Underground boat: surprise attack on the enemy

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Underground boat: surprise attack on the enemy
Underground boat: surprise attack on the enemy

Everyone has heard about submarines, and everyone knows them well. But not everyone knows about underground boats. But such projects existed in real life. Yes, and in the future they may return, although not a fact.

Underground boat

The concept of an underground boat may sound strange. But if you think about it, there is nothing fundamentally new in it. Underground warfare as such has been known to us since antiquity. If we talk about mass culture, then here, perhaps, the most famous underground warriors were the so-called. "Tunnel rats" - American, Australian and New Zealand units used to operate in tunnels dug by the Vietnamese communists.

Of course, the soldiers did not have any "serious" underground vehicles. Their equipment was most often limited to a pistol or revolver, a flashlight, a portable radio station and a gas mask (if they were lucky). The work was very difficult and dangerous: it should be said that in addition to darkness and confined space, the fighters were awaited by ingenious traps left by the partisans.

Underground monster

What prevents the creation of an underground machine that can conduct hostilities? That is, like a submarine, hide in the depths and deliver blows from where they did not expect. The main obstacle on this path is simply the gigantic required power (it is very, very difficult to destroy rocks). Found a power source? Good. How to be with speed? In any case, it will not be possible to move quickly underground, and the enemy will not wait for X hour. It makes no sense to talk about safety either. On the way, there may be an underground lake and many other unpleasant surprises.


Metro builders solve such issues in a complex way: tunneling shields not only dig, but also strengthen the tunnel with special blocks using a mechanical arm (this is partly due to its low speed of passage). When the block is installed, the jacks of the shield rest against it, and the huge car moves on. Well, if you have to work at great depths and the soil is very dense, they are often content with only manual labor: jackhammers and other simple tools are used. In this case, the speed of passage is measured only by tens of meters per month. And that is not always the case. That is, if any important mechanism of the underground combat boat fails, no one can help her. Behind there will be no fortified tunnel and no workers with jackhammers. This means that the crew will have no chance of survival at all. Unless the machine will be at a depth of extremely shallow and it can literally be pulled out of the ground.

In order to bring down the enemy walls, even in antiquity, they actively used tunnels. And the Persian king Darius I penetrated in 520 BC. NS. into the Greek Chalcedonia, leading a tunnel to the market square. But these were "flowers": the appearance of gunpowder became a real start in life for the underground war. One of the most striking examples is the capture of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible. According to sources, 48 ​​powder barrels were used for the explosion under the fortress walls.

There are many problems that are called fundamental. Especially when it comes to a long autonomous hike. How, for example, to supply an underground boat with breathing air? On a nuclear submarine, it is produced by electrolysis of seawater. With the help of it, the reactor is cooled. In the case of a subterrine, it is simply impossible to do this: you will have to look for some original methods.

Germans. From theory to … theory

It is even strange that underground combat vehicles have begun to be created. Taking into account all the difficulties. Here, the Soviet subway, designed by A.Treblev, A. Kirilov and A. Baskin. But this is an industrial machine that they wanted to use, in particular, for the search for minerals. That is, not a combat subterrine (although such projects were also in the USSR, we will talk about this later).


The Germans can be considered the pioneers in the creation of underground combat boats. A patent for such an invention was registered in 1933 by the German inventor Horner von Werner. The underground vehicle was supposed to have a speed of up to 7 km / h and a crew of 5 people. He could carry a warhead of 300 kg. At the same time, the device could move both underground and under water. All this could come in handy in the implementation of sabotage actions. At the same time, a full-scale underground attack on a powerful power, of course, in principle was not possible. This scenario remains the lot of science fiction writers, not military theorists.

Remembered von Werner's idea in 1940. As we know, the English Channel separates the UK and France. Without domination at sea, the Nazis could not even think of a landing in Great Britain, but they did not want to leave such a dangerous enemy "at hand" either. And here an underground boat could be useful for sabotage. Perhaps Horner von Werner's project would have received a start in life, but the Reich Minister of Aviation of Germany Hermann Goering intervened in the matter. It was he who convinced the Nazi leadership that the military pilots could defeat the British Air Force, which would allow the Germans to ultimately establish full control over the English Channel. This, as we know, did not happen, but they did not "resurrect" the project either: soon the Nazis had other, more important reasons for concern.

The idea of ​​“mechanizing” underground warfare is also not new. "Driving shield" - this is how the movable prefabricated metal structure is called, which ensures the safe conduct of a mine working and the construction of a permanent lining in it. It is believed that Mark Brunel was the first to use such a mechanism in 1825 during the construction of a tunnel under the Thames. Now tunneling shields are actively used in the metro building. The length of one "worm" can be 80 meters, and the mass - more than 300 tons. The speed of the car reaches 10 cm / min, so it can travel up to 300 m in one month.

In the 30s, by the way, another interesting German project appeared - Midgard Schlange (German). His father is an inventor named Ritter. The project was much more ambitious than von Werner's idea. And the requirements for him were completely different. As in the first case, the device had to move both underground and under water: in the latter case, the immersion depth could reach 100 m. The boat consisted of cells and was somewhat like a train. Its length could be 524 m (there were different versions), and its weight was 60 thousand tons. For comparison, the largest nuclear-powered submarines - Russian Project 941 Akula submarines - have a length of just over 170 m. In other words, the Midgard Serpent could go down in history not only as the largest underground, but also as the longest submarine in the world.


The design of the apparatus was more than interesting. Ahead they wanted to install a drill head with four drills with a diameter of 1.5 m. They were driven by nine electric motors with a total capacity of 9 thousand liters. with. Also, the device had caterpillars, driven by fourteen electric motors with a total capacity of 19.8 thousand liters. with. to move on the ground. The electric current required for the operation of the engines was generated by four diesel electric generators. Under water, the car was supposed to move with the help of twelve pairs of rudders and twelve additional engines with a total capacity of 3 thousand liters. with.

"Serpent" could carry solid weapons: 250-kg and 10-kg mines and twelve coaxial machine guns. In addition, an underground six-meter Fafnir torpedo, Mjolnir rock blasting shells, an Alberich reconnaissance torpedo with microphones and an Alberich periscope, and a Layrin rescue vehicle were developed. In total, 30 crew members were supposed to serve on board the boat. For their convenience, it was planned to place an electric kitchen, a bedroom with 20 beds, three repair shops and much more on board. According to the project, on the ground, the boat could move at a speed of up to 30 km / h.Underground, of course, the speed was less: 10 km / h in soft and 2 km / h in rocky ground. The speed was also low under water - 3 km / h.

According to the ideologists of the project, the boat could by itself decide the outcome of the war, hitting vital enemy targets (for example, ports). In total, by the way, they wanted to build 20 Midgard Schlange. Given the complexity of the design, they could cost more than the notorious German battleships. The military also understood this. As you might guess, many experts recognized the project as unrealizable, and in the mid-30s it was sent to Ritter for revision. What happened next is not known for certain. Already after the Second World War, adits and the remains of an exploded structure were found near Konigsberg (now Kaliningrad), which could have been related to Ritter's project.

An underwater boat can be considered the embodiment of an underground boat in real life. Submarines terrified sailors during the First and Second World Wars. And in the first and in the second case, at the very least, they learned to fight with them. This did not reduce the effectiveness of submarines to nothing, but only gave rise to a new round of military-technical rivalry, now between the USSR and the States. In general, during the years of the Cold War, the most incredible ideas could find their embodiment, fortunately, funding allowed it.

Now it is not possible to confirm or deny this. The fact is that by the end of the war in the minds of the leaders of the Third Reich, seized by military-technical escapism, the most incredible ideas wandered, against which the famous Me-262 jet fighter seemed like an unremarkable "bird". Perhaps one of the "wunderwaffe" or "miracle weapons" could be a man-made underground serpent. Judging by the fact, none of the aforementioned German projects ever got a start in life. There were a great many reasons for this, in addition to those already stated at the beginning of the article. Starting from the successes at the beginning of the war (because of which they did not want to spend money on such things) and ending with a lack of resources in the years when Germany was defeated.

"Aliens" against the USSR

After the end of the war, German development was not forgotten, because a new war arose on the threshold - this time between the USA and the USSR. The Union became interested in the ideas of the Germans, especially since the Americans initially had much more advanced means of delivering nuclear weapons than our state.

Perhaps, it is from here that rumors about the now Soviet "miracle weapon" originate - the unique underground combat vehicle "Battle Mole", which was allegedly not only developed, but also built. M. and V. Kozyrevs recall the tests of the combat apparatus in the book "Special Weapons of the Second World War": the tests were allegedly carried out in 1964. The underground boat "Battle Mole" recalls in his work "USSR vs Germany. In pursuit of superweapons "V. Kryuchkov. In addition, a number of media outlets mention this development, for example, "Rossiyskaya Gazeta" - the official publication of the Government of the Russian Federation.


According to reports, the strange German mechanism was found by Beria's agents, after which it was analyzed by an engineering team. They also remembered Trebelev's work. Nikita Khrushchev is called the father-ideologist of the Soviet underground boat. Kryuchkov says that the Soviet machine "Fighting Mole" was built in the first half of the 60s in Ukraine near the village of Gromovka (Crimea region). She received a nuclear power plant that allowed her to move at a speed of 7 km / h. The length of the apparatus was 35 m, and the crew was 5 people. In addition, the "mole" could carry fifteen airborne troops and one ton of explosives. All this was needed to destroy the underground bunkers and missile silos of the Western Allies. To be more precise, the machine was supposed to covertly penetrate under the territory of California and lay nuclear charges under strategic objects. The actions of the "Battle Mole" could be mistaken for an earthquake, which would have given trump cards in the hands of the USSR.

According to reports, Andrei Sakharov himself had a hand in the creation of the machine.Among other things, engineers have created an original technology for crushing soil and a propulsion system. A kind of "cavitation flow" was created around the body of the combat vehicle, reducing the friction force and allowing it to successfully pass even through granites and basalts. … During the first cycle of tests, an underground boat made a passage from one side of the mountain to another at low speed.


But the second test cycle ended with a mysterious explosion and the death of the boat and the entire crew, including its commander, Colonel Semyon Budnikov. All this was allegedly classified, and the car was forgotten, which was also facilitated by the change of power in the USSR: with the arrival of Leonid Brezhnev, many of Khrushchev's projects were really forgotten.

Most surprising of all, some well-respected sources seriously associate the hypothetical death of a hypothetical Soviet underground boat with the intrigues of an even more hypothetical extraterrestrial civilization. To be more precise, civilization is just terrestrial, only it exists, as some suggest, under the surface of the Earth. We do not dare to seriously consider this frankly fantastic version, especially since the "Battle Mole" could have perished for a variety of reasons, and sabotage of intelligent beings unknown to us is obviously not dominant.

To put it bluntly, this is another example of the notorious "urban legend", and finding the truth in such a situation is not easy. Where did the information about the underground combat boat come from? Perhaps the prototype of history was the real creation in the USSR of an underground rocket projectile - a device for high-speed drilling in soils and rocks at a speed of up to 1 m / s using jet jets.


One of the most realistic prototypes of underground boats was the British Nellie. It was created to dig deep trenches on the front lines during the Second World War. Through these trenches, infantry and light tanks were supposed to safely cross neutral zones and penetrate enemy positions. The fall of France in 1940 stalled the implementation of the program. The new experience of the military suggested that there would be no trench warfare in the spirit of the First World War, and in 1943 the project was closed.

This is, in general, a slightly different topic that requires separate consideration. The missile did not carry an assault force or nuclear weapons. It was developed in the late 40s and built in 1968. It was a cylinder filled with solid fuel: in the bow there were Laval nozzles arranged in several tiers. The underground rocket was installed with its nose down. A supersonic jet of incandescent gases, escaping from downward-directed nozzles under pressure up to 2000 atmospheres, destroyed the soil under the cylinder, and due to the middle-tier nozzles directed sideways, the well expanded. By the end of the 60s, Soviet engineers already had successful tests behind their backs: they began to talk about a revolution in the field of well drilling. There were, however, disadvantages: it turned out to be difficult to control the projectile, so in the future several new, more advanced versions were created.

At the turn of the century

In the modern world, the concept of an underground combat boat has not found its embodiment (although, of course, we may not know about something due to secrecy). It is also worth noting that while the United States and a number of other developed countries give priority to the creation of modern tactical weapons, and the underground boat is, rather, a strategic weapon. That is, it is the embodiment of the aspirations of the Cold War era, when the inconspicuous delivery of nuclear weapons to the enemy was the pinnacle of hopes of the military from the capitalist or socialist camp. In modern local conflicts (Iraq, Syria), it could hardly be useful. Is that in the context of counter-guerrilla warfare for the destruction of tunnels.But there are also cheaper methods that do not require the creation of a cumbersome controllable colossus.

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