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What if the Cuban missile crisis would have evolved into a full blown war?

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  • What if the Cuban missile crisis would have evolved into a full blown war?

    So, what if the great Cuban missile crisis (that put humanity 15 minutes from Armageddon) would have exploded (no pun intended) into a full blown tactical nuclear war? What then? Would we be all like or would we all ?

    I think that the human race is far too stubborn to just die out. We would probably learn to live with the radiation and devastation that war would have brought. And you know what they say "The world doesn't go away with a bang but with a whimper".

    What do you think?

    and happy posting!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Snafu112 View Post
    So, what if the great Cuban missile crisis (that put humanity 15 minutes from Armageddon) would have exploded (no pun intended) into a full blown tactical nuclear war? What then? Would we be all like or would we all ?

    I think that the human race is far too stubborn to just die out. We would probably learn to live with the radiation and devastation that war would have brought. And you know what they say "The world doesn't go away with a bang but with a whimper".

    What do you think?

    and happy posting!
    At that point, if nukes got tossed, it wouldn't have been 'tactical' employment of them.
    Кто там?
    Это я - Почтальон Печкин!
    Tunis is a Carthigenian city!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Stryker 19K30 View Post
      At that point, if nukes got tossed, it wouldn't have been 'tactical' employment of them.
      Thats a 3 point basket.
      "Ask not what your country can do for you"

      Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

      youíre entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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      • #4
        I guess my answer depends on how much damage there was to the US, and wether or not the command structure (Ie President and Secretary of Defense, etc.) was still in place.

        I will assume that four or so missiles were launched three hit the US, two in populated areas near Washington and Philadelphia. Figure about 500,000 immediate casualties. I'm assuming that the Soviets on the ground in Cuba could not have launched all their missiles at once. I also that the order to launch was given in Cuba, where authority had been delegated to.

        I start from the assumption that Cuba is absolutely incinerated from Bombers either in Florida or already in the air.

        1. Now, the US command is intact, and the Congress and Supreme Court still exist. If I understand US policy, Kennedy will have a choice of targets. My guess is he will order an attack to 1. Incinerate Cuba, as already said 2. Take out all Russian ships and Subs and planes encountered, and 3) go to a "mixed package" which will be primarily a counterforce package to hit Soviet missile sites in the USSR. The US will also hit two or three cities, but will not try to "take out" Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, etc.

        2. The US will now face the choice as to whether to advance in Europe. I think they will in theory try not to, but the Russians on the ground who will have delegated authority will act. Likewise, I suspect US commanders will act on their own authority, to attack targets. The question then is are these nuclear attacks? I think not.

        3. The US will declare martial law. Hopefully, there will a return to Democracy.


        If the US government is destroyed, and there are tens of millions of causalties, then I think we are in the situation Dwight Eisenhower forecast, that the country would be run as an armed camp. Goodbye US, goodbye Democracy.

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        • #5
          Aside from Soviet strategic bomber launched bombs, Premier Khruschev actually had very few nuclear missiles at his disposal. It was all a bluff and he knew it. That was his weakest point militarily, because once those few Soviet missiles had been fired, there would be no back ups and the Soviet Union would have been completely destroyed both as a nation and a world power by US and UK launched bombs and missiles. Cuba would also have ceased to exist.
          "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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          • #6
            Had it gone hot the US would have obliterated a good portion of the Soviet Union in a nuclear firestorm. SAC was no joke and at that time Soviet air defenses were marginal throughout much of the country. Coming over the pole about all the Soviets could have done in many cases is periodically follow the bombers as they entered the Soviet Union and then wiped their targets out.
            The Soviet ground forces likely could have over run Western Europe to the Rhine but then they would have outrun their supply system, been stuck and would face defeat in the long term.
            Yes, much of Europe and Russia would have suffered the horrors of a nuclear war, as would Cuba which would likely have been made into a "Bikini Atoll" as part of this war.
            At sea, the Soviets of this period were beyond hopeless. Their submarine fleet was obsolesent at best with marginal crews of draftees manning the boats. They posed only a dubious threat to the West; far less than even the German U-boat fleet did two decades earlier.
            The Soviets had little they could do to retaliate. They might have gotten a nuke to a few coastal cities using a nuclear torpedo with a small warhead and launched one or two ICBMs made from makeshift platforms along with a suicide bomber or two. But on the whole it was the USSR that would be made to suffer in such a scenario and Kruscheiv knew it.
            He made the best deal he could and got out of this whole situation pretty much with a draw when he was looking at a major loss at its beginning.

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            • #7
              I remember reading that when Kennedy came into the white house he was shocked to learn that the only war plain SAC had was to fly all of our bombers over the USSR and reduce as many cities as possible to large craters. Return home and repeat. I donít know if they had been updated to give more flexibility but Gen. LeMay believed in doing it right the first time so he wouldnít have to do it again later.
              Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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              • #8
                WW3 in 1963.
                The US wins the nuclear exchange, hands down. Without ICBMs that could reach the US, and only a few in Cuba and fewer in operational Subs (if any...?) we take half a dozen hits and they take hundreds.

                So, the Red Army has to win with what it has in the field in Europe, and they have to do it quickly. France still being part of NATO at that time, its not likely that they could sweep Western Europe, but stranger things have happened.
                Then what, build up for another D-Day?

                Oh, there is also the 800-ton Gorilla in the room.
                Would China have come into the war that year, and whose side would they have taken?

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                • #9
                  China didnít test its first nuclear weapon until 1964. Even then it was a ground test not air dropped. Their ability to project power outside of the Asian continent was even lower then Russiaís ability to move troops to the Americas.

                  Not an 800 pound Gorilla so much as a 100 pound Hipo.
                  Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                    WW3 in 1963.
                    So, the Red Army has to win with what it has in the field in Europe, and they have to do it quickly. France still being part of NATO at that time, its not likely that they could sweep Western Europe, but stranger things have happened.
                    Then what, build up for another D-Day?

                    Oh, there is also the 800-ton Gorilla in the room.
                    Would China have come into the war that year, and whose side would they have taken?
                    This part, the Red Army attacking into Western Europe, would have have interesting results. Berlin at the time had several hundred Davy Crockett deployed there and the US had a fairly large number of nukes in Europe in general. I suspect the Red Army would still get to the Rhine but they would pay in blood for doing so. The bad part is that so would Europe in general.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tsar View Post
                      China didnít test its first nuclear weapon until 1964. Even then it was a ground test not air dropped. Their ability to project power outside of the Asian continent was even lower then Russiaís ability to move troops to the Americas.

                      Not an 800 pound Gorilla so much as a 100 pound Hipo.
                      "Only" Asia... ?

                      IMHO, there was some important ground there too.

                      The key would be how good thier Itnel was, pre cultural Revolution. If they thought that we had expended the bulk of our nukes, they could have decided to go for broke.
                      Or they might have turned on the USSR, I'm not sure what Mao's attitude was that year, which is why I asked.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by johnbryan View Post
                        Aside from Soviet strategic bomber launched bombs, Premier Khruschev actually had very few nuclear missiles at his disposal. It was all a bluff and he knew it. That was his weakest point militarily, because once those few Soviet missiles had been fired, there would be no back ups and the Soviet Union would have been completely destroyed both as a nation and a world power by US and UK launched bombs and missiles. Cuba would also have ceased to exist.
                        Exactly! During the crisis, the Soviets had very few nuclear weapons.....nearly none. Nor did we, for that matter, but we had a few.

                        So if we had attacked the Soviet missiles in Cuba and/or invaded there would have been only a few nukes detonated, if any.

                        We would have taken Cuba in short order, but the Soviets would have probably come through the Folga Gap and invaded Western Germany and possibly the rest of Europe. Along the Western Front is where the bloodshed would have been spilt and not in Cuba.

                        While in Cuba we would have probably defeated Castro's military which would have weakened his positions in South America and today's conflicted in that place would not have evolved.

                        We would have destroyed Moscow and other major Soviet Cities. Their navy would have been defeated and our ASW systems, which were pretty good then would have defeated the Soviets submarine forces.

                        As I consider it, I think that the World would have been better off today if Kruschev had not "blinked". The nuclear conflict would have been limited and the Soviet Union, which was much weaker than we expected, would have been defeated. The Cold War would have cooled decades before it finally ended.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                          WW3 in 1963.
                          The US wins the nuclear exchange, hands down. Without ICBMs that could reach the US, and only a few in Cuba and fewer in operational Subs (if any...?) we take half a dozen hits and they take hundreds.

                          So, the Red Army has to win with what it has in the field in Europe, and they have to do it quickly. France still being part of NATO at that time, its not likely that they could sweep Western Europe, but stranger things have happened.
                          Then what, build up for another D-Day?

                          Oh, there is also the 800-ton Gorilla in the room.
                          Would China have come into the war that year, and whose side would they have taken?
                          China? Involved in a European War? I doubt it. The reason is, the Chinese forces were in China, and European conflict was "way over there". Would China have invaded India? The fact is China to be an effective military source had to mass their forces to attack. A massed military force, made up mostly of infantry are perfect targets for airstrikes, arty and armored attacks.

                          The fact is we trounced the Red Chinese in 1953 and could have destroyed North Korea, if Trumen had not pulled our forces back and sued for a cease fire. We could and should have won the Korean War, and defeated the Red Chinese as well. Just as we would have defeated the Soviets if they had attacked during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by majormack View Post
                            Exactly! During the crisis, the Soviets had very few nuclear weapons.....nearly none. Nor did we, for that matter, but we had a few.

                            So if we had attacked the Soviet missiles in Cuba and/or invaded there would have been only a few nukes detonated, if any.

                            We would have taken Cuba in short order, but the Soviets would have probably come through the Folga Gap and invaded Western Germany and possibly the rest of Europe. Along the Western Front is where the bloodshed would have been spilt and not in Cuba.

                            While in Cuba we would have probably defeated Castro's military which would have weakened his positions in South America and today's conflicted in that place would not have evolved.

                            We would have destroyed Moscow and other major Soviet Cities. Their navy would have been defeated and our ASW systems, which were pretty good then would have defeated the Soviets submarine forces.

                            As I consider it, I think that the World would have been better off today if Kruschev had not "blinked". The nuclear conflict would have been limited and the Soviet Union, which was much weaker than we expected, would have been defeated. The Cold War would have cooled decades before it finally ended.
                            From a book I just finished:

                            We, being the US had more than just a few nukes. By the time of the CMC, the US had already deployed about 150 Atlas and Titan ICBMS, and 10 of the brand new Minutemen. There were over 100 Jupiter and Thor IRBMs deployed in the UK, Italy and Turkey. Ten Polaris IRBMs had been recently deployed. Then there are the bombers. All in all, the US had about 2,800 megatons worth of nukes available.

                            In Cuba, the Soviets deployed 36 SS-4 IRBMs (but 24 launchers) with the capability of hitting most of the Eastern and Midwestern US with a 1 megaton bomb. There were also 30+ FKR cruise missiles armed with tactical nukes that were sufficient to wipe out any invasion fleet, and might have had the range to hit Miami. There were also 10 or 12 Luna missiles to wipe out any beach head. Finally, there were 8 a-bombs that could have been dropped from the IL-28 tac bombers that had been deployed.

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                            • #15
                              Nice list of what they had in Cuba, I wonder how many would have been taken out before they could have been launched?
                              We had a good military and lots of pilots ready to go on a moment's notice.

                              Heh heh... I'm looking at MajorMack's comment, and it makes me smile. How many Westerners were saying exactly the same thing about Japan in 1939?

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