Infantry win firefights. Tanks win battles. Artillery wins wars. Step 1: identify problem. Step 2: apply military force. Step 3: repeat Step 2 until problem ceases to be problematic
Posted by Havoc_frost on Nov 26th, 2010
At the time, people called it the Third World War. Now though, we refer to the terrible events of late 2010 in a different way. We call this the First Nuclear War.
It began on November 23, 2010, when North Korean artillery bombarded the small island of Yeonpyeong, which lies in the Yellow Sea, just south of the maritime border between the two Koreas.
More than 60 properties were set ablaze and four people were killed. South Korea’s staunch ally President Barack Obama immediately dispatched an aircraft carrier to take part in exercises with the South Korean Navy in the Yellow Sea.
Meanwhile, China — a traditional supporter of North Korea — remained ominously silent, pointedly refusing to join in the chorus of international criticism that had followed the shelling. In the South Korean capital Seoul, President Lee Myung-bak called for restraint. But it was a lone voice of peace.
Meanwhile, the official North Korean news agency declared that: ‘North Korea will wage second and even third rounds of attacks without any hesitation, if warmongers in South Korea make reckless military provocations again.’
Inexorably, the rhetoric on both sides became ever more heated. Now, two of the most militarised nations on earth — North Korea had the world’s fourth-largest army, South Korea the sixth — found themselves trapped aboard a runaway political train.
Its momentum was unstoppable. And its destination was war.
The two nations faced one another across a border that ran across the Korean peninsula, roughly along the line of the 38th parallel.
Their joint forces, including regular personnel and reserves, comprised a staggering 13.7million trained men and women, enough to turn the two nations into a gigantic killing-ground. Added to them were the 28,500 personnel of the United States Forces Korea, based at Yongsan Garrison, Seoul, the former Korean HQ of the Imperial Japanese Army.
The two sides squared off across the most heavily fortified national border on earth, their forces separated by a two-and-a-half-mile-wide Demilitarised Zone, or DMZ. At its nearest point, the border was barely 25 miles from downtown Seoul.
If the North Koreans could cross the border and get to Seoul quickly enough, they could strike a blow from which the South would never recover.
For decades they had been planning just such a strike. On the North Korean side of the DMZ, gigantic underground caverns had been dug in which whole armies could assemble undetected. Four times they had tried to tunnel under the DMZ, attempting to get their forces in behind enemy lines. Each time they had been detected.
But no one detected tunnels five and six. Each had been dug more than 500ft down and was big enough to allow a 3,000-man division to pass through in an hour. At midnight on Wednesday, December 1, 2010, the first North Korean Special Forces went into the tunnels. At 3am they struck.
A thunderous barrage of heavy artillery tore into the American and South Korean defensive positions across the DMZ.
A dozen of the projectiles used were atomic shells, miniature atom-bombs with an explosive power equivalent to 400 tons of TNT, enough to devastate even the most hardened enemy bunker.
As the forces along the South Korean side of the DMZ struggled to recover from this hammer-blow, they were hit from the rear by what seemed like a never-ending surge of highly-trained, ruthless and utterly merciless North Korean troops.
By 5am, the North Koreans had punched a two-mile-wide hole in the South’s defences.
Now their tanks, artillery and motorised infantry overran any pitiful remnants of resistance and raced south, heading for Seoul.
U.S. and South Korean pilots were scrambled and hit the advancing North Koreans from the air. The remaining U.S. troops at Yongsan Garrison were dragged from their beds and trucked north to meet the oncoming hordes. The South Koreans, too, charged to the defence of their capital.
The North Korean advance was finally halted on the outskirts of Seoul, along the line of Highway 100 which runs in an arc around the north of the city.
Washington DC is 14 hours behind Korean time. So it was lunchtime there on November 30 when the North Korean attack began.
All through the afternoon, President Obama was locked in frantic discussions with his military and diplomatic advisers, fellow western leaders and his counterparts in Moscow and Beijing.
The use of nuclear shells against U.S. forces had shocked the nation and Middle America wanted revenge.
A few voices urged caution and a sprinkling of peaceniks took to the streets to demonstrate against the looming war. But they were far outnumbered by the masses baying for blood.
At 9pm, Washington time, just as the North Korean advance was grinding to a halt outside Seoul, President Obama addressed the people.
He informed them that he had issued an ultimatum to North Korea. Withdraw across the border within 24 hours, or face the might of U.S. military power.
Any sane opponent would have taken this warning seriously. But sanity has never been a concept associated with North Korea.
The country’s leadership was in transition as the Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il prepared to hand over to his 26-year-old son, Kim Jong-un.
This war was the young man’s rite of passage and — bitterly frustrated at his army’s inability to take the South’s capital — he wanted to force the issue.
Shortly after 2pm Korean time (midnight in Washington) Kim Jong-un gave the order for two nuclear missiles to be fired at the 24.5million people who lived in Seoul and its suburbs.
The first missile obliterated Incheon International Airport. The second hit the Yongsan district, instantly killing more than 250,000 people, sending a cloud of deadly nuclear fallout drifting across the city and wiping the U.S. forces’ HQ at Yongsan Garrison off the face of the earth.
President Obama did not act at once. In one final bid to avert all-out nuclear war, he amended his ultimatum.
Now the North Koreans had six hours to retreat across their border and surrender unconditionally, or he would, as he put it, ‘bring down the wrath of the American people on your heads’.
Meanwhile, in Moscow hardliners were urging Vladimir Putin to stand back and do nothing to stop the looming conflagration. Why not let Russia’s two greatest enemies destroy one another?
Moderates, however, saw this as a chance for Russia to appear statesmanlike on the world stage. They urged Putin to offer his help to avert catastrophe.
A similar argument was being played out in Beijing. The case for peace was very simple. China held $2trillion of U.S. debt. The U.S. was also its biggest overseas market.
The economic links between the two nations made war a financial disaster. But China was in a belligerent, muscle-flexing mood. With two hours to go before the U.S. deadline, Beijing made an announcement of its own. Any use of nuclear weapons by the U.S. on North Korean soil would be seen as an incursion into China’s sphere of influence and thus an attack on China itself.
Obama could not be seen to back down. When his deadline passed without any response from North Korea, he ordered cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads to be fired at North Korean military and government installations in the capital, Pyongyang. The country’s leadership was torn apart, but there were inevitably tens of thousands of civilian casualties too.
But this attack meant that China had been defied and thus lost face. To reclaim its pride, it had to be seen to retaliate. For their target, the Chinese chose the massive new £8billion U.S. military base on the Pacific island of Guam.
One CSS-5 ballistic missile, armed with a 300 kiloton warhead, equivalent to 300,000 tons of TNT, crippled American power in the region at a stroke.
The U.S. was locked in a deadly game of tit-for-tat. China’s nuclear submarine base at Sanya, on the very southernmost tip of the Chinese mainland, vanished from the earth as another gigantic mushroom cloud spread across the sky.
The scale of the conflict was ratcheted even higher as the Chinese retaliated with a multiple strike on American missile silos at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana.
Chinese computer scientists launched a massive cyber-attack, hoping to cripple America’s computer and internet systems. On land, Chinese forces began moving into North Korea, coming to the aid of their North Korean brothers.
In response to a nuclear attack on American soil, Pentagon plans called for retaliation using weapons far more powerful than any that had yet been deployed.
But that could plunge the world into a nuclear winter and risk the destruction of civilisation itself.
It was a crazy gamble, yet no one dared back down. China and America were engaged in a nuclear- powered game of chicken. And the survival of the planet was at stake.
Around the world, billions watched helplessly as Armageddon loomed.
In Britain, while a few jokers tried to raise spirits with old Dad’s Army catchphrases such as ‘Don’t panic!’ or ‘We’re all doomed!’, most people were gripped by gut-wrenching tension, fear and despondency.
In Whitehall, old Cold War-era plans for coping with nuclear attack were hurriedly dusted down. Meanwhile, for the first time in half a century, the Royal Navy prepared to use its ultimate weapon.
Britain’s nuclear deterrent, comprising 160 nuclear warheads (roughly comparable with China’s nuclear stockpile) was based aboard four Vanguard-class nuclear submarines, operating from Clyde Naval Base on the west coast of Scotland.
As always, one of the submarines was at sea on patrol — on this occasion on a secret route in the Pacific —- and David Cameron was privately thankful that its payload had not yet been halved from 16 Trident missiles to eight, as the 2010 Strategic Defence Review had suggested.
With Washington seemingly committed to nuclear war, Britain could find itself dragged into yet another American-led conflict.
On land, strategists and weapons technicians frantically attempted to select targets in China that would give the Prime Minister options from a single warning shot to a multi- warhead attack.
Yet any UK action would be entirely dependent on the U.S. guidance satellites, without which British missiles could not find their targets.
And it would only happen in the event of a total nuclear war, in which Britain itself could well be annihilated by missiles fired from Chinese nuclear submarines.
So in the end, David Cameron was effectively helpless. All he could do was to sit, watch and pray, just like everyone else.
Others, however, were not sitting and waiting.
Just as 9/11 had been a good day to bury bad news, so this was a good day to get away with bad behaviour. For Israel, it presented a golden opportunity to strike at a target on which it had long had its cross-hairs sighted: Iran’s two uranium enrichment plants at Esfehan and Natanz.
Israel had never confirmed or denied that it possessed nuclear weapons, but had long been assumed to do so. The assumption proved to be correct as a volley of submarine-launched Cruise missiles, each armed with nuclear warheads, ensured that, whatever its purpose, Iran’s enrichment programme no longer existed.
Israel’s enemies were equally opportunistic.
From his base in the mountainous Waziristan region of Pakistan, Osama bin Laden sent messages to Al Qaeda’s satellite organisations in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, North Africa and Europe.
Long-term plans for terrorist missions were to be activated as soon as possible.
On the basis that his enemy’s enemy was his friend, Bin Laden had sided with China. Now he would cause the maximum possible havoc as a means of demonstrating his support.In Washington, Obama tried again for peace, pleading with the Chinese to see reason. He called for them to cease all attacks on the U.S., its forces and its allies, and withdraw Chinese troops from the Korean peninsula.
Arguing that the Chinese had made an unprovoked nuclear attack on the U.S., President Obama demanded the cancellation of all American debt to China as reparation for the destruction of the U.S. facilities on Guam and in Wyoming. The Chinese government were given just one hour to respond.Twenty minutes went by...30...no word from Beijing. At the 40-minute mark, the launch procedure was initiated for more than 50 U.S. missiles armed with multiple warheads, each of which could destroy a city.
Worryingly, U.S. spy satellites were now reporting activity at all known Chinese nuclear missile sites. They were preparing for action.
Fifty minutes...at the UN, more than 150 nations called on the U.S. and China to seek peace.
Fifty-five minutes...the hardened tops of the U.S. missile silos drew back to reveal the apocalyptic weapons that lay within.
In Moscow, Putin was lost in thought, running through different moves in his head like a chess grand master.
Fifty-six minutes...57...Obama looked to the heavens and muttered a prayer of forgiveness for what was about to be done at his command.
At 58 minutes, Vladimir Putin reached for his telephone and ordered that he be put through to the leaders of the U.S. and China. The connection process took another agonisingly long 30 seconds.
Putin did not mince his words. He pointed out that any full-scale nuclear war between the U.S. and China would cripple both nations.
It would also leave Russia as the one country on earth with an intact, large-scale nuclear arsenal. The lone superpower.
If the two leaders wished to destroy one another for Russia’s benefit, Putin had no objection. But if they wished to seek peace, even at this late stage, he was prepared to act as an honest broker.
‘Hold the countdown!’ Obama barked.
Now, silence fell on the line as the Chinese President Hu Jintao considered his options.
Obama was the first to speak: ‘Mr President, I can restart the countdown at any time.’
His voice was calm, but the threat in the words was overwhelming.
‘Very well,’ said Hu Jintao. ‘We will talk.’
War had, for now, been averted. The American eagle and the Chinese dragon had laid down their arms.
But as the world rejoiced at its deliverance from catastrophe, the Russian bear, its power and prestige restored to all its former glory, was preparing to growl once again.
And as the nuclear fallout from Israel’s strikes settled in Iran, the Islamic world became more determined to destroy the Jewish state.
And so, at this moment of apparent peace, a second nuclear conflict was already looming...