It is advisable to turn to the analysis of popular beliefs on the subject of a retaliatory nuclear strike a little later, but for the time being it is worth asking this question: why do realistic evaluations of the effects of nuclear strikes cause such a wave of hysteria on the part of the audience, which, in general, should not succumb to such sentiments?
The answer, as I would formulate it, is quite simple. This camouflaged fear. Fear can be expressed not only in flight or the desire to hide somewhere, but also in increased aggressiveness and obviously unreasonable bravado. In verbal debates, he is often expressed in an effort to outbid an opponent or to shower him with allegations that are not subject to doubt, but in fact are very shaky.
Nuclear weaponthat has not been used in combat since August 1945 of the year has always been closely associated with fear and has been more a means of intimidation than a means of destruction. Aphoristically speaking, nuclear weapons in the years of the Cold War destroyed the psyche and thinking, not cities and military facilities. In the arsenal of psychological warfare, there was a strong exaggeration of the destructive power of nuclear bombs, a strong exaggeration of the size of the nuclear arsenal, and the publication of outdated plans for nuclear war (all such plans published by the Americans were undoubtedly part of the psychological warfare against the Soviets; the Communists tried on the consequences massive nuclear strike, horrified and capitulated). The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program proclaimed by US President Ronald Reagan 23 in March 1983 had a great psychological effect, despite all doubts about its technical realism.
With such colorful pictures illustrating the American PIO program, the Soviet leadership intimidated its own people. I saw this picture in my childhood and since then I remembered it very well. In my opinion, this is from the magazine "Young Technician"
The apotheosis of this psychological warfare was, of course, the theory of the "nuclear winter", which was in fact incorrect and was already refuted by empirical data. But at the time of its appearance, it had a tremendous effect. After the presentation at the joint US-Soviet conference of scientists 31 October - 1 November 1983 of the year and began the next day, 2 November 1983 of the year, exercises Able Archer-83 on simulating the preparation of a massive nuclear strike and working out the highest level of combat readiness of DEFCON-1, the Soviet command became make plans for abandoning nuclear weapons. Marshal of the Soviet Union S.F. Akhromeev (at that time, the first deputy chief of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces) recalled that at the end of 1983 the General Headquarters began to work out plans for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons by the 2000 year. The starting point for such an unprecedented desire for disarmament was the conviction that nuclear weapons would destroy all life on the planet, and their use is meaningless. This, in my opinion, made a decisive contribution to the subsequent surrender and disintegration of the Soviet Union.
General Secretary of the CPSU MS Gorbachev proclaims at the XXVII Congress of the CPSU a new party program with the thesis of complete nuclear disarmament
The fear of the exaggerated destructive power of nuclear weapons worked not only to intimidate a potential enemy (and in this sense it works now, and even is the cornerstone of the Russian defense doctrine), but also acted as a means of creating an illusion of security. They say that the enemy, frightened by nuclear weapons, will not dare to attack either with his own nuclear forces or with conventional weapons, and therefore there will be no war from the word "absolutely." Well-known logic. However, its starting point is essentially self-intimidation. If you do not fear nuclear weapons and realistically assess their capabilities, then such views cannot be divided. In addition, rampant self-intimidation with nuclear weapons, as seen by the sad fate of the USSR, can lead to surrender.
Fear of nuclear weapons, acting as a means of intimidating the likely adversary and the basis of the illusion of security, rejected a rational approach to nuclear weapons. The first was a British nuclear physicist, Nobel laureate 1948 of the year, Baron Patrick Stewart Maynard Blackett.
This is a British flint, Baron Blackett, a participant in the Battle of Yutland during the First World War, hunting for German submarines during the Second World War. Nobel laureate and other, and other, first questioned in the destructive power of nuclear weapons
In 1949, he published a paper in which he for the first time questioned the destructive power of nuclear weapons (in the midst of nuclear hysteria already raging in the United States and the Western world). He compared the effects of the atomic and conventional bombardment of Japanese cities and calculated that the bomb equivalent of a uranium bomb was only 600 tons of high-explosive aerial bombs, and the equivalent of a plutonium bomb - 1300 tons of high-explosive aerial bombs. To inflict damage on Japanese cities, the same as from nuclear bombs, would require from 120 to 210 B-29 bombers, i.e. a medium-arm attack. The allied bombardment of Germany, during which 1,3 million tons of bombs were dropped, was equivalent to 400 advanced nuclear bombs with a capacity of approximately 50-60 kt. However, his conclusions were simply silently rejected.
So a hysterical reaction to realistic assessments of the power of a nuclear strike is far from newsrather, even a tradition.
In our case, the fear of the exaggerated power of nuclear weapons acts almost exclusively as a source of the illusion of security. The Russian defense doctrine proceeds from the fact that the probable adversary will be afraid of our nuclear power, of a nuclear retaliatory strike, and therefore will not decide on any forceful actions. The fact that this is just an illusion speaks at least the fact that over the past two decades, the United States has conducted a series of large-scale military operations and never once had the Americans abandon their plans due to the Russian nuclear threat. However, subjectively the illusion is stronger than facts, and all the facts that dispel it are simply rejected with foam at the mouth.
Who will recover from strikes faster?
Let's get to the point on the other hand, from the point of view of a great strategy. Nuclear strikes, of course, not the whole war, but only part of it. A massive nuclear strike, even a cash arsenal, substantially less than in the “blessed times” of the Cold War, can cause great damage to the armed forces, military infrastructure and military production. But this is because the probable war will not end. To achieve a military victory, it is necessary to completely deprive the enemy of the possibility of armed resistance, which is achieved either by forcing to surrender or by occupying his territory, which is possible after the defeat of his armed forces.
The occupation, as the experience of the Second World War shows, is the most reliable means of achieving a complete military victory, since in this case the use of human and economic resources by the adversary is prohibited, military production and supply of troops is terminated. In this case, the remaining troops due to the acute shortage of weapons, ammunition, equipment and fuel are quickly defeated or surrendered.
The same experience of World War II shows that the defeat of the enemy is the easier, the more their military economy is violated. The defeat of Germany in 1944-1945 is shown in the most obvious way. After american and british aviation inflicted a series of devastating attacks on synthetic fuel plants in the summer and autumn of 1944, the German army lost all battles and the war as a whole.
Piles of ruins and twisted metal - all that remains of the synthetic fuel plant in Gelsenkirchen after the 13 raid of June 1944 of the year
The acute and growing lack of fuel did not allow the Germans to use large-scale Tanks and aviation, disorganized the supply of troops and acted as a decisive factor in the defeat. Bomb attacks on large enterprises, in particular, aircraft factories and ball bearing factories, were not so effective, but they also made a significant contribution to weakening German military power. Bomb attacks on railway junctions, which were carried out in late 1944 - early 1945, disrupted the supply of raw materials and fuel to the military factories, the supply of arms and ammunition to the troops, as well as the maneuver of forces.
However, strikes against military-industrial and transport facilities facilitate the achievement of a complete defeat of the enemy, but do not complete it. Destroyed production to some extent amenable to recovery, evacuation and dispersal. Completion of the defeat remains the share of the troops and is carried out by the offensive.
A massive nuclear strike is closest in its strategic importance to massive air strikes; it violates the military economy and for some time weakens military power. In this case, the probable war between Russia and NATO (the United States together with its European allies) in the exchange of nuclear strikes, both sides will suffer very significant damage. To characterize it as follows.
First, Russia, due to the peculiarities of the structure of the fuel and energy complex, will suffer more damage than our likely adversary. The destruction of gas pipeline nodes, Unified Energy System nodes, the destruction of a number of large power plants will destroy the order of 70% of energy capacity. About 30% of capacity will remain on the move, mainly in Siberia, where the electric power industry is mainly coal, with local fuel. Restoring gas pipelines and supplying gas for approximately 2-3 months will reduce damage to 50% of the pre-war level.
Secondly, strikes on the USA and countries of Europe will disable the order of 10-15% of energy capacity in the USA and 5-10% in Europe. The loss of capacity in Europe will be large due to the loss of Russian gas, which in 2017 amounted to 35% of European energy consumption, that is, up to 45-50% in total. And this deficiency will be unrecoverable.
But here we must take into account the fact that our potential adversary has the possibility of moving military production to other countries, including those that are not part of the NATO bloc and are not in military alliance with the United States. This opportunity arose from the expansion of international military-technical cooperation, the development of joint military developments, the creation of joint ventures, both the production of components and assemblies and the final assembly, as well as the sale of licenses for the production of a wide range of weapons and equipment. And this was done with the permission of the US government. At 2005, the US State Department granted the US defense industry about 7 thousands of permits to enter into licensing and technical support agreements (including 2150 for Lockheed Martin). In the event of war, all this foreign military-industrial potential will undoubtedly be demanded by the leadership of NATO and used to increase military production to the maximum. In some of its parts it will be deployed in countries that are definitely not subjected to Russian nuclear strikes: these are India, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Malaysia, and so on. I have not met assessments of the potential of American-controlled military production in the world, but if this was not done at all, then this is a big omission. Without foreign production, it is impossible to fully assess the military-industrial potential of NATO.
The Indonesian MMWT tank is a typical product of military-technical cooperation with NATO countries. The development is a joint Indonesian company PT Pindad and Turkish company FNSS Savunma Sistemleri. The tower and 105-mm cannon - the Belgian company CMI Defense, in the development of the gun took part the South Korean company Doosan DST. The gun is adapted for firing all types of NATO standard 105-mm projectiles. Indonesia has already mastered the production of shells for the 120-mm cannon Rheimetall for the tank Leopard 2, undoubtedly, the production of 105-mm shells will be organized. So companies that can supply the NATO army with weapons and ammunition in the event of war can be found in many different countries
Thus, having received a nuclear strike, the United States and NATO countries immediately rush not only to restore the destroyed military-industrial infrastructure, but also involve all firms and companies around the world that are connected to military-industrial corporations with a whole system of treaties and agreements. This circumstance will allow them to restore and increase military production much faster than might be expected. For Russia, the possibility of such a removal of military production outside the country is practically absent.
So, the exchange of nuclear strikes will disrupt the military economy of both sides, but NATO has the ability to run the recovery period faster. It is of great importance. A faster recovery of military production means faster mobilization and the formation of new units for large-scale ground war.
Russia will not be able to develop the success of its nuclear strike
This implies the important predictable circumstance in a probable war that even after the exchange of nuclear strikes, NATO will be able to move much faster to a large-scale ground operation in order to completely defeat and occupy the territory of its likely enemy.
Here the circumstance noted in the previous article comes into force: NATO troops can occupy Russia and enter Moscow, but Russian troops cannot occupy the United States and join Washington, and for a fairly obvious reason. Russia cannot transport its troops across the Atlantic and land on the American continent, while the Americans already have a huge bridgehead in Europe, directly reaching the borders of Russia, also have the possibility of landing in the Far East, and relatively recently a bridgehead appeared in Afghanistan with the possibility of an offensive against the Russian allies in Central Asia.
It is necessary to visually show how comfortable NATO bridgeheads have on the Eurasian continent. The map is somewhat inaccurate and outdated. There are no American bases in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, they are not in Turkmenistan; US troops on a rotational basis are deployed in the Baltic countries. But the map still shows the global balance of power.
On the US side there is superiority at sea, as well as quite considerable opportunities for naval military transport operations. For example, during the Iraq campaign in 2003, 18 military transport vessels were involved, including 9 tankers, and in general as part of fleet Maritime shipping command 51 ships, and with the reserve and chartered - 300. In addition, the US fleet included 8 Wasp universal landing ships, and the construction of a series of 12 new generation UDC-type ships was launched. The U.S. Navy's shipbuilding program also included the construction of four Montford-Point-type floating vessels (completed in 2018), 17 TAO (X) tanker tankers, as well as 10 high-speed military transport ships and 73 new-type hovercraft. In addition to military transport vessels, there is the possibility of mobilizing a large number of merchant vessels, especially ro-ro ferries designed for the transport of equipment. During the Cold War, the United States had plans to mobilize 2 merchant ships, but I think that if necessary they can mobilize much more, especially since the global merchant fleet, mainly controlled by shipowners from NATO countries, of course, was not sunk by nuclear attacks will be.
Russia has only one specialized military transport ship Yauza, built in 1974, which has been modernized with a complete replacement of superstructures and equipment.
Of the large landing ships, there are 4 ships of the 1171 project, 15 ships of the 775 project (most suitable for trans-oceanic operations) and two more ships of the new 11711 project in construction. Some of them are used to deliver goods to Syria, in the "Syrian express." But this, even for an extremely limited military transport operation, was not enough. Two ro-ro ferries, Novorossiysk and Alexander Tkachenko, were involved, and four old cargo ships were bought and turned into vessels of the auxiliary fleet of the Russian Navy. For transportation, the Sayany search and rescue ship was even involved.
If even for the “Syrian express train” it was not possible to gather enough military transport ships and had to acquire floating trash, then the transfer to America of any significant forces is an impossible dream. And you need to transfer a lot. Considering the fact that there are about 900 thousands of military personnel in the US, 857 thousands of people in the National Guard, you just need to redeploy a group of a million people, with all the equipment, weapons, ammunition and supplies for a large and rather lengthy operation. This expeditionary group still needs to be recruited, trained, armed, equipped and prepared for transfer across the ocean. The transfer should also be carried out as soon as possible so that the expeditionary group is not broken up in parts.
BDK "Yamal" project 775. It has a cruising range of 6 thousands of miles and takes on 10 tanks and 340 people, not counting the crew. You must have at least 100 units so that a successful landing on the territory of the United States becomes at least theoretically attainable.
So, the Americans have a large bridgehead on the Eurasian continent in the form of the territory of the European members of NATO, and it already has advanced forces, bases and military infrastructure, and also has the ability to transfer large forces and supplies across the ocean. We do not have a bridgehead in the American continent and there is no possibility to transfer an expeditionary group of troops across the ocean with enough strength to achieve success.
Hence the conclusion that we will not be able to develop the results of our massive nuclear strike and go on to the offensive attack that is crushing the likely adversary at the moment of its greatest weakness. But NATO is able to do it. This is an objective fact that cannot be canceled by any hysterical cries.
Modifications of the military doctrine
The plan of probable war should nevertheless reach the end and provide for the achievement of a military victory over the probable adversary. In another case, the plan of probable warfare is a pile of worthless paper, albeit adorned with the vultures.
Even with a superficial glance at our defense doctrine (which, of course, provides for the preliminary elaboration of plans for a possible war), it becomes quite obvious that it is just a useless paper. In it, the final point of planning is a massive nuclear strike, and what will happen next, nothing is said about it. References to secrecy will not help here. If there were assumptions in the event of a war after an exchange of nuclear strikes, they would certainly have expressed themselves in a series of preparatory measures that could not be hidden.
Under current conditions, the belief in "otvetku" - is an illusion of security. In essence, the exchange of nuclear strikes means defeat to us. After the exchange of nuclear strikes, we will remain well if with a half of the pre-war economy, with a weakened army and a severely damaged military infrastructure. The damage inflicted on the probable opponent gives us a relatively small handicap: a month, perhaps six months, 2-3, which is enough only for the most elementary mobilization measures, and then we will deal with a numerically superior and constantly increasing enemy, deployed from bridgeheads, which we can not eliminate. For a year or two, they will crush us. So the bet on “otvetku” is definitely losing: shoot - and you can give up.
Since readers should not want to be the loser, it is advisable to briefly consider options for modifying the defense doctrine. In general, we have two options for such a modification. The first option, which envisages a drawn result of the war, is to make a bet on a protracted war on its territory, a kind of cold and snowy Vietnam. This option is available, but it requires preparatory measures, such as strengthening the military industry and placing it mainly in Eastern Siberia, strengthening coal energy in Eastern Siberia, developing transport communications between the Urals and Transbaikalia, with the construction of a dispersed system of roads, a kind of trail of Ho Chi Mina, crossing the Western Siberia, preparation for the general mobilization and training and arming of all capable of carrying weapons.
Accordingly, in the military-technical sphere, a significant place should be given to the creation and pilot production of weapons and equipment of a mobilization sample: the simplest, most technologically advanced, produced by semi-handicraft methods from the most accessible raw materials. The number of military-economic measures should also include the development of the production of equipment for small dispersed military enterprises: various small-scale chemical installations for the production of fuel and military-relevant materials, metalworking machines and complexes, equipment for the production of cartridges and shells, and so on. If this is done, then there is a chance (not weak) that after a long fight the Americans will have to either give up or agree.
The second variant, which envisages the achievement of a military victory over a probable enemy, consists in a radical revision of the military doctrine and the development of a very extravagant version of it. She, in my mind, is based on three elements. First, the massive, automated production of ballistic missiles, so that thousands or even tens of thousands of missiles are launched in the volleys. Then you can count on achieving strong damage to the enemy’s military industry, disrupting its communications and sinking a significant part of its merchant fleet. The testament of the unforgettable Nikita Sergeevich: "Making rockets like sausages" remains relevant for us.
Secondly, the mass automated production of automatic percussion machines and ammunition for them. Since our human resources are far from unlimited, we must fight with iron, not with humans. Without a horde of automatic percussion machines, we have no chance to overthrow the enemy, dramatically outnumbered and mobilized.
Thirdly, the construction of huge concrete floating platforms that can be used to transfer a horde of combat robots across the ocean to America, as well as their production, using captured resources.
If this is done, then there are chances to achieve a military victory over the likely adversary in the global battle and redo the world order in their favor. Despite the fantastic nature of this extravagant version of the military doctrine, however, it alone promises the achievement of ultimate military success, complete defeat and surrender of the enemy.
It is clear that parting with the usual illusions is very painful, but it must be remembered that you cannot charge the gun with hysterics and loud statements and that the bravest paratroopers will not be able to cross the Atlantic Ocean.