Tag Archives: Soviet

The Suez Crisis was a paramount failure

Join me as we go back, way back, all the way back to 342 Before the Common Era, when Nectanebo II, after many years of struggle, finally lost Memphis to the Persians and had to flee south to Nubia, he would ultimately be the last native Egyptian ruler to rule Egypt, all the way up to 1922 CE, when Egypt would gain a semblance of freedom from their overlords of the time, the British Empire.

After Nectanebo II Egypt would be ruled by in order chronological: The Persians, the Greeks (Alexander the Great, then the dynasty of Ptolemy), the Romans, the Persians again, the Romans one more time, then the Arabs under the Abbasid, then de jure the Fatimids and de facto the Mamluks (The Mamluk Sultans were so many nationalities that most Historians just group them as Mamluks, otherwise we’d be here all day), the Ottoman Turks were next, then it becomes a bit tricky.

Enter Napoleon Bonaparte, his Egyptian expedition in 1798 basically threw a giant wrench into the already fairly unstable political system, oh yeah, the French conquered Egypt too, briefly at least. Napoleon’s supporting fleet was blasted into pieces during the Battle of the Nile, one of Nelson’s battles, causing him to flee back to France, leaving his army behind.

This left a three-way struggle behind, the Ottoman Turks, the nominally Egyptian Mamluks and of all things, Albanian Mercenaries, that’s right, Albanians, the Ottoman Empire was a fun part of history, it basically spread nationalities everywhere.

In 1805, Muhammad Ali Pasha won, using the oldest trick in the book, he massacred everyone else, he’d manage to gain independence for his Egypt, now ruled by an Albanian dynasty, so technically speaking, the Albanians were next.

In 1822 the British basically became the next and ultimately the final colonial overlord of Egypt, using a nationalist uprising as pretext, they’d maintain effective control of Egypt from that point forward, the French being allowed to retain their share of the Suez Canal, the single most important strategic overseas position of the British Empire, thanks to the Jewel that always will be India.

I have no real reason to add this picture.

This would finally end in 1952, when the last of Pasha’s successors would be overthrown in a Nationalist and Republican Revolution, the last British soldiers withdrew two years later.

Which brings us to the Suez Crisis, the last final gasp of the diminishing Superpowers that were the French and British Empires, the Suez canal was at the time of the Crisis in 1956, carrying over half of the oil needed for the British economy, so when Nasser decided to nationalize the Canal company, the British and the French lost their fucking minds.

Literally, Anthony Eden was prime minster of the UK at the time, and was described as a man of “weakened nerves”, poor bugger had been Foreign Minister under Churchill during the Second World War, not something everyone makes it out of intact, he wasn’t the man he used to be, being terrified of a second Hitler.

Now Gamal Abdel Nasser had a simply reason for nationalizing the Suez, the West wouldn’t sell him the weapons he needed to “defend” himself from the Israeli, this was the time when the Egyptians actually wanted to drive the Israeli into the sea, these days they probably would be happy to have them visit as tourists.

The Western Powers couldn’t sell him any cool stuff, mostly because only the Americans could afford cool stuff and I’d remind everyone that this is a time where the largest Jewish population could be found in New York City, no way Eisenhower was going to sell Nasser anything.

So he turned to the Soviets, bought cool shit from the Czechoslovakians and told the west to go suck it, which caused them to retract an offer to build the Aswan Dam, so he nationalized the Canal so he could afford to built it.


The British, French and the Israeli then attacked and absolutely wiped the floor with the Egyptians, which probably shouldn’t surprise anyone at all, the British and French armies still had a lot of experienced Officers from World War Two, their navies were immensely superior to anything the Egyptians could vaguely assemble, the Israeli had access to all the cool military equipment from the west and a significant chunk of their Officers were also World War Two veterans and the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

However, Nasser knew what he was doing, he understood something that the British and the French refused to grasp, their time was over, the rise of the United States of America and the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics was already a reality and that they’d have to accept their new roles as big powers, rather than Superpowers.

After both of the two new powers threaten to essentially nuke the shit out of both the French and the British, they both retreated and accepted the new order of the world, the Israeli withdrew shortly afterwards, Nasser got to keep his new canal, had to give a few minor concessions to keep everyone happy, Lester B. Pearson got a Nobel Peace Prize for hashing out a treaty, the Soviets got a big prestige win and Nasser got to throw out a bunch of Jews.

The failure here was the old Powers not realizing just how old they were.

Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy was the People’s Victory against the Bourgeois Capitalist and not at all Today’s Failure

This was basically the Soviet version of Operation Plowshare, same idea, same concept, just on a scale that was so much large and more grandiose and obviously even stupider than the American version, just like the good old days of Soviet Glory.

Starting up later then the American program, due to various political attempts to limit nuclear tests, when it started up sometime around 1960, it really went all out.

Like the American project, the Soviets essentially divided their many, MANY, nuclear tests into two broad categories.

  • “Employment of Nuclear Explosive Technologies in the Interests of National Economy” or “Program Six”.
    • This was the part of Peaceful Nuclear Explosions (PNE) designed for massive-scale construction programs: Canals, water reservoirs and other excavations.  
  • “Peaceful Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy” or, surprise, surprise, “Program Seven”.
    • This one was broadly similar to one of the American categories, using nuclear explosions to encourage mineral and gas exploitation, adding in plans about creating underground cavities to store gas.

The first program resulted in 124 tests with 135 nuclear devices, the second 115 explosions, most of them were similar to the American experiments, some 39 of them were used for experiments in using seismic waves to detected deposits of natural gas, 25 were attempts to encourage additional oil and gas production with similar irradiated gas results as the Americans got, the seismic experiments carried on much longer than any of the rest of them.

Some Twenty-two were used in experiments with large underground gas cavities for storage, two more for toxic waste storage, wonderful idea, let’s make toxic waste radioactive, like it wasn’t bad enough already.

Two were used to crush ore in open-pit mines, which sounds fucking nuts to me, detonate essentially open-air nuclear bombs just to crush some fucking rock? Madness as all hell.

Nineteen for various research purposes and a long one for coal mining? Underground? Holy shit, gotta give the old Soviets that one, I would never have even dreamt of using a nuclear bomb to mine out coal, quick, somebody tell President Trump about it, perhaps he’ll blow up West Virginia.

Now, there are nine of the tests that are interesting beyond the terror, some of them, actually did good, they worked as intended and did indeed solve fairly serious problems.

Five explosions you see, were used to stop “natural gas fountains”, that would be out of control gas fields spewing huge amounts of flammable gas straight into the atmosphere, in 1966 a thirty kiloton device were used to stop a gas well that had been blowing since ’63 and they repeated that success a few months later with a larger devices.

To be fair though, using explosives to stop well blowouts is actually the norm, usually you’d just use conventional explosives and not the Bringer of Death, the Destroyer of Worlds herself.

This is the Chagan shot, lovely isn’t it? Didn’t pollute nearly as much as the Sedan test

The last four, were used as tests, for building stuff, the Chagan test, which was basically the Sedan test with a much, much cleaner nuclear device, for those of you who do not care to dream beyond your small niche, radioactive waste from nuclear bombs is essentially unexploded material from the fission process, however, Hydrogen bombs don’t use that much fission, they use fusion, which doesn’t leave anywhere near as much radioactive material around.

The trick is to get as much as possible of the fissile material, used in hydrogen bombs as a starter, to well fission, resulting in a “clean bomb”, the Sedan was an older and much more primitive device compared to the Chagan, so the Chagan didn’t contributed seven per cent of the total radiation of the Soviet people, it barely contributed at all.

Neither did the Taiga tests, a series of the three remaining devices tested for canal building, all of these projects were deemed failures even by the Soviets delightful standards, the seismic tests continued until 1988, were Gorbachev’s glasnost put a stop to them.

Lovely lake right? WRONG! Made by a fucking nuke!

The lessons learned? Pretty much the same as the American, the only really “good” results were the blowout stopping power of nuclear weapons, but there’s a perfectly decent chance that you can get the same result using conventional high-explosives or thermobaric weapons.

So, nothing gained other than a handful of mildly irradiated lacks in the depths of Mother Russia and hey, who’ll notice another of those.

Now, please enjoy nuclear explosions!