Protect & Survive Miami: End of Watch

Oh God, yes. It just absolutely goes to complete hell. The level of regression is disturbing, the final scene horrifying.

Edit: The only thing I think about Threads that is unrealistic is that the nuclear winter effect is overblown. 25°C temperature drop in summer seems ridiculous. That would mean temps as low as 23°F/-4°C in June/July. I feel like that strains credulity, since even "The Year without A Summer" in 1816 saw only a 3-5°C drop.
Yes, but "the year without a summer" was from one point source, the mount Tambora over a period of about four months on the Southern hemisphere, versus about 40.000 nuclear warheads (wiki gives max 60.000 warheads in 1983) in a few days, on the Nothern Hemisphere.
 
Having seen and meditated both movies, I'll say "Threads" is much more brutally realistic. The Brits always knew they were screwed for good in case of a nuclear war, whereas many Americans harbored illusions of survival, even of "victory" because of the sheer expanse of their country coupled with a slightly higher proportion of rural population than the Soviet Union had. Anyways "The Day After", for all its (admitted) inability to fully render what a nuclear war would entail, is a potent movie, the final scene with the hug amidst the calcinated ruins of the doctor's home being IMHO one of the strongest and most poignant ever in the history of cinema.
 
A lot of the science behind nuclear winter was heavily politicised. Moreover Carl Sagan's model of the Earth was a smooth sphere without mountains, oceans or any weather. Subsequent studies seem to have suggested that the reduction in temperature would be a lot less, more a nuclear autum than winter and very much dependent on what part of the world you are in.
 
Good story, couple weapons nitpics

Group 7 was considered to have zero survival chances as currently located, so they were ordered to deploy to Group 5's region. Group 2 and 3 members in areas likely to be affected by nuclear attack dispersed towards the edges. With school officially closed, teenage cadets were asked to join senior squadrons to begin additional training. While a goodly number of parents resisted this, some relented, and their teenagers went off by day's end to learn the business of war. The colonel in charge of the Florida CAP was a Korean War veteran who flew F-86 Sabres in that war, and had purchased one after its deactivation by the Air Force. The colonel, Miguel Hernandez, had kept his F-86L in as pristine a condition as he could, and the brigadier running FANG had made purchases of SNEB rockets as planning ramped up dramatically in the past month. If it came down to it, Col Hernandez would take the Sabre up with rockets to go after Soviet jets. Unguided rockets weren't anyone's first, second, hell, fifth choice in the air, but you played the hand you were dealt, and if CAP were all that was left, then a Sabre interceptor with unguided rockets beat the hell out of the alternative.
The US doesn't use SNEBs, they use FFARs. SNEB is Franco-British and 68mm. FFAR is 70mm.


Air-to-air rockets just don't work. You might want to read about the Battle of Palmdale

If you had given him another F-86 model I would suggest Zuni Mk.63s with VT heads, as the combination of heavy warhead (15lb HE) and proximity fuze would give much better results against bombers.

Clearly, the Soviets weren't trying to come further north, but were instead picking off the exposed bases at the southern end of the state. There were two squadrons of A-6E Intruders on the Independence, capable of carrying 30 Mk82 500-pound bombs, 10 Mk83 1000-pound bombs, or 3 Mk84 2000-pound bombs. DeLauer, as senior man there, directed Watkins and Lehman to draw up a plan as quickly as possible, and he'd have it couriered to the White House. In the meantime, DeLauer called over to the National Reconnaissance Office and had them redirect a satellite over Cuba. They'd need to find the bases the Soviets were using before they sent the Intruders.
Actually you can only carry 28 Mark 82s, the inboard rear station on the MERs on Station 2 and 4 have to be kept clear for the landing gear to retract. Also you get 13x Mk.83 and 5x Mk.84. I corrected the Wiki page based off the SAC semi-recently.

Back in D.C., DeLauer, Lehman, Watkins, and Gabriel reviewed the plan of attack. The Independence was already steaming south at max speed, with two squadrons of Intruders loaded with Mk83s, a split-purpose squadron of A-7E Corsair IIs (half loaded with Shrike anti-radar missiles and Sidewinders for air-to-air, the other half with AGM-65 Mavericks and Mk32 Zuni rockets for air-to-ground) and a squadron of F-14 Tomcats for fighter escort. The other squadron of Tomcats was kept in a reserve role, and to make room for the second Intruder squadron, the EA-6B Prowlers (the electronic warfare version of the Intruder) were left behind at NAS Jacksonville. This would be an overwhelming airpower mission, with many of the older pilots carrying Vietnam flight experience. This would be a similar situation for those men, flying into a tropical nation likely to have heavy SAM cover. That pendulum swung both ways, though. Just as the Cubans had the advantages of cover, the Americans had experience flying into those situations and had advanced technology developed to deal with it. The targets selected were José Martí International Airport (which often served as a Soviet air base), Santa Clara Air Base (home to the bombers), and San Antonio de los Baños Airfield (which hosted MiG-23 interceptors).
Why on earth would you leave your dedicated SEAD birds behind? No reason they can't just fly from Florida.


All the A-7s should have Sidewinders, they can only carry two of them and the cheek mounts can't take anything else.

Also A-7s do not dogfight well and those loaded with Shrikes would do well being loaded with chaff Zunis (Mk.84-yes, same as the 2,000lb bomb-loaded with 12 RR-182/AL chaff cassettes) to better suppress SAMs. Really fun thing is that the chaff warhead's fuze has a max time of 80 seconds, or somewhere about 30 miles standoff range according to some very crude math of mine.
Don't feel bad about not knowing this, I only tracked down the original Zuni manual last year (National Archives yeah!) and the updated one last month.

What are you going to use Mavericks for against an airbase? Killing AA from standoff ranges maybe, but you'd be better off with either all Zuni or Rockeye clusters.


As has been pointed out, A-6s do not have internal guns. External gun pods are not an authorized store, and by the early 1980s few if any gun pods would be in service.

SAMs are not going to fire into an ongoing dogfight. Friendly fire isn't a "if" or a "maybe", it is a "will"




This is all quite nerdy, I realize. I'm fairly obsessed with rockets.
 
I'm going to post answers in red.

Good story, couple weapons nitpics

The US doesn't use SNEBs, they use FFARs. SNEB is Franco-British and 68mm. FFAR is 70mm. -- The ones compatible with the F-86 were no longer in manufacture. The French were still making the SNEBs. When you're outfitting a 30+ year jet, you do what you can.


Air-to-air rockets just don't work. You might want to read about the Battle of Palmdale -- Again, desperation maneuver here. Working with what you have. As I wrote, it was a fifth choice, but they were barrel scraping for the worst-case scenario.
If you had given him another F-86 model I would suggest Zuni Mk.63s with VT heads, as the combination of heavy warhead (15lb HE) and proximity fuze would give much better results against bombers.

Actually you can only carry 28 Mark 82s, the inboard rear station on the MERs on Station 2 and 4 have to be kept clear for the landing gear to retract. Also you get 13x Mk.83 and 5x Mk.84. I corrected the Wiki page based off the SAC semi-recently. -- This has been another episode of The More You Know.

Why on earth would you leave your dedicated SEAD birds behind? No reason they can't just fly from Florida. -- They stayed behind to be jammers if any raids came in while the carrier was out.


All the A-7s should have Sidewinders, they can only carry two of them and the cheek mounts can't take anything else.-- Noted.

Also A-7s do not dogfight well and those loaded with Shrikes would do well being loaded with chaff Zunis (Mk.84-yes, same as the 2,000lb bomb-loaded with 12 RR-182/AL chaff cassettes) to better suppress SAMs. Really fun thing is that the chaff warhead's fuze has a max time of 80 seconds, or somewhere about 30 miles standoff range according to some very crude math of mine. -- Working with what they had. A-7s may not be the carrier plane they wanted, but as a (more or less) reserve carrier for in-line shore defense, they took what they could get (it is also very close to the real-life air wing on Indy in that timeframe). As far as the armament, that's a good argument.
Don't feel bad about not knowing this, I only tracked down the original Zuni manual last year (National Archives yeah!) and the updated one last month.

What are you going to use Mavericks for against an airbase? Killing AA from standoff ranges maybe, but you'd be better off with either all Zuni or Rockeye clusters. --That was exactly the point. The Soviets had loaded up Cuba with SAMs and AA, so why sacrifice planes unnecessarily? The Navy were aiming for as much standoff as possible.


As has been pointed out, A-6s do not have internal guns. External gun pods are not an authorized store, and by the early 1980s few if any gun pods would be in service. --OOPS. My bad.

SAMs are not going to fire into an ongoing dogfight. Friendly fire isn't a "if" or a "maybe", it is a "will." -- The Soviets actually had this issue a lot. What you're saying is logical. In reality, Soviet systems accidentally shot down MiGs in Vietnam, Egypt and Afghanistan multiple times. Their doctrine was quantity over quality, so the SAMs stayed on in all situations. That would be even more important when trying to protect a bomber force on the ground in wartime.


This is all quite nerdy, I realize. I'm fairly obsessed with rockets.-- I appreciate the information and feedback, even if some of my answers may not reflect it. I always enjoy picking up new info for further writing.
 
I'm going to post answers in red.
The FFAR of 1984 is the exact same FFAR of 1955ish. The improved motor had not yet been introduced and and the only notable change was the M151 warhead replacing the Mk.6. Fire-control could easily be updated using known data.

SNEB meanwhile would require extensive qualification testing to ensure (among other things) that the fire-control worked with it.


Want any manuals? Any specific topic?
 
SNEB meanwhile would require extensive qualification testing to ensure (among other things) that the fire-control worked with it.
Again, this is not some government with deep pockets and a time frame of decades to prepare most cost-effective methods with state of the art equipment. This is something someone in the Florida Air National Guard improvises as both an emergency contingency as danger looms fast and as a personal hotrod project.

Are you sure that some old guys with lots of real world experience and access to machine shop stuff, including I presume some retired USAF crew chief with battlefield front line experience bashing stuff together to make it work, could not whip up a suitable jerry rig that would probably work? It hasn't been tested of course, no more than maybe a handful of dry runs or live exercises over the Gulf shooting the missiles into the water. It doesn't need to "qualify" for anything other than the pilot's hope of some confidence it will probably fire when he pulls the trigger. No commissions will review, no formal standards have to be met. Just run the wires and splice them together, fingers crossed. If the fingers crossing are those of an experienced aviation mechanic, specifically a former crew chief, would you not grant the pilot might be satisfied with the outcome?
 
Again, this is not some government with deep pockets and a time frame of decades to prepare most cost-effective methods with state of the art equipment. This is something someone in the Florida Air National Guard improvises as both an emergency contingency as danger looms fast and as a personal hotrod project.

Are you sure that some old guys with lots of real world experience and access to machine shop stuff, including I presume some retired USAF crew chief with battlefield front line experience bashing stuff together to make it work, could not whip up a suitable jerry rig that would probably work? It hasn't been tested of course, no more than maybe a handful of dry runs or live exercises over the Gulf shooting the missiles into the water. It doesn't need to "qualify" for anything other than the pilot's hope of some confidence it will probably fire when he pulls the trigger. No commissions will review, no formal standards have to be met. Just run the wires and splice them together, fingers crossed. If the fingers crossing are those of an experienced aviation mechanic, specifically a former crew chief, would you not grant the pilot might be satisfied with the outcome?
Except there is literally no reason to do so when you can just get a couple dozen M151 warheads, Mk.40 motors, and relevant impact fuze from supply. And you could probably get some leftover Mk.4 motors and Mk.6 heads anyway.

You can't just call up England and ask for a bunch of rockets. He doesn't have the authority and and the Brits need all the rockets they can get. Also, SNEB is smaller in both diameter and length.


Given the Air Force/ANG has FFARs in inventory, attempting to circumvent all normal acquisition methods and chain of command to acquire incompatible rockets makes no sense.
 
Except there is literally no reason to do so when you can just get a couple dozen M151 warheads, Mk.40 motors, and relevant impact fuze from supply. And you could probably get some leftover Mk.4 motors and Mk.6 heads anyway.

You can't just call up England and ask for a bunch of rockets. He doesn't have the authority and and the Brits need all the rockets they can get. Also, SNEB is smaller in both diameter and length.


Given the Air Force/ANG has FFARs in inventory, attempting to circumvent all normal acquisition methods and chain of command to acquire incompatible rockets makes no sense.
Look, if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. I wrote it the way I did was because what I read indicated there were no suitable FFARs for the Sabre, while the SNEB had been designed to work with the Sabre's hardware and was installed in the Canadian CF-86s. If you have something you can point to, I'd appreciate it. I know I'm not an end-all, be-all.
 
Look, if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. I wrote it the way I did was because what I read indicated there were no suitable FFARs for the Sabre, while the SNEB had been designed to work with the Sabre's hardware and was installed in the Canadian CF-86s. If you have something you can point to, I'd appreciate it. I know I'm not an end-all, be-all.
Sorry if I seem overagressive, Shevek annoyed me.

In any event, the Mk.4 motor with Mk.1 HE warhead (Not Mk.6, I mixed up HVAR and FFAR heads) was still authorized for the A-10 in 1988, so they should still be available in the supply chain.

From the A-10 Flight Manual, page 350 of the PDF
 
Shevek annoyed me.
I'm sure you are not alone in that.

But one reason I write long posts myself is, when I set about criticizing something I usually think about how to make it better. You obviously, in your quite detailed knowledge of these weapons systems and their availability around 1983-'84, had a better idea of what the author should have had his veteran FANG officer kitbash onto his Sabre jet.

Why did not you not lead with that, instead of shooting down what the author wrote, without offering a better alternative until provoked into doing so?

Apparently being questioned annoys you...well, naysayers saying nay without it sparking some thought in their minds how to make something work to meet the author halfway annoy me. I gather it is quite chic to do this in some parts of the Internet and we used to have more of this acerbic torpedoing going on here too.

I think the friendly thing to do is offer the author a lifeline after sinking their ship.

Turns out you had one handy. Glad to see it!
 
Would it be possible to have the total list of cities hit by nuclear warheads on both sides ? Or would it be too much work ?
 
Would it be possible to have the total list of cities hit by nuclear warheads on both sides ? Or would it be too much work ?
From what I've read of the P&Sverse, that's a moving target that changes a bit with every itineration. The original P&S focused on England and I believe the author ginned up a list of American targets to sate the curiosity of his American readers, but it was far from comprehensive (and for good reason; it was probably never intended to be anything other than a sidebar curiosity, not the foundation for a bunch of American spinoffs). When the American versions started showing up, they started to fill in the gaps with reasonable presumptions about targets and miracle cities like New Orleans and Lincoln (Cleveland completely missing the nukes still seems off to me, but I think the authors long ago decided just to go with it — maybe the Dawg Pound scared them away?).

A global list would take some work to create and wouldn't be complete anyway. Presume that if you've heard of the city, it's probably not around anymore.
 
From what I've read of the P&Sverse, that's a moving target that changes a bit with every itineration. The original P&S focused on England and I believe the author ginned up a list of American targets to sate the curiosity of his American readers, but it was far from comprehensive (and for good reason; it was probably never intended to be anything other than a sidebar curiosity, not the foundation for a bunch of American spinoffs). When the American versions started showing up, they started to fill in the gaps with reasonable presumptions about targets and miracle cities like New Orleans and Lincoln (Cleveland completely missing the nukes still seems off to me, but I think the authors long ago decided just to go with it — maybe the Dawg Pound scared them away?).

A global list would take some work to create and wouldn't be complete anyway. Presume that if you've heard of the city, it's probably not around anymore.
I wouldn't exactly call New Orleans a miracle...more like reliability of the Soviet ICBM force as well as decent air defense to stop bombers from Cuba...

and if you take a look, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama took their share of hits...
 
From what I've read of the P&Sverse, that's a moving target that changes a bit with every itineration. The original P&S focused on England and I believe the author ginned up a list of American targets to sate the curiosity of his American readers, but it was far from comprehensive (and for good reason; it was probably never intended to be anything other than a sidebar curiosity, not the foundation for a bunch of American spinoffs). When the American versions started showing up, they started to fill in the gaps with reasonable presumptions about targets and miracle cities like New Orleans and Lincoln (Cleveland completely missing the nukes still seems off to me, but I think the authors long ago decided just to go with it — maybe the Dawg Pound scared them away?).

A global list would take some work to create and wouldn't be complete anyway. Presume that if you've heard of the city, it's probably not around anymore.
Would it be possible to have the total list of cities hit by nuclear warheads on both sides ? Or would it be too much work ?
The last time I tried a couple years ago, I broke Nukemap, and that was just America. Maybe the new API would fare better.

I've updated the wiki for this universe a few times to reflect targets that are known and ones tangential to my story. I think everyone involved in writing a spin-off has been quite good about ensuring plausibility and continuity. Britain probably planned better than anyone for a nuclear war--the ROC was a thing of beauty, using fairly simple equipment but dotting the entire country and ensuring accurate mapping of fallout and strikes--and it didn't do sod-all to help in the aftermath. Knowing everywhere that got hit is a task of years, maybe a decade. Many will find out when they blunder into a hot zone and die.
 
I wouldn't exactly call New Orleans a miracle...more like reliability of the Soviet ICBM force as well as decent air defense to stop bombers from Cuba...

and if you take a look, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama took their share of hits...
This subject is always a fascinating one to me. Test conditions do not remotely resemble war ones (as a guy who spent the last three-plus years working in combat vehicle design, I've seen that up close), so how reliable are nuclear missiles going to be in full-blown war? Will missiles collide over the North Pole because both America and the USSR know that's the prime route to a quicker strike? Do silos fail to open their doors when the time comes? What scale does EMP affect things? Will bombers really march off en masse to their deaths? The variables involved are immense, and there's no good way to model these things except via computer, and that has limits to the quality of answer it can provide.

One thing I can state with a decent percentage of certainty: Europe will have it far worse in many ways. IRBMs, MRBMs, SLBMs, and more bombers successfully reaching their targets equals a hellscape.
 
This subject is always a fascinating one to me. Test conditions do not remotely resemble war ones (as a guy who spent the last three-plus years working in combat vehicle design, I've seen that up close), so how reliable are nuclear missiles going to be in full-blown war? Will missiles collide over the North Pole because both America and the USSR know that's the prime route to a quicker strike? Do silos fail to open their doors when the time comes? What scale does EMP affect things? Will bombers really march off en masse to their deaths? The variables involved are immense, and there's no good way to model these things except via computer, and that has limits to the quality of answer it can provide.

One thing I can state with a decent percentage of certainty: Europe will have it far worse in many ways. IRBMs, MRBMs, SLBMs, and more bombers successfully reaching their targets equals a hellscape.
I was a Pershing missile crewman as a junior enlisted soldier (and later commanded a warhead team supporting the Luftwaffe after I got commissioned) and made a live fire shoot in 1971...that experience was an eye-opener to me, and knowing how bad Soviet maintenance was compared to US, I'd be amazed if 40% of the missiles ever left their silos (then you have to add in whatever malfunctions happened in flight, etc....)
 
I was a Pershing missile crewman as a junior enlisted soldier (and later commanded a warhead team supporting the Luftwaffe after I got commissioned) and made a live fire shoot in 1971...that experience was an eye-opener to me, and knowing how bad Soviet maintenance was compared to US, I'd be amazed if 40% of the missiles ever left their silos (then you have to add in whatever malfunctions happened in flight, etc....)
Most reports I've read projected a failure rate of 30% amongst the missiles. The ICBMs had good maintenance overall, the tacnukes less so. Probably part of why the strategy was to build as many nukes as possible--even with crap maintenance, getting half off would still be enormous.
 
The airspace over the North Pole is very large. In relative terms each missile is very small. Collisions are very unlikely.



HEMP is not a major threat to military electronics.
I know, you've stated these thoughts for almost ten years now. =) It's the trajectories involved that I think make the collision issue one to think about. The prime paths will be relatively the same for both nations. I think that creates the potential for it to happen.
 
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