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Old 06-23-2009, 07:52 AM
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chico20854 chico20854 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Washington, DC area
Posts: 349

The Soviets operated on three levels of combat operations: tactical, operational, and strategic. Tactical focuses on winning the battle, operational on winning the campaign, and strategic on winning the war. They had formations and weapons for each stage. Armies and smaller operate on a tactical level, fronts & TVDs on the operational level, and nationally on the strategic level.

As far as nuclear weapons, tactical nukes were FROG & SS-21 missiles and artillery-fired munitions, along with gravity bombs from fighter-bombers. Range on these are out to about 100-150km at most.

Operational nuclear weapons are Scuds, Scaleboards and SS-20 SSMs, the Soviet land-based cruise missiles, gravity bombs and ASMs from Su-24 and Badger/Baackfire bombers, and SLBMs from older (Golf and Hotel-class) SSBs and SSBNs.

The strategic nuclear arsenal in the traditional ICBM, SLBM, sub-launched cruise missiles and long-range bombers (maybe Blackjack, plus Bears launching long-range cruise missiles).

Prior to the TDM, the Soviets (and NATO) are using tactical and operational-level nuclear weapons. (NATO called them Theater Nuclear weapons - ground-launched cruise missiles and US & German Pershing missiles).

Jason & I spoke last night about using conventional cruise missiles to cut the Trans-Siberian railroad. I argued that it was unlikely to occur prior to autumn of 97 (or possibly until after the TDM) for a number of reasons having to do with escalation. (And when you start into escalation & nuclear game theory things get a lot hairy and complicated) First, I assume that the Soviets would detect the incoming missile. The only way to tell if it has a conventional or nuclear warhead is to wait for it to reach its target and detonate - not a wise option for any commander. (Assuming too that it can't be intercepted). So a reasonable (here we go again with the game theory) Soviet commander might not want to wait to find out if he's being nuked and instead launch a counterstrike. As a result, the reasonable NATO commander might think real hard before launching a strike deep into the USSR with a nuclear-capable weapon armed with a conventional warhead, such as a cruise missile with a HE warhead against bridges on the TSRR. With Soviet SS-24 rail-mobile ICBMs roaming the rails, any strike on the Soviet rail network might also be seen in the same light as a strike on ICBM fields, which the v1 canon mentions as not occurring initially. (You can also turn this reasoning around to explain why Scuds and other Soviet SSMs with conventional warheads are not used against German airfields until after the beginning of the nuclear exchange, if you desire. On one hand, I'm not sure how credibly the Soviets took/believed all the Western analysis of escalation that occurred in the Cold War; on the other hand the v1 canon reads as if they basically did - else they would have nuked the German forces within hours of crossing the Inter-German Border!).

In the late Fall of 1997, however, the USAF starts flying "Golden Spike" missions over Siberian railroads. Using B-2s based out of Diego Garcia and Thailand and covered part of the way by American fighter aircraft operated by the New American Volunteer Group operating from airfields in Western China, the USAF started roving patrols of the Siberian railroad network. Priority targets are SS-24 ICBM trains (although very few operated in Siberia, preferring the much denser rail network west of the Urals) and troop trains transferring troops to the battlefields of Europe. Bomber crews tried to get "two for one", following a target train until it was on a bridge or emerging from a tunnel so that both the train and the infrastructure was destroyed by the weapon.
I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end...
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