Jump to content

SC2 - Atomic Bomb Option

Edwin P.

Recommended Posts

Edwin P: Thanks for bringing this issue up. It's difficult to keep up with issues in multiple threads, and your post has enabled a lot of thoughts from other threads to get connected.

I brought this up in the "Science and Technology" thread--and I'm not getting the hang of linking to it (rookie...)--so I will summarize my thoughts.

1. SC allows the creation of jet fighters that go far beyond what the ME 262 (I think that's the German jet...) could do; so it does allow technological "what ifs" already.

2. The US did in fact develop and use atomic weapons--they are not a "what if" scenario, they are an historical fact that is not included in the game. It seems unusual to have possiblities for techological speculation in the realm of jet fighters and to leave this techological fact unaccounted for.

And now for some thoughts in response to Jersey John

1. American B29's in Britain; German flying wings and long range jet fighters are all addressed to some extent already in the game; perhaps the mechanics of "strategic bombers' and 'long range aircraft' should be adjusted to incorporate these ideas as well.

2. The war wouldn't necessarily have to go longer, would it? It's possible to develop jet aircraft in 1942 in the game; why not atomic weapons in 1944?

3. The US, in my opinion, shouldn't get a bomb, or even have an advantage over Germany in the race for it. If Oppenheimer had got on the wrong track and Heisenberg on the correct track (luck?) at the beginning, Germany could have got the bomb first. But only US and Germany had the science/engineering capacity to get one; I think only these 2 countries should have the possiblity.

4. I agree with Edwin P. that the cost of atomic weapons research would be very high in MPP terms; but that would make the strategic/economic part of the game more interesting and exciting, I think.

5. I'm not sure I follow Jersey John's point about the necessity for stabilizing the Eastern Front. Germany developed jet fighters when things were falling apart in the East. And Speer continued to wring increased military production out of the German economy even in 1944.

I could envision a scenario in which German investment in atomic weapons research begins in 1941 and continues to build slowly until 1943. When Russia gains the initiative in the East (Siberian army?), the German player funds atomic research heavily leading to an atomic weapon as the Allies gather for Overlord. What to do then? Moscow? London? Russian forces? Allied invasion fleet? The strategic decision making would be fascinating.

Making a scenario like that work within the context of the game; and especially making it possible without having SC become simply a 'race for the bomb' is the tricky part.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 186
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic


Good points.

In order to develop the uranium and plutonium bombs the United States began with five programs, not two, and narrowed it down along the way. The Manhattan Project was an incredibly huge undertaking and I honestly doubt wartime Germany was capable of a comparable program.

True, Germany developed jets with the Eastern Front collapsing, but they couldn't build enough of them, nor could they find enough pilots to man them, nor could they provide the fuel for them to get off the ground.

All in all, to get decent rocket/jet/Abomb programs off the ground they'd have needed much greater resources than they had from late 44 thru the end of the war. What Germany accomplished was considerable but it was all done in frantic desperation. Truly serious results would have required much greater stability than they actually had, particularly with regard to manpower and natural resources. By late 1944, for example, they were using plywood where the designs called for aluminum.

If A-bombs become an issue the war would have to run very late. With all it's expense, manpower and resources the U. S. was barely able to build it's bombs by mid-1945.

Also, it went way beyond Oppenheimer's crews finding the right break instead of Heisenberg's. As late as the actual trial explosion the American team couldn't say whether the bomb would have 1/10 or 10x the calculated blast.

[ March 24, 2003, 05:30 AM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

JJ: This is the kind of historical fact/'what if' that makes SC (and this forum) so enjoyable for me. Thanks for your good points--with which I agree. Even so, it would be interesting to see if Germany could get a bomb by beginning investment in it early enough, at least in the game. While the concept of the Italians or Russians building a nuclear device would be ridiculous, there is a possiblity that Germany might have been able to pull it off, I think.

German technological considerations aside, if Russia had been knocked out of the war, at some point the US would have considered using nuclear weapons in Europe.

When I play against the AI, it's possible to knock Russia out of the war, Sealion, then go to get the US. If this were to take longer than 1945, though, there might be the nuclear option available.

I'm not sure how this might work (or not) in two player games, as my current $%^#&%% computer set up doesn't let me get online with the one that has SC installed. But it might provide some incentive for the Allied player to hang in even if "Sealion-ed"

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Interesting points, I especially like the description of your computer! I've stopped trading them in because it seems, when you've got a lot of software, some of it only runs properly on old machines while others won't run on them at all. Good old Microsoft; you'd think the newest machines would run new software and all software that came before it, but that would be too simple. What really amazes me is how, considering the investment of a machine, they have the chuchtzpuh to make their five year old machines totally obsolete! :rolleyes:

Anyway, getting off that unpleasant subject --

The Soviets had a completely different approach to researching these things. It was called spies.

When Truman broke the news to Stalin about the A-bomb, old Joey couldn't even pretend he was surprised, he knew more about the program than truman did.

Need a delivery system, no problemo, just confiscate a few wayward B-29s, reverse engineer the parts and whamo, it's the People's Babushka-29, or whatever the hell they called their rip-off. :D

Jets? Not a problem either, that's what captured German scientists are for. Many of them even came with blueprints, prototypes and spareparts, all we need, comrade, is a name -- uh, something snappy like Mig, yes, the People's Jet Plane Mig. Now that's what I call good People's Research.

Where as the Americans were above that sort of thing, if Werner von Braun were alive I'm sure he'd agree.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I agree with your take that only the US and Germany should be allowed to invest in A Bomb research.



As for the direct effect of an A-bomb, it would permanently destroy any city or resource it was used on and any unit in that hex. If this was a port city it would also destroy the port and any unit in that port. (and have a 50% of causing the country to surrender if it was dropped on a capital city)


As for the US achieving the A-bomb, there are two ways to handle this;

1. Allow the US to develop the A-bomb automatically in the historical context.

2. If SC2 is a true Global WW2 game then give the US more Tech points at the start of the war and allow them to use it how they see fit. Perhaps, the US decided not to fund atomic bomb research but to use these resources & scientists & enigneers to develope better tanks or faster fighters or better intelligence?


As for how to handle interceptions, perhaps:

1. Say that the A-bomb is on a Bomber in an air fleet, If that bomber attacks and is reduced from a strength 10 to a strength 5 then there is a 50% that the A-bomb reached its target. PS: The bomber would take damage from AA and Defending Fighters before dropping its bomb.

If the bomber carrying the A-bomb is shot down then show a pop-up message on the screen saying that " Allied Air Defense Forces Shot Down the Bomber carrying our A-Bomb before it could be delivered"


Also, due to the difficulty of refining the uranium I would only allow 1 A-bomb to be built every six months after the technology is discovered. This would limit the number of A-bombs that could be produced in any one game to a realistic level.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


The Soviets had a completely different approach to researching these things. It was called spies.


Where as the Americans were above that sort of thing, if Werner von Braun were alive I'm sure he'd agree.

Stop it, i can't stand it anymore!!!

It was always a pleasure to read your posts, but till today I wasn't aware that you are obviously the little brother of Steve Martin (Oscar 75th).


Link to comment
Share on other sites


The twice a year building provision for A-bombs is a good idea, that way such an attack will only occur a few times at most.

What about political consequences of where they're dropped. If Germany conquers England does the U. S. drop one on London or a French city? How would that affect the attitude of the occupied people?

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Atomic Energy:

Requirements: Level 5 tech, 1000 MPP's, one bomber. All countries can research.

Limitations: One bomb per year.

Damage: Removes all units from one hex, plus all surrounding hexes, reduces supply to 0 for that city, port, & or resources.


I've discussed this with other players before.

If you invest in 4 chits, you might see a bomb developed as early as 1944, but at a cost of 1000 MPP's in chits, plus 1000 for the bomb, you are looking at expenses of 2000 MPP's, plus a bomber (you could have 5 jets instead. Your offensive or defensive options would be severly limited, as well as your other research.

More than likely you will see a two chit investment and hope to get lucky in 1945 or 46.

I'd also allow for jets to defend against the attack, not sure of the exact mechanics.

With great use of this, you might take out 5-6 units.

You have to allow all countries to research, since that is the way the game engine is set up.

I also doubt that the game engine would allow the permament removal of a city, port, resource, etc.

[ March 24, 2003, 07:29 PM: Message edited by: KDG ]

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I don't think WW II era A-bombs would have been powerful enough to take out the unit in the hex and all adjacent units -- that's something like a 150 mile radius! I'd go for destroying the unit in the hex and the production value of the hex itself. When it was tested after the war at the Bikini Atoll, it didn't even sink the target ships. Most, like the Prinz Eugen, were sent under by conventional naval fire.

Lingering radiation effects weren't well understood till long after the war ended. However, had it been better understood I doubt it would have made much difference in the use of such weapons. The only thing I'm wondering about is whether the United States would have used them on British and French targets if they were occupied territories.

[ March 24, 2003, 07:42 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I agree with your view that all nations should be allowed to research it under the current game system.

I would also program the AI to never select this tech option as it would be too much of a gamble for the AI.


You view on the blast radius of a WWII era A-bomb is dead-on. The bombs dropped on Japan only affected the targeted city itself and many buildings on the outskirts of the city were still standing after the blast. These early bombs were had explosive power measured in kilotons, not megatons.

As for the US targeting GB or France with the atomic bomb, historically it never would have happened, but I don't see any way to prevent a US player from doing it or how to penalize the US for doing it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Interesting extension on the other weapons of mass destruction.

Nobody knows for sure why Germany didn't use chemical warfare. At the beginning of the war Britain expected to receive gas attacks on London and had estimates of hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties. Then, nothing happened. Kurt88 had a good thread on this a while back.

The only country that had any biological warfare technique was Japan. They experimented extensively, if it can be called that, by dropping bundles of plague infected fleas near Chinese towns far beyond their lines. When it was observed that a plague had broken out they were able to verify the success of different delivery systems. Nobody had any idea this was going on. They also infected Chinise civilians at their Manchurian site under controlled conditions, killing all the subjects. At other locations Japanese doctors (I hate using that term with these guys) injected Allied POWs with various diseases and studied the effects.

By 1945 they had it worked out well enough to start a contagion across North America using hot air balloons and infected fleas. Instead of unleashing it they used the techniques and restraint from using it as a bargaining chip with the Americans. None of the "mad doctors" involved in the murderous experiments were ever charged with anything. Most became prominent figures in post war Japan and died wealthy without even having to acknowledge their wartime activities.

Access to this information marked the start of America's Biological Warfare Program.

[ March 24, 2003, 11:47 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are going to allow Nuclear weapons, then you are going to have to allow chemical weapons.

Neither side used chemical weapons in combat because of the negative political effect and the fear of retaliation. WWI and the effect that chemical weapons had was not forgotten and left a bad taste in the various militaries.

However, that did not mean they weren't prepared. Both sides had stocks of chemical weapons, with the Germans having nerve gas as well. Neither side wanted to be unprepared to retaliate if they were attacked with chemical weapons.

If someone dropped a nuke on one side, then you can bet they would have responded with the chemical weapons they had.

And then there is the other side of this. The "European" nations were the one's who decided not to use it against themselves. The Germans had a fit when the US introduced willie peter (white phosphorus), since the burning effect caused nasty wounds. Almost resulted in the Germans retaliating with chemical weapons.

No one did anything when Italy used chemical weapons against the Ethiopians in '35. Nor did anyone complain about the Japanese using chemical and biological weapons against the Chinese.

And isn't it interesting that the US, as was pointed out, gave immunity in return for research material from the Japanese researchers. While the ones captured by the Soviets were tried as war criminals and got sentenced to 25 years hard labor?

US considered using poison gas on Japanese held islands, especially if it had no civilians. But it was decided that the savings in US lives was not worth the bad press. And we all know where the nuke got dropped.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Glad the subject has been broached, as you no doubt noticed I've been tip-toeing around it. A lot of racism was involved in judging these issues. That's the part I'm really not sure of, whether the U. S. would have used the A-bomb on Europeans. There have always been a lot of German and Italian Americans and I don't think such a move would have been popular in the U. S..

Great point about the Soviets prosecuting those Japanese doctors while the U. S. was busy cutting deals for their technology.

One of those ugly side issues that emerges a little more from the shadowy corners with each passing year.

In describing the Japanese files, one American official said, excitedly, "We can find out the effects of these things on people!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Agreed 100%.

There was so much outright hatred and racism involved in America's Pacific War that an issue of life magazine had a cover photo in 1943 of a young American woman smiling and holding the skull of a Japanese soldier her fiance marine had sent her from the Pacific. This seems incredible today, but it's true. The girl is sitting at a table holding it with and smiling.

Japanese troops fighting to death wasn't seen so much as bravery or heroism but as sub-human stupidity. By 1945, after a year of Kamikazee attacks and four years of propaganda about Banzai charges, widespread knowledge of the Bataan Death March and the image of Nomura dabbling in diplomacy while the attack on Pearl Harbor was underway, the American public had come to view the Japanese as tenacious and vicious fighters but as much less human than their caucasion counterparts. When word spread that invading Japan might cost a million casualties, nobody objected to dropping A-bombs on the Home Islands. Afterwards there were even comedy routines about it. One radio routine went like this: "I just got back from Nagasaki, the place looks like the Polo Grounds after a weekend series with the Dodgers!"

As you mention, by comparrison with the Japanese, there were many times as many German and Italian Americans. Much more than enough to decide any presidential election.

[ March 24, 2003, 10:20 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why Not Other WMD?

I think because the A-bomb was an era defining weapon and required a major research program to turn it into reality.

Chemical weapons used a proven technology and affected only soldiers on a limited front. It could not be effectively delivered in mass quantities over long distances to a city like London, Moscow or Tokyo and occassionaly a strong wind blew the gas in the wrong direction.

If one side used it then the other would respond in kind. There was no long-term advantage to using this weapon on the battlefield.

[ March 24, 2003, 11:06 PM: Message edited by: Edwin P. ]

Link to comment
Share on other sites



It's like the line in Failsafe where the military theorist (played in the movie by Walter Mathau) comes out with this great line: "I consider the A-bombs not to be the closing battles of World War Two, but the opening battles of World War Three."

The problem in Europe seems to be more a moral matter than anything else. Assuming the U. S. wouldn't drop the first A-bomb on Europe, which I believe should actually be a rule, it would have to follow that Hitler would need to drop one on England for the U. S. to do the same to Germany.

I think what Rambo was getting at, and was mentioned in a succeeding post, was that if the A-bomb were dropped by anyone it would be open season for everyone to use whatever they had. An assumption I agree with entirely.

So, it would seem if we're going to have nukes we should already have a chemical option, especially as Germany, England and Italy already had stocks of these weapons in 1939!

There's nothing incongruous about this; every war sees a combining of the next war's weapons with those of the last. In thise case they were the most terrible of weapons and it's good chemicals weren't used and that A-bombs weren't used in greater numbers (at Japan's surrender the U. S. did not possess another, but was of course beginning to manufacture them).

Also, in the period between Hiroshima/Nagasaki and the H-bombs, the U. S. developed a booster effect for Atomic Bombs, making them much more potent. I know very little about this process, it became obsolete within a few years of it's development, but does this potentially more powerful a-bomb also come into a possible game weapon? The game can extend up to 1947; about the time the booster effect was developed.

Finishing on the chemical subject. Used in strategic bombings by either side prior to a German invasion of England or an Allied invasion of Europe, there would have been no danger of the gasses being blown back at the attacker. Contact with the English Channel and the North Sea would doubtlessly have nulified the effects. If there's a chemist out there who feels I'm wrong on this I'd like to know for sure -- perhaps I am in err, but I don't think so.

Any thoughts on what a chemical weapon would be in SC? Would it come in two varieties, tactical and strategic? What would it's effects be on troops or the civilian population?

[ March 24, 2003, 11:34 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

rambo mentions-Why not other WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction)? Mustard gas, germ warfare, fire-bombing of civilian targets like Dresden, etc.

i think the current sc heavy bombers could arguably be said to ALREADY cause more than normal damage, or "fire-bombing" an area

edwin said -"I think because the A-bomb was an era defining weapon and required a major research program to turn it into reality."

i again agree with edwin here. stockpiles of ww1 gas do not mean they should be an option. if we wanted to consider this a WMD, we should also consider a ONE-WAY fighter for the japs perhaps causing dbl dam. for a kamikaze attack.

this and gas were both "shocking" attacks, but in end results very limited. not era-changing.

of course a random research category titled WMD would be fun wouldn't it. who knows what you would get and IF it was something worthwhile for your country to use!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


In the late thirties the British in particular were afraid of chemical weapons being used upon their civilian population.

The stocks being discussed weren't necessarily left over from WW I. There were most likely advances made between the wars and new stocks built up again. I don't think Germany had any gas weapons from WW I; they would have been forbidden by the Versailles Treaty, the terms of which she adhered to throughout the 20s.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some excellent historical content here, and any thread with Babe Ruth, Wally Pipp and Walter Johnson in it can't be all bad. ;)

But, strictly one man's opinion here, mind you: it's small beer whether SC2 has nukes or not. As they were never used in Europe, ditto chemical weapons, it won't bother me a bit if SC2 lacks WMD.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Agreed, in fact I'd prefer the game play without those factors. Still, as a possiblity it probably should be explored.

I was hoping those oldtime ballplayers would surface again -- smile.gif

Getting back to the earlier thread about the late 30s English fear of Gas as a strategic weapon, there was a movie that came out around 1935 or 36 in the UK, Things To Come that illustrates the point, as seen from the popular perspective, perfectly.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Create New...