Friday, October 28, 2022

Parsing the changing face of Nuclear targeting

Much is being made of Putin's sabre rattling with regards to nuclear retaliation in the event of NATO overplaying its hand.

The scenario from the first Cold War had mutual annihilation of the USSR and the USA after we had reduced each other to slowly cooling puddles of molten glass.

Politicians assured us that most Soviet nuclear warheads targeted chunks of Wyoming and North Dakota as that is where many of our ICBMs were located.

More recently, there have been questions about the accuracy and reliability of old, Soviet era delivery mechanisms. One could raise those same issues with the oldest US hardware as well. Rust and entropy never sleep.

Recent news is that Russia, the heir to the shrunken Soviet Empire, has been acquiring "short range" ballistic missiles from Iran. New production, battle-tested missiles.

"Short range" in this case means 200-to-420 mile (300-to-700km) range.

Let's play with some strategic scenarios.


Accuracy is a matter of repeatability with regard to range and azimuth. When firing abeam from a ship that is rocking the most difficult of the two to control is range, consequently the most desirable shot is "Enfilade" targets where if you do not hit the preferred target there are "acceptable" targets both closer and farther away.

A ship 12 miles off-shore Portsmouth, New Hampshire has a 445 (land) mile enfilade target from the north-Boston suburbs to Alexandria, Virginia.

A ship or a set of CONEX containers in Newark, New Jersey has two enfilade targets 180 degrees apart: Boston 200 miles to the northeast and Alexandria, Virginia to the southwest.

The other side of that calculation is that an enraged, hungry population can be your army. You don't need to invade a country if you can deprive and then direct the resident population.

Speaking of Ports

52% of the tonnage handled by US ports flows through these nine ports. The next ten ports for tonnage bring the total to 75% of freight shipped.

The Gulf Coast would be hammered.

Other infrastructure

Other infrastructure is isolated and vulnerable to "sleeper" teams. How many of the Venezuelans crossing into our country are agents? How many of the Latin Americans are Cuban plants? How many of the immigrants from Afghanistan and the middle-East are really our allies? How many students from Mainland China are more than just "students"

Then there are the domestic, eco-terrorists that are being energized by the mainstream media.

While all US cities are vulnerable to these attacks, the cities in the southwest are especially vulnerable because they dangle at the end of very long, isolated supply lines for things like water, electricity, petroleum products and over-land transportation.


Foreign powers have the ability to do untold damage to the United States with relatively few nukes delivered by missiles, even low-tech missiles.

The most vulnerable targets are high volume, deep-water ports because they are easy to access and have very high, strategic value.

Foreign powers that have demonstrated little regard for their citizen's lives should not be expected to respect American lives. 

The Northeast megalopolis offers enemies some obvious targeting advantages if running up the body-count is one of their metrics.

Stay away from crowds and big cities.


  1. Actual targets were quite different from what 'everybody' knew... And there is stabilization available to get a good launch at sea, the bigger issue is accuracy of the gimbal system on the missile and the INUs

  2. They don't need to use nukes, and Putin is only doing a part of the "sabre rattling".
    Biden has been the chicken little in this dialogue, and also recently had the Pentagon change the rules of engagement for first strike nuclear weapons.
    Zelensky also has openly called on NATO to attack Russia with nukes.
    Russia can win by just letting us destroy ourselves. That's the 800lb gorilla in the room. Our economy is being deliberately ruined by our own government so that they can consolidate power and wealth while kicking everyone into compliance with every dumb mandate they can think of.
    We don't have the logistics to win a conventional war. Fuel? Food? Spare parts? We'd be dead in the water after a month, begging China for more parts for our cutting edge military hardware.
    Nope, Russia won this battle in 2014 when they absorbed Crimea. All they need to do now is grind us down and ruin our economy. This has been the plan for decades. They'll detach from the US dollar completely and then we're done. All the BRICS countries are on board with them already. By next year we'll be looking at at least 2/3 of the worlds population getting away from the dollar as their reserve currency.

    I do wish we as Americans could pay more attention to what's going on outside our country.

  3. The Commies have already nuked us from orbit. White women have been turned against White men and all have been turned against Christ. While daughters whore for Babylon and sons poison themselves numb in the basement, the dusky hoards and special people loot the empire. Nuking what's left is some Titanic deck chair rearranging. Of all these memes run amok, this whole Cold War 2.0 fear mongering needs to just go full circle to the "cleanse it with fire" meme so we can get back to canning for the winter.

  4. The Russians can hit us hard, no doubt about it. The question is can they take the counter strike? Probably not. That was the whole point of the MAD doctrine. The wild card is the PRC egging on a fight and becoming the sole world power when the dust clears.

  5. No thinking advisary would bother with nuking NYC. leaving it intact would hurt the US more than destroying it. Millions of people expecting someone to feed them after an attack.

  6. If you are trying to destroy your opponent you target their industrial base, transportation and other essentials. This will cause eventual death to untold millions if it happened in America but you risk total destruction by the response from the weapons you did not target. To diminish the ability of your opponent to react you MUST target their military abilities first. Then worry about infrastructure. MAD is still the viable doctrine involved. And none of this takes into account sub launched weaponry. We have enough on subs to totally destroy Russia. They too have a significant deterrent in sub launched missiles. The question there is which navy would be better at finding and destroying the other's boomers before they are put into play.

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