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"Dr. Strangelove and the Insane Reality of Nuclear..." Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2018 8:53 p.m. PST

… Command-and-Control.

"Fifty-four years ago in January, Stanley Kubrick's dark comedy about accidental nuclear war, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, premiered at movie theaters across the United States. The movie immediately attracted controversy as it suggested that a mentally unstable U.S. Air Force commander could order a nuclear attack on Soviet Russia without consulting his superiors, including the U.S. president.

Various defense intellectuals and government officials dismissed the film as "impossible on a dozen counts" especially the movie's essential plot device of presidential pre-delegation of nuclear weapons use which, as one former Pentagon official said, could not be "further from the truth." However, we now know that top U.S. military commanders indeed had presidentially authorized instructions providing them with the authority to launch nuclear weapons…"
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Cacique Caribe Inactive Member05 Jan 2018 10:02 p.m. PST

People talk about nukes today as if they are in the past, perhaps because they think the Cold War was only between the US and Russia.

Anyway, the nuclear bomb genie is out of the bottle. Nukes are definitely going to be used again against cities or armies.

The question is will it be a nation that launches them or a rogue group that sets them off in briefcases?


Lion in the Stars05 Jan 2018 11:26 p.m. PST

Fissionables in a briefcase isn't a nuke, it's a dirty bomb.

Minimum size actual nuke is ~150lbs (155mm nuclear artillery shells), and more like 700lbs (B61 bomb).

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2018 7:43 a.m. PST

Briefcase sized nukes are probably in our future. Remember the first A-bombs were the size of VW bugs!

Legion 406 Jan 2018 9:30 a.m. PST

I always loved that movie !

Briefcase sized nukes are probably in our future.
As a young 1LT I was "selected" to go to Atomic Demolitions Missions Officer training. Where we learned about Small & Medium Atomic Demolition Munitions[SADM & MADM]. The SADM was @ the size of a basketball and the MADM @ size of a much bigger basketball. huh? Can't remember the yields/KTs … old fart Sometimes referred to as "Backpack Nucs" …

Obviously they were a last resort, dire emergency kind of weapon.
With Satcom to the POTUS/JCS, etc. And after the Team emplaced the weapon(s) you'd be extracted(?)(hopefully).

And I wouldn't be surprised if something like those [only smaller & more lethal !] exists today. I/many know some jihadis/terrorists would love to get their hands on something like that.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2018 10:04 a.m. PST



New Jersey Devil Inactive Member06 Jan 2018 6:28 p.m. PST

If India and Pakistan kick off, that will certainly start a nuke war.

Sobieski Inactive Member06 Jan 2018 11:06 p.m. PST

Superb movie. The first great Kubrick.

Uparmored07 Jan 2018 2:16 a.m. PST

My World History teacher showed us this movie in about 1993. He was an American and my favorite teacher. Still one of my favourite movies. So cool how Sellers played all those characters.

"Nuclear combat, toe to toe with the Rooskies." Still one of my favorite lines..

I didn't think the movie was scary, it was obviously very well researched (It's Kubrick!) and made me actually feel better that our side had had the systems, weapons and equipment to take on the Russians anytime, anywhere, anyplace in total war at the drop of a hat.

Of course by the time I saw it the Cold War was over and Somalia and the Balkans was kicking off. The New World Order had times..

Legion 407 Jan 2018 6:56 a.m. PST

I served in the later days of the Cold War, '79-'90. And was glad to see it end. However, as we see today … it may have been just an intermission.

Had 22 months in the ROK with a Mech Bn, with 2 tours on the DMZ. Seems the only thing that changed is we have less troops there. And the Norks have nucs. huh?

Charlie 12 Inactive Member07 Jan 2018 2:23 p.m. PST

And I wouldn't be surprised if something like those [only smaller & more lethal !] exists today.

Doubtful. When you get down this far in size, you start hitting the raw limits of physics. 50-60lbs is about the limit as to size. As for yield, that is also limited by the physics. The SADM topped out at 1kt. You might get a bit bigger bang with better efficiency, but that's about it.

Briefcase bombs that can level cities are the fantasies of bad fiction writers.

Charlie 12 Inactive Member07 Jan 2018 2:29 p.m. PST

I didn't think the movie was scary, it was obviously very well researched (It's Kubrick!) and made me actually feel better that our side had had the systems, weapons and equipment to take on the Russians anytime, anywhere, anyplace in total war at the drop of a hat.

Yeah…. Those systems and procedures were so well thought out that we almost inadvertently backed into WWIII during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Unknown to US intelligence, the Sovs had deployed FROG missiles with the units to Cuba. Which, if they had referred to a TOE, they would've seen them right away. And those missiles are tactical NUKES (the Sovs had 70+ warheads for the missiles in country). Imagine the OOPS if we had come charging over the beach (as some idiots, to this day, still insist we should have). After that, all HELL would have broken loose. Yes, I'm old enough to remember that little fiasco…

Legion 407 Jan 2018 3:31 p.m. PST

Doubtful. When you get down this far in size, you start hitting the raw limits of physics. 50-60lbs is about the limit as to size. As for yield, that is also limited by the physics. The SADM topped out at 1kt. You might get a bit bigger bang with better efficiency, but that's about it.
Well I'll have to take your word for it. I'm not much of a "science guy". And as I said that was in '82 or '83 when I went thru the training. old fart So 1KT sounds about right for the SADM. I can't remember what the MADM was.

And even if something can't made smaller. I'd guess there may be some more higher tech versions of the SADM and MADM devises around ? But I'm sure it is "very", "very" classified. Who knows what those guys at Area 51, S4, Hanger 18, etc., came up with since the '80s ? huh?

Charlie 12 Inactive Member07 Jan 2018 3:41 p.m. PST

Still, at roughly 100lbs, the SADM was a very small device. The Davy Crockett (a nuke recoilless rifle round) was only good for 22tons effectiveness. That gives you about 100m diameter area of blast/fireball, but a 700m radiation diameter. Why the big radiation diameter? Its a groundburst. And those always are dirtier.

You want uber small, uber effective WMDs? Go CB…..

Legion 407 Jan 2018 3:57 p.m. PST

Thought it was lighter than that … but again it was a long time ago ? old fart

I remember reading about the Davy Crockett, you may very well be in your own blast radius as one of the crewmen. But IIRC, "Davy" didn't last too long in inventory.

But I guess that could happen with SADMs/MADMs if the timer is set wrong or broken, etc., etc. You don't get away from them fast enough/get extracted, etc., etc.

But as I said, it very well could be a weapon of desperation, last chance, etc.

And yes an assault landing in Cuba back then could very well have been ended by the tac nucs the USSR was supposed to have there. As we know now … And then it very well could have been MAD …

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member08 Jan 2018 3:24 a.m. PST

Backpacks for nukes have been around, so I imagine one day that's what they'll be carrying? :)

PS. Can you spot the guy that needs to pee, but is trying very hard to hold it?


Legion 408 Jan 2018 2:46 p.m. PST

huh? They may have the Nuc sign on the pack. But it is probably where they carry their toilet paper, etc., …

Sobieski Inactive Member08 Jan 2018 3:23 p.m. PST

Uparmoured – Funny though it is, if that movie doesn't scare you, I'm not sure what would.

Striker08 Jan 2018 9:42 p.m. PST

Legion, it could contain extra potent Kimchi. Consume, digest, and spread destruction.

Uparmored09 Jan 2018 1:19 a.m. PST


Legion 409 Jan 2018 7:42 a.m. PST

Striker … you got that right. A barrel of Kimchi in the summer sun is a WMD ! huh?

Old Wolfman10 Jan 2018 7:44 a.m. PST

"…and we were flyin' any lower,we'd need sleighbells on this thing.";^)

Legion 410 Jan 2018 7:53 a.m. PST

evil grin

Charlie 12 Inactive Member10 Jan 2018 7:04 p.m. PST

Dr Strangelove and Failsafe coming out in '64. Just 2 years out from the Cuban Missile Crisis. Nuclear war didn't seem all that fun anymore…. (As if it ever was…)

Legion 411 Jan 2018 8:08 a.m. PST

Yes, Failsafe is another good one. I'd think and believe sane, intelligent people today would never use any WMDs especially nucs.

But the fear that some radical, fanatics, etc., who want to bring about the "End Times", etc.,[not mentioning any names] would use them if that got a hold of them. I not sure of the veracity, but I had heard UBL and his ilk were looking to get their hands on some nucs. And I'm sure ISIS and their types would like to get some.

I don't think Un would use them as he wants to keep the family business going. Being a tyrant/dictator over a little place he calls "heaven". But he could always sell/give them to someone like, e.g. Iran. And they may have some in their hierarchy or those they support, i.e. Hezbollah, etc. That would use them on their primary "enemies", Israel and/or the USA.

The World is still a very dangerous place … But some don't seem to get that. And it may be too late by the time they do ?

Wolfhag26 Jan 2018 6:40 a.m. PST

Do you think Putin feels the Cold War is over or if it is Cold War 2.0?

In 1974 I attended the Nuclear, Bacteriological and Chemical Warfare School. When we went overseas it was my job to plot the size and fallout area if a nuke went off near us. Really.


Legion 426 Jan 2018 8:35 a.m. PST

To Putin the Cold War was never over. He thought the fall of the USSR was the worse event to happen in the 20th Century. And as we all know the 20th Century was full of tragic events.

Yes, I've seen such maps with Nuc Fallout. I've said before as a young 1LT in the 101 I want thru Atomic Demolitions Missions Officer training. And many of use went to NBC Defense School. The USA I know for one took the use of WMDs seriously. More from a defensive POV, than offensive. But as we know and it is true today. After the first nuc is dropped. All Hell will most likely break loose. And jokers like Rocketman, some ISIS, AQ, IRGC, types know it as well. And that could work either way.

Like I said … Rocketman wants to stay in business. Some ISIS, IRGC, etc. types want to go to "Paradise". These types are light years more dangerous than that "fat kid with the bad hair cut". But as we know … Never underestimate your enemy.

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member26 Jan 2018 7:09 p.m. PST

Lol. People keep talking as though the Cold War was only about the USSR. Only part of the world's Communist bloc – the Bear – collapsed then. The other part camouflaged itself.


Charlie 12 Inactive Member26 Jan 2018 8:14 p.m. PST

Dan, as far as the BIG guns (the NUKES) were concerned, it WAS ONLY about the US and the Sovs. The others were bit players in a global game of chicken between the big guys. The Cuban Missile Crisis proved that once and for all….

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member26 Jan 2018 8:27 p.m. PST

Depending on who you ask, in 1989 Communist China had between 200 and 600 nukes.

Say what you will, even the 200 figure is a sizeable nuclear arsenal still in the hands of dedicated Communists, even by that time's standards.


Charlie 12 Inactive Member26 Jan 2018 8:52 p.m. PST

And 6,000 to throw back at ya will give even the most dedicated communist pause….

Sorry, Dan. China was a piker during the 'golden' age of the Cold War….

Legion 427 Jan 2018 8:49 a.m. PST

Yep … the US had and has a BIGGER button … evil grin

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member27 Jan 2018 8:54 a.m. PST

Ha! You can only kill a person once.


Legion 427 Jan 2018 9:00 a.m. PST

China does have @ 20% of the World's population … so …

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member27 Jan 2018 10:17 a.m. PST

Most of it in a dozen huge cities though.


Legion 427 Jan 2018 3:28 p.m. PST

Well … that only makes for better targeting, if it ever came to that. And let's hope it never does.

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member27 Jan 2018 4:10 p.m. PST

True. Let's hope it never does, but nonetheless prepare in case it does.


Legion 428 Jan 2018 8:00 a.m. PST

Very true … my favorite saying about preparedness, " Prior Planning Prevents Bleeped text Poor Performance …" evil grin

Or as I have said, and I'm sure I'm not the first … If you start to prepare for war during the war … it may be too late …

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