When “Godzilla” roars into theaters this Friday, cinema’s greatest monster will go up against the world’s largest military, the U.S. armed forces.
But how much of a chance would the U.S. military actually have against a 355-foot tall radioactive Godzilla?
To find out, we spoke with the film’s Military Technical Advisor, retired Sgt. Maj. James Dever and asked how the U.S. military would hypothetically take on the monster, and, more importantly, whether they could do it.
“The military would be very successful,” said Dever. “With the manpower and the equipment we have, we’d definitely be successful in taking down Godzilla.”
“The armed forces would use all their means,” he added. “The Air Force would use their F-15’s and F-16’s… Marine Corps with their F-18’s and Harrier Jets, the United States Navy with their F-18’s and aircraft carriers. If that didn’t work, the ground troops would be moved in using the M1 Abrams tanks.”
Even though Dever predicted the military would win out in the long run, he did see two complications that would pose the most difficulties: Godzilla’s fiery “Atomic Breath” and the battle taking place in a densely populated city.
In the movie, Godzilla eventually surfaces in San Francisco.
“Once he’s in the city our major concern are all the civilians,” said Dever. “The military would put their combined effort to move all the civilians out before we could engage him.”
While Godzilla would realistically take on all branches, the movie primarily focuses on the U.S. Navy.
Many scenes in the film take place on aircraft carriers and the movie’s main protagonist, Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is a Navy lieutenant.
Kimberley French / Warner Bros.
According to Dever, the use of the Navy makes sense given its use of ships, sonar, and submarines would have the best advantage at tracking and taking down the amphibious monster.
“They [The Navy] have the advantage of tracking and following in the air and in the seas,” Dever told us.
Another pressing question in a real-life battle with Godzilla would be if the U.S. would consider using a nuclear weapon especially considering the monster’s radioactive history.
Dever said it may be an option if the military felt it could work. However, the ultimate decision would come from the President and would only be used after civilians were evacuated.
He added that even though the battle would be unlike any other, it wouldn’t be too long before Godzilla was eventually destroyed.
“It’s not a known thing fighting monsters,” said Dever. “But we’d give it our best, and hope he would go down in a day or two.”