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September 26, 1983

Discussion in '"Today in History", Literature & Media Review' started by Martin Rohmann, Sep 25, 2021.

  1. Martin Rohmann A Fixture

    The fact that our world still exists is primarily thanks to the intelligence, courage and steadfastness of two Soviet officers who are almost unknown in the West!

    Here are their stories:

    Stanislaw Jerafimowitsch Petrow

    On September 26, 1983, the Soviet Lieutenant Colonel of the Air Defense Forces, Stanislaw Jerafimowitsch Petrow ...


    ... sits in a bunker near Moscow in the command center of the Soviet satellite surveillance in front of his control device.

    Suddenly the device sounds the alarm and reports the launch of a nuclear intercontinental missile in the USA with a course for the Soviet Union.

    Actually, the lieutenant colonel should now trigger a massive counter-attack - but he decides to classify the alleged rocket as a "false alarm", since the satellite "Око УС-КС" (= eye) he operates is known to be unreliable.


    A little later the "eye" satellite reports a second, third, fourth and fifth missile fired by the USA at the Soviet Union.

    Petrow - although he is under considerable pressure - continues to stick to his "false alarm" assessment, also because, in his opinion, a massive US nuclear strike with far more missiles should have taken place.



    During this decision-making phase, Petrov was under considerable pressure: on the one hand, forwarding incorrect satellite data (false warning) would lead to a Soviet nuclear strike. On the other hand, in the event of an actual US attack, dozens of nuclear warheads would immediately fall on Soviet territory and its classification of the satellite warning as a hoax would severely limit the Soviet options for action.

    This was also against the background that the Soviet Union only partially developed a decentralized second strike capability as a countermeasure against beheading strategies.

    Petrov sticks to his assessment anyway, reports a "false alarm" to his superiors and the Soviet nuclear counter-attack is not started!

    The next morning it turns out that Petrow's assessments were correct - the satellite-based Soviet early warning system had misinterpreted solar reflections on clouds near Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, where US ICBMs were also stationed, as missile launches.

    Petrov is neither commended nor rewarded for his behavior by his superiors - but neither is he punished.

    Later he was awarded the medal “For service to the motherland in the strike forces” and the medal “For impeccable service” and promoted ...:



    The Association of World Citizens, based in San Francisco, honored Petrow both on May 21, 2004 in Moscow - where he was also presented with the award of US $ 1,000 - and on January 19, 2006 at the UN headquarters in New York as the man who prevented nuclear war.

    On February 24, 2012 Stanislaw Petrow received the German Media Prize ...


    ... and on February 17th, 2013 (on the next picture far left) he was awarded the Dresden Prize 2013, endowed with 25,000 Euros ...:



    After that, Petrov lived - almost forgotten - as a pensioner in a tiny apartment in the town of Frjasino near Moscow...:


    There he died on May 19, 2017 ...:



    The second Soviet Officer was Wasslij Alexandrowitsch Archipow. His story you'll read in part II...

    **continued next post**
    Airkid likes this.
  2. Martin Rohmann A Fixture

    Wasslij Alexandrowitsch Archipow

    The year is 1962 - the Cuban Missile Crisis is at its height. The two superpowers are ready to fight, both sides have their fingers on the nuclear trigger!

    Never before (and never after) has the world been so on the brink of nuclear annihilation as it is these days!

    The Soviet submarine officer, Captain 2nd rank Wassilij Alexandrowitsch Archipow ...



    ... serves at this time as first officer on the Soviet submarine "B-59" (home port Poljarnij)..:


    The boat is armed with eight T-5 nuclear torpedoes ...

    ... and is not far from Cuba, in international waters.

    Without having behaved in any way aggressively, "B-59" was suddenly grabbed by three US destroyers and anti-submarine helicopters on October 27, 1962 and violently raked with practice depth charges in order to force an appearance for identification.

    On the one hand, the USA armed forces are not aware of the nuclear armament of the submarine, on the other hand, the the Soviet commander, Captain 1st rank Walentin Grigorjewitsch Sawitzkij ...


    ... based on the bombardment, assume that the war has already broke out.

    Sawitskij gives orders to fire the nuclear weapons of "B-59"!

    According to Soviet operational doctrine, this order must be given by the first officer (Archipov) and the boat's political officer, Ivan Aleksandrovich Maslennikov ...


    ... beeing confirmed.

    Maslennikov says "Yes" but Archipow refuses to confirm this order - on a submarine at the front and under fire, an act of disobedience that is punishable by shooting.

    Archipow keeps talking to his commanding officer until Sawitskij lets his boat emerge - in order to be able to obtain new orders from Moscow over the radio.

    Finally the submarine appears - and is promptly photographed by the Americans ...:


    Of course Moscow forbids the use of weapons!

    Had "B-59" fired, the USA Navy would have responded with nuclear weapons for sure!

    Back in the port at the Kola Peninsula, Archipow was not shot, but awarded the Order of the Red Banner ...:


    He stayed in the fleet and made a career - most recently from 1975 to 1985 as Rear Admiral of the S. M. Kiwow Caspian Higher Naval War Academy at Baku (today Aserbeidschan)...:



    1998 starb Archipow an Krebs…


    The whole thing was carefully covered up by both Soviets and Americans and only came out during a historians' meeting in Cuba in 2002.

    Thereupon the Italian state awarded Archpow twice (2003 and 2005) the Rotondi national prize "Angeli del nostro tempo" ...:


    Archipov deserves that!
    Old Pete, Airkid, Nap and 2 others like this.
  3. sd0324 PlanetFigure Supporter

    Yeah, that would have been bad. I've read about this but not in such detail. Interesting. I was actually in the USAF at a Victor Alert facility at that time. We weren't sure about the "excitement" at the time, just went to work.

    Airkid likes this.
  4. Nap A Fixture

    Interesting and another "close call" that could have changed the world

    Certainly don't remember the incidents ....good information and pics

  5. Airkid PlanetFigure Supporter

    Scary stuff, and it goes to show that even the latest technology can make the wrong call sometimes. During part of his RAF service, my late father-in-law was a missile controller on a Thor ICBM site in Norfolk. On a couple of occasions he recalled them being called to alert state over false data. You kinda hope nowadays that with all the techno stuff whizzing round in orbit, that there would be some form of independent verification available.
    Old Pete, sd0324, Nap and 1 other person like this.

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