If a nuclear war broke out during the Cold War and both side’s major industrial cities reduced to stones, how would the superpowers be able to continue its conventional war effort in Europe?

Mudassir Ali
Feb 06, 2020 03:18 PM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Feb 06, 2020 03:18 PM

Well, the problem is that nuclear explosions are very deceptive when it comes to damage.

Let us take, for example, a factory with heavy equipment. A conventional bomb slams through the roof of a factory hall and explodes near or on the heavy equipment creating an overpressure of 100+ psi [pounds per square inch]. The factory hall might remain to stand, but your heavy equipment is damaged or destroyed.

Now, the overpressure created by a nuclear detonation is roughly 100 psi just outside the fireball. Everything inside the fireball is destroyed of course, but the overpressure quickly drops the further you go from ground zero.

While a factory hall would collapse by 5–20 psi, the heavy equipment underneath the rubble would remain intact.

So, while the destruction of a nuclear explosion appears to be tremendous, a lot of equipment would actually survive.

It is simply a question of digging the equipment out of the rubble and setting it up in another factory hall.

The limiting factors would be skilled labour, natural resources, and fuel, not the actual industrial equipment.

Destroying mining facilities is extremely difficult, and people can be retrained, although this takes time, up to two years. But if you make people work 12-hour shifts instead of 8-hour shifts, you can make up for the dead skilled labourers.

The largest problem would have been fuel, but by limiting civilian use of fuel, most can be remedied as well

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