Question: During the ending sequence (with the Alpha) the Red October is running on the screws instead of the caterpillar. Now, we know the "reactor leak" was fake...and we know that the caterpillar was working normally (right after Ramius says "let us turn South" you see the Red October dive over a canyon wall with the screws not moving hence the caterpillar running). Wouldn't it have been wiser to run on the caterpillar during the ending?
Answer: The caterpillar drive was inoperable. The reactor leak was staged by the defecting officers, but the sabotage to the caterpillar (by the undercover KGB agent posing as the cook) was real.
Chosen answer: No, (mentioned in the book, not the film), the caterpillar can only drive Red October at a little over 1/2 her top speed. Speed is far more important than silence at this point.
Answer: The caterpillar was repaired but later after the crew exited screws were on and caterpillar was operation. The Russian fleet was still on there tail you still should be on silent drive. Movie shows them running on normal propulsion. Possible movie boo boo. Makes no sense.
The Caterpillar is not silent, it just does not sound like a sub. This is how the Dallas was able to track Red October even when it was running on the caterpillar. The Dallas just need to know what it sounded like. Presumably The Alpha knows what to listen for so speed would be important.
Question: In the scene near the end of the movie, when Tupelov's sub fires on the Red October for the first time, how did the torpedo manage to miss the mini-sub sitting right on top of the October?
Answer: Torpedoes home in on a target via sonar. The mini sub was too close to the October to show up as a separate target. Further, the Alfa's captain misjudged the distance from his boat to Red October and the torpedoes armed themselves and started looking for the boomer after they had already passed her.
Question: When talking to Ramius via Morse code, why does Jack tell Ramius to turn south to the Laurentian Abyssal?
Answer: The trench is too deep to recover anything from the bottom of the trench. They were going to fake destroying the Red October, so they need some way to explain the lack of evidence of its destruction (because the remains were on the bottom of this deep trench).
Question: Is it ever explained how Ramius' wife died?
Answer: According to the book Natalia Ramius was in hospital for an apparently routine appendix operation. The surgeon was drunk, botched the operation and she died. The surgeon couldn't be prosecuted as he was protected by his father - a Party high-up - which led directly to Ramius' decision to steal the Red October. His reasoning was that, if the doctor could not be made to pay, then the State that protected him would.
Question: After being asked to go to periscope depth, why would Mancuso bring the Dallas along side of the Red October rather than remain behind him and keep his advantage?
Answer: Everything both captains are doing is a gesture to the other. Ramius keeps his torpedo tube doors closed to show he doesn't want to fight. Mancuso moves along side him as a gesture of trust.
Question: Is it really possible for submarines and other naval vessels some distance away to hear the music coming from someone's headphones, as in the story the COB tells? I know water channels sound quite well, but this seems a stretch to me.
Answer: He was using the sub to play the music into the water, but listening to it through the headphones. So the sound emanated from the sub, not his headphones. Sub sonar is quite sensitive and if close enough sound can be heard through the hull.
Question: In the scene in which Jack is asking himself how Ramius is going to get his men off the Red October, how does he figure out what Ramius is going to do?
Answer: Thinking out loud, Jack says, "how do you make men want to get off a nuclear submarine..." the word "nuclear" made him realize that the easiest way to make the crew WANT to leave the sub is to fake a reactor/radiation accident.
Question: Do Russian sailors not use port and starboard? A few times Sean Connery used left and right.
Answer: Russians say "pravy bort" and "levy bort" (right board, left board), and "pravo rulya"/"levo rulya" (steer right, steer left). There are no special naval terms for right and left.
Question: When Mancuso is sending morse code to Ramius, why does Ramius need to use a sonar ping to communicate back (possibly raising the suspicions of his crew) instead of discreetly flashing his periscope light back?
Answer: It's faster than clicking out a response in morse code, and the captain suddenly flipping the periscope light on and off repeatedly would be just as suspicious to the bridge crew, so why not save time?
Question: Is/was it really possible to smoke a cigarette on a submarine? (01:57:10 - 01:58:20)
Answer: Smoking was allowed on U.S. Navy subs up to 2010, though not when a sub was submerged. During WWII, there were restrictions about smoking on deck because the enemy could detect a glowing cigarette ember at night. After 2010, smoking was banned entirely. Foreign navies would have different rules, of course.
Answer: The engineering officer comes off as a bit of a rebel and the captain tolerates it as he is good at his job and is also one of the conspirators to defect.
Question: What are countermeasures?
Answer: Countermeasures refer to objects of varying types that would be used to distract missiles or torpedoes away from their intended target. So, in the case of a submarine being chased by a torpedo that's homing in on the noise made by the sub, they eject effectively a drum full of compressed air, generating a lot of bubbles, which seems like a valid target to a pinging torpedo.
Question: Ryan says a phrase in Russian before he shoots the KGB saboteur. The literal translation is "leave me alone". Why would he say that?
Answer: The literal translation of "Ostav' eto v pokoye" is "leave it alone" or "leave it in peace."
Question: Does the Red October not have a signal light on the periscope like the Dallas? It's a little ridiculous that they have to ping them to acknowledge them.
Answer: Red October would certainly have a signal light. If Dallas thought they were talking to the ready to defect Captain, I can't think of a more dangerous way to ask him to reply. Ordering the sonar signal certainly alerted the entire crew that something very unusual was going on. Plot error for sure.
Question: Why does the Red October take the difficult way through the canyons? Is it faster/shorter? If so, how can the Dallas be at the end of the canyons and wait for Red October? The Dallas might be faster, but would it not have to take a considerable detour in order to avoid detection by the Red October?
Answer: It's red route 1: Almost all Soviet subs were detected by the SOSUS net between Greenland, Iceland and Norway. To break that contact they'd run through the canyon, too dangerous for US subs to follow. The catch is that after years of watching, US subs learned the exit to that route, and would run to the end and wait, hoping to pickup the contact again.
Answer: Red October is taking the deeper route ostensibly to deter pursuit, but in reality, it's so that once the plan goes through and they "scuttle the ship" it will be in waters too deep to make a search for the wreckage (that won't be there) practical.
Question: What does the Russian say when the Americans are going to board the Red October?
Answer: He asks him if he likes bologna sandwiches.
Question: This has always baffled me. When Ryan is talking to Jeffrey Pelt and Pelt asks him what he's supposed to do if Ramius is in fact trying to defect, Ryan responds that that they should grab the sub and Pelt responds that it is a billion dollar sub and the Russians are "gonna want it back." But Greer when first telling Ryan the news of the Red October's theft said that the Russians wanted the US's help to sink her. In other words the Russians wanted the Red October destroyed, not returned. And Pelt's counter argument made little sense (as grabbing the sub was indeed an option). Was this just poor writing or what?
Answer: Actually it makes perfect sense. The Russians do not want the sub falling into the American's hands, period. They want to retrieve it themselves or sink it. While it would be a great financial loss to destroy it, it would be much more damaging to have the Americans capture it, because they would then be able to reverse engineer the new design.
Question: Where did the mobile vehicle suddenly come from on the back of the Dallas?
Chosen answer: They use it to wipe the grease pencil markings off the screens.