Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9754550:

Thank you so much Petrov 21 4, 6:25am

'@CorruptUser' captain of another Foxtrot-class (B-4) Rurik Ketov is sometimes cited as an origin of a quote. Official order that submarine captains received only told them to arrive stealthily to and patrol the designated area in Caribbean sea without any additional guidance.

When presented with the printout of this order, Arkhipov raised the question about guidelines on use of nuclear weapons - no one so far had any ideas why they were given nukes in the first place. First deputy commander of the Soviet Navy Vitaliy Fokin either didn't have an answer or said that he has no right to issue such instructions, accounts vary. First deputy commander of the Northern Fleet Anatoliy Rassokho answered instead: "Write it down. Special weapons are to be used in following cases: First - when you are bombarded [implies use of depth charges either by patrol aircraft or ASW ships] and you take a hole in the pressure hull. Second, if you are surfaced, take fire and there is a hole. Third, if ordered by Mosow."

Such order would imply that losing the boat with all hands and a chance of not being able to return fire is preferable to premature use of nukes. Also giving such order in Rassokho's position was a decisive and potentially career-ending action. Given that he resigned from Navy only 1985, his gamble paid off.