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

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Location:
    My house
    It wouldn't take all that many weapons to 'neutralise' most European neutrals - a bomb on the capital and the biggest couple of administrative centres, make them ground bursts to spread fall-out. Although they can't hit back if they survive intact they could potentially become a threat in the post-war period; at least that would be the thinking amongst the strategic planners. Throw two, or three bombs each at them and they'll be too busy rebuilding like everyone else.

    Taking the Republic of Ireland with limited numbers of weapons I'd go for Dublin (which was included in a British civil defence exercise), the Curragh, Knock and Shannon Airports and Cork. A small targeting plan like that will take out the Irish government, the majority of their army and potentially deny two big airports and a major port to NATO.
    Even if the Republic survives relatively unscathed I doubt there will be much for them to take over in the North - Belfast will be gone, ditto Londonderry/Derry, even if it is only because the Soviets go for nearby Shackleton Barracks. The biggest army bases in NI will probably be targeted.

    Taking out Argentina could be done either by Polaris, or by arming the Phantoms based at RAF Stanley/RAF Mount Pleasant (if 1985, or later) with WE.177 gravity bombs. Once the missiles start flying all the political constrains about using nuclear weapons go out of the window - if your homeland is about to be reduced to twelve irradiated fiefdoms, then blowing up a non-nuclear country because they are about to invade a bit of your territory which will probably survive is a given.
    IIRC the British garrison in the Falklands around '83/84 is pretty strong. The RAF has both Phantoms and Harrier GR.3s down there, while the army has at least a battalion group including artillery and engineers. There was also a company from the resident battalion on South Georgia.
    Conversely the Argentineans have not yet recovered from the war and are in no real condition to invade anywhere.
     
  2. tjvuse Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Looking forward too see how everything blows up by nukes lov that:cool: Pick up the peces will be interesting through i hope there wont be as much in dynostpic crap as in Doomsday 1983 wike.:mad:

    Looking foreward to more its been good so far.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  3. arrowiv Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Scary stuff!! Sounds just like Threads. Keep it coming!
     
  4. Macragge1 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    Location:
    IDU
    Yeah - the gloves would be burnt off after the first silo opens - international diplomacy's a mess even if you can communicate with one another.

    Although Argentina's still gutted from Malvinas round one, I wouldn't put it past them to try again should Britain be destroyed, however ill advised this may be. Besides the fact that the end of the world would probably put planning on a weird buzz anyway, I could see them sending an almost token force in the hope that the collapse in morale and impossibility of resupply from the mainland will lead to a surrender and the islands being taken into 'benevolent Argentine protection'.

    Of course, if the boosted garrison (and indeed, the islanders) have anything to say about it, this isn't going to fly - especially considering the rumours of a super-stockpile (the garrison would be expecting a long fight before help comes even without the apocalypse). The fact that the Falklands now represent one of the few corners of the kingdom that remains unshattered, however strategically insignificant they may be, would in my opinion only strengthen their resolve.

    Assuming an RN sub (or Vulcan - though Black Buck 2 would be really optimistic post war) gets wind of this, I imagine any remaining missiles take a South American holiday whilst the sub itself pays a visit to pick off any enemy vessels that aren't incinerated - I can't see anyone being particularly vexed about exclusion zones.

    As Jan says, of course, given a long enough build up (as in this TL), a couple of bombs might be delivered without fanfare to RAF Stanley/ Mt. Pleasant - following a major exchange, the Falkland Islands would become the world's smallest nuclear power - and I can't imagine they'd mess around.

    So yeah, it'd be a bad move for the Argentinians to try anything, but as in 1982, I reckon they'd see what they wanted to see and go for it anyway.

    tvjuse, if by 'dystopic crap' you're talking about all the wierd fiefdoms like an independent Celtic kingdom or a Duchy of Northumberland, you needn't worry - whilst such quasi-fantasy stuff is a good excuse for pulp writers to mix swords and mythology with jet fighters and missiles, there's no way it would really happen - for a start, the whole population's busy struggling to survive - I can't see them taking some time out from their busy schedule to design a new flag and convene an independent government. Secondly, the army's going to be sitting right there to prevent such silliness, and in a world where you'll quite cheerfully be shot for stealing a tin of soup, the idea of secession's not going to go down super-well. None of the 12 regions are going to go rogue on their own either - not only would it preclude them from any aid from the rest of Britain, it would deny them any sort of foreign aid or whatever - after all, it's not like the Empire of Yorkshire's gonna have a particularly competitive navy.

    Actually, it kind of reminds me of that one scene in the The War Game that just kills one's suspension of disbelief - where the bombed out survivors decide to protest with some home-made placards. Even if you're eating each other and you've been drinking from a toilet, it's still good to stay handy with the crate paper and the pritt-stik apparently. Honest to god, there's some puns on a couple of them - I can only assume it was the production team giving themselves a bit of well-needed comic relief.

    Thanks to everyone else who's read and commented - next part's up soon!

    (Waaaay OT, but Northumberland Beef Jerky - what a revelation! If any of you see some of this around, jump on it.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  5. JN1 Who Patrick Harvie wishes he was

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Location:
    My house
    Bits of the UK breaking away post strike was a problem included in many exercises at the Home Defence College. One scenario had a Scottish 'Parliament' trying to govern bits of Scotland with the support of a couple of battalions of the army, and a town in England being ruled by a 'despotic, but efficient' prominent local with the support of the local police.
    Those on the courses were essentially being given the choices to either try to destroy these independent power centres, or try to incorporate them into the system somehow.

    At a more local level there was an exercise for County Controllers that had the Emergency Committee, which was formed of councilors (who don't turn up in Threads) try to form their own rival power bloc.

    Realistically a full break-away is unlikely; though a Regional Commissioner could in theory close his/her borders to refugees; but it was something the planners thought about and prepared for.

    A small side note, from what I know of PYTHON, it is unlikely that the British PM will be Thatcher after the exchange. She will have designated two ministers as nuclear deputies (we can only guess who they were), who would be evacuated, but the PM's group stays behind until the last possible minute.
    If Maggie is really lucky an RAF helicopter will pluck her from Horse Guards Parade and take her to somewhere like Kelvedon Hatch; the closest RGHQ site to Central London AFAIK.

    On the Falklands, post '82 the Islanders seem to have taken their own defence much more seriously. The training, equipment and numbers of the FIDF all improved greatly after the war.
    MPC itself is well stockpiled, and this was true even before it was complete. I don't know the exact figures, but I do know, for example, that there is a full artillery battery of L118 howitzers stored there and I think that there is enough SAA for a full brigade to conduct ops for a considerable time. The RAF's stockpile in the '80s was based on at least a couple of squadrons of Phantoms and one, or two of Buccaneers operating out of Mount Pleasant. The RN also maintained several patrol ships in coastal waters, a frigate/destroyer, HMS Endurance, plus an RFA tanker and the repair ship RFA Diligence,and probably an SSN too.

    In theory if they also get a few WE.177s then the Falkland Islands could be a very powerful little country.
    Hell, if I were at the MoD I'd have sent a couple of Vulcans down south if MPA was complete enough to take them. Two bombers gone wouldn't seriously increase the odds against the Red Hordes of Communism (TM), but it would show the Argies that we were not f*cking around.
     
  6. Macragge1 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    Location:
    IDU
    Didn't know about that, so thanks. It'd be interesting to see what those at the course decided to do in the end.

    I definitely didn't make it clear enough above, but I do think that problems could be caused by local officials overstretching their reach or closing themselves off and the like - especially in the short and short/medium term given the extreme difficulties in communication(indeed, we may see such problems soon enough) - I just doubt the almost romantic idea that we'd end up with a serious of completely independent kingdoms all with their own royal families and foreign policies etc - this is what i think tvjuse was getting at.

    As a sort of aside, the idea of these Home Defence College 'problems' reminds me of that Crisis Commanders show that was on TV a few years ago. IIRC, it was all about members of the public experiencing a terrorist attack or w/e and deciding what to do - IIRC again, it was one of the weirdest concepts and executions for a TV programme i've ever seen.


    This is true - Maggie's certainly in jeopardy ITTL for that exact reason. This part of the plan, when I read it in Secret State and elsewhere always seemed the strangest. Granted, the PM staying in London until the end is noble in the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' sense, and keeps the pre-war planning more organised. It just seems though that, with all the fear of the 'four minute warning', any PM must know this is a suicide mission - the official line of 'nah it'll be sweet, we'll send you a helicopter' wouldn't have instilled me with much confidence (even assuming she gets to da choppa the instant the warning comes, I can't see a helicopter escaping the London danger zone within less than five minutes) - still, better than back in the good old days when the plan was that they would just take the train (although to be fair, I imagine this would be undertaken far sooner)

    I only wonder how many PMs would have decided to relocate to TURNSTILE or wherever as soon as possible, doctrine or no doctrine.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  7. modelcitizen note2self, no ranting ninjas

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey

    I was born in 1972 (in NJ, raised in NY suburb of NYC), so when The Day After came out, boy did I have nightmares. (All the people dissolving when the nuke(s) hit were particularly horrifying.)

    When Threads was on PBS, I could only get myself to watch small parts of it. I remember very vividly that last scene, the girl, the stillborn baby, I shake my head now to consider it, that was really heavy stuff.

    It wasn't until 1989 at my freshman year in college when a professor explained Mutually Assured Destruction clearly enough that I began to think countries with nuclear arsenals mightn't automatically lead to the end of the planet. And, then, the cold war ended anyhow. I was so pissed because I had considered and then passed up the opportunity to buy a nice big map with all the Cold War borders intact!!!!!
     
  8. modelcitizen note2self, no ranting ninjas

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey

    happiness is a fleet of nuclear subs
     
  9. Stateless Well-Known Watermelon

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Location:
    Who's asking?
    Switzerland should be very well prepared: they have an extensive system of government fallout shelters in schools etc., while all post-1968 residential buildings contain a nuclear shelter able to withstand a blast from a 50 Mt blast from 700m.

    With regards Ireland, even if they themselves are not hit directly by bombs and they manage not to get covered in fallout, is this not all going to be a little moot when the full extent of the nuclear winter sets in and their harvests fail for the next x years? Ditto for all other northern-hemisphere neutrals? Or was nuclear winterage over-egged?

    And just to echo everyone who has mentioned Threads, I watched that programme a few weeks and I couldn't sleep after. It's just so relentlessly grim and it's all made the worse by the level of realism, which is then compounded by reading the credits and seeing the consultants named...which is pretty much a who's who of experts in the field. Gave me the creeps (to put it mildly).
     
  10. JN1 Who Patrick Harvie wishes he was

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Location:
    My house
    I don't think that anyone has admitted what they would have done. Personally I'd have been tempted to send in the army if I had the spare resources. If the area was Fall-out Black I'd have left them to it for a while.

    I think that would be really unlikely. No Regional Commissioner is going to let that happen, or try it himself.
    If you've ever read H-Bomb Girl we eventually end up with a military Junta run by a British and then (oddly enough) an American General and President for Life. :confused:

    I remember it and enjoyed it, though it was one of those programmes that made me shout at the TV. The participants often spent so much time arguing that they ran out of time to carry out their decision.
    If it had one flaw it was that none of the three people was senior and could thus take an 'executive decision', unlike, I suspect, in the real COBRA. I remember one guy being in total denial about the possibility that a hyjacked airliner might be flown into a building, depite the precedent of 9/11. Because of their poor decision making the RAF did not intercept it until quite late on and they did not learn that it had been hijacked untill it was almost too late to do anything about it; it was later flown into the Houses of Parliament.
    IIRC the participants tended to be 'Captains of Industry', heads of charities/NGOs and that sort of thing rather than Joe Public.

    It's quite a contrast to the US plan, isn't it. I think that it was supposed to help with negotiations with the other side.
    VISITATION made sense when the threat was Soviet bombers, but when it became mainly missiles then the chances of a successful evacuation being carried out were nearly zilch.

    It's an interesting though; we know that Supermac and Wilson accepted the plan, at least in theory. We also know that Corsham was regarded as a decoy during the TTW and strike phase and would only be used to reconvene surviving PYTHON groups post-strike if it survived. By '83 the government believed that CHANTICLEER had long been blown and no PM would go there pre-strike.


    Nuclear winter was over-egged big time; Sagan later admitted he fudged the numbers to make everybody 'play nice', plus his model of the Earth was a smooth sphere devoid of oceans, weather, or mountains. There would be changes in temperatures, but a lot of it would be localised and no where near as bad as the 'Nuclear Winter' scenario.
    Interestingly there is a graph I've seen that contrasts the scientific studies on the subject with its reporting in the media. The scale of reduction in temperature drops, showing that it wouldn't have been as bad as first though while the line showing media reporting rises dramatically showing that they were making it out to be worse than the most extreme predictions. :eek:
    EDIT: There is a good essay on Nuclear Winter here: http://www.tboverse.us/HPCAFORUM/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=211

    50Mt at 700m in an ordinary building? Are you sure you don't mean kT, after all the Tsar Bomba was not all that much bigger.

    Threads is an excellent film (I've got it on DVD). The only place I would fault it is the common 'Hollywood EMP' effects seen and the effects of nuclear winter, though that was probably down to having Sagan as an advisor.
    I discovered recently that the actress who played Jane in Threads was killed in a car accident a few years after being in the film.

    One other thing for Ireland to worry about would be thousands of irradiated refugees flooding in from the UK and France. I've no idea if they ever seriously planned for that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  11. tjvuse Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    By weird dynostpic (maybe not the best word to use) i meant in the time line of :mad:1983 on wiki http://althistory.wikia.com/wiki/Timeline_(1983:_Doomsday) (the horror of the plot holes see map:eek:) i was not talking Europe but Africa were the African Union made up of all these Nigeria,Ghana that are all extremely destabilized in OLT. But by far my biggest bone to pick in is with resurrected Ethiopia that was fighting poor goverment and with some externally the determined rebels in Eritrea and yet Ethiopia still services. The whole of Africa is wrong in this doomsday time line as most Africa would collapse into tribal warfare any way.

    A perfect example of how not to writ a doomsday time line.

    I apologize for the rant and hope it does not reflect to badly no this time line that i have no problem with so far. Hoping for another update.;)

    And no i have never read H-BOMB GIRL
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
  12. NCW Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Not just government buildings either. The offices I'm working in have shelters down at the -4 level. We had a Christmas party there a couple of years ago, which was quite an experience.

    The law about having shelters in residential buildings was repealed a couple of years ago, but of course most houses do have them. While house-hunting here, most houses I saw had a shelter, which was normally used as a wine cellar. The largest I saw was under a small terrace house. It was supposed to be used by all the residents in the terrace - I guess that you had to be on good terms with your neighbours.

    Cheers,
    Nigel.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
  13. Stateless Well-Known Watermelon

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Location:
    Who's asking?
    Okay, that's good to know. You know, it's odd, in my degrees we spent weeks discussing various nuclear strategies (MAD(!), countervailing, countervalue etc. etc.), and yet we never actually discussed what would happen if someone launched nukes that much. Part of this was because we were living in a world where Global Nuclear War™ wasn't really on the cards barring large timescales or a massive accident, and partly because of an overarching view that "if nukes fly, you've failed".

    When I parroted that stat at 3 a.m. I didn't bother to question it. Now I'm awake and have had a coffee, you're right, it's ridiculous. I haven't found the actual law which sets out the requirements, but this report claims that private shelters are required to withstand one atmosphere of overpressure, while public shelters would withstand three atmospheres. Again, quoting from the report "A shelter built to withstand three atmospheres of overpressure could theoretically provide protection within nine-tenths of a mile from ground zero with a one-megaton explosion." How true this is is up for debate; they tested the blast doors on the Sonnenberg shelter, which should have protected 20,000 people, and found they didn't close properly.

    How can you have it on DVD? I could never watch it again!

    Seems unlikely, given that they didn't seem to have planned for a nuclear war. From what I gather they were expecting neutrality to save them. In fact their neutrality could well have hurt them, as NATO anticipated that in the case of a conventional war the Irish would not be able to prevent their airfields and ports falling in to the hands of the Warsaw Pact, should they attempt to seize them. To prevent this from happening, NATO was prepared to seize Ireland's airfields and ports (and would probably make use of them if they were able to), and were willing to do so even if the Irish were unwilling to surrender to them. So you could have a situation where war breaks out in Germany and NATO invades Ireland to prevent it from being invaded by the Soviets. I would doubt this would make Ireland a nuclear target though - assuming it isn't already.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
  14. Nebogipfel Donor

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Location:
    Münster
    I was 13ish that time, living 30 km away in line-of-sight of a first strike target to be carpet nuked with 1 Mt warheads (Pershing II bases in Southern Germany). Also my hometown had a major French military base:eek:.

    Although I was a avid reader of pre-Clancy thrillers and SF, and also interested in politics I was never really frightened. Reading Hackett`s Third World War in 1983 was interesting :D. Probably it was just the age, people only slightly older usually were really afraid.


    Andreas
     
  15. Macragge1 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    Location:
    IDU
    Thanks for the info about nuclear winter Jan - i was more or less aware that someone had overblown it (with the best intentions in mind) but I didn't realise it was Sagan, or why that's how the super-winter made it into Threads . I imagine Barry Hines et al were all too happy to exaggerate the effects to the max, both for reasons of dramatic effect and the anti-war angle of the piece - to be fair, though, Threads manages to avoid the trap that a lot of docu-dramas fall into (especially these days) - it never feels preachy, even though there's a very strong and very obvious message (even The War Game, which is almost as good, still had a bit of this with the fake straw-man American expert talking cheerfully about World Wars IV through VI; or the Church guy talking about loving a 'clean bomb' of 'good stock') I think a lot of this just comes through the absolutely dead-pan documentary delivery - half the shots after the attack are dialogue free, and most of the exposition comes from the green text with the hard key-hitting sound effects - there's simply no space for any opinion to be forced through.

    [​IMG]

    While we're on it, that's one of my favourite stills from the whole thing (favourite's the wrong word, but you know) - again, if i'd been alive at the time, i shudder to think at how skitzy I would have got just hearing about the show, let alone watching it.

    EDIT: Whoah, the guy who directed Threads also directed The Bodyguard - this just makes me thankful that the former didn't get its own theme song (bonus points : - think of a theme song that would suit Threads)

    ITTL, we're not quite at 'freezing twilight world' levels of nuclear winter, but it'll still be pretty hellish, especially for the UK which is going to receive a fair bit of megatonnage - the handiest comparison would be those Icelandic eruptions that stole the Summer at some point in the 1700s, but a bit worse.

    Barrel of laughs isn't it? Thanks again for all the reads and comments, and the next part's up in the next couple of days.
     
  16. Sir Chaos Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
  17. JN1 Who Patrick Harvie wishes he was

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Location:
    My house
    Sagan apparently blew his entire reputation when the deception was discovered by other researchers.

    Another few Threads stills; could easily be from this TL.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Can't see the traffic warden in the second one, sadly.
     
  18. Macragge1 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    Location:
    IDU
    Merci for the images!

    I was going to put the Radio Times front cover of the armed traffic warden up as well, but the image was literally six times the size of my post - still, it is, as the RT editors obviously acknowledged, an extremely striking shot, so here's a link for those who are interested:

    http://www.btinternet.com/~pdbean/rtcover.jpeg

    (Didn't realise Mick Jackson did A Very British Coup as well - for my money, it's got one of the best endings to any drama series ever - whoever hasn't seen it should go out and do so)

    Speaking of preparedness (and the ever-ready Swiss), I can't get over how much the 'shelters' in Protect and Survive (the type that are 'protecting' so many people in this timeline) resemble children's play-forts - I imagine most of their protective power would have been psychological. Then again, the 'proper' shelters that one could buy - Swiss designed, natch (for a prohibitively high cost - fifteen grand in 1981 money) have their own disadvantages, even assuming the bomb comes - I for one wouldn't fancy being trapped in what is effectively, a large car-sized coffin for two weeks, especially sharing with like three or four people - especially given they'll all be in shock and crying, vomiting etc (not to mention the primitive sanitation) - again, Protect and Survive's recommendation to bring a couple of board games is a fantastic indication of why it has been so poorly received.

    A lot of this info comes from Q.E.D's 'A guide to Armaggedon' which you can find in full on youtube - it's basically a documentary precursor to Threads done a couple of years earlier by the same guy.

    I wonder whether Sagan was hugely bothered about being discredited - certainly, his exaggerations about nuclear winter are still widely accepted by many (probably the majority), and so he sort of achieved his aim. Besides, this guy was headstrong - he got arrested a couple of times trying to storm a nuclear test site. Plus, his pretty strong views on UFOs suggest that the opinions of other scientists weren't always his top priority...:rolleyes:
     
  19. modelcitizen note2self, no ranting ninjas

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Theme song for Threads?

    Hurt by NIN?

    something apocalyptic to cry yourself to sleep to, more or less?
     
  20. JN1 Who Patrick Harvie wishes he was

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Location:
    My house
    Johny B Goode maybe? ;)

    I got the images off the IMFDB website, which also has the RT cover pic of the armed traffic warden ('I'm not going to be shot by a f*cking traffic warden!').

    Some of the effects shots from the QED doc were reused in Threads. I think that the exploding Woolworths is in both.

    You could be right about Sagan. However AFAIK most scientists are more concerned about their reputation within the scientific community than the wider world. Some people might argue that he damaged the debate and hurt emergency planning.

    Most of the P&S shelters won't protect from blast, but they will provide protection from fall-out. If you're too close to GZ then there are very few shelters that will provide any protection. When the GLC studied the problem in the early '80s they found that even Swedish style shelters won't provide protection at the highest level of attack.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2010