That Time The Soviet and US Navy “Bumped” Into Each Other
YouTube / Not What You Think
Not An Accident
It all began in March 1986 when the American cruiser USS Yorktown and destroyer USS Caron entered Soviet territorial waters while claiming the right of innocent passage.
The Soviets did nothing at first but held a defense council after the incident. During the meeting, Gorbachev, the Soviet Union leader, approved the “bumping of ships” to push them out of Soviet waters.
Two years later, USS Yorktown and USS Caron entered Soviet territory once more. A Russian frigate was subsequently deployed, radioing the Americans to leave their territory. The American ships decided to use the right of innocent passage card again, to no avail.
Minutes later, the frigate approached Yorktown and bumped into her. While this was going on, another smaller frigate struck Caron as well. According to the Soviets, Yorktown was about to launch her helicopters, so they warned the Americans that they would shoot them down.
Fortunately, the Americans complied by putting the helicopters back on the hangars and changing their course into neutral waters.