Jump to content

Nuclear Weapon History


Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, Dougie93 said:


Hypersonic technology is the current Wild West. They remind me of the old SLAM that was to use a nuclear powered ramjet to maintain Mach 2 indefinitely...spewing radiation as it went. It was kind of diabolical in that it was fully automated to take-out 16 targets post failsafe...real MAD. One's only hope was to shoot it down...if you could catch it. Never produced... 



Edited by DogOnPorch
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Operation Hardtack I

Pacific testing grounds...Hardtack II was in the USA.


Shots Oak and Poplar...two examples.


Poplar at the instant of detonation...


Oak after it had mushroomed-out. 

These huge blasts were simply to log the effects of multimegaton nukes on their environs. Both were in the 9 megaton range...give or take a bit.

Not much unclassified footage of Oak exists at the moment. Poplar has more examples...


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Operation Greenhouse (1951)



Greenhouse had two goals: the shakedown of the two main post WW2 fission bomb designs and the testing of two boosted fission/fusion designs. The fission/fusion devices...George & Item...were unsuitable for weaponization...proof on concept only. But they worked...even if only a fraction of the yield was via fusion. George used a deuterium core while Item used injected tritium.


George Shot





Greenhouse George 225 kilotons

Greenhouse Item 45 kilotons

Greenhouse Dog 81 kilotons (Mk VI bomb)

Greenhouse Easy 47 kilotons (Mk V bomb)


Edited by DogOnPorch
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Mk 5 & Mk 6 were both implosion devices with plutonium pits...like Fat Man. Plutonium-239's big drawback is its nature to capture a neutron during production from Neptunium, creating Plutonium-240 (anywhere you have Plutonium-239, you also have 240). Spontaneous fission of Plutonium-240 leaves non-fissionable contaminants which can easily render the weapon a dud over time. Or a stray neutron could start a low grade reaction in the Plutonium-239...a fire so to speak. So various reflecting and absorbing layers of Beryllium, Boron, Gold, Polonium, etc, can be in use depending on the device to keep the whole thing stable over a given time. Regular maintenance is needed (low half-life = limited shelf-life)...and in early bombs like these, the entire pit can be removed and stored elsewhere/replaced. 

The gun style device...like Little Boy...had design limits in that in order to use more U-235 for a bigger yield, the two subcritical masses had to be smashed together that much more quickly to prevent premature detonation...requiring a much longer bomb/gun barrel. Ivy King, as mentioned, got around this limit by using a LARGE hollow thin walled U-235 pit with neutron absorbing chain inserts that were removed just before dropping. Both were VERY dangerous ways to get the job done, frankly...



Edited by DogOnPorch
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Upshot Knothole Ruth & Ray were tests...and fizzles...of the experimental uranium-hydride bomb which used deuterium as a so-called neutron moderator (ie: slow neutrons down but keep the thermal energy). This apparently was so that a nuclear reaction could be caused by using slow neutrons rather than the fast variety. Didn't work...



Parts of the tower even remained...apparently embarrassing to these nuke cowboys. 

Ruth's tower...


Upshot Knothole's most famous event was Atomic Annie...shot Grable. The 280 mm nuclear artillery piece. 

That worked.....



Link to comment
Share on other sites

A different view of Greenhouse George.


George was almost measurable fallout free...not because it was a particularly clean device. But rather, a near-by typhoon assisted in flushing all the fallout away from the test site and near-by inhabited islands.

Earlier shots during Greenhouse were dirtier than expected... 


Edited by DogOnPorch
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Refueling an RBMK-1000

 Reaktor Bolshoy Moshchnosti Kanalnyy, "high-power channel-type reactor"


This is a Soviet era graphite moderated reactor that uses individual rod cooling chambers, possibly one of Chernobyl's ...kind of weird. But it's the oldest type of reactor still in wide use, apparently. Useful for power production, obviously...and weapons-grade Plutonium production.

Scott's video on it...


Edited by DogOnPorch
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Operation Dominic (1962) had some of the biggest...and best photographed thermonuclear explosions. Better cameras...better filters...better...31 test blasts total. Most were air dropped bombs already in existence...testing was mainly on points of accuracy. Driving the CEP down. Not THAT necessary with these multi-megaton yields. However, the moratorium had ended and the Soviets were testing again...so...you know. Bombs away!


Dominic Bighorn - 7.7 megatons

Dominic Yukon - 100 kilotons

Dominic Housatonic - 8.3 megatons

Dominic Frigate Bird - 600 kilotons (sub launched)

Dominic Arkansas - 1.1 megatons

A collection...


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thursday...time to nuke something.


Redwing Navajo July 10th, 1956


4.5 megaton yield barge shot. The barge sat almost atop the underwater crater from a previous test, Castle Union. By this test, most of the suitable island locations has already been vaporized. 


This was one of the cleanest shots ever detonated. Over 95% of the massive yield was through fusion rather than fission. The "smaller" size and efficient use of materials were attempts to make the Mark 21 super bomb into an ICBM warhead (W21). While they were well on the way to accomplishing that, this was a dead-end design in that it could not ever be made lighter in weight beyond what they'd already striped away. Newer methods already being studied quickly overtook this bomb in favour of lighter-weight H-Bomb designs. Still...an impressive explosion. Remember that many of these H-Bombs were filmed from over 20 miles distance. The scale can be hard to judge. 



Edited by DogOnPorch
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Teapot Turk

March 7th, 1955. 43 kiloton yield

This was the largest shot of Operation Teapot and the test of the fusion primary for the Mark 27 H-Bomb. That is...the A-Bomb that makes the H-Bomb go boom. The Mark 27 had a 2 megaton yield...plenty big.  It was a tower shot done at the NTS.




Initial milliseconds....


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Redwing Cherokee

May 20th, 1956

3.8 Megaton Yield



Cherokee was the first test of a deliverable H-Bomb...but the B-36 that dropped it made a navigation error resulting in ground zero being four miles off the mark. This actually exposed numerous personnel to the massive nuclear flash resulting in some eye injuries. The miss was leaked by a technician resulting in a bit of a media circus surrounding the event.  He was soundly punished.  Cloudy weather obscured some of the test...but nukes don't care about your weather. Temperature inversions...if present...can actually enhance the destructive power of the Mach Stem as they tend to reflect a portion of the already reflected shockwave back onto itself.


Edited by DogOnPorch
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 3 weeks later...

  • Tell a friend

    Love Repolitics.com - Political Discussion Forums? Tell a friend!
  • Member Statistics

    • Total Members
    • Most Online

    Newest Member
    John Wilson
  • Recent Achievements

    • exPS went up a rank
    • Fluffypants went up a rank
      Rising Star
    • exPS earned a badge
      Week One Done
    • gatomontes99 went up a rank
    • phoenyx75 earned a badge
  • Recently Browsing

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...