From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty

During the Silent War, the rivalry between Russia and Britain, followed by the emergence of the Association of North American Nations (ANAN) as a global power, significantly spurred the development of advanced rocketry. This period saw rocket technology's extensive military applications, notably contributing to the doctrine of mutually assured destruction and subsequently laying the groundwork for space exploration.



Following the Great War (1935-1939), the world witnessed an unprecedented acceleration in military technological development, particularly in nuclear technology. A significant breakthrough came in 1952 when Britain successfully tested its first nuclear bomb. However, British military strategists initially relied on traditional bomber fleets for nuclear weapon delivery, confident in their technological superiority and overlooking the need for sophisticated rocket systems.

This perceived British superiority was shattered in 1954 when Russia successfully detonated its own nuclear bomb, a feat achieved by leveraging openly shared scientific literature from British institutions. In response, British authorities tightened control over research dissemination, shifting towards a more closed approach to technological development.

Early research

Prior to the development of Transcontinental Rockets (TCRs) and Transatmospheric Rockets (TARs), Britain's efforts were primarily concentrated at major institutions like the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London. Within these academic circles, physicists such as Dr. Alistair McGregor made notable theoretical contributions to the field. Despite McGregor's significant work, which included explorations into rocket propulsion and trajectory modeling, the lack of substantial funding and practical support limited the scale and application of these developments.

Development of transcontinental rockets (TCRs)

Britain's Transcontinental Rocket Project

After Russia’s successful nuclear bomb test in 1954, the British government sought to enhance its methods of nuclear weapons delivery. The Ministry of Defense, recognizing the potential of Dr. McGregor's work in rocketry, invited him in October 1954 to explore the feasibility of rocket-based delivery. During these discussions, McGregor presented various models and calculations, showing the potential of rockets. However, when it became clear that the Ministry's primary interest was in utilizing this technology for delivering nuclear weapons, McGregor withdrew from the discussions, expressing ethical concerns over the militarization of his research.

Dr. George Mawdsley in 1955

In response to this, the Ministry approached Dr. George Mawdsley of Imperial College London. Known for his anti-Russian views, Mawdsley saw this as an opportunity to challenge Russian military advancements and readily offered his help in the endeavor. As a result, in 1955, the British Transcontinental Rocket (TCR) Project was officially initiated under Mawdsley's leadership, with General Sir Edward Hargreaves and Defence Minister Charles Gibson overseeing the program, which was to be executed by the Royal Air Force.

Initial tests and failures

Despite high expectations, the Britain's TCR program, which produced 20 different designs under the 'Globetrotter' series, faced numerous challenges including mismanagement, technical setbacks, and funding issues. Of the 20 'Globetrotter' series designs, only three were prototyped, with the rest discarded. Notable failures included the GT5's catastrophic ignition explosion in 1960 and the GT8's mid-flight malfunction in 1962.

Russian response

In response, Russian Chairman Ilya Kiselev, in power since 1958, formed the Strategic Rocketry Division (Russian: Podrazdelenie Strategicheskih Raketnyh Vojsk) to develop TCRs comparable to those of Britain’s. Russia also experienced failed prototype launches, such as the Pegas-2 explosion in 1961.

Fully operational TCRs

Test launch of Britain's GT7 rocket (1964)

By 1964, both Britain and Russia had successfully developed fully operational Transcontinental Rockets. In May of that year, the British Royal Air Force tested the GT7 rocket, the first fully complete model in the Globetrotter series, launched from a static site and powered by liquid propulsion. Soon after, Russia test launched its counterpart, the Pegas-5.

In 1966, Britain strategically stationed an undisclosed number of GT7 rockets globally, including notably in the Ottoman Sultanate, triggering the 1966 Turkish Crisis. The further placement of GT7 rockets in Rupertsland, North America, caused significant controversy and concern within the Association of North American Nations (ANAN).

These developments were a significant step towards the more advanced Transatmospheric Rockets that would follow. Other nations, such as China, France, New Netherland, and Mexico started to develop their own indigenous rocketry program throughout the late 1960s and the early 1970s.

Transatmospheric Rockets (TAR)

By the mid-1960s, the arms race had entered a new phase with Britain and Russia developing the Transatmospheric Rocket (TAR). This period was marked by intense research and development, leading to the first prototype tests of TARs between 1965 and 1967. The TAR represented a significant technological leap, offering greater range and the capability to carry heavier nuclear payloads compared to earlier Transcontinental Rockets.

Dr. Mawdsley’s team, based at a clandestine facility in Guyana, worked relentlessly on propulsion systems capable of exiting the Earth’s atmosphere. In Russia, the TAR program was spearheaded by Sergey Dvornikov, a brilliant but reclusive physicist. The Russian development took place in a remote facility in Siberia, where Dvornikov and his team focused on advanced guidance systems and payload optimization.

Initial TAR prototypes

In 1965, Britain conducted its first successful TAR test, launching the GT22-LR prototype. The following year, Russia responded with its own successful test of the Hranitel-H5 TAR, watched closely by Chairman Ilya Kiselev and top military advisors.

Fully-operational TARs

By 1968, both Britain and Russia had fully operational TARs. The British TAR, named GT22 Albion, was first deployed in a high-security base in Cyprus, while the Russian equivalent, the Hranitel-H10, was stationed in a newly constructed facility in the Ural Mountains. In 1978, ANAN launched the Atahensic, which carried the first manmade satellite, Quetzalcoatl-1, into space.


Mutually assured destruction

The full operationalization of TARs equipped with nuclear warheads by both nations marked the establishment of the doctrine of mutually assured destruction. This doctrine was solidified by public statements from both the British Prime Minister and Russian Chairman Ilya Kiselev, who both acknowledged the grave responsibilities that came with this new era of rocketry. This new principle led to heightened awareness and anxiety globally, sparking a series of peace movements and diplomatic efforts aimed at preventing nuclear escalation.

Development of Air Defense

With all these developments in rocketry came the need for effective air defense systems. Both Russia and Britain invested heavily into integrated air defense systems. This included radar networks for early detection and anti-rocket defense batteries capable of intercepting incoming rockets.

See also