Preparing for Nuclear War with the British Army


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The trick to NBC training was to be imaginative and relevant to role.e.g basic maintenance tasks ,CP tasks or a command task for YOs.The latter provided a spectacle for other soldiers !
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.
Actually, depending on the yield and type of burst, a nuclear attack can be survivable at relatively short ranges from Ground Zero. OPRE after the attacks on Japan and 'live' trials in the 1950s and 60s refined the TTPs and equipment and, as pointed above, the yield of tactical weapons is variable and typically smaller than in the past.

Separately, I understand that UK measures of the blast effects of a small nuke were benchmarked against the Halifax explosion (1917) and RAF Fauld (1944). Perhaps an ATO (@dingerr ?) can confirm this.

Halifax Explosion - Wikipedia (and revisted in 1945: The Halifax Explosion of 1945)

But still a horrible prospect...
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.

Which coincides with my long held theory that in the event of global thermonuclear war, the entire U.K. Nuclear Arsenal should be targeted on France - just to make sure.


Which coincides with my long held theory that in the event of global thermonuclear war, the entire U.K. Nuclear Arsenal should be targeted on France - just to make sure.
I once did a Whitehall ex involving nuclear targeting. Some of our allies were going to get a bit miffed when first and second stages and other bits of rocket landed on their heads
Which coincides with my long held theory that in the event of global thermonuclear war, the entire U.K. Nuclear Arsenal should be targeted on France - just to make sure.
France is a rural, backward place compared to UK, far better to target MENA, and reduce the surplus of unemployable young men there.
Add the Stans for good measure, and job done.
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!
Attached to The Royal Scots (1st Bn) 1988 to 1991, we spent a hell of a lot of time on Soltau, Sennelager or Hohne in noddy suits, sometimes the NBC state would be high for a week, with constant periods in respirators, hours at a time. Our NBC packs on the vehicles constantly running, be it the 430’s in early ‘88, or Warrior from July ‘88 on.
We were told that should the shite hit the fan we would be issued new stage 1 & stage 2 filters for the NBC packs. I remember us having a red ring around our respirator filter too, indicating it was for training purposes only, some of the guys used to peel open the seam on the filter and remove the guts, made breathing easier when working etc. but kind of defeated the object of wearing them in my opinion.
Training for Gulf 1.5 (Granby) in late ‘90 we trained hard in NBC garb as we were told Sadam would likely use battlefield nukes against us, Gulf War Syndrome was even blamed on some of the shite that was injected into us our we started to chuck down our neck, I soon stopped that ol’ nonsense, choosing to bin mine.
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After perusing Youtube for something completely different this post popped up in my feed.

Its a nicely edited fictionalised BBC special report of a purported NATO-Russia conflict initially centered on the Baltic and Ukraine but rapidly escalating into a nuclear strike.

Originally posted in 2018 it reminded me of the background TV reports going on in the BBC drama "Threads" in the run up to the pre-emptive strike on Sheffield.

I remember watching Threads when it was first shown and having the sh*t scared out of me for days. I don't suppose if it was filmed today it would be much different.

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