7324ever
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Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 13, 2009 5:09 am

At the height when military's were at their primes about 1985

Who would have one?
Anything the US and EU build the Russians do it better! i.e. TU-144 vs Concorde and TU-154 vs The 727...
 
Falcon84
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 13, 2009 5:14 am

The United States.

Of course, that's easy saying now. We knew, as far back as the late 1950's, when the U2 was flying unhinered over the USSR, tha they were not as strong as they tried to lead us and the world to believe they were. One reason they put missiles in Cuba in 1962 was that THEY KNEW they were far behind, and such a risky move was the only way they could try and counter the U.S. superiority. The USSR had more troops, tanks, aircraft, etc, but they were so inferior to that of the U.S. that those number would have been needed to make a match of it.

The U.S. would have won. It would have been bloody; it would have been costly; it would have probably gone nuclear, but the U.S. would have won.
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Jetsgo
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 13, 2009 5:14 am

I'm pretty sure MAD guaranteed no one would win...

However, if strictly conventional warfare, I believe the US and Europe would have pulled ahead, albeit with heavy losses on both sides.
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AirframeAS
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 13, 2009 6:59 am



Quoting 7324ever (Thread starter):
Who would have one?

It is really hard to speculate who would have 'won' (not one, by the way...). Both armies were building up rapidly and there were a lot of empty threats going around. The amazing thing is not one shot was fired and no one died.

So who would have won if this was actually a war with physical confrontation? This, I don't really know....to be very honest with you.
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Acheron
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 13, 2009 8:15 am

I think the amount of losses for each side(and even for those not involved directly) would have been so great that declaring a winner would pretty much be a pointless and idiotic excercise given the amount of bloodshed.

Winning and "earning" a wasteland of a world.
 
jush
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 13, 2009 10:10 am

Well who will be a winner if what's left is full of radiation and as others have called it wasteland.
I would happily declare the USSR as a winner and die in a nuclear blast. I wouldn't want to survive a nuclear war.
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jwenting
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 13, 2009 11:03 am

define "won".
The Soviets themselves considered themselves to be too weak to win in an armed invasion of NATO Europe.
If they hadn't, they'd have launched that invasion as soon as the troops could be moved into position.

Similarly, they considered themselves to be incapable of winning a major war in Persia and Iraq, or they'd have invaded there to take the Persian oil fields.

In part that weakness was because of the constant threat of US nuclear retaliation, in part because the experience in Afghanistan had shown considerable operational and technical problems with their equipment (and had eaten up a lot of men and machines).
In no small part no doubt it was also the fear that a major military commitment in the west would leave the south eastern border wide open for a Chinese invasion, something that's always been a far greater threat to the USSR (and now Russia) than NATO (though you'd never hear them say so out loud of course, socialist brothers and BS like that).

NATO hardware was in large part more advanced, possibly in places more reliable.
But I doubt that technological edge would have compensated for the sheer volume of Soviet hardware and people flowing through the Fulda Gap had war broken out.
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7324ever
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 13, 2009 8:21 pm

So if I have this right the soviets had sheer numbers (like the Romans)?

But the US had the better technology like who ever had taken over the Romans (I can't remember who defeated them besides them selves with a lot of internal conflict?)
Anything the US and EU build the Russians do it better! i.e. TU-144 vs Concorde and TU-154 vs The 727...
 
Yellowstone
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 13, 2009 8:28 pm

Neither side would have won - both sides had sufficient nuclear warheads to wipe out the other several times over.
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WestJetForLife
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 13, 2009 8:59 pm

Are we talking Red Storm Rising or are we talking Threads?

If it was conventional, and the Politburo was hesitant to use nuclear weapons on NATO, then after a long and bloody war, the American/NATO coalition would have succeeded, despite suffering heavy losses (if you've ever read Red Storm Rising, you'll know).

Nuke wise, I guess it depends on the scenario. If it's countervalue, then we'll say about 1,000-1,500 megatons for both sides and about 30-50 million dead from the blasts themselves. Add another 40-80 million from fallout and such, and it would total up to 70-130 million after the dust settles.

If it was a COUNTERFORCE strike on both sides, then we'd be seeing missiles all over North America. That's about 3,000-4,000 megatons for both sides. After the dust settles and the fallout recedes (if ever), then over 300 million are dead.

If we have a Red Dawn scenario, where the Soviet Union decides to come and invade us, well...that's a question mark.

Any comments appreciated.
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7324ever
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 13, 2009 9:06 pm

I could see Soviets winning if they just bombed the crap after the second the US invades.
Anything the US and EU build the Russians do it better! i.e. TU-144 vs Concorde and TU-154 vs The 727...
 
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Jetsgo
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 13, 2009 11:12 pm



Quoting 7324ever (Reply 10):
I could see Soviets winning if they just bombed the crap after the second the US invades.

And the US/NATO would have bombed the Soviets the second they invaded. Hence why neither side ever invaded one another.
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jwenting
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sun Jun 14, 2009 5:58 am

Those who defeated the Romans had numbers on their side, the Romans had by that time declined in numbers to the point where they couldn't field enough people to win even with their superior technology.
The Romans at the time had also become scattered due to constant civil war between legions.

NATO too was internally divided, and has gotten more so since.
It's doubtful NATO would have stood as an alliance in the face of a Soviet onslaught in central Europe.
Turkey would likely have negotiated a separate non-agression agreement with the Soviets, yielding them the use of the Bosporus in exchange for not being bombed into oblivion.
Norway may well have done something similar.
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cragley
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:39 pm

What a horrible topic!

Mutual Nuclear Destruction!

Nobody 'wins' a war. 1 dead is a loss regardless of where it is lost.

2 countries could have selfishly destroyed the planet. Little selfish don't you think?

2 nations believing that they are somehow above the rest of the planets citizens. And for what?
There was never a reason for any sort of combat, other than fear. Luckily, those with their fingers near the buttons are a little more rational these days.

My opinion is that the USSR would have been a wasteland and that the majority of the US would be inhabitable. 9 in 10 USSR nuclear warheads did not possess the rocket to launch it. We learnt this in Year 10 History, so while stockpiles were even, the majority of soviet warheads would never have been used. This would make little or no difference as they still had more than enough for the anhilation of the USA and it's cities.

Primary targets are opposing nations own Nuclear facilities, followed by airports, seaports and then cities.


There is always more to lose than what is in front of you.


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OlegShv
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:51 pm



Quoting Cragley (Reply 13):
9 in 10 USSR nuclear warheads did not possess the rocket to launch it. We learnt this in Year 10 History, so while stockpiles were even, the majority of soviet warheads would never have been used. This would make little or no difference as they still had more than enough for the anhilation of the USA and it's cities.

Ahhh, perhaps your history teacher needs a refresher course in common sense. The stockpiles of nuclear charges were not even: these included bombs, torpedoes, artillery shells and other tactical weapons. The number of launchers (missiles) with strategic warheads was even and was limited by the treaties between US and Soviet Union.
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Thu Jun 18, 2009 5:27 pm

Search "BBC Threads 1984" on youtube. So much about "winner"
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:26 am

I guess China would have won,considering the casualties on both sides.
regds
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BMI727
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:51 am



Quoting JetsGo (Reply 2):
I'm pretty sure MAD guaranteed no one would win...

Not necessarily. By 1985, MAD had been mostly replaced by Nuclear Utilization Theory. This was made possible by the more accurate weapons of the 70s and 80s plus the realization that any strike would result in mass destruction if all hostages were destroyed.

NUTS requires that a limited strike be carried out in response, therefore preserving the possibility of bargaining. Also, this requires the capability of first strike weapons, which the USA clearly shifted to. Furthermore, the idea of a missile defense system became a stabilizing influence rather than destabilizing. The truth is that, by the 1980s, nuclear weapons were not the apocalyptic endgame that they might have once been.

A limited nuclear war is indeed possible, and would almost certainly have been necessary to stop any Soviet advance in Europe due to their strength in numbers. Now if the Soviet Union responded with a massive nuclear strike, they would have doomed themselves because a similar strike against them would be forthcoming. A limited strike, however, would have preserved themselves and their chance at victory. Likewise, a quick disarming strike is desirable in such a scenario, but one that destroys the enemy's ability to retaliate but does not destroy their population.

Think of it like a bank robbery. As soon as the robbers kill the final hostage, the police will certainly storm the bank and they (along with the hostages) lose. But if, they keep hostages alive, they extend the standoff and the robbers and hostages survive. So clearly, a limited strike would be the only way to give one a chance at survival.

So a war would not have necessarily meant the complete devastaion of the entire world, though it would certainly be brutal. By that time though, the US had been building up a bit of an advantage in military technology. A very realistic scenario of this is laid out in Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy. It is a very entertaining and informative book.
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don81603
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:01 am



Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 1):
The U.S. would have won. It would have been bloody; it would have been costly; it would have probably gone nuclear, but the U.S. would have won.

Granted, the Americans were light years ahead militarily, but the USSR had one big ace in the hole, in the person of John Anthony Walker (Johnny Red) and his spy ring feeding the Soviets everything they needed to break the most secure communications from the mid to late 60's until his arrest in 1985. You can have the greatest military in the world, but if the other side can read your plans in real time, you'll almost certainly come out on the losing end. Luck can have a great effect on the outcome as well. A perfect example of luck, and the ability to read the other sides plans assisting a smaller force defeating a more modern and powerful force was the Battle of Midway.

Reading the Japanese plans told the Americans when and where, and luck had the dive bombers showing up at the worst time for the Japanese. Their fighters were off chasing away the torpedo planes, and their flight decks were loaded with landing planes, and munitions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Anthony_Walker
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Midway
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ALexeu
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:39 am

Soviets vs. United States --- United States
Russia vs. United States --- Russia

I don't like commies, although I am not a fan of US Army too. USA had better technology in those times.

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 16):
I guess China would have won,considering the casualties on both sides.
regds

With India just behind!
 
GDB
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 20, 2009 5:09 pm

A major conventional war in Europe, between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, would have almost certainly have gone nuclear.
The NATO 'Flexible Response' doctrine, from the late 1960's, changed this only in that the nuclear exchange would probably have happened within days, rather than as before, within hours.
Assuming, no Soviet first use.

I think the idea of 'limited' nuclear use was a contradiction in terms, certainly within the context of NATO vs Warsaw Pact.
When both sides have vast nuclear stockpiles, when one side starts, however limited, to use them, the result would be almost inevitable.
I agree that the superb 1984 made BBC drama documentary, Threads , shows very well what would have followed.
Better than The Day After , not that it was a bad production, it wasn't, but Threads had the better context, the science and was often just more visceral.

President Reagan is remembered by some, as a 'Nuclear Cowboy', certainly some of his utterances early on suggested as such, however it it worth noting his diary response to a private screening of The Day After , recalling that some in the Pentagon thought that 'limited nuclear war' was possible, I think they are crazy .

But perhaps the best 'tribute' to Threads was what I was told by a British Army NCO, whose specialist role was training in Nuclear/Biological/Chemical warfare defence, it scared the hell out of me.

Moving away from nukes, certainly much WarPac equipment was not a match for NATO, even gear feared at the time.
The massive IA-PVO 'Air Defence Forces', of interceptors, missiles, AAA, radars, a vast network.
In 1987, a young German in a Cessna made it all the way to land in Red Square.
(At that year's Paris Airshow, USAF officers delightedly compared the radar cross section of a B-1B to the Cessna, the US bomber having a smaller one plus all the EW, decoys etc.)
How the versions of this network fared over Lebanon/Syria in 1982, even more so, Iraq in 1991.

Soviet tanks had the numbers, but, given the 1985 period stated above, the NATO M1, Challenger and Leopard 2's were dramatically superior. In protection (thanks to those clever people at the UK's armour development centre at Chobham), in fire control, stabilized guns.
The latest Soviet model back then, the T-72 series, were really of the same vintage of NATO's M-60A3, Leopard 1's, Chieftains.
Many of these older NATO vehicles had been modernized in areas such as night fighting, fire control, to a standard better than the latest Soviet models.

I actually think the Warsaw Pact had more to fear of internal divisions in a conflict, much more than NATO.
Remember Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, Poland in 1981/2.
I don't recall US tanks ever intervening in any NATO nations, France left the organization, though not completely, in 1966, they still maintained troops in Germany, and as the years went on started taking part in major exercises again, certainly by the early 1980's.
The one weak area here was the issues Greece and Turkey had with each other.

Even the shortest period European NATO conscripts, were training wise likely a match for the average Soviet. They also would have been defending their homeland
NATO pilots flew more hours, had more intensive training, were not as rigidly controlled.

Soviet subs, most of them, were considerably noisier than both NATO nuclear and modern conventional subs, which means easier to detect.

WarPac advantages included standardization, durability of a lot of equipment.
But, the Warsaw Pact and then the USSR ended, not because of Islamists in Afghanistan (as they claim), or Ronnie Reagan (as his fans claim), though both were factors, the real reason was that the whole monolithic edifice was a house of cards, beset with stagnation, technological and well as economic and social, with a largely sullen and dissatisfied populace, creaking dysfunctional leadership and institutions.

Who knows what would have happened to all this with the ultimate 'stress test' of war?
Would it have made a desperate Soviet initiated nuclear exchange, as all about them collapsed, more likely? Or less?
I'm glad, as should we all be, that we never got to find out.

Today's terrorists, however fanatical, even if they ever got hold of some kind of WMD device, can never threaten us in the elemental, end of modern Western civilization way, as a full blown NATO-WarPac conflict.
'The good old days?' I think not.
 
BMI727
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 20, 2009 7:20 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 20):
A major conventional war in Europe, between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, would have almost certainly have gone nuclear.

Probably, we would have had no choice but to use tactical nuke to stem the flow of Soviet troops. But a nuclear holocaust situation would still be realtively unlikely.

Quoting GDB (Reply 20):
I think the idea of 'limited' nuclear use was a contradiction in terms, certainly within the context of NATO vs Warsaw Pact.
When both sides have vast nuclear stockpiles, when one side starts, however limited, to use them, the result would be almost inevitable.

Not at all. See what I wrote above about NUTS. A limited nuclear war is the only way to wage a nuclear war. A full out nuclear exchange would be a last resort and fairly unlikely.

Quoting GDB (Reply 20):
Many of these older NATO vehicles had been modernized in areas such as night fighting, fire control, to a standard better than the latest Soviet models.

Even during the Gulf War there was a lot of hand wringing over the Iraqi's T-72. Completely unwarranted it turns out.

Quoting AlexEU (Reply 19):
Russia vs. United States --- Russia

Now? How do you figure that? The Russian military fell into utter disrepair in the 1990s and they are now getting back to just a shadow of the force they once were. The Russians could get back to almost where they were, but that is most likely years away.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
GDB
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:18 pm



Quoting BMI727 (Reply 21):
Not at all. See what I wrote above about NUTS. A limited nuclear war is the only way to wage a nuclear war. A full out nuclear exchange would be a last resort and fairly unlikely

The problem with these ideas is that they did not take into account human nature with all it's emotions and fallibility.
Is there really much difference between parts of the USSR's forces/military assets being destroyed and an attack on the USSR itself?
In their minds - no.

Another factor, never properly understood, was that whatever we thought of them, the USSR had lost 27 million in WW2, the effects of that bloodbath on the Eastern Front was seared into their consciousness.
If the USSR could de-couple the US from Europe, they would have.
Only Stalin really took direct military action, in the Berlin Blockade attempt, to force a greater area of Soviet influence.
He was dead by 1953 - thankfully.

His successors were more cautious, only becoming reckless when they thought the central planks of their posture were under threat.
Hence the Cuba crisis, while most Americans were understandably concerned about Russian missiles 90 miles off shore, how many knew that US missiles were as close to the USSR too, in Turkey?
That the USSR was, when you look at the globe from the North Pole, surrounded by nuclear weapons.
That for all the boasts of the USSR leadership, in 1962 the US enjoyed a 17-1 advantage in strategic weapons?

They knew in 1962 that the US lead in spy satellites and other intel, was unmasking the true nature of the USSR strategic forces.
This will have filled them with fear.
Remember, they had all lived through WW2, they were paranoid about another surprise attack, the US had Pearl Harbor, they had Hitler's invasion of 1941.

But even then, with all this advantage, the US had already seen the futility of nuclear sabre rattling, in the 1961 Berlin crisis.
The US threat, implying that if a conflict started, would escalate quickly to nuclear weapons, made at the height of this crisis, was a hollow one.
So Berlin remained a stalemate, for the next 28 years.

It was not until the end of the 1960's, that the USSR achieved a rough strategic nuclear parity with the US.
At massive costs to them, that they really could not afford.

If the WarPac forces came until this 'limited' nuclear attack, their response would have been to eliminate the sources of these attacks, both weapons and the command and control.
That means hitting NATO command bunkers and also, the US leadership.
The bunkers would range from H.Q.'s in Brussels, the UK and in the Continental US, Cheyenne Mountain becomes Cheyenne Crater, the SAC bases, the SLBM's bases, suspected strategic command posts.
And the centre of power.
That's Washington DC gone.
Other major intel facilities too, as noted by the gallows saying then;
How do you make Chicken Maryland?
First preheat the state of Maryland to 10 million degrees.


In even the most limited form of this attack, tens of millions of Americans would die.
If he survived, or if the next in line was now in charge, the same decision would be made.
Strategic retaliation.
Use them or lose them. While you also still have (if this was the case) some kind of command and control.
 
BMI727
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:54 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 22):
Is there really much difference between parts of the USSR's forces/military assets being destroyed and an attack on the USSR itself?

There is. If we blow the entirety of the USSR away, then there is nothing left stopping them from doing the same and nothing left to negotiate for.

Quoting GDB (Reply 22):
But even then, with all this advantage, the US had already seen the futility of nuclear sabre rattling, in the 1961 Berlin crisis.

Bingo. The masses of nuclear weapons had zero fungibility. No threat of a huge nuclear attack was the least bit credible. Hence the shift to accurate, first strike weapons and tactical nukes.

Quoting GDB (Reply 22):
If the WarPac forces came until this 'limited' nuclear attack, their response would have been to eliminate the sources of these attacks, both weapons and the command and control.
That means hitting NATO command bunkers and also, the US leadership.
The bunkers would range from H.Q.'s in Brussels, the UK and in the Continental US, Cheyenne Mountain becomes Cheyenne Crater, the SAC bases, the SLBM's bases, suspected strategic command posts.
And the centre of power.
That's Washington DC gone.
Other major intel facilities too, as noted by the gallows saying then;
How do you make Chicken Maryland?
First preheat the state of Maryland to 10 million degrees.

The retaliation would most likely be limited to tactical nuclear weapons. The Soviets would know that a similar strike would be launched immediately, upping the escalation. Disrupting Command and Control in this scenario is useful almost exclusively on the tactical level. A large scale decapitation strike on Washington or other command posts would most certainly doom the Soviets almost as surely as killing the last hostage. If you want to win a war, there has to be someone to negotiate with. And the fact also remains, that with SSBNs, a quick decapitation strike to rob the US of any ability to retaliate would be next to impossible.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
GDB
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:05 pm

Again, this assumes a degree of logic and self control, impossible to imagine in such an event.

I remember at the time, in the early 80's, the large upsurge in support across Europe, for anti nuclear movements.
Driven in large part by loose talk from some US theorists, about 'limited nuclear war'.
Translation - We'll try to keep the nuclear detonations within Europe.
Small wonder many were appalled.
The logic of organizations like CND was flawed, they were proved wrong in the end (about the need for deterrence generally), but having Dr Strangelove like figures speaking of 'prevailing' in a nuclear conflict, was appalling and frightening.
Prevailing as in Europe is destroyed, but we won!
There was a basic understanding with the populations of NATO members that these ideas undermined, accept all these nuclear weapons on your soil, to prevent war in Europe full stop.
Not as a tool to fight a limited one.

The USSR did not see classes of nuclear weapons the same way NATO did.
For them, any nuclear weapon, that could hit the USSR, was strategic.
Pershing 2 could hit the USSR, their SS-20's could not hit the US.
The US/NATO had a huge geographical advantage.

Then the wild cards, there were reasons why, despite huge pressure to do so, JFK did not invade Cuba during the Missile Crisis.
What if, under US attack, the commander of a SS-4 or SS-5 battery decided to use them or lose them?
Could air-strikes get all of them?
Did they have other systems there we don't know about?

He was right and then some, 30 years later, it emerged that the USSR had also placed nuclear tipped FROG missiles on Cuba.
Short range, truck mounted, unknown to the US at the time.
And their orders were simple, if a US invasion fleet appears, fire.

Had they done so, vapourised the US invasion fleet, within hours there would be a full scale nuclear exchange.
All the assumptions of the Joint Chiefs, the CIA etc, were proved wrong here.
They only accounted for the weapons they knew about.

Flexible Response was really an attempt to allow time for political efforts to end a conflict between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, while it was still conventional.
Maybe, a vanishingly small chance of the same after tactical nukes were used.
But really, NATO exercises, field or just command and control ones, always went from tactical to sub strategic to strategic exchanges.
For a good reason, it was by far the most likely chain of events.
 
baroque
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:54 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 24):
Again, this assumes a degree of logic and self control, impossible to imagine in such an event.

To assume that any given situation would be accurately analysed and be replied to with minimum retaliation utterly beggars belief. Even in conventional warfare there is much confusion.

And in any event, it assumes that what is calculated as a logical response for one side, will be perceived in similar terms by the other. Unlikely in the extreme is to understate the case by a substantial margin.
 
BMI727
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sun Jun 21, 2009 9:51 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 24):
Again, this assumes a degree of logic and self control, impossible to imagine in such an event.

I don't think so. Much thought had gone into this, and I think that there were sane and capable people on both sides.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 25):
And in any event, it assumes that what is calculated as a logical response for one side, will be perceived in similar terms by the other.

This is the rub. But we had the hotline, and the understanding that if we performed a decapitation strike, it would only be counterproductive.

Quoting GDB (Reply 24):
I remember at the time, in the early 80's, the large upsurge in support across Europe, for anti nuclear movements.

NUTS actually means that fewer weapons are needed. MAD requires a second strike capability and one of the best ways to achieve this is to simply have too many weapons for your enemy to destroy.

Quoting GDB (Reply 24):
Prevailing as in Europe is destroyed, but we won!

And they thought that a purely conventional conflict would leave them unscathed?

Quoting GDB (Reply 24):
Then the wild cards, there were reasons why, despite huge pressure to do so, JFK did not invade Cuba during the Missile Crisis.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis this would be right since MAD was the prevailing doctrine at the time. NUTS didn't really take hold until the 1970s. During the early sixties, the weapons were still not nearly accurate enough to provide a limited first strike capability. Hitting anything smaller than a city or maybe an airport was dicey at best. NUTS simply wasn't an alternative then.

Quoting GDB (Reply 24):
Flexible Response was really an attempt to allow time for political efforts to end a conflict between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, while it was still conventional.
Maybe, a vanishingly small chance of the same after tactical nukes were used.
But really, NATO exercises, field or just command and control ones, always went from tactical to sub strategic to strategic exchanges

That was exactly the point of NUTS - to allow a resolution to a conflict before it grew out of control. Eventually, if no deal was struck it would eventually escalate to strategic exchanges, but even this in limited size and scope, at least initially. The idea was that we didn't have to go for the jugular, but rather follow a rational ladder of escalation.

Quoting GDB (Reply 24):
For a good reason, it was by far the most likely chain of events.

Perhaps, but at least NUTS would have given us a chance to rectify the situation.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
cairo
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Sun Jun 21, 2009 11:53 pm

How this might play out was discussed in Red Storm Rising of course and as with all wars the side who initiates it would pay a far bigger price than they imagined. I think its fair to say the Soviets could have made a big land grab counting on reluctance of the West to go full-blown nuclear war...

My uncle worked at Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin) and was tasked with monitoring treaty compliance of the Soviets in the 1970s and 80s. When he retired a few years ago he told us the Soviet technology and machinery was clunky to begin with and so badly maintained such their true threat was far less than they or Western governments let on... it was in both side's interest to portray the other capable of destroying the world.

Cairo
 
GDB
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:54 pm



Quoting BMI727 (Reply 26):
And they thought that a purely conventional conflict would leave them unscathed?

No, but nothing like any use of nukes.
It's not as if they were unused to the devastation of war, on their doorstep, another conventional war would be worse still, even a 'limited' nuclear one would be unimaginably worse.
One wonder if that was part of the problem with some of these theorists, it was an academic exercise divorced from reality.

I note no argument to the idea that it was about keeping the detonations within Europe.
NATO relied on consent of the populations of the member nations, certainly in NW Europe.
Most accepted MAD, grudgingly maybe but parties with anti nuclear, anti NATO policies did not win power and enact them in government.
Now try selling the NUTS idea to them - small wonder CND and similar surged in support, so really these sorts of ideas did more at the time to undermine NATO than the KGB ever did.
Continental European nations also accepted conscription as part of the defence effort.

You have have to do a quick search, all manner of military sites, news sites, You-Tube, to find footage of war, mostly at the basic infantry fire-fight level.
Chaos usually reigns, so the idea that chaos would somehow be avoided using nukes defies logic.
 
BMI727
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:55 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 28):
One wonder if that was part of the problem with some of these theorists, it was an academic exercise divorced from reality.

To sit around and consider the human consequences leads to only one conclusion, and one that is not particularly useful to the government. These people had the unenviable task of ensuring the survival of a nation, not individual people. The reality that war is destructive and will cause much death is a given and a fact that these planners had to look past in order to do their jobs. I'm sure that many of them were uneasy with what they had to do.

Quoting GDB (Reply 28):
Chaos usually reigns, so the idea that chaos would somehow be avoided using nukes defies logic.

There is no doubt that war causes confusion, but that is where planning and training has to come in. While getting, interpreting and disseminating information is undoubtedly difficult, the leaders had to trust their people and their plans. While confusion is inevitable, the complete loss of situational awareness and control is relatively unlikely. The goal of NUTS was to slow down and minimize the chaos and power vacuum on both sides long enough to get a solution without nuclear armegeddon.

Quoting GDB (Reply 28):
I note no argument to the idea that it was about keeping the detonations within Europe.
NATO relied on consent of the populations of the member nations, certainly in NW Europe.

As far as I know NUTS was a mostly American philosophy. I suspect that this had as much to do with "sacrificing" Europe as it did with the fact that the US was the most technologically advanced of the nuclear powers and had the accurate first strike weapons necessary to carry it out. The goal would be to keep a conflict contained and since a conflict would be most likely in Europe, Europe would be the hardest hit. Also, I don't know for sure whether European leaders also came to the realization that tactical nukes would most likely be necessary to stop a Soviet invasion of Western Europe as many Americans did.
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GDB
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Wed Jun 24, 2009 7:18 pm

Well Americans would of course be more comfortable with only detonations within Europe!
Not for long though, escalation was inevitable, from what transpired when the USSR dissolved, secrets were out etc, the Soviets certainly did not see it the way NUTS planners did.
Which was rather a large flaw with the whole idea.

Most planners had to operate in the real world, that did include planning for the worst.
But, the NATO doctrine was once that threshold was crossed, even with the most limited tactical use, there was only one ultimate conclusion, strategic exchange.
Flexible Response in a nutshell, put back the first use as far as possible.
Not like as before, fire 'em off almost immediately, no longer an option when the USSR even started to get the ability to hit the US.

The terrible irony of the Cold War meant though, a declared NATO no first use, and/or unilateral withdrawal of the weapons, could make in the 'right' situation, a NATO-WARPAC conflict more likely thus making a strategic exchange possible.
 
FlyDeltaJets87
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:37 pm



Quoting AlexEU (Reply 19):
Soviets vs. United States --- United States
Russia vs. United States --- Russia

On the Soviet Union vs. the US, we in the US like to think we would have won. But who honestly knows. Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy (as some have already mentioned ) took the apprroach that the US would win in a conventional war, albeit with heavy casualties on both sides. But even in Red Storm Rising, could won argue that the US didn't really win but only defended the "status quo"? (Just a thought).

On Russia vs the US, the US would have the upper hand. The US Air Force and US Navy are vastly superior to the the Russian counterparts who are using Soviet era equipment that is falling into disrepair. I admit and conceed that the ground war would still be messy. However, the US has a few capabilities that Russia does not - capabilities known and even pointed out by Soviet/Russian military officers. The US military has an airlift and mobilization capability that no other country even comes close to. We also have air to air refueling capability, allowing us to strike targets on the other side of the world from the US and also aid in the global mobilization. We also still have the technology on our side. Stealth aircraft and better weapons systems and more reliable equipment for starters.

Today the US would face a much more difficult war with China than it would with Russia.
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AGM100
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:52 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 20):
A major conventional war in Europe, between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, would have almost certainly have gone nuclear.

No doubt about it. With smaller tacital nukes , there is no way NATO or WP would have sat back while large formations of forces were being "defeated" conventionally.

One side would whip out one of these babies sooner or later.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davy_Crockett_(nuclear_device)


A more interesting topic to me is the question of whether the Western Allies could have won against the Soviets in 1945? I have heard that Patton suggested rolling straight to Moscow at one point with his 3rd ID ! Man that would have been some serious ground war.
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GDB
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:56 pm

AGM100, I think in 1945, a major factor would have been the absolute war weariness of certainly the British population, quite possibly in the US too.
By 1945, not only was the UK bankrupt but 6 years of a virtually total war economy was taking it's toll on the infrastructure, industry and the population as a whole.

Unless Stalin did something stupid (even by his standards), it would also be a hard sell to now fight a nation where many sailors had died getting supplies too.
During the war, even very Conservative newspaper magnate Lord Beaver-brook, as one of the non politicians in the Coalition government, in speeches lavishly praised the Soviet forces and Stalin.
From a very hardcore anti Communist.

I note the link to the Davy Crockett suicide - sorry - delivery system.
Late in his final term, President Eisenhower started to have concerns about the ever increasing plethora of tactical nuke systems.
How many of these things do we need?
You wonder if he had got a look at this system!

From Davy Crockett to nuclear 16 inch shells for USN Iowa class Battleships.

Massive Retaliation was perhaps inevitable in the earlier years, it was a whole new field of war, not properly understood, it offered smaller (and cheaper) conventional forces.
But the move to Flexible Response was probably inevitable, the increasing Soviet strategic capability, the experience of Berlin in 1961 and Cuba the following year.
Plus, by then, nations like West Germany were fully on their feet and adding very substantial conventional forces into the mix.
 
AGM100
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RE: Soviets VS USA?

Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:00 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 33):
AGM100, I think in 1945, a major factor would have been the absolute war weariness of certainly the British population, quite possibly in the US too.

Agreed , and I also believe that the Soviets would have been nearly impossible to beat head to head on the battlefield. The Soviet Army was in my opinion at its peak of both moral and numbers (WWII) , it would have certainly filled allot of western body bags. Strategic bombing , air-power and naval forces would have gone to the west , but you have to win and hold territory.

I wonder how the Russian population would have reacted to a western invasion in the name of defeating communism ? Would they have backed Stalin if our forces essentially freed them on the way to Moscow. Basically do the opposite of what Hitler did ... win hearts and minds so to speak.
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