The One-Way Nuclear Bomb Run with No Return – Victor Alert

Victor Alert

With tensions growing between the Soviet Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the 1950s, Allied commanders were desperate to find a way to counter the Soviets, who seemingly outmatched NATO in conventional military power along the Iron Curtain. For a short time, the U.S. believed it was prepared to defend Europe with the placement of nuclear-armed B-29s in England. But when the Soviets detonated their own atomic bomb in 1949, the calculus changed dramatically. NATO needed more firepower, and it needed it fast. In 1950, Secretary of the Army Gordon Gray came out swinging and argued for [QUOTE] “a fundamental and immediate change in emphasis based on the realization that strategic bombing will not hold Western Europe or defeat Russia.” The U.S. aimed to push the battle lines forward and prepared for an aggressive counteroffensive to strike the Soviets in Eastern Europe should the Soviets make any moves towards the West. The deployment of tactical nukes was suddenly on the table – the only question was how to deliver the weapons. The F-84 fighter jet was initially chosen for this task, but it would soon be replaced with something even faster: North American’s F-100 Super Sabre – the U.S. first fighter capable of supersonic speeds. They would be placed on Quick Reaction Alert, or as the pilots and crew called it: “Victor Alert.”

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