raging_swan (raging_swan) wrote,
raging_swan
raging_swan

Heroes: Vasili Arkhipov

Vasili

Shockingly, I spend a lot of time thinking about heroes and heroic acts – after all such is the very crux of roleplaying games. Rarely, however, do you come across truly heroic individuals who perform awe inspiring acts in the real world.

Vasili Arkhipov is one of those people.

Vasili was the second-in-command of Soviet submarine B-59 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. B-59 was the Soviet submarine the Americans attempts to force to the surface by using practise depth charges – charges that couldn’t damage the submarine even if they hit it! What the Americans (and indeed the world) didn’t know was that not only was the submarine carrying a nuclear torpedo but that the captain had authority to use the weapon without any further orders from Moscow. All that was needed was the agreement of three of the officers on-board and they could fire the torpedo. What further complicated the crisis was that A) the Russians didn’t know the depth charges were practise ones B) didn’t know if war had broken out (or not) C) that B-59 had lost all communication with Moscow and that D) conditions on-board were deteriorating rapidly.

During the crisis, the captain prepared the nuclear torpedo for firing and gained the agreement of the other officer to fire. If Vasili had agreed, the weapon would have been launched. Such an attack would have inevitably triggered a response from the USA. It is hard to see how the world would not have quickly slid into at least a limited nuclear exchange after that.

Vasili didn’t agree, however, and the crisis passed. It is amazing to think that the actions of one man over a very brief span of time and under incredible stress could have such a profound effect on world history.

Tags: heroes
Subscribe

  • More New Gaming Advice

    Over the last five days, it’s been Urban Week over at my new blog . To celebrate the release of GM’s Miscellany: Urban Dressing…

  • Another Great Week of Articles

    As always, I've been busy posting up advice articles on my new blog. This week, I tackled loads of different subjects: Weeknote 14/6 GM…

  • Another Week of Great Articles!

    Like last week, I’ve posted loads of new articles to my new blog this week. Come on over and take a look! Weeknote 9/6 GM Advice: How…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 0 comments