Could we have stopped the bear?

The instructors at DCBRN Centre

I don't claim any scientific or technical background, but my layman's understanding of nuclear devices is that they are... well, rather complicated.

Complicated to the point where they require regular maintenance in controlled conditions, followed by careful checking, and then final assembly and arming.

I don't think you can simply cache them somewhere for years and expect to be able to detonate them at an unspecified future date.

Even if you could, smuggling 150 devices into the UK and successfully concealing them would be a major challenge, even for the Soviets. If just one device was discovered, it would be a huge provocation that would change the rules of the Cold War.

Given that they could park a sub off the coast of the UK and obliterate every major city in a couple of minutes, why bother prepositioning weapons?
 

Londo

LE

LD17

MIA
I will try to post some pages of Farndale's HAUL DOWN Report from 1987 (basically a list of what BAOR needed and what was working, basically a wish list). Nuts and bolts.... 19IB heavy-ed up and moved to FRG, 24 Bde also better in FRG.....need ed full Chally fleet in BAOR PLUS two reinforcement Regts PLUS full WMR........ more Artillery! 9- gun batteries, eight AS-90 Regts PLUS four more M109, PLUS 50 Missile Regt to MLRS.....raise BAOR manpower ceiling to 60,000......

Speaking of WMR, I am incorporating the following into my BAOR doc but here is a preview:

Received some further information regarding the RAC in the late 1980's:

1) The Tidworth Option/Proposal That I mentioned in another thread...

The Type 57 Armd Regt and the Armd Recce Regt, both at Tidworth, would combine assets to form:

- The UKMF Armd Regt with 3x Sqns of MBTs (43 MBTs) and 1x Armd Recce Sqn with 16x Scimitar CVRT & 6x Striker CVRT (4 @ PE)

- 19th Inf Bde Armd Regt which was basically a Type 43 Armd Regt, however the AMF(L) Armd Recce Sqn would be its fourth Sqn


Now regarding the RAC Centre Regt & RAC Training Regt there was a study that was attempting to civilianize/contractoralize some manpower of both. This was strongly opposed by DRAC. Reading through the recommendations I was able to discover the following:

- The Armd Delivery Regt @ Bovington (a shadow organization, activated on TTW) which had an establishment of 96 Officers & 676 ORs, would immediately form 2x Category A (Regulars) WMR MBT Sqns (28 MBTs) which would go to BAOR (the MBTs were in store there) upon the START of TTW. Basically giving 1st BR Corps and additional two regular Armd Sqns.

- Upon full mobilization, 12xWMR Armd Sqns would be formed from Reservists & REDRUM personnel. Again under command of the ADR.

- The RAC Training Regt, DRAC did not want to lose any personnel because it would not be able to fill establishment to a Type 57 Armd Regt

4AB's two Armd Regts had their fourth Sqns in Cyprus (easily can fly them back) and Berlin (not leaving there).

33 AB's Armd Regt (from the Household Cav) had only three Sqns.

So those two Category A Sqns would nicely fill out those Regts......

For Context:
The Queen's Royal Irish Hussars July 1989 (RAC Training Regt/RAC Centre Regt)
Catterick
- Basic Military Training Sqn
- Trade Sqn (SHQ, D&M Wing, Signals Wing, Gunnery Wing)
- Support Sqn (SHQ, Vehicle Wing consisting of MBT Tp ; 45 MBTs, CVR (T) Tp, FFR Tp, MT Tp, & QM Dept)
-RHQ (with Regt Band and Pipes & Drums)
Bovington
-Vehicle Sqn (SHQ, Heavy Track Tp, Light Track Tp, MT Tp, Radio Tp, MT Tp, & MDT)
Lulworth
- Support Sqn (SHQ, Tank Tp = 5x Chieftains 8x Challengers; CVR Tp = 7x Scimitar, 3x Fox, 4x FV432; GW Tp = 6x Strikers; Warrior Tp = 8x Warrior (Inf manned); MT Tp)
The 45 tanks at Catterick were described as 'heaps' when QRIH first arrived but they got many running. There were also 10 Chieftain Mk 1s that were used only for driver training. The Support Sqn at Lulworth had true runners.
 
I don't claim any scientific or technical background, but my layman's understanding of nuclear devices is that they are... well, rather complicated.

Complicated to the point where they require regular maintenance in controlled conditions, followed by careful checking, and then final assembly and arming.
Further complicated by one of the key bits having a "use by" date. If this bit isn't replaced every few years (deliberately vague here for obvious reasons), then the thing just goes "fizzle" when you light the blue touchpaper. Like a Poundland firework.
 

QRK2

LE
Further complicated by one of the key bits having a "use by" date. If this bit isn't replaced every few years (deliberately vague here for obvious reasons), then the thing just goes "fizzle" when you light the blue touchpaper. Like a Poundland firework.

Ahem

 
Somebody mentioned earlier that we expected an attritional rate of 10% per day.

So by that reasoning we would never lose and the Bear would be defeated.

Start off on 1 Oct at 100k troops.
2 Oct 90k
3 Oct 89k
4 Oct 81.1k

It would take until the end of October until we were down to 4239 troops.

But then it get better - by the end of November we are only down to 179 troops. But by then they must be like supermen they are able to hold off the Soviet hordes losing only half their number by 8 Dec. it takes the combined forces of the WP to thin them down to a section by 29 December.
At which point I reckon we go on the offensive because that section would be nails.

Does this mean I can pass staff college (look, I have excel and I was bored with my email inbox)
 
this has been covered on ARRSE before - how the Soviets laid a nuclear minefield in the bay of Naples. ISTR that there was rumours of something similar off Sweden.

ETA: That seems a lot - there is the problem of Fratracide where the detonation of one nuclear device buggers up others. This was why the nuclear attack plans were so complex and why it wasn’t just a case of ‘launch everything now’, especially if you have an ICBM,SLBM and an aircraft carrying a gravity device all closing in on the same target the same time (and you would probably have x2 ICBMs/x2 SBMS/2 bombers, with 1 warhead from each at the same target - just to be sure)

 
I never quite worked out what role alcohol played in the life of a Soviet conscript in Germany. Officially the barracks were dry and the soldiers followed highly structured and closely supervised routines. The discipline was tough and was partly enforced by political officers. Conscripts didn't have anything like the free time, liberty and financial resources that British soldiers did.

I also had a Russian girlfriend, and quite a few Russian friends over the years. I will never underestimate their resourcefulness, ingenuity, single minded determination - and utter ruthlessness - when it comes to obtaining alcohol. :D
ISTR somewhere that all we had to do to delay them was leave vast quantities of unguarded alcohol stocks lying around and they'd become ineffective through drinking it ?
Or did that happen in the Battle of Berlin ?
 
ISTR somewhere that all we had to do to delay them was leave vast quantities of unguarded alcohol stocks lying around and they'd become ineffective through drinking it ?
Or did that happen in the Battle of Berlin ?
Something similar happened in 1918 when attacking German storm troopers overran British supply depots during their spring offensive. They encountered stockpiles of food and alcohol, the like of which hadn't been seen for a couple of years in Germany. It probably took their officers 24 vital hours to get them sobered up and back on the attack.
 
Just a shame that we couldn't keep going in 1945 and put the bastards back in their box then...
And in the next thread , what could have happened in the summer of 1945 when we still had a massive strategic AND tactical air force .........
And we would have let all the boxheads out of the POW cages and given them their kit back .......
 
Ahem

If no-one tells the Russians it'll be ok...
 

LD17

MIA
Something similar happened in 1918 when attacking German storm troopers overran British supply depots during their spring offensive. They encountered stockpiles of food and alcohol, the like of which hadn't been seen for a couple of years in Germany. It probably took their officers 24 vital hours to get them sobered up and back on the attack.
IIRC the author Peter Tsouras,in one of the chapters of his book on alternate decisions of the Cold War (Cold War Hot …I think), based a scenario on MLRS firing munitions that dropped copious amounts of vodka in front of the advancing Soviets….leading to the collapse of the Red Army…
 

LD17

MIA
Somebody mentioned earlier that we expected an attritional rate of 10% per day.

So by that reasoning we would never lose and the Bear would be defeated.

Start off on 1 Oct at 100k troops.
2 Oct 90k
3 Oct 89k
4 Oct 81.1k

It would take until the end of October until we were down to 4239 troops.

But then it get better - by the end of November we are only down to 179 troops. But by then they must be like supermen they are able to hold off the Soviet hordes losing only half their number by 8 Dec. it takes the combined forces of the WP to thin them down to a section by 29 December.
At which point I reckon we go on the offensive because that section would be nails.

Does this mean I can pass staff college (look, I have excel and I was bored with my email inbox)
In all the document dumps I keep getting from TNA, I found it fascinating that Home Defence was predicated on hostilities lasting 30 days…..meanwhile BAOR, well it looked like 7-10 days …max 14 days before ammo and WMR ran out……
FWIW, by the late 1980’s there was discussion of possible “start-stop-start” scenarios……though I doubt, much like The Great War, once the Soviets started Mobilisation and headed West, they weren’t stopping until the last T-34/T-54 (what was left at that point) was at the Channel or at the receiving end of a couple of buckets of sunshine…
 
So what I have learned is that if we stuck a few bods on roads dressed as Soviet MPs but also if we left stocks of anti-freeze and orange juice by the roads they would never have got 20km across the border.
All they had to was point them in the direction of Yugoslavia .Job jobbed .
 

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
In all the document dumps I keep getting from TNA, I found it fascinating that Home Defence was predicated on hostilities lasting 30 days…..meanwhile BAOR, well it looked like 7-10 days …max 14 days before ammo and WMR ran out……
FWIW, by the late 1980’s there was discussion of possible “start-stop-start” scenarios……though I doubt, much like The Great War, once the Soviets started Mobilisation and headed West, they weren’t stopping until the last T-34/T-54 (what was left at that point) was at the Channel or at the receiving end of a couple of buckets of sunshine…

3 days in West Berlin.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Further complicated by one of the key bits having a "use by" date. If this bit isn't replaced every few years (deliberately vague here for obvious reasons), then the thing just goes "fizzle" when you light the blue touchpaper. Like a Poundland firework.
Read Sum of all Fears, Clancy.
 

goodoldboy

MIA
Book Reviewer
<serious hat on>None of these targets would appear to be especially hardened, so an airburst would probably have done the job. By no means an expert on this, but my understanding is that, as long as the fireball doesn't touch the surface of the Earth, no crater is produced (and very little fallout).

this has been covered on ARRSE before - how the Soviets laid a nuclear minefield in the bay of Naples. ISTR that there was rumours of something similar off Sweden.

ETA: That seems a lot - there is the problem of Fratracide where the detonation of one nuclear device buggers up others. This was why the nuclear attack plans were so complex and why it wasn’t just a case of ‘launch everything now’, especially if you have an ICBM,SLBM and an aircraft carrying a gravity device all closing in on the same target the same time (and you would probably have x2 ICBMs/x2 SBMS/2 bombers, with 1 warhead from each at the same target - just to be sure)

Good point about fratricide, which is why the UK did some complex studies to deconflict our air delivered tactical nuclear weapon strikes with what everyone else was doing on the northern European battlefield.

For example, the UK knew what the US would be doing with their B-57s from the air and Atomic Demolition devices on the ground, but then had to make a stab at what the Eastern Bloc may be doing and what the yield and height of burst of their weapons could be, based on known intelligence.

The big unknown was what the French plans were, not just what they would use and where, but what they may have done politically at the time - TTW and AOW.

I heard something about a possible circle of rockets around Moscow, with nuclear warheads, to be deployed against incoming western strategic nuclear weapons. Dunno if that is true or not...
 

goodoldboy

MIA
Book Reviewer
<serious hat on>None of these targets would appear to be especially hardened, so an airburst would probably have done the job. By no means an expert on this, but my understanding is that, as long as the fireball doesn't touch the surface of the Earth, no crater is produced (and very little fallout). Piles of rubble might slow an advance, but certainly wouldn't stop it. <serious hat off>

<facetious hat on> plenty of fields left for the T-72s & BMPs to trundle over... <facetious hat off>
There will always be something on the ground from any nuclear detonation except from a high air burst or a low yield device, or both.

If the fireball does touch the ground it generally means that much more debris will be drawn upwards and, what remains, will come down as fallout - most likely having been irradiated.

Have a look at 'the triple point' for detailed information about achieving the greatest devastation.

Even a fairly low yield airburst will create some sort of depression on the Earth's surface. The greatest degree of cratering will be caused by a device that bursts on the ground. A ground-burst of a large yield weapon may trigger a seismic event according to some experts.

Please bear in mind that the damage caused by one nuclear weapon effect is not generally considered, except perhaps that from the Electromagnetic Pulse. The synergistic effects of the thermal radiation, nuclear radiation, static and dynamic overpressures combined is the only way to predict the results. The height of burst and the climatic conditions are also major factors towards 'performance'.

Hope this helps ...
 

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