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


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    How would every nation delivered these bombs?
    Suggestions ?


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    So isn’t that a possibility??

    cuskloonv1.jpg


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Yeah it’s a possibility, so long as the rocket doesn’t veer off course, or explode on the deck like this.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    The Germans worked allready on guided missles like the V-1 and V-2.
    Launching via Subs it would have meant that two Subs would have been needed to fire a V-1 or V-2,
    while the first Sub was firing the V-1, the second sub would have guided it via Radio.
    Since the German Navy ran allready successful tests with the new XXI boats as beeing a true SUBMARINE (U-Boat) it would have been an easy one to sneak up to any coast in the world.
    Working allready on Rocket launchers for subs and test to fire a V-1 by a sub would have been the next level to the end of 1945.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    @rjpeters70:

    In 1945, the nuclear powers did not know enough about nuclear physics to produce weapons small enough to fit on ballistic missiles.  It would simply not have been possible to put an atomic warhead on a V1 or V2.Â

    Who are those power"s" you talking??


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

    @rjpeters70:

    Ok, fair enough.  I should have written, “In 1945, no one knew enough about nuclear physics to produce weapons small enough to fit on ballistic missiles.”

    I guess another way of approaching the problem would be to try to build a ballistic missile big enough to carry the large atomic weapons of the time, though I don’t know if rocket technology in those days was sufficiently advanced to do the job.  The Germans did fool around with some large missile designs such as the A9/A10 (which in principle might have been able to reach New York), but these designs may have been optimized for range rather than payload-carrying capacity.  At any rate, the problem would be made a bit easier if a gun-type uranium-based bomb was used, since this design was more compact (though harder to produce in large quantities) than an implosion-type plutonium-based bomb.



  • This is a no brainer.  You got Hitler in 33 chomping at the bit to get in power so he can wage his war for “living space”, than suddenly he gets the weapon of his dreams…  IMO he nukes Paris and London.  He now knows his western flank is secured because they can not compete with that kind of weapon.  Than he goes after Russia with his last 4.  The war is over and all of us should invest in Roseta stone to learn German.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    @rjpeters70:

    Just because you have a missile or rocket, doesn’t mean you have the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon.  You need to have the nuclear warhead itself be small enough that can 1) fit on the tip of a rocket/missile, and 2) still have enough critical mass to achieve fission (and thus, yield).

    That’s why the earliest weapons were so large:  They required a huge amount of fissile material, because the weapons were so inefficient (i.e., required an enormous amount of material to produce yield).  The reason why we are able to fit multiple, high yield weapons on missiles in the modern era is because modern nuclear powers know how to produce really efficient warheads that can produce large amounts of yield for relatively small amounts of fissile material.

    In 1945, the nuclear powers did not know enough about nuclear physics to produce weapons small enough to fit on ballistic missiles.  It would simply not have been possible to put an atomic warhead on a V1 or V2.Â

    If you have these six A-bombs you will also have the right things to deliver it!
    This statement goes as well with in real time based History!!

    If I recall it correctly, then the Russians launched a atomic warhead after the war from a German sub XXI class successfully, didn’t they??

    Exactly Zooey72 , who will dare afterwards when you see your capitol with the shadows of your peoples on the walls?


  • Moderator

    6 atomic bombs and the means to deliver??

    1 on London. Sue for peace " or else" option
    2 on Manchester…. England will surrender after that

    The French will surrender… Well because their French
    Poland would be crushed conventionally, and the rest of Europe would be annexed
    from fear of same fate as Poland or London.

    Now I would hold the other 4 in reserve. I know I only got 4 left but the rest of the world does not.

    My next move would be towards the middle east, not Russia.


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

    @Deaths:

    6 atomic bombs and the means to deliver??
    The French will surrender…. Well because their French

    On the other hand, A-bombing Paris might have had the opposite effect.  France’s biggest problem was that many senior political and military leaders (like General Gamelin) lacked guts and/or brains, and were wedded to obsolete military tactics.  It’s possible that an A-bomb attack on Paris might have vaporized many of these problematic figures, and that military command might then have fallen on one of the more competent, aggressive and mechanization-minded officers (like de Gaulle) who were lower down the hierarchy.


  • 2017

    It’s a weird question whether or not an atomic Germany would considering using one of a limited supply of warheads against France.

    With the advantage of hindsight, its obvious that using a nuclear weapon would be unnecessary.

    However, putting yourself in the head of a commander prior to the invasion of France, such an overwhelming victory was not a certain or even expected outcome.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    It is kinda weird how you, rjpeters70 project this topic, you kinda don’t allow alternative ways and rely mostly on actual events and the informations gained out of it ,but in the same token apply things wich could not be known at that time…

    And now you made me curious about how to deploy a weapon like this with a truck?

    Six bombs you say??!..hmm  🙂


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

    Limited knowledge breeds limited solutions.


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

    I’m talking about everything else…that was possible Historically. Not current affairs


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

    The question assumes a nation has six of these bombs. Obviously, technology is not created in a vacuum. Ancillary and related technologies including delivery systems would and can be assumed to have been developed. You can’t just develop A-bombs and still be flying Biplanes.

    At the very least, long range strategic bombers could be refueled in the air a number of times or just deliver the bomb and ditch in the ocean.

    Pretty basic in spite of a lexicon of nuclear proliferation talking points…


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

    I said that in 1945, no nation had the ability to minuturize the warheads to put it on the tip of a ballistic missile, or into an artillery shell.

    But you also said that one of the principle nations had six A-bombs…if they had this they would also have developed parallel delivery systems/technology at that point.

    They don’t need to miniaturize anything, just carry it as bomber playload. Germany could have done this with arial refueling of which had been done even before the war by other nations.

    So there are other solutions…


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    @rjpeters70:

    I said that in 1945, no nation had the ability to minuturize the warheads to put it on the tip of a ballistic missile,

    Well then let us put it in the center of a V-2 or let’s assume they put it in a V-3 or V-4 wich was capable of carry a a-bomb like this…just saying


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    I used a simple enumeration of V’s.
    All I was saying:

    @aequitas:

    @rjpeters70:

    I said that in 1945, no nation had the ability to minuturize the warheads to put it on the tip of a ballistic missile,

    Well then let us put it in the center of a V-2 or let’s assume they put it in a V-3 or V-4 wich was capable of carry a a-bomb like this…just saying

    Well then LET US put…an assumption. If the V-1 wouldn’t made it then V-2’s then V-3’s, then V-4’s ,then V-5 's and so on and so on…



  • Russia: Petlyakov Pe-8
    Germany: Heinkel He 177
    Britain: Avro Manchester
    France: Farman F.220
    Japan: Mitsubishi Ki-20
    USA: Boeing B-17
    Italy: NONE

    These are your only airborne options for weapon delivery at the onset of war in 1939. No other aircraft at the time had the carrying capacity for a 4,400 kg weapon.

    People saying the Japanese should bomb San Francisco, or that Germany should bomb Magnitogorsk, are forgetting that the Axis NEVER had the ability to bomb these cities from afar, and certainly not with a 4,400 kg weapon like a Little Boy.

    The British and German bombers were at the prototype stage at this point, and might not be serviceable. The later British bombers (Lancaster, Halifax, Stirling) were all still at least a year away from service. The American bomber would be limited to a range of less than 400 miles, and the B-29 was still 3 full years away from it’s first flight.

    In short, aerial delivery in this scenario is incredibly risky. Your plane is slow, overloaded, has short range, and is incredibly vulnerable to attack. The only reason America was able to bomb Japan historically in such a manner was it’s new high-altitude bomber and it’s total air superiority.

    The most reliable delivery method in this hypothetical scenario is probably via submarine. While heavier than a torpedo, a nuclear weapon of the era was shorter and not much wider than a torpedo, so it is reasonable to assume a bomb could be placed in a sub with a volunteer skeleton crew and detonated near any number of targets.

    Land based delivery is possible in some circumstances, but it’s probably pretty risky, especially if enemy units are around who might intercept your weapon.

    We can pretend like advances might be made in missile technology, or more rapid bomber development, but I prefer to work within historical parameters, rather than make guesses as to what might be available.

    In short, even with six bombs, it’s not going to be easy to utilize them effectively. I worked out some options for Germany, and might do other nations later. Germany’s nuclear focus is on Britains navy and Russian logistics.

    –-

    GUIDELINE - Do NOT confirm OR deny the possession of any additional weapons at any time. Let the enemy guess as to whether you have more weapons, and take his own risks accordingly.

    –-

    1. Scapa Flow - Before Oct 1939 - via suicide submarine.

    This strike will take out a significant portion of the Royal Navy in it’s home harbor. The sub surfaces just prior to detonation to maximize damage. Historical precedent for this action exists. This has multiple positive outcomes for Germany. The British may very well call it quits after sustaining such a blow that early in the war. If not, they must call in ships from the Pacific and Indian oceans, along with the Mediterranean, to make up the loss to the Home Fleet for defense of the home islands. Convoys will be harder to guard with fewer ships available, and what’s left of the fleet might be relocated to a harbor either less secure from air attack, or farther from operational areas.

    2. Dunkirk - On or about May 29 1940 - via suicide submarine

    Surfacing as close to shore as possible before detonation, this attack strikes a fatal blow to the British Expeditionary Force as it attempts to evacuate the continent. This strike has the added benefit of dealing additional damage to Royal Navy assets, along with civilian watercraft aiding in the evacuation. The civilian casualties will likely mean a heavy blow to British morale. With the evacuation efforts cut off by the attack, nearly 200,000 British and French soldiers who would have otherwise been evacuated will be killed, sickened, or captured.

    3. Suez Canal, southern entrance (city of Suez) - On Sept 9 1940 - via suicide submarine

    Cutting the British Empire in two just as Italy begins it’s invasion of Egypt, this action will greatly hinder the already beleaguered British in their attempts to sustain their empire, lengthening maritime resupply routes and slowing the flow of Indian and Australian troops to the African theater. German subs can also now count on new hunting grounds along the African coasts. While not as decisive a blow as Scapa Flow, or Dunkirk, the aid to the Italian efforts should be significant enough to positively affect the outcome of their Egyptian campaign.

    4, 5, 6. Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Vladivostok - after June 22 1941 - via suicide submarine

    Destroying these port facilities at the start of Operation Barbarossa cuts off the Arctic and Pacific options for Allied supply of the Soviet Union, limiting them to the Persian Corridor. Murmansk and Arkhangelsk might be within range of bombers stationed in Norway if the naval delivery option is ruled unfeasible. As at Suez, the residual radiation from the weapons will likely hinder reconstruction efforts for a significant length of time. Cutting off the Soviet Union from Allied aid in the initial phase of invasion gives Germany the best chance for success, far better than any single tactical detonation in a ground campaign or against an industrial center.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    I too enjoyed it. Thank you Aretaku for your time in writing up such a lengthy piece.

    Edited as my eyes are poor. Please excuse my misspelling your name the first time.


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

    @wittmann:

    I too enjoyed it. Thank you Arekatu for your time in writing up such a lengthy piece.

    I enjoyed it too – great post.  Just to follow up with couple of thoughts:

    • Along the lines of what rjpeters said about water surface detonations, I think that topography plays a slight factor in the effects of nuclear detonations.  If I’m not mistaken, the hilly terrain around Nagasaki amplified the effects of the blast, in contrast with the fairly flat topography of Hiroshima.

    • I’m wondering about the “suicide submarine” premise.  All the targets listed except Vladivostok would have had to be attacked by German U-boats rather than Japanese ones, and I’m not aware of Germany carrying out any systematic program of suicide attacks (if any at all) in the same way that Japan did when it adopted kamikaze tactics in the last stages of the war.  There were some early-war instances of enthusiastic Japanese fighter pilots ramming enemy planes when they ran out of ammunition (a technique with a low return on investment, since it killed valuable trained pilots Japan could not easily replace), but I think that deliberate pre-planned suicide tactics pretty much had to wait until Japan had its back to the wall in late 1944.  Given Germany’s lack of a bushido tradition that included ritual suicide for warriors under certain circumstances, getting sailors to agree to a suicide attack (especially early in the war) would have probably been an even harder sell in Germany than in Japan.  The U-boat arm was admittedly more politicized than the Kriegsmarine as a whole (since it was a volunteer force), but that I’m not sure if this would have helped much.  I’m not aware of even the Waffen-SS carrying out deliberate pre-planned suicide attacks (which isn’t the same thing as fighting “suicidal” battles against almost hopeless odds).  So the psychological requirement for the “suicide submarine” premise is a bit problematic.


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

    From a purely physical point of view, another potential WWII delivery mechanism with ample load-carrying capacity would be by railroad, on a perfectly ordinary freight train. Unfortunately, the practical obstacles would be numerous.  Right off the bat, it would be tricky to get the bomb into the target country undetected in the first place (by submarine at night would be a good option, if the country has a coastline) and loaded onto the desired train (presumably through an SOE-type covert operation), and for the bomb to remain hidden during any potential train inspections by the target country’s military or civilian security services (since I think wartime governments kept a close eye on trains in general).  Concealing it in a shipment of machinery might work best, especially if the shipment in question was protected from inspection by a real or forged shipping manifest declaring it to be restricted.  In occupied Europe, I believe that railroad workers were sometimes part of local resistance groups – so groups like that might have been able to help with the operation.  There would have been plenty of target choices, since just about every major city in the industrialized world during WWII was served by railroads.  The train timetables would have been a major wild card, however: they could have been disrupted by such factors as sabotage, air raids, and last-minute changes of destination or timing imposed by the authorities for various reasons (such as important military needs).  So using a nuclear bomb with a time-delay trigger would involve taking a risky guess on when (or even if) the train will actually arrive at its destination, as opposed to its scheduled time of arrival.  And of course, if something goes wrong with the timer or if the enemy’s security forces are on their toes, there’s the ghastly possibility that the bomb would fall unexploded into enemy hands and get used later against your own side.  So other than the fact that trains could carry a heavy A-bomb with ease, there would have been more potential for such an operation to go wrong than right.



  • @rjpeters70:

    This is a great posting.  My only problem with a water surface detonation is that the water itself would absorb much of the blast, acting to suppress the yield effects.

    I used THIS simulator to determine blast effects.

    With a weapon of this size (15-20 KT), the differences in blast wave, radiation, and thermal effects are minimal, whether an airburst or a surface detonation.

    An airburst would be better, but not significantly so.

    So, while I think a surface detonation would do significant and some operational harm to the Dunkirk evacuation, and might do real damage to Suez, you wouldn’t get much bang for the buck with a Scapa Flow detonation.

    The direct damage to ships is less important than radiation sickness affecting highly trained Royal Navy personnel.

    In either case, the base will almost certainly be abandoned, which is the primary goal; either to force them to station at a base farther from operational areas, or from a base more exposed to air attack.

    You might take out a battleship if you get to within say a tenth of a mile, but not much more than that (and trading a nuke for a battleship is not a good cost/benefit ratio).

    Any ship within 1.5 km is going to sustain heavy damage. Any such ship will be heavily contaminated by radiation and will likely be unsalvageable. Any ship within 5 km is going to lose most of it’s crew to radiation sickness.

    It is a significant blow. Certainly greater than Pearl Harbor. Certainly worth a nuke.

    @CWO:

    I’m wondering about the “suicide submarine” premise. 

    Given Germany’s lack of a bushido tradition that included ritual suicide for warriors under certain circumstances, getting sailors to agree to a suicide attack (especially early in the war) would have probably been an even harder sell in Germany than in Japan.

    So the psychological requirement for the “suicide submarine” premise is a bit problematic.

    I considered that.

    But consider also that Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union hold lots of power over their citizens.

    It is not unrealistic to me that the threat of incarcerating or executing a sailors family might be used against sailors of “questionable” status to ensure their cooperation. Or perhaps freeing an already incarcerated family member if the sailor agrees to the mission.

    Remember also that, at least for Scapa Flow, there are a number of old Navy veterans who would probably like nothing better than the chance to go out in such a fashion.

    I simply don’t see Germany, Japan, or Russia having trouble finding “volunteers”. It’s the liberal democracies of the US and UK that will have an issue there, but they eventually have bombers that can actually perform the task.

    @CWO:

    From a purely physical point of view, another potential WWII delivery mechanism with ample load-carrying capacity would be by railroad, on a perfectly ordinary freight train.

    I ruled out train delivery right away. Too many things can go wrong, and it severely limits your target options.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    good post Aretaku!


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

    @Aretaku:

    It is not unrealistic to me that the threat of incarcerating or executing a sailors family might be used against sailors of “questionable” status to ensure their cooperation. Or perhaps freeing an already incarcerated family member if the sailor agrees to the mission.

    Forcing military personnel to go on a suicide mission by threatening to imprison or kill their relatives would undoubtedly work with some individuals, but this method also runs the risk of backfiring spectacularly.  Anybody coerced by such a method is going to be extremely resentful (to put it mildly) and some individuals placed into this position might respond by simply pretending to agree to take the atomic weapon into enemy territory on a suicide mission; upon arrival, they might well be brave enough or resentful enough to turn the weapon over to the other side and to urge them to use it to destroy the capital city and the leaders of the dictatorship which has threatened them and their families.  Some might be idealistic enough to sacrifice their family members to accomplish this; some might not believe their government’s promises that their relatives will not be harmed if they cooperate (governments who rule at gunpoint don’t score very highly on the credibility and trust scales); and some might conclude that the best chance their families have of surviving is to eliminate the dictatorship before the dictatorship can eliminate them. Personally, an atomic weapon is something I’d only place in the hands of people in whom I have absolute trust, not in the hands of people I’ve threatened and antagonized.


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