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Nearly Nuked 2 - Russian Sub Stopped Just Short of Nuking Miami

Updated on July 4, 2014
starlightreflex profile image

Starlight is an evil genius whose neither evil nor dominating the world. But he's a good Dad who supports his family working from home.

B-59 Radioactive Russian Sub with two nuclear-tipped torpedoes. It would later be known as "the Widowmaker".
B-59 Radioactive Russian Sub with two nuclear-tipped torpedoes. It would later be known as "the Widowmaker". | Source
Vasili Arkhipov, the man who saved the world.
Vasili Arkhipov, the man who saved the world. | Source

Political Officer Vasili Arkhipov

Subs don't always have a Political Officer on board, but when they do that officer outranks them. The wisdom of this showed full effect when, by luck, the political officer aboard this sub had information nobody else on the vessel had. The special weapons were armed with at least one nuclear warhead tipped torpedo - something thought to be impossible at the time.

According to his wife, the officer almost didn't make it on the sub before departure, he got the call almost too late ordering him to board.

Former Director of the National Security Archive Thomas Blanton said in 2002 "a guy called Vasili Arkhipov saved the world".[1]

In the critical moment only two men aboard ship needed to turn two keys, and they both put them in the keyholes. The Captain physically turned his, but his subordinate was hesitating. The political officer was shouting his order not to do it, and the Captain finally relented. The pressure it took to turn the second key was all that remained for WW3 to commence.

Robert McNamara, who was U.S. Secretary of Defense during the crisis, stated that "we came very close" to nuclear war, "closer than we knew at the time."[2]

Tonic Water under UV light... is this how Gatorade would look?
Tonic Water under UV light... is this how Gatorade would look?

Mushroom Clouds over the Sunshine State?

The warheads would have struck Florida, and caused a large wave and radioactive fallout. The landscape of the Everglades and the City of Miami would have been permanently altered. Homestead Florida would have been wiped off the map long before Hurricane Andrew would have the chance.

The same sub had already experienced an nuclear meltdown just before this close call happened, on July 4, 1962, 52 years ago to the day I write this, the sub experienced a partial meltdown. The men aboard during this crisis were all exposed to radiation to the point it would kill them all within several decades.

It's not clear which type of weapon had the nuclear warhead tip, whether torpedo or underwater ballistic missile, in which case the attack could have reached farther inland. [3]

What Cuba had that we didn't like, would have been launched if not for one Russian Political Officer.
What Cuba had that we didn't like, would have been launched if not for one Russian Political Officer. | Source

© 2014 Doug DeWalt


Submit a Comment

  • starlightreflex profile imageAUTHOR

    Doug DeWalt 

    4 years ago from Ohio USA

    Yes, that's why I'm doing this series, it's leading up to an article yet to be published in a series that I'll call "Laminate This". If the power goes out, and a mushroom cloud appears, my article, printed and laminated, will be priceless information.

  • rebekahELLE profile image


    4 years ago from Tampa Bay

    I was recently having a discussion about this very topic with my oldest son. It's surprising how this important time in history has been recorded and taught. I'll post this on his FB page.


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