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What would you do if you had six A-bombs?

  • 1

  • If I was Germany, I would immediately nuke Italy until there was nothing left.

  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10


    So, pick whatever power you want to be (Italy, Germany, USA, USSR, UK, whatever), and you had six first generation 15 kiloton A-bombs.  How would you use them, and when would you use them?

    In an A&A game or during the actual Second World War?

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    I would demonstrate two of them on the soviet union, as USA OR Germany, and then I would let everyone know that I had more.

    Germany, 1940, Nuke London.  If they didn’t submit, Nuke Manchester.

    Germany, 1941, Operation Barbarossa, send in a “diplomatic” aircraft to Moscow prior to the invasion, and nuke the city, then attack. Probably hammer Leningrad as well.

    Germany 1942,… Nuke the US force that lands in Morocco, if that still occurs.

  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The answer would depend on a lot of variables, such as what year or years I’d be allowed to select, whether I could spread out their use over several months (or years), what restrictions applied to the means of delivering the weapons, and so forth…but if I was an Allied power, my first choice for just one of the bombs would be to drop it on Hitler’s Wolf’s Lair headquarters in East Prussia at a time when I knew he was there.  There would have been minimal collateral damage – the nearest community, Rastenburg, was just a small town, and it was about five miles away – and it would have decapitated the Nazi regime.  If I had my choice of dates to do this, I’d pick early 1943, soon after Goebbels had announced to the German population that the 6th Army had been lost at Stalingrad and that Germany now had to be put on a total war footing due to the gravity of the situation.  That would have been a good moment to motivate the anti-Nazi conspirators in the Wehrmacht to overthrow the government and sue for peace, and to give their cause a huge boost by eliminating Hitler.  Dropping it sooner might not have been as persuasive, since the prospect of a German victory had not yet been cast into serious doubt.  Dropping it later would have prolonged the war in Europe unnecessarily.

  • @rjpeters70:

    Ahh… but in what year?  Or, would it not matter?

    As soon as possible  🙂

  • 2017 2016 2015 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I would basically take care of using them at only the same time so as not to alert the leadership of my enemy. I would bomb mostly capitals where the political leader was with the exception of Hitler or Mussolini. In those cases, allowing them to remain in power proves much more useful because they alone destroy themselves with poor decisions and to have them replaced with somebody capable would extend the war effort unnecessarily. Basically, this is why Hitlers home was never bombed.

    In the case of Germany, the bomb would be dropped on the Ruhr
    For Italy probably wherever the Italian fleet was anchored since the Italian army is useless.

    No bomb could be available before 1944, but if i was Hitler, dropping it at the Normandy landing would prove some advantage and postpone another landing for a year. The other 5 bombs could go against Soviet cities and London as well as the ports where the allies were staging for Overlord.

    As Japan, bombing Hawaii and Panama would be useful.

    All of these measures would not in itself force the Allies into peace IMO. The Soviets might collapse but only if it was available in 1941-42.

    Once the war direction was obvious, such measures only postpone the same conclusion. It could only help the axis if they had it earlier, which begs the question that the Axis should not have started a war until 1943.

    But if the axis had and used such weapons, you might expect many more assignation attempts against Hitler

  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10


    It’s funny, no one on here seems to be interested in using only one:  They seem to be interested in using them all to achieve operational effects.Â

    The answer I posted yesterday used only one bomb, and I proposed using it for strategic purposes (killing Hitler) rather than for operational or tactical purposes.  If I had to pick a tactical target for one bomb, in view of the weapon’s small yield, one of my choices would be the German forces in the Falaise pocket in August 1944.  There were 80,000 to 100,000 German troops in the pocket; about 20,000 to 50,000 Germans managed to escape before the pocket was eliminated, and the Allies suffered over 200,000 casualties (including nearly 37,000 killed) in the battle.  Using an A-bomb would have greatly reduced Allied casualties and would probably also have meant that fewer Germans would have escaped.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10


    It’s funny, no one on here seems to be interested in using only one:  They seem to be interested in using them all to achieve operational effects.  No one thinks Truman’s option was a good one?  "I’ve dropped two to show my will, now you will do my bidding or the destruction will continue."

    Uhmm… I seem to recall saying:

    I would demonstrate two of them on the soviet union, as USA OR Germany, and then I would let everyone know that I had more.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    If it makes you feel any  better rjpeters, I would use all 6 within seconds of each other. All on Russia. All on industrial centres, or cities, like Moscow, as soon as I could.
    I do not think much of keeping reserves. All in!
    Of course I would be Germany.

  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    If I were the British, I’d be tempted to expend all six bombs on the six most important oil-producing facilities that provided Germany with fuel.  Most likely this would mean the six biggest refineries in Romania, Germany’s main provider of oil.  If enough of these facilities were located in Ploiesti, I’d make that my main target.  The British supposedly calculated in 1941 that the elimination of about 8 or 9 important “oil targets”, out of a list 17 such targets which had been identified, would reduce Axis oil production capacity by 80%.  Six atomic bombs would take care of a majority of those 8 to 9 targets, so this would have translated into a production capacity drop of roughly 60%.  Having a lot less oil means being able to operate a lot fewer tanks and planes and U-boats.

  • 2018 2017 2016

    Germany would have used two for England (Liverpool and London)and two for the Soviet Union (Leningrad and Moscow).
    After the dropping on England ,the U.K. would immeditaley stop any War effort. And depending on wether the A-bomb killed Stalin or not, Germany would still push forward, disregarding any capitulation of the Soviets.
    America would have been closlely watched and depending on their reaction, Germany would start negotiations with the U.S. .

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    The war is only over, if the enemy believes you still have LOTS of these bombs.

  • If I were Germany I would use these Weapons to wipe out a beach head. No Atlantic wall instead an “Atomic Wall”.

  • 2018 2017 2016


    But remember, the bombs are small ones, only 10-15 Kt.  They wouldn’t cause that much destruction.  London, St. Petersburg, Moscow, etc., would still be very functional cities after they were used.  The wars would not be over at all.

    What makes you think that the war wouldn’t be over after the drop of a 15kT bomb?
    You most likley have no chance but to end the war.
    If your people dying like that you will be finding your self with your back on the wall. You are not a monster and willing to give in.
    It is not only the ability to kill so many people at once but also the the way to deliever this kind of death.
    In WW II. the saying was: it doesn’t matter death anymore, just the way it will happen.
    With the drop of those bombs, Amerika not only implemented  sovereignty and independency to the world ,but also create a lot of enemys who smiling in her face and just waiting for big shot!

  • 2019 2018 2017

    If it were late in the war and I were on the winning side, I might use them as they actually were used, to force the enemy into capitulation and avoid many more victims on my side.
    If it were late in the war and I were on the losing, I might target large enemy troop concentrations to try and convince them that my new wonder weapon might yet turn the tide of war against them, and maybe negotiate some sort of peace settlement that would be better than unconditional surrender.

    But if it were early in the war, I would hand them to my scientists and engineers and say to them: “Don’t ask me how I got these. But I want more of them, and bigger ones. Funding is not a problem. Now get to work.”

  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10


    But if it were early in the war, I would hand them to my scientists and engineers and say to them: “Don’t ask me how I got these. But I want more of them, and bigger ones. Funding is not a problem. Now get to work.”

    Reverse engineering is practical for some forms of technology – the Soviets produced the Tupolev Tu-4 by reverse-engineering the Boeing B-29 – but there’s a catch to doing the same thing with nuclear weapons.  It would be relatively feasible to copy the mechanical components of a WWII-era atomic bomb, but the tough part would be to manufacture the required quantities of fissionable-grade uranium 235 or plutonium (without which the copied bomb would simply be a very expensive paperweight).  Analyzing the core of an A-bomb would quickly reveal what it was made of, but this wouldn’t say anything about how the fissionable material was derived from non-fissionable U-238 – for instance by building massive gaseous diffusion plants of the type used by the Mahattan Project.

  • 2019 2018 2017

    Good point. But I’d say it would be a distinct advantage to know what to aim for, and that promoting a concerted effort at an early date could have delivered the bomb maybe in 1943. The original premise of having bombs without an indication of their origin makes it all a rather theoretical exercise anyway, but I’d be hesitant to use them knowing I’d run out of them.

  • 2018 2017 2016


    Aequitas, as far as yields go, 15 kt is on the really, really low end.  It’s not going to vaporize a city made of steel and concrete and masonry.  It would wipe out a large neighborhood that size, and cause structural damage to buildings outside the initial blast zone, but we’re not talking megatons here.  We’re talking a handful of kilotons.  That’s not something that destroys a city.

    I’m aware of that and still think that these would have been the targets for Germany.


    And:  “With the drop of those bombs, Amerika not only implemented  sovereignty and independency to the world ,but also create a lot of enemys who smiling in her face and just waiting for big shot!” So, you think Japan, America’s closest Asian ally, is just biding it’s time for revenge against the United States?  You honestly think that?

    Is it impossible ?

  • @Herr:

    Good point. But I’d say it would be a distinct advantage to know what to aim for

    Which is how the Soviets were able to build them so quickly with a fraction of the resources available to the United States…

  • 2017 2016 2015 '14 '12

    The date doesn’t matter.  I would use my 6 A-bombs to destroy the international financial system that is the root of all evil in the world today.  New York, Chicago, London, Geneva, Tokyo, Beijing.  Simultaneous detonations near the financial districts of those cities, no warning, maximum casualties, then I’d release my biological weapons (surprise I got those too :evil:).

  • If I were Germany early in the war, say in 1942 then I use them to destroy Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad…if Russia is still fighting after that, use them against the remaining industrial cities in the East (Chelyabinsk, Magnitogorsk, etc.).  In either case, the point is to decisively win in the East (where the vast majority of the German war effort was focused…).  In 1943 or 1944 (after the tide of the war has turned) use them tactically such at the battle of Kursk to increase my defensive capacity, the idea being to bleed the Russians into capitulation.  In 1945, the war is lost so hit London, Moscow, Leningrad, Stalingrad, New York and Washington DC (via submarine) to try to bluff a negotiated peace.

    If Russia, then Berlin and tactical use on the east front.

    If Japan, then the American West coast cities (Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco) the Panama Canal, Pearl Harbor, and probably Sidney, Australia.  For them, the war was against the USA and UK.

    If the USA, then I would pretty much do what they did, unless I had the A-bomb earlier in the war in which case I would bomb the larger cities of Japan and Germany (Tokyo, Osaka, Berlin, etc.) instead of Hiroshima and tiny Nagasaki.

    If Great Britain, I absolutely use them to destroy the U-boat pens and would probably bomb the larger cities and industrial areas of Germany with the remaining bombs.

  • 2018 2017 2016

    Good post 221 Baker Street!

    I like that you remembered the Russian Industrial places and that you considered them as well.

  • Aequiteas,

    Yes, it goes unappreciated by most but the Russian industrial cities east of the Urals were extremely important to the Russians.  If I, as Germany, had only one A-bomb, I might destroy Magnitogorsk (or as much as 15 kT will) instead of any other target (perhaps including even Moscow).  Most of the Russian steel was produced in this relatively small city…without which there would be very few Russian tanks…without which, I don’t see how the Russians win the war.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    I would use Sarin gas in Northern Syria.

    I mean… wait. Wrong conversation. 😉

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