Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 144

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. As the planners started to war-game the deployment, the assault, and the post-attack stabilization phase, they quickly realized they lacked sufficient transportation assets to move tanks and other heavy equipment into position to keep pace with the intended assault timetable. As the war-gaming continued, they soon realized that if the Soviets fired even one tactical nuclear weapon against the U.S. forces attempting to invade the island, the invasion plan likely would be called off, and the conflict would become a quid-pro-quo battle of tactical nuclear weapons. Other significant findings from the war-gaming included a high number of expected casualties on both sides. At that time, the combined Soviet and Cuban forces outnumbered the projected U.S. forces approximately three to one. And, if the U.S. forces were successful in defeating their adversaries on the island, the U.S. forces would likely remain there for months trying to restore order and services for the population—which the forces were not prepared to do. Finally, the author