A dangerous game just for a drink

After WWII American submarines were being used in espionage against the Soviet Union. This often meant that the subs were sent into Soviet territory to listen and then slip back out into International waters. In 1957 the American submarine Gudgeon was caught in Soviet territory in the Pacific. They submerged to try and get away but the Soviet ships were onto them. As the Gudgeon was failing to get away and they could not outrun them underwater the Soviets started launching ‘light depth charges’ onto her. They would not hurt the sub but the Soviets were letting the sub know that they were caught. All American subs at this time were diesel and they could not stay under water for too long. After long failed attempts to get away the submarine had to surface for air. The crew had no idea how the Soviets would respond and prepared to destroy all secret documents. The Soviets demanded an identification and then let them sail away with the knowledge that they had been caught. This was a big embarrassment for the Americans and Admiral Jerauld Wright who was the Commander in Chief of the Atlantic fleet posted outside his office a reward of ‘one case of Jack Daniels Old No. 7 Brand of Quality Tennessee Sour Mash Corn Whisky’ for the first Commander who could prove that they had ‘worn out’ a non US or known unfriendly submarine. In May 1959 the USS Grenadier was declared the winner after it chased a Soviet submarine for 9 hours around Iceland before forcing it to surface after being ‘worn out’.

(Book – Blind Man’s Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage – Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew with Annette Lawrence Drew)

One thought on “A dangerous game just for a drink

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