The Silent Service: Grayback Class

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9780380804665: The Silent Service: Grayback Class

Throughout the annals of history, the best of intentions -- and sometimes the worst -- have set in motion events with a vastly different outcome than originally intended. In this entertaining, fact-filled chronicle, William Forstchen and Bill Fawcett explore the watersheds of history that began as the best of ideas and ended as the worst of fiascoes.

A HOLY WAR -- The Medieval Crusades for religious liberation become centuries of slaughter and destruction.

SIBLING RIVALRY -- Leif Erikson spares his sister's life and delays the discovery of the New World for five hundred years.

BIG GUNS -- Emperor Constantine XI refuses to buy a new supercannon that would let him dominate his enemies, so its creator sells the cannon to the Turks, who then crush Constantinople.

With casual wit and subtle insight, It Seemed Like a Good Idea...tucks tongue in cheek and rides out the fiascoes of history.

The year is 1985, and two great superpowers -- the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.-- are locked in a lethal, escalating race of arms and technology. When reports are received of a devastating new Soviet weapon -- a prototype attack submarine more advanced than anything in the U.S. undersea arsenal -- a nearly obsolete Grayback Class submarine carrying a platoon of SEALs is suddenly America's greatest hope. Their mission: to penetrate the Soviet sub's home port, the heavily defended Severodvinsk shipyard on the White Sea, and bring back secret data on the new sub. The task is almost impossible but failure would give a powerful enemy dominion over the Earth's waters -- and a first-strike advantage that could prove nothing less than catastrophic to the Free World.The year is 1985, and two great superpowers--the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.--are locked in a lethal, escalating race of arms and technology. When reports are received of a devastating new Soviet weapon--a prototype attack submarine more advanced than anything in the U.S. undersea arsenal--a nearly obsolete Grayback Class submarine carrying a platoon of SEALs is suddenly America's greatest hope. Their mission: to penetrate the Soviet sub's home port, the heavily defended Severodvinsk shipyard on the White Sea, and bring back secret data on the new sub. The task is almost impossible but failure would give a powerful enemy dominion over the Earth's waters--and a first-strike advantage that could prove nothing less than catastrophic to the Free World.

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About the Author:

H. Jay Riker has written five books in his submarine warfare series, The Silent Service, and ten books in his bestselling military fiction series, SEALs, The Warrior Breed. Retired from the U.S. Navy, he has been writing fiction for more than a decade, and his novels have been highly praised for both their nail-biting action and remarkable authenticity.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

Monday. 22 July 1985

Control Room USS Pittsburgh

The GIUK Gap, Off Keflavik, Iceland

1245 hours GMT

"Conn, Sonar. Designating contact Sierra One. Bearing, zero-three-four degrees. Range ... two-one nautical miles, closing."

Commander Mike Chase leaned over the plotting table ble, studying the chart displayed there. He considered his options for only a moment before he looked up. "Stop engine," he ordered crisply. Inside he felt a little thrill. He was still new enough in command of a Los Angeles class attack boat to be excited at the thought of action. USS Pittsburgh, SSN 720, had only been on patrol for seven weeks, without contacting anything more exciting than a pod of whales off the coast of Greenland. Maybe this would be something more interesting, something to test their mettle. Pittsburgh was one of the newest attack subs in service, and Chase knew there were plenty of fellow skippers who envied his luck in getting her.

"Aye aye, Captain." Lieutenant John Quimby, USS Pittsburgh's Dive Officer and the Officer of the Deck for the afternoon watch, gave a quick nod. He turned to look down from the watch officer's station on the raised periscope platform toward the two sailors manning the helm station at the forward end of the control room "Make it 'Stop Engine,' helm. Rudder amidships, maintain depth."

"All stop, aye aye, sir," the helmsman replied. After a long moment he went on. "Answering 'stop engine,' Lieutenant."

Chase nodded as Quimby turned toward him to repeat the announcement, smiling faintly. "Let's wait here until we find out what we've got, Lieutenant," he said casually. "Always a nice idea to know what the neighbors are up to, wouldn't you say?"

"Yes, sir," Quimby replied. He sounded a little nervous. This was his first tour of duty as a full lieutenant and a department head, and he took his duties seriously ... especially when he had to take responsibility for the duty watch under the critical eye of his commanding officer. Chase knew he had a wry, devilish sense of humor, but he let it show only infrequently.

Chase picked up the intercom microphone and thumbed the key. "Sonar, Conn. Can you give us anything more on the contact?"

"Wait one." Chief Bob Franco replied, a testy edge to his voice. There was a pause before he went on. "Conn, Sierra One is a submarine. Haven't got it Wed yet, but it's definitely an underwater contact. Depth two-zero-zero feet. Speed fifteen knots. We'll have the course figured in a minute."

Chase looked across the width of the control room at Quimby. "Any other friendly subs working our side of the street, Lieutenant?"

The OOD looked flustered, then collected his wits. "Not that I remember seeing, sir."

"Same here. Last summary I read put the nearest friendly sub as the Dallas, and she was assigned to patrol off the east coast of Iceland." He kept his tone casual, like he was making conversation about a baseball game or some other ordinary occurrence. Chase liked to promote a relaxed atmosphere on his boat ... relaxed, but always ready for action.

Silence followed, long seconds in which the only sounds in the Pittsburgh's control room were the faint noises made by the ship's systems. Finally, the intercom speaker came to life once more. "Conn, Sonar. Sierra One on course two-five-five degrees."

Chase consulted Ins chart again, marking the course of the unknown sub and studying it for a moment. It was headed west, away from the Icelandic coast. More and more, he was becoming convinced that boat was no friend.

"Mr. Quimby, sound General Quarters, if you please." Even if it turned out to be friendly, tracking. that stranger out there would be good practice for the crew. And if it wasn't ... well, one of the main missions of Los Angeles class fast-attack subs was to keep an eye on their counterparts from the other side of the Iron Curtain.

Quimby picked up a microphone. "Ali hands, now, General Quarters. General Quarters. Hands to stations. General Quarters." A siren hooted briefly, then fell silent.

Chase turned his attention back to the chart. The other sub wouldn't be passing very close to the Pittsburgh, winch meant they would have to do some maneuvering if they were going to follow her And that would mean risking the possibility of detection themselves. Drifting as she was, the Pittsburgh was almost impossible to detect, but once her screws began to turn a good sonar operator on the other boat might pick up the sounds and realize they were not alone.

Additional men entered the control room foremost among them the dapper Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Frederick Yates Latham. The newcomers quickly settled into their accustomed positions while Quimby, looking happy to be out of the hot seat, moved forward to join the helmsman and the planesman at their dual control station. Latham joined Chase at the plotting table.

"Unknown submarine," Chase told him, tapping the chart. "Headed just south of west, submerged at two hundred feet, making fifteen knots."

"You're figuring it for a hostile." Latham's voice was flat, more statement than question.

"Safe bet. We're not supposed to have anything else in these parts, and that bearing and heading tells me he's trying to slip through the gap and go play in the pond."

Latham nodded. "Follow him?"

"I'd like to. At least long enough to see how long he maintains this course. Maybe if he gets too complacent we'll have to ... take other steps."

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