It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Soviet Cold War Strategies, did they 'really' have a first strike option?

page: 1

log in


posted on Sep, 21 2007 @ 04:54 AM
I was doing some research for a project I am working on and I was geting some interesting information about NATO response options to a Soviet nuclear strike and others.
So I took the next logical step in my research, find out what their general strategy was, and of course, I come up blank.
I dont have much access to ex Sov-Military types

I guess we all know about the 'delicate balance and MAD' and RAND's game theory, but I am curious as to what the 'bad guys' (I use that term with tongue firmly in cheek) were up to.

posted on Sep, 21 2007 @ 01:49 PM
Hi templar wizard,

good question....

i was once told by my grandfather back in the 80`s that the russians used chess style games methodology. dont know if this is true ...i would sure like to know .



posted on Sep, 21 2007 @ 01:49 PM
The USSR had and still do have Subs with mid rage nuclear missiles on it and they patrol the ocean just as much as we do. They also flew bombers around the clock like the US did. Also a first strike would likely be threw Alaska down Canada into the US. Thats all I know about the USSR Striking capability's.

posted on Sep, 21 2007 @ 05:37 PM
Try this link, although it shows released documents from the 60's I think it does illustrate them planning for nuclear military action against the west. The link contains a lot of info and it can be a long haul to find out what you want.

posted on Sep, 22 2007 @ 11:28 PM
The USSR never had a realistic first strike capability. I say realistic because when you're dealing with thermonuclear war, there are different levels of post war existence that can be considered "winning". When you're looking at first strike capability, what's required to win is that you must be able to knock out the vast majority of your opponents assets with one strike. It does no good to say you have first strike ability if the counterattack will still whip you out. At no point could the Soviet Union whip out the US's retaliatory capabilities with a sneak attack. There is disagreement as to whether or not the US had the capability. If we did, it was gone by the mid-60s or so. At that point, MAD pretty much made the concept of First Strike Nuclear War obsolete.

posted on Sep, 22 2007 @ 11:44 PM
The soviets did not have a first strike cability without signifigant counter attack, our undersea platforms pretty much guaranteed we would get a punch in after any level of attack.

The only flaw in my arguement is the comments at the trial of that Spy who was way up in the Navy, some reports said he had given the location of our undersea forces to the USSR in a way that they could track them. On the other side, even the US doesn't know their exact location they are given large areas to drift around in so a first strike that includes our nuke subs is unlikely.

The real advantage the Soviets have is land mass and population dispersal. In a full exchange, which I already claimed would be the result they would have a signifigantly larger population to rebuild and assert global power in the post apocyliptic world. This would take a few long decades but was discussed. This assumes somebody takes the resources to take out S America, Australia and China of coarse.

So their 3% population food production and industrial survival would eventually conquer our 0.2% survival rate. (percents guessed at to illistrate my point, and include advantage of first strike, no source) this assumes the post Europe rolls over to Soviets.

Unless they used 19 hijackers then they could defeat our entire defence force.

[edit on 22-9-2007 by Redge777]

posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 12:02 AM
Well, now you're getting into the concept of a survivable or "winnable" nuclear war, which is a much different thing than first strike capability. As you correctly noted, the population dispersal of the Soviet Union was a big advantage in some ways. Russia in some form or another would still exist after a nuclear exchange, but that doesn't do the Soviets much good if they no longer have the ability to govern anything. The US military absolutely had war plans that they believed would allow them to win a thermonuclear war. For most of the cold war, the US had a huge advantage in numbers of weapons, and more importantly, the deliverablity of those weapons. The soviets caught up eventually, but bankrupted their country doing so. Kahn, Teller and LeMay all advocated a preemptive nuclear war at one time or another, but luckily cooler heads prevailed.

posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 12:50 AM
reply to post by random hero

I guess I assumed for a first strike to be an option there would have to be a winning outcome predicted.

As you pointed out I missed the question, the capability to deliever and a logic that it would be winnable are two different questions.

I remember there was serious consideration of nukes as far back as Korea. I would guess Doctor Strange Love has been wheeling around the Pentagon looking for support for decades.

posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 08:27 AM

Originally posted by random hero
The USSR never had a realistic first strike capability. I say realistic because when you're dealing with thermonuclear war, there are different levels of post war existence that can be considered "winning". When you're looking at first strike capability, what's required to win is that you must be able to knock out the vast majority of your opponents assets with one strike. It does no good to say you have first strike ability if the counterattack will still whip you out. At no point could the Soviet Union whip out the US's retaliatory capabilities with a sneak attack. There is disagreement as to whether or not the US had the capability. If we did, it was gone by the mid-60s or so. At that point, MAD pretty much made the concept of First Strike Nuclear War obsolete.

Very well stated.

The Russians have never signed an agreement put forth that nuclear weapons will not be used as a first strike weapon. I believe the USA has withdrawn it's offer also.

posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 06:00 AM
I absolutely think Russia had a first strike capability! Perhaps it wouldn't take out all of the NATO nuclear forces but it would be a devastating first strike.

The USSR was estimated to have around 40,000 nuclear weapons in it's stockpile at the end of the cold war! Even if they only used 10% in a first strike, it's the stuff nightmares are made of! The truth is that they had so many warheads that less advanced targeting systems and lower availability/reliability/survivability than american systems would still have led to thousands of targets being hit.

I also think it could have been so large as to allow survivability following a rather reduced NATO response.

Lets assume the USSR strikes most of the land based missile sites first, they would still have the NATO subs to worry about. Long before the first strike order would have been given, the soviet hunter/killers would have been tasked with tracking the NATO boomers with orders to destroy them when the strike began. Yeah the boomers would get a lot of birds aloft but not all of them. Now I'm not saying that the USSR subs would have killed every NATO missile boat but they'd have a good go!

Whether or not Russia would survive following their strike is a different matter entirely, but first strike definitely!

Nowadys it's different, intelligence systems, BMEWS etc make a first stike extremely unlikely and nuclear war would likely escalate from a conventional war.



[edit on 24-9-2007 by stratsys-sws]

posted on Oct, 4 2007 @ 12:46 PM
In the entire Cold War the USA had a first strike option from the late forties to 1970. After that the Soviets managed to produce the SS-18 "Satan" and then They had the first strike option.

After the wall fell, Russia lost its first strike option but the USA didnt had first strike option either because they use ever more outdated Minuteman III missiles.

Now the comming decades are intersting to see who will get back their first strike option.

Lets hope neither party does because else we are going to see them flying.

You know what i mean.

posted on Oct, 10 2007 @ 11:25 PM
I think some of you are still missing the point on the subject of first strikes. obviously the USSR could have fired first and that would be, technically, a first strike. However, the term "first strike capability" has a different meaning than that. Maybe we're just talking at cross purposes, as I am using Kahn's definition, and he did have a habit of slightly changing such terms in an attempt to come up with a working vocabulary for the subject. On Thermonuclear War is still the most comprehensive work on the subject in the years from 1945-1960. Striking first is of no worth whatsoever if the retaliatory strike is just as destructive. I feel like I'm mostly just repeating myself now, but "First Strike Capability" absolutely requires that you can strike first AND do so in a manner that destroys the other sides ability to hit you back. For some time the US maintained this advantage, due to the length of time required to actually fuel the liquid fueled soviet missles. Solid fueled missles evened the score somewhat, but it wasn't until the 1980s that the soviets managed to catch up in the number of warheads. By that time, our sub launched missles had completely ended any possibility of the Soviets being able to manage such a feat.

[edit on 10-10-2007 by random hero]

posted on Apr, 29 2010 @ 02:08 AM
Ok, this one is a blast from the past, but since i created it, I guess i can bump it.

My original question was about first strike strategy, capability is different topic, although strongly related.

I finally was able to speak to a gentleman who was connected to the rocket forces. apparantly, and this is only his account, the soviet missile strategy was to be as a response to an attack by NATO forces, not first strike.

he did say that if he could choose a target (he wasnt anyway high enough to choose any targets), it would have been a multiple strike on norad.
I asked what would been the result of an attack on Kosvinksky and Moscow and was there a 'dead hand' launch capability.
he said the subs were the only real dead hand, and that a surgical strike wouldnt work, because you still had to fight the army.

he said the 'rockets' were great for the sov union because they kept so many people working and required alot of support.

I guess the same is true for the west, it keeps the defense industry turning.

so nothing major there, I would like to see what the official battle plans were like.
Was the cold war an nice agreement for the 2 players like i think it was.

posted on Apr, 29 2010 @ 02:32 AM
The Soviets did not depend so much on total annihalation (as the west likes to exaggerate) as they did on survival. Nuclear bombs are just bombs, afterall. Besides, the Soviets had extensive survival programs that the US did not, including many superbunkers built in the major Russian cities for the general population.

Consider USSR's first strike capabilities afterall, they have a massive special forces/elite quick deployment squads (paradrop capability too) to clean up what a nuke can't. Also nobody talks about chemical or biological weapons, of which Russia has the most stockpiled...

posted on Apr, 29 2010 @ 02:35 AM
I would suggest some links, before I comment

Russia can launch ICBMs at minute's notice - missile forces chief
(said around the time of the 2 satellites collision)

with old weaponry (nuclear etc):
Defector says Russian plan to dupe America is working

What A Russian Nuclear Attack on the US Could Look Like

Russia Increases Military Buildup
Col. Stanislav Lunev
Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2001


with advanced weaponry:
Russia 'had laser cannons before U.S.'
ASAT satellites in 1964
Energia - Polyus space laser - Buran - nuke delivery platform

Today the Russian guys have tens of 'Cosmos' satellites with unknown purpose, weighting a ton or more. Officially they are "communication", like the crashed Cosmos with nuclear engine onboard. 1 ton is too much in space, you could put everything, surely without telling the Pentagon

Underground facilities that USA knows their existence and nothing more

That is what we know "officially" in the public internet domain. Without the mysterious pyramids and spirals that recently were shown too. Notice the Siberian spiral shown on internet days after Norway. This is a weapon in Russian hands, no matter how obtained and by whom, and whether deliverable by ICBM (most likely) or otherwise.

Sure the American guys also have something secret that DARPA now flies over - such as triangle craft branded before as UFO (or are they). But the brute nuclear force ratio is 3:1 or more in Russian favor, according to official data of FAS that are likely to be underestimated as it is clearly for the other nuclear countries where the numbers of China, India and Pakistan stay the same for years (???), not to talk about the Israeli numbers...(recent "leaks" of professor said up to 400 with some thermonuclear). One could suggest how much true these tables are. Nevertheless they show the Russian overwhelming numbers. Call them dismantled, if that will help to stay calm.

Seems it is not only nuclear but also torsion weapons that we are completely kept in dark. We are told only about the superiority of HAARP that can do almost everything under the Sun. This is more than haarp. This forum posted photos of Tesla installations from Russia, pretty different from HAARP. And SURA is their equivalent to HAARP - already a backward technology if you listen to Tom Bearden.

In summary, I suggest Russia has perfect capabilities of a first strike if employs any combination of the above. Most likely a space hi-tech electronic attack, followed by brute nuclear submarine launched attack. The survivor part of US administration or next in command chain will be in a situation to choose between a still possible limited retaliation from submarines that will not win the war but will certainly result in killing almost every American, and the negotiated surrender terms that may be branded otherwise for easier acceptance - like UN peacekeeping presence against a common unknown before enemy from space/ terrorists. (or are they).

See the older movie "First Strike" on youtube - the weapons are old, the logic is the same. Only the reaction times today are much shorter - what in the movie is 30 min, today with space based weapons may well be 30 seconds.

[edit on 29-4-2010 by Gliese581]

posted on Apr, 29 2010 @ 12:19 PM
reply to post by Templar Wizard

I can not remember where I read it. But there was a book that talked on the subject of nuclear warfare. It states, during the Cold War, Russia managed to setup 12 cells in America who's purpose was to create suitcase nukes or some type of bombs. When given a command, these cells had specific military and civilian targets to bomb. Their purpose was to cause confusion in America before a Russian attack. If I can find the book again, I'll post it here.

As other First Strike options, you have to consider Russia's tank force. Russia outnumbered America and its allies tank forces by many multiples. Russia's thinking was striking Europe swiftly with their massive tank force. This would leave America without NATO's support in a war. Plus, America would never use nukes to help liberate those European allies.

Russia's massive tank force was the reason why America developed the Abrahms tank and Apache gunship. Their purpose was to engage enemy forces you outnumber them greatly and hold or win.

posted on Apr, 29 2010 @ 12:24 PM
On some level soviets and usa was true, but i think on a higher level it was not. I seriously doubt that soviets or usa would of used nukes to destroy the world.

I think the main reason for all the nukes was to make sure no one else would come and take this planet from us. I think thats why all the nukes where made, not really to blow up east or west.

But on many levels the cold war was real, just not on that one. No one was going to use nukes to blow up the world really.

Do you think in cuban missile crisis that us and russia would not talk to each other really?

new topics

top topics


log in