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I am trouble grasping the subtle differences between these modal verbs when used in the past tense.

"There was the general fear of an enemy incursion and the havoc this 'could' wreck in our industrial heartland"
"There was the general fear of an enemy incursion and the havoc this 'might' wreck in our industrial heartland"
"There was the general fear of an enemy incursion and the havoc this 'would' wreck in our industrial heartland"

What exactly are the differences between these sentences? I can see that "would" make the prediction that an enemy incursion would wreak havoc sound more certain. But what about the use of "could" and "might"? Don't they both indicate possibility (and not probability?)? Thank you.
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There was the general fear of an enemy incursion and ...

the havoc this 'would' wreck in our industrial heartland
~ ... havoc that this was going to wreck in our ... heartland.

the havoc this 'could' wreck in our industrial heartland
~... havoc that this would be able to wreck in our ... heartland.
~... havoc that this would have the potential to wreck in our ... heartland.
~... havoc that this was going to be able to wreck in our ... heartland.
~... havoc that this was going to have the potential to wreck in our ... heartland.
Also
~ ... havoc that this would possibly wreck in our ... heartland.
~ ... havoc that this was possibly going to wreck in out ... heartland.

the havoc this 'might' wreck in our industrial heartland
~ ... havoc that this would possibly wreck in our ... heartland.
~ ... havoc that this was possibly going to wreck in out ... heartland.

CJ
Hi CJ, you just explained how each of these works in the past and the present, right?
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Dusan Stojilkovicyou just explained how each of these works in the past and the present, right?
I'm not sure what you're asking. All of the examples were in the past tense. I gave paraphrases to explain the meaning of each.

CJ
We "wreak" havoc, by the way.
enoonWe "wreak" havoc, by the way.
Thanks! It looked wrong but I was too lazy to look it up. Emotion: embarrassed

CJ
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~... havoc that this would be able to wreck in our ... heartland.
~... havoc that this was going to be able to wreck in our ... heartland.

Since the sentence is in the past tense, is 'was going to be able to' the only correct choice? The 'could' was as an example.
Dusan Stojilkovicis 'was going to be able to' the only correct choice?
I don't think you've got the right end of the stick here. Those are alternate paraphrases - different ways of saying the same thing. They are not choices like you find on an exam, with only one correct choice.

If, however, you are asking if "is going to be able to" is a possible paraphrase, in addition to those shown, then no, that's not possible.

1 We were fearful of the havoc that this could wreak in our heartland. > that this was going to be able to wreak
2 We are fearful of the havoc that this can wreak in our heartland. > that this is going to be able to wreak

But also (and maybe this is the one you're asking about):

3 We are fearful of the havoc that this could wreak in our heartland. > that this may be able to wreak

You won't find it stated this way in books, but example 3 is what I call borrowing a past modal into present time. Here the main clause is in present time, but to show uncertainty, the past modal 'could' is borrowed into the context of present time.
You can borrow a past modal into present time, but you can't normally borrow a present modal into past time, so the example below is somewhat anomalous. I don't recommend this kind of combination.

4 We were fearful of the havoc that this can wreak in our heartland.

CJ
CalifJim If, however, you are asking if "is going to be able to" is a possible paraphrase, in addition to those shown, then no, that's not possible.
1 We were fearful of the havoc that this could wreak in our heartland. > that this was going to be able to wreak

If we were talking about it, we couldn't say:...that is going to be able... because the sentence is in the past tense. Is that correct? Just out of curiosity, the original sentences are in the past tense, so, why didn't you just explain how each modal works in the past and not in the present?

EDIT: I know how to use all of the modals, but your explanation with the present tense got me confused.
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