Suffolk: County’s Cold War ‘targets’ revealed in new map

A map showing the impact zones of a Soviet nuclear strike on strategic Suffolk targets during the Co

A map showing the impact zones of a Soviet nuclear strike on strategic Suffolk targets during the Cold War - Credit: Archant

Predictions about the devastation that would have been wreaked on Suffolk by a Soviet missiles strike during the Cold War have been revealed.

Cold War historian and journalist Dan Sharp, author of new bookazine Cold War: Sex, Spies and Nuclea

Cold War historian and journalist Dan Sharp, author of new bookazine Cold War: Sex, Spies and Nuclear Missiles. The publication details how Suffolk would have felt a hypothetical Soviet nuclear strike. - Credit: Archant

Several likely locations in the county were identified as key nuclear targets and strikes would have left Ipswich – the biggest urban centre – devastated.

Author Dan Sharp says the impact zones would have overlapped in many areas, creating vast swathes of wasteland.

The claims are in his new bookazine – a blend of book and magazine – Cold War: Sex, Spies and Nuclear Missiles, which looks at the effects of a SS-4 Sandal missile strike during a hypothetical early-1960s attack.

Mr Sharp said Ipswich was in the unfortunate position of being surrounded by important military sites – three fighter bases and a radar station. These would have been targeted and the county town would have felt the combined force of the strikes.

Mr Sharp said: “Suffolk was unfortunate in being on the eastern side of the country where many of the nation’s defence assets were, by necessity, clustered – attractive targets for the Soviet military seeking to completely annihilate its deadly enemy and prevent any sort of recovery or retaliation.” His book, with the help of a detailed map based on government documents, says that a strike at RAF Wattisham, to the west of the town, would have turned the base and everything around it for 1.5miles to burning rubble.

Hitcham, Battisford, Barking, Bildeston and Combs, caught in the secondary blast zone, would also have been flattened. Chances of survival in Stowmarket would have been almost equally slim.

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By the time the shockwaves reached Ipswich they would have still been sufficiently potent to cause widespread damage, setting roofs on fire across the town.

The book outlines a similar fall-out from attacks on major targets to the east – RAF Bentwaters, RAF Woodbridge and RAF Bawdsey command centre and radar station.

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