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What We Actually Know About SCORPION's Last Day; No Conjectures, No Theories, Just the Facts

By Bruce Rule - September 30, 2013

This posting puts together information provided by separate documents, several of which have not been posted on this site.

1. We know the last message received from SCORPION (SSN-589) was sent at 212354Z: the date-time-group, i.e., 2354Z on 21 May 1968. That message provided a position for 220001Z of 31-27N, 27-36W, an intended course westward of 290, an intended average speed of advance of 18 knots, and an ETA at Norfolk of 1700Z on 27 May 1968.

2. We know that the position derived by comparing the detection times by two Canary Island hydrophones and NAVFAC Argentia SOSUS arrays 3131 and 3141 of a series of acoustic events, the first of which occurred aboard SCORPION on 22 May at 18:42:34Z, was 32-55N, 33-09W which is about one nautical mile (nm) from the position of the SCORPION wreckage identified by USNS MIZAR (T-AGOR-11) on 28 Oct 1968.

3. We know that the distance from the 220001Z position to the wreck-site is 295 nm; the bearing of the wreck-site from the 220001Z position is 289 degrees and the average speed of advance required for SCORPION to have been at the wreck-site at the time of the first acoustic event in an elapsed time of 18 hours and 42 mins was 15.8 knots.

If the time when SCORPION lost propulsion was 18:20:44Z, the time of the battery explosions, then the average speed of advance was 16.1 knots.

So, we have SCORPION lost while on course and only slightly behind her planned average transit speed to Norfolk. These circumstances debunk the conspiracy theory that SCORPION was involved in an extended duration underwater dogfight with an ECHO-II Class Soviet nuclear submarine which eventually sank SCORPION on 22 May 1968 with a torpedo.