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The RAF had no nukes until the Early '60s

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The RAF had no nukes until the Early '60s

Old 18th Aug 2010, 22:52
  #81 (permalink)  
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@tornadoken on the Various 'gaps'

The bomber and other so called gaps were known to be unfounded at the time.

From Baiting the Bear BBC Timewatch 1996

Dino Brugioni CIA photo analyst 1948-82

"...supposedly the Soviets had more bombers than the United states and not only had more bombers, but were going to produce more bombers. Keep in mind what we did, we saw a bomber, we counted that bomber as being operational, when we knew that there was no bomber force in the World which you could look down on and say , all bombers are operational"
Narrator

"The President doubted Airforce claims (about the bomber gap), but in 1956 intelligence chiefs persuaded him to authorise a series of spy-plane over flights (of the USSR). Eisenhower insisted the CIA not the Airforce be in charge ....."
The first mission of the U2 spy-plane over the Soviet Union was on the 4th of July 1956 .....
Dino Brugioni CIA photo analyst 1948-82
"That particular mission we flew over the long range bomber bases in the Ukraine and Leningrad we flew deeper into the Soviet Union over Moscow and coveraged [sic] more bomber bases. The missions that we flew that essentially went up to the Urals, proved fairly conclusively that there was no bomber gap. Two months after the National Photographic Interpretation Centre came into being we had solved one major problem, and that was the bomber gap didn't exist.
Narrator
Despite photographic evidence that Lemay had greatly over estimated the Soviet bomber threat, in June 1957 with the help of powerful friends in Congress he (Lemay) was promoted to vice chief of the Airforce.

Dino Brugioni

...well when we flew the satellites in '60, that proved conclusively that not only was there was no bomber gap, no missile gap and no megatonnage gap, and that's when Eisenhower in one of his last ventures as a President got up and denounced the danger of an unbridled Military Industrial Complex.
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Old 18th Aug 2010, 23:19
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I would think the situation with regard to deployable devices in the UK in the mid 50s was similar to that in the US in the late 40s or the USSR in the early 50s.
Well there was a step change in '53 with Joe 4 which was a Russian 400Kt H-Bomb.

On the other hand, 25 Blue Danubes in Valiants or Vulcans could have made a very considerable mess of Russia.
Yes but...
You're assuming they'd all reach their targets, would not blow up accidentally and that they would actually detonate when they reached their targets.

One Blue Danube would make a considerable mess wherever it blew up either partially or fully.

There's no real evidence that nuclear weapon deployment diminished as a result of Grapple.
Yes that's true I'm trying to understand why so few were produced when the projection for production had been for around 200 by '58 they'd made around 20.

To single out the UK for an inadequate deterrent is unfair.
There is no way on Earth that the UK could ever single handedly match the nuclear production capabilities of either the US or the USSR. The UK needed the US and that was the reason for perusing the nuclear option in the first place. The goal was never to compete independently, the goal was always to seek co-operation from the US that was the whole strategy. Macmillan's 'great prize'

Last edited by RIHoward; 18th Aug 2010 at 23:29.
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Old 19th Aug 2010, 08:51
  #83 (permalink)  
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Well there was a step change in '53 with Joe 4 which was a Russian 400Kt H-Bomb.
And there was a step change four years later in 1957 with Grapple.

You're assuming they'd all reach their targets, would not blow up accidentally and that they would actually detonate when they reached their targets.
Which might equally apply to the Soviet nuclear weapons.

There is no way on Earth that the UK could ever single handedly match the nuclear production capabilities of either the US or the USSR
True - but we didn't have to. All we had to do was to make enough bombs to deter the Soviets from attacking.

We didn't need to compete. After all, the UK could be taken out with a few dozen bombs. Anything else would be just re-arranging the rubble.

As for Macmillan's 'great prize' - in the end, it turned out to be overrated. We didn't need the US designs - we had working ones of our own. The major difference was that ours were not 'weaponised', and to do that we would needed to have done more tests at a time when atmospheric testing was very unpopular.
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Old 19th Aug 2010, 18:58
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I think the terms we're using are confusing things somewhat so to clear things up a little.

This is what I mean by 'nukes'

nukes= military grade nuclear weapons.


And there was a step change four years later in 1957 with Grapple.
Well I'd say Grapple Z in September '58 with some US technical input, was the closest to a 'weapon', but I want to avoid pedantry. Joe 4 was successfully 'weaponised', none of the UK's H-Bomb efforts were or indeed actually needed to be after Sputnik.

The US /Soviet nuclear gap was 4 years in 1949 and 9 months by '53. Ivy Mike weighed 50 tons was 2 stories high and needed a cryogenic system to keep the HEU or whatever it was, compressed, hardly a usable 'weapon'.

RIH You're assuming they'd all reach their targets, would not blow up accidentally and that they would actually detonate when they reached their targets.
Which might equally apply to the Soviet nuclear weapons......

After all, the UK could be taken out with a few dozen bombs. Anything else would be just re-arranging the rubble
.
So the Soviets needed a 'dozen' H-Bombs and possessed hundreds?, and the UK needed a hundred? and a dozen A-Bombs might get through? I mean, who was deterring who here?

There were more Soviet nukes and they did actually deserve the epithet 'nuclear weapon' and would, in all likelihood lead to a massive re-arranging of UK rubble. Unlike those of the UK which were more akin to 'nuclear devices' that would or would not lead to rubble re-arrangement and there was some uncertainty whether the rubble would be UK rubble and worse still RAF air-base rubble, or the desired Soviet rubble.

There is a common misconception (though I doubt it is widely held on this forum) that once a 'H-Bomb' test is successful then its a simple case of mass producing that 'H-bomb' Henry Ford style, until you have thousands of 'H-bombs'. And it is this misconception which the average British taxpayer (sorry to be so Daily Mail) was never disabused of, We tested a 'bomb' today now we have Bombs, errr? no you tested a device today that may or may not, some time in the future, form the core of a military grade Bomb or nuke.

I think the problem for the Soviets was more to do with their bomber fleet's performance, their solution was to use ICBMs as their rocket engines were better than those of the West, (didn't they have some sort of after burner device that one of the kidnapped Germans invented? you'd know CNH?).


True - but we didn't have to. All we had to do was to make enough bombs to deter the Soviets from attacking.
Well that would be none, because the Soviets had no intention of attacking and the US had been successfully deterring since 1945.

We didn't need to compete.
Begs the question so why did the UK compete?. This is after all what was being presented to a frightened public who were being asked to foot the bill, it was an 'Arms Race' we were competing with the Soviets (and the US) in a race.

Nice pics
Soviet Nuclear Weapons | Energy Dimension

CIA

The Soviet Effort



Last edited by RIHoward; 19th Aug 2010 at 19:48.
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Old 19th Aug 2010, 19:24
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sullied by pedantic urges

Rescued by pedantry more like!
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Old 19th Aug 2010, 20:35
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@Tim

Nice one TIm!

One has to draw the line somewhere.
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Old 19th Aug 2010, 20:37
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There is a common misconception (though I doubt it is widely held on this forum) that once a 'H-Bomb' test is successful then its a simple case of mass producing that 'H-bomb' Henry Ford style, until you have thousands of 'H-bombs'. ... We tested a 'bomb' today now we have Bombs, errr? no you tested a device today that may or may not, some time in the future, form the core of a military grade Bomb or nuke.
So although the Soviets tested Joe 4 in 1953, they didn't have an H bomb in 1953 ...

... the Soviets had no intention of attacking ...
That is so simplistic and begs so many questions that it's difficult to know where to begin. Yes, the Soviets were not suddenly going to launch their bombers against the UK. That is not to say that a conventional war may not have broken out - over Berlin, for example - which then escalates. Krushchev did threaten the UK with nuclear weapons at the time of Suez.

We never thought there would be a 'bolt from the blue' - but we thought there may be 'period of tension', and 'periods of tension' have a habit of getting out of control. Another Berlin blockade, a British transport gets buzzed and crashes, British escorting fighters shoot back ... It's never the big things that start wars, it's the little ones (even Jenkin's ear).

So to say the Soviets had no intention of attacking misses the point spectacularly.

why did the UK compete?
We weren't competing - that's a Daily Mail level assertion. We built nuclear weapons so that we had some degree of parity - not parity in size of arsenal, but parity in terms of being able to inflict 'unacceptable damage' on the opposition. And we did not want to rely entirely on the American umbrella. True, we did shelter underneath it quite a lot, but we still had an option to go it alone if the Americans withdrew their support - as they did at Suez.

And no, their rocket engines weren't better than those of the West, they didn't kidnap German scientists, and you don't have afterburners on rockets. And they didn't have effective ICBMs until the early sixties. And would you believe that some people think that when you have a Sputnik that you have an ICBM?
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Old 20th Aug 2010, 16:56
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A side issue ?

At the risk of thread drift (or the start of a parallel flow), a similar look at France's atomic weapon development would be interesting. After all, General de Gaulle's attitude would have been similar to Ernest Bevin's, but with the "chose" bearing a tricolor. His political aim must have been similar too - all a question of influence at "Top Table" level, particularly in view of the "perfide albion" syndromeand his innate mistrust of the USA.
Is there any kind of (near?) authoritative record of the development of "dissuasion" like the excellent paper above?

Last edited by Jig Peter; 20th Aug 2010 at 16:58. Reason: Typos again, even after "checking" ...
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Old 20th Aug 2010, 23:31
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Beyond the Big Two

Some scans of American opinions on other countries possessing nuclear bombs from "Danger and Survival"..

Albert Wohlstretter...



Robert McNamara...



McGeorge Bundy...

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Old 21st Aug 2010, 00:11
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Have a good weekend

@CNH

Again I find your approach not only disruptive to the thread, but you are now wilfully ignoring supplied sources, as is clear from your first response in your last post above. If you were at all interested in furthering other peoples' (Deo Dante Dedi ) or your own knowledge and understanding of this murky period in history, you would have at least read the first chapter of that document, (The Russian Effort) which shows clearly that the Soviets had cracked thermonuclear weapons manufacture by the close of 1955.

As this quote from Sakharov's Memoires reprinted in the document explains.

Sakharov said it
"crowned years of effort [and] opened the way for a whole range of devices with remarkable capabilities ... it had essentially solved the problem of creating high performance thermonuclear weapons".


50 Mt Tsar Drop



Further, apart from your ludicrous, boys own, 'butterfly effect' theory of how wars start, you are now supplying us with down right wrongful information. viz.

they didn't kidnap German scientists
From
On April 17, 1946, the Soviet of Ministers USSR issued a decree No. 874-366ss ordering Ministry of Aviation Industry, MAP, to deport 1,400 German engineers and workers to the USSR. Including family members, the number of deported was expected to reach 3,500 people at that point.

Listed below by Number, Specialization, Assigned ministry and the Official overseeing the deportation.
  • 1,250 aircraft, cruise missile experts, Ministry of Aviation Industry, Major General S. I. Filatov, MVD chief in Brandenburg
  • 500 rocket specialists, Ministry of Armaments, Major General S. A. Klepov, MVD chief in Saxonia
  • 350 radar and radio experts, Ministry of Communications Colonel Svirin.
  • 30 specialists in solid rocket propulsion, Ministry of Agricultural Machine building -N/A
  • 25 gyroscope, navigation system experts, Ministry of Ship Building -N/A
Now if deporting people against their will and putting them in closed cities with no freedom to leave until they paid a ransom by 'being productive', isn't kidnapping.......

and

their rocket engines weren't better than those of the West
You have written a book about rockets and you edit a pamphlet about rocketry and yet you do not acknowledge that some of the best first stage launchers still in use are Russian designs from the Soviet era




NK-33 engine was originally designed and produced in Russia in late 1960s
The NK-33 engine has the highest thrust-to-weight ratio of any first-stage rocket engine, and is considered by most characteristics the highest performance rocket engine ever created.
Russia may supply Soviet-era engines for U.S. space rockets | Russia | RIA Novosti

Kosmos 3M? based on the R- 14: 1967 to present (phased out soon) ~420 launches.
Check Your 'Facts'

Your aim seems to be to conserve as if in aspic the memes of Propaganda disseminated by both sides of the iron curtain during the cold war period.


Given the definition

nukes= military grade nuclear weapons.

Then the statement "the RAF had no nukes until the early sixties" is (so far), factually correct.

You should start a thread of your own where you can wallow in nostalgia to your hearts content. Leave on the rose tinted glasses and watch those images of pointless grandeur, mushroom clouds in the sunset. This thread however is not the place to do that.

I am not prepared to engage in a petty to and fro with you any more.

Epilogue
Now my charms are all o'erthrown,
And what strength I have's mine own,
Which is most faint: now, 'tis true,
I must be here confined by you,
Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
Since I have my dukedom got
And pardon'd the deceiver, dwell
In this bare island by your spell;
But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands:
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please. Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
Let your indulgence set me free .


Prospero.
The Tempest, William Shakespeare

Over and Out.

Miscellaneous Sub Threads

Jenkins what? From
Causes of the war centred on disputed land claims, but the conflict was not limited to land. Shipping on the high seas also suffered frequent interruption from acts of piracy by both sides.
Berlin Blockade
There was an obstacle in the approach to the Tegel airfield, however. A Soviet-controlled radio tower caused problems by its proximity to the airfield. Pleas to remove it went unheard, so on November 20, 1948, the French General Jean Ganeval made the decision simply to blow it up. The mission was carried out on December 16, much to the delight of Berliners, and provoking complaints from the Soviets. When his Soviet counterpart, General Alexej Kotikow, asked him angrily on the phone how he could have done this, Ganeval is said to have answered him laconically, "With dynamite, my dear colleague."
Tales from the Cold War Rumour Mill

Neubiberg_air_base encyclopedia topics | Reference.com

Blockade Fighters (No RAF Fighter Squadrons Involved)

The 86th Composite Group was activated at Bad Kissingen on 20 August 1946 and assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe. The group was equipped inititally with low-hour P/F-47D "Thunderbolts"
removed from storage at various depots in Germany.


Initially, the group performed mostly occupation duty, however escort missions were flown with Consolidated RB-24 Liberator reconnance aircraft along the borders of Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Zone of Germany,
occasionally engaging with Soviet aircraft as they harassed the recon flights.

The mission of the 86th CG changed with the advent of the
Berlin Airlift, to escort the cargo flights within the narrow air corridors between the American Zone and Tempelhof Air Base in West Berlin. When the airlift began, the 86th CG was the only tactical air group in USAFE.
RussianSpaceWeb.com

The CIA

...1957, when all residents were issued passes permitting them to leave for one day any time they wanted. By that time, the Soviet Union already possessed a credible nuclear deterrent (including nuclear-armed medium-range ballistic missiles) against the West.
@Jig Peter

I would suspect that nothing like that document for the French effort would be available in the English Language maybe in French or if the French have a FOIA you might try that.

France's Nuclear Weapons


See you all in a week, I'm off on me hols' keep the contributions coming. Thanks for the input to all and keep it sweet.......
Best Regards
RIH

Last edited by RIHoward; 21st Aug 2010 at 00:32.
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 07:37
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I will repeat the originator of this thread is taking the p*** out of you all.
There is a basic lack of knowledge on the development of the Soviet nuclear weapons. The Germans had less knowledge of nuclear weapons than the Russians and they did not need their help except in general industrial practices.
The first Russian A Bomb in 1949 was a plutonium device i.e. the product of a reactor. The idea that Geiger and other German scientists were coerced into helping them with industrial enrichment techniques is just coo-coo.
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 08:47
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As we may have a little quiet for a while, could I suggest that if we're thinking about the '40s and '50s, we need to unthink the '60s situation of mutual assured destruction. What actually was the doctrine for the use of the UK's admittedly few and inefficient nukes? Were they intended for war fighting? I imagine one of the nuclear land mines would have disrupted a major tank offensive, and it should have been possible to arrange the delivery of one or two bombs (or devices, if it fits stipulative definitions better) by air.

Clearly the UK did not have the resources to deter the USSR--given the astonishing destruction suffered in WW II, the USSR government (especially under Stalin) would be unlikely to have been deterred by the loss of Kiev, say, or Leningrad. So were the early nukes thought of as a way of slowing down a conventional attack, or were they, as I have seen suggested, a way of upping the ante and ensuring the USA would get involved?

Oh, and could someone please and pretty please tell me how to do paragraph breaks? I've looked through the list of vB codes more times than I can remember, and I'm beggared if I can see it.
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 08:53
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I too am away on my hols, so this thread will have to manage without my disruption.

I must say Mr Howard has a remarkable ability to shift the debate to another topic when his previous assertions have been derided.
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 12:43
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Colin

No one is suggesting the Germans were involved in the Soviet Nuclear program. The point is the Germans 'helped' with the first Russian missiles based on the Nazi A-4 rocket, they were repatriated when the Soviets had enough know-how of their own.

Happy Holidays. (Mr Hill)

Last edited by RIHoward; 21st Aug 2010 at 13:42.
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 13:41
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Sapwood R7:
'Contrary to statements that the R-7 was based largely on experience and assistance of German scientists, the missile is noteworthy for looking beyond past achievements that had used German ideas'

From that font of all knowledge, R-7 Semyorka - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 21st Aug 2010, 16:35
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"Butterfly effect"

Mr. Howard ('Happy holidays, sir) mentions the "butterfly effect" of how wars start being a "Boys' Own" assertion.
Working in Berlin during the early 60s, I certainly felt that there was enough tinder around to set off a major conflagration, once the "Wall" was up, and even before that the tension could be felt as the "DDR" was leaking refugees to the West at a rapid pace - to the extent that the reception station(s?) in West Berlin were stretched to, or beyond, capacity. When young Peter Fechter was shot by Vopos and left to drown in his own blood as he hung on the wire and Russian and Allied tanks faced each other, there was a strong feeling that an "accident" was very close indeed, until first one side and then the other put their tanks into reverse, but stayed in sight of each other.
Later, as the "Cuba business" worked its way through, again, tension was high - in British HQ Berlin it was said that the easiest way to judge West Berliners' morale was to ring up a removals firm and check for the earliest date an outbound removal could be arranged: the later the date, the worse Berliners' morale.
It was quite remarkable how the tension dropped after Cuba, as Khrushchev said that West Berlin could be left on the vine to shrivel.
The "Cold War" for me, both as an early member of the V-Force and in Berlin was a very serious affair, whatever academics may now think.
I wonder if Mr. Howard plays poker?
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 14:14
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The "Cold War" for me, both as an early member of the V-Force and in Berlin was a very serious affair
As indeed it was for all of us who were ready............

Sleeping 25 yards from "your" nuke at night was not exactly fun.
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 15:10
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Angel "Hot to trot"

LM
Agreed - that's what commentators like RIH seem to forget. Thank goodness things are different now !
Regards,
JP
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 18:34
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As indeed it was for all of us who were ready............

Sleeping 25 yards from "your" nuke at night was not exactly fun.
Yes, it became somewhat less than academic when you first found out where you were expected to take it.

Later in my career I became a "link" in the release chain. That to was a sobering experience. The inoccuous phrase "six for carriage six for use" that foretold approaching armageddon. Thank goodness the signals were always headed "exercise".

YS
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Old 23rd Aug 2010, 14:33
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Yes, it became somewhat less than academic when you first found out where you were expected to take it.
Could not agree more.
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