Britain’s V-bomber deterrent: The threat to destroy Moscow and Leningrad
Thursday 22nd February 2024 6.30 – 9.30
Much has been written about Britain’s V-bombers, but virtually nothing has been said about the details of their war mission and the credibility of the retaliatory threat projected by the V-Force.
Following a seven-year research project, involving interviews with over 70 V-Force veterans and the examination of over 300 official documents, military historian Dr Tony Redding has produced a book (V-bombers: Britain’s nuclear frontline in the Cold War) which gets to the truth.
The evidence suggests that most of the V-Force would have been destroyed on the ground or in the air a minute or two after take- off, in a Soviet missile strike on the airfields. Yet a small group of survivors would have had every chance of releasing weapons on Moscow and Leningrad – the Soviet Union’s first and second cities – in a retaliatory strike.
In short, a handful of attacking V-bombers could have dropped around three million tonnes of high explosive equivalent on the largest Soviet cities during the first few hours of World War 3, delivering the threat that underpinned deterrence.
Whilst Soviet offensive and defensive capabilities were formidable, they could not guarantee the destruction of every single V-bomber – each laden with a war load equal to tens of thousands of wartime Lancasters.
In his talk, Dr Redding will explain how the war sortie would have been flown.
The evening starts with a delicious hot buffet supper in The Hub Café at 18.30.
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