Book sheds new light on missile crisis

By BOJAN SOC  |  June 30, 2002 at 4:11 PM
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MOSCOW, June 30 (UPI) -- Soviet submarine commanders had orders to fire torpedoes with nuclear warheads at U.S. Navy vessels during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis in case the Americans attacked first.

Sensational disclosures about the four-decade old U.S.-Soviet standoff that brought the world to the brink of World War III were made public by Russian writer Alexander Mozgovoi in his latest book "The Cuban samba of a Foxtrot quartet."

In an interview with Interfax-AVN news agency, Mozgovoi said he researched unpublished documents related to the Cuban missile crisis.

According to Mozgovoi, the threat of a global catastrophe was far closer to unfolding than many thought.

"Soviet submarine commanders had received an order to assault the U.S. fleet in case of an attack with all weapons, including torpedoes with nuclear warheads," the writer said.

The most intriguing episode of Mozgovoi's book tells about a Soviet submarine that allegedly sneaked into U.S. waters even before U.S. ships had blocked the way to four Soviet subs carrying weapons en route to Cuba.

A B-75 submarine, commandeered by Capt. Nikolai Natnenkov, sailed through unnoticed behind the American Navy's back and waited for further development of events unfolding with the four subs of the Northern Fleet's 69th brigade.

The maneuvers of the four vessels -- classified as Foxtrots by NATO -- during the crisis, inspired the title of Mozgovoi's book.

"Should the Americans attack Soviet submarines shipping weapons to Cuba, the (B-75's) captain was authorized to assault U.S. Navy's ships. The sub was armed with two torpedoes bearing nuclear warheads," he said.

The writer failed to specify where exactly was the B-75 positioned at the time of crisis.

In Oct. 1962, U.S. intelligence reconnaissance flights verified reports that the Soviets were building launching sites for medium-range and intermediate-range missiles on Cuba.

On Oct. 22, U.S. President John F. Kennedy issued an ultimatum to Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev declaring a naval blockade of Cuba and demanding withdrawal of all offensive missiles.

After much hesitation, the Soviet government accepted Kennedy's proposal in exchange for his agreement to refrain from attempts to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

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