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July 4, 1962

Chief of the General Staff Marshal of the Soviet Union M. Zakharov, 'Instructions for the Operations Group in the Port Unloading the Troops'

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[handwritten: 4] July 1962

[signature] R. MALINOVSKY





Copy Nº [handwritten: 1]





for the operations group in the port unloading the troops



The operations group in the unloading port is appointed from the senior generals and officers of the Ministry of Defense and the representatives of the Ministry of the Merchant Fleet and the KGB. The chief of the operations group is the representative of the Minister of Defense in the port of unloading the troops and his work is guided by these instructions and the orders of the General Staff.

The following tasks are entrusted to the operations group:

- the organization of the reception of the troops arriving at the departure area for loading, their housing, and material and medical support;

- verification of the level of the units’ staffing with personnel, combat equipment, weapons, motor vehicles, the prescribed norms of food, and the readiness to send them to the destination region;

- preparation for the loading of personnel, combat equipment, motor vehicles, property, and material reserves on maritime transport vessels;

- preparation of the port for the loading work and the maritime transport vessels to perform shipments great distances by sea;

- supervision of the planning, organization, and loading of the troops, combat equipment, and property of all kinds;

- the adoption of measures to keep the operation being conducted secret.

The operations group bears full responsibility for the timely and precise execution of the loading plan and the dispatch of the transport vessels.

When any shortcomings are detected by unit commanders or the port administration which influence the quality of the outfitting and preparation of the troops, the port and transport vessels, or if officials do not follow the instructions previously given, the chief of the operations group takes decisive measures to eliminate the shortcomings detected and reports this to the General Staff.

The instructions of the chief of the operations group on questions of preparing the troops, the port, and the ships for loading and dispatch are binding on all military units, institutions, and maritime transport organizations within the loading area.


During the preparatory period the chief of the operations group conducts a survey of the loading area in advance, including:

- the railroad station for the unloading of the arriving troops;

- the military housing area designated as the departure area for the preparation of the combat equipment and property for loading;

- the premises of the port of loading;

- the routes needed to move the troops.

The procedure for receiving and quartering the arriving troops, their material and medical support, and the organization of the work on the grounds of the military housing area to prepare the combat equipment and property for loading is determined during the survey period.

1. Choose the station for receiving the arriving troops, considering the support for the unloading of the combat equipment and military material of the unit in nighttime conditions, and also the concealment from the local population. Choose the unloading station outside a population center, if possible. For unloading large equipment, especially missiles, provide for the shipment of cranes in the first troop train to the unloading station.

Depending on specific conditions, large secret equipment following in special closed railway cars, can be delivered to the territory of the port, bypassing the unloading station. In this event its security is organized at the port and the loading is done directly from the railway track to the ship.

2. Prepare the military housing area as a departure area for the loading of a combat unit. Ensure the housing, feeding, and medical support of the personnel, determine the places for quartering and for conducting work to prepare the combat equipment and military material for loading.

Determine the system for the security of the housing area of the military unit which has arrived, create a system of checkpoints in the military housing area and completely preclude the unauthorized departure of vehicles, combat equipment and personnel going beyond its boundaries. Organize a well-defined service of daily duty in the area the personnel, combat equipment, and property are placed.

To solve these tasks the main part of the military housing area is allocated for the needs of the arriving troops. The remainder of the military housing area is used to house the local military unit. Prohibit or limit contact between the personnel permanently located in the garrison and the departing unit.

All questions about the establishment of correct relations between the commanders of the military units in the military housing area are solved on site taking the specific conditions into consideration.

3. Determine the routes from the unloading station to the military housing area and from the military housing area to the loading port; based on the local conditions establish a firm procedure for the movement of subunits with combat equipment, and also the organization of the traffic control and provost services on routes ensuring the clear command and control of subunits or groups of vehicles. As a rule, all movements on these routes, especially of secret military equipment, is done only at night.

4. Study the conditions for performing the loading work at the port and the availability of the equipment to mechanize the loading work. Verify the readiness of the loading port to receive the transport ships and conduct the loading. Think over and organize work to retrofit the berths, manufacture fastenings on the ships, and prepare the equipment to mechanize the loading; determine the quantity and nature of the advance preparation of the loading crews allocated by the military unit.

Determine the places on the territory of the port needed to set up the combat equipment and property before loading. Establish a procedure for moving it [the equipment] from the military housing area to the territory of the port in nighttime conditions, and also the organization of a traffic control service and security.



As the troops train and transports with troops and cargo arrive in the loading area, unload them and quarter them in the military housing areas, prepare the personnel, military equipment, and property for loading and dispatch to the destination region.

1. Carefully check the staffing of the unit to manning tables and equipment tables with personnel, combat equipment, weapons, motor vehicles, and ammunition, and also the supply with the prescribed norms of food, medicine, and other military and technical equipment necessary for life and the work of the unit.

Military units arrive at the loading port with mobile supplies.

When loading the ship for all personnel following on the ship food for 25 days should be loaded for the journey and 15 days for the landing ration.

2. Receive a report from the commanders about the technical condition of military equipment. The numbers and labels on all kinds of equipment in the units are removed back and painted over, and the unfinished are done in the septic tanks. All radios and receivers are loaded packed away. All cargo is labelled, and the ship is camouflaged. It is permitted to enlist Navy and port specialists who have experience in sending miliary equipment and property by sea for supervision of this work.

The necessary materials to ensure preparations for shipping the equipment and weapons are allocated by an instruction of the Commanders-in-Chief of the branches of the Armed Forces.

3. Verify the military unit’s receipt of civilian clothing and issue it to the departing personnel. After fitting the civilian clothing the servicemen leaving on cargo ships put it [the clothing] in personal suitcases. The replacement of the military uniform with civilian clothing will be done by instruction of the captain of the ship and the chief of the military contingent after the ship leaves port.

Servicemen who will be transported by passenger ships change into civilian clothing in the military housing areas before they board the ships.

Identity cards, passports, service and pay booklets, trade union cards, and all other documents are taken away from all servicemen and employees before the start of loading. The documents taken away, the identity cards, the service booklets, passports, trade union cards, and others are sealed in packets, put in a safe, loaded, and sent on the same ship on which the servicemen will follow.

Party and Komsomol cards are taken away and remain in the Soviet Union, guided by instructions of the Main Political Directorate.

4. Personnel are prohibited from being released to go into the city from the military housing area. In those cases when it is necessary to conduct planned work in the port to prepare military equipment and transport ships for loading, perform the movement of personnel on vehicles in an organized manner under the supervision of officers.

Organize the collection of letters being sent by personnel of the unit. Visits with relatives and friends can be permitted by the chief of the operations group as an exception.

5. Lists of personnel and summaries of equipment, weapons, and stocks of materials loaded onto ships are drawn up in 2 copies and signed by three people – the chief of the operations group, the captain of the ship, and the chief of the contingent. One copy of the list is delivered to the chief of the contingent, and the second copy is sent to the General Staff by the chief of the operations group after the ship departs.

6. Plan for the placement of military equipment, cargo, and personnel on the ship together with the captain of the ship and the chief of the military contingent. At the same time pay attention to the most advisable placement of large equipment and all military cargo on the ship so that the maximum use of all its useful space and cargo capacity is achieved. Each ship should be loaded to capacity, if there is not enough property of a unit fill the property of the rear and even civilian organizations, entering this cargo in the list.

7. Control the timeliness of the arrival of the seagoing transport ships in port and carefully check their readiness to carry the personnel, combat equipment, weapons, fuel, and cargo long distances.

Reserves of fresh water, fastening and mooring materials issued by the port administration, and individual and collective rescue and firefighting equipment should be on the ship. Places should be allocated for the housing of personnel, a food service unit, and a sickbay.

The procedure for loading and shipping special articles, components of missile fuel, and fuel and lubricants is determined by individual instructions.


1. The loading of transport ships is done round the clock, in an organized manner with the use of all means of mechanization of the loading work which are available at the port, meeting the established deadlines.


The units load the equipment, property, and cargo themselves.

2. The loading of motor vehicles of all kinds, armored personnel carriers, and tanks onto the ships is done with full tanks of fuel.

3. An efficient cargo plan is drawn up together with the representative of the Ministry of the Merchant Fleet and the captain of the ship with a detailed instruction of what is being shipped in what quantity and where it is being placed in the transport. At the same time documents are drawn up for the captain of the transport ship in accordance with the “cover story” developed (to conceal the cargo being shipped).

Copies of the documents are submitted to the General Staff.

4. Before the ships’ departure verify the reliability of the concealment and the fastening of the equipment and weapons located on them; check the fire safety measures on each ship, the individual and collective firefighting and rescue equipment, and the personnel’s ability to use them.

Have a sufficient quantity of fire-fighting gear and means of signaling and notification on each ship; equip places for smoking remote from the locations of flammable cargo and equipment; train the personnel in fire prevention actions while at sea and organize round-the-clock firefighting watches on the ship, verify that the electrical wiring and equipment in spaces (holds) of the ship are in good working order.

5. Be guided by the Regulation and manual of the USSR Armed Forces and the requirements established for maritime transport when housing the personnel on the ships and organizing their service and everyday life for the duration of the voyage at sea.

Officials of the military contingents are appointed on each ship in accordance with the Internal Service Regulations (the chief of the military contingent, the deputy chief of the military contingent, the physician, and the personnel for carrying out internal and guard duty in the contingent). The tactical commander should be the chief of the contingent.

When ready the dispatch of the loaded ships to the destination port is done with the permission of the General Staff.


The work of the operations group in the loading area is done with the strictest observation of measures which ensure the preservation of military secrecy.

The chief of the operations group is to report to the General Staff daily by cipher by 0800 about the progress of the loading and dispatch of the ships.

Establish a round-the-clock watch of officers from the operations group at the VCh telephone.

Attachment: A list of the operations group on [left blank] sheets.






[handwritten: 4] July 1962

This set of instructions details the assignments and conduct of the Soviet operations group tasked with unloading troops and military equipment arriving in Cuba.

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TsAMO fond 1, opis 14041cc, delo 1, ll. 149-157. Contributed by Sergey Radchenko and Vladislav Zubok and translated by Gary Goldberg.


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