Warning Shots off Crimea?

Russian photo

You have probably heard that HMS Defender was confronted by Russian military forces during a transit off Crimea. The Russians claim they dropped bombs in the path of the British Destroyer and that the Russian Coast Guard fired warning shots. The British say it did not happen. I can’t comment on the claim of bombs being dropped, but lets look at the evidence the Russians provided of warning shots, it the form of the photo above. 

Let’s do a little photo interpretation. The Russian ship firing is apparently a Rubin class Coast Guard cutter.

Russian Rubin class Coast Guard cutter. Photo by Florstein (WikiPhotoSpace)

The gun is the AK-630, a 30mm Gatling gun. It is claimed to be effective against surface targets out to 5,000 meters or about 5,500 yards. It is an awsome weapon at close range, but its absolute maximum ballistic range is 8,860 yards (8,100 m).

HMS Defender, if that is the ship identified as such, is on the extreme horizon and might actually be somewhere beyond the visual horizon. Looking at the Rubin class cutter, it appears that the photo was taken from the Bridge or perhaps more likely, the flying bridge, on deck above to avoid reflections off the bridge windows. That puts the height of eye at about 30, or more likely 40 feet. We can calculate the distance to the horizon.

1.17 times the square root of your height of eye in feet = Distance to the horizon in nautical miles.

From a height of eye of 30 feet, the visual horizon is 6.4 nautical miles or more than 12,800 yards away. If the photo was taken from a height of 40 feet the distance to the visual horizon is 7.4 nautical miles or about 14,800 yards.

So HMS Defender was probably a minimum of 4000 yards or two nautical miles beyond the maximum range of the 30mm. In addition the gun was not pointed at the destroyer so the projectiles landed more than two miles from the Destroyer.

HMS Defender had no reason to believe that the shooting had any thing to do with them.

What we have here is a bite of theater. The Russians claim that fired warning shots while doing it in such a way that the British attached no significance to the firing.

The Drive seems to have come to the same conclusion.

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