The RAF and Nuclear Deterrence Policy & Cuba 1962

Discussion in 'Royal Air Force' started by jim30, Aug 9, 2017.

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  1. There was a documentary about this, on discovery or bbc. The candid comments from the crews was sobering.

    One way suicide mission.
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  2. D'oh didnt spot that thread.

    Me stupid :)
  3. Vulcans, Victors & Cuba?
  4. Vulcans, Victors and anywhere really. I read somewhere a few years ago so I can't recall where, that RAF crews knew they almost certainly wouldn't survive a nuclear bombing run over the USSR etc.

    There was a poignant comment that as they took off, many of them would have a glimpse of the base married quarters where their wives and children were and would then fly on knowing that possibly within minutes, everything they had left behind would be gone in an imminent nuclear holocaust.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
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  5. I know an ex-Jaguar driver. The aircraft not the Morsemobile. Apparently they were initially intended to have a strike role. He talks about being issued with an eyepatch so they could save the sight in one eye...quite sobering

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  7. Problem being that this caused all sorts of bother with depth perception. The theory (originally, but from some sources it seems that this might have become lost over time) was that while the patch wasn't required in daylight, the flash of a night-time detonation would blind anyone who was inadvertently looking into it. Since wearing heavily smoked goggles wasn't an option - the instruments couldn't be seen - then the solution was deemed to be the eyepatch. This would allow our intrepid pilot to continue his attack unless he was unlucky enough to see a second flash, which would render him blind...

    The USN had an alternative for the A-4 in the form of a retractable screen:


    This allowed instrument flying, with both eyes safely uncovered. The effect was claustrophobic, though; I forget if this was the reason why the shielding was deleted, or whether minor things like the effect it had on attempting to eject, or something else led to the shields being removed. The shields weren't permanent fixtures anyway, and - from memory - were only fitted on aircraft which were part of the SIOP. As well as serving as a means of preventing flash blindness, the shield was meant to offer thermal protection too.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
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  8. To be fair, had it all kicked off then the vast majority of the UK would have been a large puddle of glass, not just the V Bomber bases. The sheer mega-tonnage that the USSR would have thrown at this country would have wiped out London, the Home Counties, the West Midlands, Rutland, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire, the North East of England and the inhabited parts of Scotland. South Wales would have gone by the board too but it would probably have been difficult to tell.

    What I did find intersting in the Air Power Studies bit was that despite the airborne QRA that the US SAC maintained, they would have been flying through the fallout of Bomber Command's strikes as the V Bombers would have dropped the West's first bombs.
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  9. ISTR that on exercises after the aircraft launched, all that was left to do was to pack up the go-bags, return our muskets to the armoury, empty the ashtrays and wash the tea cups. On one exercise, one of the di-staff officers asked what preparations were in hand for re-arming a returning aircraft for a second strike. Big boss, asked him "You serious?"
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  10. The main point is that as the Vulcans Victors and Valiant crews headed off on their one way suicide misdion to bomb Russia with nuclear weapons they would have realised that their raison d'etre, deterrence had failed.
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  11. And they'd still have executed the mission...
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    This made me think of this series of books I'm reading, about Cuba going t1ts up.

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  13. I've been lucky enough to have met and chatted with a couple of V Bomber crew members and also a bloke whose job it was to pull the trigger on a SSBN. None of them left me with any doubt that although deterrence may have been the raison d'etre for the force, their job was to deliver their ordnance to the target as provided.
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