Launch detected - for real...?

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ChilliCC
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Launch detected - for real...?

Postby ChilliCC » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:58 am

A nice bit of history here for you triggerhappy bunch of ''diplomats'' :)

Surfing the web for info related to the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (65 years ago), I came across the story of Stanislaw Petrov, the Russian army officer and engineer who - yes, really - saved the world from total nuclear annihilation in 1983.

Imagine you see the - well-known to us all - message ''Launch Detected''.... But, its for real... You are sitting in a bunker, being the responsible officer for calling in the attack warning, which action would surely lead to an instant full-scale counterattack, and thereby Armageddon. This is exactly what happened to Petrov. And, lucky for all of us, he decided to keep his head cool.

In 1983, tensions between the USA and the USSR had build up to dangerous heights. Having hardliners Reagan and Andropov in respectively the White House and the Kremlin didn't help for relaxation; nor did the rather provocative timing of NATO's Operation Able Archer, and the Russians shooting down an airliner, mistaking it for a military reconaissance/ spy plane.

"So it was in this tense environment that Stanislav Petrov worked deep inside Serpukhov-15, a secret bunker, monitoring early warning satellites. On September 26, 1983, Pietrow was in charge of monitoring American missiles that could potentially be sent to Russia to start a nuclear war. It was not his normal duty; he was to man the post twice a month just to keep his skills from getting rusty.

Shortly after midnight, Petrov noticed a missile on his screen. Thinking it was a possible error, he nervously ignored it and waited for any other indications of war. Several minutes later, things became much more serious: four more missiles appeared and a flashing red warning sign began asking him to confirm an incoming attack. By pressing the red button, Petrov would have sent the information up the chain of command to Jurij Votincev, the Commander in Chief of the Russian missile defense, and then to Jurij Andropov who was in charge of the new “nuclear suitcase” and who would have undoubtedly called for a counterattack.

Petrov knew he only had about fifteen minutes to decide what he would do before the missiles would reach the Soviet Union. If he didn’t pass the information along, Petrov would be ignoring orders and taking responsibility into his own hands. The protocol, which Petrov had written himself, clearly indicated that the correct course of action would be to inform the Commander in Chief. 120 panicked military officers and engineers sat behind him, looking at the screen and waiting for his decision. “Everyone jumped from their seats looking at me,” says Petrov. “What could I do? There was a procedure that I had written myself.” The future of the world was in the 44-year-old Russian officer’s hands as he wrestled with the decision of whether or not to use Russia’s atomic button. In a bold move, however, Petrov decided against it, blaming the signals on faulty equipment instead of imperialistic aggression. At the time, he was not sure he had made the right choice.

Fortunately for all of us, Petrov made the correct decision. His reasoning was that if the Americans were going to start an atomic war, they would have sent hundreds of missiles, not just five.
"

From: ''The Red Button and the Man Who Saved The World'' - website
Also see: 1983 - The brink of Apocalypse (video)

Damn, am I happy it wasn't a Defcon player who had just suffered 3 diplo backstabs in a row in that bunker.... ! :D September 26 should be a day of worldwide celebration. Give that man a statue!

Here's some more on Stanislaw.

A similar event: Vasili Arkhipov should have a statue as well.


A little extra:

The nuclear bombing of Nagasaki was 65 years ago today. Last friday, it was Hiroshima's turn. Have a look at Ground Zero in Hiroshima today, here, streetview enabled. When you turn around facing the park you will see the Genbaku Dome, a monument for the victims. The Dome was miraculously left (partly) intact. You will see the drop-coördinates, and the Dome's roof being torn apart, in this short youtube fragment from Barefoot Gen.

Greetz,
ChilliConCarnage
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Postby (MOR) » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:48 pm

Thanks for the article..
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DTNC Vicious
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Postby DTNC Vicious » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:12 pm

^^ :shock: MOR :)
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Postby ChilliCC » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:19 pm

VICIOUS! :D
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Postby DTNC Vicious » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:41 pm

i just realized your name chilli!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! get on defcon u noob :D
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Postby kudayta » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:39 pm

Another great story from the Cold War surrounds the events leading up to Able Archer 83. The Soviets had recently shot down KAL 007 due to a case of pilot error and mistaken identity, and NATO was building up for a war game a few months later. Soviet intelligence was shitting its pants in the spotlight of history, and with the addition of the invasion of Grenada just a week or so before the war game, the Soviets really thought Able Archer was just a smokescreen for war. So they put their nuclear forces on alert, thinking the only way to survive a NATO first strike was to preempt it (it should be noted, the Soviet reaction was never officially confirmed, and several KGB officers didn't mention it in their memoirs). When NATO forces didn't cross the border on November 3rd, 1983, the crisis obviously ended.
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Postby Reticuli » Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:43 pm

I know of one instance where the USA accidentally gave valid launch orders to a ballistic missile sub that had been submerged and quiet for some time. The crew thought all their families were dead and their orders were to launch on Eastern European and Russian targets as belated retaliation. The launch orders were from another branch that was conducting a code exercise and somehow got obscure valid codes they shouldn't have had. The "old man" and the 1st officer had their launch keys out, but thankfully the former took a few moments to contemplate the implications and ordered the boat up to broadcast depth to confirm the orders just in case it was a mistake. This incident I believe was classified. A very upstanding ### ### ### (edited to remove personal information). So there are more than a handful of incidents of being on the brink (about two dozen?), including some that people don't know about.
Last edited by Reticuli on Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Endless » Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:17 pm

Yea i saw that movie too. It was Crimson Tide.
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Postby Reticuli » Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:04 pm

Endless wrote:Yea i saw that movie too. It was Crimson Tide.


(edited to remove potentially personal information about the service person) He's one of the most reliable and upstanding people I've ever met.
Last edited by Reticuli on Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby cza » Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:37 pm

Color me skeptical as well. A bit too much detail and fits the classic narrative of men vs. machines going back to John Henry. Here the wise captain saves us all. It's a good story though, especially to tell a bunch of kids. Understand I'm not doubting that erroneous messages get sent; we know they do. But this particular story seems a bit embellished. I don't doubt your source is an upstanding man. Joseph Ellis was a really respected person as well; served in the Navy, taught at West Point, popular teacher, won awards for his books…yet couldn't resist creating some stories about his "service" in Vietnam for his students.

The good news is, now you have a research project. You might start with the basic things you know. What sub did he serve on? What were his dates of service?
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Postby A8U51V3 M0TH » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:58 pm

Image
i know i should not
Reticuli
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Postby Reticuli » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:13 pm

I don't see how it has anything to do with John Henry or man v. machine. It was human error from one branch of the military getting ahold of codes from the Navy they shouldn't have had and accidentally using them in an exercise.
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Postby Reticuli » Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:34 pm

USS Woodrow Wilson SSBN 624 from 1966 through 1971. Please be discrete with this information. It may still be a classified incident, as it does not appear to be part of the list of about two dozen such known incidents over the years.
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Postby Korean » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:32 pm

Lol, qatthe althistory wiki we have an alternate history for that, called 1983: Doomsday. It is, as you can imagine, a "what if" he thought it was a real nuclear attack. Just look up 1983: Doomsday on google and you should find iti. althistory.wikia.com

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