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Tom Briggs | all galleries >> Galleries >> Military Items of Interest > The US Aircraft Carrier Nimitz as seen from a Russian Nuclear Submarine
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1974

The US Aircraft Carrier Nimitz as seen from a Russian Nuclear Submarine

Atlantic Ocean

... photo was taken in 1974 through the periscope of a Russian nuclear submarine in the Atlantic Ocean during the peak of the Cold War. Note the cross hairs on the periscope. The photo was presented to me during a recent visit to St Petersburg, Russia, by the sub's Navigator, Commander Pavel Borodulkin. He stated that soon after the photo was taken, the US Navy Destroyers escorting the carriers raced at him and they crash-dived. As most of you may recall, this was a dangerous cat-and-mouse game that was played at sea by both countries for a number of years.

NOTE: See the following comment from Commander Borodulkin which corrects and enlarges the scene above: Pavel Borodulkin pavel-borodulkin@yandex.ru private | delete 18-Feb-2009 10:06
Dear Tom! I looked your information with great interest.Thanks that photo I took many years ago used optical system of periscope is in central place in your exposition. But I want to say about small inaccuracy. Some words about those events.
It was 1974. Soviet airplane IL-38 found American aircraft carrier Nimitz with two escort ships near eastern coast. This were atomic guided missile frigats- S.Carolina and California. We have got the order- search this detachment and be ready to the next events (as you know it was a cold war). We made that and this photo is a small part of job only. 3 days we convoied Nimitz. After this we was changed by Soviet frigat "Admiral Nakhimov". There was a big storm ( you can see a quality of the card).Two sailors in our submarin have got "marin disease" at a depth 40 metres. We thought about American crew. They are very hard. And we did not worry to be finded. American sonar worked always like "search" and not like "convoy". So our stealth was high.
We respected our opponents (then- possible enemy) and carried out all rules the game. That is all. Tom, thank you for the memory medal. I am very glad our common job in S.Petersburg. Sorry my English. My best wishes. Pavel Borodulkin.
P.S. Don`t correct text in your site. Let`s Americans be sure- they are stronger!

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Don Mackay 12-Dec-2018 10:00
Great stuff, as a former sub mariner during the peak of the cold War, I can relate to your experience,serving aboard the fast attack uss Drum, the number of patrols and incursions into hostile bodies of water literally in the back yard of the soviet union's seaports were nothing short of a Clancy novel come to real life.
Matthew Schreck 05-Jul-2018 02:16
The view of the carrier is off the starboard rear quarter of the ship. That's why you
The island looks like it is near the center because the ship is viewed from a angle.
It is definitely a aircraft carrier.
Pat bailey 08-May-2018 01:04
Looks like Forrestal class not Nimitz
Darryl Spates 03-May-2018 20:12
Having served on board two attack submarines and one boomer, I'm pretty sure without a doubt that's an American aircraft carrier. As for which carrier I'm not sure but it's definitely American.
Guest 03-May-2018 17:15
As a sonar operator on a Naval surface ship U.S.S.McCandless FFG-1084 I never forgot about submarines.Seek search and destroy
Jeff 03-May-2018 11:43
It could be an old LHA...like the New Orleans...which have long since been decommissioned. Definitely not a supercarrier by any stretch of the imagination.
Jeff 03-May-2018 11:40
This is not a picture of a nuclear aircraft carrier. In fact, it doesn’t look like an aircraft carrier at all (at least to American standards). It’s too high up in the water for it’s length. That means this picture is far more likely a picture of an LHD (Marine (amphibious) carrier). It’s simply not long enough in relation to it’s height above the water. A Nimitz class carrier would appear considerably lower and much longer in the water.
Bill Streifer 01-Sep-2017 06:52
I heard the Nimitz wasn't in service until 1975, so it's not the Nimitz. Which aircraft carrier could it be? The Enterprise?
Dick 23-Jul-2016 21:29
The island is way to for forward to be a Nimitz class. I worked on them for 5 years.
roger goller 19-Jun-2016 12:17
The Island appears too centrally located to be the USS Nimitz or any other Nimitz class carrier. The central location of the island would indicate a Forrestal class carrier and eerily reminds me of an encounter we had with a Russian sub in 1974 or 1975 while aboard the USS Independence. While on patrol off the east coast based out of Norfolk a sub was identified and surfaced off our starboard bow. We were never told the details of why or how it surfaced so close, but all of us aboard the Indy that day got a huge wake up call as to how vulnerable our ship really was.
Guest 03-Sep-2014 05:26
Any idea what flattop this is?
Anton 02-Oct-2013 20:18

*invaluable* - the photograph, Tom's caption, Commander Borodulkin's comments
The Third Side12-Oct-2011 11:41
Awesome photo, what a treasure. I shudder to think that was during my time aboard a Navy ship. Enjoyed the comments from Mr. Borodulkin.
Buba Jafarli08-Apr-2010 16:01
Thank God this time is over...
Tom Briggs20-Feb-2009 02:12
Pavel Borodulkin pavel-borodulkin@yandex.ru private | delete 18-Feb-2009 10:06
Dear Tom! I looked your information with great interest.Thanks that photo I took many years ago used optical system of periscope is in central place in your exposition. But I want to say about small inaccuracy. Some words about those events.
It was 1974. Soviet airplane IL-38 found American aircraft carrier Nimitz with two escort ships near eastern coast. This were atomic guided missile frigats- S.Carolina and California. We have got the order- search this detachment and be ready to the next events (as you know it was a cold war). We made that and this photo is a small part of job only. 3 days we convoied Nimitz. After this we was changed by Soviet frigat "Admiral Nakhimov". There was a big storm ( you can see a quality of the card).Two sailors in our submarin have got "marin disease" at a depth 40 metres. We thought about American crew. They are very hard. And we did not worry to be finded. American sonar worked always like "search" and not like "convoy". So our stealth was high.
We respected our opponents (then- possible enemy) and carried out all rules the game. That is all. Tom, thank you for the memory medal. I am very glad our common job in S.Petersburg. Sorry my English. My best wishes. Pavel Borodulkin.
P.S. Don`t correct text in your site. Let`s Americans be sure- they are stronger!
mathilda williams03-Nov-2008 03:06
i like that you keep history alive by making these photos public. interesting to read about the history behind these photos. thanks!
XiaoBernard9905-Sep-2008 07:23
A very famous name!Incredible TOM always ready to expose an historic picture.
veraferia03-Sep-2008 09:58
Very interesting! Your war images are precious!V
Jim Coffman30-Aug-2008 21:13
Wow, That is scary!! Very interesting. V
Jean-Luc Rollier26-Aug-2008 13:59
Really interesting Tom. JL V
Marco Valk24-Aug-2008 20:35
wow; this is something different. impressive image and interesting story. thanks for sharing
bill friedlander22-Aug-2008 23:23
Wow! This quite an image. I wonder if it was classified or considered to be a state secret.
Nice acquisition. V
Dan Greenberg17-Aug-2008 14:59
Tom - this is certainly unusual. What a treasure. Reminds me of a WWII sub movie. Thanks for sharing.
Elmer Quianio16-Aug-2008 12:26
Wow..........Tom this is a awesome capture!
1moremile14-Aug-2008 23:45
Wow. This is impressive.
Nestor Derkach14-Aug-2008 21:21
Interesting image, and a story behind it.
I do not remember this but I am sure this went on as you stated.
Neal Nye14-Aug-2008 11:43
A very scary image! What a great collection you have!
Steve Morris13-Aug-2008 09:55
Now that's a photo with real history! Enjoyed looking at this Tom!!
Dave Beedon13-Aug-2008 07:44
You must tell us how you came to be with the sub's navigator!
Dave Hein13-Aug-2008 01:18
Facinating photo.
I'd recommend a book for you, if you haven't already read it: Blind Man's Bluff, by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew. Great stuff about what was happening during this period.
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