Preparing for Nuclear War with the British Army

On 21st May 2021 12.00pm, there is a live webinar from the National Army Museum regarding the above subject matter. This is cut and paste from Subterranea Britannica forum

The Natinal Army Museum is running a free talk on preparing for nuclear war in the British army.

Preparing for Nuclear War in the British Army | National Army Museum

From the above link

Date 21 May 2021, 12.00pm

Dr Simon J Moody will examine how the Cold War nuclear threat affected the British Army’s training, war doctrine and purpose.​

The British Army’s primary mission during the Cold War was to deter Soviet aggression in Europe by demonstrating the will and capability to fight with nuclear weapons in defence of Nato territory.

Preparing for a war which many observers regarded as ‘beyond the imagination’ presented a number of practical and conceptual difficulties for the Army, with few intellectual reference points to inform its thinking about the unthinkable.

In this online talk, Dr Moody will explore how the British Army structured its thinking about nuclear combat, how nuclear war was taught at the Staff College, and the evolution of its nuclear war-fighting doctrine. He will be in conversation with Dr Peter Johnston, lead curator of the National Army Museum’s exhibition ‘Foe to Friend: The British Army in Germany since 1945’.

Dr Simon J Moody is a Lecturer in Defence Studies at King’s College London. He has taught for a number of years at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, and has published widely on the history of strategic thought, nuclear strategy, and British defence policy. His recent book, ‘Imagining Nuclear War in the British Army, 1945-1989’, was published by Oxford University Press in 2020.

It will be available afterwards on the NAM youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/NationalArmyMuseumUK
 
We were told that we had to fight for 48 hours, and then the politicians would decide if they should throw nuclear bombs or not. Later, we found out that the war would have gone nuclear as soon as one Soviet or East German boot had crossed the Inner German Border.

Bah humbug.
 
As an aside, if OUP get round to putting Simon's book out in paperback so that it's available at a sensible price (vice the £55+ price tag), I'd suggest it's worth a read.
 
It was taken for granted ( or ignored) that in the event of nukes being used, UK would cease to exist as a functioning entity, the troops in Germany would have nothing to return to, and no resupply once theatre stocks were gone ( used or destroyed).
The British army, despite having good equipment, rarely trained to use it, even more rarely trained its seniors in their level of nbc activity,
and claimed that " fighting dirty", ie contaminated, was acceptable rather than a necessity.
Quite how believable things like radiac monitoring of own troops, to enable choosing the fittest, or least fit, for any given task, is questionable.
 
Irrespective of colour, gender, religion, age military or civilian, the only thing you need to remember is....kneel down, put your head between your knees, and kiss your arse goodbye. That is all that is required. anything else is totally futile.
 
Irrespective of colour, gender, religion, age military or civilian, the only thing you need to remember is....kneel down, put your head between your knees, and kiss your arse goodbye. That is all that is required. anything else is totally futile.

Always carry ration pack tubes of butter and jam in an easily accessible pocket, because once the mushroom cloud appears, you're toast.
 
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where did you serve in the stores? half the decent kit stayed on the shelves & in storage.
clapped out AFV 432´s alway getting pack lifts. utter junk
Kind of my point: the good nbc kit stayed boxed and locked away, so nobody got to train with it.
On the rare occassion it was opened, it was 50/50 whether or not it included the correct batteries, was in date for calibration, or a variety of other faults that turned " good kit" into expensive junk.
 

RedDinger

War Hero
We were told that we had to fight for 48 hours, and then the politicians would decide if they should throw nuclear bombs or not. Later, we found out that the war would have gone nuclear as soon as one Soviet or East German boot had crossed the Inner German Border.

Bah humbug.
I can conform this. I was in a Sig Sqn which ran comms for Brigade HQ, so we saw all the battle plans/decisions etc. Every single exercise I went on ended with us nuking the Orange forces.
 
The reality of our nuclear "deterrent" was summed up by a Vulcan bomber pilot saying that his own general plan was to continue East after his mission and hope to find a Mongolian woman that would forgive him.
 
Although we always carried respirators and NBC suits I only recall using them on exercise twice. Once in Germany and once in the wilds of Dorset. Both times I was left wondering what the local civvies thought. In Germany it was the one and only time in 14 months that my troop exercised doing its job (laying cable) thus equipped. A dirty, sweaty job made doubly worse.

As far as JDSC was concerned there was one, brief lecture on nuclear fire planning and that was treated with humour (the official explanation being that very few people would ever get to do it and they would be “properly” trained). The usual treatment of topics at JDSC was lecture, syndicate work and then exercise. Not for nuclear fire planning!
 

Big Jim

Old-Salt
Although we always carried respirators and NBC suits I only recall using them on exercise twice. Once in Germany and once in the wilds of Dorset. Both times I was left wondering what the local civvies thought. In Germany it was the one and only time in 14 months that my troop exercised doing its job (laying cable) thus equipped. A dirty, sweaty job made doubly worse.

As far as JDSC was concerned there was one, brief lecture on nuclear fire planning and that was treated with humour (the official explanation being that very few people would ever get to do it and they would be “properly” trained). The usual treatment of topics at JDSC was lecture, syndicate work and then exercise. Not for nuclear fire planning!
so you was a Liney then. well i remember as a Gun Bunny sometimes they told us to put the Noddy suit on when extreme cold. Oh..& we got Rum rations too ;)
 

Big Jim

Old-Salt
I can conform this. I was in a Sig Sqn which ran comms for Brigade HQ, so we saw all the battle plans/decisions etc. Every single exercise I went on ended with us nuking the Orange forces.
& i can confirm too that we were tought "Tech Ops" how to arm & fire a nuclear / Chemical round from our M109 Guns also other Regiments with M107 / M110 Guns. american Howitzers which we used & we were tested by the yanks. got spammed for it twice. So we were a Nuclear Capable Regt.
 

Houseman

Old-Salt
& i can confirm too that we were tought "Tech Ops" how to arm & fire a nuclear / Chemical round from our M109 Guns also other Regiments with M107 / M110 Guns. american Howitzers which we used & we were tested by the yanks. got spammed for it twice. So we were a Nuclear Capable Regt.
Never Chemical . We did have nuclear weapons for the M109 with a 155mm shell, M110 with a 203 mm shell and the Lance Missile System. The M107 was only ever a conventional weapon.
 
This image is on the waiting screen, they are in full NBC but not wearing gloves

1621593937873.png
 

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