[LINK] Three mystery ships are tracked over suspected 'weapons' cargo

Howard Lowndes lannet@lannet.com.au
Sun, 23 Feb 2003 17:07:46 +1100 (EST)

On 21 Feb 2003, Carl Makin wrote:

> On Thu, 2003-02-20 at 19:18, Howard Lowndes wrote:
> > amazing how effective and silent a tactical nuke can be.  I have always 
> As far as I can see there is, in reality, no such thing as a "tactical
> nuke".  "Tactical" implies battlefield control by middle ranking
> commanders and politically, that is not acceptable in any country.  I
> don't believe even the US gives it's field commanders that sort of
> control.

IIRC from my miltary days when we were all in a panic about NBC (aka WMD), 
a tactical nuke usually refered to some thing small and highly portable 
(Honest John solid fuel rockets in those days - smaller than Scuds)

Refering to "The Nuclear Handbook for Instructors and Staff Officers -
1957", a 1KT device exploded at surface height would cause 50% probability
of severe damage to tanks and artillery within 100m of GZ, soft vehicles
within 200m, and engineer equipment within 125m of GZ.  They don't give
figures for shipping damage but I think you could assume that a surface
burst on the deck of a ship would severly spoil its day and send it to the
bottom in short order.  Low air bursts (275 feet) are slightly more
damaging.  I don't think you would find that such an explosion would make
much impression on seismic recorders.

In fact one picture of the Bikini Atoll tests clearly shows a warship 
upended alongside the water column raised by the blast.

> Nuclear weapons carry far more power politically than they do on the
> battlefield.

I agree your point about politics, but it might just be politics that 
allow the use of tac nukes in this scenario.

> Carl.

LANNet Computing Associates - Your Linux people <http://www.lannetlinux.com>
Flatter government, not fatter government - Get rid of the Australian states.
There are 10 types of people in the world, those who understand binary, 
and those who don't.