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September 8, 1962

Memorandum, Malinovsky and Zakharov to Commander of Group of Soviet Forces in Cuba

Top Secret
Special Importance
Copy #1


To the Commander of the Group of Soviet Forces in Cuba

The temporary deployment of Soviet Armed forces on the island of Cuba is necessary to insure joint defense against possible aggression toward the USSR and the Republic of Cuba.

A decision on employment of the Soviet Armed Forces in combat actions in order to repel aggression and reinstatement [of the situation] will be made by the Soviet Government.

1. The task of the Group of Soviet Forces in Cuba is not to permit an enemy landing on Cuban territory from the sea or from the air. The island of Cuba must be turned into an impenetrable fortress.
Forces and means: Soviet troops together with the Cuban Armed forces.

2. In carrying out this task, the Commander of the Group of Soviet Forces on the island of Cuba will be guided by the following considerations:

a) With Respect to Missile Forces
The missile forces, constituting the backbone for the defense of the Soviet Union and Cuba, must be prepared, upon signal from Moscow, to deal a nuclear missile strike on the most important targets in the United States of America (list of targets included in Attachment #1) [Translator's Note: This attachment was not included in the Volkogonov Papers].
Upon arrival of the missile division in Cuba, two R-12 [SS-4] regiments (539th and 546th) and one R-14 [SS-5] regiment (564th) will deploy in the western region, and one R-12 regiment (the 514th) and one R-14 regiment (the 657th) in the central region of Cuba.
The missile units will deploy to the positional areas and take up their launch positions; for R-12 missiles, not later than [illegible] days; for the R-14 missiles with fixed launch facilities [illegible] period.
With the establishment of launchers on combat duty, [illegible - all?] regiments will maintain Readiness No.4 [Translator's Note: The lowest level of combat readiness, and the least provocative.].

b) With Respect to Air Defense (PVO) Forces
PVO forces of the Group will not permit incursion of foreign aircraft into the air space of the Republic of Cuba [illegible words] and strikes by enemy air against the Group, the most important administrative political [and industrial] centers, naval bases, ports [illegible]. Combat use of PVO forces will be activated by the Commander of the Group of Forces.
The PVO divisions will be deployed:
- 12th Division [surface to air missiles] - the Western region of Cuban territory [illegible]
- 27th Division [surface to air missiles] - the Eastern region of Cuban territory [illegible]
213th Fighter Air Division will be deployed at Santa Clara airfield.
After unloading in Cuba of the surface-to-air missiles and fighter aviation will be deployed [illegible] and organization of combat readiness.

c) With Respect to the Ground Forces
Ground forces troops will protect the missile and other technical troops and the Group command center, and be prepared to provide assistance to the Cuban Armed Fores in liquidating [illegible] enemy landings and counterrevolutionary groups on the territory of the Republic of Cuba
The independent motorized rifle regiments (OMSP) will deploy:
- The 74th OMSP, with a battalion of Lunas, in the Western part of Cuba in readiness to protect the Missile Forces [trans: in the San Cristobal and Guanajay areas] and to operate in the sectors Havana and Pinar del Rio;
- The 43rd OMSP, with a battalion of Lunas, in the vicinity of Santiago de las Vegas in readiness to protect the Command of the Group of Forces and to operate in the sectors Havana, Artemisa, Batabano, and Matanzas;
- The 146th OMSP, with a battalion of Lunas, in the area Camajuani, Placetas, Sulu...[illegible], in readiness to protect the Missile Forces [Translator's Note: in the Sagua la Grande and Remedios areas] and to operate in the sectors: Caibarien, Colon, Cienfeugos, Fomento;
- The 106th OMSP in the eastern part of Cuba in the vicinity of Holguin in readiness to operate in the sectors Banes, Victoria de las Tunas, Manzanillo, and Santiago de Cuba.

d) With Respect to the Navy
The Naval element of the Group must not permit combat ships and transports of the enemy to approach the island of Cuba and carry out naval landings on the coast. They must be prepared to blockade from the sea the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo, and provide cover for our transport ships along lines of communication in close proximity to the island.
Missile-equipped submarines should be prepared to launch, upon signal from Moscow, nuclear missile strikes on the most important coastal targets in the USA (List of targets in Attachment #1).
The main forces of the fleet should be based in the region around Havana and in ports to the west of Havana. One detachment of the brigade of missile patrol boats should be located in the vicinity of Banes.
The battalions of Sopka [coastal defense cruise missiles] should be deployed on the coast:
- One battalion east of Havana in the region of Santa Cruz del Norte;
- One battalion southeast of Cienfuegos in the vicinity of Gavilan;
- One battalion northeast of Banes in the vicinity of Cape Mulas;
- One battalion on the island Pi=F1os [Isle of Pines] in the vicinity of Cape Buenavista.
The torpedo-mine air regiment [IL-28s] will deploy at the airfield San Julian Asiento, and plan and instruct in destroying combat ships and enemy landings from the sea.

e) With Respect to the Air Force
The squadron of IL-28 delivery aircraft will be based on Santa Clara airfield in readiness to operate in the directions of Havana, Guantanamo, and the Isle of Pines. [Translator's Note: This deployment was later changed to Holguin airfield]
The independent aviation engineering regiments [OAIP] (FKR) [cruise missiles] [trans. note - The OAIP designation was a cover; the real designation was FKR regiments] will deploy:
- 231st OAIP - in the western region of Cuba, designated as the main means to fire on the coast in the northeastern and northern sectors, and as a secondary mission in the direction of the Isle of Pines.
- 222nd OAIP - in the eastern part of the island. This regiment must be prepared, upon signal from the General Staff, in the main sector of the southeastern direction to strike the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo. Secondary firing sectors in the northeastern and southwestern directions.
The fighter aviation regiment armed with MiG-21 F-13 aircraft is included as a PVO [air defense] division, but crews of all fighters will train also for operations in support of the Ground Forces and Navy.

3. Organize security and economy of missiles, warheads, and special technical equipment, and all combat equipment in the armament of the Group of Soviet Forces in Cuba.

4. Carry out daily cooperation and combat collaboration with the armed forces of the Republic of Cuba, and work together in instructing the personnel of the Cuban armed forces in maintaining the arms and combat equipment being transferred by the Soviet Union to the Republic of Cuba.

5. Deploy the rear units and offices and organize all-round material, technical, and medical support of the troops.
Rear area bases will be located in the regions as follows:
- Main Base - comprising: the 758th command base, separate service companies, the 3rd automotive platoon, 784th POL fuel station, the 860th food supply depot, the 964th warehouse, the 71st bakery factory, the 176th field technical medical detachment - Mariel, Artemisa, Guira de Melena, Rincon;
- Separate rear base - comprising: 782nd POL station, 883rd food supply depot, a detachment of the 964th warehouse, [the 1st] field medical detachment, a detachment of the 71st bakery factory - Caibarien, Camajuani, Placetas;
- Separate rear base - comprising: separate detachments of the 784th POL station, the 883rd food supply depot, the 964th warehouse, [the 71st bakery unit, and the 1st field medical detachment - Gibara, Holguin, Camasan.

Fuel stocks for the Navy will be:
Depot No. 4472 - Mariel, a branch at Guanabacoa,
Depot No. 4465 - vicinity of Banes.
Hospitals will be set up in the regions: Field hospitals No. 965 with blood transfusion unit - Guanajay; No. 121 - Camajuani, Placetas; No. 50 - Holguin.
The transport of material to be organized by troop transport means, and also do not use local rail or water transport.

6. The operational plan for the employment of the Group of Soviet Forces in Cuba should be worked out by 01 November 1962. [Translator's Note: Date filled in by a different hand; probably omitted for security reasons or for later decision by a higher authority.]

1. List of targets for missile forces and missile submarines for working out flight missions - attached separately.
2. List of the order of battle of the Group of Soviet Forces in Cuba in 3 pages, r[ecord] r/t #164
3. List of launchers, missiles and nuclear warheads possessed by the Group of Forces, on 2 pages r[ecord] r/t #164.
[Translator's Note: All the Attachments are missing.]

USSR Minister of Defense [signature]
Marshal of the Soviet Union
R. Malinovsky

Chief of the General Staff [signature]
Marshal of the Soviet Union
M. Zakharov

8 September 1962 [Translator's Note: 8 September is written over the original version of __________ July 1962," suggesting that this document was drafted in July]

No. 76438
Send in cipher

[Various illegible signatures dated July 9, and one noting it was read by General V.I. Davidkov on 3 October 1962]"

Malinovsky and Zakharov instruct the Commander of Soviet forces in Cuba on how to deploy navy, missile and air forces.

Document Information


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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