I just watched a good show about the Cuban missile crisis called "Defcon 2/ the Cuban missile crisis". I was only 2yrs old when
this happened in 1962, so I don't remember any of it. I was surprised at how close we came to nuclear war, only a matter of
hours. I didn't know the the cargo ships were escorted by subs carrying nuclear torpedoes. And the Russians already had 130
warheads and 60 missiles on the island. We had plans in place to invade the island, oplan 312- the air attack and oplan 316-
the ground assault by 90,000 troops. I found some info on the oplans here
Arguably the most dangerous moment in the crisis was unrecognized until the Cuban Missile Crisis Havana conference in October 2002, attended by many of the veterans of the crisis, at which it was learned that on October 26, 1962 the USS Beale had tracked and dropped signalling depth charges on the B-39, a Soviet Foxtrot-class submarine which was armed with a nuclear torpedo. Running out of air, the Soviet submarine was surrounded by American warships and desperately needed to surface. An argument broke out among three officers on the B-39, including submarine captain Valentin Savitsky, political officer Ivan Semonovich Maslennikov, and chief of staff of the submarine flotilla, Commander Vasiliy Arkhipov. An exhausted Savitsky became furious and ordered that the nuclear torpedo on board be made combat ready. Accounts differ about whether Commander Arkhipov convinced Savitsky not to make the attack, or whether Savitsky himself finally concluded that the only reasonable choice left open to him was to come to the surface.
At the Cuban Missile Crisis Havana conference, Robert McNamara admitted that nuclear war had come much closer than people had thought. Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, said that "a guy called Vasili Arkhipov saved the world."
13 Days is a good film as well, if a little bit heavy-handed with its depiction of the military and a bit excessive on the Kennedy worship.