Pakistan Navy Warships 1947-2004 Part 4A: Tench Submarine

v.1.0 April 26, 2006

 

Usama Ahmed Malik & Ravi Rikhye

 

 

SS 130 PNS Ghazi (ex-USS Diablo SS-479; commissioned

                                1945)

 

 

 

The first Pakistan Navy submarine crew trained in the UK. The left for the UK on 17 Sep 1962. They were trained on HMS Dolphin and then transferred to various A and T class boats. The crew returned on 13th March 1963.

Shortly after US announced to lease a fleet class submarine, an advance party left for the US under Lt Cdr KR Niazi. Earlier trained crew formed the nucleus of the Ghazi crew.

In 1964, Admiral Khan accpeted the Diablo under the US aid program at New London, Connecticut.

Diablo was decommisioned, transferred, recommissioned as PNS Ghazi on 1 July 1964 and placed under command of Lt Cdr KR Niazi.

On 4th Sept 1964 she arrived in Pakistan.

During the 1965 war  she was deployed off Bombay to attack only Heavy ships or ships moving intercept Dwarka Task Force.

After Dwarka Bombardment she tracked several ships moving in and out of Bombay, but did not attack as she was to attack only the heavy targets. She once engaged an A/A Frigate on 22 Sep 1965, which had come close to its patrol zone. She fired 4 torpedoes and heard two shots.

Her Captain KR Niazi and second in command Lt Cdr Jasnim were both awarded a Sitar-e-Jurat for operations in the 65 war. She was sent to Turkey for a $1.5 million refit in 1967-68. Her spares were to be provided from Turkish stocks. The refit was completed in mid December 1969 with a one month workup afterwards. Her lease was renewed in 1967 and once again after that.

On November 14, 1971 she made an undetected journey to the Bay of Bengal, arriving on November 20. On November 24 or thereabouts she arrived off the Indian naval base at Vizakhapatnam. Here the submarine was to lay mines and  wait to ambush the Indian Navy’s carrier INS Vikrant.

Unknown to Pakistan, Vikrant and her escorts had already sailed for the coast of East Pakistan, where the war had begun in earnest on November 21/22.

Shortly after midnight, December 4, she was attacked by the destroyer INS Rajput on a sonar contact  and sunk with all 92 hands after two explosions which rocked Rajput and shattered windows in the port area.

When the wreck was finally examined by Indian divers, it was lying on the sea floor at a depth of 32 meters, and just 3 nautical miles from the mouth of the harbor, and it was seen the boat was wrecked by an internal explosion in the area of the Forward Torpedo Room. This half confirmed Pakistan’s version of her loss, that the boat went down after a mine she was laying exploded.

The Indian speculation is that as the boat was at periscope depth when the Rajput attacked, she made an emergency dive, hitting the sea floor with her bow, setting off a fire which caused the explosion of torpedoes and or mines in the FTR.

The Pakistan version, supported by some Indian naval officers, is that Rajput had nothing to do with the sinking. It is said Ghazi lost track of the mines she had laid and inadvertently exploded one of her own mines. If that resulted in an internal explosion, the damage to the FTR could be explained.

The Ghazis sortie was both bold and brave, particularly – if Pakistani sources are correct – her material condition at the time was not good.

Some bodies were recovered and given a burial at sea by the Indian Navy.

Displacement: 1570 tons surfaced, 2414 tons submerged Length: 311 feet 8 inches

Beam: 27 feet 4 inches

Draft: 15 feet 3 inches

 

Propulsion: diesel-electric reduction gear with four Fairbanks Morse main generator engines, 5400hp, Fuel Capacity, 113,510 gallons, two Elliot main motors with 2740hp, two 126-cell main storage batteries, two propellers.

Speed: 20.25 knots surfaced, 8.75 knots submerged

Range: 11,000 miles surfaced at 10 knots, 48 hours submerged at 2 knots

Depth: 400 feet

Complement: 7 officers, 69 men

 

Armament: ten 21-inch torpedo tubes (six forward, four aft), 24 torpedoes, one five-inch/25-caliber gun, two 20mm cannon, two .30-caliber machineguns