was lost because the entire crew – less one – survived; saved by the accompanying USS TUSK (SS 426), which lost six men in the rescue effort.
On 25 August 1949, the COCHINO was snorkeling in the Barents Sea in a state 4 sea. Washover intermittently closed the snorkel mast head-valve interrupting ventilation of the boat needed to keep hydrogen generated during a battery charge from reaching the explosive level of four-percent which it did with disastrous results. Multiple explosions with resulting fires occurred, initially at 0801Z with a ”massive explosion” at 0836Z. See link for details.
As previously discussed in several postings on this site – most recently on 3 Aug 17 – the GOLF II Class Soviet SSB K-129 was lost under identical circumstances – attempting to snorkel in massive seas - for the same reason: battery (hydrogen) explosions that occurred at 11:58:58Z, 11:59:43Z and 11:59:47Z on 11 March 1968 with the second event massive.
Although how the battery events were involved in the following ignition of two R21/D4 missiles - which burned to fuel exhaustion within the pressure-hull - cannot be determined from the acoustic data, we do know the initiating events that caused the loss of the K-129 were hydrogen (battery) explosions. The amplitude of the second event – detected at ranges in excess of 1000 nautical mies - indicates the K-129 would have been lost even if the missiles had not ignited.
Re: 68 Year Ago, the USS COCHINO (SS 343) Was Lost While Attempting to Snorkel in State 4 Seas
Mr. Rule, did a bit of searching on this subject and came across several accounts of the incident. In one of the accounts, a LCDR George C. Cook of the USS Tusk was noted as receiving a medal for Life Saving during the rescue. Is this the same George C. Cook who was Commander Oceanographic System Pacific (COSP) in the 1967-68 timeframe? I would note that Capt. Cook, as an Ensign, was awarded the Navy Cross during WW II for actions that resulted in the rescue of Australian Airmen from eminent capture by Japanese forces. Truly a member of the Greatest Generation.