Thomas J. Dougherty
Of some interest, particularly the sections in which Reed's father, William Reed, is involved in setting up the Boresight/Bullseye program during the early years of the Cold War. Some of this work was featured in an appendix in Craig Reed's previous book "Crazy Ivan". Reed's own experiences as a diver aboard SSNs during the 1970-80's are also of interest, and represent first person experience stories. Other parts of the book seem to be derived from other material, such as Huchthausen's "October Fury" for a description of the activities aboard the four Foxtrot SS during the Cuban Missile Crisis. During this section of the book, he has extensive quotations of dialog that supposedly occurred in the submarine some 47+ years ago! He also seems to buy wholesale (page 279) the largely discredited theories around the loss of the Scorpion in 1968, that it was sunk by an Echo II SSGN. The acoustic records rule out this possibility, as detailed in the review by R.B. Rule.
Curiously, he seems to repeat a tale from his earlier "Crazy Ivan" book about photographing the mysterious pod on the stern upper rudder of the Soviet Victor III class SSN. In "Crazy Ivan", he describes swimming over to the Victor III after locking out of his SSN and photographing the pod close up (and almost being spotted by the Victor crew). In that tale, a disastrous collision occurs between his submarine and the Victor III as the latter is getting underway. Upon returning to his submarine, he is trapped in the forward escape trunk after the collision and almost perishes from lack of oxygen. This time around, on pages 309-317, he is about to lock out to go photograph the Victor III when the collision occurs (due to the US submarine maneuvering), and he is again trapped in the escape trunk. This time, the accident occurs before he get a chance to swim over to the Victor III. As I was unsure which version was the correct one, Mr. Reed has kindly indicated in the comments section below that the present book has the correct version.
His Chapter 13 on the Glomar Explorer/ K-129 is just plain wrong! The submarine was not intact with a 10 foot hole, it was in two pieces as can be seen in photos on Michael White's Azorian web site. The target for recovery was the forward section only. The K-129 did not hit the bottom at 200 knots, nothing falls that fast underwater; plus a 200 knot impact would have shattered what was left of the submarine. The "claw" (actually termed the Capture Vehicle, or CV) had 8 beams and davits, not 5; 3 on the starboard side and 5 on the port side. The K-129 itself was resting on its starboard side on the bottom. All of the beams and davits were engaged under the wreck at the time of the lift, not "3 of the 5". Failure of some of the beams caused the partial loss of the wreck. The HMB-1 barge was never at the mid-Pacific recovery site with the Glomar Explorer, its role was to simply act as a place to assemble the CV, and then transfer the CV into the Glomar Explorer. To accomplish this, the barge was towed to shallow waters off of Catalina Island where it submerged, the roof retracted and the CV transferred through the open bottom of the moonpool into the Glomar Explorer by the Explorer's docking leg system. The barge then returned to Redwood City, Ca. There are quite a number of contemporary sources of correct information on the entire operation.
The book is riddled with factual errors, possibly due (as noted by another reviewer) to overuse of the internet as a "source". Some examples: on page 12, the Cubera (SS-347) spots a "Soviet aircraft carrier" in the late 1940s. In fact, the Soviets had no aircraft carriers at that point, nor for some time in the future. On page 20, he describes the Soviet November class (Project 627) SSN as "secretly training for another top secret mission, sneaking close enough to New York harbor to fire a 27 meter long nuclear torpedo". It is true that the original Project 627 plans called for the submarine to have a single huge bow tube (which was also almost 5 feet in diameter!) to fire such a massive, long range T-15 thermonuclear torpedo, but the plans were changed in 1954, and the class built with eight conventional 21 inch diameter bow tubes. Hey, you can't cram a 27 meter (actually, the plan was for 23.5 meter length; but that's still about 75 feet long) torpedo with a 5 foot diameter into a standard tube!
Next page (21) we are told that the "several Zulu and Golf class boats could now hurl 3,200 ton nuclear warheads at the United States from over a thousand miles away". Well first, the warheads didn't weigh 3,200 tons-the entire submarine and missiles didn't displace 3,200 tons. Second, the earlier R-13 missile had a range of roughly 325 nm, and the later R-21 (carried by the Golf II class) had a range of 750 nm (even the internet has that right!). On page 62, we learn about John Arnold, who "had previously served aboard the USS Scorpion (SS-278), a diesel boat that almost collided with a Soviet November class nuclear submarine". Great, except Scorpion (SS-278) was sunk in early 1944 with all hands on her fourth war patrol. Reed also lists the torpedo warheads on the Foxtrot submarines during the Cuban Missile crisis as "15 megaton". In fact, the only Soviet nuclear torpedo of that era, the T-5 torpedo, had a ten kiloton yield. A 15 megaton fusion device would still be quite large (especially in 1962!), requiring considerable amounts of lithium deuteride and would not remotely even fit inside the limited diameter of a torpedo. I could go on, but you get the idea. Clearly he needed someone to do some serious fact checking for his manuscript!