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UK government’s secret list of ‘probable nuclear targets’

Atomic-Bomb-Smflag-UKUK government 1970s made a list of 106 cities, towns and military bases thought to be at risk of attack contained in documents shared by National Archives    The GuardianFriday 6 June 2014  The UK government drew up a top secret list of 106 cities, towns and bases across the country seen as “probable nuclear targets” in the early 1970s, according to documents released by the National Archives.

During the cold war, a list of the places thought likely to come under nuclear attack by the Soviet Union was agreed by military commanders, the intelligence services and the Cabinet Office under Conservative prime minister Edward Heath………
London was expected to be devastated by two to four bombs of up to five megatons each exploding over the city. Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester were each said to be in line for one or two “airbursts” of up to five megatons. That’s 333 times more powerful than the 15-kiloton US nuclear bomb that flattened the Japanese city of Hiroshima in August 1945, killing 140,000 people…….
Another target was Orford Ness on the Suffolk coast, which was involved in an experimental US radar system known as Cobra Mist and is now a nature reserve. Nuclear submarine bases on the Clyde near Glasgow were on the list, along with nuclear airfields like those at Greenham Common in Berkshire and Machrihanish on the Mull of Kintyre.

Other high-level memos from 1971 said that the target list was drawn up for military planning purposes and to help “contingency planning particularly in the field of home defence”. Home defence meant protect and survive measures such as shelters to help civilians under nuclear attack.

But according to the researcher who found the documents, formernuclear weapons design engineer Brian Burnell, the real aim was not to defend civilian targets. Military planners wanted to try to ensure that UK-based nuclear bombers survived to launch a counter-attack against the Soviet Union, he said……..

 

June 6, 2014 - Posted by | UK, weapons and war

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