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Thread: WWII Atomic Weapons

  1. Top | #21
    Veteran Member skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    ... snip ....

    Nuclear weapons are absolutely not 'just another step' towards larger explosions. Despite their effects being very similar, (there's very little difference in effect between a large fuel-air bomb, and a small nuclear device) the underlying cause of the explosion is completely novel.
    But it is just another step in technological advancement that humans have made to kill each other.

    Starting from bare hands and teeth we advanced to:
    . Using rocks and sticks.
    . shaping those rocks and sticks to better penetrate flesh.
    . projectile weapons like spears and thrown rocks.
    . compound weapons like bows and arrows, atlatl and spear, and sling and stone to kill at a greater distance.
    . advancement in compound weapons for more lethality like catapults and cross bows.
    . chemical explosives
    . biological and chemical weapons.
    . nuclear weapons
    . Next could likely be directing small asteroids from space at the enemy nation.

    This could lead back to humans using rocks and sticks for the following wars.
    Last edited by skepticalbip; 04-30-2019 at 05:59 AM.

  2. Top | #22
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    Military technological completion gores far back. The Egyptians and Assyrians competed over chariot design.

    The English long bow. The Chinese mass produced cross bows for soldiers. The catapult.

    WWI was mass mutual slaughter with neither side having a decisive advantage.

    GPS guided weapons.

    Nukes are the logical conclusion of the endless search for more efferent and deadly ways to wage war.

  3. Top | #23
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Military technological completion gores far back. The Egyptians and Assyrians competed over chariot design.

    The English long bow. The Chinese mass produced cross bows for soldiers. The catapult.

    WWI was mass mutual slaughter with neither side having a decisive advantage.

    GPS guided weapons.

    Nukes are the logical conclusion of the endless search for more efferent and deadly ways to wage war.
    Nope. There are certain to be far more efficient and deadly technologies in the future. Every advance in military technology has been hailed as 'the conclusion', on the specious basis that nobody would dare use it, and if they did, it would be the end of the world.

    But wars to end all wars are almost as common in history as predictions of divine Armageddon.

    A massive global thermonuclear war would likely set military (and civilian) technology back a thousand years. But such a war is highly unlikely - between about 1970 and 1990 such a war was plausible; But fears of global annihilation before then were overblown - had the Cuban missile crisis led to WWIII, it's likely that the USSR would have been wiped out, but the USA would almost certainly have had sufficient air defence capability to survive a Soviet attack. Soviet ICBM and SLBM numbers were insufficient to completely destroy the USA in the 1960s. Since the collapse of the USSR, the most plausible scenarios for the use of thermonuclear weapons are all much more limited exchanges. MAD still exists, but requires more than one superpower if it is to lead to global destruction.

    Doubtless there will be future weapons systems far more destructive than thermonuclear bombs - kinetic weapons dropped from space, for example, could be much more destructive simply because the marginal cost of a second or subsequent missile in such a system is tiny - if you have the ability to hit the enemy with such a weapon, you have the ability to hit him as often as you like for very little further cost - whereas each nuclear warhead is expensive in its own right, limiting the maximum size of your arsenal. And there are likely other future weapons, some of which are currently science fiction, and others not yet even imagined. Anti-matter bombs, and various energy beam weapons spring to mind - a satellite could be used to hit an enemy's territory with powerful microwave energy, for example.

    Long range artillery and the machine gun were the logical conclusion of the search for more efficient and deadly ways to wage war. Then poison gas was. Then aerial bombardment. Then the thousand bomber raid. Then the fission bomb. All turned out not to be a 'conclusion' of any kind.

  4. Top | #24
    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Nukes are the logical conclusion of the endless search for more efferent and deadly ways to wage war.
    Okay, so what's the logic? What are the steps?
    Let's say we start with 'we have bombs to hurt people,' sure. How do we reach 'let's bang two rocks together until we get fission and hurt LOTS of people.'??

    I mean, I can see crossbows leading to ballistae, maybe to catapults. Stored energy flinging pointy things at the bad guys.

    MAYBE that'll lead to missiles, but there's a bit of a jump from torsion to chemicals as the method of storing energy.

    More likely, that was a concurrent but discrete chain. Firecrackers to fireworks, to rockets, to missiles... No crossbows necessary for that chain of development. So I'd say missiles are not the logical conclusion to starting with longbows or crossbows...

  5. Top | #25
    Super Moderator Bronzeage's Avatar
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    War is not healthy for children and other living things. That should be on a tshirt.

    In the end, how a person is killed in war, or why, is irrelevant to the discussion. There is no score card, where extra credit is given for deaths accompanied by minimal suffering.

    In the closing days of the war in Europe, it was acknowledged by military strategists that bombing campaigns had not been remotely effective as expected. There were a lot of reasons for this, but it came down to a few simple facts. First, targets are hard to hit. Second, bombers are easy to shoot down. This made bombing an expensive pursuit with small results.

    The strategist who were given the task of planning the invasion of Japan were faced with these facts. By the end of the war in Europe, the bombing was concentrated on civilian housing. The rationale given was the discomfort of the workers having everything they owned buried under rubble would hamper war production. The real reason was that the bombers could hit a city block.

    The same fate awaited the Japanese if the Allies launched an invasion.

    War and a bar fight have something in common. Whatever may have started the conflict, the immediate goal is to convince the other guy that continuing to fight is a bad idea. If an atomic bomb is what you have, it's what you use.

    Any moral argument which condemns the use of atomic bombs has to address the obvious point, which is it worked. The killing stopped.

  6. Top | #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith&Co. View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Nukes are the logical conclusion of the endless search for more efferent and deadly ways to wage war.
    Okay, so what's the logic? What are the steps?
    Let's say we start with 'we have bombs to hurt people,' sure. How do we reach 'let's bang two rocks together until we get fission and hurt LOTS of people.'??

    I mean, I can see crossbows leading to ballistae, maybe to catapults. Stored energy flinging pointy things at the bad guys.

    MAYBE that'll lead to missiles, but there's a bit of a jump from torsion to chemicals as the method of storing energy.

    More likely, that was a concurrent but discrete chain. Firecrackers to fireworks, to rockets, to missiles... No crossbows necessary for that chain of development. So I'd say missiles are not the logical conclusion to starting with longbows or crossbows...
    The obvious logic is the long history of conflict and the evolution of military technology. If that is not clear then I can say no more.

    DARPA Defense Advanced Research Agency. In the offing is autonomous fighter jets and compact robots. The logical evolution of military technology that makes use of modern technology as it evolves I worked for Locked in the 80s on weapons systems..

  7. Top | #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronzeage View Post
    War is not healthy for children and other living things. That should be on a tshirt.

    In the end, how a person is killed in war, or why, is irrelevant to the discussion. There is no score card, where extra credit is given for deaths accompanied by minimal suffering.

    In the closing days of the war in Europe, it was acknowledged by military strategists that bombing campaigns had not been remotely effective as expected. There were a lot of reasons for this, but it came down to a few simple facts. First, targets are hard to hit. Second, bombers are easy to shoot down. This made bombing an expensive pursuit with small results.

    The strategist who were given the task of planning the invasion of Japan were faced with these facts. By the end of the war in Europe, the bombing was concentrated on civilian housing. The rationale given was the discomfort of the workers having everything they owned buried under rubble would hamper war production. The real reason was that the bombers could hit a city block.

    The same fate awaited the Japanese if the Allies launched an invasion.

    War and a bar fight have something in common. Whatever may have started the conflict, the immediate goal is to convince the other guy that continuing to fight is a bad idea. If an atomic bomb is what you have, it's what you use.

    Any moral argument which condemns the use of atomic bombs has to address the obvious point, which is it worked. The killing stopped.
    Of course, but given human nature defined at least partly by genetics how do we eliminate conflict? Russia nad Chima are in an aggressive pre WWII land and resource acquisition posture. In practical terms how does the world back down?

    Back in the 80s I was listening to Abrams talk about nuclear deterrence. It made sense to me. The only problem is the Russian American standoff worked because both sides had a common sense of survival and did not want destruction. I believe nukes prevented a WWIII in Europe. The Soviets wanted Europe or as much as they could get.

    The problem is wildcards. NK, Iran, Pakistan.

  8. Top | #28
    Super Moderator Bronzeage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bronzeage View Post
    War is not healthy for children and other living things. That should be on a tshirt.

    In the end, how a person is killed in war, or why, is irrelevant to the discussion. There is no score card, where extra credit is given for deaths accompanied by minimal suffering.

    In the closing days of the war in Europe, it was acknowledged by military strategists that bombing campaigns had not been remotely effective as expected. There were a lot of reasons for this, but it came down to a few simple facts. First, targets are hard to hit. Second, bombers are easy to shoot down. This made bombing an expensive pursuit with small results.

    The strategist who were given the task of planning the invasion of Japan were faced with these facts. By the end of the war in Europe, the bombing was concentrated on civilian housing. The rationale given was the discomfort of the workers having everything they owned buried under rubble would hamper war production. The real reason was that the bombers could hit a city block.

    The same fate awaited the Japanese if the Allies launched an invasion.

    War and a bar fight have something in common. Whatever may have started the conflict, the immediate goal is to convince the other guy that continuing to fight is a bad idea. If an atomic bomb is what you have, it's what you use.

    Any moral argument which condemns the use of atomic bombs has to address the obvious point, which is it worked. The killing stopped.
    Of course, but given human nature defined at least partly by genetics how do we eliminate conflict? Russia nad Chima are in an aggressive pre WWII land and resource acquisition posture. In practical terms how does the world back down?

    Back in the 80s I was listening to Abrams talk about nuclear deterrence. It made sense to me. The only problem is the Russian American standoff worked because both sides had a common sense of survival and did not want destruction. I believe nukes prevented a WWIII in Europe. The Soviets wanted Europe or as much as they could get.

    The problem is wildcards. NK, Iran, Pakistan.
    The tactical value of nuclear weapons has been reduced by precision weapons. Instead of leveling a couple square miles, cruise missiles and other guided weapons can take out key targets with an accuracy which could only be dreamed of in WW2. This greatly reduces the likelihood of a super power using an nuclear weapon. If I were a despotic leader who feared regime change by more powerful nations, a nuclear bomb might make me feel more secure, but a really good investment would be a weapon system which could disable GPS satellites.

  9. Top | #29
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Yup. Nukes are literally overkill for most military scenarios; Their only real value is as a deterrent.

    That wasn't the case in 1945, when the only way to destroy an enemy military base or munitions factory was to try to wipe out the entire city in which it is located, and hope that at least some of the destruction befalls the primary target. But these days, an occupier doesn't need to take charge of a pile of rubble - far better to invade a working city with a few holes where defensive installations used to be. And occupiers likely get less hatred from a population that has experienced limited casualties than from the survivors of a population that has been almost wiped out.

    The only scenario other than deterrence where a nuclear weapon is useful today is an attack on a very well hardened target - But even these targets can usually be destroyed by conventional weapons. The RNEP may be more effective as a 'bunker buster' than the GBU-28 or the GBU-57 MOP, but few bunkers can survive a hit from any of these weapons, and the conventional options are far superior from a diplomatic perspective - use of nuclear weapons, like use of chemical or biological agents, is seen as particularly evil by the general public, and as such will only likely be considered in an extreme circumstance, and even then likely as a second strike option only.

    A nation with inadequate conventional options might have sound strategic or tactical reasons to use a nuclear weapon; But a modern superpower can almost always achieve an equally effective military result with conventional weapons, and avoid the diplomatic fallout.

    If nuclear weapons are only ever used in response to nuclear attack, then nobody will ever use them - unless they mistakenly believe that they are under nuclear attack.

  10. Top | #30
    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    The obvious logic is the long history of conflict and the evolution of military technology. If that is not clear then I can say no more.
    So, you don't really have logical steps in mind for your 'the logical conclusion of' statement.
    DARPA Defense Advanced Research Agency. In the offing is autonomous fighter jets and compact robots. The logical evolution of military technology that makes use of modern technology as it evolves I worked for Locked in the 80s on weapons systems..
    Yeah, I've worked with Lockheed, on and off, during the 80s, 90s, 00's and 10's... Most everything they and we do is 'more of the same, but smaller and cheaper.' Because tech.

    But the justifiably expected advancement of technology as a vague increase in shiny stuff is not the same as claiming nuclear weapons are a logical conclusion from conventional bombs. That's the part that's being challenged, and you're falling back further and further from that actual claim.

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