Maybe it is not the latest one. Maybe it’s not the biggest one. But it is a Hero. And most interesting of all, you can visit it. The museum exhibit, the Yugoslav submarine in luxurious marina Porto Montenegro, is as much as 50 meters long!
If you are in Montenegro, this is a unique opportunity to have a peek into the interior of the submarine and feel what life is like in the steel womb of a sea monster! There are only 3 submarines of this size in the world that can be visited and experienced.
I was delighted, otherwise I would not even write about it…
The most impressive is the fact that it was completely done in the SFR Yugoslavia and is the highlight of the shipbuilding and technology this former military force had mastered. Only a few countries at that time were able to design and build submarines independently.
The famous single-body submarine called “Hero” or P-821 was built in 1968 in the Shipyard of Special Objects in Split and became the integral part of the War Navy of Yugoslavia in the same year. At the time it became operational, it was one of the most compliant and by its characteristics one of the best submarines of the similar type in the world. However, after Hero, two more impressive, larger submarines were made in Yugoslavia (besides smaller ones), which, unfortunately, have not been preserved.
Twice around the globe
In almost 23 years of active service before being forever drawn from the sea on the coast in 1991 in Tivat, the submarine had a total of 726 navigation days, as many as 910 dives and totaled 46,659 nautical miles, which is the equivalent of two times navigation around the globe.
It was not used in combat operations, but for the collection of intelligence data in the territorial waters of Yugoslavia, Italy and Albania. In the submarine, through the large cut-out of the hard hull, one enters the cramped and claustrophobic space of the submarine, packed with various devices and equipment. It does not seem like a really great working space. It crossed my head that probably all visitors were trying to imagine themselves in the role of a crew member.
Just to know, I do not think it could be me.
Great stories about days in the submarine are witnessed by the museum guide Dražen Jovanović. I find out that the submarine had 28 crew members. Looking around, it seems to me that it must have been crowded. Nevertheless, they worked in shifts of 4 hours, and the bunks were placed in the most unusual places, between machines. According to the so-called system of warm beds, they were interchangeable in each other, in one of ten similar, modest folding bunks that were scattered all over the place – from the side of the torpedo tubes, above the engine …
The only “luxury” was reserved for the captain, who had his own separate cabin, in which there was only room for a single bunk and a pair of drawers.
Life in the submarine was not easy
Being in a submarine meant being in a constant danger. Complicated submarine system required a full concentration. Incorrect button pressed or wrong valve and everyone’s in trouble. That’s why there must have been a lot of trust among crew members. Besides, they were volunteers.
Being a volunteer was not a sufficient condition to experience and serve submarine. All members of the crew had to pass at first the tests of exceptional physical readiness, then medical and ultimately psychological tests. Only such people ready to respond cold blooded and calmly in any situation, could become crew members.
These were: 7 officers, 15 non-commissioned officers and 6 sailors.
They stayed below the surface for up to 30 days. During this time, they could forget about every kind of comfort. There was no separate kitchen. They would eat (mainly canned food) anywhere, often on torpedoes waiting to be used. There were no showers. Fortunately, air conditioning was.
The submarine itself consists of three parts. The first consists of four torpedo tubes, followed by a control room of the submarine. There was a steering station with rudder of direction and depth, main switch-gear, PEL and PEG service stations, beam analyzer, radio cabin…
At the very end, there is a machine room with two large “maybach” diesel engine and electric motor space where the main electric drive engine “Hero” is located, and immediately behind it is the only toilet bowl.
To stand behind the steering equipment while trying to imagine life in these conditions is a unique opportunity in Europe. To listen to the submarine’s crew stories about their adventures in an attempt to revive a history for a moment, is even more interesting, especially while gathering of Hero’s live crew members that take place at least once a year.
For me, not the submarine, but these people are real Heroes!
Check out this video!!!
submarine “Hero” or P-821.
Displacement: 614 tons (on the surface) or 705 tonnes (under water)
Length: 50.4 m
Maximum dive: 210 m
Drive: 2 x Mercedes diesel
Engine1 x Koncar
Electric motor Speed: 15.3 knots (on the surface), 9.8 knots(under water)
Weapons: 4 torpedo tubes (533 mm)
Torpedo type: SET-65E active / passive homing torpedo.
The submarine is also equipped with a set of radars and could use a snorkel.