WI: The Cold War goes Hot

If NATO and the WP nuke each other in 1983, you can pretty much render the whole northern hemisphere uninhabitable. Neither the US nor Russia will “win”. Both countries with take at least one warhead on every city with a population of 10,000+. Europe will cease to exist. The Southern Hemisphere will receive hits on strategically important targets but relatively few cities will be struck, not that it will matter much because the disruption of global trade will result in large scale famines anyways.

Not the *entire* northern Hemisphere. Large parts of it yes - anything above 40 degrees latitude and east of Helena, Montana for North America is dust but chunks will survive. South and Central America, most of the Caribbean, Central and Southern Africa (if the latter doesn't fall to racial warfare shortly thereafter), and ANZAC should be in decent positions to start recuperation. Beyond that it's highly variable.
 
I wonder how a nuclear war in the 80s will affect the 21st Century? Not trying to get into current events but it is an interesting scenario...
 
I wonder how a nuclear war in the 80s will affect the 21st Century? Not trying to get into current events but it is an interesting scenario...
 
Luzon would have been targeted due to having Clark Air Base, Subic Naval Base, and Camp John Hay. That part of the Philippines would be irradiated but I guess some of the mountains of the Cordilleras and the Sierra Madre may be able to contain the fall out.
 
I’ve found this to be a good detailed timeline (of essay length) about a hypothetical nuclear war in the late 1980s.

People forget that in the 1980s the USSR had the largest and most comprehensive biological weapons program in history. They were producing thousands of tons of engineered anthrax, smallpox, plague, tularemia etc annually that they had the means to deliver to enemy countries and the intent to do so in the event of a full exchange. Since diseases don’t obey lines on a map it’s likely that many countries not hit by nuclear weapons would still suffer from a witch’s brew the likes of which has never been seen before particularly due to the massive refugee population that would exist after the smoke has cleared.
 
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I’ve found this to be a good detailed timeline (of essay length) about a hypothetical nuclear war in the late 1980s.
Yeah, that's a good one.

People forget that in the 1980s the USSR had the largest and most comprehensive biological weapons program in history. They were producing thousands of tons of engineered anthrax, smallpox, plague, tularemia etc annually that they had the means to deliver to enemy countries and the intent to do so in the event of a full exchange. Since diseases don’t obey lines on a map it’s likely that many countries not hit by nuclear weapons would still suffer from a witch’s brew the likes of which has never been seen before particularly due to the massive refugee population that would exist after the smoke has cleared.
Exactly. Just because don't get a visit from a mushroom doesn't mean you're untouched.
 

CalBear

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Please allow me to be the novocastrian workerist shit cunt. I can't help it. Please allow it.



We always thought BHP, Dry Dock,[[Williamtown]]. And we weren't thinking soviets. My personal plan was to bicycle (forbidden due to road culture) to the ridge line where I saw all three directly. Simplicity. Maximal exposure.



Well Cheers to the fUSSR. Us with pinkish diaper parents, at least on the good side, didn't trust final strike allies at the time. Nor did we trust the fUSSR for class reasons. I don't see the point debating a tankie on this.



Nope nope nope nope. We were pathetic import substitutionalists for many things. We fucked up electronics but could expensively recreated them if and only if Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne weren't taken out. We had a capacity to autonomously replicate 1930s production levels, with assitance, and we could in a 20 year period replicate assistance.




Dry docks, coal ports, etc.... One does have to admit that Soviet leaders were horrific genocides who hates humanity rather than being in a specific political contest… but many people admit that. Personally I feared "whose ship will use that slip."' to the point of desiring it quick and fast; complete with plan. And it was 60/40 final strike yanks in my fantasy/anti-survival method.



Australia could have reproduced an early modern hysterically self-sufficient economy through political torture and the like. It would have been marginal: the NSW police would have been disgusted at their rates of return.

It could have worked. It would have been dying back into difficult to produce machine tools; filters; precursors (chemical, industrial) etc.

Australia isn't big enough to survive the big bang. People need six months in a leaky boat.

yours,
climbing over the hill to see Mayfield North go blat
Sam R.
Don't call people Tankies.
 
Turret-tops? Not sure why he referred to me as a "tankie"? Never served in Armour. Was an infantryman, first and foremost. Tried sitting in a Leopard AS1 drivers hatch once. I was too tall to fit.

Targets downunder were few and far between. North-West Cape? Pine Gap? Perhaps. Both over several thousand kilometres from a major population centre. Dockyards? Possibly. Airbases? Possibly but a bit down the priority list because there was nothing in them, most of the time.

When I was a child, we used to joke about the Weapons Research Establishment, down the road (about 40 kilometres down the road) was a potential target. Woomera was also, supposedly another. I grew up there, my father had a security pass numbered "2" as a project manager - No.1 was owned by his boss. However, neither would be very high on anybody's list. Again, both were quite distant from anywhere (and truth be known both were quite run down by 1983).

Take a continent the size of the USA, empty it of the overwhelming majority of people (in 1983, it's population was about 10-14 million people) and scatter a small number of cities across it's surface - with most of them on the coast. And you'd have Australia in 1983. If you like Kangaroos, Wallabies, Wombats, poisonous snakes, spiders, Octupi and Crocodiles, it's a nice place to visit.
 
North-West Cape? Pine Gap? Perhaps. Both over several thousand kilometres from a major population centre. Dockyards? Possibly. Airbases? Possibly but a bit down the priority list because there was nothing in them, most of the time.

RAAF Base Amberley. Two squadrons of F111s owned by a military ally of the U.S., plus the logistical capabilities of a major airbase that could be potentially used to stage strategically, aren't going overlooked.
 
Turret-tops? Not sure why he referred to me as a "tankie"? Never served in Armour. Was an infantryman, first and foremost. Tried sitting in a Leopard AS1 drivers hatch once. I was too tall to fit.

I didn’t intend to refer to you; but rather to unconditional supporters of the Soviet Union in the 1980s who viewed Soviet foreign policy as pristine. People who’d support a Soviet final strike on Australian targets. Tankies in that context refers to supporters of the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia or by comparison supporters of previous Soviet attacks on left or working class governments. CalBear is correct though that I shouldn’t use interpersonal invective; even though it wasn’t directed at you. I’m sorry for the invective and confusing expression.

Targets downunder were few and far between. North-West Cape? Pine Gap? Perhaps. Both over several thousand kilometres from a major population centre. Dockyards? Possibly. Airbases? Possibly but a bit down the priority list because there was nothing in them, most of the time.
The fear was real, even if it wasn’t motivated by a correct understanding of nuclear war making.
 
The thing is @Rickshaw is what 'sized' nuclear war are we discussing will determine Australia and New Zealand's situation. A more 'realistic' exchange will see Australia possibly swallow one or two Atomics due to the Soviet policy of resource denial. A full on MAD situation will see multiple bombs over both counties regardless if you think there is 'nothing' to bomb- Australia and New Zealand are Western, modern industrial counties allied to the US/UK - that alone means they and all their stuff are targets.
 
A full on MAD situation will see multiple bombs over both counties regardless if you think there is 'nothing' to bomb- Australia and New Zealand are Western, modern industrial counties allied to the US/UK - that alone means they and all their stuff are targets.
As has been discussed numerous times in many previous threads, this assertion falls down when you look at what the Soviets actually had in the way of delivery systems and start considering reliability and weapons failures as a factor. The Soviets (and the United States) had an actually pretty limited number of platforms capable of hitting Australia or New Zealand, and those platforms were also some of their most powerful weapons against the other side's homelands (in terms of having high throw weight, numerous decoys, etc.) Moreover, these weapons were not in any way 100% reliable--missiles could fail, warheads could fizzle, busses could malfunction, and so on, to say nothing of the effects of enemy action like sinking SSBNs. Finally, the size of Australia means that multiple missiles would be required to hit more than one or two targets, just because MIRVs can't actually disperse that far and most Australian targets are quite far from each other.

When you add all this up, it quickly becomes apparent that striking Australia would be more trouble than it could possibly be worth, even if you're "thinking ahead" to try to take out potentially hostile future countries. Every missile dedicated to Australia means a half a dozen or more warheads removed from hitting the United States, which means that you're taking some targets in the United States itself off the board or increasing the probability that they will survive the exchange. New Zealand is even worse, of course. You would need far, far more very heavy long-range missiles than the Soviets built to make it worthwhile to strike the ANZAC nations.

(And they could forget about hitting the Southern Cone altogether; even the R-36M with a 16 000 km range couldn't reach that far from Soviet borders, and they only had about 40 of those with huge 20 MT warheads, definitely not worth wasting on Buenos Aires or Santiago even if it could)
 
I didn’t intend to refer to you; but rather to unconditional supporters of the Soviet Union in the 1980s who viewed Soviet foreign policy as pristine. People who’d support a Soviet final strike on Australian targets. Tankies in that context refers to supporters of the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia or by comparison supporters of previous Soviet attacks on left or working class governments. CalBear is correct though that I shouldn’t use interpersonal invective; even though it wasn’t directed at you. I’m sorry for the invective and confusing expression.


The fear was real, even if it wasn’t motivated by a correct understanding of nuclear war making.
Apology accepted. You're right it was primarily fear, not reality though. I remember getting an Australian Civil Defence booklet in the mid-1980s. It was rabbiting on about how nuclear war was survivable, which it was in our case but the problem was, it was using US/UK examples all too often. Neither country was expected to survive. Their fear became our fear unfortunately. Since then I've done a lot of research and a lot of thinking. Australia was survivable. The US/UK were pretty well fucked. Threads are more realistic than The Day After. Much more realistic and even then it more than likely short-changed us on what it would really be like.
 
The thing is @Rickshaw is what 'sized' nuclear war are we discussing will determine Australia and New Zealand's situation. A more 'realistic' exchange will see Australia possibly swallow one or two Atomics due to the Soviet policy of resource denial. A full on MAD situation will see multiple bombs over both counties regardless if you think there is 'nothing' to bomb- Australia and New Zealand are Western, modern industrial counties allied to the US/UK - that alone means they and all their stuff are targets.
The size was pretty immaterial. Once one missile was launched, all missiles would be launched. Once one bomber was committed, all bombers would be committed. The danger was that if that didn't happen then they might all be lost.

The problem was that they would be attacking the opposition, not some lonely nation below the equator. The fUSSR and the USA were committed to destroying one another - they didn't have the necessary systems to spare to waste on attacking Australia or New Zealand.
 
In 1983: Doomsday and Protect & Survive, Australia takes a hit at Pine Gap, Canberra (spared in 83DD), Sydney, and Melbourne. The latter story even targets New Zealand.
 
The size was pretty immaterial. Once one missile was launched, all missiles would be launched. Once one bomber was committed, all bombers would be committed. The danger was that if that didn't happen then they might all be lost.

The problem was that they would be attacking the opposition, not some lonely nation below the equator. The fUSSR and the USA were committed to destroying one another - they didn't have the necessary systems to spare to waste on attacking Australia or New Zealand.
Is this really an established doctrine or just the worst case scenario ?
Launch of one nuke ensures the world will come to an end so why bother with so many tactical nukes ?
 
I’ve found this to be a good detailed timeline (of essay length) about a hypothetical nuclear war in the late 1980s.

People forget that in the 1980s the USSR had the largest and most comprehensive biological weapons program in history. They were producing thousands of tons of engineered anthrax, smallpox, plague, tularemia etc annually that they had the means to deliver to enemy countries and the intent to do so in the event of a full exchange. Since diseases don’t obey lines on a map it’s likely that many countries not hit by nuclear weapons would still suffer from a witch’s brew the likes of which has never been seen before particularly due to the massive refugee population that would exist after the smoke has cleared.
But the Soviets didn’t have many delivery systems that were kept deployed or could quickly be set up for it. It’s more likely the Soviet biowarfare stockpiles disappear under US mushroom clouds without ever being deployed.
 
I studied nuclear war fighting strategies during my Master's degree. We had Des Ball just before he had been sucked into the Pentagon's orbit. He made it clear that Australia would be relatively unscathed by a general exchange. We simply are too far down the fUSSR's list if priorities to be worried about.

In 1983 we were self-sufficient in most industries - we made many things here. Sure, electronics might be a bit of a worry but their loss would not be earth shattering from our perspective. We had our own oilfields, we had our own gasfields, we exported a whole shed load of primary foodstuffs, we were much better off than you lot appear to give credit for. It was the northern hemisphere who looked south for it's beef, it's lamb, it's wheat, it's corn and so on and so on. You might be stuffed but Australia and New Zealand would be OK.
I suppose I might agree to disagree with Mr Ball if we ever discussed this topic, although I am willing to have an open mind. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting him in person I suspect I read much of his relevant work in the late cold war era. I suppose the phrase "relatively unscathed" may also be open to interpretation.
 
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