Certainly, the most interesting series of events in this regard took place on October 28th ,1962 at about 7pm in the Sargasso Sea 300 miles northeast of Cuba. The United States Navy had detected and corralled a Soviet Foxtrot submarine that had been unable to communicate with Moscow for several hours due to constant evasive actions taken in the preceding thirty-six hours in a vain attempt to avoid detection.
The USS Beale, an American destroyer, had begun signaling protocol to the submarine demanding that it surface and identify itself. The Beale had dropped several series of five practice depth charges followed by a pause. Captain of the B-59, Captain Second Rank Valentin Grigorievitch Savitsky, mistakenly determined the submarine was under attack and ordered the firing of a nuclear tipped torpedo that would have sunk the Randolph, a US aircraft carrier.
The following excerpt from an un-published version of Armageddon, Book III of the First Strike Series was corroborated by the Soviet Navy at a 1992 Conference in Havana, Cuba.
October 27, 1962 – 1600–2100 Hours B-59, Sargasso Sea
Earlier that same day, two other incidents almost led to the outbreak of nuclear war.
Captain Charles Maultsby flying a U-2 out of Eielson AFB Alaska was blinded by the Aurora Borealis causing him to take his plane over the Chukotka Peninsula some 300 miles into Soviet airspace. The Soviets gave chase. American F-102A interceptors armed with. Falcon Nuclear air to Air missiles, each with a .25 kiloton yield, were then scrambled to escort the U2 into friendly airspace. This caused President Kennedy to remark after his daily swim that “some SOB never gets the message.” On that same day there was yet another very controversial Nuclear near- miss.
Kyodo News March 27, 2015 by Ota Masakatsu
October 28th, 1962, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan-Bolo Airfield Yomitan
Early in 1962, the United States had Staged TM-76 Mace and Nike Hercules nuclear missiles in Okinawa, Japan. The TM-76 had a range of 1250 miles and a 1.1 megaton. nuclear warhead. Although the Nike Hercules was used primarily as an anti-aircraft weapon It also could be used in a surface-to-surface combat role. At the time in question, it normally carried a W7 2.5 or 28 kiloton warhead. In a March 27,2015, article for Kyodo News Ota Masakatsu reported as follows:
“According to John Bordne, 73, former member of the 873rd Tactical Missile Squadron of the U.S. Air Force, several hours after his crew took over a midnight shift from 12 a.m. on Oct. 28 in 1962 at the Missile Launch Control Center at Yomitan Village in Okinawa, a coded order to launch missiles was conveyed in a radio communication message from the Missile Operations Center at the Kadena Air Base.”
The squadron oversaw eight of the TM-76 Mace missiles .But since they knew the Defcon level had to reach one before they could launch ,and it was then at level two. So his crew refused the order to launch. Masakatsu interviewed numerous other individuals in the 873rd TMS including Bill Horn who stated in part “I knew I was never going home .If we had launched our missiles and they had launched their missiles, there would be nothing to go back to.”
Masakatsu’s report appeared on Kyodo News on March 27, 2015.
September 26, 1983. A day that could have lived in infamy.
Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov was the officer in charge at the command center for the Oko Nuclear Early Warning System when the system reported that a single missile had been launched from the United States. Then a few seconds later it was followed by up to five more. Petrov remained calm even though tensions had been rising between the Soviets and the US due to the Soviets shooting down Korean Airlines flight 007 just three weeks prior. Several thoughts began racing through Petrov's mind.” Why are there not more missiles? My training tells me that at least 100 missiles should be detected. Our satellite launch detection system is new and the verification process that just passed through 30 layers of control was processed too quickly. Ground radar has failed to corroborate the launch. What the hell should I do now? If I pass it up the chain of command to General Votintsev and his robot reacting launch happy crew, we could have a billion dead in 30 minutes!” Thankfully, Petrov waited. It was later determined that the false alarm had been created by a rare alignment of sunlight on Cumulonimbus clouds above North Dakota and the Molniya orbits of the satellites. A system error that was later corrected by cross-referencing geostationary satellites. A documentary film was later made about the incident starring Kevin Costner, Matt Damon, and Walter Cronkite.
See it here: The Man Who Saved the World
There have been numerous other close calls throughout the years. Far too many to mention in any depth. The following link will give you a list of thirty- two that we know about. These incidents are called “Broken Arrow(s)” Nuclear Weapons Accidents.” Many more have been “classified” and remain undisclosed.