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Five nuclear weapon detonations that never were

David Flin

Real people take priority over imaginary people
You talk about the possibility of accidental nuclear incidents taking us back to the Stone Age, and there it is, the Missing Link.

Kaiser Julius

Well-known member
Cevolian did a presidential TL about the North Carolina explosion and helped me discover one of my favorite songs: "Miss Atomic Bomb".


Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses
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Published by SLP
Haven't been around much to discuss this - very very busy today.

One thing I will point out is that while the USAF do come off rather badly in this (in, well, almost all of the examples), we can be stone cold certain that the Soviet forces had at least as many close calls. We just never heard about them.


Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses
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Published by SLP
Oh, and there was one event in Norfolk which didn't make it in as it wasn't threatening an actual detonation.

July 27th, 1956: a B-47 at RAF Lakenheath crashed into a nuclear weapon storage “igloo” and caught fire. It was described as a “miracle” that one of the Mark 6 nuclear bombs didn’t explode - but I believe they didn't have the nuclear cores in them. Just a bunch of high explosive.

The issue is what would have happened had the burning aircraft hit the next igloo along, which stored the nuclear cores. They wouldn't have exploded, but the inferno would have caused clouds of burning plutonium dust to drift across Norfolk and towards Norwich.

That would have been a rather big PoD.


Pub Reconquista Ongoing
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The North Carolina close call is particularly interesting, coming as it would three days after JFK was inaugurated and how it might shape things should the Soviet still try to deploy missiles in Cuba.

The possibility of the USAF accidentally dropping a nuke somewhere in East Anglia, even if it managed to land in the middle of nowhere without killing anyone, would have great ramifications for post-War UK. Perhaps to the extent that the UK might pursue a more, for lack of a better word, French strategy to the Cold War. Perhaps even strengthening Anglo-French cooperation.


Generic Nice and Savoy Things
Published by SLP
Given the number of possible incidents, isn't it rather remarkable that we went the entire Cold War without ever having one?

Of course, one could argue there's a weak anthropic principle at work there where in the TLs where it happened nobody is left to wonder.