History Main / ANuclearError

22nd Nov '17 7:13:48 PM nombretomado
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* And worse? The world may have been closer to WorldWarIII than even during the CubanMissileCrisis.

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* And worse? The world may have been closer to WorldWarIII than even during the CubanMissileCrisis.UsefulNotes/CubanMissileCrisis.
15th Nov '17 12:46:24 PM nightkiller
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** Even after the Petrov incident, there were still tensions. Two weeks before the Able Archer exercise began, a Marine base in Beirut was hit by a suicide bomber, killing over 200 US Marines. All US bases around the world were put on alert after that, stoking Soviet paranoia. Then, Able Archer '83 entered its crescendo phase -- the simulation of Soviet chemical attacks on Western Europe, and NATO commanders making the decision to launch retaliatory strikes on Eastern Europe. These messages were picked up by Soviet wiretaps, and sent Andropov and the Kremlin into a frothing panic. Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops were sent to their wartime mobilization positions, and nuclear bombers were put in the air as a precaution. It was only tamped down once a Soviet agent named TOPAZ, who had access to Cosmic Top Secret documents at NATO sent off an urgent message to the East German HVA, who passed it to the KGB, stating baldly that NATO had no concrete intentions of attacking, and that the exercise was as it appeared -- just an exercise.

to:

** Even after the Petrov incident, there were still tensions. Two weeks before the Able Archer exercise began, a Marine base in Beirut was hit by a suicide bomber, killing over 200 US Marines. All US bases around the world were put on alert after that, stoking Soviet paranoia. This was followed by considerable encrypted communications traffic between the White House and Downing Street concerning British objections to the U.S. invasion of Grenada (an Commonwealth Realm). Unable to decrypt that traffic, the Soviets assumed it concerned plans for a NATO attack. Then, Able Archer '83 entered its crescendo phase -- the simulation of Soviet chemical attacks on Western Europe, and NATO commanders making the decision to launch retaliatory strikes on Eastern Europe. These messages were picked up by Soviet wiretaps, and sent Andropov and the Kremlin into a frothing panic. Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops were sent to their wartime mobilization positions, and nuclear bombers were put in the air as a precaution. It was only tamped down once a Soviet agent named TOPAZ, who had access to Cosmic Top Secret documents at NATO sent off an urgent message to the East German HVA, who passed it to the KGB, stating baldly that NATO had no concrete intentions of attacking, and that the exercise was as it appeared -- just an exercise.
15th Nov '17 12:28:39 PM nightkiller
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** The Soviet/Russian nuclear briefcase, codenamed "Cheget", after a mountain the the Caucasus, is actually a communication terminal that's ''always'' online, and has been ever since the system was activated in 1983. If it ever loses connection with the "Kazbek"[[note]]Another mountain[[/note]] control system of the Strategic Nuclear Forces, it's regarded as a "Launch" command, because it's taken as a sign that its bearer is incapacitated. There are three such briefcases, one for the President [note]] CPSU General Secretary in Soviet times, actual Soviet President was a technical position that didn't carry much political power until UsefulNotes/LeonidBrezhnev [[/note]], one for the Defence Minister and one for the Chief of General Staff. An actual nuclear strike requires receiving the command from at least two out of three devices.

to:

** The Soviet/Russian nuclear briefcase, codenamed "Cheget", after a mountain the the Caucasus, is actually a communication terminal that's ''always'' online, and has been ever since the system was activated in 1983. If it ever loses connection with the "Kazbek"[[note]]Another mountain[[/note]] control system of the Strategic Nuclear Forces, it's regarded as a "Launch" command, because it's taken as a sign that its bearer is incapacitated. There are three such briefcases, one for the President [note]] CPSU [[note]]CPSU General Secretary in Soviet times, actual Soviet President was a technical position that didn't carry much political power until UsefulNotes/LeonidBrezhnev [[/note]], UsefulNotes/LeonidBrezhnev[[/note]], one for the Defence Minister and one for the Chief of General Staff. An actual nuclear strike requires receiving the command from at least two out of three devices.
15th Nov '17 12:25:58 PM nightkiller
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** The Soviet/Russian nuclear briefcase, codenamed "Cheget", after a mountain the the Caucasus, is actually a communication terminal that's ''always'' online, and has been ever since the system was activated in 1983. If it ever loses connection with the "Kazbek"[[note]]Another mountain[[/note]] control system of the Strategic Nuclear Forces, it's regarded as a "Launch" command, because it's taken as a sign that its bearer is incapacitated. There are three such briefcases, one for the President[note]]CPSU General Secretary in Soviet times, actual Soviet President was a technical position that didn't carry much political power until UsefulNotes/LeonidBrezhnev[[/note]], one for the Defence Minister and one for the Chief of General Staff. An actual nuclear strike requires receiving the command from at least two out of three devices.

to:

** The Soviet/Russian nuclear briefcase, codenamed "Cheget", after a mountain the the Caucasus, is actually a communication terminal that's ''always'' online, and has been ever since the system was activated in 1983. If it ever loses connection with the "Kazbek"[[note]]Another mountain[[/note]] control system of the Strategic Nuclear Forces, it's regarded as a "Launch" command, because it's taken as a sign that its bearer is incapacitated. There are three such briefcases, one for the President[note]]CPSU President [note]] CPSU General Secretary in Soviet times, actual Soviet President was a technical position that didn't carry much political power until UsefulNotes/LeonidBrezhnev[[/note]], UsefulNotes/LeonidBrezhnev [[/note]], one for the Defence Minister and one for the Chief of General Staff. An actual nuclear strike requires receiving the command from at least two out of three devices.
15th Nov '17 12:24:27 PM nightkiller
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** The Soviet/Russian nuclear briefcase, codenamed "Cheget", after a mountain the the Caucasus, is actually a communication terminal that's ''always'' online, and has been ever since the system was activated in 1983. If it ever loses connection with the "Kazbek"[[note]]Another mountain[[/note]] control system of the Strategic Nuclear Forces, it's regarded as a "Launch" command, because it's taken as a sign that its bearer is incapacitated. There are three such briefcases, one for the President[[note]]CPSU General Secretary in Soviet times, actual Soviet President was a technical position that didn't carry much political power until UsefulNotes/MikhailGorbachev.[[/note]], one for the Defence Minister and one for the Chief of General Staff. An actual nuclear strike requires receiving the command from at least two out of three devices.

to:

** The Soviet/Russian nuclear briefcase, codenamed "Cheget", after a mountain the the Caucasus, is actually a communication terminal that's ''always'' online, and has been ever since the system was activated in 1983. If it ever loses connection with the "Kazbek"[[note]]Another mountain[[/note]] control system of the Strategic Nuclear Forces, it's regarded as a "Launch" command, because it's taken as a sign that its bearer is incapacitated. There are three such briefcases, one for the President[[note]]CPSU President[note]]CPSU General Secretary in Soviet times, actual Soviet President was a technical position that didn't carry much political power until UsefulNotes/MikhailGorbachev.[[/note]], UsefulNotes/LeonidBrezhnev[[/note]], one for the Defence Minister and one for the Chief of General Staff. An actual nuclear strike requires receiving the command from at least two out of three devices.
2nd Nov '17 1:34:45 PM chopshop
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Added DiffLines:

* Happens InUniverse in ''ComicBook/WhenTheWindBlows''. The Bloggses are a kind but rather naive elderly couple who have pretty much no understanding of how radiation and nuclear weapons work, which spells trouble when a nuclear war begins. Their [[GenreBlind total unawareness]] of what's really going on just makes everything worse for them; they think they can hunker down and wait for help despite the fact that their house is ''very'' close to where a bomb landed, fail to realize that the government pamphlets they're working off of are hopelessly out of date and inaccurate, and completely miss the obvious symptoms of radiation poisoning that they're beginning to suffer.
1st Nov '17 5:58:33 AM wrpen99
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** In 1961, the US almost nuked North Carolina (a state on the USA's eastern coast) with a 3-4 megaton bomb when a mid-air refueling accident damaged a B-52 nuclear bomber aeroplane and forced its crew to bail out, leaving the bombs onboard. The aircraft broke up in mid-air, causing one of the two bombs it had carried to deploy its parachute and arm itself as per a usual bomb-drop. The bomb only failed to detonate because a final, single-element safety switch had not been flipped by the crew. The design of the bomber aircraft and bombs, and the routine nature of such flights and refuelings (a fleet of these bombers was in the air at all times, ready to fly north and nuke the USSR at a moment's notice), meant that a repeat of the incident was almost inevitable if the hardware was not modified (it was eventually replaced). [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1961_Goldsboro_B-52_crash More details here.]]

to:

** In 1961, the US almost nuked North Carolina (a state on the USA's eastern coast) with a 3-4 megaton bomb when a mid-air refueling accident damaged a B-52 nuclear bomber aeroplane and forced its crew to bail out, leaving the bombs onboard. The aircraft broke up in mid-air, causing one of the two bombs it had carried to deploy its parachute and arm itself as per a usual bomb-drop. The Thankfully, the bomb only failed to detonate because couldn't have detonated without a final, single-element crew activated safety switch had not been flipped by the crew. switch, so there was no danger of full detonation. The design of the bomber aircraft and bombs, and the routine nature of such flights and refuelings (a fleet of these bombers was in the air at all times, ready to fly north and nuke the USSR at a moment's notice), notice if necessary), meant that a repeat of the incident was almost inevitable if until the hardware parachute system was not modified (it was eventually replaced).replaced. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1961_Goldsboro_B-52_crash More details here.]]
20th Jul '17 3:11:47 PM garthvader
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** A related error is the idea of "nuclear launch codes" that the President, or a similar official, has ''memorised''. This is often used to establish a TickingClock scenario where the President must be rescued before some villain can extract the codes from him, or simply be why the President must not be allowed to be captured in the first place. In real life, the launch codes are written down (since you don't really want your country blown up without retaliation because someone can't remember a code) and usually kept in the nuclear launch case, issue orders rather than allowing the direct remote launching of weapons, and would be changed if the President was compromised in some way anyway.

to:

** A related error is the idea of "nuclear launch codes" that the President, or a similar official, has ''memorised''. This is often used to establish a TickingClock scenario where the President must be rescued before some villain can extract the codes from him, or simply be why the President must not be allowed to be captured in the first place. In real life, the launch codes are written down (since you don't really want your country blown up without retaliation because someone can't remember a code) and usually kept in the nuclear launch case, briefcase, issue orders rather than allowing the direct remote launching of weapons, and would be changed if the President was compromised in some way anyway.
20th Jul '17 3:05:40 PM garthvader
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** In 1983, war tensions were high between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. For a few years, the USSR under Brezhnev and Andropov were terrified that a United States first strike was imminent, and had instituted the [=RYaN=] (from the Russian meaning something like "Nuclear Rocket Attack") program to find any hints of warlike intentions. [[note]](To make things even worse on this score, the agents tasked with finding this information were berated if they didn't gather positive signs of preparation for a US first strike -- anything that suggested the US was NOT about to nuke Moscow was derided as "misinformation" --, and so liberally interpreted every scrap of info in the worst possible sense. In short, the Soviets were talking themselves, quite by accident, into the very nuclear war they feared was coming from the other side.)[[/note]] In the summer of '83, the Able Archer '83 exercises (a NATO communications exercise meant to simulate the first week of WorldWarThree, culminating on the last day with a rehearsal of an expected nuclear exchange) were held, this coinciding with the controversial arrival of Pershing nuclear missiles [[note]]which were capable of hitting Russia within five to six minutes, well under any sort of Soviet early-warning capability[[/note]]. The Soviets were monitoring in real time and were becoming increasingly alarmed at the exercise. The coinciding of the two events sent Soviet suspicions through the roof. [[FromBadToWorse And, the Soviet early-warning satellite system was fundamentally flawed.]] The system registered five [=ICBM=]s from three separate launches headed towards Russia.[[note]]In reality, what had happened was that sunlight reflecting off the Earth hit in just the right manner to appear to the satellite's IR sensors to be missile launches.[[/note]] [[OnlySaneMan Colonel Stanislav Petrov]], the officer in charge of the station, realized quickly that the United States would not launch a first strike with just five missiles -- had they actually intended to initiate war they'd have launched ''everything'', in an attempt to cut the head off their enemy before it could retaliate significantly. Suspecting an equipment error, he shut down the first two alarms, and explained to his superiors that he was ignoring the third, citing the fact that only five missiles had been launched. Had he instead given credence to the alarms, the Soviet Union would most likely have launched a "counter"-strike, which the USA would have correctly seen as a first strike. An actual counter-strike would have followed, and we wouldn't be reading [[HomePage TVTropes]] right now. [[ForWantOfANail And, to top it all off, Petrov wasn't supposed to be the man on duty that day. He had taken the shift for another operator who was sick.]] Needless to say, Petrov -- the man who very literally ''saved humanity'' -- was [[NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished promptly relieved of duty]] pending [[HauledBeforeASenateSubCommittee an official inquiry.]] (For what it's worth, they decided he'd acted properly and he was reinstated.)

to:

** In 1983, war tensions were high between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. For a few years, the USSR under Brezhnev and Andropov were terrified that a United States first strike was imminent, and had instituted the [=RYaN=] (from the Russian meaning something like "Nuclear Rocket Attack") program to find any hints of warlike intentions. [[note]](To make things even worse on this score, the agents tasked with finding this information were berated if they didn't gather positive signs of preparation for a US first strike -- anything that suggested the US was NOT about to nuke Moscow was derided as "misinformation" --, and so liberally interpreted every scrap of info in the worst possible sense. In short, the Soviets were talking themselves, quite by accident, into the very nuclear war they feared was coming from the other side.)[[/note]] In the summer of '83, the Able Archer '83 exercises (a NATO communications exercise meant to simulate the first week of WorldWarThree, culminating on the last day with a rehearsal of an expected nuclear exchange) were held, this coinciding with the controversial arrival of Pershing nuclear missiles [[note]]which were capable of hitting Russia within five to six minutes, well under any sort of Soviet early-warning capability[[/note]]. The Soviets were monitoring in real time and were becoming increasingly alarmed at the exercise. The coinciding of the two events sent Soviet suspicions through the roof. [[FromBadToWorse And, the Soviet early-warning satellite system was fundamentally flawed.]] The system registered five [=ICBM=]s from three separate launches headed towards Russia.[[note]]In reality, what had happened was that sunlight reflecting off the Earth hit in just the right manner to appear to the satellite's IR sensors to be missile launches.[[/note]] [[OnlySaneMan Colonel Stanislav Petrov]], the officer in charge of the station, realized quickly that the United States would not launch a first strike with just five missiles -- had they actually intended to initiate war they'd have launched ''everything'', in an attempt to cut the head off their enemy before it could retaliate significantly. Suspecting an equipment error, especially since he could not corroborate the apparent launches with radar data (which said there were no missiles at all), he shut down the first two alarms, and explained to his superiors that he was ignoring the third, citing the fact that only five missiles had been launched. Had he instead It is somewhat exaggerated how much of a threat this was given credence to the alarms, non-correlation of the radar and satellite data, and this example is often treated as if Petrov had authority to launch missiles ''himself'', but it is ''possible'' that if he had treated the alarm as genuine the Soviet Union would most likely have launched responded with a "counter"-strike, which "counter" launch, leading to a real counterlaunch from the USA would have correctly seen as a first strike. An actual counter-strike would have followed, US and we wouldn't be reading [[HomePage TVTropes]] right now.MAD. [[ForWantOfANail And, to top it all off, Petrov wasn't supposed to be the man on duty that day. He had taken the shift for another operator who was sick.]] Needless to say, The Soviet Union being what it was, Petrov -- the man who very literally ''saved humanity'' -- was [[NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished promptly relieved of duty]] pending [[HauledBeforeASenateSubCommittee an official inquiry.]] inquiry]], primarily because admitting the satellite system was flawed would be a huge embarrassment for the Soviet Union. (For what it's worth, they decided he'd acted properly and he was reinstated.)
20th Jul '17 2:57:16 PM garthvader
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** A related error is the idea of "nuclear launch codes" that the President, or a similar official, has ''memorised''. This is often used to establish a TickingClock scenario where the President must be rescued before some villain can extract the codes from him, or simply be why the President must not be allowed to be captured in the first place. In real life, the launch codes are written down (since you don't really want your country blown up without retaliation because someone can't remember a code) and usually kept in the nuclear launch case, issue orders rather than allowing the direct remote launching of weapons, and would be changed if the President was compromised in some way anyway.



*** Now we're safely past any shadow of doubt that, yes, North ''does'' have fully fulctional nukes, and has actually almost produced a thermonuclear warhead as of early 2017, their last test clearly shows signs of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boosted_fission_weapon boosted fission]], which is a last step before the true H-bomb.
* Disarming a ICBM Post-Launch: Deployed strategic ballistic missiles do not have any mechanisms for the attacker to remotely disarm or destroy the weapons after launch. For all intents and purposes once the missile has been fired it can only be stopped either by mechanical malfunction or interception. Missiles which are used for testing are modified with a self-destruct mechanism in case something goes wrong, but live warheads are not used for testing the missiles.

to:

*** Now we're safely past any shadow of doubt that, yes, North ''does'' have fully fulctional functional nukes, and has actually almost produced a thermonuclear warhead as of early 2017, their last test clearly shows signs of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boosted_fission_weapon boosted fission]], which is a last step before the true H-bomb.
* Disarming a ICBM Post-Launch: Deployed strategic ballistic missiles do not have any mechanisms for the attacker to remotely disarm or destroy the weapons after launch.launch, and use inertial guidance based their manoeuvres from a known initial launching position and so cannot be steered off-course either. For all intents and purposes once the missile has been fired it can only be stopped either by mechanical malfunction or interception. Missiles which are used for testing are modified with a self-destruct mechanism in case something goes wrong, but live warheads are not used for testing the missiles.
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