Sherry Sontag;Christopher Drew

Free Sherry Sontag;Christopher Drew by Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story Of American Submarine Espionage

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Authors: Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story Of American Submarine Espionage
get fresh air. They had to send a message for help. They had to alter the status quo or die.
"We're going to come up," Bessac announced in the control room. "As soon as we hit, start to snorkel."

As Gudgeon came up, some of the men tried to run the hydraulics that would raise the radio antenna. The antenna wouldn't budge. It should have shot up with a bang. But all they could hear was one bump, then another. As soon as Gudgeon's snorkel broached the surface, the men started the engines. The sub took one gulp, then another.
Then one of the ships made its move, came roaring right at Gudgeon as if to ram her, or at least to force her down. The Soviets weren't finished with the sub. They weren't going to let her men get air, and they certainly weren't going to let them yell for help.
Someone hit the collision alarm, and Bessac gave the order to dive. The engines were shut down, and Gudgeon was back under. The crew hadn't been able to send an SOS. The air was just as bad as before.
Bessac ordered Gudgeon down to about 400 feet while he pondered his next move. He consulted with Coppedge, who talked to the engineering officer about the state of the batteries and with Doc Huntley, the corpsman, about the status of the air and crew. Bessac had few choices. It was obvious that his men couldn't survive much longer. The batteries might last another eight hours or so if the sub didn't move much, but that wasn't going to accomplish anything. The old man knew he didn't have the power to outrun his tormentors.
Within moments, the decision was made. Gudgeon was going to try to snorkel again, and she would probably have to surface. But one thing would not happen. She would not be boarded; she would not be taken. The captain and the crew would die first. Not a single man on board objected.
Bessac ordered all the torpedo doors opened. He knew the Soviets would be able to hear them, and he wanted to show that the Americans meant business. Then, some of the officers were handed pistols, including Doc Huntley, who went around the boat waving his .45, saying it was his job to shoot the spooks if the Soviets tried to board. "You could take a green pill, or I could shoot you," he told one spook. Doc had always been a little different.
Doc probably wasn't authorized to go around touting his death's head mask. Maybe, the crew mused, he never should have been issued a gun. But he had the .45, and for the moment the spooks were more afraid of Doc than they were of the Soviets.
Meanwhile, the spooks and the men in the radio shack across the control room, anyone who handled any codes or other sensitive papers, began loading them into leather bags that were speckled with holes and weighted down with lead. Some documents were destroyed outright. If the Soviets tried to board, those bags would go out the upper hatch and down to the bottom of the Sea of Japan.

This was the moment that no submariner wants to experience, and it was one of the worst moments any captain could face. It was also a moment that was unavoidable. Maybe Gudgeon would have gotten away if she had been able to go deeper, if that garbage ejector door hadn't jammed. Whatever the reasons, Bessac had been beaten.
Dejected, he gave the order to rise.
Bessac wanted to get a message out to the U.S. base in Japan. But on the way up, the radio mast jammed again. As soon as the snorkel hit the surface, Bessac gave the order and all three of Gudgeon's engines came on line, shooting exhaust fumes into the sub's fouled atmosphere as well as outside. Nobody cared about the exhaust now, not as long as the snorkel kept sucking in fresh air and venting out the worst of the poisons the men had been breathing.
The sub was at periscope depth now, and it was clear that the Soviet ships were hanging back. But for how long?
A minute passed, then two. Then five. The men still hadn't been able to send the message. But Gudgeon was taking in air, shooting out exhaust. The men wondered whether their CO would go

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