# Cuban Missile War scenario 2

## How is my scenario?

• ### Right number, but different targeting

• Total voters
21

#### Tom_B

Why not Game this?

Let's say our scenario is US strikes Cuba, Russia strikes US in response (possibly thinking they are going to be next anyway) and US strikes back.

Soviet IRBM's in Cuba

Draw up a target list for each missle. Retargeting with missles is not easy back then so retargeting missles with medium priority targets to highest priority targets won't happen.

Assume a probability of surviving American attack on Cuba
Assume a probability of being ready to launch even if not destroyed (eg. 80%)
Assume a reliability of missle (IRBM's should have a higher reliability than ICBM's)

Use weird dice or (preferably) random numbers. If the latter you can also make a CEP assumption, fiddle with that equation and see how off target the missle lands--if the CEP is large this is significant even against soft targets like cities. If you want to add more sophistication you can factor in the chance that the burst was too low (becoming in effect a surface burst) or too high (a less destructive air burst).

With the ICBM's the Soviets strike first. So you have ready to launch probability and and reliability to factor in (plus CEP if you want to throw that in). Theoretically those not ready to launch in the first strike could become ready later but they would have to survive the American counterstrike.

With bombers you need to make assumptions about NORAD's ability to intercept as well as how many are available (should be not much more than 65% if this is a short notice first strike). Bombers could be retargeted easily and so they may not be assigned to targets already destroyed by missles. Some (eg. 15%) are likely to be standoff jammers not carrying a bomb but increasing the chances of those that are.

SLBM's -- Need to factor in subs "on station", at sea but not on station and in port. Note a short notice first strike as opposed to a long time to prepare first strike makes a big difference here. Those on station fire in the first strike--again need to calculate readiness and reliability. Those at sea but not on station you need to assign a probability they are destroyed before they can launch--by sub not by missle. If they survive they must be ready (but that's a high probability) and then they must pass a relaibility check. Those in port should be incinerated by the American counterstrike.

Tom B

#### tom

Suppose I might as well game this, although I do not have normal dice, much less weird ones. Anyone know how to do random numbers in Windows? The google group is trying a much more elaborate scenario, with census data, etc., I will not have the time to do such a gaming by any means. If I understand their assumptions SLBMs were not present at the time because of the K-19 incident, nearly all bombers would be downed (except the one which got Portland), and ICBMs have atrocious failure rates and CEPs. They just want to know how large the majority of Europe+Russia's population dead is.
BTW, does anyone else find Resurrection Day's Europe staying clean of the nukes to be ASB?
Thanks for the strategy remarks, this is the kind of thing I learn on this site. My strategy for America is "Send in most of our stuff but keep some back for the postwar world, just in case." and for Russia "We can't win so forget military sites, hurt the enemy as much as possible."...sound reasonable?

#### tom

See from the latest postings that the google group is getting cool feet about the research project they are thinking of...see if they carry it out.
For death tolls I figure that the cities would lose about their population quickly. sbout the same (in suburbs?) slowly, and about the same (in "exurbs" and farms?) injured survivors. This gives a hand waving total of (if I counted right) about 30 million in each category. This is probably close to what the nation can sustain and still continue as a coherent unit.

#### DMA

tom said:
If I understand their assumptions SLBMs were not present at the time because of the K-19 incident,
In this assumption, they are fundamentally wrong. All but one of the Russian boats are Golfs, not Hotels. The Golfs were diesel-electrics so had none of the hassels of K-19.

tom said:
nearly all bombers would be downed (except the one which got Portland),
Possible, but the bombers would come later after the fact. Considering around 80 TU-90s would be involved, the USAF fighters are going to be pressed. Anyway, Portland would be targeted by a missile so I can't see why bombers are used anyway. If I were the Russians I'd used the bomber on targets closer to home like in Alaska & Hawaii.

tom said:
and ICBMs have atrocious failure rates and CEPs.
The Russian ICBM at the time in question is the SS-6. This has a range of somewhere between 9000-9500 km. It's CEP is somewhere between 3-5km. Now that may be large, but remember it's warhead is either a 3Mt or 5Mt warhead. So if the target is a city, the error rate is more or less meaningless. Any city being hit by a 5Mt warhead is going to be destroyed. The SLBM in service at the time is the SS-N-4. It had a CEP of 1.8-4km. But, again it's warhead was a 1Mt one & a target like a city would still be destroyed. So the CEP margin might be large, but the Russian compensate for this by having a large warhead. The next thing is the Russians do a hell of a lot of testing. And thanks to their space program, they were more advanced in this stuff than the Americans. I'd say more than 50% of Russian missile would get through.

tom said:
They just want to know how large the majority of Europe+Russia's population dead is.
Your Google friends are a morbid lot aren't they? Of course the number depends on how many nucs the Americans use & whether Western Europe gets hit by Russian IRBMs/bombers. Best guess is Russia is hit with about 300 nucs. Just as many will die at the time of the explosions are in the aftermath. Best guess would be 60 million Soviet citizens dead overall. America may lose, due to all factors (explosion, radiation exposure, starvation, illness, exposure to the elements) as much as 30 million. Western Europe? Who knows.

tom said:
Thanks for the strategy remarks, this is the kind of thing I learn on this site. My strategy for America is "Send in most of our stuff but keep some back for the postwar world, just in case." and for Russia "We can't win so forget military sites, hurt the enemy as much as possible."...sound reasonable?
This strategy sounds reasonable to me.

#### Diamond

Banned
DMA said:
Possible, but the bombers would come later after the fact. Considering around 80 TU-90s would be involved, the USAF fighters are going to be pressed. Anyway, Portland would be targeted by a missile so I can't see why bombers are used anyway. If I were the Russians I'd used the bomber on targets closer to home like in Alaska & Hawaii.
Or possibly on US and European forces in the western Pacific - Japan, the Philippines, etc.

#### DMA

Diamond said:
Or possibly on US and European forces in the western Pacific - Japan, the Philippines, etc.
Yes, very much so. Wherever the US target isn't all that hard to get & the Russian bombers have a high chance of survival

#### tom

OK, so far my votes seem evenly divided as too conservative or too liberal, so I will figure I am on the right track. On to a TL, God willing.

#### tom

Thought I would copy this from the Google group:

tmazanec1@juno.com (Tom Mazanec) wrote in message news:<29a900cb.0405230624.1e897fca@posting.google.com>...
>
> As I posted on the other thread, here are the numbers, according to
> the Natural Resources Defence Council (
> http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/nudb/datainx.asp ), that the Soviets &
>
> USSR
>
> ICBM = 36
> SLBM = 72
> TU95A = 80
> MYA4 = 58

Missing the Bears fitted with commnad guided stand-off missiles,
the Boomers with thier navalized Scuds not even deployed due to
lack of hope that they would get to thier launch areas, let alone
remain surfaced long enough to fuel and launch the missiles.

>
>
> USA
>
> ICBM = 203
> SLBM = 144
> B47 = 880
> B52 = 639
> B57 = 76

Missing around 500 Regulus,Mace and Matador Cruise missiles,over
250 A3D and 70 B-66 bombers, around a hundred Corvair B-58, and
about 190 B-52G were fitted with twin hardpoints to carry the
'Hound Dog' ALCM, and some B-52H models as well, around 600

>
> and the Russians were pretty decent at military/missile technology at
> the time, to judge by their space program. Can you comment?

The US didn't hide that Atlas and other ICBMs went 'boom' during
tests,
while the Soviets did with thier SS- and SS-7. Thier combo Radio
Polar navagation, and hitting your target in general) while the US
with full inertial stellar and TERCOM was fully operational.

**
mike
**
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#### DMA

Interesting comments from your Google friends, but I'm kind of confused by his point. Is he saying that both the USSR & USA have more weapons avaliable or less?

About accuracy - I mentioned in a later posting that the CEPs of Russian missiles varied from 1.8-5kms. So I agree they're not very accurate, but the Russians compensate for this by having a large & powerful warhead. Thus hitting a city won't overly matter.

As for the SLBM - normally half the Soviet Golfs would be on patrol. Now if the Soviets decided to force the Cuban crisis from the beginning, they'd have a few weeks head start in front of the Americans. As a result, they could have all their Golfs in postion. In the meantime, the Americans are playing catch-up.

#### tom

To be honest, I'm a bit confused myself!
Would you be interested (anyone) in joining the Google group and taking part in this? I would like to see a discussion from both ends, and don't really feel like playing postman.
As for scenario, I think the best would be a snafu preventing the recall order from reaching Gen. LeMay in time, he hits the SAM sites, escalation a few days, invasion Halloween morning, the troops get hit by the tacnukes, then BOOM!

#### Tom_B

Google Group seems to be assuming a CEP much larger than the 5 km upper bound I've seen given here.

#### DMA

How does one join this Google group anyway? Mind you I probably won't be welcomed there as I'm not convinced at all by what they're saying. By the sounds of it they just, for whatever reason, don't want to face the fact that America will get hit hard by the Russians. LeMay, at the time, was certainly concerned. I think it was he, or one of the other generals, who told JFK that 80 million Americans could be killed by just the 40 IRBMs in Cuba. So add in the other numbers I quoted &, according to LeMay's figures, it's going to be real bad. Personally I think LeMay's figures are far too high. I think it would be about 30 million.

Anyway, all my figures are coming from, what I consider to be, reliable sources. And there's more than merely one.

For info on the SS-4 go here to the Federation of American Scientists http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/theater/r-12.htm

For info on the SS-N-4 go here to the Federation of American Scientists http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/slbm/r-13.htm

For info on the SS-6 go here to the Federation of American Scientists http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/icbm/r-7.htm

As you can read for yourself, the CEP figure varies, but it's never over 5km & that's the Russian figure. The Western figures are, in fact, lower.

There's also the previous listing I gave for the strategic weapon systems numbers which can be found at the Natural Resources Defence Council
http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/nudb/datainx.asp

A couple of other sites to do your research are the two I listed about the possible mishaps etc leading to a nuclear war @ http://vicpeace.ca/centre/readings/nukeuse.htm#table1 & http://www.nuclearfiles.org/kinuclearweapons/anwindex.html

A large number of these mishaps took place during the Cuban Missile Crisis. So you've got a large number of possible scenarios to chose from.

#### tom

I think you are making a mistake to pose this question in poll format. The general perception by the average person is that the effects of a Cuban Missile War would have been somewhere between the end of the US and the end of the world. At least some people who responded to your poll probably know next to nothing about this subject.

Anyway, I think you hit the contiguous 48 too hard, and the rest of US possessions and bases seem to get off way too easy.

I've always been curious about the effects on Europe myself. Everyone seems to take for granted that the whole place would be levelled, but I'm not so sure. Would Portugal really be nuked? And what about Greece, southern France, Belgium, Sicily, Scotland, Northern Ireland, etc? Sure you can say the radiation will get them later, but in point of fact there is a huge difference between being nuked and being a hundred miles from a nuclear impact. In the latter case, millions have a chance to emigrate before radiation poisoning gets too bad. In the former, those people are dead.

Portugal, for example, could export a significant part of its population to the colonies. Angola had a growing white population around this time in OTL, and a sort of Portugal-in-exile could be set up. But this could all fall apart because one or two well-placed nukes could wipe out the government, transportation infrastructure, and much of the population.

#### tom

Good point...not everyone loves this PoD like I do, and even I'm confused!
OCTOBER FURY by Peter A. Huchthausen shows how close Soviet submarines came to launching nuclear toredoes during the height of the crisis. Another good TL spark.
BTW, I thought the USSR was using countervalue, not counterforce or mixed targeting.

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#### Brian Juergensmeyer

Could the US have gone counterforce instead.

Hi, All,

I realize that this is a little against the initial premise, but rather than have the invasion forces go in before the actual strikes on the USSR, say that the strategic strikes against the USSR are launched first.

I had read where DMA had suggested that the Soviets would be able to launch a retaliatory strike while the US missles were inbound. I disagree at least to a certain extent. I believe that the Soviet launchers of this time period were liquid fueled, and would have required a period of 2-3 hours to prepare for launch. Unless they were already prepared for launch (or were in final preparations), I do not see how they would be able to get anything off the ground in the time frame required. I will grant you that I'm unsure what the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces' alert levels were at that point, and if they had all or some of the missles fueled. If they did, then disregard this post.

Nikita Sergeyevich had made the Soviet position about as clear as possible, and I can't imagine that anyone with a lick of common sense would expect the USSR to not retaliate massively once special weapons were used (by EITHER side) in Cuba.

So, rather than invade Cuba on 31 October, let's say that Kennedy launches an all out nuclear counterforce strike against the Soviet Union and Cuba. First, all Soviet SSB/SSBN's are found and destroyed (there aren't too many: a total of 24 nuclear capable launchers under water). Then, he throws everything + dog at the Soviets. As I'm reading the NDRC page (thanks, DMA for the link!), we had somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 deliverable warheads available at that point. Again, assuming a failure rate of 40% (not quite the 50% I've seen elsewhere in this thread, due to the ability to pick and choose the time of the launching, giving the maintenance critters time to work through any small problems), and assuming a mix of Atlas, Titan (for the sake of argument, we'll assume that the 9 Minuteman 1 missles in Montana don't make it off the ground. Yes, they're on alert, but the first one was put on alert during the crisis. I don't expect it reasonable to believe that they would be usable), as well as B-58's, B-52's and B-47's, I don't think it would be difficult to virtually completely decapitate the entire Soviet land based strategic force.

Also, as part of the decapitation strike, we'd need to send several B-58's to Cuba to deal with the IRBM's that caused the whole mess in the first place.

I don't have the exact figures to hand, but my memory (such that it is) tells me that, in general, the warheads of the ICBM's used both by the Soviet Union and the US were as large as they were so that, in theory, the area of complete distruction caused by the warhead was larger than the CEP, so using these weapons in a counterforce role shouldn't be too big a stretch.

I will admit that force coordination for this scenario would be very difficult to pull off. It may even be that something could slip through the cracks.

So, the Soviet Union is decapitated and is unable to respond at this point. The invasion of Cuba continues.

Does this sound too far off base?

Hoping for opinions,

Brian

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#### tom

Somehow, I find it hard to see either the President or the Premier being that cold-blooded. I figure the best scenario is either a conventional invasion met by the nukes that (unknown to us) were already there, or a fubar at sea that has a nuclear torpedo loosed in error or anger. From there things would take a life of their own.

#### DMA

tom said:
or a fubar at sea that has a nuclear torpedo loosed in error or anger. From there things would take a life of their own.
In fact something like this almost did happen as ships of the USN & a Russian sub were only minutes away from possible combat.