America had the luxury of a couple of oceans between themselves and the Russians. The British, on the other hand, were right up close and personal. All Russia had to do was flatten the French, which nobody really saw as a problem at the time, and suddenly the Reds would be across the straights and in your face. So Britain decided to have a contingency plan: nuclear mines.
Yes, the British were going to bury nukes in the soil and trigger them if the Russians managed to cross the Channel, because destroying half of Britain and irradiating the other half is vastly preferable to allowing people with a different economic system from you to control your land. Even better, this was a bomb that was going to be warmed by the body heat of chickens. That was seriously a proposal.
The winner of the nuke miniaturizing sweepstakes is the W54, the “pocket” nuke. Again, words like “pocket” are a bit inaccurate; it was actually the size of a forty ounce, but instead of sweet foaming alcoholic goodness, it was hot burning radioactive death. It also was not endorsed by Billy Dee Williams.
What’s really sad is that the W54 was pointless because of its size. The entire reason you have an atomic bomb is that it flattens large chunks of land, what’s politely called its “yield”, since it was kind of impolitic to say “killing power.” But the W54 was so teeny it just didn’t have the oomph to really make an impression, kind of like Channing Tatum. It didn’t make sense to use, unless you just wanted to say you weren’t happy to see somebody and really DID have a nuclear weapon in your pocket, and so the W54 was relegated to “oh well” status. Maybe some engineers just needed the ego boost of keeping that kind of incredible destructive power in their pants.
Do you have some more nuclear projects we can make light up to disguise our fear? Post them in the comments below.
- - The Davy Crockett: http://dic.academic.ru/pictures/wiki/files/68/DavyCrockettBomb.jpg
- - Atomic Annie: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/71/VWM240mmAtomicAnnie01.jpg
- - MK-54 SADM: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_aJeegFsC3nY/SdK1wzIlCII/AAAAAAAABII/Y_B3ZIa6NVA/s400/SADM_container_H-912.jpg
- - Blue Peacock: http://img.tfd.com/thumb/9/90/Blue_Danube_Bomb.jpg
- - W54: http://www.radiochemistry.org/history/nuke_tests/storax/W54davy2.jpg