[Beowulf] Re: "hobbyists"

Glen Beane glen.beane at jax.org
Thu Jun 19 11:13:36 PDT 2008

Kilian CAVALOTTI wrote:
> On Thursday 19 June 2008 10:11:18 am you wrote:
>>> To add some more OT stuff to this thread, I don't think a nuclear
>>> weapon has ever been used (or even considered being used) to kill
>>> troops on a battlefield.
>> look up "tactical nukes".  These were the USA's only hope of
>> defending Europe from a Soviet ground invasion.
> Well, what would have been the effect of launching nuclear weapons to 
> defend Europe in case of a Soviet invasion? They would have been either 
> launched to where the Soviet troops actually were, ie, on Europe, with 
> the main effect of wiping up the countries they were supposed to 
> protect. Not so appealing.
> Or, and it's probably the most plausible scenario, they would have been 
> aimed to USSR, and likely to major cities, where they would have killed 
> mostly civilians, not troops. With the hope that the Soviet government 
> would withdraw from Europe.

This is terribly off topic, but you are thinking of strategic nuclear weapons. 
You couldn't aim a tactical nuke at a city in the USSR unless you were a mile or 
so from the city. These were small rocket or artillery fired warheads of less 
than 100 pounds.  Tactical nukes are not large enough to destroy cities. The 
main effect would not be wiping out the countries they were meant to protect, 
the main effect would be to wipe out large tank formations and make small areas 
temporarily irradiated to block the movement of troops.

> That's why I think nuclear weapons are hardly a mean to kill military 
> troops on a battlefield. 

Strategic nukes, no.  Tactical nukes, yes.

Glen L. Beane
Software Engineer
The Jackson Laboratory
Phone (207) 288-6153

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