Interesting Cold War type facts

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  • Interesting Cold War type facts
  • Tell me some, more obscure the better.

    Things like the Strategic Steam Reserve, etc

    Any bike related cold war shenanigans?

    kcr
    Member

    There was a legend about a West of Scotland cyclist who went on an Eastern European cycle camping trip at the height of the Cold War, accidentally strayed onto the wrong side of the Iron Curtain, was arrested as a spy and disappeared into the Russian Gulag.
    He was only rescued when his employer started making angry enquiries about why he hadn’t turned up for work a few weeks later.

    …errr, nothing to do with bikes but topical if you are in Devon this week: I went to an art exhibition in the old Devon “Regional Seat of Government” nuclear bunker this morning.
    http://www.bunkerproject.co.uk/index.html
    Both the art and the “poking around vast cold war relic with no one telling you what/not to do” were awesome fun. 😀

    also, one of our smallest local government fallout shelters (under Pounds House in Plymouth if you are interested) had excercise-bike powered ventilation. 😆 Photos etc if you search online and allegedly the bike is still there!

    [edit] you do know that the UK SSR is an urban myth, don’t you?
    Ifound out about it via this excellent website.

    logical
    Member

    I don’t know any Cold War facts but….

    The record, supposedly, for projectile vomiting is 27 feet.

    llama
    Member

    the ssr might be a myth but the bunker under corsham ain’t: http://www.burlingtonbunker.co.uk/

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    I like these little bunkers: http://www.rocbunkers.co.uk/. There’s almost certainly one near you.

    bencooper
    Member

    The SSR is a running joke in the urbex community 🙂

    In the ’70s, at the height of the Cold War, the US president was always followed by a man with the “football” – a high-tech communications device so he could order a nuclear strike at any time.

    The British PM was supposed to find a phone box. They discussed buying an AA membership so he could use the AA call boxes, but that was ruled out on cost grounds…

    Or another favourite: When automated launch systems were installed in the US missile silos, they were meant to have a code number to launch the missiles. The military top brass thought code numbers were a pansy-ass civilian thing, so they left all the code numbers as 000000.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    The conspiracy theories around Harold Wilson’s second government are pretty interesting (not cold war facts, more like anti-facts).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Wilson_conspiracy_theories

    The claims of a planned military coup to depose Wilson and install Lord Mountbatten as leader sound incredible, with hindsight. e.g. Heathrow airport shut for 2 days without his knowledge for ‘military training’.

    Even assuming this is all bollocks, it does point to an underlying fragility at that time in our history. Country was on its knees economically, depths of the cold war – it’s not unrealistic to think that fanatical voices would be making themselves heard and even listened to.

    Murray
    Member

    The TSR2 was cancelled because their weren’t sufficient nuclear bombs to arm them – production was concentrated on Polaris warheads.

    Cycling related – the lock on a UK atomic bombs was a simple cycle combination lock.

    Oh, love this subject!

    Burlington’s amazing – but essentially made redundant very quickly due to the introduction of the H-Bomb – did you know that the activation code for Burlington was ‘Orangeade’?

    would be more interesting to find out about the ones we don’t know about 😉

    rumours abound about certain salt mines in Cheshire, but I think the accepted truth about breaking down into small clusters was probably truthful

    https://twitter.com/wellbright is worth following

    Curtis LeMay (founder of SAC) and his equivalent in the nuclear weapons storage had a “gentlemans” agreement that if the top brass and civilian government got taken out in a surprise attack they would launch a retaliation themselves.

    Also, LeMay, in the early period of the cold war when missiles were still being developed thought that a limited war was possible with only minor US casualties (a few million) compared to Europe (10’s millions+) and so as the war was winnable with acceptable losses routinely got his bombers to fly past the Point of No Return in order to provoke the USSR into action.

    Premier Icon ratherbeintobago
    Subscriber

    The TSR2 was cancelled because their weren’t sufficient nuclear bombs to arm them – production was concentrated on Polaris warheads.

    Not true; IIRC the only nuclear strike aircraft unable to be armed with conventional weapons was the US Navy’s A-5.

    Cancelling TSR2 was a bad decision; would have been as capable as the Tornado GR.1 but ten years earlier.

    Andy

    logical
    Member

    Cancelling TSR2 was a bad decision; would have been as capable as the Tornado GR.1 but ten years earlier.

    Quite a lot bigger though. Going on the one at Cosford.

    project
    Member

    anyone intrested
    http://www.secretbases.co.uk, lots of intresting stuff,

    Sub brit.co.uk

    and

    28dayslater.co.uk,

    also 2 books

    secret undergeround cities,

    and

    cold war secret nuclear bunkers,

    and not forgetting Duncan Cambells book war plan uk.

    Then theres the top secret chemical plant under the hills of Rhydamwyn near Mold, and the tunnel to the sea to dispose of all the effluents, now closed down,

    and a top secret bunker hiden in North Wales and possibly still mothballed, even the staff dont know its there, or admit to knowing its there.

    bencooper
    Member

    Burlington’s amazing – but essentially made redundant very quickly due to the introduction of the H-Bomb

    Well, not quite – the problem with Burlington was that it was a one-shot deal. Keep it secret and it’s fine, the Soviets wouldn’t know where it is and bomb it. But then when do you make a run for the bunker? Go too soon, and you’ve blown it and can’t use it again if the situation blows over. Go too late, and you can’t get all the 2,500 people there in time.

    Another one: the Erskine Bridge was really built to enable ordnance to be quickly transported from the stores at Beith to Faslane – there is still some military stuff around the bridge.

    nols
    Member

    Father in law flew vulcans. Frequently went ‘Full nuclear’ with no return flight available. They were trained to turn south and head for Africa. Imagine being sent up with mission orders, knowing that there wouldn’t be anything to come back to. Only to be told it was an exercise at the last moment.

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    In the one year odd of the Berlin Airlift, between 225,000 and 275,000 flights arrived in Berlin depending on how you count things.

    Bunkers- not strictly Cold War, unless you count their demolition, but I’ve just been reading a novel which referred to the the flak towers in Berlin. While I’d heard of them, I had no awareness of their size, coverage, or impregnability.

    Again, not Cold War, but I found this poster the other day, very amusing..

    bencooper
    Member

    Bunkers- not strictly Cold War, unless you count their demolition, but I’ve just been reading a novel which referred to the the flak towers in Berlin. While I’d heard of them, I had no awareness of their size, coverage, or impregnability.

    Are those the ones where the concrete is so thick, it’s still not fully set after 70 years? I’ve seen pictures from someone exploring one – just insane. Apparently no-one knows how to demolish them.

    Premier Icon mattbee
    Subscriber

    One of my sites is the UGHQ bunker underneath Portsdown Hill North of Portsmouth. Used as the naval control centre in WW2 from which Atlantic convoy and later D Day shipping movements were planned and tracked in the cold war it served for while as a control centre for the ROC posts. After a few years the cost of maintaining it alongside it’s vunerability to nuclear weapons made it obsolete so the comcen was moved into Fort Southwick (Napoleonic fort 120ft above). The glass map with the ROC posts marked on it still survives in the main command room, along with the secure communications room although much of the fittings have been removed from elsewhere. Fort Widley a mile or so to the East holds the council’s nuclear bunker which is preserved and half a mile to the West are 3 huge underground fuel bunkers. Used in WW2 to store fuel oil which was piped down to the harbour and allegedly still full in the cold war.
    Portsdown historical society has loads more info on these and similar sites in the area.

    Premier Icon Harry_the_Spider
    Subscriber

    John Rylands Library have a Russian invasion map of Manchester. Important buildings, intersection and good spots to park your tanks are shown.

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    If you live in Edinburgh- on top of the old police boxes there’s an ugly little siren- that’s the 4 minute warning- fitted in the cold war era because the boxes provided an existing network to trigger them. I’ve got one of the police boxes in bits in my workshop and I can date when it was decommissioned because its never had one of those sirens fitted.

    m1kea
    Member

    Best thing about the Cold War?

    This website, and every other one on the Internet

    Arpanet

    druidh
    Member

    maccruiskeen – are you old enough to remember what they sound like? When I was growing up they were still testing them regularly.

    druidh
    Member

    Oh – and can anyone else recall the Public Information ads on the Beeb explaining what the Royal Observer Corps were going to do in those wee monitoring shelters?

    Ah, the ROC – I had a few friends in that… death in an underground caravan 😆

    Tocsin Bang!

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3y0WmONP4E[/video]

    nealglover
    Member

    Are those the ones where the concrete is so thick, it’s still not fully set after 70 years? I’ve seen pictures from someone exploring one – just insane. Apparently no-one knows how to demolish them.

    Quite a few in Germany and Austria have been demolished since the end of the war, although a couple (in Berlin I think?) we’re partially demolished and then covered over to make what looks like natural hills.

    You can still get inside one of them if you know where the entrance is, Pretty cool.

    They still test the war alarm at 15:00 on the first Monday of every month in Sweden. Got used to it now, but it was a little off-putting to begin with.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    I have met someone who took part in the 1990(?) first sea kayak expedition to cross the Bering Strait. Except he and couple of colleagues seemed to have a really intimate knowledge of some of the islands and beaches on the way…
    A further expedition he organised arrived in Russia in mid 1990’s – with no boats. On being asked where the boats he had been asked to rent were, he took them all on a few mile hike to a remote bay on north Russian coast – Where a hidden cave/shed thing revealed 6 all-black sea kayaks. Apparently the owner had no more need of them, but could not wander in and recover them to easily….
    Seems he and others spent a few years being able to get people and things in and out of North Russian coast by kayak and boat….but he would (no really) kill you if you told… 😕

    Premier Icon BigEaredBiker
    Subscriber

    Are those the ones where the concrete is so thick, it’s still not fully set after 70 years? I’ve seen pictures from someone exploring one – just insane. Apparently no-one knows how to demolish them.

    Quite a few in Germany and Austria have been demolished since the end of the war, although a couple (in Berlin I think?) we’re partially demolished and then covered over to make what looks like natural hills.

    You can still get inside one of them if you know where the entrance is, Pretty cool.

    My father recently returned from a visit to Berlin and had a look. There is only half of one of them still left standing. There were three in Berlin and all ended up in the Eastern (Soviet) sector. Two were eventually demolished and their remains covered over.

    You can book tours of the remaining tower here; Berlin Underground Tours

    Premier Icon richmars
    Subscriber

    I remember a story around here years ago that the A14 was duelled between the A1 and Northampton so the US could get their mobile cruise missiles dispersed quickly from RAF Molesworth. I would love to know if it was true.

    When I was at school we had a trip (late 70s) to the ROC bunker in Shrewsbury – all fully kitted out with maps for plotting strikes, food, water supplies generators etc etc.

    Was a bit scary and much more so than the various dramas and public service films we seemed to get at the time.

    izakimak
    Member

    richmars, i’ve heard that too, and that all when the M1 was built all the americans asked that all the bridges were at least 5m high so that they could get cruise missles under them.

    Premier Icon Mike-E
    Subscriber

    This man cycles and knows a thing or two about bunkers:

    http://coastkid.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/cold%20war

    ssbnreso
    Member

    I served on polaris boats in the late 80’s early 90’s got loads of storys but if i told you, i’d have to kill you
    😉

    CountZero
    Member

    julianwilson – Member
    …errr, nothing to do with bikes but topical if you are in Devon this week: I went to an art exhibition in the old Devon “Regional Seat of Government” nuclear bunker this morning.
    http://www.bunkerproject.co.uk/index.html
    Both the art and the “poking around vast cold war relic with no one telling you what/not to do” were awesome fun.

    Saw that on the local news, but sadly I won’t be down there until next month. Pity, it looks like a terrific exhibition.
    The Burlington Bunker is known to most locals as Copenacre, after the naval stores depot that occupies part of the quarry system. Spring Quarry is another section of the military complex that uses various surface and underground workings. It’s said that the underground quarry workings date back at least to Roman times, and extend from Bath to near Cirencester, using natural caves.
    Probably apocryphal, but they extend a long way. There’s a secret entrance inside Box Tunnel to allow access from the train from London into the secret bunker.

    hora
    Member

    Yeltsin prevented nuclear war. He refused to authorise a retalatory strike.

    konabunny
    Member

    hora: [citation needed]

    The Cold War wasn’t a cold war. It was very hot in lots of places and lots of people died.

    hora
    Member

    One link. If you are being attack response time is vital to get your own missiles away…

    He waited.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/coldwar/shatter031598a.htm

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 115 total)

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