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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 06, 1962


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    Malinovsky informs Khrushchev of the details regarding transport of missiles to Cuba and about reinforcing Cuba by air and adding to the troops already present.
    "Memorandum from R. Malinovsky to N.S. Khrushchev, 6 September 1962," September 06, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Dmitriĭ Antonovich Volkogonov papers, 1887-1995, mm97083838, reprinted in Cold War International History Bulletin 11. Translated by Raymond Garthoff.
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Top Secret (Sovershenno sekretno)
Special Importance (Osoboi vazhnosti)
Sole Copy (ekz. edinstven.)

To the Chairman of the Defense Council of the USSR, Comrade N.S. Khrushchev

I am reporting

I. On the Possibility of Reinforcing Cuba by Air.

1. About the transport by air of special warheads [spetsial ‘nye boevye chasti; nuclear warheads] for the Luna [FROG] and R-11M [SCUD-B] missiles.
Tests have been conducted at the test range and practical instructions have been worked out for the transportation of special warheads for R-11M missiles, two on AN-8 aircraft, and four on AN-12 aircraft.
The alternatives for transport of warheads for the Luna missile are analogous to those for the R-11M.
The transport of special warheads by Tu-114 is not possible owing to the absence of a freight hatch and fasteners.

2. About the transport by air of R-11M and Luna missiles.
Practice loading, securing and transport of training R-11M and Luna missiles has been carried out on AN-8 and AN-12 aircraft, with 2 Luna or 1 R-11M missiles on AN-8 or AN-12 aircraft.

3. The size of the freight hold and carrying-capacity of AN-8 (5-8 tons) and AN-12 (7-16 tons) do not permit air transport of launchers, special earth moving machines, and field missile-technical bases (PRTB) for the R-11M and Luna missiles.
The Tu-114 aircraft, notwithstanding its large loading capacity (up to 30 tons) and long range (up to 8,000 km.), is not suitable for transport of missile equipment as it is not adapted in a transport mode.

II. Proposals of the Ministry of Defense for Reinforcing Forces of the Group in Cuba

In order to reinforce the Group of Forces in Cuba, send:

1) One squadron of IL-28 bombers, comprising 10-12 aircraft including delivery and countermeasures aircraft, with a mobile PRTB and six atomic bombs (407N), each of 8-12 kilotons;

[In Khrushchev's handwriting on top of "II.1)" above]: Send to Cuba six IL-28s with atomic warheads [three words illegible] [signed] N.S. Khrushchev 7.IX.1962.

2) One R-11M missile brigade made up of three battalions (total: 1221 men, 18 R-11M missiles) with PRTB (324 men) and 18 special warheads, which the PRTB is capable of storing;

3) Two-three battalions of Luna for inclusion in separate motorized infantry regiments in Cuba.

[Overwritten:] Three Luna battalions. N.S. Khrushchev 7.IX.62
Each Luna battalion will have two launchers and 102 men.
With the Luna battalions, send 8-12 missiles and 8-12 special warheads.

For the preparation and custody of special warheads for the Luna missiles, send one PRTB (150 men).
The indicated squadron of IL-28s, one R-11M missile brigade with PRTB, and two-three Luna battalions with PRTB, and the missiles are to be sent to Cuba in the first half of October.
Atom bombs (6), special warheads for the R-11M missiles (18) and for the Luna missiles (8-12) are to be sent on the transport Indigirka on 15 September.
The Defense Ministry has just conducted successful firing tests of the S-75 anti-aircraft system against surface targets on level terrain. At distances of 24 kilometers, accuracy of plus or minus 100-120 meters was achieved.
The results of computer calculations indicate the possibility also of successful use against naval targets.
In order to fire against land or sea targets using S-75 complexes with the troops [in Cuba], small modifications in the missile guidance stations will be required by factory brigades together with some additional equipment prepared by industry.

Marshal of the Soviet Union R. Malinovsky [signature]
6 September 1962

[Translator's Note: A detailed two-page informational addendum provides specifications of the Luna and R-11M missiles (diameter, length, width, height, and weight); the full range of possible transport aircraft (range, loading capacity, doors and hatches) of the AN-8, AN-12, IL-18, Tu-104, Tu-114, and the not yet available larger AN-22 aircraft; and bomber aircraft (the Tu-95 [Bear], Mya-4 [Bison], Tu-16 [Badger], and IL-28 [Beagle] bombers), although none were suitable for transporting the rockets both for technical and political-strategic routing reasons. This informational annex was signed on the same date, 6 September 1962, by Colonel General S.P. Ivanov, chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff. It is not translated here.]