[Beowulf] Re: "hobbyists"

Geoff Jacobs gdjacobs at gmail.com
Sat Jun 21 01:54:03 EDT 2008

Glen Beane wrote:
> Kilian CAVALOTTI wrote:
>> On Thursday 19 June 2008 10:11:18 am you wrote:
>>>> To add some more OT stuff to this thread, I don't think a nuclear
>>>> weapon has ever been used (or even considered being used) to kill
>>>> troops on a battlefield.
>>> look up "tactical nukes".  These were the USA's only hope of
>>> defending Europe from a Soviet ground invasion.
>> Well, what would have been the effect of launching nuclear weapons to
>> defend Europe in case of a Soviet invasion? They would have been
>> either launched to where the Soviet troops actually were, ie, on
>> Europe, with the main effect of wiping up the countries they were
>> supposed to protect. Not so appealing.
>> Or, and it's probably the most plausible scenario, they would have
>> been aimed to USSR, and likely to major cities, where they would have
>> killed mostly civilians, not troops. With the hope that the Soviet
>> government would withdraw from Europe.
> This is terribly off topic, but you are thinking of strategic nuclear
> weapons. You couldn't aim a tactical nuke at a city in the USSR unless
> you were a mile or so from the city. These were small rocket or
> artillery fired warheads of less than 100 pounds.  Tactical nukes are
> not large enough to destroy cities. The main effect would not be wiping
> out the countries they were meant to protect, the main effect would be
> to wipe out large tank formations and make small areas temporarily
> irradiated to block the movement of troops.
Many (most?) scenarios had the Soviets making tactical and subtactical
use of chemical munitions. With a largely unprotected civilian
population, there wouldn't be many people left to collaterally kill anyway.

>> That's why I think nuclear weapons are hardly a mean to kill military
>> troops on a battlefield. 
> Strategic nukes, no.  Tactical nukes, yes.
Now find an effective way of preventing a tactical exchange from
escalating to a strategic exchange.

Geoffrey D. Jacobs

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