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Did Russia Ever Have a Shot at Winning the Cold War?

Could the Soviets have won the Cold War? In retrospect, Soviet defeat seems overdetermined.  The USSR suffered from a backwards economy, an unappealing political system, and unfortunate geography. But even into the 1980s, many Cold Warriors in the West worried that Red Victory was imminent.

We can think of Red Victory in two ways; first, if the fundamental rules of the competition between the United States and the USSR had operated differently, and second if Moscow and Washington had made different strategic decisions along the way.

Changing the Rules

This Russian Nuclear Submarine Has a Very Special Mission: Kill American Aircraft Carriers

Russia’s enormous Oscar-class nuclear attack submarines, known as the Project 949A, were designed during the Cold War with a specific mission in mind: to go hunting for American aircraft carriers, the pride of American naval power.

Because each U.S. flattop is protected by its own little fleet of escorting warships—many of them specialized in antisubmarine warfare—the Oscar’s primary game plane isn’t to creep up close for a torpedo attack.

Instead, it’s designed to lob enormous anti-shipping cruise missiles (ASCMs) from hundreds of miles away.

The Strange Tale of Nazi Germany's Super Submarines (That Never Fired a Shot)

On May 4, 1945 one of the most advanced submarines in the world crept up to a British Royal Navy cruiser. U-2511 was one of Germany’s new Type XXI-class “wonder” submarines, and she was hunting for Allied ships.

She also represented one of the Third Reich’s biggest failures.

More than 250 feet long and displacing 1,620 tons, the Type XXI packed six hydraulically-reloaded torpedo tubes capable of firing more than 23 stored torpedoes. This arsenal could turn a convoy into sinking, burning wreckage.

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