Captain Jim Patton’s glowing review of Bruce Rule’s book Why the USS Scorpion fSSN 589) was Lost (Winter 2012 issue, pp. 151-152) was correct: It is an excellent and very important work. However, Patton did not tell readers of Rule’s conclusion- without question, the SCORPION was lost because of a battery explosion.
Because some persons may not be able to obtain the book, two passages should be noted in THE SUBMARINE REVIEW :
“18:20:44Z on 22 May: hydrogen out-gassed by the 65-ton, 126-cell SCORPION TLX-53-A main battery exploded twice in one-half-second, instantly killing or functionally incapacitating the crew who never knew what happened. Acoustic signals produced by these events were detected by an underwater sensor ….
“18:42:34Z on 22 May: SCORPION pressure-hull col- lapsed (imploded) at a depth of 1530-feet with an enormous energy release as potential energy in the form of sea pressure (680-psi) which was converted almost instantaneously to kinetic energy, the motion of the entering water-ram which destroyed the pressure-hull and all internal compartments in less than one-tenth (0.1) of a second.”
This book- by the Navy’s top acoustic analyst- should end the mass of unfounded speculation as the cause of the SCORPION’s loss. These included a Mark 37 torpedo battery explosion, a circular run by a self-launched torpedo, a broken propeller blade, or (the most ridiculous) the SCORPION being sunk by a torpedo launched by a Soviet submarine.