Military Review

How the military prevented the third world war

How the military prevented the third world war

In the United States, the incident 53 a year ago, at the height of the Caribbean Crisis, which almost led to a nuclear war between the USA and the USSR, was made public. The commander of the start-up calculation of a secret missile base in Okinawa received an order to launch four missiles equipped with thermonuclear warheads. The officer did not execute the order immediately and contacted the command, which the order was canceled. The details of the operation are still secret.

Captain bassett

October 28 1962, captain William Bassett received an order to launch four MGM-13 Mace cruise missiles with megaton thermonuclear warheads in Vladivostok, Beijing, Pyongyang and Hanoi, writes the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Similar orders were received by the commanders of the calculations of three more secret bases of the United States located in Okinawa - all 32 missiles were supposed to take off. The verification of the decrypted document confirmed its authenticity, the international situation was critical — the very height of the Caribbean Crisis — however, Basset was embarrassed by the fact that the declared level of combat readiness of DEFCON 2 (on the verge of nuclear war) did not comply with the order. The US military was trained to use nuclear weapon with DEFCON 1 (nuclear war is inevitable).

The captain ordered to suspend the preparation of missiles for launch and ordered two soldiers to shoot the lieutenant who was standing at the launch console if he tried to launch before increasing the level of combat readiness or without Basset’s instructions. It seemed strange to the commander of the calculation that among the planned targets there was only one city of the Soviet Union - the main potential opponent of the United States at that time. "I also have only two goals in the Soviets," the duty officer from the neighboring base told William.

- When it all started, the captain warned us: this can be a real attack, and maybe the biggest mistake in our lives. “If this is a failure and we do not start up, do not wait for any reward or recognition,” George Bordn, a member of the start-up team, recounted the words of the commander. - After the incident, he strictly forbade us to tell about what happened.

The senior officer contacted the command and then canceled the order to launch the missiles. William Bassett died in the 2011 year, without telling anyone anything. Four years later, the US Air Force command allowed Bordna to tell about the incident in Okinawa. Journalists and scientists demanded that the Pentagon declassify official information about the incident half a century ago.

Lieutenant Colonel Petrov

Similar история was in the Soviet Union. On the night of September 26, 1983, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov took over as operational duty officer in the Serpukhov-15 bunker, a command post of the early warning system of a missile attack launched a year earlier. Unlike the American counterpart, our satellites did not look at the territory of the United States, but at the sky above it, as it were, from the side, from a remote point of orbit. Due to this, the rocket taking off was clearly visible against the background of a dark and cold sky in both the optical and infrared ranges. The task of the operational duty officer was to report the launch of the American ICBM to the country's leadership.

- We gave them extra time to think, 10-12 minutes. The rest of the 15 minutes is too late to think: you need to give the order to the launch calculations to spin the rocket gyros and enter the flight task, ”said Petrov.

The viewpoint “from beyond the horizon” was used by the Soviet military to minimize false alarms due to light reflected from snow and clouds. However, that night, for the first time in a year, the American bases, the sun and cirrus clouds in the troposphere were located in such a way that the light reflected from the latter deceived one of four Soviet satellites who were observing the American sky at that moment, and he transmitted a message about the launch of the rocket. And then about three more - from the same base. Petrov’s choice was small: either press a button and shift the burden of decision making onto Yuri Andropov with his “nuclear briefcase”. Or do not press and take responsibility for themselves. Petrov did not click.

“In those two or three minutes, you really won't analyze anything,” explained Petrov. - It remains intuition. I had two arguments. First, rocket attacks from one base do not begin, they take off from all at once. Secondly, a computer is by definition a fool. You never know what he will take over the launch ...

After the incident, changes were made to the EWS, and Lieutenant Colonel Petrov resigned from the army. The incident became known only after 10 years, and in the XXI century, Stanislav Petrov won several rare awards - for example, the crystal statue “Hand holding the globe” with the engraved “Man who prevented a nuclear war” from the UN and the World Citizens Association . Or the Dresden Prize awarded for the prevention of armed conflict.
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  1. crazyrom
    crazyrom 1 November 2015 06: 53
    It was lucky that thinking people were at the post. It wouldn't work today, look at the American police. There, according to the instructions, if the "suspect" does not follow the order, shooting. And the fact that he is paralyzed or a weak old man, it does not matter, the order "hands up" is the same for everyone.
    1. Blacks
      Blacks 1 November 2015 11: 08
      I do not think this is a correct comparison.
      It’s just that people won’t be put in a rocket launcher, but only after careful selection and monitoring of a person’s condition, because the fate of the world literally depends on his decision, and no one wants to burn out in a nuclear fire due to an error.
      In general, the guys are great! thanks to them we are alive.
      1. Aryan
        Aryan 2 November 2015 01: 35
        Shaw pen-syndy tryndet that declassified documents?
        Who .. WHO gave such an order is not said
        What is the name of this person
        1. Blacks
          Blacks 2 November 2015 02: 16
          What will the name give? the main thing is that a person could not ... (conscience), and you? or me? ... that's why they won’t take us. too many emotions
        2. free
          free 2 November 2015 08: 00
          I agree no declassification is out of the question!
    2. Blacks
      Blacks 2 November 2015 08: 43
      and I’ll answer for the police (I’ve lived in the states for more than a year) they always acted very correctly and correctly, I still don’t understand how much patience they had.
      For example, I came to Estonia (I live here), and became a witness, so I was in the bullpen, and without options ...
  2. PlotnikoffDD
    PlotnikoffDD 1 November 2015 07: 12
    The senior calculation contacted the command and then canceled the order to launch missiles.

    So the order was? Who gave it away? For what purpose?
    1. Noisy
      Noisy 1 November 2015 09: 21
      The fact is that the order comes through the ACS system in the form of a code phrase. The system crashed and issued a "phantom".
    2. chunga-changa
      chunga-changa 1 November 2015 12: 30
      Journalists and scientists demanded that the Pentagon declassify official information about the incident half a century ago.

      Publish - find out.
  3. TVM - 75
    TVM - 75 1 November 2015 07: 46
    This event suggests that any person in a certain situation can become the arbiter of many fates. And this decision depends on how the country teaches and educates its children.
  4. Andryukha G
    Andryukha G 1 November 2015 08: 02
    They do not touch and threaten Russia, but they fear and respect - for one simple reason, it has a strategic missile forces.
  5. Boris55
    Boris55 1 November 2015 08: 32
    And if there really was an attack - would we be sitting on this site now?
    1. NordUral
      NordUral 1 November 2015 22: 54
      In any case, they would not sit. it would still be empty anyway, only a little later, in 5-10 or 15 minutes, but it would be when it was decided. Both with us and the Americans. And thanks to these peasants, Russian and American, that they had sober and smart heads! I hope that now the Americans are on duty the same. With ours, and I have no doubt, they will not drift and will react properly to a false command.
    ALEA IACTA EST 1 November 2015 08: 40
    And if on the site of Petrov or Basset there was some kind of a club ... belay
    1. The comment was deleted.
    2. ivanovbg
      ivanovbg 1 November 2015 14: 46
      Quote: ALEA IACTA EST
      And if on the site of Petrov or Basset there was some kind of a club ... belay

      Then we would communicate in a slightly different setting, squatting near the tribal fire :)
      1. nemets
        nemets 1 November 2015 21: 20
        hardly. most likely a gas-dust cloud would fly in space
  7. guzik007
    guzik007 1 November 2015 09: 57
    And so I think that the troops of the Strategic Missile Forces are going through the most severe selection according to all personal criteria, psycho-emotional characteristics, analytical abilities and much more that we have, that they and only because of this we are still sitting at the computers, and not on the cloud))
    1. 16112014nk
      16112014nk 1 November 2015 16: 11
      An acquaintance told me: he served as an urgent in the Strategic Missile Forces in the 90s as a driver of the Topol. There was a failure in the system, the rocket began to get up in a vertical position (as he said, everything is on the machine, if you do not cancel, it stands up vertically and starts). At the last moment, they still managed to give a "cancellation".
  8. crambol
    crambol 1 November 2015 10: 41

    _ Someone from the greats once said that war is too serious a thing to trust in the military. War must be dealt with by politics.
    Life twice crossed out these platitudes.

    1. region58
      region58 1 November 2015 13: 51
      Quote: crambol
      Someone from the greats once said that war is too serious a thing to trust in the military. War must be dealt with by politics.
      Life twice crossed out these platitudes.

      All the same, the military are realists, more than others understand what life and death are and the consequences of decisions made. However, there are exceptions ...
  9. partizan86
    partizan86 1 November 2015 13: 41
    Rather, someone wanted to pit China with the USSR in this way, burying the performer in one, but it did not work out.
    1. Saburo
      Saburo 1 November 2015 13: 48
      Then China did not have a bomb yet.
  10. Steppe
    Steppe 1 November 2015 14: 08
    what Now, I believe that the war will begin. I think that those people did not prevent it, but only postponed the time of its beginning. Is it in vain that they are driving their soldiers and equipment striped to our borders and conducting military exercises, are they putting a bunch of their filthy dollars into this venture? After all, it’s not on a guided tour, not a herbarium to collect and not butterflies to catch, they accumulate military forces on our borders.
  11. igordok
    igordok 1 November 2015 14: 27
    We don’t know much. And we will never know. Maybe it's for the best.
  12. serg2108
    serg2108 1 November 2015 15: 19
    well well done that did not press the button ,,,, well, it would be interesting to read and read about such cases in more detail .. like in some programs about UFO laughing I heard that the green men checked both the Americans and us (the forces of nuclear deterrence), I don’t remember exactly which unit we had was able to disconnect the missiles from launch!
  13. penguin
    penguin 1 November 2015 15: 43
    I propose a drink for sanity
  14. Andrey591
    Andrey591 1 November 2015 16: 34
    But does the person who launches know what specific cities or bases the missiles are directed to? According to him, this is a duck. "The commander of the calculation also found it strange that among the targets there was only one city of the Soviet Union."
    1. Throw
      Throw 1 November 2015 17: 21
      50 years ago, emnip, target designation (flight algorithm) were introduced "manually" by installing an appropriate guidance unit on the missile. With the designation of the target on it.
  15. python2a
    python2a 1 November 2015 18: 12
    A real smart officer with iron nerves and a sober-minded head!
  16. Director
    Director 2 November 2015 01: 38
    More such officers
  17. alleksSalut4507
    alleksSalut4507 2 November 2015 19: 42
    Quote: region58
    All the same, the military are realists, more than others understand what life and death are and the consequences of decisions made. However, there are exceptions ...

    Probably - more realists, and even more Brains in serious military institutions.