1. JadeX
    Offline

    JadeX Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2015
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Ohio, U.S. of A.

    Could this accidentally start a war?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by JadeX, Mar 18, 2016.

    I'm considering writing a sequel to my latest short story, in which a massive Russian naval exercise in the Pacific results in a fatal skirmish at sea, which then somehow escalates in a nuclear war (kinda like how Able Archer '83 almost did).

    I was thinking, wouldn't it be a real kick in the teeth if the war started by accident?

    The first two targets hit were Vandenberg AFB, CA, and Los Angeles, CA, both by submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

    I had had an idea that perhaps the US Air Force wanted to deliver a "show of force" to the Russians by doing an unannounced, unscheduled Minuteman III ICBM test from Vandenberg, and that the Russians would mistake this test as the real thing, since no warning was given and tensions are soaring due to the recent naval clash.

    Thing is, there are no nuclear weapons actually stationed at Vandenberg. Vandenberg is used to test launch ICBMs. So wouldn't the fact that the launch is from Vandenberg be enough for them to tell it's just a test and not a live launch?

    Or, perhaps another way might work better?
    - Is it feasible that a test might be launched from a base that actually does station nukes, like FE Warren or Malmstrom?
    - Could a plane carrying a nuke be shot down and crash near one of the sites and have the weapon detonate, giving the impression of an attack? (similar to what almost happened at Thule AFB?)
    - Might Russian detection instruments malfunction and falsely detect a US missile launch, causing the VAFB and LA attacks in what they think is retaliation? (like the Petrov incident or the Norwegian rocket incident, but more severe?)
    - Russian aircraft are notorious for flying blind (no transponders or ID, etc) - could a mid-air collision between a Russian military plane and a civilian craft (or even US military, for that matter) make them believe they are under attack?
    - Any other ideas?
     
    Oscar Leigh and Kinzvlle like this.
  2. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    One of the funny things about history is that some of the biggest things can be caused by stuff that sounds silly, even stupid mistakes. So it's not infeasible that the launch from Vandenberg might not be picked up as fake, but I would probably go with the nuke crash thing. I like how you've got real examples and everything; shows your thinking seriously about this. I'd love it if you made this about the higher level rather than a bunch of soldiers on the ground. War politics is fascinating. But I suppose Band of Brothers esque gritty drama stuff is good too.
     
    JadeX likes this.
  3. terobi
    Offline

    terobi Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    213
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    Similar plots fill up pretty much the entirety of thriller fiction in the 1980s, so I wouldn't say no.

    The important thing to consider is not "could X event cause a war" - but really the backdrop against which the event happens.

    Could the assassination of a single Eastern European prince lead to a major global conflict, with the deaths of around 15 million people from all over the world? Yes it could. The tiniest spark could cause a war, provided the tension between the two parties is high enough. That's pretty much what the entire Cold War was about, and the main point of the plots of films like Dr. Strangelove.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  4. croak3r
    Offline

    croak3r Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    29
    I dont think crashing two planes together would be a good idea, i just dont see the russian pilots being so unskilled that they would do that. Nuclear bombs dont detonate if the plane carrying them crashes either, see https://www.quora.com/What-would-happen-if-a-plane-carrying-a-nuclear-bomb-would-crash-e-g-by-being-shot-down-but-without-the-rocket-hitting-the-actual-bomb-Would-the-bomb-explode-by-the-force-of-the-collision

    I think your original idea is pretty good though. Like terobi said, small events are often what start wars.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  5. Lewdog
    Offline

    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    Messages:
    7,530
    Likes Received:
    2,828
    Location:
    Williamsburg, KY
    Or you could have a terrorist organization somehow get a hold of a nuclear bomb and detonated it in the name of the United States. Or you could have a couple rogue Air Force men who conspire to commit suicide by launching a missile from a base on their own.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  6. JadeX
    Offline

    JadeX Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2015
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Ohio, U.S. of A.
    I had come up with another idea as well:

    A Russian Tu-95 carrying a nuclear bomb is flying above the Pacific, headed toward the American coast. American air activity is high, with helicopters monitoring the situation and P3 Orions hunt for submarines. The Tu-95 is ordered to descend. The crew cannot see the American Blackhawk below, and the Blackhawk crew cannot see the bomber above, and a collision occurs with identical circumstances to the 2009 Hudson River mid-air collision. The bomb falls out of the plane's bomb bay, and on the way down all of its safety mechanisms fail and the bomb becomes armed (as almost happened in the Goldsboro B-52 crash). The bomb detonates over a Russian naval unit consisting of aircraft carriers and submarines, all of which are nuclear-armed. From the Russian POV, all they know is that American planes just flew overhead and there was a nuclear blast that took out an armed fleet. Logically, they assume an attack has taken place - what else are they going to think?

    To specify, this is roughly present-day/near future, not during the Cold War (although it is assuming the presence of a "New Cold War").
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  7. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    Sounds fine to me.:superagree:
     

Share This Page