A nuclear exchange with the USSR could have looked like this

All those people building bomb shelters in Idaho and South Dakota were so stupid HAHAHA!!!!

Click to embiggen


Comments at the source also answered some deeper questions.

Q: “Whats up with the the middle top areas, the three areas covered in black dots?? What do we have there??”

AKeep in mind that these are just the active launch sites 30 years after the height of the Cold War

On a related note, I just happen to be reading Carl Sagan’s book about ‘nuclear winter’ The Cold and the Dark: The World after Nuclear War. Dated but likely still relevant, and with quirky ‘boxes’ every few pages… it’s an interesting read.

**Edit – I just found some amazing examples of nuclear bomb shelter / survivalists clustered in Idaho.

Check this extremely religious one out, presumably from the Y2K hysteria:

158. Garden Valley/Crouch, Idahohttp://www.idahorealtybrokerage.comGarden Valley/Crouch, Idaho (located in Boise County, which lies in the heart/center of the state)

I represent a small group of committed Christians who have become actively involved in alerting our community and county government in the importance of Y2K preparedness.

Several of us spent nearly a full year studying Revelation and prophecy via an in-depth tape-led study of the scripture from Dr. David Jeremiah, a Christian Jew. Because of this study and active prayer and worship, we felt lead to get the word out about Y2K. We went to our local church leadership, but to no avail. So, each of us have begun to store up food not only for ourselves but also for those who will be in need. (We are not wealthy, but rather humble), but we have done and are doing all we can to help the Lord feed His sheep — any He brings to us (whom we pray will become part of the Lord’s community); and we are depending upon our Lord Jesus Christ to multiply the fishes and the loaves. God’s holy Word and His love will always be given along with food and water.

Garden Valley/Crouch, Idaho is a small mountain community located about 50 miles NE of Boise. The history of the valley is relatively short (settled about 1870) and has been largely dependent upon logging and cattle for prosperity, although it has evolved more and more toward being a valley of retired folks and families with children, who are searching for peace in these turbulent times.

Though not perfect, we are a people committed to Christ and His work, and we welcome any who would like further information and/or assistance.

Respectfully as a warrior in the army of the Lord Jesus Christ,

Tom Hutchison, Broker


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  • ‘Tis Himself, OM.

    I live about five miles from the US Naval Submarine Base New London, Connecticut.* So I can put my head between my legs and kiss my ass goodbye.

    *Which is in Groton, across the Thames River from New London. The Navy tends to be a little hazy on geographic locations. Possibly that’s why the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Naval Shipyard is actually in Kittery, Maine. And no, I’m not making that up.

  • Justin Griffith

    That’s hilarious.

    People in the original thread on r/military were discussing Maine specifically. Interesting twist there, with the naming being off, from “world class” navigators.

  • Gregory

    I understand the cluster of targets around Cheyenne: that is the home of NORAD. But what’s in Montana and North Dakota? I can imagine Yellowstone being a target (if you want massive destruction, you can try triggering the continent’s largest megavolcano) but that is in northwestern Wyoming, a few hundred miles from the Montana group.

  • The cluster of back dots in NoDak, Wyoming, and Montana target the ICBM missle silos. NoDak was Minuteman, IIRC, and Warren AFB (Cheyenne, Wyo)controlled the Peacekeeper missles.

    Cheyenne Mtn. has nothing to do with Cheyenne, Wyo.

  • I’m about five miles from the facility where the UK’s nukes are manufactured. I look forward to our lovely new crater.

  • I count 28,000 warheads targeted at the Columbia River damns and the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. In the 1970s that alone would seriously crippled the power grid for the entire western US. In that scenario I wonder if that would actually cause flooding or if enough water would be vaporized that the destruction of the dams wouldn’t have had much effect on water levels.

    As far as the kooks in Idaho, they would get a fair amount of fallout from the 500 warheads targeted at Boise (I wonder if any are aimed at my house) as well as what the winds would carry from the Puget Sound and Columbia River.

  • F

    ‘Tis Himself, OM.

    As I finished the first line of your post, I was immediately thinking, “which is actually in Groton”. But lol and behold, you already had that covered. (The pronunciation of “Thames” sometimes bears a mention as well. 😉 )


    I used to live up the block from a Nike site, and went to school in later years next to another. Made me feel slightly more like a target.

  • Kate from Iowa

    Why the fuck is it that the only time anyone notices Des Moines, it seems to be “notice” along the lines of “that’s a good place to nuke?”

  • changeable moniker

    On the topic of shelters, this is a fun read:


    The 1953 Civil Defense film Preparing for Tomorrow suggested your basement bomb shelter could double as a wine cellar, and the CEO of one shelter construction company sagely suggested your shelter could be used in the meantime as a bar. This way, if doomsday came to pass, “Your liquor at the bar won’t go to waste, you’ll need it.”

    In 1960 OCD scientists suggested in a memo, perhaps jokingly, that the ideal basement shelter would be constructed entirely out of cans of beer. The walls would be two cases thick, the ceiling four, and “by the time you drink your way out of the shelter, it should be safe to go outside.” And if it wasn’t, you probably wouldn’t care.

  • F

    I used to have a copy of the little book the gov handed out about how to pay your taxes after they destroyed the world. The very concept is both outrageous and hilarious.

  • Kate in Iowa – “Why the fuck is it that the only time anyone notices Des Moines, it seems to be “notice” along the lines of “that’s a good place to nuke?””

    Kate, do you know why birds fly upside down over Des Moines? ‘Cause there’s nothing worth pooping on in Des Moines. However, IF it were to be nuked: 1) sever both I80 and I35, 2) take out the airport since it would an alternative landing spot for the Looking Glass aircraft out of Omaha or the SAC base in MO, 3)Fort Dodge is a significant military base for Iowa, and 4)negatively impact (pun intended) 10+% of Iowa’s population

  • had3

    And we’ll all go together when we go, every hotentot, every Eskimo…

  • An appropriate tune for this post,


  • Steve

    @Dustin Williams

    No one fires 500+ warheads at a single target. That’s 500 or 2000 warheads in a single exchange – for the entire country.

  • jakc

    As someone pointed out, the clusters are for where the mules are now (Cheyenne, Great Falls, Minot). Had this been in the 1960s or 70s, South Dakota would have had one of those large clusters where the single dot in western SD is now (Rapid City/Ellsworth AFB), thus making sense of title.

  • jakc

    Fucking autocorrect. Nukes not mules. Anyway, the nukes were concentrated at 3 bases in the 80s (Malstrom in Great Falls, Minot AFB in Minot and Warren in Cheyenne). Missles were moved from sites like Rapid City, which controlled about 150. If you want, you can visit an old silo in SD, about 75 miles east of Rapid City. Presumably, these areas with large numbers of Missles & B-52s would have been targets only for a first/pre-emptive strike.

  • ss123

    The main missile silo clusters were put in lowly polulated areas and spread out, and were not secret. The Ruskies were supposed to know where they were.

    One can see a lot of abandoned missile silo sites while drive through South Dakota, from Newell to Faith for instance.

    Ranchers keep hay bales in the fenced off sites now.

  • @Steve – Wow, I can’t believe I miss understood it that bad. I know from history classes that even at the end of the arms race each side had little more than 20,000 war heads and the Russians were typically using 2-5 warheads per missile.

    The map also makes much more sense now. In a 500 warhead scenario they would take out most state capitals, US court houses, major military bases, and other strategic sites. Hanford would still be hit since it was the major producer of US nuclear fuel. A 2000 warhead scenario then takes out missile silos, dams, more military bases.

    They would have quickly wiped out our retaliatory capability, command and control, and entire power grid. That would have been really shitty.

  • jakc

    I think the difference is that the 2000 warhead scenario is a first strike and the 500 warhead strike is a retaliatory strike, when presumably many USSR missiles had been knocked out. No point in bombing smaller (40,000-60,000) cities like Minot (missiles) or Rapid City (B-52s) after the nukes were in the air. Then, for the most part, you just want to kill people. It would be interesting to see the target map for 1962 or so, back when people were building shelters.

  • Steve

    An important distinction is counterforce vs countervalue. In a counterforce strike you take out enemy military targets. A countervalue strike takes out cities. Both of these are a combination of both, but the black dots seem to include more military installations