You can’t have this kind of war. There just aren’t enough bulldozers to scrape the bodies off the streets.
--Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953
The dynamics of the 1961 Berlin Crisis between the United States and the Soviet Union resulted in a military plan called Live Oak. The plan called for the US military to open the autobahn to Berlin by conventional force if it was closed by the East Germans after the Soviet Union handed over governance to the East Germans.
In 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Dean Acheson had a verbal exchange with the Executive Committee (ExCom), exposing the primary problems with Live Oak. He had portrayed himself as an expert on the Berlin situation by delivering a lengthy memo in June 1961 that was circulated widely in the Kennedy Administration. Now, Acheson burst into the Cabinet Room and forcefully stated that we should take out Russia’s missiles in Cuba. This is the type of conversation that would have taken place during the Berlin 61 Crisis during such events as the building of the wall on August 13,1961 if for example Lauris Norstad had his way and the US would have knocked the wall down.
“Well, what will they do then?” someone queried.
Acheson responded, “I know the Soviet Union well. I know what they are required to do in light of their history and their posture around the world. I think they will knock out our missiles in Turkey.”
“Well, then, what do we do?” the person asked.
Acheson replied quickly, “I believe under our NATO treaty, with which I was associated, we would be required to respond by knocking out a missile base inside the Soviet Union.”
“Then what will they do?” queried another member of ExCom.
“That’s when we hope that cooler heads will prevail, and they'll stop and talk,” Acheson stated.
No one had any idea how or when to employ nuclear weapons even during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I have questioned the October 28, 1961, draft presidential memorandum as inconsistent with a successful attack because it only utilized 10 B-52s. Although most targets were in western Russia, it was difficult for the four aircraft carriers and the ten Polaris submarines to get within range of several important targets. The B-47s were located at three bases in Spain, which also presented range problems without IFR or forward staging in Germany. I will explore those logistic issues, which may be overcome before we leave this topic.
One important point needs to be reinforced before we proceed. The Tu-16, even from the most optimal forward staging bases, had insufficient range to reach the United States loaded with even one nuclear bomb on a one-way mission. Despite that fact, the target list contains numerous Tu-16 bases, which is inconsistent with the plan. I believe those bases were included to placate the Europeans despite the fact that numerous medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) sites were not targeted and that it presented a grave danger to the NATO alliance and may have resulted in 35 million European deaths.
Finally, we should realize that the list of 1,100 targets released through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was based on 1956 information. Contrast that with the eighty-eight targets selected by the Kaysen-Rowen plan based on 1961 information that utilized not only U-2 photos but more importantly discoverer satellite photos. I believe that if the attack came out of the blue, the target list would be sixty-two or fewer. Even so, I have included many Tu-16 air bases because they fit into the plan, and a few Tu-95 or 3M bombers could be located at those bases.
The Kaysen-Rowen Plan Logistics
1. Weapons Systems
NOT ALL THESE WEAPON SYSTEMS WOULD BE USED. IN THE NEXT BLOG, WE WILL PAIR WEAPONS AND TARGETS CONSISTENT WITH THE KAYSEN OR 10-28-61 DPM.
2. Primary Targets
This List concludes the list of air bases to be bombed. Keep in mind that there were fewer than 160 Soviet intercontinental two-way bombers. The following article may interest you concerning the Tu-16's range. The Soviets had over 950 Tu-16s available by 1962.
Richard D. English and Dan I. Bolef, “Defense against Bomber Attack,” Scientific American 229, no. 2 (August 1973), 11–19.
Quote from the above article:
It has been suggested, however, that the medium-range bombers could be used on one-way "suicide" missions against the U.S. Even assuming Russian willingness to sacrifice the planes and their crews, such missions seem unlikely. The Tu-22, under the best of conditions, has insufficient range for even a one-way trip. The Tu-16, if it were based at the tip of the Kola Peninsula in the northwestern U.S.S.R. or the Chukchi Peninsula in the northeastern U.S.S.R., and if it were flown at optimum speed and altitude, could perhaps reach some parts of the U.S. The bomber forces are not based on the Kola or Chukchi peninsulas, however, but farther inland, which increases the distance to their potential targets. Moreover, on combat missions evasive maneuvers necessary to avoid detection and interception would further reduce their range. For reasons such as these the International Institute for Strategic Studies has concluded that "Soviet [medium-range] bombers can strike at United States allies anywhere on the Eurasian landmass and also at Canada, but not at the United States itself." Similar views have been expressed by recent secretaries of defense, from Robert S. McNamara through Elliot L. Richardson.
A. Submarine and Naval Bases
This is the end of Part III A. Pairing of weapons systems with targets will come in Part IV.
As the conflicts in the Middle East and the Ukraine continue, I am reminded of the basic nature of man as expounded by Caleb Young in the First Strike series during his home schooling. I wonder how long it will be before nuclear weapons are unleashed by those who do not share my same values in this regard.