The killer ‘Whale’: the first Soviet nuclear submarine travels through Russian streets before being turned into a museum in St. Petersburg
- The K-3 Leninsky Komsomol, built in 1957, was the communist country’s first-ever nuclear submarine
- The 352ft ship will now become a museum in Kronstadt near St. Petersburg
- A fire broke out on the submarine in 1967, killing 39 of the crew, and the submarine was withdrawn from service in 1988
A 3,000-ton nuclear submarine from the heyday of the Soviet Union has paraded through the streets of Russia.
The K-3 Leninsky Komsomol, built in 1957, was the communist country’s first-ever nuclear submarine.
The 352ft vessel named ‘The Whale’ will now be a museum in Kronstadt near St Petersburg.
A 3,000-ton nuclear submarine from the Soviet Union’s heyday has paraded through the streets of Russia
The bow of the Soviet submarine K-3 “Leninsky Komsomol” is transported through a platform along the street from the pier to the museum where it will be assembled
It was the Soviet Union’s first nuclear submarine, built in 1957 and located in the Northern Fleet of the Soviet Navy in the Murmansk region
It was transported through the city yesterday to the assembly point where it will be put on display for visitors to inspect closely.
The radioactive reactors were removed and the hull repaired while in dry dock at the Nerpa shipyard.
K-3 was prototyped in wood and built in Molotovsk before being sent to sea for the first time in 1957.
It was commissioned the following year as part of the Soviet Navy’s Northern Fleet.
In 1962, the ship became the first Soviet submarine to reach the North Pole underwater, four years after the USS Nautilus.
It then surfaced on the Pole, which came three years after the USS Skate.
It was transported through the city yesterday to the assembly point where it will be exhibited for visitors to inspect it closely
The radioactive reactors were removed and the hull repaired while in dry dock at the Nerpa shipyard
Captain Lev Zhiltsov was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union for the mission, the highest award in the USSR.
At the height of the Cold War, the K-3 was tasked with tracking an American submarine with ballistic missiles.
With the specter of nuclear war now looming large as a result of Putin’s brutality in Ukraine, the submarine is a sobering reminder of how close the world came to atomic destruction last century.
In 1967 a fire broke out in the hydraulic system while sailing on the Norwegian Sea.
Crew members had to evacuate the compartment and flames soon spread to other parts of the submarine.
The carbon dioxide emitted by the automatic extinguishers suffocated the crew members trapped in the first and second compartments.
In 1967, 39 K-3 crew members died in bow compartments in a fire on board while crossing the Norwegian Sea.
The K-3 Leninsky Komsomol, built in 1957, was the communist country’s first-ever nuclear submarine
A connecting door to a third compartment was then opened, causing the gas to leak and more people to pass out.
When the submarine returned to base, 39 crew members were found to have died in the disaster.
An initial investigation revealed that an explosive concentration of hydraulic oil started the fire and the crew was commended for their response.
Seven of them were nominated for the Hero of the Soviet Union award, four of them posthumously.
But a subsequent probe found a cigarette lighter and the position of a sailor’s body suggested the fire had been started from smoking.
All possible awards were subsequently dropped.
The submarine was repaired and returned to service before retiring in 1988 after 30 years of service.
It was moved to the Nerpa Shipyard in 2005 for renovation and the museum is set to open next year.