The story of the British spy-diver, who “attacked” a Soviet cruiser by Nikita Khrushchev on Board, continues to occupy the conspiracy. “Man-frog” Lionel Crabb whether it was blown up with a grenade on the orders of Khrushchev, whether… exported to the USSR. We’ve collected details of the historical detective.
Lionel Crabbe with one of the first models scuba
The British kept this “hidden secret” more than half a century. Only relatively recently in the pages of the times, it was reported that the UK Ministry of defence has officially confirmed the fact that in October, 1955, in Portsmouth harbour by divers from the special reconnaissance and combat units the operation was carried out to study the sonar equipment of the Soviet cruiser Sverdlov, who came to England with a friendly visit.
Then, in the mid-1950s, in the sea off the British Isles has played a unique spy epic.
“Mistress of the seas” has torn into the heart. For centuries the British habitually believed that their warships the best in the world. But suddenly the Russian had the miracle cruiser!
The project of Soviet engineers under the code designation “68-bis” has been very successful. The first artillery cruiser of this series, called “Sverdlov”, soon after launching publicly demonstrated unique capabilities. Arriving in April 1953 on Spehalski RAID to participate in a naval parade on the occasion of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, a Soviet ship in the eyes of the astonished Britons moored their proprietary way of farting — Yes! If the norms of the Royal Navy on such a mooring was given 1 hour and 20 minutes if arriving before “Sverdlov” American and French ships spent farting more than two hours, and the Swedes didn’t even have the four, the Soviet sailors were in and out in 12 minutes!
Is it possible that the Russian cruiser are special handlebars or some sverhoriginalnogo management system?
As if in mockery of the islanders puzzled “Sverdlov” two years later, during his next visit to the UK, has again demonstrated unprecedented zeal. Passing in the squadron scored through thick fog Strait belt, our ship suddenly left the formation, turned to deep-water channel at full speed and crossed the sandbar and then again with amazing accuracy and speed has taken its former place in the Wake column.
Such an amazing maneuver was recorded by NATO radar surveillance and caused great concern to Western admirals. They were inclined to believe that the newest ship of the Russian thus holds “in conditions as close to combat, to break through the cruisers of the Baltic sea on the vast Atlantic. (Actually — that’s really a joke! — on the bridge “Sverdlov” just made a mistake plotting.)
Whatever it was, experts came to the unequivocal conclusion: the Russian cruiser, built by the project 68-bis, clearly exceed the capability of all ships of the same class, flying the flag of the Empire. That means we need to ferret out the secrets of the ingenious Russian shipbuilders!
The price of carelessness
Attempts to “decode” the design features of the new Soviet ship was taken by the British during the first call “Sverdlov” to Albion.
Then, among the many guests at the cruiser penetrated under the guise of a newspaper correspondent former British naval attaché, sent a few years earlier from the Soviet Union. This gentleman has been very active, snapping his camera in all the nooks and crannies of the cruiser where I could be reached.
However, their tricks have been its countermeasures. Spy quickly figured out, the next he was casually invited to another festive meal in the wardroom. There’s the ex-attache could not resist the temptation to drink. Experienced Soviet officers-security officers quickly watered the Englishman, vodka to a deranged state and freely confiscated from him all the events of film with “secrets”.
During the stay of the “Sverdlov” in the harbour of a naval base Portsmouth in the autumn of 1955 was also the danger of spyware attacks from the hosts. And most of all to be feared for their combat swimmers. Since the time of the war the British there were great underwater assault group — the 12th fleet of the Royal Navy under the command of captain Crabbe.
However, according to intelligence information obtained by our counterintelligence, in the middle of October, when the Soviet fleet moored at the British Isles, the base of the notorious 12th flotilla at Portsmouth was empty. So, combat swimmers close to there. But because the command of our squadron, did not worry about enhanced measures for the protection of cruisers and destroyers. All week Parking in a strange port “from above” was not given to any team on the conduct diving inspection of the bottoms of ships.
Only now, many years later, after the publication of the times to say with confidence: our naval commanders made in 1955, a serious mistake. English “people-frogs” managed to outwit the Russian sailors and their chaperones from the Soviet counterintelligence. Inspection of underwater part of the “Sverdlov” enemy saboteurs went off without a hitch.
However, the desired results it gave. British experts have been unable until the end to understand the secrets to the Soviet cruisers. Was necessary further “field studies”.
Opportunity for them, the British appeared a few months: in April 1956, in England, came another Soviet convoy led by the cruiser “Ordzhonikidze” built by the same project 68-bis. However, this time the spy shares were particularly fraught with major international problems: after all, the cruiser arrived on an official visit to England, the Soviet leaders Khrushchev and Bulganin.
But there are people who are not afraid to take a chance — the same captain Lionel Crabb, for many years head of the 12th fleet of the Royal Navy.
Grenades or dagger?
Apparently, he and several of his men so well searched under water for the bottom of the “Sverdlov”, finding there some of the original elements of the hydroacoustic equipment cruiser. Now the main object of study was supposed to be the rudder and screws “Sverdlovsk twin” Ordzhonikidze”. But this time experienced a “man-frog” still a blunder.
In my archive there is a record of the memoirs of one of the crew members Ordzhonikidze, engineer — shared information during a meeting with the correspondent of “MK” the now-deceased historian and writer, captain I rank retired October Bar-unsociable persons. — He said that once during a stop in the English port someone from the watch suddenly noticed that near the side a man appeared in a diving suit.
Given that the cruiser was the first person in the state, the captain did not dare to act independently and immediately conveyed this information to the security chief, Khrushchev.
He ordered his guys to security guards to throw hand grenades diver. Then was instructed to examine the bottom of the “Ordzhonikidze” in case of enemy saboteurs there are some nasty left. But the ship’s divers anything suspicious under water is not found. Have not found the body they undermined submariner…
Other sources you can find a different version. Supposedly that day, April 18, noting the unknown swimmer in the area aft of the cruiser, the bridge gave the command to crank a few times propellers. These huge blades simply pull up to his diver… And no grenade explosions, no noise.
Of course, the Soviet Union sent the British government a formal protest. And in response received a formal apology and a categorical statement that the United Kingdom authorities do not have to the incident is a provocation, this supposedly organized by some third party.
In the English Newspapers the next day reported that dangerous “sports gamble” with the dive under Russian cruiser started a scuba diver-Amateur, which during the swim suddenly depressurized the suit, which led to death.
Only 10 days after the incident of the English Admiralty officially declared the disappearance of the famous submariner, head of unit “people-frogs”, captain Crabb.
It has been said that Crabbe at that time, was already dismissed from service and acted as a civilian, by ordering private firms work to test the technical condition of the secret of the underwater equipment near Portsmouth”.
However, this explanation not satisfy everyone. Was even sent a parliamentary inquiry about the history of captain Crabb. Prime Minister Anthony Eden had to come specifically on this issue in Parliament and warn deputies that the disclosure of the circumstances of the disappearance of Crabb contrary to the public interest.
The hype around the famous swimmer-commandos rose again a year later. In the spring of 1957, the fishermen on the South coast of England, near the town of Chichester, found floating in the water remains unknown, dressed in a diving suit. The corpse was missing the head and both hands, but few people invited to identify, yet identified the victims of Lionel Crabb. However, there were obvious discrepancies: the size of the feet not the body hair of a different color than the commander of the 12th flotilla, and on the left knee there is no scar from the wound received by captain in the war.
However, on 4 July 1957 at Portsmouth cemetery a new grave. On the monument, crowning it, the words “Commander Crabbe”.
50 years later, at the end of 2007, in this complicated story had another page. The news Agency broadcast news: found the person who personally slit the throat of the legendary commander. A former diver, Eduard Koltsov has discovered the secret of half a century ago: that it was he who, at the time 23-year-old Soviet commando, killed a British “man-frog”. According to Koltsov, he was part of the crew of sailors, arrived at the “Ordzhonikidze” in England, and one day received orders to suspicious movements seen near the cruiser.
“I saw a silhouette of a diver in the form of fussing with something at the starboard, near the ship’s store of ammunition,” recalled Koltsov. — Swam closer, he saw that he attaches to mine.” In the ensuing battle, the Soviet sailor was allegedly able to kill an enemy saboteur. For bravery he was awarded the order of the red Star. In addition, the memory of the event Koltsov even kept a knife, which he then used.
Variants of this “diversants” history, as you can see, a lot of, however which of them are true, remains unclear. Moreover, the irrefutable facts concerning the death of Crabbe, still. Spoke even suspected that the diver was still alive.
photo: Alexander Dabravolski
The adventures of an Englishman in Russia
A few years later, the wife of the “man-frog” suddenly received in the mail an envelope with a small photo inside, told the Oct Bar-unsociable persons. — In the picture she could see in the center of the group of people in Soviet uniform stands it Lionel!.. After that the woman received several anonymous letters reporting that her husband is alive.
Mystic? Monstrous joke? English writer and Explorer John Hutton felt that it was not. He released a book dedicated to commander Crabb, where he tried to prove that the famous diver-the saboteur secretly taken to the Soviet Union.
In that ill-fated day, April 18, Crabb allegedly not destroyed. Immediately after the discovery under the Board “Ordjonikidze” unknown diver from the cruiser and nearby destroyers “Looking” down a couple of the Soviet divers which was able to wring water saboteur and raise it to the deck.
Then, the submariner has injected a powerful dose of sleeping pills, keeping him virtually unconscious. Some time after Ordzhonikidze” sailed to the open sea, heading towards the Soviet coast, on the cruiser hovered the helicopter on which the basket raised his limp body (this process supposedly watched the team were in the area of the Danish frigate).
Crabb air transported in the Polish Szczecin and from there to Moscow. Here the comrades of competent authorities for some time treated the commander and in the end persuaded to cooperate, saying that at home he will still be considered dead when fished out of the water body “understudy”.
After some time on the Pacific fleet arrived for duty Lieutenant Leo Korablev. He was engaged in training Marines, spoke Russian with a clear accent and never told anyone about his life and family.
Many years later, in 1976, someone from knowing before Crabbe like even met him in Boltenhagen, in the territory of the former GDR where the old AC-submariner trained divers.
Is it true? Today nothing much to say. Because the official court of England for its above-mentioned statement is only slightly opened the curtain on the spy story, played out nearly 60 years ago.