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Retro and Modern for discussion of A-Bombs and their effects on history and the modern world. Including contributions to popular culture. So everything from serious discussion to giant gila monsters are both welcome here.
''tl;dr nukes, rockets, & radiation goes here.
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Replies: >>2383
Having seen a lot of videos of nuclear explosions, and seeing how different the mushroom clouds and even sometimes the fireballs can be, I'm wondering what are the factors that determine the look of the blast? Is it just yield and burst height with a little bit of local humidity factored in or are there other factors? Like I've noticed that a lot of Soviet bombs have a certain look and I know the Russians used the so called "alarm clock" design. Does the internal orientation have some bearing on the fireball?
How badly could two "civilian" satellites carrying a nuclear warhead each at ~400km altitude disrupt US ballistic missile defenses if they both detonated simultaneously while above the West and East Coast?
Replies: >>2379 >>2494
I don't know if they would do anything to ballistic missile defenses aren't military installations hardened against EMP? I think it would definitely disrupt civilian communications and military coms that are reliant on antennas.
I always like that ridiculous token US "victory" at the end of The 36-Hour War. It's such a transparent case of "we are required to say the US would win in order to publish this".
Replies: >>2403
I guess it was easier to sell that to the public in 1945 when everyone in America was riding high from WWII. Korea hadn't happened yet. Neither had Sputnik. Nor Cuba. And it was a pre Dr. Strangelove, pre Fail Safe, pre On The Beach era in movies. America was still in the midst of the gothic monster movie craze but before the atomic mutant  movie craze that basically started in 1954 with Them! There was a general understanding that a nuclear war would suck but the feeling is that it would suck like the first and second World Wars did for Europe - only everywhere, instead of it sucking like The Last Days of Pompeii - only everywhere.
Kind of reminds me of the end of Alas, Babylon where the military finally rolls in to town with a "yeah we won it" attitude. Even then it was more a more realistic sentiment of "We both bombed each other back to 1900 and neither of us can power project worth a damn anymore." kind of win.
Here's something that I found on the subject.
>If the United States bases its new MX missiles in a dense cluster, the Soviet Union might be able to keep them from being fired for the first few hours of a nuclear war, some weapons experts believe.

>In the untried nuclear tactic, known as pindown, one power might detonate a series of nuclear explosions 60 to 120 miles above the other side's missile fields. Until they dissipated, the X-ray radiation, the intense heat of more than 10 million degrees centigrade and the pulse of high-voltage electromagnetic energy created by the blasts could destroy any missiles fired from the fields.

>The tactic seems highly plausible to some experts and less so to others. But there is a good deal of agreement that the Dense Pack plan for basing the MX missile, the method currently favored, makes it more plausible. The plan greatly reduces the corridor through which the American missiles would fly, making them more vulnerable to the pindown explosions.

>Assessments of the problem's seriousness differ and official Administration studies of Dense Pack's feasibility will not be complete until next month. But several policy makers and experts say they believe that pindown and other potential problems could threaten the whole plan to produce and deploy the MX missile. Various Basing Plans Rejected

>The MX, or missile experimental, has been designed as a mediumsized intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, capable of carrying 8 to 11 nuclear warheads that can be aimed with high accuracy.

>Since President Carter approved development of the MX in 1979, political or technical objections have foreclosed one method of basing after another. Although there are relatively few objections to the advanced engineering concepts used in the missile, finding it a home has become a frustrating and increasingly critical problem.

>In the closely spaced basing method now preferred by the White House, 100 MX missiles would be placed in silos in a 12-square-mile trapezoid so narrow at its southern end as to almost resemble a triangle. Individual silos would be spaced 1,500 to 2,000 feet apart.

>The system's advocates contend that if the MX cluster were attacked by Soviet ICBM's, nuclear fratricide would occur; that is, the heat, radiation and debris from the first incoming warheads would destroy or deflect the missiles following them. Final Proposal Due in December

>Because of dissatisfaction with various basing proposals, earlier this year the Senate cut funds to begin production of the MX from the military weapons authorization bill. It has extracted from the White House a commitment to make a final proposal on a permanent basing system by December, several months earlier than the Reagan Administration had wanted at first.

>The House is debating the weapons bill this week, and on Monday President Reagan sent a letter to the House, urging it to restore MX production funds.

>Pindown and other problems may have important effects on domestic and international arguments over nuclear strategy and policy. One reason advanced for building a new land-based missile system such as the MX was the perceived need for the ability to attack with speed such critical targets in the Soviet Union as weapons bases and command and communications centers. Bombers and cruise missiles are said to be too slow for that purpose. But a senior military official said that if pindown really was feasible, the rationale for the missile is undermined. Policy Change Possible

>Pindown is also seen as a tactic that would make adoption of the debated launch under attack policy difficult. If pindown were taking place, military officers would have to advise a President not to fire under attack because of the likelihood the missiles would suffer major damage to their structure or guidance systems.

>One high-ranking Defense Department official said in a recent telephone interview that pindown was a potential problem for all MX basing modes and for the force of 1,000 older Minuteman missiles deployed in fields in which silos are 3 to 5 miles apart.

>But we think there are ways to deal with it, including the fact that MX will be much 'harder' against nuclear effects than Minuteman, the official said. He also contended that pindown would require a high expenditure of nuclear weapons without actually destroying the missile force on the ground.

>However, Dr. Richard L. Garwin, a physicist who is an authority on launching under attack policies, criticized the closely spaced basing plan in a paper written in May. He said the equivalent of one million tons of conventional explosive per minute would be needed to pin down the entire force, much less than the amount required to pin down widely spaced missiles.

>Dr. Garwin and some other experts also say this plan is much simpler and cheaper than the huge commitment of weapons needed to attack the MX in the now discarded shell game proposal. That plan originally called for shuttling 200 missiles among 4,600 shelters in the deserts of Utah and Nevada.

>Another problem being debated is that posed if the Soviet Union attacked a densely packed missile field with five-megaton warheads instead of the one-megaton weapons on which most assumptions about the system's feasibility are based. The crater would be so big that the neighboring silo would be on the lip of the crater, said one scientist.

>All this requires extraordinary timing on their part, said a senior Pentagon official, adding that perfection in a basing system was probably impossible to achieve. Minuteman was more vulnerable when it was deployed than MX will be now, the official argued.
Assuming Russian somehow caught a bad case of being retarded and let Ukraine join the natto, does the USA even have any missile defence system that could have caught ICBMs as they are being launched from the other side of the Urals? Or would have it been about placing nuclear missiles of their own right on the Russian border? Although in theory they could try to do either of that with the Baltic states right now.
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