Crashing a submarine is sort of like having one of your selfies appear on the evening news, in that the first thing people are going to assume when they see it is that you did something really fucking stupid. So imagine what Swedish officials thought when a Russian whiskey-class submarine crashed in their waters during the height of the Cold War and everyone on board tried to pretend they had no idea where they were.
To explain, in the early hours of October 27th 1981, a big-ass Russian sub crashed into some rocks just a few miles away from a major Swedish Naval Base, forcing it to surface. After trying and failing to re-submerge, the submarine was spotted a few hours later by the Swedish Navy who’d been asked to investigate the sound of a struggling engine and loud Russian cursing that seemed to emanating from a supposedly empty area of the sea.
When the Swedish Navy happened upon the stranded sub and its hugely embarrassed crew, their first reaction was to ask the captain what in the donkey farts he was doing. The captain, still nursing his wounded pride, tried to convince Swedish officials that his presence in their waters was totally an accident and that he was only there because some instruments in the sub had failed and he’d gotten lost. When officials asked how the submarine had somehow managed to avoid all of the other rocks and islands between the ocean and their current location, he responded by saying he thought he was in Poland.
When the Russian Navy turned up to try and escort the submarine back home a few days later, officials from those boats insisted that the submarine was only there because it had run into severe weather and needed to lay low somewhere, adding that the fact it just so happened to crash right next to a major naval base was a complete coincidence that the Swedes should probably ignore.
Things got even more hilarious when the Swedish Navy sent someone aboard the sub to interrogate the captain and he literally fell over a bunch of maps of the local area and nearby base, basically confirming that the submarine was snooping. Which the Swedish Navy knew because they’d been chasing off Russian submarines for years, it’s just that this was the first one they’d manage to catch red-handed because its captain was a dumbass. The closest the navy had come previously was a year earlier when a Swedish fishing boat was dragged for several hundred feet when a small submarine got caught in its net. Sadly the net broke before the fisherman could reel the sub in, giving the Russian’s the ability to deny that it was one of theirs. Even though everyone knew that it was.
Despite being challenged with a frankly astonishing amount of evidence that they’d knowingly trespassed in Swedish waters, including scans that indicated the submarine was carrying nuclear missiles (which was spectacularly illegal), the Russian military still maintained that they’d not done anything wrong. Refusing to admit that the sub was in Swedish waters for nefarious purposes, even when confronted with evidence that it was filled with maps of Sweden and nuclear bombs. Hell, they wouldn’t even tell the Swedes what the submarine was called, forcing them to give it the generic designation of “U137”. We personally would have called the sub “shit-blimp 19”, but that’s just us.
Perhaps the ultimate example of how blase about the whole incident the Russian’s were, years later after dozens more submarines of unknown origin were detected around Sweden, the Russian government still maintained that the only time one of their submarines had ever found it way into Swedish waters was that one time in 1981 where the captain thought he was in Poland. No, really.