back to article Revealed: How a weather forecast in 1967 stopped nuclear war

For the first time, retired US Air Force officers have published [PDF] an account of an incident on May 23, 1967 when a solar storm nearly fooled American high command into thinking that a Soviet nuclear attack was on the way. On that day, the US military nuclear command went into panic mode when signals from all three of the …

"the only survival strategy is not to play"

Hello Joshua.

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Vic
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Re: Wrong lesson, I am afraid

the V-force, which required the airbases still be in tact to launch.

The V-force might have required some airbases to be functional, but it was pretty resilient in terms of which ones.

If you look at the undercarriage on a Vulcan, for example, you will see a rather large number of wheels. A more conventional design would have been lighter, leading to a better aircraft - but doing it the way they did meant that it could land on a wider variety of surfaces, so the destruction of the home base would not necessarily put the aircraft out of commission.

Vic.

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"These BMEWS stations were positioned over the most likely routes for Soviet ICBMs to come visiting the Land of the Free, and some thought the USSR had worked out a jamming technology that would blind the US ahead of an attack."

"Over"?

But I digress. AFAIK, at that time the availiable jamming technology would have been an EMP caused by setting off a nuclear bomb in the upper atmosphere (or a bit higher)*, and I guess someone would have noted that.

Anyway - with each gem like this released from the archives, "Dr Strangelove"** edges yet another step away from "totally over the top romp, never could have happened" towards "mild satire, not that far away from the real thing".

* Interesting documentary on that: "The Rainbow Bombs" (aka "Nukes In Space"), can be found online by now.

** If you watch the other big film of the age about the subject, "Fail Safe", in comparison you'll see that Kubrick was absolutely right in treating it as a comedy.

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Dr. Stangelove

Watched it last year with my teenage son. Wonderful way of explaining the tension of the cold war; I am from Denmark which was _very_ close to GDR and he is growing up much later, and in Portugal where the cold war mentally was Someone Else's Problem and far away in any case

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Happy

Bemused much?

Am I the only one who finds the irony of BMEWS slightly amusing? PP

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Re: Dr. Stangelove

I found the film "Failsafe" a bit more chilling

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Happy

...toe to toe with the Rooskies...

Well, if there's nothing you can do about it, may as well laugh about it.

"...and remember that the last laugh is on you..."

-- Monty Python

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Re: Dr. Stangelove

"By Dawn's Early Light", a 1991 TV movie of the 1983 novel Trinity's Child, by William Prochnau is also worth a watch.

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Re: Dr. Stangelove

"By Dawn's Early Light"

Fuck yeah, it had a guy with a totally McCain vibe in it.

I also fell in love with bomber girl...

And of course "The Day After" classic can be found on YouTube. 80's quality! Nuclear test stock footage! Could El Reg grab a picture from there instead of that weird stuff I see here which seems to have quickly shopped by a hippie on a trip?

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"Atomic Cannon Devastation" on YouTube !

The '15 kiloton Little Boy' dropped on Hiroshima was ten feet long and weighed 9700 pounds. By the early fifties the US had 15 kiloton, 16" artillery shells on all Iowa class battleships. By 1963 the US had 155 MM nuke artillery shells, see "Nuclear Education" series of articles at Veterans Today on nuke miniaturization, and recent use by our ruling Demonic Warlords.

For info on EMP, see Wiki/Operation_Starfish

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Re: "Atomic Cannon Devastation" on YouTube !

Smallest Device I could find details of, was the US "Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SADM)" Basically a tiny nuke in a rucksack. The plan was for a couple of paratroopers to land with the thing; hide it under the bridge, power station, Docks whatever, set the clock and leg it.

Interestingly the Wikipedia entry says it was never used in combat.. Duh!!

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Re: "Atomic Cannon Devastation" on YouTube !

In a morbid sort of way I find it remarkable that not only did they get nukes small enough to fit into a shell, but ones able to survive the horrible shock of being fired from a gun without going off immediately - seeing as how that's exactly how the original one worked, firing its fuel into a matching target internally...

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Coat

I guess you could say that the solar storm of '67 really had the top brass... BMEWS-ed!

.... sorry. Mine's the one with radioactive lumps of glass in the pocket.

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Mushroom

Fylingdales

Right, that's the topic of conversation next time I talk to my Dad, who was one of the first people to start working there, even before they got the domes up.

RCA, before they morphed into Serco, were very good to their staff and families, trips to the panto each Christmas for instance.

--->> icon because I once watched a simulated nuclear attack on the UK in the main control room on a family day there. If you live in King's Lynn, start panicking, you're first...

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Re: Fylingdales

"Right, that's the topic of conversation next time I talk to my Dad, who was one of the first people to start working there, even before they got the domes up."

I wonder if he might my dad? He was one of the guys wiring up the radars inside the domes to the control systems.

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Joke

Re: Fylingdales

@ John Brown

> I wonder if he might [missing word] my dad? He was one of the guys wiring up the radars inside the domes to the control systems.

Know? Be?

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Re: Fylingdales

I hope it's not the second one...

Anyway, quite possibly. Especially from the early days. Memories of those grey Plaxton buses they used to ferry staff too and from work, and the Christmas parties & panto's are coming to mind

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Re: Fylingdales

"Know? Be?"

LOL, yes, Posting late at night when the fingers can't keep up with the brain is a bad move.

The missing bit was "have met".

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Boffin

This icon over 'ere....

( Do NOT ride the bomb! )

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Re: This icon over 'ere....

In this day and age, Major Kong would use a selfie stick to record his bomb-riding hijinks.

""Survival kit contents check. In them you'll find: One forty-five caliber automatic, Two boxes of ammunition, Four days' concentrated emergency rations, One drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills, One miniature combination Russian phrase book and Bible, One hundred dollars in rubles, One hundred dollars in gold, Nine packs of chewing gum, One issue of prophylactics, Three lipsticks, Three pair of nylon stockings....Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff.""

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Re: This icon over 'ere....

Fim Trivia TimeTMagain!

Originally, it was "Dallas". Prior the release it was changed to "Vegas", Slim Pickens dubbing over himself. The release was not that long after Kennedy was assasinated in Dallas, and MGM was a bit worried.

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Anonymous Coward

Thank God ..

.. the US didn't have any people ready to sex up the observations and suppress disagreeable observations..

It will eventually happen if we continue to elect war mongering idiots.

Anyone willing to elect Trump should be made aware that the nuclear button doesn't have an undo function. Not that I'm a great fan of Hillary either, but given the extremely limited choice I'd say that's probably a less problematic choice than the loudmouth with the weird hair.

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Re: Thank God ..

No, I think Hilarious Cliton is just as likely to start world war three as the Chump is. The difference being, she would do it for personal gain or a profit for her chums.

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Re: Thank God ..

"The difference being, she would do it for personal gain or a profit for her chums."

And she's a career politician! God only knows why a businessman would do it.

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Re: Thank God ..

Meanwhile ... KILL RUSSIANS!

Mike Morell’s Kill-Russians Advice

Perhaps former CIA acting director Michael Morell’s shamefully provocative rhetoric toward Russia and Iran will prove too unhinged even for Hillary Clinton. It appears equally likely that it will succeed in earning him a senior job in a possible Clinton administration, so it behooves us to have a closer look at Morell’s record.

My initial reaction of disbelief and anger was the same as that of my VIPS colleague, Larry Johnson, and the points Larry made about Morell’s behavior in the Benghazi caper, Iran, Syria, needlessly baiting nuclear-armed Russia, and how to put a “scare” into Bashar al-Assad give ample support to Larry’s characterization of Morell’s comments as “reckless and vapid.” What follows is an attempt to round out the picture on the ambitious 57-year-old Morell

These people are all batshit crazy and in positions of power. Historically, there have been only very few solutions out of such conundrums.

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BMEWS - RAF Fylingdales

We live not far from BMEWS site RAF Fylingdales. Robin Hood's Bay sits in a depression by the see in comparison to the height at which Fylingdales is placed, so I'm not sure how we'd sit regarding an over-pressure wave, firestorm etc etc. Given the number of MERVS the Russians would sling at it I dare say we wouldn't have much time to worry.

What I am certain of however is death within a few hours / days max from the nuclear fallout with us being in such close proximity.

I am pleased however that it wouldn't last very long either way and until it happens we get to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I envy several neighbors who work there. Should they be on shift on the day of reckoning they probably wouldn't know a thing (not working in space operations as it's called).

To be honest I feel more worried about visiting the office in central London and being caught up in a terrorist attack, train crash or dying from heat exhaustion on the tube. Certainly more likely than being nuked.

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Re: BMEWS - RAF Fylingdales

The simulation I once watched at Fylingdales had Kings Lynn taken out first, apparently it's a communications conduit, then somewhere roughly north west of Scarborough that would take out GCHQ Scarborough, Staxon Wold and Menwith Hill as well as Fylingdales all in one go.

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vir
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Walker Is My Name

He said, “I never sung no beginning becaws you wont never fynd no beginning its long gone and far pas. What ever youre after youwl never fynd the beginning of it thats why youwl all ways be too late. Onlyes thing youwl ever fynd is the end of things. What ever happens itwl be what you dint want to happen. What ever dont happen thatwl be the thing you wantit. Take your choosing how you like youwl get what you dont want.”

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"This was a lesson learned in how important it is to be prepared."

No this was a lesson in how kin STUIPID having nukes is.

On top of destroying the planet because you dont have sheilded cable connections to your early warning devices you also run a fleet of planes equiped with nukes that will make sure there really are no human survivers if it goes tit up

And the USA call North Korea a rouge state, they are probably more trustworthy than the Yanks, at least when they Nuke someone it will come with a load of Political Vitriol

When the Yanks kill our kids and grand kids, there will be a 3 line apology about sun spots....

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Trollface

Re: "This was a lesson learned in how important it is to be prepared."

> And the USA call North Korea a rouge state

That would be a "rouge star" state...

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