Protect and Survive: A Timeline

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

  1. JN1 No longer has the Lurgy

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    I remember one of the posters on Navweaps was a Finn who had done his military service. He once remarked that in all exercises the enemy were explicitly the Soviets.
    None of this Blue Vs Red stuff that we in NATO did! :D

    I don't think that the Finnish air force and navy would last all that long, but the army would keep fighting until they were all dead. Even if they had to resort to guerrilla warfare.

    If there was anywhere perfect for the Soviets to use NBC weapons it would be against Finland. After all the Finns have no way to retaliate. In Germany as soon as either side starts to use them the other side will hit back.
    Interestingly if the Soviets moved against Sweden there was a secret treaty with the US in which the Americans would attack the Soviet staging areas with nuclear weapons.
     
  2. Tovarich Lumpen Proletariat's Proliest Lump Banned

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    I don't know if this is of any help to you, but I can tell you that one of the residents of the care-home I work in who died last year was a chronic alcoholic as a result of both inwardly-targeted personal guilt over his role in bombings over Germany ("Target for tonight: Women and children!" was almost his catchphrase when he came to seek company of us night-staff during the bleak small hours) and also by how unfairly judged he felt as revisionist historians increasingly wrote of his generation of airmen (he was almost the stereotypical 'Irish intellectual'*) from the 1980s onward, his last 'working' decade before retirement.

    Does your TL allow for a 'flashforward' to when any surviving nuclear-aircrew are elderly and in the care of a (hopefully) reconstructed society, perhaps?


    *(I think the fact that he, as an Irishman, volunteered for RAF duty rather than being conscripted added to his guilt. Although, conversely, he also felt ill of himself for not volunteering for the pre-WW2 fighting in Spain....such is the masochistic way of the human mind, when given too much time to think, I guess:()
     
  3. JN1 No longer has the Lurgy

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    Sounds like a bit of survivors guilt.
    Frankly, IMVHO in Total War there are very few innocents. One moral question to ask oneself is 'why is it considered acceptable to kill a soldier, but not the munitions worker who put the gun in his hand?' Just because someone is a civilian, or female does not make them exempt from enemy action.

    IMVHO anyone who is contributing to the war effort is a legitimate target. I recognise that it is harsh and unpleasant, but in the days before PGMs I think what Bomber Command and the 8th AF did was acceptable.

    Even in a nuclear war I sometimes wonder if civilians are innocent. After all in many ways in democratic countries at least, we have all ( or at least most of us) acquiesced with our government's decision to retain nuclear weapons. If our government then chooses to use them then we must all accept some of the blame and the consequences.
     
  4. Macragge1 Banned

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    XI - Life Under Fall-Out Conditions

    It is also a good idea to wear rubber gloves while you are outside.

    In the first few days after the attack, Newcastle's three hospitals were overwhelmed. Whilst the worst casualties of the Heddon blast were unable to get across the Tyne, huge amounts of 'walking wounded' - suffering mostly from second-degree burns, broken bones and cuts from flying glass - made their way towards either the Royal Victoria Infirmary, the Freeman Hospital, or Newcastle General.

    In these first couple of days, the staff at all three hospitals could do almost nothing to help these souls - there was no electrical power and stocks of all medicines were running out quickly. At the RVI, nearest to the city centre, a stampede occured amid rumours that doctors would only be equiped to treat the next fifty people. Eight were trampled to death. At the Freeman Hospital, mounted police were forced to charge a similar crowd after an attempted rush on the Accident and Emergency department. One rider was pulled off his horse and hacked to death by the wounded mob. It was only after the arrival of two extra SPGs and the decision to use live ammunition and tear gas that rescue services were able to retrieve the officer. His head was never found.

    The Freeman Hospital was therefore put under twenty-four hour armed guard by a Territorial Army regiment. No new patients were to be admitted. Those already inside were herded (against the will of the medical staff) into the recently-built annex to the rear of the hospital. The Freeman is now a Category Three hospital.

    War Planners had divided projected civilian casualties into three groups. Category 1 patients were the walking wounded - these were recoverable. Category 2 consisted of badly wounded patients for whom treatment was realistic (i.e the time and drugs were available). Category 3 patients were untreatable.

    At the behest of the RAMC, the civil authorities were compelled to designate the Freeman as a Category 3 hospital within three days of the attack. Those that turned up at the other two hospitals would recieve a lightning quick assessment by a doctor or nurse - following this, a number would be drawn on their hand and they would be led to the relevant room.

    Within a couple of days, when the significance of 'three' became known to the public, a more subtle and daily-changing system of shapes and colours was used to differentiate between the patients.

    Those that found themselves in 'three' were bussed (or, more frequently, taken by Army lorry) to the Freeman. Here, they were moved into several 'wards' - with every bed occupied, one could cross the entire hospital atop human bodies without once setting foot on linoleum. The doors were locked and the windows were barred - not that patients in this state were fit to resist. Religious officials of all faiths were allowed in, under armed guard, to attempt to comfort the wounded, but no drugs are to be released. When one nineteen year old nurse was caught trying to smuggle in morphine (to, it is believed, a close relative), she was handed over to the Police and shot.

    Plans for the armed forces to deliver 'special anaesthetic' to the Freeman patients are written off due to the sheer scale of the casualties - fears of an ammunition shortage stay the army's hand.

    The suicide rate amongst staff at the Freeman levels out at a solid thirty percent. The blind wail and scream, weeping from sightless eyes. They trip over the lame and land upon the burnt. The stench is beyond description - there is no sanitation of any kind within the Emergency wards. Food is two slices of bread and a sip of water a day. Burnt flesh sticks to linoleum. Arrangements are made with the Fire Brigade to bring a high-pressure hose in twice a week for sanitation purposes. The drains get clogged.

    They can hear the place for miles around.

    The other two hospitals are overworked as well - nurses must contend with broken glass and surgeons must work by gaslight. 18 hour shifts are now mandatory. The only tool a doctor can guarantee will work is a hacksaw. By the third day, the RVI has run out of all medication except for birth-control pills and Calpol.

    The daffodils are coming in very late this year.

    *

    The Controller had to see it. He had ordered it, for Christ sake. For the first time in years, he had raised his voice when the bunker's army officer had tried to stop him.

    It used to be a five minute drive to the Freeman, but it took closer to three-quarters of an hour in the back of this Land Rover. Sitting next to his Health Officer, the man steels himself - he knows this will be bad.

    He ignores the crisp salute he recieves at the gate, and looks for the nearest nurse. 'Are you absolutely sure, sir?'

    The Nurse is as used to it as one can get; she holds a teatowel soaked in Dettol to her face. She offers the Controller one.

    'No thank-you, my dear - I can't imagine the smell shall be all that -'

    The doors are opened. The Controller snatches the teatowel.

    The smell creates a heat all of its own - it is so bad that the Controller feels as if he is walking underwater. He makes his way across the sticky floor (a path around the floor was cleared upon news he was to visit). From each bed, arms reach out at him, begging begging begging. One man, his faced burnt beyond recognition, summons up every last iota of strength in his broken body to ask for death.

    A shape stumbles through the door and trips. A balding woman with lidless eyes; the screaming and screaming and screaming and screaming is enough to make the Controller physically recoil. The Health Officer has not bitten his fingernails for years.

    'Is-' teatowel away from mouth '...is it all like this?'. A nod. The Controller knows what must be done - he will return to the bunker and bloody order the Officer if he has to.

    The place has given him a terrible headache - the fresh air hits him like a benediction. What's that sound?

    Half a second of white-hot pain and the Controller hits the ashphalt.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
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  5. JN1 No longer has the Lurgy

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    God that was depressing, but probably very realistic. The entire peacetime NHS doesn't have the resources to deal with the casualties of even one bomb, never mind dozens.

    Hope we've not lost the Controller; he seemed a decent man doing a terrible job.
     
  6. Jukra Well-Known Member

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    First, thanks for an excellent and depressing TL!

    Now, as I said Finland would be quite well off compared to other European countries it would probably still suffer as much casualties as during WW II but in space of a few days combined with the fact that the world economy - on which the Finland is heavily dependant upon - has collapsed. Post-war Finland might look heaven compared to most of the rest of the world but it would look mightily depressing from pre-war viewpoint.

    Swedish preparations for case of war were much more extensive but the country would probably be targeted as NATO country anyway, and the populous Southern Sweden would suffer much from fallout as well as possible WP attack through Danish Sound.

    On issue of possible Soviet attack on Finland. I'm not sure if Soviet intervention concentrated merely on Lapland province would be resisted in case of a global crisis. Evacuation of Lapland - well prepared in advance - might well be an option combined with symbolic, pre-arranged resistance against Soviet troops advancing through Lapland. A Soviet attack on Southern Finland would be an entirely different issue but I wonder if Soviets would spare the troops necessary to do it.

    After nuclear threshold was crossed there might be an effort - combined with use of tactical nuclear weapons - in order to widen air defense zone towards the West. This effort might involve the three Cat C divisions of the Vyborg corps and would be very hard for Cold War era Finnish Army to resist...
     
  7. Hendryk Banned

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    Another gripping and, sadly, utterly plausible update.

    Obviously this TL is focused on Britain and, to a lesser extent, the rest of the Western world, but we'd like to have an idea of how things are like on the other side as well.
     
  8. Lemon flavoured British Miami Dolphins fan

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    I would imagine Russia is going to be a mess. We already know that Eastern Europe is in a VERY bad way.
     
  9. Macragge1 Banned

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    I reckon Doctor or Nurse would be one of the worst jobs after a nuclear war - obviously those in the forces will have to see and do terrible things, but at least that's what they're trained to do. Doctors etc have taken an oath to make people better and, as we can see with the 'threes', now have to sit back and watch them suffer.

    Well, we'll see ;)

    Thanks - there's definitely gonna be some news from the other side of the globe soon enough (as well as from the USA)...
     
  10. modelcitizen note2self, no ranting ninjas

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    with the Controller, the thing that leaps to mind is "babies don't work."
     
  11. Macragge1 Banned

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    To be fair to the Controller, this order will haunt him like nothing else until the end of his days. From a purely rational, logistical standpoint there is no reason to feed babies - they'll probably die anyway from malnutrition/disease/rads. Giving them food would lead to uneccessary deaths and push the country towards a feudal level of disintegration. It's a horrible, vile order but it's the most sensible.

    Do you think the Controller is a bad guy? This isn't a criticism or anything, I'm just genuinely interested in what you make of his character. Hell, theres no right or wrong answer.
     
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  12. thevaliant Soviet Socialist

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    Is it? Part of me thinks, looking towards the longer term survival of the UK, that in ten years time that order could have nasty consequences (even if its eventually repealled).

    No babies now means no toddlers later means no children later means no teenagers later (though is that a bad thing?!) means no adults later.

    I'm sure the order is temporary, but whilst possibly practical in the short term, isn't helping in the long term.
     
  13. Astrodragon Coffee-seeking Dragon Donor

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    While I know its dramatic, I cant see the idea of terminally ill patients being allowed to die in agony over weeks in hospital.

    OK, the forces may be short of ammo. But there are other relatively humane ways, plenty of things make a lethal injection (not pain free, but if the alternative is weeks of agony?), an air bubble into the bloodstream, even things like suffocation or opening an artery.

    Given the awful alternative, there would be people prepared to give the 'coup de grace' to those suffering without hope. Awful, yes, cruel and inhumane, no. Its leaving them to die as descripted that is truely inhuman, I just cant see it hapenning.
     
  14. Macragge1 Banned

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    You're absolutely right and I did think about that when deciding to have them give the order. It is a short term measure brought about by a short term mentality - the belief is that 'wasting' food on babies will cause a domino effect - more 'workers' will die; less 'reconstruction' will take place and the very very very tenuous grip on power that the authorities have will collapse.

    It's a flawed order delivered under immense pressure from inside a bunker; like a couple of other orders (i.e using vets as people doctors - this will be discussed later) it will have bad consequences down the line.

    What you describe is a series of more sensible routes towards putting these people out of their misery. Unfortunately, the Freeman Hospital is controlled by the army, who are operating upon pre-war SOPs that did not factor in the true level of horror in the post attack world.

    There are those that have tried to do what you've suggested - the nurse that got executed was smuggling in far more morphine than needed for painkilling to her relative; the Controller was heading back to the Civic Centre to order the army to finish these souls off.

    Basically, I factored in a bit of human error here - it's perverse; the armed men that control the hospital can reconcile with closing the doors and letting nature take its course - out of sight, out of mind - but they aren't happy with taking action themselves - similarly, now that they've enacted the order, they don't want to appear fallible by letting the medical staff or whoever do what they might have to do.

    There's a bit of drama to it too, of course; plus it provides a nice flashpoint.

    Things will come to a head very soon.

    *

    Tangential note - just played DEFCON today - that game is a masterpiece of presentation -the visual side is brutally utilitarian, but it's the sound that nails it. A single piano. A woman crying in an echo chamber - if Protect and Survive had a soundtrack, it'd be very similar.
     
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  15. CaliBoy1990 A bright future is still possible! =) Donor

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    I must say you've done a spectacular job here..........when you are gonna try to do more on the U.S.? ;)
     
  16. modelcitizen note2self, no ranting ninjas

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    he occurs to me as (pondering my words...) decent but (pondering again) lacking the basic cojones to question something as fundamentally apocalyptic as "babies don't work." folks dropping off the tiny baby corpses at his area later on is twisted but fair.

    I think he means well. It can be argued that his going along with denying food for babies is something that may have made something resembling sense in the context of say World War Three and the brutal precautions and measures being taken in its wake. On the other hand, interpreting the orders on "who doesn't work doesn't eat" as strictly applied to babies is at best pedantic. (I bet the person(s) who signed off on the "no work, no food" rule didn't consider babies specifically. I bet it didn't even occur to them to mention babies as a specific exception to this, or, as specifically included in this.)
     
  17. TheKinkster Banned

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    First off, just got done reading through this whole thing--this is the best-written piece of it's kind I've ever read in my life.

    I have to take issue with the vision you're describing so beautifully, though. Being ex-SAC (Colonel, retired) I can tell you that an attack of the type you have described would leave the UK without a functioning society. Period.

    Your writing is beautiful, and brilliant--but what you are describing is almost Utopia compared to what the UK situation would really be like.
     
  18. Macragge1 Banned

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    Thanks for the kind words!

    Without sounding like I'm trying to question your knowledge of the subject at all, could I ask what you've based your projections for the UK situation on? I'm not taking issue with it, I'd just be interested to see how it compares to stuff I've seen which suggests that the country could just about scrape through by the skin of it's teeth.
     
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  19. Paladin Imperator Rex Graecorum

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    My God, that was disturbing. Well done, I hope someday society can recover from such trauma.
     
  20. TheKinkster Banned

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    Before I respond, maybe you can save me having to go through the whole thing again... :)

    What was the total number of warheads you had hitting the UK, and how many were targeted against cities?
     
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