D+18 1701-1730 Zulu 27 July, 1987

Moscow, USSR 1705 Zulu (2005 Local Time)

“Both of our missiles have successfully hit their targets,” KGB Chairman Viktor Chebrikov reported.

General Secretary Romanov took the news with equanimity. “Thank you, Viktor Mikhailovich.” He then turned away from the window and looked in the direction of the other Defense Council members. “So, now we wait, comrades.”

“Comrade General Secretary,” Marshal Akhromeyev said uneasily. “I advise you to leave the city immediately. If the Americans target Moscow—”

“They will not do such a thing, Marshal,” Romanov interrupted angrily. “Your own officers told me that right here in this room a short time ago.”

“Perhaps I am being too cautious,” Akhromeyev admitted.

“Yes. NATO will retaliate,” Romanov allowed. “But not against Moscow. We did not target London, Paris or Washington. I am prepared to accept a response that mimics our own attack and conveyed this to the American president.”

“That man is a dangerous, unpredictable cowboy,” Chebrikov reminded everyone present.

Romanov dismissed the assessment with a wave of his hand. “Reagan is no maniac. He will respond with a limited retaliation because he must. Following that, he will call for negotiations. This is a victory for us, comrades,” the general secretary shook his fists resolutely. “The war is effectively over.”

CNN Studios, Atlanta, Georgia  1715 Zulu (1315 Local Time)

The world was just now learning of the nuclear detonations in Spain and Canada. European-based networks were initially hampered by the communication disruptions thrown off by the Madrid blast. As a result, for the first sixty minutes following the detonation in Madrid, much of the Western world received the news through Bernard Shaw at the anchor desk in Atlanta. The first unconfirmed reports of Madrid’s destruction were aired on CNN, followed a short while later by the first pictures, taken by an independent journalist working on a war-related story in Quijorna, some 30 kilometers to the west. His still-image of the mushroom cloud set menacingly against the Spanish countryside would land on the covers of special edition newspapers released around the world in the coming hours and days.

In the United States, the news of Madrid was preceded by CNN and network coverage of the US government’s apparent evacuation from Washington. These two continuing events combined to create an instinctive mass evacuation from US and European cities that would carry on for some time.

Aboard NEACP-Primary 1729 Zulu  (1319 Local Time)

The briefcase officially known as the Presidential Emergency Satchel sat on the conference room table. It was opened and its contents laid out in front of the President. The card containing the Gold Codes rested on top of its broken plastic covering, its work finished. The verification process was complete, and orders issued to SAC by President Reagan. Launch time was set for 1740 Zulu and CINC-SAC was confident there would be no problems.

“Mr.President, we’ll be using a pair of Minuteman III birds,” General Chain explained to Reagan and the other men around the table. “One sortie from Grand Forks and the other out of Warren. Three RVs on each bird. That will guarantee the complete destruction of both targets. Overkill really, all things considered. But effective.”

“Thank you, General.” Reagan said into the speakerphone. “I’ll be back in touch within five minutes.” He ended the connection and looked around the table. “Have I missed anything?”

“Sir, do you plan on sending a hotline message through to Romanov before the launch?” Secretary Weinberger asked.

Reagan hesitated and mulled it over. “I really do not want to,” he admitted honestly. “Yet I don’t want to cause a misunderstanding either. I’ll send one, but it will be short and to the point.”


51 Replies to “D+18 1701-1730 Zulu 27 July, 1987”

    1. Had to look it up the W62 would have still been on some MMIII at that time at 170Kt, but was already being replaced by the 330kt W78 in 1979. I guess some of the W62/mk 12 package was kept for longer range targets for a while (never knew that).

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yeah, I realized it right before I saw your post. I put the rough copy (unrefined research) up instead of the revision. Thanks!


  1. Weighing the content of his short hotline message, President Reagan turned to Jules and Vincent Vega, employees of his old L.A. friend Marcellus Wallace, who suggested a short passage from Ezekiel 25:17….

    Liked by 3 people

  2. gonna drag this out, aren’t you?

    The Target selection, should be appropriate. And I still say sinking thier boomers as part of the response is entirely appropriate.

    “I see your bet and raise. Do you really want to continue this? Your Army is in tatters, verging on being destroyed in detail and all your satellite nations are in revolt, tying up resources. Further action will not end well… Please see reason.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I won’t drag it out too much more. Just keep in mind Sunday and today’s posts were intended to be a single post.

      You really hate submarines, don’t you? lol


  3. At this point in history, how would the Soviets detect the launch via radar or Satellite? How much notice would they have? Could be fun to use a Minuteman as a decoy and throw a Pershing 2 right at Moscow…that would effectively end the war…or start a new one…probably the latter…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They had a combination of radars and early-warning satellites. How effective they were, remains up for debate. Keep in mind that in real life a cessna flown by a German teenager made it all the way to Moscow. So imagine what a B-52 could do

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You know, my whole life (and I think this is true of everyone) we grew up with the embarrassment, the gaffe, of Powers’ shootdown, but no-one ever stops to read the post Cold War analysis and admissions by the fUSSR: that they denuded entire regiments of missiles, and in the process shot down *many* of their own interceptors trying to get Powers’ U2. If he’d been used as a sacrificial pathfinder, the USAF could have flown its entire strategic force into the multiple-miles-wide hole put in the PVO’s fence that day, then spread out and eviscerated the entire country without much difficulty…

        And right now with their focus on winning essentially a war of spite over whether or not West Germany, Paris, Italy and Spain get to have free open societies or not, their frontier defenses are probably in worse condition for ASAT ops by the US as well as pulling off fighters to put in the line.

        I would imagine if Reagan was the “crazy cowboy” the Soviets thought he was, decapitation strikes would be incoming and there’d be little to nothing the Red Air Force could do to stop it.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Russian air defenses were never as robust as they let on. Same likely rings true today too.

          Oh definitely. If Reagan was a lunatic, the bombers would be headed for the USSR right now, loaded for bear.

          Liked by 2 people

      2. Minor point of order – the Cessna doesn’t have much of a radar signature, while the B-52 does. Now, if we’re talking B-1 or B-2, how does one say, “Say good night Gracie,” in Russian?

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I *think* at this point in history, the B2 is still in the design phase, or maybe there’s a test article or two but not at an operational level. I could be wrong, though.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. If the war goes on another week to ten days I could see Reagan authorizing an operational use. Remember at this point the Soviets were still blind to Stealth aircraft in the US. Sure they had us sussed on a lot of tech but IIRC the B2 and F117 were (mostly) a surprise to them. So if there’s 1 or 2 and the crews, Northrop and SAC are all on the same sheet of music…

              Liked by 1 person

  4. This passage from TS Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” springs to mind.

    ” Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
    In death’s dream kingdom
    These do not appear:
    There, the eyes are
    *Sunlight on a broken column
    There, is a tree swinging
    And voices are
    In the wind’s singing
    More distant and more solemn
    Than a fading star.*

    Let me be no nearer
    In death’s dream kingdom
    Let me also wear
    Such deliberate disguises
    Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
    In a field
    Behaving as the wind behaves
    No nearer-

    Not that final meeting
    In the twilight kingdom”

    I wonder too if our fictional Pres. Reagan would have conjured it up in his own mind at this point. The Soviets are, predictably, elated with what they have done, and likely not given much pause to consider. Although, if I was to suggest an epitaph for Romanov it might be “Ozymandias” by Shelley.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Mike. Eliot wrote it fully 20 years before the creation of the atom bomb, yet “Sunlight on a broken column/and voices are/in the wind’s singing/more distant and more solemn/than a fading star” fits this day in your story so well, I thought.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I caught that. Typo, more or less…honest 🙂 I wrote out the rough and then researched, then I forgot to change it before posting.


  5. Now to see what the targets getting 660-990 kilotons of “care” (depending on whether the third RV is armed) are, and how much warning Reagan will give the Soviets.

    I wish the Pacific Fleet would have been in range of Okhotsk to take out the Pacific Bastion.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My gut reaction last week was retaliation would be Riga for the city. Not to close to Leningrad (Tallinn) or Poland (Vilnius) and on the edge of the USSR. (Please not Tallinn!) But I looked and Madrid is 4.3 million people in 1987. Only two cities I see of comparable size outside Moscow – Leningrad and Kiev. Minsk is too small. Leningrad is a non-starter. I’m suddenly very nervous for the capitol of the Ukrainian SSR. Far enough away from Moscow, but elimination of LOC also helps disrupt follow on forces from other military districts – because the war ain’t over, not with Reagan/Thatcher/Mitterrand/Kohl at the helm. Riga could still be in big trouble with the Skundra Dnestr-M EW radar right nearby.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That radar might be Riga’s saving grace. Not a good idea to start going after early warning and command & control sites. Might scare the Soviets too much and make them react badly

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah. Mechanics of a nuclear blast are pretty much the same, whether airburst or ground. Only difference will be with an airburst there’s no crater.


  7. Major T. J. “King” Kong: Well, boys, I reckon this is it – nuclear combat toe to toe with the Roosskies. Now look, boys, I ain’t much of a hand at makin’ speeches, but I got a pretty fair idea that something doggone important is goin’ on back there. And I got a fair idea the kinda personal emotions that some of you fellas may be thinkin’. Heck, I reckon you wouldn’t even be human bein’s if you didn’t have some pretty strong personal feelin’s about nuclear combat. I want you to remember one thing, the folks back home is a-countin’ on you and by golly, we ain’t about to let ’em down. I tell you something else, if this thing turns out to be half as important as I figure it just might be, I’d say that you’re all in line for some important promotions and personal citations when this thing’s over with. That goes for ever’ last one of you regardless of your race, color or your creed. Now let’s get this thing on the hump – we got some flyin’ to do.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Here I was expecting this line from the Real Reagan: My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

    Liked by 3 people

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