Academic journal article Military Review

Fires of October: The Planned US Invasion of Cuba during the Missile Crisis of 1962

Academic journal article Military Review

Fires of October: The Planned US Invasion of Cuba during the Missile Crisis of 1962

Article excerpt

FIRES OF OCTOBER: The Planned US Invasion of Cuba during the Missile Crisis of 1962

Blaine L. Pardoe, Casemate Publishers, Havertown, Pennsylvania, 2013, 376 pages

FIRES OF OCTOBER: The Planned US Invasion of Cuba During the Missile Crisis of 1962 gives a detailed account of the planned but never fully executed U.S. invasion of Cuba during the 1962 missile crisis--and the possible ramifications had it been fully executed. The author spent three years gathering documents from national archives; historical documents from U.S. Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy units--including copies of the invasion operation plan, OPLAN 316-62; and eyewitness interviews.

The author does a very good job of including the relevant world events that led up to the crisis, such as the Soviet blockade of Berlin, the presence of U.S. missiles in Turkey, and the emergence of Fidel Castro as a new revolutionary leader in Cuba. Together, these events led to a situation that was the closest the United States and the Soviet Union would ever come to nuclear war during the twentieth century.

The primary focus of the book is the invasion plan itself, OPLAN 316-62, and the many assumptions the Continental Army Command and XVIII Airborne Corps planners made. As it turns out, the United States had a very poor appreciation of the terrain and the disposition of Cuban and Soviet forces on the island, as well as the attitude of the Cuban population in their support for Fidel Castro. Compounding these problems was the magnitude of logistical resources that were needed to move U.S. forces from their various home bases to staging areas in Florida, and then into assault echelons for a multi-axis assault onto the island. …

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