Attack on New York

flAGDuring the Cold War we often worked with NATO on war exercises. Sometime in 1965 we were doing a simulated nuclear missile attack on New York City. Of course this was all pretend training, the submarine Alcide wasn’t nuclear and we certainly didn’t have nuclear missiles. However the exercise was to train and detect the threat of enemy boats off the Eastern seaboard. Our task was to sneak in close to the coastline undetected and launch our imaginary missiles. Everything was going well until our ballast pump failed and we were forced to surface. The minute we broke surface we were detected by US search planes and reported as an unidentified submarine on the surface. Naturally we radioed that we were a friendly and had mechanical problems. The opposing forces ignored our signal and jammed all further signals to our base. We needed to report the problem to Halifax and ask for further instructions. Nothing got through and now we had two US destroyers converging on out position. Overhead at least one US fighter flew low over us buzzing those on the bridge. The skipper was getting upset, “surely these silly bastards can see us and realize we are a British submarine”. We were flying the white ensign but it didn’t seem to help. I remember the skipper probably in frustration telling out signalman to fetch that bloody new Canada flag, perhaps the Yanks will recognize it!!!We flew the flag known as Pearson’s Pennant but it didn’t help. Only when the first destroyer was in visual range and we could signal by Aldis lamp were we able to identify ourselves and get permission to return to base. As we now know the flag known as Pearson’s Pennant never became Canada’s official flag. However I somehow doubt the official flag would have helped back then either. The Cold war is over now but it was a constant threat and danger for more than forty years, the brink was never far away. Scary times indeed.

God Bless and keep reading

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
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