Updated: Mar 9, 2020
Made Famous by the Ghazi Attack movie, there's more to the Submarine Kursura than the Looks and Museum, so put on your Suits we are taking you into a deep dive with the INS Kursura:
INS Kursura was decommissioned on September 27, 2001. It was gifted to Andhra Pradesh by the Navy and the Ministry of Defence. It was thrown open to the public as a museum on the R.K. Beach here on August 24, 2002.
While the Fin of Kalveri was gifted to GVMC in 2001 and it adorns the Beach Road near The Park Hotel, Kursura has been converted into a museum.
Ghazi Submarine: According to top naval sources, no naval diver has ventured into the sunken sub, as the forces believe that the men who died, although enemies, were men of valor and their souls should be allowed to rest in peace.
Looking Back, What Really Happened :
The sinking of Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi with 90 men aboard in the 1971 Indo-Pak war is regarded as one of the high points of India's first-ever emphatic military victory.
In 1971, the Indian Navy's Eastern Naval Command under the leadership of INS Vikrant (in pic), had effectively created a Naval blockade that completely isolated East-Pakistan in the Bay of Bengal.
Frustrated with the Naval Blockade, Pakistan decided to send the best submarine in its inventory - PNS Ghazi.
PNS Ghazi was assigned with a two-fold objective. The primary goal was to find and sink INS Vikrant and the second one was to lay mines on India's Eastern seaboard with or without accomplishing the primary objective.
Without PNS Ghazi, the Pakistan navy could not interfere with Vikrant's operations in East Pakistan. It was extremely risky of sending an aging submarine completely around the subcontinent to attack the enemy’s flagship in its home waters. Besides, Ghazi was by then experiencing regular equipment failures and maintenance facilities at Chittagong were poor.
Overruling these objections, PNS Ghazi quietly sailed out of the Karachi Harbour on November 14, 1971.
Having sailed the fleet away to safety, Krishnan roped in INS Rajput, an aging WWII destroyer that was actually sent to Vishakapatnam for decommissioning. INS Rajput was to pretend to be INS Vikrant, sail out of the Vizag port and generate heavy wireless traffic.
The Indian Navy intentionally breached security by making an unclassified signal in the form of a private Telegram allegedly from one of Vikrant's sailor's asking about the welfare of his mother who was "seriously ill".
Ghazi started looking for Vikrant on November 23 off Madras but was not aware that she was 10 days too late and the Vikrant was actually somewhere near the Andaman islands.
Vice Admiral Krishnan sent for Lt.Inder Singh, the Commanding officer of the Rajput for detailed briefing and told him that a Pakistani submarine had been sighted off Ceylon and was absolutely certain that the submarine would be somewhere around Madras/Vishakaptanm. He made it clear that once Rajput had completed refueling, she must leave the harbor with all navigational aids switched off.
INS Rajput sailed out on 2 December and returned to Vishakapatnam on 3 December and again sailed out with a pilot on board, just before the midnight of 3/4 December and on clearing the harbor, proceeded along the narrow entrance channel. When the ship was halfway in the channel, it suddenly occurred to the Captain that "What if the Pakistani submarine was waiting outside the harbor and torpedoes us as we disembark the pilot who was on board, at the Outer Channel Buoy?" He immediately ordered to stop engines and disembarked the pilot.
Meanwhile, Ghazi being unable to locate INS Vikrant around Vishakapatnam resumed laying mines on the night of 3rd December when Pakistan signaled the commencement of hostilities. Ghazi came up to periscope depth to establish her navigational position which was made very difficult due to the blackout and switching off of all navigational aids.
Rajput slowly increased speed to maximum by the time it reached the Outer channel buoy. At this point in time, Ghazi saw or heard a destroyer approaching her at high speed at an almost reciprocal course and went into a steep dive and at the same time put her rudder hard over in order to get away seaward.
The Captain of Destroyer Rajput noticed the disturbance of water caused by the hasty dive and launched two depth charges at that position. The charges struck the submarine that was already in a steep dive causing Ghazi to hit seabed hard when it bottomed.
The fire spread to where the Mines and torpedoes were stored and these blew them forward hull outward. It is also possible that the detonation of the charges triggered a mine that was being kept in a ready state near the torpedo tube. This was the Indian Navy's version.
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Image Credits: BCCL