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 Vasili Arkhipov-the man who saved the world

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PostSubject: Vasili Arkhipov-the man who saved the world   Wed 26 Sep 2012, 13:15



10 years ago, the part played by Captain Vasili Arkhipov in preventing World War Three was unknown to the general public, until, on the 40th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, his role made known.

Vasili Arkhipov joined the Soviet Navy as a young man, near the end of the Second World War, and saw service on board a minesweeper in the Far East against Japan. Later transferring to submarines, Arkhipov was executive officer aboard Submarine K-19, when there was a serious radiation leak on the 4th July 1961 [ the incident has been filmed as K-19, The Widowmaker]

The following year, Arkhipov, was commander of a group of 4 diesel electric "Foxtrot" class submarines sent from Murmansk as part of a planned deployment to Mariel Bay, Cuba. Arkhipov travelled aboard Submarine B-59, Captain Savitsky. When the United States began it's quarantine of Cuba, the 4 Foxtrots were ordered to hold position in the Sargasso Sea.

On the 27th October 1962, B-59 was detected by a US Navy anti-submarine group and subjected to continual sonar pingings and bombardment by practice depth charges. The American intention was to force the Soviets to the surface and had informed Moscow of the proposed method, unfortunately B-59 had been out of contact for a week and had no way of knowing if a shooting war had started for real.
After 5 hours of being chased, Captain Savinsky ordered the deployment of B-59's "special weapon". Known only to the Captain, Political Officer and Weapons Officer aboard, each of the 4 Foxtrots was armed with a nuclear warhead torpedo. Savinsky now proposed using this against the surrounding US forces. Political Officer Maslennikov, concurred and both men matched up their respective halves of the fire control key and prepared to fire. It was now that Arkhipov intervened, as commander of the squadron [ though technically second in command of B-59 itself], any firing decision required his approval and this approval he now flatly refused.
Savinsky and Maslennikov deferred to this decision and the "special weapon" was made safe. Any use of nuclear weapons at this period would have almost certainly resulted in escalation.

B-59 surfaced and retired from the scene, the other 3 boats having already gone.



B-59 photographed on the surface on either the 28th or 29th October 1962.

At the 40th anniversary of the Crisis, Robert MacNamarra declared that the actions of Arkhipov had prevented a nuclear war.



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PostSubject: Re: Vasili Arkhipov-the man who saved the world   Wed 26 Sep 2012, 21:48

I saw that on TV last night too. It was an event that I wasn't aware of. I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis well. As I recall I couldn't puzzle out what would be left if WWIII had started. I was working abroad at the time and couldn't make up my mind whether to return to England or stay where I was.

I was nearer to the Soviet countries than England, but England would have been targete with nuclear weapons.
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PostSubject: Re: Vasili Arkhipov-the man who saved the world   Thu 27 Sep 2012, 03:29

Thanks for that Trike, I'd not heard of this nor of the very sensible Capt. Arkhipov.

And so refreshing to be informed that it was not an American who saved the world also (yet again).
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PostSubject: Re: Vasili Arkhipov-the man who saved the world   Fri 28 Sep 2012, 13:02

Until the programme on Tuesday night that Alan mentions, I had never heard of him either ID.

Another Soviet officer who kept a cool head was Stanislav Petrov, though Petrov didn't actually have his finger on the trigger, his correct assessment of the situation made sure no one else gave the order to fire;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislav_Petrov
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