Photos The Cold War

Yeah,terrorism was a brand-new enemy at the time.But,at the same time ,lot of new toys was introduced to deal with them.Like headset, ballistic vests,tracking devices and this kind of stuff
Of course the tragic (and vulgar) precedence was set 8 years before in Munich, but I'm sure no terrorists groups plying their trade in 1980 were going to try anything on Soviet soil, for a number of reasons . . .
no terrorists groups plying their trade in 1980 were going to try anything on Soviet soil, for a number of reasons . . .

Of course the tragic (and vulgar) precedence was set 8 years before in Munich, but I'm sure no terrorists groups plying their trade in 1980 were going to try anything on Soviet soil, for a number of reasons . . .
Actually,couple of terrorist attack did happened couple years prior.Here( ) for exemple.And of course,shadow of Munich events was the point.The olympic games was important event(especially in the eyes of soviets)so everything just MUST be allright.
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On the morning of March 2, 1969, Soviet border guards set out to confront 30 Chinese soldiers who were heading toward Zhenbao Island, a small islet on the Ussuri River between China and the Soviet Union.

Control of the island was disputed, but this didn’t seem like a particularly unusual event, as thousands of incidents had occurred all along the Sino-Soviet border since 1964. While many resulted in brawls, including some at Zhenbao, few involved deadly force.

This time, however, it was a trap.

As the Soviet force – which included 60 men, two BTR armored personnel carriers (APCs), a truck, and a car – approached the island on the frozen river, the Chinese troops, joined by 300 soldiers who snuck onto the island the night before, opened fire.

Seven Soviet border guards, including their commander, were killed immediately. An intense two-hour firefight erupted, involving mortars, artillery, and anti-tank weapons.

Reinforcements rushed in, and when the fighting ceased, 31 Soviets were dead, 14 were wounded, and one BTR was destroyed. The Soviets claimed to have killed over 200 Chinese soldiers, and both sides retreated to their territory. (The toll is disputed by both sides)

But the fight was far from over. In the coming days, the conflict became so intense that both sides placed their nuclear missiles on high alert, bringing the world close to nuclear war.

Nikolai Nazarov/TASS Soviet soldiers involved in fighting with Chinese troops over what the Soviet Union called Damansky Island, March 8, 1969.


Chinese soldiers with their back to the camera confront Soviet soldiers on the disputed Zhenbao Island, which Moscow calls Damansky, in the middle of the Ussuri River on their countries’ border, February 7, 1969.


Chinese soldiers during a ‘provocation’ in the area of Zhenbao/Damansky Island on the Soviet-Chinese border, January 1969.


A Soviet border outpost near what the Soviet Union called Damansky Island, March 15, 1969.


This time, however, it was a trap.

A participant in the battle, a former border guard of the 2nd outpost "Nizhne-Mikhailovka" of the 57th "Imansky" border detachment Abzaldin Koshafovich Bikuzin (3rd on left):
Abzaldin Bikuzin was part of the third group of border guards who departed to the border 15 minutes after the groups of the outpost commander Senior Lieutenant Ivan Strelnikov and Sergeant Vladimir Rabovich moved there. The first two groups left the outpost in GAZ-69 and GAZ-66 vehicles, as well as in BTR-60PB. A few minutes later they were already in the border crossing area and Strelnikov, leaving Rabovich to cover his actions, went on foot to a group of Chinese to protest them.

- Strelnikov, as usual, wanted to protest the violators of the State Border, but the Chinese opened fire, and the entire group of seven people was destroyed. The Chinese finished off the wounded border guards with bayonets and rifle butts - later we saw how mutilated their bodies were. Rabovich's group was also shot at close range, and out of 11 people only Genka Serebrov survived. Pavel Akulov was captured by the provocateurs and subsequently executed. I saw the death of comrades with my own eyes.

- There was no fear - on the contrary, each of us was seized with fierce anger for our dead comrades. Sergeant Yura Babansky quickly orientated himself in the situation, began to give commands, organize the battle. His determination passed on to the rest of the border guards - it was clear that we would fight to the death. Nobody even thought about leaving their positions. We had two, and some had one magazine of cartridges each, because we did not expect that we would have to fight for real, since before that all skirmishes ended only in hand-to-hand fights. Therefore, during the battle, they had to save cartridges and shoot in short bursts and single shots. I perfectly saw the bodies of our fallen comrades, and the Chinese who rushed about the island ... I took aim at the enemy and fired.

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Chinese on the island.

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Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Kachanov, a former senior calculator of the 13th separate jet division:
All the Grad combat vehicles were loaded with high-explosive shells, and our observers-spotters sat in the visibility zone of Damansky Island, who, if necessary, could give the coordinates of the targets. For more than a week we sat at our vehicles in full combat readiness, until the command to open fire arrived on the evening of March 15th. The division had 11 combat vehicles, each of which was loaded with 40 rockets. As I remember now, it was necessary to deliver a rocket and artillery strike at a target that was 17 kilometers 750 meters away from the firing position. I quickly made all the necessary calculations. It was about 9 kilometers from us to Damansky Island, which means that it was necessary to shoot deep into the territory of China - at whom exactly, I do not know until now - we were simply given the coordinates. In 20 seconds, 440 shells went to the target. The division fired only one volley. We loaded the vehicles with new shells, but there was no need to shoot any more. I emphasize once again that we did not shoot at Damansky Island, as is customary to think and how often they write in the press, but most likely at the enemy's reserves, which were moving towards the island from the depths of Chinese territory to help their troops. Later we were told that a Chinese infantry regiment, as well as an ammunition depot and an artillery battery, had been hit by a Grad blow. Then we were firmly convinced that we were on the verge of a major war with China, and therefore perceived ourselves as the defenders of our country. Fighting spirit was at its best, we were all literally eager to fight ...
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Bundeswehr educational film - "Close combat" 1958 (part 1)

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Bundeswehr educational film - "Close combat" 1958 (part 2)
NAVFAC Point Sur IUSS.png

NAVFAC Point Sur was part of the Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS), a worldwide network of 30 defensive listening stations that tracked the movement of Soviet submarines. It provided continuous support to undersea surveillance.


Built in the 1950’s during the Cold War, this classified anti-submarine warfare facility was part of SOSUS, or the Sound Surveillance System.

NAVFAC Point Sur was the official “cover name” given to the facility that was conducting “oceanographic scientific research” while secretly deciphering underwater sonic signatures from a hydrophone, or underwater microphone network that would accurately pinpoint the locations of the Soviet submarines. NAFAC Point Sur played a key role in identifying the location of the wrecked Soviet submarine – The K-129

NAVFAC Point Sur logo between 1958 and 1984

NAVFAC Point Sur was decommissioned on 1 October 1984, when its operations were computerized and the data received there transmitted to NAVFAC Centerville Beach on the California coast 260 miles (420 km) north of San Francisco.
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In 1984, during a period of Cold War tension, a Soviet submarine collided with a United States aircraft carrier. The History Guy remembers the 1984 USS Kitty Hawk Collision.

In a photo he calls “The Sandwich,” John Newlin flies his Phantom between a Soviet Tu‑95 Bear and a Douglas A-3 tanker 150 miles west of Gibraltar, April 1, 1966. (Courtesy John Newlin )

John Newlin

In March 1966, I was operations officer of Fighter Squadron 74 (VF-74) aboard the aircraft carrier Forrestal. After a long deployment in the Mediterranean Sea, the ship set a course for its home port, in Norfolk, Virginia. As soon as we’d cleared the Strait of Gibraltar, the ship went on “Bear Watch.”

“Bear” is NATO’s designation for the Soviet Tupolev Tu-95, a large strategic bomber, sometimes armed with missiles but primarily used for electronic surveillance. Powered by four Kuznetsov NK-12 engines driving contra-rotating propellers, the Bear is an unusually loud airplane: The tips of the blades on those propellers rotate at supersonic speed, creating an unholy racket. The Bear went into service in 1956, and the design remains in use by the Russian Air Force even today.
Bear Watch was a mission requiring two VF-74 F-4 Phantoms, two VMF-451 Marine F-8 Crusaders, a VFP‑62 F-8 photo aircraft, and a VAH-11 A-3 tanker. All were manned during the daylight hours on the flight deck. The Phantoms and the Crusaders were hooked into the ship’s catapults, ready to launch within five minutes of the order. Our flight crews manned the “Alert Five” birds on the catapults for an hour at a time. Each evening, it was my job to write and post the schedule for the next day’s Alert Five crews.
One evening I was in the squadron ready room making out the next day’s schedule when the officer in charge of the Forrestal’s highly classified Supplemental Radio section dropped in. We were both bachelor lieutenants; we’d become buddies exploring the bars and cafés of La Rambla in Barcelona, Spain. He told me two Soviet Bears were expected in the vicinity of the Forrestal around noon the next day. They would take off from Murmansk, Russia, just before dawn, and would refuel over the Faroe Islands before continuing south to overfly the Forrestal. Unable to resist the chance to spot a Bear with my own eyes, I scheduled myself and radar intercept officer Nick Estabrook, one of the squadron’s best F-4 backseaters, for the 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Bear Watch.
In a memorable cold war encounter, the author (with his F-4B Phantom on the deck of the Forrestal) flew uncomfortably close to a Soviet bomber. (Courtesy John Newlin )

The next day, Nick and I climbed into our F-4B just before noon. The Phantom was armed with two AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles and two AIM-7 Sparrow radar-guided missiles. In the cockpit on the deck, time passed slowly. I began to worry that either the Bears were late or the intelligence on their flight was wrong.

Then, with just 10 minutes remaining on our watch, our commanding officer walked up to our aircraft. As he approached, the air boss called out on the flight deck public address system, “Rank has its privileges, John!” My C.O. looked up at me and asked, “Would you like to be relieved early, John?” Ha! Apparently he didn’t have the nerve to order me out of the cockpit. Something was up.

I politely refused, and I will never forget the 60 seconds or so that followed. The skipper didn’t know what to do. He stood there on the flight deck, shifting his weight from foot to foot. When the order “LAUNCH THE ALERT FIVE” came booming from the P.A., Nick and I closed our canopies, I started both engines, and we were off. See ya, Skipper!

The rules of engagement were very strict: We were to intercept the lead Bear as close to 100 miles from the ship as possible. Nick turned on the radar, and we made contact with the Bears immediately. The blips on Nick’s scope were so large they looked like bananas, he told me. He skillfully guided us through an intercept course that placed us on the starboard side of the lead Bear 98 miles from the Forrestal. Our wingman was positioned on the second Bear, which was in a 1.5-mile trail from its leader. The Marine F-8s remained clear. But one A-3 tanker pilot decided to get a closer look.

The Tu-95 has a pair of large, plexiglass blisters located at the rear of the fuselage, under the horizontal stabilizers. As we pulled up alongside the Bear, I noticed in the blister a crewman with a large, folding bellows camera on a tripod. He began signaling with his hands—it was evident that he wanted me to position our aircraft for a photo-op. I played along, and when our F-4 was in the optimal position, the crewman ducked under the camera hood. He emerged seconds later and gave me a vigorous thumbs-up.

Ironically, while the Bear crewman was taking our picture, Nick was taking his. The Forrestal’s intelligence officer had supplied Nick with a state-of-the-art 35-mm camera that captured 72 images on a regular 36-frame film cassette. Nick used all 72 frames.

The lead Bear was a variant known as a Bear-B. The Bear in trail was a Bear-D, an electronic surveillance version distinguished by two long pods located on either side of the fuselage, just ahead of the tail section. It was obvious the D’s mission was to analyze the radar and communications signals from the Forrestal and its airborne aircraft.

After the photo-op, I pulled up close and adjacent to the Bear’s outboard engine. Unknown to me, the A-3 tanker pulled up close on our starboard wing. I call the photograph above “The Sandwich.” Nick was unnerved that our aircraft was tightly sandwiched between two very large and less maneuverable ones. It bothered me less because I had to focus on maintaining our position on the Bear, and I couldn’t see how close that A-3 was. Every time I look at that photo I wonder: If I had lost control and collided with the Bear, would that have triggered WWIII?

The risk of that mishap was actually quite low. I’d had plenty of experience flying close wing on another aircraft. One thing I distinctly recall was the intense vibration of the canopy when I positioned my head directly abeam of the gap between the Bear’s counter-rotating propellers.

About 20 miles from the Forrestal, the Bears initiated a slow descent from their 33,000-foot cruising altitude. The pair flew over the carrier at 1,500 feet, then began a slow climb to the north. We stayed with the lead Bear until we were again 100 miles from the Forrestal. When I signaled to the copilot that we were breaking away, he dropped his oxygen mask and gave us a big Russian grin and a thumbs-up. For about an hour that day, we weren’t cold war enemies—just airmen enjoying the shared good fortune of flying some pretty awesome aircraft.

In a photo he calls “The Sandwich,” John Newlin flies his Phantom between a Soviet Tu‑95 Bear and a Douglas A-3 tanker 150 miles west of Gibraltar, April 1, 1966. (Courtesy John Newlin )

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