Preparing for Nuclear War with the British Army

The Assassin

On ROPS
On ROPs
I had a job to take a couple of brigadiers in a Lynx to do a handover recce of the Task Force Charlie area. There was some discussion of the use of tac nukes in certain areas along with minefields used to channel enemy etc.

During the conversation one of the brigs stopped and said “pilot can you hear me?” When I said I could be told me that when we got back I was to shut down as he wanted a word.

Basically, he reminded me and my crewman of our responsibility to obey the Official Secrets Act - quite strongly.
Ahem

 

diehard57

War Hero
We did a two week camp at Devises in 1965 learning how to survive a nuclear attack. We were put into sections of six, taken somewhere really rural and told to dig our L shaped trench. We then lived in the trench for two days when we emerged we had to do crowd control with banners and SLRs. A ‘crowd’ of soldiers dressed in civi clothes taunted us and chucked things at us.
One of my mates in the 5th Bn.The Middlesex Regiment (DCO) also went to camp at Devizes in 1965. Back then every third year the TA practised ‘Military Aid to the Civil Authorities’ which included post nuclear drills. They dug two underground bunkers - one outside and the other by digging a hole through the concrete floor of a hut. The intention was they would spend 48 hours entombed underground. They were sealed up and after a few hours my mate noticed that the smokers were having difficulty lighting their fags. The penny dropped and the exit was quickly opened up. The primitive NBC filter for the bunker was simply layers of hessian sandbags and soneone had put too many over the inlet pipe. I’ve got a few photos I’ll dig out and post up.
 

Chef

LE
I've got a copy of 'Atomic weapons and armies' 1955 by A Czech chap called Miksche which looks at atomic war fighting.

As I understand it one school of thought was provincial cities might be nuked in order to get the point across but there was no point in nuking the enemy's capital/government as then nobody could sort out a surrender.

How true or indeed practicable that would have been I don't know.
 

MoleBath

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I've got a copy of 'Atomic weapons and armies' 1955 by A Czech chap called Miksche which looks at atomic war fighting.

As I understand it one school of thought was provincial cities might be nuked in order to get the point across but there was no point in nuking the enemy's capital/government as then nobody could sort out a surrender.

How true or indeed practicable that would have been I don't know.
Liverpool is a provincial city
 

Bardeyai

Old-Salt
They might have descended on Munster, but WSG would have been well deployed by then. I imagine the much vaunted Bulgarian parachutists would have been shot out of the sky on the way in and those who managed to get to the ground would have been beaten to death with spades by the local Germans as ‘terrorflieger’.

Old habits die hard.
You remind me of the time that I got drinking with a Russian gentleman in The Red Lion in Whitehall years ago. Very convivial. We exchanged dit’s about our youth on either side of the IGB. His was that he was a young, gung-ho Para major; mad keen to fire the boys up with enthusiasm for smashing the capitalist lackeys whenever they went out on a training mission. But the lads loathed him and he could never understand why. Until the day that his transport aircraft crew took him to one side and asked “Whatever makes you think that we will live long enough to reach your drop zone? We’ll be shot down long before that. Cut the boys some slack”.
Oh!
He said he grew up at that point. I think Truxx’s SF Bulgarian’s would have had a similar life expectancy.
 

Chef

LE
Liverpool is a provincial city
'Unless all UK military forces lay down their weapons by 23:00hrs we will not. I repeat, will not obliterate Liverpool with nuclear weapons.

You have been warned'.
 
Very good, but would anyone notice the difference.

I heard rumourts that the post-apocalypse Fallout computer games used Bransholme as a reference for both the scenery and some of the mutated residents.
 
With the number of nuclear weapons in existance, given the aggressiveness of the human species it would be fanciful to believe that a nuclear exchange at some stage in the future will not happen.

The weapons exist, at some critical stage they will be used, that was what they were built for.

As was proved at both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island, Fukushima, and various other incidents and serious accidents, life can and does continue.

True a nuclear conflict would be many times more serious, but many seem to believe that it will all be over after a serious exchange of nuclear weapons.

It may well be for some, but an important point may well be that if the fat female cant yet be heard it aint over.
 

The Assassin

On ROPS
On ROPs
Can't recall the exact quores, but when JFK and Krushchev met, Kennedy boasted that America had enough nukes to destroy the world ten times over. Krushchev responded by saying Soviets would only need to do it once.
 
With the number of nuclear weapons in existance, given the aggressiveness of the human species it would be fanciful to believe that a nuclear exchange at some stage in the future will not happen.

The weapons exist, at some critical stage they will be used, that was what they were built for.

As was proved at both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island, Fukushima, and various other incidents and serious accidents, life can and does continue.

True a nuclear conflict would be many times more serious, but many seem to believe that it will all be over after a serious exchange of nuclear weapons.

It may well be for some, but an important point may well be that if the fat female cant yet be heard it aint over.
I recall reading, possibly on ARRSE, that post Cold War it was discovered that in the event of all out nuclear war, the Soviets had planned to nuke pretty much all the third world, simply to reduce the chances of them becoming dominant before the Soviet Union had rebuilt itself.
 
I've got a copy of 'Atomic weapons and armies' 1955 by A Czech chap called Miksche which looks at atomic war fighting.

As I understand it one school of thought was provincial cities might be nuked in order to get the point across but there was no point in nuking the enemy's capital/government as then nobody could sort out a surrender.

How true or indeed practicable that would have been I don't know.
Daniel Ellsberg's The Doomsday Machine references that and, iirc, US policy shifted from decapitation for precisely that reason, both sides needed senior leadership to remain alive in order to negotiate a ceasefire
 

Truxx

LE
You remind me of the time that I got drinking with a Russian gentleman in The Red Lion in Whitehall years ago. Very convivial. We exchanged dit’s about our youth on either side of the IGB. His was that he was a young, gung-ho Para major; mad keen to fire the boys up with enthusiasm for smashing the capitalist lackeys whenever they went out on a training mission. But the lads loathed him and he could never understand why. Until the day that his transport aircraft crew took him to one side and asked “Whatever makes you think that we will live long enough to reach your drop zone? We’ll be shot down long before that. Cut the boys some slack”.
Oh!
He said he grew up at that point. I think Truxx’s SF Bulgarian’s would have had a similar life expectancy.
Against the combat prowess of 8 Regt RCT?

They would have died of boredom.
 
With the number of nuclear weapons in existance, given the aggressiveness of the human species it would be fanciful to believe that a nuclear exchange at some stage in the future will not happen.

The weapons exist, at some critical stage they will be used, that was what they were built for.

As was proved at both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island, Fukushima, and various other incidents and serious accidents, life can and does continue.

True a nuclear conflict would be many times more serious, but many seem to believe that it will all be over after a serious exchange of nuclear weapons.

It may well be for some, but an important point may well be that if the fat female cant yet be heard it aint over.
Nuclear war in the modern day would be a very different prospect to that of the 1960s - 1990s. Not only is the number of weapons far smaller but yields are, significantly, reduced (variable of course) due to the massively improved accuracy of delivery systems. The days of cities being busted are gone and even a full scale nuclear war is far more survivable, at national level, than ever before.

Ironically this makes the likelihood of nuclear operations greater as MAD is no longer a consideration and smaller yield nukes are seen as more 'acceptable' than the multi-megaton strategic weapons of the cold war.
 
NBC was a major part of the training regime when I was in the army in the 70’s.

The expectation was that if there was the threat of an NBC attack, the necessary clothing and equipment would be routinely worn and carried until the threat of such an attack went away.

If a nuclear event happened, the drill was when the nuclear device detonated, you should throw yourself to the groound, squeeze your eyes close and lay on your arms and hands.

The last bit of the drill was the unofficial bit that said, “and kiss your arse goodbye!”

At some late stage in the 70’s, the NBC description label for this kind of training was changed to the shorter one of BC training.

I assume that someone in the higher echelons of the army had given some thought to survivability in the event of a nuclear device being exploded near troops regardless of their protective clothing and equipment.
 

Houseman

Old-Salt
NBC was a major part of the training regime when I was in the army in the 70’s.

The expectation was that if there was the threat of an NBC attack, the necessary clothing and equipment would be routinely worn and carried until the threat of such an attack went away.

If a nuclear event happened, the drill was when the nuclear device detonated, you should throw yourself to the groound, squeeze your eyes close and lay on your arms and hands.

The last bit of the drill was the unofficial bit that said, “and kiss your arse goodbye!”

At some late stage in the 70’s, the NBC description label for this kind of training was changed to the shorter one of BC training.

I assume that someone in the higher echelons of the army had given some thought to survivability in the event of a nuclear device being exploded near troops regardless of their protective clothing and equipment.
It was still called NBC well into the 90's. I attended a couple of courses at the Defence NBC School at Winterbourne Gunner in the late 70's and early 80's. The camp is still there but its now called the Defence CBRN Centre.
 

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