Just For The History Buffs

Mike King's picture

An article I ran across dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Granted, I have not taken the time to verify its entirity, but doctrinally, the manner in which the Soviet Armed Forces projected their power demonstrates just how close we may have come to proliferation.

I can not imagine a single submariner with the independent authority to initiate a nuclear war, but it does show just how dangerous our world was in 1962. Would anyone care to say that militant terrorist would be less hesitant than a career soviet officer to set one of these things off?

The Cuban Missile Crisis: The World's Biggest, Most
>> Dangerous Covert Action...
>> Friends/family ........ Interesting new information, some
>> declassified after the History Channel did their
>> documentary. The devolution of Soviet command authority to
>> site commanders will make you appreciate how close we came
>> to disaster. This guy writes for the Charleston Mercury.
>> One note: NOTAM is the acronym for NOtice To AirMen, not
>> submariners. Oh well ....civilians.
>> Writers, historians, politicians and scholars rarely go
>> back to set the record straight even after learning the
>> truth about what really happened in historically significant
>> world crises. Such was the case with the Cuban Missile
>> Crisis. We continue to hear the same version of the event
>> reported at the time, which was that the Soviets were caught
>> with their pants down trying to sneak nuclear offensive
>> missiles into Cuba, and have them armed and ready to launch
>> toward Charleston, Norfolk, Washington and New York before
>> the U.S. woke up to the fact. The story then, and now, was
>> that a U-2 spy plane flying over Cuba discovered the missile
>> sites under construction, that President Kennedy ordered a
>> naval blockade that stopped the Soviet ships from unloading
>> more missiles,and that Kennedy and Khrushchev stood
>> toe-to-toe, eyeball-to-eyeball, and it was Khrushchev that
>> blinked, and backed down, and removed their missiles.
>> What came to light later, but not well publicized, was that
>> Khrush chev extracted from Kennedy an agreement to also
>> pull U.S. offensive missiles from Turkey and Italy. As part
>> of this deal, Kennedy had insisted the Soviets keep this
>> part of the deal quiet for at least 6 months. Khrushchev
>> also insisted, and got from JFK, an agreement to keep hands
>> off Castro and Cuba in the future. Kennedy's
>> acquiescence thus has led to the longest Communist
dictatorship in history.
>> What we learned forty years later, after the Cold War, when
>> the American and Russian participants in the Crisis sat down
>> together to share what really went on, made the hair on the
>> back of our necks stand up. We had no idea, until then, how
>> close we had come to a nuclear holocaust. What we called the
>> Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviets called Anadyr, one of
>> their many covert actions. We might better call it the
>> world's largest, and most dangerous, covert action since
>> it went well beyond anything the U.S. ever considered,
>> including the CIA's Bay of Pigs.
>> Just why Khrushchev decided on Anadyr remains a matter of
>> conjecture, but we do know that the Soviets had long placed
>> spies throughout the U.S.Government, who had stolen every
>> secret we had. Roosevelt had ceded Soviet dominance over all
>> Eastern Europe and most everything was going their way.
>> Further, Khrushchev had sized up Kennedy, in an earlier
>> meeting in Vienna, as young, inexperienced and an
>> eager-to-please pushover. But Khrushchev was also smarting
>> from the CIA's U-2 having roamed freely over Russia for
>> four years,unlocking Soviet s ecrets and weaknesses, and
>> then having to back down in the Berlin face-off in 1960
>> because the U.S. had clear military superiority over the
>> Soviets. He saw the U.S. as the only road block to
>> Russia's world domination plan. Anadyr would be a quick
>> and easy way gambit to turn the tables and checkmate us. It
>> was a magnificent gamble, well-worth the risks, and Russians
>> were the better chess players.
>> Anadyr called for emplacing Surface-to-Air defensive
>> missiles around the planned strategic missile sites, eighty
>> strategic missiles with three megaton nuclear warheads,
>> seven ballistic nuclear missile submarines, short range
>> missiles with 100 kiloton warheads, cruise missiles with
>> nuclear capabilities, a fleet of IL-28 bombers with 12
>> kiloton bombs, two cruisers, two missile destroyers, two
>> squadrons of mine warfare ships, four long-range diesel
>> attack submarines equipped with nuclear torpedoes, and
>> 40,000 Soviet soldiers disguised as Cubans. The cover for
>> the shipments was to be 'massive aid to Cuba.' Had
>> Anadyr been completed, the island would surely have glowed
>> in the dark and be clearly visible from Key West.
>> The early shipments from the Soviet Union went unnoticed.
>> Nonetheless, there were early clues that the Soviets were up
>> to something. A U.S. Navy ship had spotted a Soviet
>> freighter in the Mediterranean and signaled, 'What is
>> your ship, your cargo and where headed?' 'We are
>> taking agriculture machinery to Havana.' The Americans
>> could clearly see the IL-28 bombers on deck. The CIA also
>> had reports fr om their agents in Cuba regarding large
>> objects, 20 meters in length that required removal of street
>> lamps to tow around tight street corners.
>> And Philippe Thyraud de Vosjoli, a French intelligence
>> officer, told the Directorof CIA, John McCone, that he had
>> visited Cuba and learned that the Soviet buildup there
>> included strategic nuclear missiles. There was no hard
>> evidence, however, as from aerial photographs, since Kennedy
>> had forbidden U-2 overflights of the island for fear of a
>> political flap. The National Security Agency intercepted
>> Soviet and Cuban communications and caught them discussing
>> highly secret cargo unloading, under heavy guard at Mariel,
>> and the extraordinary precautions to keep it secret.
>> Only two people thought the Soviets were sneaking
>> strategic missiles into Cuba: Colonel John Wright in the
>> Defense Intelligence Agency, and John McCone, the Director
>> of CIA. Even so, the CIA's Board of National Estimates
>> reviewed the 'circumstantial' evidence and concluded
>> that the Soviets would not dare place offensive missiles in
>> Cuba, because 'it was not logical.' Later on, when
>> the U-2 confirmed the missiles, the Board released another
>> report that 'If the missiles are in Cuba, the Soviets
>> wouldn't dare use them.' So much for intelligence
>> estimates not based on collected intelligence.
>> Under pressure from McCone, Kennedy finally relented and
>> permitted the Air Force U-2 overflights that confirmed the
>> missiles, and that launch site construction was well along.
>> The Air Force had insisted that its U-2s fly the Cuban
>> missions,rather than the CIA. Unfortunately, the Air Force
>> U-2s were not equipped with electronic countermeasures (ECM)
>> to protect them from the Soviet anti-aircraft missiles. One
>> of the Air Force U-2s was shot down over Cuba, and its
>> pilot, South Carolinian Maj. Rudy Anderson, would be the
>> only fatality during the Crisis. The Air Force then borrowed
>> the CIA's U-2s, which were outfitted with ECM. The White
>> House, and Congress, needed CIA experts to interpret the U-2
>> photography for them.
>> This problem was solved by switching to low-flying
>> photo-reconnaissance aircraft, skimming over the mis sile
>> sites at treetop level. We could now count the rivets on the
>> missiles, and clearly see the Russian technicians'
>> vulgar hand gestures,something a Congressman could
>> understand. But the Navy and Air Force low-level planes
didn't have ECM protection either, so a couple of young
>> CIA engineers were dispatched to Key West to install CIA ECM
>> in these planes. What went on in Key West and off the Cuban
>> coast will be the subject of a future Charleston Mercury
>> article.
>> At the peak of the crisis, McCone, a widower recently
>> remarried, was on his honeymoon on the French Riviera, but
>> the vast amount of messages coming from him, called his
>> 'honeymoon cables,' caused the White House to
>> question if he knew what he was supposed to be doing on his
>> honeymoon. These cables are now declassified and make a
>> great read.
>> Before the U.S. showed its hand, the Russians were
>> questioned about the Cuban arms buildup, and the Russians
>> quickly put up a smoke screen of lies and deception.
>> Khrushchev sent ambassador Dobrynin to tell Bobby Kennedy
>> and Presidential counsel Ted Sorenson that they would create
>> no problems for the U.S. during our 1962 Congressional
>> elections. The White House was told that 'no missile
>> capable of reaching the U.S. would be placed in Cuba.'
>> Tass, speaking for the Soviet government, stated that Soviet
>> missiles were so powerful 'there was no need to place
>> them outside the Soviet Union.' Khrushchev told the
>> American ambassador in Moscow the build-up was purely
>> defensive. Soviet foreign minister Gromyko lied to Kennedy,
>> saying the build-up was 'by no means offensive.'
>> On October 22nd,Kennedy finally appeared on television and
>> announced the U-2 findings to an anxious public, called for
>> the missiles removal, and placed a naval quarantine around
>> Cuba to block further Soviet shipments and once again called
>> Khrushchev's bluff as he had in Berlin. But Khrushchev
>> knew, as with Berlin, the U.S. had him outgunned, so he had
>> no choice but to move quickly to find a solution. Glued to
>> our televisions, we watched UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson
>> wave the U-2 photographs of the missiles in the face of the
>> Soviets as the U.S. military went to DEFCON2, the highest
>> alert status short of all out nuclear war. The next day, the
>> fever broke. The Soviet ships en route stopped, were either
>> dead in the water or turning back.
>> But the CIA had an ace up its sleeve. It had earlier
>> obtained the instruction manuals for the Russian missiles
>> from one of their spies, Soviet Colonel Oleg Penkovsky. The
>> manuals also included the procedures for launch site
>> construction, which were being followed to the letter in
>> Cuba. By comparing photographs of the Cuban site
>> construction with the instruction manuals, we knew the sites
>> would be completed and=2 0ready to launch missiles in about
>> thirteen days; which became Washington's drop-dead date
>> to end the crisis, one way or another. On the same day that
>> Kennedy announced his naval quarantine, Penkovsky was
>> arrested, exposed, confessed to spying, and later executed.
>> So the Soviets knew what we knew.
>> At the end of the Cold War, when the Americans and
>> Russians [not USSR] sat down together in a series of
>> meetings, the first of which was in Havana, to discuss the
>> Crisis,the Americans were jarred and shocked. The Russians
>> told how their local commanders in Cuba had been given
>> orders that permitted them to use their nuclear weapons if
>> they were to come under attack by the Americans. The reason
>> was that Moscow did not have reliable communications with
>> their forces so far from home, so it was left to the local
>> commanders, on their own, to launch these nuclear warhead
>> missiles into the U.S.A., an unprecedented action.
>> In a later meeting, the Russians described how the nuclear
>> 'close encounters' had occurred at sea, both on the
>> surface and below. The Soviet navy's budding nuclear
>> submarine force was unreliable and fraught with one major
>> disaster after another. The only reliable submarines they
>> could send to Cuba to protect their shipments were
>> long-range diesel attack submarines based in the Arctic,
>> near Murmansk, and under the command of Admiral Leonid
>> Rybalko.
>> Four of these were ordered to sail undetected to the Azores
>> where they would then open sealed orders which sent them on
>> to20Mariel, Cuba. In addition to their regular torpedoes,
>> each sub would carry one nuclear tipped, 15 kiloton torpedo,
>> which would wipe out everything within a 15 mile radius. And
>> none of these vessels had ever seen or test-fired such a
>> weapon. Each sub had a nuclear specialist on board who slept
>> by his torpedo, plus the usual KGB political officer, the
>> infamous and dreaded Zampolit, to keep an eye on, and report
>> on, everyone else.
>> Their orders read, 'Your rules of engagement are clear.
>> You will use these weapons if American forces attack you
>> submerged or force your units to surface and then attack. Or
>> upon receipt of orders from Moscow.' Incredibly, the
>> submarine Captains, like the Soviet commanders in Cuba, had
>> been given full authority to start a nuclear war with the
>> United States.
>> The submarine Captains had been told nothing about Anadyr.
>> But as they approached Cuba they received a message from
>> Moscow saying, 'Abort transit to Mariel and assume
>> combat patrol at (coordinates that corresponded to the U.S.
>> naval blockade).' They were all shocked since, as
>> submariners are prone to do, raise their antennas to listen
>> to American broadcasts and learned about the Cuban Missile
>> Crisis. They also found themselves in a hornet's nest of
>> U.S. Navy anti-submarine activity enforcing20the blockade.
>> At the time of the blockade, the U.S. Navy flashed a Notice
>> to Mariners (NOTAM) signal,worldwide, that read: 'U.S.
>> forces in contact with unidentified submarines will signal
>> the submarine to surface in order to be identified, by
>> dropping 4 to 5 harmless explosive sound signals,
>> accompanied by the international code signal IDKCA, meaning
>> to rise to the surface on an easterly course.'
>> The hide and seek games began between the Navy and the
>> four Russian submarines. Moscow had kept their submarines in
>> the dark about the American NOTAM, but Admiral Rybalko,
>> thinking it unconscionable not to let his submariners know
>> about it, ignored Moscow, and transmitted the NOTAM to his
>> submarines himself. When the submarines were finally forced
>> to the surface, they were on an easterly course, which meant
>> they knew of the NOTAM and would come to no harm from the
>> Americans.
>> When the USS Cony forced Captain Savitsky's submarine
>> to surface, they signaled, 'What ship are you, and do
>> you need assistance?' Savitsky signaled back that they
>> would like some American cigarettes and bread. When the
>> destroyer moved alongside the submarine, the Cony's
>> bosun fired a shot line across the conning tower to start
>> the transfer. The submariners ducked, thinking they were
>> about to be attacked. They apparently had never seen a shot
>> line gun.
>> Captain Edward Kelley's destroyer, USS Blandy, forced
>> Captain Shumkov's submarine to the surface, both on an
>> easterly course. Then something went terribly wrong. The B
>> landy's gunnery officer swung his 5 inch gun turret
>> around and trained it on the submarine. Shumkov, assuming he
>> was about to fired on, turned his submarine toward the
Blandy and ordered his nuclear torpedo readied for firing.
>> His nuclear officer fainted dead away, knowing that if the
>> torpedo was fired, the destroyer, submarine and their crews
>> would be instant toast. Kelley, at the last instant, saw the
>> mistake and ordered the gun turret to point away from the
>> submarine. Shumkov then swung his submarine back to an
>> easterly heading. And the niceties between sailors at sea
>> resumed. Kelley and none of the other Americans knew of the
>> nuclear torpedoes, and how close they, and the world, came
>> to disaster.
>> As the submarines were forced to surface, all parties
>> relaxed and even became jovial, exchanging greetings and
>> salutes, along with the cigarettes and other gifts. One
>> destroyer had a rag-tag jazz band that performed on deck for
>> their Russian guests. The Russians never forgot that jazz
>> band, especially the trombone player, obviously the
>> ship's cook, with his white pants and T-shirt, wearing
>> his tall chef's cap. Some mused that these sailors must
>> have been from Charleston,the city where everyone had music
>> in his bones. Yes, you will have guessed it, the Americans
>> requested vodka from the Russian submariners, who were
>> dismayed to learn the American Navy didn't allow liquor
>> on their ships.
The Russians limped back to their Arctic base, and were
>> held virtual prisoners on their submarines, for fear their
>> stories would embarrass the Kremlin. And Admiral Kybalko
>> disappeared, never to be heard from, for his having
>> transmitted the Navy's NOTAM to his submarines that
>> saved their lives.
>> In the 1970s,the CIA learned that Soviet submarines were
>> indeed equipped with nuclear torpedoes, and quickly informed
>> the Navy. Then three decades later, in our face-to-face
>> meetings, we would learn the Russian commander in Cuba, and
>> the submarine Captains, had the authority to start a nuclear
>> war, on their own.
>> The USSR would never again allow itself to be militarily
>> inferior to the Americans, and the Cold War would continue,
>> under the rules of MAD (mutually assured destruction) UNTIL
>> President Reagan decided to end the half-century stand-off
>> by reasserting American military superiority, and adding
>> 'Star Wars' (the airborne laser weapons system),
>> something Russians could not match. This caused the Soviet
>> Union to finally implode.
Herb Knight

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Submitted by Nitpickers on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 3:45pm.

Where is this star wars" thing?

Every shot they have made==even when the software told them the flight path of the missile has failed so far.

Anyway, now the missiles release "clusters" of items the defensive missiles follow and it is an impossible thing to depend upon.

It just put us in debt for four trillion dollars. None of Reagan's movies ever made that much.

Submitted by mysteryman on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 8:01pm.

To make the Soviets believe we had a viable weapon of this caliber, and to make them go bankrupt trying to match this technology, so Reagan in principle did accomplish his mission, for ending the cold war by bankrupting the Soviet Union... Reagan paved the way for the technology we have today, for although it was never used to fight a rediculous nuclear war, of which could never be won at any cost, it provides conventional missile defense, such as the Patriot Missile system, as well as paved the way for todays unmanned aerial vehicles, and smart munitions, all in the name of saving lives, SO THE GALAXY FAR FAR AWAY, IS HERE TODAY ALIVE AND WELL, MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU. PEACE lets pray for it....BLESS

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 4:19pm.

Like everything else, it's over your head.

I couldn't resist.

Submitted by Nitpickers on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 6:11pm.

All that Cuban missile stuff that IKE screwed up for Kennedy nearly did us in maybe. He should have ordered us in and notified Kennedy. Like Reagan he wanted no credit for invading Cuba, and Reagan wanted none for his spending.

Reagan was a false actor who simply acted Presidential, spouted BS all of the time to believers, and finally went over the cliff so that Nancy carried him enough to avoid relieving him of duty, for two years.

Some of us aren't persuaded of such things due to loyalty.
There are still a few people defending that stupido, BUSH! Cheney worked him like a clock stem being wound.

hutch866's picture
Submitted by hutch866 on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 6:42am.

Although I was just a young lad at the time, Ike was out of office at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, so what authority did he have to order anything? Reagan wasn't a false actor, he was real actor, just not very good at it. BTW, the joke did go over your head, you just weren't man enough to admit it. I leave you with this thought....What the hell is a baroom? And why?

I yam what I yam....Popeye

Submitted by Nitpickers on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 7:03am.

IKE ordered the Cuban invasion stopped at the last moment with our help. The Cubans went ahead with the invasion and got slaughtered.
IKE didn't even tell Kennedy about the situation! Like I said IKE didn't want to go out with a war he started---to hell with the Cubans!
Likewise Kennedy didn't want to look like a war-monger starting a war immediately.

As to Reagan, he was a hollywood actor and a GE puppet. He even converted from a Roosevelt Democrat to a republican to make GE happy. They paid him well to lie on TV about products. However as a president he was a bad actor.

I'm sure this is all over your head but it is Ok.
(By the way, that is the kind of silliness that Colonels use when they don't want to argue a lost point!)Khadaffi, Noriega, many others (Egyptians) were Colonels! once.
They hardly ever make any stars. (Over their head).

hutch866's picture
Submitted by hutch866 on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 7:17am.

You better lighten up on the meds, IKE died in 61, Cuban missile crisis was in 62, now I know the politicians have remarkable powers but first, IKE was never a general under Kennedy and second, and this is important, IKE was DEAD in 62. you've got your events in the wrong order, check your time line and get back to me.

I yam what I yam....Popeye

Submitted by Bonkers on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 9:49am.

The confusion you have is between the invasion of Cuba planned just before IKE's term was up by IKE, and the Cuban Missle Crisis, a Kennedy thing!

hutch866's picture
Submitted by hutch866 on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 1:33pm.

You're right I got that wrong, but the confusion is yours when you said, "All that Cuban missile stuff that IKE screwed up for Kennedy nearly did us in maybe. He should have ordered us in and notified Kennedy." Ike had nothing to do with the Cuban missile crisis.

I yam what I yam....Popeye

Submitted by Nitpickers on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 3:54pm.

If IKE had gone ahead with the invasion, there would have been no Cuban missile crisis!
Understand now? WOW

hutch866's picture
Submitted by hutch866 on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 4:10pm.

If your Aunt had testicles she'd be your Uncle. Understand Now...WOW

I yam what I yam....Popeye

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 9:37am.

Eisenhower died in 1961? *fact check on aisle two!*

pssst...he died in 1969. Laughing out loud

hutch866's picture
Submitted by hutch866 on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 1:28pm.

That's what happens when you look at the last date on what I thought was his lifetime and it turns out to be his term in office.

I yam what I yam....Popeye

hutch866's picture
Submitted by hutch866 on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 10:24pm.

The joke was over his head too.

I yam what I yam....Popeye

Submitted by Nitpickers on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 5:19am.

He meant it as a put-down, not a joke. I saw that and didn't respond to the corny 'over your head' joke.
Some things are always here on the ground, not over our head.

Macho stuff like star wars, if it even worked, just makes our enemies find a better way to strike us: Send terrorists to Iraq and Afghanistan; cut off oil flow from middle east; Blow up our friend the Egyptians; Blow up poor India--its hotels and Jews; Help kill millions in Africa; Load up Indonesia with terrorists (worse place than Viet Nam); Blow up Spain; Stir up Lebanon and Syria; Irritate the Jews perpetually; and spend us to death just as Reagan taught them!

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 8:14am.

is amazing.. You could not even get IKE right.. better call the Ghost Whisper.. I wonder if Reagan is Astro Projecting from the Great beyond..
You can blame every thing on Reagan, Bush, Bush and well Reagan again.. I guess all Dem Presidents have been perfect.. Wonder why we have'nt had all Dems since they obviously don't make mistakes..
Have a smoke,, I got a great deal on cigars.. signed by Clinton himself.. They do have a funny smell though..

DarthDubious's picture
Submitted by DarthDubious on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 1:48pm.

They are all the same folks, with a very few individual exceptions. The deficit spending and government expansion really began under FDR. Nixon was the biggest socialist since FDR.

Carter, well Carter was just Carter, he tried messing with the oil barons, and we suffered for it, but I respect his valiant efforts to settle the arab-jew conflicts.

Reagan was Bush's meat puppet spending us into the ground building the war machine that we had to have some excuse to use after the demise of the USSR. Saddam saved the day!

Working as a schill for the globalist elites Clinton signed NAFTA and GAT I believe, which has shipped all of our manufacturing industry to China and elswhere, turning the working class into poverty, only one step away from being serfs.

Enter Bush the younger: he signs the Security and Prosperity Partnership, furthering the one worlder agenda of the NAU.

Now Obama is finishing the job of completely wrecking the country, by spending more than the PLANET EARTH's GDP: $78.8 trillion is now the national debt.

I rest my case. The parties are different in name only. Their policies are the same. Study history folks.

In Liberty,


S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 5:57pm.

and that is what we are.. you are too correct.. Both Parties have sold us down the river.. and not only do we not have a paddle we don't even have a boat..
When will this end.. it can not last forever.. we can not last forever.. at some point the masses are going to say enough.. I just hope they hear it in time in the cesspool they call Washington DC. If not the simmering Rage outhere is simply going to spill over.. I heard someone mention the other day.. they hoped for another terroist attack as long as they hit Washington...Madness everywhere.. strange times my friend strange times.. Keep your powder dry and your head down..

Submitted by Spyglass on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 1:55pm.

I've been saying it for years.

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