The farts that almost led to war in Sweden and the Soviet Union

For 15 years, Sweden prepared for an invasion by the Soviet Union due to strange noises that turned out to be … farts …

A Soviet Union submarine ran aground barely ten kilometers from a Swedish naval base. At that time, the Soviets argued that the accident occurred due to navigation errors. From then on, a tense situation started caused… by farts.

Specifically, herring farts, a fish that lives in the North European Sea.

But we go in parts.

The Soviet submarine had nuclear material, secretly measured by the Swedes. According to the Norse, it was uranium-23.

They finally let the submarine go, after a series of diplomatic talks. But since then, the Swedish naval forces have remained vigilant against the possibility of a Soviet invasion.

The Soviet Union and the farts that made Sweden fear

Back then, the Soviet Union was in conflict in Afghanistan – let’s remember Rambo’s third film and his aid to the Mujahideen. During the Second World War it had already invaded neighboring Finland. It was not unreasonable to think of a new red adventure.

The Swedish navy began to hear underwater sounds. By 1982 they activated submarines, ships and helicopters searching for the source, thinking that a Soviet invasion was on the way.

First it was a month. Then a year. The Cold War ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, but the noises continued. What was it?

They were farts. Herring farts.

It was demonstrated by the Danish professor Magnus Wahlberg in 1996, as recounted in 2012 in a TEDx talk.

“We were sitting there with all those officers and you could hear these sounds. It was the first time a civilian had listened to him, ”recalled Wahlberg. “They sounded like they were small air bubbles released under water ”.

They finally thought of herring. These fish, when scared for any reason, generate a large amount of gas.


After buying a herring from a store, Wahlberg took it to the Swedish army room where it was. He applied pressure and voila: the sound emerged.

Better to hear that than a bomb, no doubt. They could sleep soundly.