Protect and Survive: A Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Macragge1, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. JN1 Who Patrick Harvie wishes he was

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    Recently found out that 10 bombs on London was probably twice what was probably targeted on the city in @. Seems 5 would have been a more likely number.
    EDIT: One attack plan used 4 350KT warheads and two 1MT warheads.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  2. Lord Hee Hee New Member

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    Wow, wow and wow again. What a stunning story. It's taken me 5 days to devour this TL. Forgive me as a newbie, are there links somewhere for all the spin offs please?
     
  3. Archangel Battery-powered Bureaucrat

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    Some developing nations would have recovered the population by the early XX century, while most of the first world, unless there's population boom, it might take the whole century (and more in a few cases).
     
  4. tom Member

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    One of the reasons we got off easy :)eek:) was the gradual escalation into WWIII, giving a chance for minimal preparations. If it had been the TL where Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov was run over by a truck on September 25, 1983 and his replacement was less wise the casualties would have been even worse.
     
  5. JN1 Who Patrick Harvie wishes he was

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    Hi folks, Jack has been in touch and has asked me to post this -

     
  6. Mumbles Well-Known Member

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    Hi all, I have been a long time lurker, but have spenbt the last few months catching up on the various “Protect and Survive” and spinoff threads. Being of an age where I spent a lot of time at that time worrying about an “exchange” (I was 7 in february 1984), I’ve developed a now lifelong interest in the topic, and these threads are some of the best speculation I have seen about the thing a lot of us dreaded. Particular congrats in absentia to Macragge for coming up with, researching and persevering with the whole enterprise, and to the other authors such as Chipperback and JN1 for building on it so well. I also have a family connection to and interest in military aviation, and in particular the V-Force as my father was in the cold-war RAF (and serving on a V-bomber station at the time of the Cuban crisis).

    With that in mind, after reading though the threads over the last few months, I have a couple of comments/questions about the depiction of the use of Vulcans and Victors and other aircraft in the P+S timeline. These also apply to and affect the Prospero and “Last flight of XM594” TL’s, but rather than post the same thing in multiple threads it might be just as convenient to note them here. Apologies if any of these have been noted or addressed before and I missed them. They are intended to be politely constructive observations rather than critical comments, but they cover things that upset the flow of otherwise excellent accounts :) .

    Firstly P+S, Prospero and Last Flight all describe Victors being used in a strategic bombing role. This requires a PoD somewhere around 1968 or earlier, as the Victor B.2 was retired from the bombing role in that year. Some continued as SR.2s in the reconnaissance role up until 1974-75, but after that the Victor performed air-to-air refuelling after the conversion to K.2 tanker standard (the first K.2 entering service in 1974), and occasional reconnaissance, most notably in the Falklands conflict. The conversion to K.2 was effectively irreversible, so no Victor bombers can be had in the 1980’s without some much earlier counter factual decisions in play (including finding another platform for the RAF’s AAR needs, as the Victor originally became a tanker due to the premature forced retirement of the Valiant in the same role). The upshot of this is while Prospero gets denied a Victor pilot forever haunted by his mission, in K.2 form the Victor has more than enough range to cross the Atlantic with no problems if fuel can be found for it. Alternatively RAF Brize Norton doesn’t seem to have appeared on the “official” target list, so there could be a VC-10 C.1 or two kicking about that would just as ably meet the needs of the Prospero mission.

    The other query I have is about the war missions described for the V-Force in these threads, as they seem to conflict with the role of the aircraft in OTL when other aspects of their description here don’t. The mission detailed in “Last Flight” and alluded to in P+S and Prospero is a strategic mission in conjunction with the SIOP. Everything I have read about the Vulcan force indicates they relinquished the strategic role from 1970 after the introduction of Polaris in 1969, and while remaining nuclear tasked were declared to NATO SACEUR as tactical nuclear assets. The sortie XM594 flies fits with a 1960’s V-Force strategic tasking, but not a 1980’s tactical one unless they were acting as part of an independent UK response. As the SIOP has been enacted though (presumably with prior UK agreement and planning as the Vulcan crew refer to it during their sortie) the latter doesn’t seem to apply. This isn’t a criticism, I’m just curious to know the reasoning behind this in an otherwise true to references account.

    The FB-111 delivering the weapon at Eschwege is odd, as the FB-111 was solely operated by SAC Bomb Wings as a strategic nuclear bomber, and not as a tactical asset or by Tactical Fighter Wings as described (they were later re-roled and redesignated as F-111G for non-nuclear tactical use, but that’s outside the P+S scope). As a strategic asset, even with serious attrition of the UK based TAC F-111 force (D, E and F models) I don't think it likely to be released into the tactical melee in Europe, even for a nuclear mission. The TAC F-111’s were also nuclear capable, as was practically every other tactical strike aircraft in the NATO inventory, so it is just as easy and more plausible to me to have one of those light the match - TAC F-111’s stood nuclear “victor alert” in the UK during the cold war along with RAF tactical strike aircraft on QRA in Germany, and as far as I am aware some would have been held in reserve during a conflict for nuclear missions if required.

    Others have mentioned it but the work-around of the PAL and nuclear release by an individual also requires significant handwaving, as the kind of scenario described was one of the things the PAL and two-man rule systems were specifically designed to prevent (the RAF “Bicycle Lock Key” method of arming the WE.177 on the other hand is a potentially ripe source of hi-jinks. . . ). Chipperback alludes to this in the Flatwater thread, but just how the General Ripper scenario occurred is still a mystery.

    Lastly, I’m not sure if anyone else has picked up on this but if the exchange beginning at close to 1700-1800 GMT is taken as canon, that means that the UK warhead impacts and initial effects in the UK and all points east take place during the hours of darkness at that time of year. I’m not sure if it affects P+S too much, but it does significantly affect the visual descriptions of what is seen in “Last Flight”.

    Again apologies if these have all been explained elsewhere, and they are minor things. Thanks again to all contributors and authors for fleshing out the scenario and timeline so well
     
  7. JN1 Who Patrick Harvie wishes he was

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    As it happens I raised that with Jack on a couple of occasions, but I can't answer why he insisted on continuing to mention them being used as bombers. I also didn't depict Victors being used as strategic bombers, only Vulcans in the theatre role (going as far as the Western USSR counts as 'theatre', IMVHO).

    Indeed they did. In @ by 1984 the Vulcan force was also pretty much gone, replaced by the Tornado GR.1. In P&S the deteriorating international situation means that the RAF decides to retain the Vulcan - as described in the prologue of Last Flight. Since the Tornado now adequately covers the tactical role, the Vulcan force can be allocated targets in Eastern Poland and the Western USSR. I'd argue that the strike on the Backfire base and railway junction are theatre targets, rather than purely strategic ones.
     
  8. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

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    How does Mexico lose so many people?
     
  9. Matt Wiser Well-Known Member

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    Strikes on their POL infrastructure, to deny the facilities to the U.S. reconstruction effort, would be my guess.
     
  10. Mumbles Well-Known Member

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    Or if the RAF defined "strategic" as "whichever bits of the USSR we can reach". The line between theatre and strategic becomes very blurry when nuclear weapons are involved doesn't it? Also mea culpa on your use of the Victor :) .


    Fair enough, but in your prologue you also mentioned the Vulcan tasking remaining as the status quo :) Meh, it's a minor quibble only.

    On another note I particularly liked how in Last Flight you nailed the air and ground crew dialogue and attitude to a tee. In a lifetime of being around an Air Force in some way or another it is note perfect to me. The calm acceptance of fate and fatalism of most of those left behind is also true to character. While not aircrew my father was intimately involved with the V-Force aircraft and their weapons, and he was under zero illusions about his life expectancy should all the available Victors at Cottesmore suddenly head east. They all had post-attack roles assigned, but no-one kidded themselves that they would be around to perform them. I also work with a guy who was BAOR in the 80's and the same attitude applied. Get on with it, and don't waste time dwelling on the unpleasant unthinkable. That said dad did transfer to the RNZAF in 1963, and from what he has told me about the experience of being at the sharp end in October 1962 I can't help but wonder if that was a factor in his decision (officially he says it isn't, but then he also has said he had occasional nightmares about it. I suspect he wasn't the only one). The dark humour associated with the weapons themselves is accurate too. One of dad's favourite anecdotes from that time is spotting one day a CND "Ban the bomb" sticker on the casing of a nuclear bomb :) .
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
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  11. Lemon flavoured British Miami Dolphins fan

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    That doesn't surprise me one bit.
     
  12. Admiral Matt Member

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    Jan 18, 2004
    The Russians wanted to wreck the US, so they fired enough missiles to kill three out or four Americans and six out of seven Mexicans...?

    We're not talking about Belgium here, Mexico is a big place. The capital would take a lot of people with it, but otherwise to get ~85% of the country that kind of thing is really not enough. For those numbers would require the Soviets to hit Mexico and the US with a similar number of warheads.

    Is anyone seriously saying Mexico would be hit with anywhere near as many bombs as America?
     
  13. PimpLenin Banned

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    This was an amazing timeline. It took me a couple of days but I plowed through it. Even though I was a kid (I would have been 5 in 1984), and 14 when the Soviet Union ceased to exist, an interest in history at an early age gave me, I believe, a greater understanding of the world situation in those days than the average kid my age.

    I gave a bit of thought of what may have happened to my family and I in this timeline. We lived in Baton Rouge at the time. My dad worked in a chemical plant on the Mississippi, and no doubt would have become neutrons in the upper atmosphere once the nuke went off. Our home was far enough from downtown that it would probably survive the blast, but not the following chaos. My sister and I would have been at the elementary school around the block.

    However, that would have been a sneak attack. In this story, there is a significant build-up of tensions. I believe that my old man would have had the foresight to get us out of there. Given enough time, we might have made it to my uncle's old camp in the Appalachians. A shorter period of time may have gotten us to my grandparents, who lived in a town on the north shore of Lake Ponchatrain. There, we might get fallout from Baton Rouge. We would have heard the nuke and seen the mushroom cloud over New Orleans, but would have survived that blast. I imagine the local population would increase in the days following due to refugees; the same as those who came after Katrina.

    The Cold War is a period of history of great interest to me. My dad told me his memories of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when he was fifteen, and in general of growing up with the big, bad ol' Russkies breathing down our necks. My grandfather, who was a school principal, was also in Civil Defense and was responsible for converting his school to a shelter. He actually had to do that once - for Hurricane Camille in 1969. Thank God never for nuclear war.

    Wonderful timeline. As an Anglophile, all I can say is GOD SAVE THE KING!

    Now I'll have to read a dozen or so spinoffs!
     
  14. Unknown Member

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    I noticed the absence of a city on the list...

    On the list of British cities hit by a nuclear weapon, I noticed one city that wasn't on it: Brighton.

    Assuming the list wasn't an error, I could see Brighton becoming a refugee center for southeastern Britain.
     
  15. Unknown Member

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    One thing that isn't mentioned:

    The city of Elmira, New York.

    It isn't on the target list, and there are a number of industries in the city (go to the Wikipedia page on Elmira).

    I could see it becoming a population center in postwar New York.
     
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  16. Unknown Member

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    Sorry to revive this thread after so long, but there was another city not mentioned in the list of cities hit in New York: Kingston, which was the site of an IBM facility in 1984 (IIRC, Jimmy Fallon's father worked there). It was mentioned in Pro Aris et Pro Focis (the NYC Protect and Survive story) as where the NYC government was going (of course, the you-know-what hit the fan before that happened).

    I could see Mario Cuomo and the NY state government evacuating to there before the war.

    Just my .02 cents.

    In Britain, Brighton isn't mentioned on the list of targets hit with nuclear weapons. I can see Brighton becoming an important port postwar (along with Bournemouth) and a center of relief efforts in southeast Britain.
     
  17. Heraclius Member

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    Drink Some Beer and Smoke Some Pot 'Cause '84's Gonna Be Hot!

    I want to write a story of the War that Never Was a Protect and Survive Florida from the viewpoint of me and my friends who used to hang out together in the summer of 1983 as the starting point. I will be writing
    the events as they happened from this viewpoint. :cool:
     
  18. Cockroach Eddy Tracks Donor

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    "And they were eaten by super-sized radioactive mutant 'gators. The End."?
    :p
     
  19. Nuclearman New Member

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    Just reread this entire thread, and the quality of writing and suspense is easily the best Nuclear war fiction I’ve read.
    Jack. You could, I’m sure, write your story out, fluff it up a bit and publish it, it’s that good.
    That goes for the majority of spin offs too.
    An anthology of the Third World War. Feb 84
    I’d buy it. And, given the fascination that nuclear weapons have with the public, so would others. Lots of them.
    So, maybe one day I’ll be browsing books, or selecting a new download for my kindle and see a familiar story mentioned, notice a certain tag line pulling my subconscious towards the buy button; Help Jack on his career as a successful writer and bring the world of Protect and Survive to a horrified world.
    One day.
    In hope.