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The Cuban Missile Crisis as Seen Through a Periscope

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This memoir, written by the captain of the sole Soviet Foxtrot -class submarine sent to the Caribbean during the Cuban Missile crisis that was not forced to surface by the US Navy, offers a first-hand account of the maritime dimensions of the crisis. The author describes the immense obstacles that confronted the Soviet submariners, including equipment poorly adapted for operations in tropical waters, an inability to communicate effectively with Moscow and extremely intense US antisubmarine operations. However, this account also reveals some surprising successes for the Soviet Navy: for example, the allegedly effective exploitation of US Navy communications. Most significant from a historical point of view are the descriptions of circumstances surrounding the last-minute placement of nuclear-tipped torpedoes on board the submarines.

Keywords: Cuban Missile Crisis; Foxtrot; SOSUS; antisubmarine warfare; memoir

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2005


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