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Old November 13th, 2012, 09:10 AM   #1

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Atomic war between Us and Europe


In a pure speculative and irrealistic scenario of total war between the Us on one side and Uk/France on the other side, with both sides determined to use their atomic arsenal to destroy and exterminate the opponent, how much damage would british and french bombs do to the United States?

This is merely a technical question based on the power of the two european countries nuclear weapons.

I have no doubts that Us arsenal is big enough to destroy europe, but how big of a devastation would the us suffer?
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Old November 13th, 2012, 09:12 AM   #2
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Very little - they are there for préstige and votes, not use.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 09:42 AM   #3

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It would depend on the location of the submarines at the outbreak of hostilities, I would imagine.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 09:47 AM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iolo View Post
Very little - they are there for préstige and votes, not use.
These are nuclear bombs that we are talking about.... A few submarines could take out the entire city of new York.

So I gues it depends on your definition of very little.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 10:17 AM   #5

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Just as the speculative nature of op is considered here, the same has been done by all countries with nuclear arsenals. Here in the US virtually every possible scenario has been run, and best recommended options are established in basic planning. I doubt there could be any surprise first strikes nation to nation militarily. The only surprise would come from clandestine infiltration of a country's borders with easily handled, relatively small yield weapons. The defense against this scenario rest solely in intelligence efforts, and the response would be considered more in limited retaliation, and is probably the "best" chance out of all for a limited nuclear war.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 10:52 AM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by astafjevs View Post
It would depend on the location of the submarines at the outbreak of hostilities, I would imagine.
Thanks to the miracle of spherical geometry, a Trident II missile launched from the arctic sea could reach any part of the United States. One launched from the Atlantic on the equator could reach anywhere except Hawaii. The French missiles have a slighter shorter range, but could also reach, say, San Diego from the Mediterranean or Omaha from French Polynesia.
However the combined Anglo-French nuclear arsenal is a paltry 525 warheads against the US stockple of 8000 odd. A surprise attack using the entire Anglo-Franch nuclear arsenal could destroy all US bases, land based nuclear forces, battle-groups at sea, command centres and a selection of major population centres, however they could not touch the strategic submarines until they fired their first missiles. As the Anglo-French forces are submarine launched and once a launch takes place, the entire arsenal would have to be fired at once, they would then be pinpointed and the US subs could then reply.
A silly idea really. If Britain and France destroyed the USA, who would we sneer at? If conversely the USA destroyed Britain and France, who would they brag to?
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Old November 13th, 2012, 11:18 AM   #7

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Originally Posted by Ancientgeezer View Post
Thanks to the miracle of spherical geometry, a Trident II missile launched from the arctic sea could reach any part of the United States. One launched from the Atlantic on the equator could reach anywhere except Hawaii. The French missiles have a slighter shorter range, but could also reach, say, San Diego from the Mediterranean or Omaha from French Polynesia.
However the combined Anglo-French nuclear arsenal is a paltry 525 warheads against the US stockple of 8000 odd. A surprise attack using the entire Anglo-Franch nuclear arsenal could destroy all US bases, land based nuclear forces, battle-groups at sea, command centres and a selection of major population centres, however they could not touch the strategic submarines until they fired their first missiles. As the Anglo-French forces are submarine launched and once a launch takes place, the entire arsenal would have to be fired at once, they would then be pinpointed and the US subs could then reply.
A silly idea really. If Britain and France destroyed the USA, who would we sneer at? If conversely the USA destroyed Britain and France, who would they brag to?
My original reply nearly said that even in such a hypothetical situation, the UK and France would be more likely to attack each other than the US!

I had no idea at all on the range of the Trident missiles. Thanks.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 12:46 PM   #8

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The main factor would be simply the dimension of the territory.

In the short term, in case of nuclear conflict, US generals would aim at France and UK, leaving the rest of EU for an eventual second phase [with a conventional invasion, a kind of second D-Day].

France and UK can count more than 500 nuclear warheads [see Federation of American Scientists :: Status of World Nuclear Forces ]

Sure a considerable power, but enough to win against a country with a so wide territory? I'm not that sure, overall keeping in mind that AEGIS [and evolved AM systems] will intercept a part of the EU missiles, while in this field [AM systems] Europeans are a bit slow to develop.


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Old November 13th, 2012, 02:29 PM   #9

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"Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed, but I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops"
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Old November 13th, 2012, 02:56 PM   #10

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"Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed, but I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops"
General Buck Turgidson
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