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Charting the Siberian continental shelf during the height of the Cold War
This book tells the story of the brave officers and men of the nuclear attack submarine USS Queenfish (SSN-651), who made the first survey of an extremely important and remote region of the Artic Ocean. The unpredictability of deep-draft sea ice, shallow water, and possible Soviet discovery, all played a dramatic part in this fascinating 1970 voyage.
Covering 3100 miles over a period of some 20 days at a laborious average speed of 6.5 knots or less, the attack submarine carefully threaded its way through innumerable underwater canyons of ice and over irregular seafloors, at one point becoming entrapped in an "ice garage." Only cool thinking and skillful maneuvering of the nearly 5,000-ton vessel enabled a successful exit. The most hazardous phase of the journey began 240 nautical miles south of the North Pole with a detailed hydrographic survey of an almost totally uncharted Siberian shelf, from the northwestern corner of the heavily glaciated Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago to the Bering Strait via the shallow, thickly-ice-covered Laptev, East Siberian, and Chukchi seas.
The skipper of the Queenfish had been trained and selected by Admiral Hyman Rickover and, inspired by this polar experience, McLaren became one of the world’s foremost Arctic scientists, studying first at Cambridge University and then obtaining his doctorate in physical geography of the Polar Regions from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
|Publisher:||University of Alabama Press|
|Edition description:||1st Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Alfred S. McLaren is a retired U.S. Navy Captain, recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal and two Legions of Merit, President Emeritus of The Explorers Club, Senior Pilot of the SAS Aviator submersible, and Director of Sub Aviator Systems, Redondo Beach, California. He and his wife reside in the mountains above Boulder, Colorado.
William R. Anderson was skipper of USS Nautilus (SSN-571) during that vessel’s 1958 achievement of the North Pole and historic Pacific to Atlantic crossing of the Arctic Ocean. He was subsequently awarded the Legion of Merit by President Eisenhower and, following his retirement from the Navy, elected to the U.S. Congress from Tennessee for four terms. He died in 2007 and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
Table of ContentsList of Illustrations ix
Foreword Captain William R. Anderson xiii
Man Overboard! 1
Becoming a Submarine Officer 5
The Advent of the True Arctic Submarine 12
Construction and Commissioning of USS Queenfish (SSN-651) 22
The First Arctic Test of Queenfish: The Davis Strait Marginal Sea-Ice Operation 32
Prospective Commanding Officer Training for Submarine Command 37
Taking Command of Queenfish 45
Mission Underway: En Route to the Arctic at Last 48
A Brief on the Arctic Ocean and Siberian Continental Shelf 60
Through the Bering Strait and into the Chukchi Sea 68
First Surfacings in the Arctic Ocean: En Route to the Geographic North Pole 88
Exploring the Nansen Cordillera for Volcanic Activity 113
The Northeast Passage and the Development of the Northern Sea Route 117
To Severnaya Zemlya and the Beginning of the Shelf Survey 123
The East Coast of Severnaya Zemlya and the Vilkitsky Strait 132
Alteration of the Survey Plan in the Shallow Laptev Sea 145
Northward around the New Siberian Islands 157
The Even Shallower East Siberian Sea 170
Return to Survey the Northwestern Chukchi Sea 181
Nome and the Long Journey Home 191