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October Fury 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471415343
ISBN-10: 0471415340
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the fall of 1962, Huchthausen (Hostile Waters) was a junior navy officer on the USS Blandy, a Forrest Sherman class destroyer; he and his fellow crew members were center stage during the Cuban missile crisis as they confronted Soviet submarines and merchant ships off the coast of Cuba. The submarines were equipped with nuclear-tipped torpedoes and had been given secret orders to use those new and virtually untested weapons if American forces attacked them or if American submarine-hunting destroyers forced them to the surface. That set of circumstances came very close to leading to an exchange of tactical nuclear weapons-an event that likely would have sparked nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Huchthausen details the story of what happened in those waters in this riveting account, based on his own experience and extensive interviews he conducted with former Soviet submariners and his former shipmates. Through reconstructed dialogue (and plenty of naval technospeak), he reveals that nuclear war was averted primarily by the heroic actions of three of the players in the high seas drama: Comdr. Edward G. Kelley, the Blandy's quixotic but experienced commanding officer; Capt. Nikolai Shumkov, who courageously and conscientiously commanded one of the four Soviet subs in Cuban waters; and Rear Adm. Leonid F. Rybalko, another veteran naval officer who, from his base in Moscow, countermanded dangerous orders from his superiors and paved the way for a peaceful denouement of the tense confrontation at sea. Nicely balanced between operational and analytical material, this account should satisfy action-seeking lay readers and buffs.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

While shepherding to publication K-19 [BKL Jl 01], which recounts a Soviet nuclear submarine accident in 1961, former U.S. Navy officer Huchthausen was also finishing this account of his part in the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. As interesting as his role was on an antisubmarine destroyer enforcing Kennedy's blockade, what's more intriguing is Huchthausen's reconstruction of the missions of Soviet submarines sent to support Khrushchev's scheme. Based on the author's interviews with the principal Soviet officers, Huchthausen's narrative imparts the claustrophobic feeling characteristic of submarine stories, with the added tension of a possible nuclear war and, on the Soviet captain's part, uncertainty during the crisis about whether a war had in fact started. Pinged by sonar, sweating in the heat, receiving fragmentary information from headquarters, the submerged submariners were further stressed by the limitations of their diesel-powered boats, which had to surface periodically. Huchthausen ably captures these experiences, as well as the irascible personality of his own captain. A sailor's-eye view of the missile drama. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 281 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (July 25, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471415340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471415343
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,102,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Ryan on September 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Just in time for the 40th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Peter Huchthausen provides an "I was there" account of the Crisis from alternating perspectives of U.S. Navy destroyer crews attempting to enforce a blockade of Cuba and Soviet submarine crews that unknowingly stumble into the largest antisubmarine warfare force ever assembled during the Cold War. In 1962 Huchthausen was a junior officer on the American destroyer USS Blanding which hunted the Soviet submarines and inspected Soviet freighters withdrawing from Cuba with ballistic missiles.
Other sources provide better overviews of the strategic and political aspects of the Cuban Missile Crisis, but the unique aspect of October Fury is the story, based on Huchthausen's interviews with former Soviet submarine officers, of what happens to four Foxtrot Class submarines when the USSR attempts to move them from their base near the Artic Circle to the port of Mariel in Cuba. The Foxtrot crews, unaware of the larger ongoing Soviet deployment of land-based ballistic and surface-to-air missiles, bombers and other forces to Cuba that will soon trigger the Crisis, depart the Kola Peninsula in early September 1962, with orders to make their way to Cuba while avoiding detection by American forces at all costs. As the submarines near the Bahamas in mid-October the U.S.-Soviet face off over Cuban-based nuclear weapons has commenced and the Foxtrots receive orders to cancel their voyage to Cuba and deploy instead to combat patrol stations in the Atlantic and Caribbean . The rest of the book details action over several days as the Soviet submarines vainly try to remain undetected while American destroyers and aircraft hound them mercilessly, trying to force them to surface and withdraw.
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By A Customer on August 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
While most people know the basics about the threatening events of the Cuban Missile Crisis, I think this is the first book I've read to really unfold how close we actually came to nuclear war. These pages tell the gripping, yet frightening, encounter of US and Russian submarines in a the historic showdown at sea. The author brings this all-too-real Cold War story to life, re-creating the dramatic and harrowing events. Any lover of naval, military, or modern history should not miss this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because I was offended by the hype on the dust cover, which presented it as another Kennedy Court History in which the Cuban Missile Crisis is made to sound even more scary than it really was. It was a pleasant surprise to read a balanced account of Soviet submarine operations during the Crisis, which refutes many of the exaggerated claims still being made about the possibility of unauthorized use of tactical nukes. We learn that Soviet nuclear torpedos were escorted by armed KGB officers who actually slept on top of the weapons, and the Rules of Engagement were so onerous that a sub would have to be actually sinking before one could be fired. Just to be safe, the sub crews were given no training on the nukes and were kept ignorant of their capabilities. This isn't too surprising when one considers that a military coup was always the secret nightmare of communist govenments. If the tactical nukes assigned to Soviet Army units in Cuba were under similar restrictions, it is hard to see how they could ever have been fired -- the nightmare scenario still being cited by Robert MacNamara to justify the Kennedys' secret treaty with Khrushchev.
Another revelation is the very poor mechanical performance of the Soviet subs which suffered an appalling series of engine breakdowns. From the limited details given in this book, it appears that many of these failures were due to mistakes by poorly trained engineering personnel. (Fatigue due to the intense tropical heat and humidity may be a factor also.) Since these subs had specially selected crews and were just out of refit, the mind boggles at what the average Soviet diesel boat must have been like in 1962. Had Khrushchev actually proceeded with his plan to base Golf-class missile subs permanently in Cuba, the result could only have been utter disaster. The more we learn about the Soviet side of the Missile Crisis, the more it looks like the most badly planned and implemented military operation of all time.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a very detailed account of the Cuban Missile Crisis, as told by both the Russian submariners tasked to get through to Cuba and the American destroyers bent on stopping them. In 1962, the decision was made to station both land based nuclear missiles and nuclear armed bomber, as well as SSB submarines armed with nuclear missiles in Cuba. The land based portion, dubbed Operation Anadyr, would use cargo ships to deploy the land based missiles, bomber and troops. The Naval operation, Kama, was to be initiated by four Soviet Project 641 Foxtrot diesel attack submarines, sailing from the Kola peninsula bound for Cuba. These would act as an advanced guard, to be followed by seven Project 629 Golf class balistic missile submarines, each carrying three nuclear tipped missiles. The plan was for these submarines to be based out of Cuba, where they could threaten the southern US. Just prior to departure, each of the Foxtrot submarines received, in addition to their normal torpedo loads, one 10 kiloton T-5 nuclear torpedo. Admiral Gorshkov's orders were "You will use these weapons if American forces attack you submerged or force your units to the surface and the attack...." The fate of the world was thereby placed in the hands of four Russian submarine commanders.

The book skillfully weaves the ensuing tale, alternating the Soviet submariner's stories with the American destroyer's ASW pursuits as the crisis progresses. A showdown in which USS Blandy drops small charges to force one of the submarines, B-130, to surface, leads to frustration for the submarine captain. He therefore orders loading and flooding, in preparation for firing, of the torpedo tube with the T-5 nuclear warhead. Fortunately, cooler heads prevail upon the captain to back down.
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