A View of Armageddon

by MaxPower

Recently, the specter of the end of the world has been in the news. Nuclear weapons are a subject of fascination to me; very few man made things could end the world, as we know it in minutes. However, that fascination has recently taken on a new dimension, after September 11th, it shows that there is a possibility of a ‘rogue‘ nuclear attack. This article seeks to show the readers a view of Armageddon. Everyone should think about the possibility because next to it the fear of Anthrax contamination or slow death through pleasantly warming temperatures to a happy daydream.

I’m not talking about one ‘dirty bomb‘ here, I’m talking all out nuclear firestorm caused by the release of mega upon mega tones of nuclear weapons.

Where are the Nukes going to fall?

These are mostly missile silos, bomber bases (less so now than back in the 50’s and 60’s), submarine bases (more so now), and command and control centers. The enemy must neutralize these assets immediately to prevent or minimize retaliation.


Major military, industrial, governmental, and transportation centers. Also included are sea ports, locks and dams. These may be hit at once by the first missiles or struck by the bombers that will follow.

These are population and industrial centers that probably wouldn’t be hit in the first strikes but would be high on the lists for later destruction to further cripple ability to fight a prolonged war and/or recover and function as a nation.

Long story short, basically every major city in the United States would be hit as a Tertiary target. Estimates have shown that approximately 100 nuclear weapons of various sizes were targeted on Canada. Bad news for anyone who lives in a city in Canada, period, as there is barely 100 cities in Canada at all!

Major Targets

  • There would be strikes on submarine ports to prevent any submarines that are in port from getting underway and retaliating. The US has a large advantage in nuclear submarine launching capability and would definitely be on the first strike list.
  • NORAD (North American Air Defense) communications centers at Colorado Springs, Colorado would get some nukes for sure.
  • SAC (Strategic Air Command) bases have been considered a priority for an unexpected nuclear strike – Omaha Nebraska is headquarters.
  • Washington DC & the Pentagon – mainly for symbolic purposes and to disrupt any response from the Executive of the US. Ottawa a target? – to prevent drastic response from the Canadian military? I’ll let you draw your own conclusions…

What about Canadian Nukes?

No nuclear weapons have been based in Canada since 1984, when US Genie nuclear air-to-air missiles were returned to the United States from their storage sites at Canadian airbases. Moving nuclear bombers to Canadian airfields remains an element of US nuclear planning, but it is not publicly known whether agreements for dispersal to Canadian sites still exist.

Important Nuke Related Facts

This information is from Canada Emergency Measures Organization Department of National Defence Blueprint for Survival No. 4

  • If a nuclear weapon is exploded on, or near, the ground, danger from radioactive fallout is greatest. The force of the explosion may make a crater up to a mile wide and to a depth of one hundred feet. Millions of tons of pulverized earth, stones, buildings and other materials are drawn up into the fireball and become radioactive. Some of the heavier particles spill out around the point of explosion. The rest are sucked up into the mushroom cloud.
  • The radioactivity in fallout weakens rapidly in the first hours after an explosion. This weakening is called “decay”. After seven hours, fallout has lost about 90% of the strength it had one hour after the explosion. After two days it has lost 99%; in two weeks 99.9% of its strength is gone. Nevertheless, if the radiation at the beginning were high enough, the remaining 0.1% could be dangerous
  • The most effective protection is to place some heavy material between yourself and the fallout. The heavier the material the better the protection. Many common materials give excellent protection. The materials and design of the fallout shelter recommended in Blueprint for Survival No. 1 will stop penetration of 99% of outside radiation.

These thicknesses of material will stop 99% of radiation:

  • 16 inches of solid brick
  • 16 inches of hollow concrete blocks filled with mortar or sand
  • 2 feet of packed earth & 3 feet if loose

  • 5 inches of steel
  • 3 inches of lead
  • 3 feet of water

*1 See John Clearwater’s Canadian Nuclear Weapons: The Untold Story of Canada’s Cold War Arsenal, Dundurn Press, 1998.

Am I Screwed?

This feature is provided by Mapblast http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/bomb/sfeature/mapablast.html

Feel free to map your own city on this interactive ‘Am-I-Screwed-O-Meter’. My conclusion is: yup. Any Canadian city I entered was completely destroyed to the 80% of population-killed ratio.

Assuming a 25 megaton air blast

12 PSIRadius: 6.5 miles
[Note: The outside edge of this shaded area represents the 12 psi (pound per square inch) ring. Blast pressure within the ring is greater than 12 psi; blast pressure outside the ring is less than 12 psi.] The remains of some buildings’ foundations are visible. Some of the strongest buildings — those made of reinforced, poured concrete — are still standing. Ninety-eight percent of the population within this area are dead.
5 PSIRadius: 10.7 miles
Virtually everything is destroyed between the 12 and 5 psi rings. The walls of typical multi-story buildings, including apartment buildings, are completely blown out. As you move from the center toward the 5 psi ring there are more structural skeletons of buildings standing. Single-family residences within this this area have been completely blown away — only their foundations remain. Fifty percent of the population between the 12 and 5 psi rings are dead. Forty percent are injured.
2 PSIRadius: 20 miles
Any single-family residences that are not completely destroyed are heavily damaged. The windows of office buildings have been blown away, as have some of their walls. The contents of these buildings’ upper floors, including the people who were working there, are scattered on the street. A substantial amount of debris clutters the entire area. Five percent of the population between the 5 and 2 psi rings are dead. Forty-five percent are injured.
1 PSIRadius: 30.4 miles
Residences are moderately damaged. Commercial buildings have sustained minimal damage. Twenty-five percent of the population between the 2 and 1 psi rings are injured, mainly by flying glass and debris. Many others have been injured from thermal radiation — the heat generated by the blast. The remaining seventy-five percent are unhurt.


Nuclear war is not something people consider on a day-to-day basis, however, it never hurts to be prepared. On a humorous note the ‘Peace and Environment News’ activist group asked in 1995 ‘Are nuclear weapons illegal?’ If a country uses, or threatens to use nuclear weapons, are they breaking existing international conventions and treaties? Now it may just be me, but after the firestorm engulfs the earth and transports humans back to the stone age, this peace group wants to sit down and discuss whether the multitude of nukings was legal! Good for you guys, hope you get some government funding for that study.

  • A View of Armageddon
  • by MaxPower
  • Published on November 1st, 2002

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