Alternate History

Atomic bombings of Pansourdan and Magway (Napoleon's World)

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During the final stages of the Burmese War in 1976, the Chinese Empire conducted two atomic bomb strikes against the cities of Pansourdan and Magway in Burma on December 6th and 7th, respectively. It is, to date, the only usage of nuclear weapons directly against enemy targets to date, the only other usage of similar-yield weapons having been as a show of force during the Black Sea War.

With almost a million soldiers dead over the course of two years in Burma and their puppet government collapsing, the Chinese government issued an ultimatum to the exile government of Sin Nak and to the French-backed SEAMA organization based in southwest Vietnam to cease hostilities or suffer dire consequences. When this order was refused and the Exiles launched a counterattack in mid-November that resulted in the ouster of the Chinese from Monywa, Chinese Emperor Pujie authorized the deployment of five nuclear weapons at the discretion of his Prime Minister, Hua Guofeng on November 29, 1976 in the Special Imperial Directive AA44.

On December 6th, the Chinese S-88 bomber 7781 deployed a 200 kiloton nuclear device against the village of Pansourdan in western Burma, near the frontier with Bengal, killing all 1,500 people in the town and surrounding area nearly instantaneously. On December 7th, the S-88 bomber 9090 deployed a 230 kiloton nuclear device at the rebel-held industrial city of Magway, killing upwards 150,000 people, about 80,000 of which were soldiers. In both attacks, the majority of casualties were civilian. A nuclear strike against a SEAMA base at Mang Phet, near the tripoint border between Vietnam, Burma and China, failed due to a technical failure with the bomb, resulting in the device striking the ground and leaking radiation but not detonating, resulting in the "Big Dud."

The nuclear strikes against Pansourdan and Magway resulted in the eradication of senior Exile leadership, including Sin Nak and his closest lieutenants, which caused Guofeng to call off the planned strikes against the cities of Monywa and Mergui, both of which were major civilian population centers and had recently been lost to the rebels. With their leadership devastated, the Exiles ceased major operations by January 1977 and soon thereafter agreed to a ceasefire in March, resulting in the continued occupation of Burma by China until 1980. Widely condemned worldwide, the legality and ethics of the bombings are still debated today, and although both France and the United States threatened to cease trading with growing economic power China, the French eventually ended their mild economic sanctions in 1981 and the United States never followed through on their threats, largely in part to the assassination of Adam Eisler and the 1979-1983 recession.

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