Exercise Able Archer


War Hero
Can anyone give a definitive account of this exercise in the early eighties?

Like the Cuban Missile Crisis, I heard the world came very close to nuclear war but there seems to be very liitle info out there on this one.

As far as I understand, NATO staged a big exercise in the North Atlantic and the Commies thought it was a prelude to a pre-emptive strike. But that's all I know!

Thanks in advance!


Lantern Swinger
I was always intrigued that the Soviets didn't get even more worried from time to time while NATO was exercising. Some of the gatherings of ships, aircraft and personnel would have looked exceedingly dodgy - enough to capture the Kola Peninsula at least. Able Archer was one, as was Highland Wedding some years earlier. British and Dutch amphibious forces, with many US amphib forces not far behind, with a US Battle Group in the middle, and the NATO Strikefleet too.


Lantern Swinger
Amazing references there, Part Timer. I didn't realise so much was on the net about it. I showed those sites to my daughter, who then gave me a critique of CIA/PHP/UMD/Wikipedia - apparently she uses them all the time in her War Studies course at KCL!
(In Nov 83, when Able Archer was going on, I was on the Zulu and I think we got involved in a RAS with a few units in the Western Approaches, but I don't think we did anything else - we were off to Gib as Guardship for Xmas!)