Flying from New York City, to Seoul, South Korea, the doomed Korean Airlines Flight 007 strayed into Soviet Airspace due to a navigational error involving the plane’s autopilot system. While the Soviets contemporaneously claimed that they did not know that plane was civilian, tape releases after the Cold War indicate that little if any warning was given to the airliner. The Reagan administration rallied global reaction against the Soviets—even playing decoded messages before the UN Security Council. 269 passengers and crew were killed during the attack, including one member of Congress.
Time: Late War
Removed after event: Yes
Unplayable at DEFCON 2, obviously, so the USSR typically sends this to space. Even at DEFCON 3, it’s not such a good idea to give the US 2 VPs in the Late War. But if you must play it, either because you desperately need Ops or have another DEFCON degrader in hand, the South Korea condition is easily dealt with by first playing some influence into South Korea (and breaking US control) before triggering the event.
An extremely strong headline, Soviets Shoot Down KAL-007 accomplishes several things at once. It:
- Reduces DEFCON in headline, denying the USSR an AR1 coup
- Provides the chance at an instant win by DEFCON suicide if the USSR drops DEFCON in headline
- Gives 2 VPs
- Allows you to conduct Operations during the headline phase
Even if you don’t control South Korea, the 2 VPs and DEFCON degradation makes it a decent headline in the Late War.