Although we don’t like to talk about real get-down, nitty-gritty urban survival much, the past few weeks have again underscored the wisdom of having a “place in the country” to run to in the event of the ultimate disaster.
This is not to claim that nuclear war is imminent, but, if it was, odds are about 99.999 percent that no one of our pay scale would have foreknowledge of what was to come.
So this morning a quickie refresher on preps you should already have in place, or if not, things to think about…
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Nuclear war and urban survival seem to be contradictory terms. Oh, sure, horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are real enough. But even there, people did survive – at least for a while.
Education is the first tool you’ll need. Since the latter part of the Cold War the classic book, and it’s still available today is Kearney classic “Nuclear War Survival Skills.”
Reading this won’t make you feel warm and fuzzy toward nukes, but they might be out there in our future – like future tax increases, it’s the kind of thing to take in stride.
The first step in personal response is to figure out if you are in a target zone. Most of our kids are.
To figure out what a likely Russian, Chinese, Korean, or even militant Islamic terrorist group would strike, you can practice the unthinkable over a brewski with a bud some evening.
Pretend you’re Russian or Chinese to start with. And then get out a map of America and some push-pins. Use bright red for a megaton and up and other colors for smaller yields, if you feel up to it.
“Vaht ist our verst target, comrade?”
Hmmm. Tough one.
“How many warheads, do we have, Ivan?”
[Having previously read UrbanSurvival or Wikipedia you already know “The R-36M (SS-18) is similar to the R-36 in design, but has the capacity to mount a MIRV payload of 10 warheads, each with a 550–750 kt yield, or a single warhead of up to 20 Mt. Throw-weight of the missile is 8,800 kg. This makes the Soviet R-36 the world’s heaviest ICBM; for comparison, the heaviest US ICBM (the retired LGM-118 Peacekeeper, that carried 10 warheads of 300 kt each) had less than a half of this at 4,000 kg. The R-36M has two stages. The first is a 460,000 kgf (4.5 MN) thrust motor with four combustion chambers and nozzles. The second stage is a single-chamber 77,000 kgf (755 kN) thrust motor.”]
“How about 100 at 20 megatons and 200 at 10 600 kiloton MIRVs each?”
“Hokay. First target would be New York. Take out all finance and much banking. 10 of the 20-megaton bombs over the Northeast corridor. Your turn, comrade.”
“I think you should let me go first. I would toss 50 MIRVs into the Dakotas, Montana, and the whole upper Midwest, each with two MIRVs ot US ICBM silo…You must remember the Great War and what we learned…”
“Ha! I take out all the shipyards, then! Bremerton, sub base Bangor, Pearl Harbor, San Francisco, Groton, Virgina Beach….your turn.”
“OK, I vill do 9 EMP’s over whole country. That vill take out power and that means no energy…you?”
“…hmmm…. Like the energy theme so how about Bay City, Houston, Henry Hub, the big TVA Dams, and all the power and irrigation dams out West. Turn?”
This goes on for a couple of days. This is because Russia has tons of WMD inventory. China, with an estimated 2,000 missiles, is fairly “light” on ICBMs but has a lot of intermediate range missiles.
Wikipedia tells us “The exact number of nuclear warheads is a state secret and is therefore a matter of guesswork. The Federation of American Scientists estimates that Russia possesses 4,490 nuclear warheads, while the U.S. has 4,500; Russia has 1,790 active strategic nuclear warheads, compared with the U.S. having 1,750. According to 2016 data from the New START Treaty Aggregate Numbers of Strategic Offensive Arms facts sheet, the United States has fewer operationally deployed strategic warheads than Russia. On the other hand, Russia is estimated to have roughly 1,500 tactical nuclear weapons, all of which are declared to be in central storage.”
There’s wiggle room in the numbers depending how you count “warheads.” While in launch and early flight mode, 10 (or more) can live under a single “warhead.” Such is the business of death.
Once you and (whoever you have playing Ivan) have launched a thousand warheads, or so, and you have push-pins all over a big map, it’s time to look at your home’s location.
If there is a push-pin there check to see if it’s red (the multi-megaton color) or something less.
Now flip over to Alex Wellerstein’s site.
Who? Guy who built up the https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/ site. Plug in your city, check the push-pins nearest your city, and see what the damage is.
I’ve been a reporter a good chunk of my life and I don’t like seeing a lot of dead people. But as this exercise shows, there would not be many living people around after a real nuclear exchange.
The problem is, everyone knows it – and you have to be crazy to even play this game.
But maybe, if someone did the unthinkable in a small way first, it would teach the rest of the world something.
Mutually assured destruction – MAD policy for sure.
But it’s why if we do ever leave this area, we will be in a small town somewhere else.
Somewhere that has a bit of water, a good growing season, and isn’t near anything worth spending a MIRV warhead on.
Not too many places like that, but you can find them if you look.
And while we hope those smaller places are never the “new centers of growth” in a post global war, post technological era, we have traveled the American West enough to have seen a few ghost towns here and there.
Most of them weren’t built with the idea of being turned into ghost towns. But whether it was trains or the interstate highway system, there is always an unpredictable consequence to any new technology.
Especially of the type Kid Korean has the slaves building for him in the tunnels of North Korea.
I’ve heard estimates that he could have as many as 25 serviceable warheads already and even old trawlers entering American waters discretely – or from other ports – could be the contemporary history’s update to Pearl Harbor.
Something to think about and worth some option planning.
We still have an old field survey counter, the duct tape and plastic, some N100 masks and we could cobble up a positive pressure area of our home that would run on solar.
Toss in the potassium iodine pills and until someone’s aim is way off, some rural folks will survive.
Off To the Doctor
Yep – another lube oil and filter day. Maybe it’s why I’m in such a chipper and upbeat mood…
Write when you get rich,