Britain and France left standing after the Cuban Missile Crisis goes hot

uk 75

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Have just got hold of Edition (Tome) 9 of a French graphic novel series in A4 format called "Jour J" in which the US and Russia go to war over Cuba but De Gaulle and Macmillan keep out of it. The story takes place in an alternate 1967 with Mexico about to reoccupy Texas. France and Britain send in a force to secure a Titan missile silo.. If this sounds familiar I think there was a novel with a similar theme in which Ted Heath of all people decides to send in British paratroopers to seize US nuclear weapons after a similar Cuban Missile Crisis based war.

In practice it would have been impossible for Europe to have emerged unscathed from a 1962 War as so many tactical and operational weapons were based in Europe and would have been used. For example the Thors in Britain and Jupiters in Italy and Turkey were all targetted by Soviet missiles as were the numerous US airbases.
 

Michel Van

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THX for info Uk 75
so good Jour J is artistic, so bad are they in Alternate History

For good look HOW the world would ook like after Cuba Missile War check this page
http://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=65071
by "Amerigo Vespucci" his work is most complex and detail analyst of World War III on 1962
alone 1162 post !
 

bmdefiant

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The novel "Resurrection Day" by Brendan Dubois gives a good fictional account of a post-Cuban Crisis going hot..with the UK remaining unscathed and looking to re-establish its influence of North America.. :eek: :eek:
 

uk 75

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BM defiant Thank you for giving the details of Resurrection Day. Like I said I found the likelihood of the Heath Government being decisive enough to act as described highly unlikely, France with General De Gaulle still around (presumably no 1968 events) might however have proposed a European takeover of the US nuclear arsenal, with which Heath might have cooperated.

The link to the highly detailed Cuban Missile Crisis timetable is very helpful. The author admits his knowledge of the UK is less than his US for obvious reasons. However his ideas are interesting and I have reprinted them below with my amendments/comments in square brackets:


Monday, October 30, 1962

11:12 PM
Kennedy finishes a conference with Prime Minister McMillan [ Harold Macmillan ]of Great Britain, who has informed the President that he intends to strike first at Soviet targets should the inevitable escalation continue. Great Britain is directly in the Soviet line of fire, and barring the sudden outbreak of common sense, the only way for Britain to survive is to strike first. Nuclear fighting has clearly broken out in Germany, and McMillan informs Kennedy that he has authorized his forces on the ground to respond to nuclear attack with missiles of their own [ refers to RAF Thors although warheads US not UK] even to strike first if it appears that the Soviets are going to employ nuclear weapons. Britain is already undertaking full Civil Defense measures, Kennedy is informed.

[In the real crisis Macmillan with the support of the British Defence Chiefs urged restraint and left dispersal of the V force to as late as possible. RAF Valiants and Canberras with US weapons were allocated to NATO Saceur and not under national command]

Tuesday, October 31, 1962
The Last Day


2:34 AM
President Kennedy is once again contacted by Prime Minister McMillan, who informs him that if the situation continues to deteriorate, he will order a first-strike nuclear attack on Soviet-captured airfields in Norway and bomber bases in the Kola Peninsula. Kennedy attempts to talk McMillan out of the approach, calling it insanely dangerous, but is interrupted by a string of messages about the nuclear fighting in Germany. As he reads through the messages, Bobby Kennedy, who has remained with JFK in Washington, remarks, Well, theres only one thing left to do now, John.” [The RAF did have nuclear targeting for these targets but only as part of SACEUR and SACLANT Oplans and not as independent missions]


2:48 AM
A battery of Soviet surface-to-surface missiles launches an attack on a suspected NATO special weapons depot in central Germany. Six Soviet nuclear weapons devastate the area, destroying a stockpile of Corporal missile reloads. Over 60 NATO nuclear warheads are destroyed. Unfortunately for the Soviet Union, there are over 5,000 NATO-controlled nuclear warheads still in Western Europe.

The attack creates a crisis in the NATO command. British, Belgian, and Dutch commanders, with Prime Minister McMillan chiming in from an underground bunker in Wales, demand immediate action against Soviet airfields and known fixed missile positions in Eastern Europe. The threat is clear, they declare to Gen. Norstad
the Soviet Union is clearly on course to escalate the conflict, and the more nuclear weapons NATO destroys, the fewer that can be launched against Western Europe. When Norstad counters that he does not have the freedom to launch nuclear weapons without the authorization of the President, McMillan replies that Kennedys orders of forward defense cover this situation, and that by not attacking, Norstad is violating Kennedy
s orders, not following them. [ It is well documented that UK commanders in NATO were keen to use nuclear weapons earlier than their German and US colleagues because of the vulnerability of BAOR and RAFG however Field Marshall Carver did not]

Norstad attempts to find a compromise solution, but there is none. McMillan announces his intention to use Britain
s nuclear capability, with or without Norstads assistance but without Norstads help, the effectiveness of the attack will be greatly lessened. [ This would only apply to the Vulcans and Victors equipped with UK weapons, although I suppose the RAF in extremis might have been prepared to take over the Thors and B43 bombs from their US custodian units] Norstad is torn on one hand, Kennedys instructions to him were to avoid widening the war whenever possible, but on the other, nuclear war has clearly broken out. He cannot risk splitting NATO in wartime. If he didnt go along with McMillan, and the war ended tomorrow, could NATO survive America throwing England to the Soviets in its darkest hour? No, he decided. It couldnt. Reluctantly, he agrees to McMillans plan, but requests some time to coordinate his forces. Communications are growing more and more difficult, thanks to Soviet attacks, telephone lines being cut, and the increased radio interference caused by the nuclear detonations. Time, McMillan replies, is something we do not have much of at the moment.”[I am not sure from the historical accounts of the Macmillan Cabinet that it could have acted so decisively in a crisis where the US was not leading the way]


At T+14 minutes, they will be detected by the RAF
s Ballistic Missile Early Warning radar at Flylingdales, in the UK. That station, monitoring several hundred IRBMs in flight over Europe, may easily miss the ICBM tracks inbound to the United States and Canada. If not, they will immediately pass a warning on to NORAD, which will further the information to Washington, D.C. [ RAF Fylingdales was not operational in 1962?]

2:57 AM
BMEWS Flylingdales picks up a large number of missiles launched from Eastern Europe, heading west. In a panic, the Prime Minister is notified.

2:58 AM
In an instant, Prime Minister McMillan knows all is lost. Though he will likely survive from his bunker deep in the Welsh mountains, the vast majority of Britain hell, Europe will not.[ See Peter Hennessy’s books for where Macmillan would have been, probably in London rather than the actual bunker BURLINGTON in Wiltshire] We wont have to fight them on the beaches this time. The wars already over. McMillan orders an immediate retaliatory strike against Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union with every available weapon. Across Britain, air-raid sirens blare and telephones ring as the four-minute warning is put into effect. The name will be somewhat of a misnomer it won
t take four minutes for the Soviet missiles to reach their targets. It will take nine.

3:00 AM
Flylingdales, having calculated the trajectories of many of the missiles inbound to Britain, passes word to the Prime Ministers bunker that the apparent targets seem to be limited to military bases only the fact that many of these bases are near major cities is a fact known by everyone. McMillan, after a moment of hesitation, does nothing. The attack will continue as planned. V-Bombers to targets in Soviet-occupied Norway and the Kola Peninsula, and No. 77 squadron
s Thor missiles will be targeted at sites across Eastern Europe. As planned. [RAF Bomber Command worked closely with SAC to prepare the routes into the Soviet Union as well as hitting some cities. I am not sure how good the relationship between Le May and Cross was in real life]

3:01 AM
At airfields across the United Kingdom, Valiant, Victor, and Vulcan bombers armed with American-built W-38 gravity bombs lumber down the runway and into the air. Many pilots anxiously turn their eyes skyward, half expecting to see the contrails of incoming missiles. In peacetime, the pilots took pride in their ability to reach the Soviet Union before even the bombers of the Strategic Air Command. Now, in the face of an unknown number of Soviet fighters and SAMs, that pride turns to a growing fear. [A mixture of UK and US weapons equipped the Vulcans and Victors as is described in a number of books]

In Lincolnshire, at five RAF bases, missile launchers are thrown upright by giant hydraulic rams, and toxic rocket fuel is pumped into fifteen separate American-built Thor missiles. At the launch site, crewmen work in frenzied panic, one eye on their work, and another on the sky. By the book, it takes fifteen minutes to fire the Thor from its horizontal storage position. Driven by fear for Britain and more importantly, themselves
it will only take six. For those that make it, that is. [ I assume that contrary to the implications earlier of UK national command the US custodian units would now have been authorised to take part in SACEUR and SAC missions]

3:03 AM
Gen. Norstad authorizes a full NATO nuclear response to the ongoing attack and orders a full nuclear defensive posture. For many locations in West Germany, the warnings will come too late. Many units have dispersed, particularly the nuclear and chemical units, but those in close contact have not. Moreover, the sheer number of incoming warheads will negate much of both sides
dispersal strategy. [ The BAOR Honest Johns and Corporals had US supplied warheads, in this scenario it is quite likely that they might not have received their firing instructions in time]

In Italy, two squadrons of nuclear-armed Jupiter IRBMs are readied on the launchpad. From their locations north of Taranto, they can reach deep into Eastern Europe. If, of course, they can be launched in time.

3:07 AM

In Lincolnshire, the first Thor missiles begin to take fight, soaring upward on a pillar of fire. Before the last of them leave the launch rails, an enormous roar in the air signifies the arrival of several Soviet missiles. RAF Helmswell, Feltwell, and dozens of other airfields in Britain are annihilated. The scene is repeated in Western Europe and North Africa, from SAC bases in Morocco to Italy and Turkey and northward, to the unoccupied portions of Norway, as Soviet ICBMs and IRBMs reach their targets.

3:22 AM
Britains revenge begins hitting Eastern Europe as the survivors of Britain
s 15 Thor IRBMs begin to land in the Warsaw Pact. Those that fall in East Germany are lost in the frenzy of tactical and short-range nuclear destruction. Outside of East Germany, the capitals of several Eastern European nations join the nuclear bonfire. Inside of East Germany, there is already very little left. In Berlin, scattered fighting continues, but with fewer and fewer orders coming from higher authorities on either side, and the obviousness of what has happened, no one seems willing to press home the attack.


4:12 AM
Nuclear fighting in Europe continues as British V-Bombers strike at Soviet-held airfields in Norway, relieving pressure on Britain from the north. Several bombers continue onward to strike targets in the Kola Peninsula, but many find that their targets are already burning, victims of American ICBMs. All eventually find some target worthy of an atomic bomb, or are shot down. The survivors turn westward, with many bomber crews bailing out over Britain, unable to find a usable airstrip on which to land. Several others land in neutral Sweden, which has fared fairly well in the fighting, and are interned.

Europe is not so lucky. Germany, western Poland, and much of Bohemia form an immense dead zone where virtually nothing survives amidst a blackened, radioactive ruin. Most survivors come from the edges of the zone, as they are able to fleet to less-damaged areas. There are very few undamaged areas, however. From Narvik to Gibraltar, no corner of Europe escapes damage. The capitals of old Europe
Paris, London, Brussels, Rome, Madrid, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and so on are all destroyed. Only Berlin remains, a lucky victim of the ferocious fighting in its streets.

Naturally, most of these casualties came in Germany and the countries of the former Warsaw Pact, but Italy, Britain, and France also suffered gruesomely, each losing over half their pre-war population. The remaining 50 million casualties were suffered primarily by North America, but famines triggered by the change in climate also contributed to the enormous total.
 

pathology_doc

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[I am not sure from the historical accounts of the Macmillan Cabinet that it could have acted so decisively in a crisis where the US was not leading the way]


But isn't that what makes the what-ifs so much fun?
 

uk 75

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Pathology Doc

Of course you are right. And that is why I pasted this excellent story into UKSP. However, I think one can also paint another picture of the UK Government. Macmillan was not the only possibility for Tory party leader after Eden resigned and he could also have resigned earlier because of poor health.
 

uk 75

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I found myself reading Brendan Dubois' Resurrection Day again the other day.

I have already mentioned that I find the idea of Western Europe and its US nuclear bases not being targeted in the Soviet nuclear strike unrealistic. SS4 and SS5 missiles were deployed for this sole purpose as well as large numbers of Il28 and Tu16 bombers.

Assuming the UK and France received their likely number of strikes, they would have had to implement their emergency survival plans overseas. Both France and Britain had such plans.

Canada and Australia would have survived unscathed as they had no nuclear launching sites or bomber bases. The Soviets would have concentrated on the targets in US and Europe. It is likely that the Queen and surviving government ministers would have moved to Ottawa. Earl Mountbatten and Prince Michael of Kent, plus Charles and Ann would have been sent to Australia.

In such a febrile situation, Dubois' plot of a British attempt to intervene in US affairs becomes more likely than if the UK had survived unscathed. The Macmillan, later Home Government would have survived into the 1972 timeline of the novel (Home as Foreign Secretary in the 1972 Heath Government). The centre of the Commonwealth would have moved to Ottawa and Canberra.

Assuming De Gaulle had survived the strikes (I doubt the Soviets planned to deliberately target cities in their first strike-London would have suffered because of Heathrow)
He would also have been an interesting factor (or rather Georges Pompidou as De Gaulle would still have died in 1970).

The likely destruction of the V Bombers over Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union as they went in ahead of SAC under the joint SIOP would have left the UK short of nuclear capability. Even if Macmillan had stopped them going, all their dispersal bases were in the line of Soviet fire. Polaris had not yet been negotiated, so getting hold of Hound Dogs and US nuclear bombs for the Royal Air Force (TSR2 might have gone ahead or the VC10 been pressed into service) would have fitted Dubois' ideas.
 

Archibald

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they would have had to implement their emergency survival plans overseas. Both France and Britain had such plans.
Geez, imagine, millions of metropolitans going to La Réunion... the island is luvly, but so small !!!
 
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