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Peter Huchthausen

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Captain Peter Huchthausen, USN (ret.) “served aboard navy destroyers involved in anti-submarine operations, search and rescue operations for the lost submarine USS Thresher and participated in the Cuban blockade and forced a Soviet submarine to surface in the height of the missile crisis. He served as Chief Engineer aboard the destroyer USS Orleck and operated off the coast of Vietnam. He commanded a River unit of ten river patrol boats, in combat on the Mekong River. He served as a Soviet naval submarine analyst and in anti-submarine warfare positions on the staffs of Naval Forces Europe, the U.S. First and Third Fleets, and the Commander in Chief Pacific. He was assigned as the senior U.S. Naval Attaché to Yugoslavia and Romania and subsequently became the chief of attaché and human intelligence collection operations in Western Europe for the Defense Intelligence Agency. He served three years in Moscow as the senior U.S. Naval Attaché to the USSR during the years immediately preceding the fall of the Soviet Union. After retirement he returned to Moscow and opened the Moscow office of an American firm and began his research and writing career.”


Captain Peter Huchthausen is the author of Shadow Voyage: The Extraordinary Wartime Escape of the Legendary SS Bremen; America’s Splendid Little Wars: A Short History of U.S. Engagements From the Fall of Saigon to Baghdad; Frye Island; October Fury; and, K-19 The Widowmaker: The Secret Story of The Soviet Nuclear Submarine.  He is also the a co-author of Echoes of the Mekong; Finding God in the Shadows: Stories from the Battlefield of Life; Hostile Waters; and, Hide and Seek: The Untold Story of Cold War Naval Espionage.


According to the book description of Shadow Voyage: The Extraordinary Wartime Escape of the Legendary SS Bremen, “A fast-paced, little-known story of danger at sea on the eve of World War II. On the sweltering evening of August 30, 1939, the German luxury liner S.S. Bremen slipped her moorings on Manhattan’s west side, abandoned all caution (including foghorns, radar, and running lights), and sailed out of New York Harbor, commencing a dramatic escape run that would challenge the rules for unrestricted warfare at sea. Written by naval historian Peter Huchthausen, Shadow Voyage tells the epic adventure of the Bremen’s extraordinary flight to Germany, which became a life-and-death race with British warships and submarines intent on intercepting her. Revealing new details from naval archives, Huchthausen’s riveting narrative captures the great courage and magnanimity of the Royal Navy, the cunning and intricate planning of the Germans, and the tension and ambiguity that preceded the outbreak of World War II. Captain Peter Huchthausen, U.S. Navy, Retired (Hiram, ME), has had a distinguished career, serving at sea and on land as a Soviet naval analyst and as a naval attaché in Yugoslavia, Romania, and the Soviet Union.”


According to the book description of Finding God in the Shadows: Stories from the Battlefield of Life, “The stories in this volume are of men and women who exhibit moral courage and who take responsible action despite hardships, privations, or the burdens of making life and death decisions for others. Most of the stories are set against the backdrop of war or conflict and incorporate parallel historical moments from the Bible that help frame the questions raised by the contemporary story. By searching the concrete realities through which many people of faith encounter God, the authors encourage a closer reading of and reflection on the stories in the Bible. We can meet God, they say, most distinctly through ordinary means.”


The stories include: Battle of Pilar Pass, Stalingrad, And the Blind Shall See, The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth, Golden Rule in Action, Private Jake McNiece and the Dirty Dozen, Father Forgive Them, The Return, In God We Trust, Never Walk Alone, Ocean Tap, Boat People, and more. Each chapter includes questions for reflection and discussion.”


According to the book description of Hostile Waters, “On October 3, 1986, a week away from the Reagan-Gorbachev Reykjavik Summit on nuclear arms, a Soviet K-219 nuclear submarine cruises 500 miles away from the east coast of the U.S. Constantly on war alert during one of the most dangerous periods of the Cold War, the K-219 is carrying 15 thermo-nuclear warheads- strategically aimed at Washington DC, New York, and Boston At the same time, the USS Augusta, a Los Angeles killer nuclear sub quietly has the K-219 in its sights. The dangerous real-life cat-and-mouse game that ensues between the two submarines puts millions of unsuspecting American lives at risk of a nuclear disaster which is chillingly retold in the book, HOSTILE WATERS, by Peter Huchthausen, Igor Kurdin, and R. Alan White, which was also broadcast as an HBO world premier movie, at 8pm ET, Saturday, July 26, 1997.


Shortly after departing the Soviet Northern Fleet base at Gadzhievo in September, 1986, the K-219 begins taking on water through a small leak in missile si1o 6. The mixture of seawater and nuclear fuel is a letha1 combination resulting in nitric acid. But onward the K-219 presses believing they have the situation under control. They do not. And the Augusta knows there is trouble on board the Soviet vessel. As the situation on the K-219 worsens, with fire breaking out near the nuclear reactors onboard, Captain Igor Britanov makes a move that is strictly forbidden this close to the U.S. – he surfaces the sub in an effort to save his crew. The Augusta sees this maneuver, and believes the Soviets may be preparing to launch their missiles, so they proceed with plans to sink the K-219. When it becomes clear that the Soviets are desperately trying to save their lives only then does Augusta Capt. James Von Suskil back off – somewhat.


As tensions mount in the Western Atlantic, emergency meetings are called in Washington D.C. and Moscow, with every U.S. military base in the east placed on DEFCON2, the final military alert before a11-out war. Even with Russian support vessels in place to try and tow the hapless K-219, the fires rage out of control while four crew members lose their lives. The Kremlin orders one final attempt to save the sub, but in a shocking and unprecedented move, Capt. Britanov, in order to save the lives of his crew, openly defies Moscow's order to send crew members inside the reactor room one more time without proper safety equipment.”


Booklist said of K-19 The Widowmaker: The Secret Story of The Soviet Nuclear Submarine, “This book recaps the near-meltdown of a nuclear reactor in 1961 aboard the first Soviet ballistic missile boat, the K-19. The captain, Nikolai Zateyev, wrote a memoir of his career, which is extensively excerpted here and gives a glimpse into the Soviet nuclear navy and the shoddily constructed ships that Zateyev was given to command; a defective seal nearly sank the K-19 on a shakedown cruise. Worse was to come, with sufficient radioactive drama to inspire a forthcoming film (with the same title) starring Zateyev look-alike Harrison Ford. After the accident was contained by the certain-death heroics of men who repaired the reactor, Zateyev found the culprit in the near cataclysm: incompetent welding. Not that the knowledge improved safety: author Huchthausen, a retired U.S. Navy expert on submarines, embeds Zateyev's tale of woe within the context of a series of submarine accidents culminating in the kursk sinking of 2000. A likely lure for maritime mavens.”


The Library Journal said of Echoes of the Mekong, “In this delightful dual memoir, a Navy riverboat commander and a young Vietnamese tell their personal stories. In 1967, Captain Huchthausen, on a Mekong River patrol, rescues a severely wounded Vietnamese girl, Nguyen Thi Lung. The unit arranged for her treatment and education. After the Tet offensive, Nguyen loses contact with the Americans, eking out a marginal life in the shadows. In 1982 a smuggled letter to a UPI reporter initiates the drama that leads to her entry into the United States. In alternating chapters, Huchthausen and Nguyen recall the war years, while she relates her often frightening experience in postwar Vietnam. The format is refreshing, with Lloyd James and Marguerite Gavin doing fine jobs with their respective narrations. This counterpoint as well as the theme of human triumph over adversity and physical, political, and bureaucratic and creates a genuine story with universal appeal.”

Echoes of the Mekong (River Delta, Viet Nam)
Peter A. Huchthausen  More Info

Hostile Waters
Peter Huchthausen and Igor Kurdin and R. Alan White  More Info

Hide and Seek: The Untold Story of Cold War Naval Espionage
Peter A. Huchthausen  More Info

America's Splendid Little Wars: A Short History of U.S. Military Engagements: 1975-2000
Peter Huchthausen  More Info
Finding God in the Shadows: Stories from the Battlefield of Life
Peter A. Huchthausen  More Info

K-19 THE WIDOWMAKER: The Secret Story of The Soviet Nuclear Submarine
Peter Capt Ret Huchthausen  More Info

Frye Island 1748-1998
Peter Huchthausenm  More Info

The MOAA said of America’s Splendid Little Wars: a Short History of U.S. Engagements from the Fall of Saigon to Baghdad, “Huchthausen has written a timely and fast-paced account of our nation’s recent armed conflicts. His understanding of the military functions, combined with gripping story-telling ability, provide a keen insight into how America’s armed forces have handled more than a dozen engagements – from the Iran hostage crisis and interventions in Lebanon and Grenada to the Gulf War, Somalia, and Bosnia conflicts. Although many of the accounts read like the best military thrillers, Huchthausen relied on solid research, including eyewitness accounts, intelligence reports, and his own background as a naval analyst and attaché, to craft a fresh, sophisticated, and riveting analysis of modern-day history.”


According to the book description of Frye Island, “Frye Island's history reaches 250 years into New England's past. The island's name was found first recorded in the Massachusetts Bay Colony proprietor's archives in 1750. The lives of the island's namesake (Joseph Frye) and the founders of Pearsontown (now Standish), Maine (Moses Pearson and Ranger Humphrey Hobbs) cross frequently, first during the capture of Louisbourg in 1745, again in the operations to expel the French Acadians from their Nova Scotia settlements in 1754, and again during the Crown Point campaign on Lake George in 1757. Frye's renowned journal of the latter was published in 1819, and inspired James Fenimore Cooper's novel The Last of the Mohicans. During the American Revolution, Colonel Joseph Frye commanded the Maritime Defense Force at Falmouth Neck (Portland), and as a Continental Army Brigadier commanded a brigade during the British siege of Boston. He then returned to develop his land grant into the town of Fryeburg and participated in the first movement to free the area from Massachusetts to become the state of Maine. Frye Island's long list of owners since 1768 includes many renowned Maine citizens among them the Rev. Samuel Deane, prominent diarist and city father of early Portland and Moses Titcomb, whose descendants founded the first Maine newspaper.


The book includes Indian legends and regional adventure stories, including the Tarbox family tragedy, the wild woman of Frye's Island and the bobcat attack. The appendices contain poetry about Sebago Lake, the White Mountains and Songo River by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier and other local authors. Dr. Joseph Earnhardt's delightful musings about his life on the island are contained in a separate appendix. The book is richly - illustrated with maps and drawing.”


Publisher’s Weekly said of October Fury, “In the fall of 1962, Huchthausen (Hostile Waters) was a junior navy officer on the USS Blandy, a Forrest Sherman class destroyer; he and his fellow crew members were center stage during the Cuban missile crisis as they confronted Soviet submarines and merchant ships off the coast of Cuba. The submarines were equipped with nuclear-tipped torpedoes and had been given secret orders to use those new and virtually untested weapons if American forces attacked them or if American submarine-hunting destroyers forced them to the surface. That set of circumstances came very close to leading to an exchange of tactical nuclear weapons-an event that likely would have sparked nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Huchthausen details the story of what happened in those waters in this riveting account, based on his own experience and extensive interviews he conducted with former Soviet submariners and his former shipmates. Through reconstructed dialogue (and plenty of naval technospeak), he reveals that nuclear war was averted primarily by the heroic actions of three of the players in the high seas drama: Comdr. Edward G. Kelley, the Blandy's quixotic but experienced commanding officer; Capt. Nikolai Shumkov, who courageously and conscientiously commanded one of the four Soviet subs in Cuban waters; and Rear Adm. Leonid F. Rybalko, another veteran naval officer who, from his base in Moscow, countermanded dangerous orders from his superiors and paved the way for a peaceful denouement of the tense confrontation at sea. Nicely balanced between operational and analytical material, this account should satisfy action-seeking lay readers and buffs.”


According to the book description of Hide and Seek: The Untold Story of Cold War Naval Espionage, “Through dramatic incidents tells for the first time the full story of the development of Cold War naval intelligence from the end of WWII to the breakup the Soviet Union in 1991, from both sides, East and West. Unlike other accounts, which focus on submarine confrontations and accidents, the authors cover all types of naval intelligence, human collection (racing with the Soviets to capture Nazi subs, successful and losing spies and defectors), signal intelligence (surface, air, satellite and navy commando teams in balaclavas launched by speed boats from subs), acoustic (passive underwater arrays and tapping phone lines), and the aerial and space reconnaissance. The authors give details of operations in all these areas, some of which were witnessed first hand.”

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