Tuesday, January 30, 2018

How the United States Planned to Bomb the Soviet Union into Submission Part 2

In part one of this two-part posting on the plans that the United States had to reduce the Soviet Union to a radioactive wasteland, I outlined the overall nuclear military strategy that was proposed by the U.S. military.   In part two of this series, I want to outline the specific Soviet targets that were proposed by the U.S. Strategic Air Command as key to winning a nuclear exchange.  Thanks to the National Security Archives (NSA), we have a Cold War era study of just how the United States military planned to recreate the Stone Age for Russians and their Soviet bloc neighbours as well as reducing the Communist threat posed by China, Manchuria and North Korea.

The SAC (Strategic Air Command) Atomic Weapons Requirement Study for 1959 was produced in June 1956, eleven years after the end of the Second World War.  Here is the cover page:

The Mission of the SAC study was two fold with all typos original to the document:

1.) Win the Air Power Battle by Destroying SovBloc Air Power.

2.) Destroy Sytematically SovBloc War-Supporting Resources.

Here are the pages showing the Mission, Tasks and Targeting:

The 800 plus page document prioritizes targets and a plan for the systematic destruction of the Soviet war machine including its industrial capabilities and its civilian population.  The study lists more that 1100 airfields scattered throughout the Soviet bloc and assesses each with a priority number.  The study also lists more than 1200 cities from East Germany to China for "systemic destruction".  Including the title page, this 43 page formerly top secret document alphabetically lists cities throughout the Soviet Union and even included several cities in Manchuria and China.  These potential mixed industrial and civilian targets included obvious targets like Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) with 12 separate targets including 145 DGZs including population centres as shown here:

...Moscow with 12 separate targets including 179 Designated Ground Zeros (DGZ) as shown here:

and Stalingrad which was pretty much levelled during the Nazi siege of 1942 - 1943.

It also includes Prague in the present day Czech Republic:

...Bratislava in present day Slovakia, Warsaw in Poland and East Berlin in East Germany.

Here is a page showing several targets in China, Manchuria and North Korea:

Each type of target and location was assigned a Category Code Number as shown on these sheets:

You will notice that category 275 is simply defined as "population"

According to the Study, Strategic Air Command would have prioritized the targeting of Soviet air power with bombs ranging from 1.7 to 9 megatons (a one megaton bomb is roughly 70 times the explosive yield of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima).  As well, the authors of the study suggest that each airfield target consisted one Designated Ground Zero and that it was desirable to achieve as low a height of burst as possible with a contact burst being to desired goal to provide for at least a 90 percent collapse of all above-ground structures and cratering of both runways and underground targets as shown here:

Despite that fact that over sixty years have passed since this study was completed, parts are still heavily redacted as shown here:

While it is quite obvious that civilian/non-military casualties would be extremely high, you will notice that, in the following justification for the use of surface bursts, there is little concern for Soviet civilians:

"The full implications of surface bursts for nuclear weapons have been carefully weighed.  While the objections to surface burst and the probability of radioactive fall-outs affecting friendly forces and peoples have been considered, the requirements to win the Air Power Battle is paramount to all other considerations.  If the Air Power Battle is not won, the consequences to the friendly world will be far more disastrous than the expected fall-out contamination in the peripheral areas.  With regard to friendly forces and peoples, as noted previously, every effort has been made to hold to a minimum the number of nuclear weapons programmed for targets in Satellite countries."

I believe that is sufficient information to absorb.  While the information in this posting is a rather academic look at a snapshot in time, we can be assured that similar and more current plans exist in both Russia and the United States today.  Unfortunately, implementation of these plans could bring all of humanity back to the Stone Age and with the current mood in the American capital, our only hope is that saner heads prevail and that the current "my button is bigger than your button" mentality comes to a swift end.  But, as we all know, the military-industrial-intelligence complex almost always gets its way.

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