To chime in here, there is a significant difference between a ground burst that creates contamination and an air burst that does not. In looking over the rules in 12.4.1, the nuclear strike abstraction assumes ground burst contamination for all strikes. Most strikes would probably have been at an optimal hieght of burst to preclude contamination and allow friendly forces to transit the area after the strike. If area denial was the goal then a ground burst would work. Without getting too complicated, a nuclear strike option for ground burst or air burst could be considered in a future enhancement? Just a thought.
In reality, West Germany was very sensitive to any NATO plans for contaminating the battlefield. One they didn't want their populace to suffer, and two they wanted counter-attacks to eventually push the Soviets back. So the NATO player should probably be restricted to air bursts. The Soviets, on the other hand, weren't too concerned about opinions and may have used ground bursts to secure their flanks. But they weren't stupid either, so would have hit NATO defenses with air bursts so they could then drive through them. So the Soviet player could have an option and use it accordingly.
Regardless, if you ever get into WMD, you're playing a different game.
That an air burst does not create a contaminated area is not exactly true. The amount and size would be determined by the yield and the distance above the ground, but you would have contamination in the area underneath the blast. You just wouldn't have the fallout area that you would have in a ground bust. I believe that the game represents the contamination of an air burst. When the bomb is detonated the only area you see contaminated is the area under the blast. There is no fallout in the game after the blast. Scenario designers can "paint" a fallout area on the map if they so choose, but the nuclear blast in the game does not do so. I too believe that both sides would choose air burst in most cases because fallout is hard to control and not always easy to predict. Also, a dirty battlefield makes it just as hard for the Soviets to maneuver as it would NATO.
The part of the game that is not represented is the EMP pulse that would likely fry any and all electronic equipment in the area. NATO would have a bigger disadvantage here as they had more electronics in their equipment than the Soviets.