There is no way of telling what the actual level of risk was in these mishaps but if the chance of disaster in every one of the 20 incidents had been only 1 in 100, it is mathematical fact that the chance of surviving al 20 would have been 82%, i.e. about the same as the chance of surviving a single pull of the trigger at Russian roulette played with a 6 shooter. With a similar series of mishaps on the Soviet side: another pull of the trigger. If the risk in some of the events had been as high as 1 in 10, then the chance of surviving just seven such events would have been less than 50:50.
6) October 25, 1962- Cuban Missile Crisis: Intruder in Duluth
At around midnight on October 25, a guard at the Duluth Sector Direction Center saw a figure climbing the security fence. He shot at it, and activated the "sabotage alarm." This automatically set off sabotage alarms at all bases in the area. At Volk Field, Wisconsin, the alarm was wrongly wired, and the Klaxon sounded which ordered nuclear armed F-106A interceptors to take off. The pilots knew there would be no practice alert drills while DEFCON 3 was in force, and they believed World War III had started.
Immediate communication with Duluth showed there was an error. By this time aircraft were starting down the runway. A car raced from command center and successfully signaled the aircraft to stop. The original intruder was a bear.
This is the story of how one man pushed the world to the brink of destruction. . .
. . .and how another saved us all from nuclear apocalypse.
For the first time in life a commander of a submarine had a nuclear weapon and had
the authority to fire the missile at his command.”
Eastern Mediterranean event
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Coordinates: 34°N 21°E
The Eastern Mediterranean Event was a high-energy aerial explosion over the Mediterranean Sea, around 34°N 21°E (between Libya and Crete, Greece) on June 6, 2002. This explosion, similar in power to a small atomic bomb, has been related to an asteroid undetected while approaching the Earth. The object disintegrated and no part was recovered. Since it did not reach the surface and it exploded over the sea, no crater was formed.
The event occurred during the 2001–2002 India–Pakistan standoff, and there were concerns by General Simon Worden of the US Air Force that a similar explosion could have sparked a nuclear war between the two countries, had it exploded over Pakistan or India, which would have devastated both regions, causing deaths numbering over 10 million.
Failing to take Cuito Cuanavale with over 9,000 soldiers even after announcing to the world that Cuito Cuanavale had fallen; losing its superiority in the air; and faced with mutinies from the black troops of the pressed ganged battalions, the operational command of the SADF broke down and President P.W. Botha had to fly to the war zone inside Angola. Botha, it was later revealed had flown in to intervene in a dispute among the South African military high command on whether the apartheid army should use tactical nuclear weapons. Botha decided against the use of nuclear weapons because at that time apartheid South Africa was a pariah state.
Originally posted by anton74
I'm surprised nobody mentioned "Able Archer 83". The Soviets actually thought we were at DEFCON 1 and were getting ready to launch.