Why would you place a boomer in the Med? Why is doing so a provocation and not part of a defense strategy?

Normally, a submarine equipped with SLBMs will loft them in a ballistic arc: the missiles go high, then free fall back to earth, like a cannon firing shells over the heads of the enemy. A submarine being used in a deterrent role can then hide anywhere within the missile’s maximum range to its target, making it an effective deterrent as a second strike weapon. The older Tridents were well suited to this because they did not have the accuracy needed to strike hardened targets. This made submarines into a counter-value platform, aimed at areas where accuracy wasn’t critical- things like bomber bases and cities.

A missile that is fired on a depressed trajectory can travel in a much flatter arc, giving it much less range and less accuracy than one fired in a ballistic arc. A submarine firing its missiles in a depressed trajectory thus gives up range and has a much smaller area in which to hide. This lowers its survivability in the event that hostilities begin. The advantage here is that the missiles’ flight time is much shorter, giving a country less time to react to the launch. Now that the US has developed more accurate (D5) version that is accurate enough to hit small, “hard kill” targets like missile silos and C3 bunkers, it is conceivable that an SLBM fired in a first strike could “take out” the command and control of an enemy before they could react, thus making a boomer into a first strike weapon. This is also why hypersonic missiles are so scary. They can be on you and detonating before you even are aware that they were launched.

To make this more difficult for the Russians to do, the US placed all of its SAC alert facilities far from the coast, so there would be sufficient warning to get the ground alert bombers away before they could be destroyed. The Russians played the same game by putting a lot of their stuff on the south side of the country. A sub in the med and the Arabian gulf changes all of those calculations. Missiles now have longer range, more accuracy, and higher speeds. Stealthy aircraft are right there on Russia’s border. This makes a first strike from stealthy platforms like SSBNs and the F35 more than a possibility.

The Med is a relatively small sea, but it is quite deep. The average depth of the Med is nearly 5,000 feet. More than deep enough to hide a boomer. Missile flight times from the Ionian or Aegean sea would be quite short- on the order of 6 to 8 minutes or so.

What this means is that the US is sending a dual message:

  • Our submarines are in a position to strike first with nukes, and you won’t have time to react,
  • we don’t care that you know their location, because we are going to use them before you get a chance to sink them

The US is saying that at least two of their submarines are no longer deterrents to nuclear war, they are now first strike weapons. You better believe that the Russians (I keep wanting to say Soviets) got that message loud and clear.

Combine this with the story that the US is moving more B61s into Europe where they can be employed by F35s stationed there, and it becomes clear that the US is threatening a first strike, not a response to a possible Russian nuke.

This goes beyond MAD. This is making it appear like the US powers that be have decided that a nuclear war is winnable. The theory that was behind MAD was “no one can win.” This is more like “we can win by decapitating you before you even knew you were at war.”

Incidentally, this is also why the Russians are so opposed to Ukraine joining NATO. They don’t want nuclear missiles or nuclear armed stealth bombers sitting in positions where they could take out Russian leadership before they can react to an attack.

Look at this from a Russian perspective: They don’t want nukes on their border any more than the US did during the Cuban missile crisis. The difference between Khrushchev and Biden is that the Soviet Premier was smart enough to blink. I don’t think Biden is.

If nothing else, this is the beginning of a new cold war. It looks like our government has decided that they can win a nuclear war.

The days when the US can force the rest of the world to do their bidding have come to an end. After the debacle in Afghanistan, those days are over. The rest of the world has seen that our military is a paper tiger, so all Biden is left with is nuclear saber rattling. Like a school yard bully, he is trying to pick the one fight that he thinks he can win. He might just be wrong. He is betting the entire country on a pair of fives.

Categories: Military


Aesop · November 2, 2022 at 8:09 am

Once again, the most pejorative take possible on the current situation is not automatically the correct one.

And conflating capabilities with intentions is a sucker bet.

Calling Biden the aggressor for this stance overlooks a Russian invasion, 8+ months of wholly unnecessary war, and threats of nuclear use by Russia times without counting just this year, and putting all that on the scales evens the balance out nicely.

You can’t play chess if you’re only going to put one side’s pieces on the board.

The bigger question, and it’s the 800# gorilla in this equation, is “Who’s playing nuclear poker for our side?”

No one, including Putin, knows the answer to that question, except for the person(s) actually playing the hand.
And it ain’t Poopypants, who can’t even remember who he is or where he is any three days out of thirty.

Joe Blow · November 2, 2022 at 8:14 am

No doubt, but I disagree with one thing: potato head is not in charge. He makes no decisions, probably gets told what is for dinner by his handlers, just like in the nursing home he belongs in.

E M JOHNSON · November 2, 2022 at 8:45 am

In my 20 years of naval service I deployed on carriers. I figured the Soviets would nuke us first at the start if the SHTF. Having a few years with that not hanging overhead has been nice. Now the morons in the district of criminals think a game of nuclear chicken is a reasonable tool of state. Detterence is good but waving your gun around in a shady bar is just damn stupid

Ping Jockey · November 2, 2022 at 9:06 am

There have always been boomers in the Mediterranean Sea. Just saying. I “know” a guy.

Anonymous · November 2, 2022 at 9:22 am

Somehow I think my definition of “winning a nuclear war” differs from TPTB. I am sure their definition only applies to them surviving in their bunkers without regard to the rest of the country.

Skyler the Weird · November 2, 2022 at 9:34 am

Biden won’t blink like Khrushchev. Biden is not in charge. Those who are want to destroy the USA which in their world view is the source of all evil in the world.

    rig · November 3, 2022 at 6:41 am

    he’s correct. we are fucked by the domestic commies

SiG · November 2, 2022 at 9:57 am

Thanks for that. Deep enough to get the points across, and things worth learning.

This has struck me as brinksmanship from the beginning. Maybe not so much the school yard bully trying to pick the one fight that he thinks he can win, but trying to find the one thing he thinks you’ll be afraid of.

That’s probably much too charitable. Clearly Brandon doesn’t have the faculties to think like that, but whoever is running the country is trying to look scary – or believably scary.

General Milley? Sec Def Austin? I don’t find any of the alternatives believable.

Engine of WAR · November 2, 2022 at 10:08 am

They have submarines too and remember when the CCP surfaced an unknown undetected submarine during US Navy exercises during the reign of Hussein the Immaculate?
That wasn’t on the Bolshevik enemedia agitprop report.

Sean · November 2, 2022 at 12:11 pm

Regardless of anyone winning, or what dark political objective could be gained, I don’t want anyone throwing nuclear weapons at anyone. I harbor no ill will towards any nation or peoples.

Michael · November 2, 2022 at 12:47 pm

And we spend time yelling how crazy it is that “Putin is threatening us with nukes” (hint read the transcripts of his speeches instead of the British Tabloid Daily Mirror, looking at you Aesop, Putin is very careful with his words unlike the US) while shortening the reaction time of the Russians to a nuclear decision.

Freaking brilliant. Trying to force them into shooting first. Awesome.

SURRENDER Aesop says then all is resolved. Good luck with that given the open declaration of the dismemberment and destruction of Russia is in every news and official publications.

The Russians remember what happened to Kaddafi who surrendered. And the unbridled disaster every country that lost to the US Juggernaut. Economic and social disasters everywhere in our governments wake.

I suppose the Marine Corp reservist “Knows” somehow the Russian Dead Hand nuclear defense is disabled. He seems to “know” everything else in War, Economics, Politics and even Marriage Advice. Ask him, he’ll tell you an earful.

We have a US Leadership playing with lit flares in a room full of spilled gasoline.

Unless the PLAN is to destroy a lot of Useless eaters for the World Economic Forum as both America and Russia “Lets You and HIM Fight”.

Orville’s 1984 wasn’t intended to be a how-to manual

“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”
― George Orwell, 1984

Some folks want power over the tattered remains of civilization.

    Steve S6 · November 2, 2022 at 5:49 pm

    Better to rule in hell…

    E M Johnson · November 2, 2022 at 6:14 pm

    heh, calling out the “General” …

    Dan · November 2, 2022 at 11:15 pm

    Glad you posted this. We’re all growing tired of his snarky know-it-all attitude. Dude has his own blog (removed from my bookmarks) but still comes to pollute this one. Like hey, get a life!

    Aesop · November 3, 2022 at 2:33 am

    Putin has sent his ministers and mouthpieces to issue his threats. Claiming “Putin never said that” as if it never happened is weak sauce.

    If anyone thinks any one of Putin’s minions acts independently, I’ve got a bridge for sale cheap.

    But it sounds like you’ve already bought one.

    Aesop · November 3, 2022 at 2:52 am

    For a more detailed fisking of the rest of your screed:
    1) Putin need not surrender, merely withdraw to his own borders status quo ante. (You should look that up if you don’t know what it means.) What happens after to that will be the subject of diplomacy, not nuclear blackmail or military action. Military action is obviously not Putin’s strong suit anyways, so you should be happier about that idea.
    2) No one is FORCING Russia to pop a nuke at any point. Words mean things, and you need a dictionary. Maybe if Putin hadn’t tried to annex pieces of Ukraine by force three separate times since 2014, he wouldn’t now be trying to grab a turd by the clean end with both hands.
    3) Identify which US leadership is playing with lit flares. Show your work.
    See if, just once, you can answer questions of fact based on transparently-sourced information, instead of merely posting more ad hominem because you can’t.
    Just a suggestion.

    BTW, what merry moron has misinformed you I was ever a reservist? Or was that your own brainstorm? I only ever served in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd MarDivs, active duty year-around and full-time exclusively, and not one minute with the 4th.

    Guess better next time.

      Pete · November 3, 2022 at 9:02 pm

      Don’t be silly. If Putin backs down, the US won’t stop pushing. They will crank up the sanctions, move more nukes closer to Russia’s borders, ship more arms to rebel groups etc.

      At this point they won’t stop until Putin is dead and Russia is firmly under the US thumb. Think US military bases inside Russia, just as they have in Germany and Japan, that is the goal. Having Putin killed Gaddhafi-style will just be the cherry on top.

        Aesop · November 4, 2022 at 5:25 pm

        That’s an interesting crystal ball theory.
        Where’s the beef?

joe · November 2, 2022 at 12:51 pm

there are rumors the bear has cancer and some other health issue… I’m sure they have measures in place to stop some crazy hell bent person from pushing the button just like we do but if those rumors are true, he’s got nothing to lose and has a way better hand then our numbnuts jelly brain child hair sniffer

Big Papa VoorTrekker · November 2, 2022 at 6:09 pm

B-61’s?? How is that a mistype for B-52’s?

    Divemedic · November 2, 2022 at 8:28 pm

    It is not a mistype. The B61 is the US military’s primary nuclear gravity bomb. It is a two stage full fusing option weapon capable of yields from 0.3 to 300 kilotons. It can be delivered by numerous aircraft, including the B-52, B-2, F-15, F-35, F/A-18, and F-16. The B-1 is certified to carry it, but has had the electronic controls removed so can’t fuse it.
    There are 200 of them stored in Europe, including the UK, Turkey, and I believe in Poland. The US recently announced that they will be delivering a new version to Europe that has precision guidance capabilities. That really pissed off the Russians.

Elrod · November 2, 2022 at 8:14 pm

“Boomers in the Med” is the kind of high-risk 4D chess that, first, only the extremely good and highly skilled and perceptive dare even consider playing, and always with a backdoor pipeline into the other side’s upper reaches for two-way comms and with multiple very carefully planned and managed exit strategies.

We’re currently blessed with a regime that not only could play Zero-D checkers, it has no idea at all what “checkers” might be.

I sincerely hope the guys who have the conn, on both sides, are a whole lot smarter, careful and cautious than the people above them issuing orders.

    Gryphon · November 5, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    All scenarios of a “Decapitating First Strike” against Russia will Fail – Like the USAF USED TO DO, the RuAF has a “Looking Glass” Strategic Airborne Command Post Airplane in the Air, 24/7/365. Since January of this Year. The Commander of this Plane (the “White Rabbit” in USAF terms) has the Authority to Launch Strategic Missiles if He has Visual Confirmation of a Nuclear Attack, and cannot Contact the National Command Centers.

    Above this, there is the “Perimitr” System of the Strategic Communications Network – in Parallel with the Secure Comms Network, it monitors the Communications Links, and also a Nationwide Net of Radiation and Blast Sensors. If several Communications Lines are Broken, AND the Detectors of a Nuclear Attack are triggered, the Perimitr System attempts to Contact the National Command Authority at Main and Alternate Sites. If None of the Centers, or the Command Aircraft Reply within a set Time, the Perimitr System triggers the Launch of (supposedly) a Dozen Communications Missiles, that Broadcast the “Weapons Release” Codes for All Strategic Missile and Submarine Units, to “Execute Attack Plan -X-”
    All Strategic Units then attempt to Contact the National Command Authority for Confirmation – if No Reply is made, the Commander of that unit then has the Authority to make an Attack, according to the Orders for that Situation.

    This has been referred to in the “West” as the “Dead Hand”, but it is NOT an Autonomous System – It is an Emergency Method of transmitting Attack Orders to the Launch Officers, who still have to decide to “Turn the Key and Push the Button”.

      Divemedic · November 5, 2022 at 1:36 pm

      I have no doubt that the Russians have such a system and that a decapitation strike by the US would result in a counter launch. The problem is not whether or not I believe it, but whether or not the idiots in charge of our military and government do. Remember that the senior military leadership aren’t there because of their competence, they are there because they are politically reliable.

        Gryphon · November 8, 2022 at 5:11 pm

        That’s the real problem, while I suspect that even the “Woke” Generals in the Pentagram might believe that a ‘decapitation strike’ can’t work, clearly the politicians and their (((owners))) don’t have the Military Knowledge, common sense, or “Morals” not to try it. Having read most of the Speeches that Vladimir Putin has made in the last Year, I think that He, and the Russian Military, are aware that they are Knee-Deep in Gasoline and the Enemies of Russia (and all the World) are throwing Matches, and they are Prepared for anything. I now Hope that if Russia sees no way out but a War, that they first do a non-Nuclear “Decapitation Strike” on key locations of the Banksters – City of London, D.C., New York, Basil Switzerland, etc. That might just be enough “Chaos” for the remaining Military Leaders to make a proper Coup of what evil remains.

Zorost · November 2, 2022 at 9:23 pm

“our government”

That might need some explication, as no one seems to really be sure who is calling the shots. Even MSM has asked who makes the decisions re: our nuclear arsenal. I’m guessing whoever it is, has some large investments in land south of the equator that wouldn’t be affected much by fallout originating in North America or Eastern Europe.

Mike_C · November 3, 2022 at 6:41 pm

“Western” strategy seems bizarre and crazy because (most of) you lot are NOT crazy. But the actions of the US are not guided by rationality, nor what is best for the average American. The US does what might be advantageous for the bravest, pluckiest, most generous and tolerant and forgiving ally EVAR. They’ve been forgiving people for hating them for millennia. Or so they claim. In reality they are guided by resentment that has fermented over the centuries and turned into straight out malice, spiced up with a bit of greed and a generous dollop of narcissism.

Destroying the world is worth it if they can damage their enemies. And EVERYONE is a potential enemy. Or simply to punish “bad peoples.” Read up on the Samson Doctrine. As stated by some of its most vocal exponents, it’s not about simply nuking direct enemies who have attacked them. It includes destroying major European cities for the crime of failing to come to Our Greatest Ally’s aid. Euros must be punished not for attacking them, but rather for failing to love and worship them enough.

Wrap your head around that malignant, narcissistic worldview and you MIGHT have a hope of understanding the “plan”. Remember, Russia can never be punished enough. Nor can Germany, of course.

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