In the run-up to my fictional Third World War scenarios, the players received regular daily broadcasts from the BBC over the preceding week. They are reproduced here for the delight of readers. Feedback from John and Tim was quite positive, and they seemed an effective mechanism for setting the scene. The scenario is perhaps a little fanciful, but is based on that used in the 1984 BC TV drama 'Threads' albeit with a rapidly accelerated timescale. Those who have seen Threads will recall that things didn't turn out too well, particularly for Sheffield! I regularly run past 'Ruths parents' house, and it is all a bit sobering really. At least no-one tries to shoot me for stealing a packet of crisps.
1. Here is the news from the BBC at 6pm on Thursday June 25th 1981.
Soviet forces commenced an invasion of Iran
in the early hours of this morning. The Kremlin declared that this
was to safeguard their southern
republics from the threat of Islamic extremism and complemented
their internal security efforts in Afghanistan. It is believed that
several mechanised divisions have been employed with massive air
support and the Iranians report their their borders have been
breached in several places with Soviet units already many miles
inside the country.
From the White House President Reagan condemned the actions
of the 'Evil Empire' and announced that the Carrier Battle Group
operating in the Gulf had been placed on a state of alert, warning
the USSR to avoid threatening vital US interests in the region.
From Downing Street Mrs Thatcher
said the West must no longer tolerate Soviet expansionism and
should stand up to bullies.
2. Here is the news from the BBC at 6pm on Friday the 26th June 1981.
In the Middle East, Soviet forces continue to advance in Iran. Some
reports place their spearheads as much as 75km into Iranian territory
and it is also reported that an airborne division has seized the major
airport outside Tehran with further reinforcements being flown in. There
are unconfirmed reports that Sovet units have employed chemical weapons
against centres of resistance.
President Reagen has declared that he is willing to do whatever is
necessary to protect American interests in the region, while the Kremlin
has responded that it is taking necessary steps to secure the integrity
of the USSR and warned the USA against intervening in the conflict.
US Marines have landed in Kuwait to provide additional security for US
3. Here is the news from the BBC at 6pm on Saturday 27th June 1981.
In a major escalation of the conflict in Iran, US aircraft have begun
conducting airstrikes against the Soviet airhead outside Tehran. The
Iranian government has announced 'it will not interfere with US aircraft
in its airspace'.
The White House declared its actions were a reasonable response to
Soviet aggression, reiterated its intention to protect US interests in
the region and called on the USSR to stop its attack on Iran. The
Kremlin warned of serious consequences if the US interfered with the
internal security of the Soviet Union.
Observers in Tehran report that US aircraft appear to be carrier borne,
although some high level bombers (possibly B-52s) have been observed. On
the ground, the Soviet advance continues with further advances of over
50 miles in some areas as Iranian resistance continues to be patchy. The
use of chemical weapons by the USSR has now been confirmed.
Major movements of military formations by road and rail have been
detected in the USSR. The Soviet government stated that these were in
preparation for summer exercises.
Leave for military personel in NATO has been cancelled.
4. Here is the news from the BBC at 6pm on Sunday 28th June 1981.
For the first time since WW2, nuclear weapons a have been used in armed
A formation of B-52s attacking the Soviet airhead outside Tehran were
engaged by a surface-air nuclear anti-aircraft missile and suffered
heavy losses. US forces retaliated with a battlefield nuclear weapon
against the Soviet held airfield.
The White House condemned the 'insane escalation of hostilities' by the
USSR and called on the soviet forces to withdraw. The Kremlin defended
its right to protect its internal security and accused the USA of
plunging the world towards nuclear armageddon. Soviet forces in Iran
announced an immediate halt on their current positions 'in the interests
of world peace'.
Defence analysts noted that the nuclear exchange was limited in both
scale and scope, and the fact the Soviet ground forces have halted gives
some hope that a negotiated settlement may be reached. It is thought
that the robust response of the White House to the Soviet attack has
taken the Kremlin by surprise, however the use of nuclear weapons by the
USSR is an indication of how seriously they regard the situation in Iran.
NATO forces were placed on a high state of alert and military movements
in the USSR continue. CND supporters staged a large demonstration in
Trafalger Square and there were a number of arrests. There are reports
of panic buying in some shops and petrol stations.
5. Here is the news from the BBC at 6pm on Monday 29th June 1981.
Soviet forces in central europe have dispersed from their barracks.
Moscow said this was just the usual summer exercises. There has been
a large increase in Russian civilian air traffic over western
Europe, and large scale military movements in the western USSR
NATO forces are now on a high state of alert. The UK government has
declared a state of emergency and taken control of all motorways,
ferries and airports which have been closed to civilian traffic.
Reservists have been called up and are en route for units in
Germany. Civil defence advice has been issued to the civilian
In Iran hostilities appear to have stopped. The White House once
again urged the USSR to withdraw, the Kremlin responded that it had
a right to protect its internal security.
6. Here is the news from the BBC on Tuesday, 30th June 1981.
The border between east and west Germany has been closed. Huge
Soviet troop movements have been detected in northern, central and
southern Europe. The Kremlin still claims these are summer
Reservists and reinforcements have been moving across the Channel
for the last 24 hours to bring the BAOR up to war strength. Reforger
flights have been ferrying US troops across the Atlantic. NATO
troops all along the front are forming up in their wartime assembly
The White House has once more called upon the USSR to withdraw from
Iran, but no response has been received.
The UK government has urged the population to remain calm and stay
in their homes. Secondary roads are reported to be choked with
traffic moving out of urban centres, and there are reports of
looting and rioting in major cities. In a speech to the House of
Commons, Mrs Thatcher said "Defeat? I do not recognise the meaning
of the word".
7. 31st June 1981
Well, this is fiction after all. On the 31st June, tanks roll over the border and it is game on.