A Soviet Intercontinental Ballistic Missile concealed in a wagon. The RT-23 missile can deploy 10 nuclear warheads, each with a 550–kt yield. The USSR had 56 railed-based version of this missile.

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There has always been a fear of a massive “counter force” first strike where you have impacts before the decision makers get the birds flying. The theory is if most of your ICBM’s are down do you REALLY launch all your subs and give away the last nukes you got, or do you hang onto most of them to maintain a deterrent for an enemy second strike that blows up all of your cities, your remaining military and kills off most of your people. The Russians had to worry more about their subs, especially in the early 70’s because they were vulnerable, they were loud and often shadowed by American attack subs. Many would not have gotten the chance to shoot if a war came about because they’d be at the bottom of the ocean.

If the Russians had launched one missile at us in the 80’s they would have gotten a massive reply.

For the US the “Midget-Man” program made more sense, a road mobile ICBM that could be forward deployed to Europe and join the Pershing II.

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