S-75 Volkhov Base

The S-75 is a Soviet-designed, high-altitude air defence system, built around a surface-to-air missile with command guidance. Following its first deployment in 1957 it became one of the most widely deployed air defence systems in history. It scored the first destruction of an enemy aircraft by a surface-to-air missile, with the shooting down of a Taiwanese Martin RB-57D Canberra over China on 7 October 1959 that was hit by a salvo of three V-750 (1D) missiles at an altitude of 20 km (65,600 ft). This success was credited to Chinese fighter aircraft at the time in order to keep the S-75 program secret.

This was a standard site for S-75 (”Dvina/Desna/Volga/Volhov”) system, which was in, more or less the same layout, found not just through the whole former USSR, but also through all of the countries to which the mentioned system was exported (from Eastern Europe through Middile East all the way to Asia).

This specific site was set up in 1970 and abandoned immediately after the disaster in 1986. Originally, it was intended to protect the then newly founded city of Pripyat as well as CNPP from aerial threats and later also 5N32 ”Duga-1” OTH early-warning radar site, when it was set up in 1976.

The underground bunker/garage was used to store the S-75M3’s reserve V-759/5JA23 (NATO reporting name SA-2 “Guideline”) dual-stage, medium-range anti-aircraft missiles secured on their PR-11M semi-trailers (for immediate transport via standard ZIL-157/131 6×6 trucks) as well as to store their liquid and solid fuel (for missile’s both engines), oxidizer and compressed air (for self-igntion of the liquid fuel in the missile’s main engine).

That equipment (especially the oxidizer) was very poisonous, so the system’s crewmen in charge of fueling the missiles in that garage always had to work in special protective suits along with GP-5/7 gas masks.

Right above the garage (in the very center of the site), the SNR-75 (NATO reporting name “Fan-Song”) mobile fire-control radar was located, which managed six individual SM-90 launch platforms altogether (each armed with a single V-759 missile), which were placed in a circle around the mentioned radar in their own concrete pads (at approximate distance of 100m from the radar and each other) and whose approaches were formed by the roads, thus creating distinctive hexagonal pattern, very easily noticeable from the air.

Unfortunately, that road pattern simply disappeared in this specific site, since it was abandoned over 30 years ago and is long-time overgrown in a forest, which why it is very difficult to find (especially via Google maps/Earth satellite images).

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