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Old 04-25-2021, 01:11 AM
mpipes mpipes is offline
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Default France and a US Nuclear Release

Some of the discussions on the FL Beta has brought back to mind a thought regarding the actual first use of nukes in a NATO v. USSR contest.

NATO "knows" that if Russia popular get invaded, all bets are off, they will use nukes if they are losing territory. Russia, and the PACT, also knew that if they used nukes first, they were getting hit in return. So everyone's doctrine was aimed at a central "goal" as it were TO NOT LET IT GO NUCLEAR.

So Russia one morning has a collective hang over and decides why not, its a beautiful day, lets take a trip to the English Channel and those tanks roll. But lets not use nukes. We are just going to steam roll through. That idiot in the White House (name your flavor) will never have the stones to stop us with nukes.

So they steam roll over the NATO forces, start slowing down, but hey isn't that Eiffel thinging over there past the Rhine River that we should cross this evening? We have lost a lot of troops, NATO résistance is stiffening, but comrade, the French women are waiting for the glorious Russian army.

Now the US President, being the US President, decides he really does not want to barbeque several thousand Russians in nuclear fireballs, and he certainly does not want to have to deal with several thousand Americans getting the same. Elections are coming up and some of those folks might vote for me. So he says "NO nuclear release." And those glorious Russian lads keep on marching to France. But alas, those pesky French have a independent nuclear force, and they really don't think French women will welcome those hordes of Russian lads.

I have always suspected, that should such a situation develop, that not all French warheads are aimed eastward. Some are destined to head west. Not even sure that a UK warhead or two on their boomers, which if I recall correctly, fall outside the NATO command structure, might take a trip west as well. Obviously, all those barbequed Americans were from Russian fireballs, and alas, those made in America fireballs start blossoming all around those Russian lads, their dreams of French women dashed by a dastardly deed by those sneaky Frenchmen and cunning Anglos.

Good fodder for an alternate timeline? NOW THAT might make FL's timeline at least interesting.

Any thoughts?
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Old 04-25-2021, 01:42 AM
Ewan Ewan is offline
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It's a very interesting scenario and I'm sure the French might just decide to go for some other enemies at the same time.

The problem is once the US find out out both the UK and France would be nuked back to the stone age and the American population would rally around whoever the president might be with the rallying cry of "stabbed in the back by our allies".
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Old 04-25-2021, 05:27 AM
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There's plenty of places in the original timelines where it's unknown who threw what nuke where. Who's to say "allies" didn't do it as a false flag to get fence sitters involved?
It's not the craziest idea ever is it....
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Old 04-26-2021, 02:40 AM
Silent Hunter UK Silent Hunter UK is offline
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Certainly the idea of false flag operations was something thought about in the 1950s and 1960s; one British civil servant wondered in a memo about Egypt's Nasser getting hold of a nuke and the USSR being blamed.
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Old 04-26-2021, 05:28 AM
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Spartan-117 Spartan-117 is offline
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The success of this effort presumes several things.

1) That the launch or release of a nuclear weapon is not detected en route to the target.

Satellites conspire with launch plumes, grounds stations with radar returns, etc. to prevent bolts from the blue. While UK/France might be getting their clocked cleaned, if the U.S. hasn't been nuked yet and won't get into the fight until it is, much of the launch detection infrastructure should be functional.

2) That the order to release nuclear weapons against a western country can be compartmentalized to the degree necessary to ensure no leaks, subsequent whistleblower activity, etc.

Nominally this would be a TS/SCI level order within the National Command Authority equivalent, but one person, perhaps of unwavering morale character, or grief over the loss of a relative living in the US, or the death of college roommates from a study abroad trip, could pop smoke on the true source of the nuclear attack.

3) That final attribution of the post explosion nuclear material following technical analysis isn't successful.

Here's an unclassified document from Los Alamos that provides a brief overview of nuclear fingerprinting.

https://www.lanl.gov/science/NSS/iss...ory2full.shtml

I would speculate that the capability to forensically study nuclear material for the purpose of assigning attribution to a nuclear explosion, likely existed prior to this publication, at an appropriate level of classification. While isotope signatures of Soviet nuclear reactors would be difficult to obtain (though invaluable and thus a prime target for collection efforts), it's likely that U.S. labs have data sets on UK/French reactors, garnered through a wide variety of mechanism (mostly academic).

Failure in any of these domains (and realistically, several others I've not touched on) would be a catastrophic event for the responsible country.

Last edited by Spartan-117; 04-26-2021 at 07:23 AM.
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Old 04-28-2021, 12:39 AM
CraigD6er CraigD6er is offline
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The start of By Dawn's Early Light has a stolen nuke fired into Russia if I recall correctly?
Almost any scenario that has a single bomb go off could easily escalate before anyone realised the truth, but it's hard to see either France or the UK firing westwards. Whilst I could see a rogue state using a nuke , especially during a period of tension, I can’t see any possible reason for the western nations to launch against America. That would be a sure way to lose everything. It would be relying 100% on no-one detecting the launch location, of no-one blabbing. Both countries are too compact and too poorly prepared for nuclear war and they would take massive damage from even a very limited strike by America. The small number of weapons the Americans would need to use wouldn’t make much difference to the number they still had pointed further east either. The only result of a blue on blue nuclear strike would be Russian armour rumbling in from the east and skirting around the American made craters to pick over the remains.
A couple of points of interest though.
NATO at one time allegedly had a view of 'equalisation of the misery'. Any attack on the fringes of the main conflict by non-aligned states, or any embargo on essential material (specifically oil from the Middle East) would have seen efforts to prevent anyone getting such materials, quite probably by destruction of those very assets at source (ie the oilfields). Whether that is a sensible course of action long term seems not to have been a consideration. Presumably this mindset would also apply if any of the minor members of the nuclear club/rogue states decided that a European conflict could be used as cover to bury a few hatchets. Massive retaliation would have been the response, probably with little to no warning.
France does (or did) have a 'Final Warning' attitude that, above a certain threshold of damage within France, would see massive retaliation, with or without NATO approval. The part in canon where France is neutral but still gets hit by Soviet nuclear weapons to deny it’s facilities to NATO would almost certainly lead to French neutrality going out the window and more nuclear warheads flying east.
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Old 04-28-2021, 12:43 AM
unipus unipus is offline
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In addition to all of the above as evident reasons why this would be extremely likely to never occur, a few more:

1) nuclear targeting is not a casual matter, and is usually done well in advance/permanently due to a variety of reasons including doctrine, hardware limitations, obvious security aspects, etc. This means that any such plan would also exist far in advance of its execution, being communicated through the chain of command, etc. Which in turn means much increased exposure to this whole concept leaking out one way or another. Can you imagine the results of this being discovered?? They would be diplomatically catastrophic on every international and domestic level for anyone involved.

2) even if it was plausible, the most viable way this would happen is probably via SLBM. Most boomers are constantly being tailed and tracked by all manner of navies, so it's not often a major surprise where they are located. If a French boomer starts relocating to the Caribbean, it's going to raise a lot of questions probably long before it gets there.


So while this is a fun, technothriller idea, there's so many practical obstacles that it just seems absolutely crazy. The one exception might be a false-flag terrorist attack. But again, the risks to planning that, let alone actually executing on it, are enormous in any number of ways.
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Old 04-28-2021, 12:45 AM
unipus unipus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigD6er View Post
The start of By Dawn's Early Light has a stolen nuke fired into Russia if I recall correctly?
Yes, from Turkey I think. There is never any elaboration on what the device was, how it got to Turkey, etc, which is all probably for the best because most answers are pretty unsatisfactory if you think about it.
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Old 04-29-2021, 04:51 PM
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Raellus Raellus is online now
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Did the French ever field a nuclear capable submarine-launched cruise missile? My hunch is no.

Re nuclear fingerprinting, I'm guessing that it might be difficult, if not impossible, to conclusive results during the full-scale conventional war with ongoing tit-for-tat tactical and strategic nuclear exchanges. Also, re detection, might tactical nuclear missile launchings not trigger satellite detection because their launch signature might be mistaken for conventional rocket artillery?

I'm not an expert on nuclear warfare, but US/NATO doctrine during the Eisenhower years was to use nuclear weapons if the Soviets initiated an invasion of W. Europe. I'm pretty sure that policy changed over time, but it's not inconceivable that NATO shot first.

IMHO, a false flag nuclear strike is not impossible, but it seems like it violates too many taboos to be plausible. I think a more likely scenario is a belligerent nuking an allied or neutral country as an area denial tactic (e.g. nuke our friend's oil fields as soon as they are overrun by the enemy). This, of course, would likely generate resentment among friends, to say the least.

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Last edited by Raellus; 04-29-2021 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 04-29-2021, 05:55 PM
Vespers War Vespers War is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Did the French ever field a nuclear capable submarine-launched cruise missile? My hunch is no.
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No, their submarine force for most Twilight War scenarios would have been 5 or 6 of the Redoutable-class, with 5 equipped with M4 MIRV-capable ballistic missiles and 0 or 1 with M20 unitary-warhead ballistic missiles (Redoutable was retired in 1991 in our timeline and never refitted for the M4). There was an air-launched nuclear cruise missile (the ASMP), which would be hard (possibly unsuitable entirely) to develop for use as a sub-launched missile like the Tomahawk since it uses a ramjet engine.
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Old 04-29-2021, 06:22 PM
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Spartan-117 Spartan-117 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Re nuclear fingerprinting, I'm guessing that it might be difficult, if not impossible, to conclusive results during the full-scale conventional war with ongoing tit-for-tat tactical and strategic nuclear exchanges. Also, re detection, might tactical nuclear missile launchings not trigger satellite detection because their launch signature might be mistaken for conventional rocket artillery?
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But it's not tit-for-tat from the U.S. side yet. The proposal is that the U.S. is not engaging significantly, and that a western country nukes 1+ targets in order to bring it into the fight. We are sitting on our hands, then suddenly a thermonuclear explosion happens against U.S. interest. That's going to garner some interest from the interagency.

Also, the instruments of national power that would investigating are, in Twilight 2000 terms, CIVGOV side. While DOD might be drafting, training and deploying troops to respond (or preparing to respond) conventionally to an Article 5 invocation, DOE, FBI, etc. would be working the forensic side of any nuclear attack against the U.S. forces/fleets/bases/cities. I'm not saying they would be bored and looking for work (CI issue would occupy a lot of the FBI's focus in a pre-war/wartime environment), but the Federal bureaucracy *can* walk and chew gum at the same time.

Now if multiple nuclear attacks are employed simultaneously or in rapid succession, that could make forensic analysis difficult/moot. However, that dramatically increases the possibility of launch detection, leaks, SIGINT interception, etc.

Can something be mistaken at the time of launch for something else? Sure. Yeah, some guy training never to land an aircraft, just to fly one, might not raise any red flags at the time. But investigations like this work backward from a known event. Logs will be reviewed, radar/sat log/data files examined, people interviewed. The goal is high confidence attribution. Yes that takes time, but again, there's no reason it won't happen simultaneously to any DOD activities.

PS: Cruise missiles would avoid a lot of the detection issues, but striking a U.S. base or city still invites technical analysis. That debris remains. Striking a fleet at sea however...

Last edited by Spartan-117; 04-29-2021 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 04-29-2021, 10:38 PM
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Makes sense, Spartan. I was unclear on the timing, and pretty much just thinking out loud.

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