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Plokštinė Nuclear Missile

Plokštinė Nuclear Missile

On January 1, 1963 for the first time in the history of the Soviet Union Plunge regiment positions were equipped with missile launch silo devices fitted with the new BVNR R-12U systems a year before their official start of carrying out defence functions.  Also the 344th Priekule missile Regiment was formed in Lithuania; one of its squadrons was equipped with BVNR R-14 systems and on January 1, 1962 reported for military duty. In 1963 another regiment squadrons were equipped with first silo type BVNR R-14U systems. The 58th Karmelava Division was created in 1961 and consisted of three missile regiments all armed with BVNR R-14U. The regiments were located in Taurage, Karmelava and Ukmerge. Each of them had two ground squadrons.

The silo squadron of the Plunge regiment in Plokštinė was made of four starter batteries, each of those were equipped with a Dvina missile silo. Plokštinė battery is the most complex strategically important missile force element located in Lithuania. Four shafts were dug and equipped in the corners of a 80×70 m rectangle. The shafts were 25 m deep and 5 m wide. The construction target was to keep the angle exactly at 90°; the shaft walls were up to 2,5 m thick. The construction of the shafts was conducted not only by the military but also by the underground construction experts, however simple the task would seem from the first glance, still the biggest challenge was to keep the precision exact to the point. First a pit would be dug; then a concrete casing segment would be inserted into it; then more earth would be removed from under the segment which would make it slide further down; then another segment would be mounted on top of the first one and so on, continuing until a necessary depth was achieved. Inside a 3 m wide metal casing was installed almost 2 m away from the concrete walls. It was necessary to leave such a large gap to install drainage, pneumatic, loading systems and various other cable routes. Besides, the gap between the casings also served as an exhaust for the escaping missile engine launch gases, the upper wider part of the shaft allowed the heated gases to disperse. The shaft was equipped with a lift encapsulated in a metal mesh shell for maintenance personnel. At the bottom of the shaft a missile R-12 launch desk was mounted. To load and launch a missile one would have to remove a very heavy sliding protective metal cover. Even thought the shaft was designed to be reusable, still after each launch it had to undergo extensive and long-lasting repairs. Therefore it was decided to use the complex for a week’s duration and to execute several launches only.  Consequently, to store the reserve missiles nearby was no longer considered practical or necessary, hence the need for the storage hangars was eliminated. The missiles were delivered on special platforms by a tow truck. The platform was raised vertically above the shaft and the missile was lowered into the shaft onto the launch desk. Then fuel filling pipes were attached to the missile, as well as control and feed cable threads. When the system check was completed the premises were sealed; every six month the operation was repeated and a new missile was installed. These measures were supposed to ensure an efficient functioning of the systems in the event of the receipt of the launch order. A concrete bunker was built underground in the middle of the projected rectangle between the four missile shafts for storing operating and control equipment, fuel components, and for personnel use.


To visit the Exposition of Militarism from September to May is allowed only with a guide of Žemaitija National Park booked in advance. Please address the Plateliai Visitor Centre of Žemaitija National Park at working time.

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Vilnius is a great place for pleasant strolls. It is green, full of cultural diversity and cozily compact. So compact, that in just a few dozen steps from the gallery, you find yourself in a park, followed by a baroque church, and off to the castle after a cup at the local cafe. Thus, in a short time you get to not just see, but also hear, touch, taste and tune into the soul of the city.

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