The Five Stupidest Nuclear Weapons

Posted on July 06, 2010
Views: 65,949

Subscribe to our newsletter

Advertisements

As long as man has been able to mix together chemicals, he’s been blowing the heck out of anything that moves. About seventy years ago, he hit the apotheosis of “blowing the heck out of stuff” power: the nuclear bomb. But apparently dropping it from planes wasn’t enough. Oh no, we had to put that kind of power into backpacks, stick it in grenade launchers, and fire it out of cannons. Here are five weapons that prove that not only was the Cold War pointless, both sides were completely insane.

1.

The Davy Crockett

crockett

No, we’re not referring to the King of the Wild Frontier. We’re talking about a nuclear weapon you could issue to soldiers, you know, for when they were out fighting. If this sounds insane, that’s because it is. But that didn’t stop anybody from putting together the Davy Crockett.

The entire idea was instead of dropping huge bombs from airplanes onto unsuspecting enemies, in this case the Russians, you could issue the infantry with their own personal nukes, mounted on a recoilless rifle, and let them irradiate the other side while fighting. Because, of course, there was absolutely no way the infantry (the guys getting shot at a lot and having to make spur of the moment decisions) would ever misuse what amounts to a nuclear grenade launcher.

The really insane thing about the Davy Crockett was the terrible design. Recoilless rifles have all the accuracy of a drunk urinating, so the Davy had to be designed to be pointed at something’s general direction and launched; it’d wipe out anything within a mile radius of where it landed and had a three mile maximum range. And, this being the ‘50s, it wasn’t a clean bomb, either. No, the Davy was just as radiation-heavy as any other nuclear weapon, so basically the only way to shoot it safely was to be downwind and hope the other side was three miles away.

Thankfully, somebody in the Army was actually sane and this was never actually used in combat. Just deployed… in places like Vietnam.

2.

Atomic Annie

annie

The Army was confronted with this newfangled “atomic bomb” back in the ‘50s, and they weren’t sure how to use it. They knew they wanted one, because every military man deeply loves munitions that can blow the living hell out of absolutely everything. But they just weren’t sure how to work it into the Army’s usual repertoire of rifles, cannons, and their conventional stuff that goes boom. Luckily, somebody was there with the single most terrifying “solution” to a “problem” you’ll hear all day.

Atomic Annie, aka the M63, was an enormous cannon that fired nuclear bombs. Yes, you read that correctly. It fired nuclear bombs. Why? Because why the hell not? This is the military, d*#n it, guns that shoot bombs are like peanut butter that magically creates chocolate in your mouth. Never mind that combining gunpowder with a nuclear bomb sounds more dangerous than letting Gary Busey outside without the shock collar, let’s go full steam ahead!

What’s really unnerving is that Atomic Annie is simply the biggest of their ridiculous cannons. The Army had plenty of options for using weapons that had “THIS WILL GO TERRIBLY WRONG” practically stenciled onto the crates, from teeny little cannons to big honking guns designed to be used as standard artillery, except with radioactive death. Granted, the Russians were just as stupid and slamming out nuke cannons as fast as the collective would allow, but first of all, they were just following the US’s lead and secondly, it was Soviet Russia. Buying a blender from them is fraught with risk, forget buying any munitions that aren’t the AK-47. We expect a little more from the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, like not putting nuclear weapons into cannons.

3.

MK-54 SADM

sadm

OK, enough about launching nukes out of cannons and on the end of rifles. Let’s talk about something that’s even more stupid: making nukes into time bombs and expecting some poor shmuck to lug them around on his back.

The MK-54 SADM is better known as a “suitcase nuke” or a “backpack nuke”, but is better described as “the world’s most destructive time bomb”. The idea was, if a soldier on the field ran into a situation where, somehow, turning the entire field into a parking lot made sense, he could sling this thing off his back, set the timer, and run as fast as possible in the opposite direction, preferably towards something like a helicopter or a spaceship, desperately hoping he’d set the timer just long enough for him to get out of the blast range, or at least that he was downwind. If not, well, he was kind of up the creek.

There were a lot of problems with this idea, beyond the fact that it was insane. For one thing, nuclear weapons, no matter how tiny they are, are not exactly light; these things weighed fifty pounds or more, which made the term “suitcase” kind of a misnomer. Basically, the soldier carrying this thing had to haul that, his pack, and a gun to actually defend himself in a sane manner. Secondly, atomic bombs are fragile things, and so are bomb timers, so humping a big old bag of death across a couple of mountain ranges didn’t make a lot of sense. Luckily, we never got the chance to find out.

Advertisements
Random
Page 1 of 3
Loading...

Latest Articles

20 of the Most Terrifying Things Kids Have Ever Said

20 of the Most Terrifying Things Kids Have Ever Said

Kids say the darndest things, as the old saying goes. They also say some of the most horrifying things, as well. Most of the time it’s just because they don’t know any better...

20 Creepiest Abandoned Hospitals From Around the World

20 Creepiest Abandoned Hospitals From Around the World

Hospitals can be scary places. They’re sterile and often impersonal, and oh yeah, there are often people dying all around you. And let’s not even get into the fact that...

7 Weird Ways People Try to Get Drunk

7 Weird Ways People Try to Get Drunk

People like their booze, and have for centuries upon centuries. It’s not a secret that basically as long as there have been human beings roaming the Earth, there have been human...

8 Ways Science Says Sex Is the Best Medicine

8 Ways Science Says Sex Is the Best Medicine

With a few odd exceptions, people love sex. Sex sells, people enjoy watching it, and more importantly, people enjoy having it. That’s because sex makes you feel good, and it...

10 Absolutely Baffling Celebrity Cameos in Music Videos

10 Absolutely Baffling Celebrity Cameos in Music Videos

Believe it or not, music videos are actually things that still exist, despite the fact that channels like MTV would have you believe otherwise. Celebrities popping up in a music...

7 TV and Movie Side Characters That Deserve Their Own Spinoffs

7 TV and Movie Side Characters That Deserve Their Own Spinoffs

One of the hardest things about writing fiction is coming up with interesting, fully developed side characters. After all, you can’t spend too much time on them because you...

8 Incredible Facts About Game of Thrones

8 Incredible Facts About Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is an absolute juggernaut. There’s no denying it. Along with Walking Dead, you’d be hard pressed to find a television show that gets more online chatter that...

7 Books That Should Would Make Great TV Shows

7 Books That Should Would Make Great TV Shows

With the return of the immensely successful and wildly popular Game of Thrones, it’s only natural to look at the bookshelf and imagine what books may have a chance to rival the...

8 Completely Off the Wall Zombie Movies

8 Completely Off the Wall Zombie Movies

First things first, let’s not pretend that zombie movies are ever going to be exactly “normal.” After all, we’re talking about movies that center on the conceit that the...

8 Famous Movie Quotes No One Ever Gets Right

8 Famous Movie Quotes No One Ever Gets Right

We’re living in a culture where half of what we say seems to come from television or the movies. At some points it feels like there are precious few original thoughts being...