Osprey's Soviet Cruise Missile Submarines of the Cold War

Author:

Edward Hampshire

Publisher/Distributor

Osprey Publishing

Price

$18.00 MSRP

Reviewer:

Scott Van Aken

Notes: 48 pages, 7 x 9 inches, softbound
ISBN: 978-1-4728-2499-8

For most of us, when we think of Soviet submarines, we think of boomers. Those being the type that carry IRBM or ICBM missiles. However, a lot of effort was put into subs that carried cruise missiles. In the US, this was tried with types such as the Regulus, but it was never really all that successful. It was not until the introduction of the Tomahawk that US subs got a truly reliable and useful cruise missile. Not so the case with the Soviet Union, who produced a wide variety of cruise missile submarines from the 1950s and do to this day.

Early Soviet cruise missiles were quite large and as such, not only required a fairly good sized boat, but that boat was at first, not able to carry very many of them. These had to be launched from the surface and at a fairly close range, severely limiting the survivability of the sub from which they were launched. It took time to surface, raise the launch tubes, prep the missile, fire it, lower the tubes and submerge.

 Eventually, missiles were developed that could be launched from under water, but these boats were slow (as are most submarines compared to surface ships) and rather noisy so were easily detectable by then-current ASW systems. With time, the Soviets developed longer range missiles, boats that were pretty fast (though the fast boats were quite noisy), and ones that were quite large and could handle a larger number of weapons.

Just prior to the end of the Cold War, the Soviets had developed Tomahawk-like cruise missiles. While the lack of funding following the collapse of the Soviet Union meant severe delays in getting these boats operational, the renewed impetus of the current regime has put a number of these boats into service.

The book is part of my favorite series from Osprey. These all follow a similar format with the reason for the boat, the development of the systems and the development of the boats themselves. This follows a logical progression of the various types and sub-types and includes the weapons systems carried by each one. We are provided with a short history  of these submarines including any notable incidents and accomplishments. Add in the superb period photographs and illustrations and you have a super book.

It adds to a great series and would be what many would call a 'gateway' book as it provides a goodly amount of information and is an impetus to those who want to know even more. Highly recommended.

July 2018

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