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    US Archive 2





    Mike - |Ivy|
    Date: 19:14 UTC 31/10/1952 | Type: Groundburst | Yield: 10.4 Mt

    The device detonated in the Mike shot, called the Sausage, was the first H-Bomb ever tested, built upon the Teller-Ulam principles of staged radiation implosion. The 10.4Mt device used two stages, with a fission bomb as the primary, and a secondary stage of liquid deuterium fuel in a cylindrical dewar. The dewar was surrounded by a uranium pusher/tamper weighing 5 tons. The steel housing was 2m wide and 6.1m long, with walls 30cm thick. The inside surface of the casing was lined with sheets of lead and polyethylene to form a conduit from the primary to the secondary. The entire device weighed 82 tons making it un-usable weapon. The test island of Eluelab was completely obliterated, the resulting crater was 1.9km wide and 50m deep. 77% (8mt) of the yield was due to fast fission of the natural uranium pusher/tamper making this an extremely "dirty" test showering high levels of radiation over the atoll. The mushroom cloud climbed to 17,000m in only 90 seconds, entering the stratosphere. Within 1 minute it had reached 33,000m, eventually stabilizing at a ceiling of 36,500m. Half an hour after the test the mushroom stretched 96km across.
    Additional clip using time lapse photography.

    King - |Ivy|
    Date: 23:30 14/11/1952
    Type: Airburst @173m
    Yield: 500 Kt

    The device in the King test was dropped by a B-36 bomber flying out of Kwajalein Island. While perhaps not the largest deliverable fission bomb possible at the time, it was certainly pushing close to the practical limit. With such a large amount of enriched uranium (more than 4 critical masses) the bomb was skirting the edge of criticality safety. A 45cm chain made of aluminium and boron filled the central portion of the bomb to absorb neutrons and prevent accidental detonation, it was removed just before the bomb was dropped. The shot was delayed for 24 hours due to bad weather. The live shot was preceded on the 8th November by a dummy run with a mock Mk-18 (T-59) bomb. The target consisted of brightly painted oil drums mounted on pilings arranged in a cross and fitted with radar reflectors to improve accuracy. This target was visible from 40 kilometers away, the bomb was then aimed visually.

    Additional clip

    Annie - |Upshot-Knothole|
    Date: 13:20 UTC 17/03/1953
    Type: Tower @90m
    Yield: 16 Kt

    Two houses and 50 automobiles were exposed to the shot for the Federal Civil Defense Administration. Members of the media were allowed to observe shot Annie, which was designated as an open shot by the AEC. Most of the reports observed the shot from News Nob, some 12 kilometers south of the shot tower. 20 reporters were selected to accompany the troops in trenches 3.2 km from the blast. 1,700 troops conducted maneuvers around the blast as part of Desert Rock V. Officially a weapons development shot, it tested an experimental device code named XR3. The device was a Mk-5 HE assembly using a Type D pit. The total weight of the device was 1,225 Kg.

    Nancy - |Upshot-Knothole|
    Date: 13:10 UTC 24/03/1953
    Type: Tower @90m
    Yield: 24 Kt

    Nancy was a test of the TX-15 "Zombie" thermonuclear weapon design, code named Nevada Zombie. Both the RACER primary and the TX-15 radiation implosion system were tested in this device. The device was lighter and smaller then any other thermonuclear weapon being developed at that time. It weighed 4,900 kg., had a diameter of 90 cm, and a length of 310 cm. The RACER primary produced a yield below the predicted range of 35-40 kt, leading to a design modification for the Simon shot. A sudden wind shift after detonation spread fallout over an area between Desert Rock V troops and their intended objective. Troops were stationed in trenches 3,660 meters from surface zero at shot time.

    Ruth - |Upshot-Knothole|
    Date: 13:00 UTC 31/03/1953
    Type: Tower @90m
    Yield: 0.2 Kt

    This was the first test of a UCRL device, code named Hydride I. It was a fission bomb based on an enriched uranium hydride fuel, similar to Ray 12 days later, and was intended to be used as a primary in a compact thermonuclear weapon. The device was first conceived during the Manhattan Project, but the idea was not developed as it was deemed unpractical. In theory, a hydride device uses less fissile material to attain a nuclear explosion. However, the device would be very inefficient and only be capable of small yields. The device fizzled, producing only a 200 ton yield, far below the predicted 1.5-3 kiloton yield. The fact that only the top 30 meters of the 90 meter tower was vaporized was a great embarrassment to the URCL team. Much of the shot tower was scattered across the desert floor. A betatron was used for initiation.

    Dixie - |Upshot-Knothole|
    Date: 15:29 UTC 06/04/1953
    Type: Airburst @1830m
    Yield: 11 Kt

    B-50 bomber air drop, the detonation was 199m east, and 21m north of the designated ground zero. Dixie was a Mk-5D bomb proof test. The predicted yield was 8-12 kt. This test experimented with lithium deuteride as a means of fusion boosting, hence the mnemonic test name Dixie. Radioactive rain would later fall on Boston following the Dixie shot.

    Ray - |Upshot-Knothole|
    Date: 12:45 UTC 11/04/1953
    Type: Tower @30m
    Yield: 0.2 Kt

    Ray was the second test of a uranium hydride device, first tested in Ruth. This time deuterium was used, a heavy isotope of hydrogen. The device was called Hydride II and was essentially identical to the Hydride I device. The predicted yield was 0.5-1 kiloton, smaller then the Ruth shot despite the similarity in device design. Despite having the same yield as Ruth, which was a fizzle, Ray was not considered a failure because of the lower predicted yield. The shot tower was apparently built to a height of 30 meters instead of 90 meters to ensure it would be fully destroyed.

    Badger - |Upshot-Knothole|
    Date: 12:35 UTC 18/04/1953
    Type: Tower @90m
    Yield: 23 Kt

    Badger was a test of the TX-16 thermonuclear weapon design, the reduced size cryogenic weapon descended from the Sausage device tested in Ivy Mike. The test device was named Buzzard and used a deuterium gas boosted RACER primary. The expected yield was 35-40 kt. The full scale thermonuclear version of this design was actually deployed on a limited scale for a short time as an EC or (Emergency Capability) weapon in late 1953 and early 1954. The full scale version was never tested though due to the success of solid fuelled weapon designs. Observers were stationed in trenches 3,660 meters southwest of ground zero. Troops began a mock attack on a position 1,830 meters southwest of ground zero after the shockwave had passed. A wind gust blew a portion of the radioactive cloud over several observer trenches, resulting in contamination. Several Marines exceeded the allowable does of 6.0 R/h, some film badges read 7.1 R/h.

    Simon - |Upshot-Knothole|
    Date: 12:30 UTC 25/04/1953
    Type: Tower @90m
    Yield: 43 Kt

    Simon was a developmental test of the TX-17/24 thermonuclear weapon design, one of the largest and most powerful nuclear weapons ever built by the United States. The device, code named Simultaneity, had a diameter of 90 cm, length of 569 cm and a total weight of 4,990 kg. It used a redesigned RACER primary with 2 kg of enriched uranium, which almost doubled the yeild. For the first time in nuclear testing history, roadblocks were established outside the test site. Placed on U.S. highway 91 between Las Vegas and Alamo, Nevada, and on Highway 93 between Las Vegas and St. George, Utah. Over 3,000 personnel participated in Desert Rock V exercises. The predicted yield was 35-40 kt.

    Encore - |Upshot-Knothole|
    Date: 15:29 08/05/1953
    Type: Airburst @740m
    Yield: 27 Kt

    Encore Upshot-Knothole was scheduled for May 7, 1953, but due to inclement weather it was postponed until the following day. The test name was mnemonic code for "Effects". It was one of eleven atomic detonations in a series that took place at the Nevada Proving Grounds (Camp Desert Rock) in 1953. The bomb was a Mk-6 device dropped from a B-50 at a tower target at ground zero. The shot was off target by 33 meters. Troops were entrenched 10 kilometers from ground zero and after the detonation were ordered to advance. Upshot-Knothole tested the radiation implosion systems for the world's first deployable thermonuclear weapons which would be proof-tested in Operation Castle the following year.

    Alternate View 1 | Alternate View 2

    Harry - |Upshot-Knothole|
    Date: 12:05 19/05/1953
    Type: Tower @90m
    Yield: 32 Kt

    Harry was a test of the Hamlet device which used a TX-13D heavy weight strategic bomb design. It was 142cms in diameter and 168cm long and weighed 3,628kg. The device was the second most efficient pure fission design ever tested, the most efficient design was the Ivy King. The device used a new hollow core design, which resulted in a very effective compression of the fissile core. A betatron was used for initiation. The radioactive cloud, which rose to an altitude of 11,500 meters, passed directly over St. George, Utah, 161 km to the east. The following summer "The Conqueror" starring John Wayne, was shot in a canyon near St. George. Legend has it that John Wayne developed cancer, and later died, due to this test. 91 of the 220 member cast developed cancer. For these reasons, the test came to be known as “Dirty Harry”.

    Grable - |Upshot-Knothole|
    Date: 15:30 UTC 25/05/1953
    Type: Airburst @159m
    Yield: 15 Kt

    The Grable shot was an artillery delivered airburst. The test name was mnemonic code for "Gun". The shell travelled 10,000 meters before detonation 26m west, 41m south, and 7m above the designated burst point. The 280 mm shell used a "gun-type" fission weapon assembly method like the Little Boy bomb. The Mk-9 280 mm shell was 130cm long, weighed 365 kilos, and used oralloy as the fissile material. Air burst detonation was arranged by a time fuse. The Mk-9 device was fired by an enormous 85 ton artillery piece which had a muzzle velocity of 629m/sec, and a range of up to 32 kilometers. More information about the test.

    2.66:1 CinemaScope | Fireball | Effects | Cloud formation | Altenate

    Climax - |Upshot-Knothole|
    Date: 11:14 UTC 04/06/1953
    Type: Airburst @406m
    Yield: 61 Kt

    Climax was air dropped by a B-36, the shot was 52m west, and 70m north of the designated ground zero. It was a proof test of the Mk-7 high yield, light weight fission bomb. This weapon had a small diameter making it suitable for external carriage by high speed fighter-bombers. The predicted yield of this device was 50-70 kt, the yield of 61kt was the highest of any U.S. continental test up to this time. The Mk-7 was the lightest and most compact implosion bomb design yet developed. The test name was mnemonic code for "Cobra". The composite Cobra primary was later essential in several thermonuclear devices in the Castle test series, namely the Shrimp, Runt 1/2 and Alarm Clock devices.
    The smoke trails visable in this and other tests are actually left by small rockets just before the detonation to help analyse the blastwave.

    Alternate view

    Bravo - |Castle|
    Date: 18:45 UTC 28/02/1954
    Type: Groundburst @2m
    Yield: 15 Mt

    Bravo (Shrimp) was a 2-stage thermonuclear device, which used solid lithium deuteride fuel. It was accidently the largest ever test. The yield was 2.5x greater than expected due to the highly expensive lithium isotope producing extra tritium ("tritium bonus") which greatly increased the yield. The resulting crater was 1.98km wide and 76m deep. The cloud reached 16.5km, was 100km wide with a 7km wide stem. This created the greatest radiological disaster in US history with a large number of civilians heavily irradiated by the fallout. Subsequently, the exclusion zone around the tests was increased to 917,326 square km, a circle 1367km across (aprox. 1% of the Earth's land area). The Japanese fishing vessel Daigo Fukuryu Maru was also heavily contaminated with one crew member later dying, documented here. The main objective of the Castle series was to validate one or more of the EC "emergency capability" weapons that had already entered the stockpile, and produce a deliverable H-bombs.

    Alternate footage from the USS Curtiss 53 kilometers SE of Bikini.

    Romeo - |Castle|
    Date: 16:30 UTC 26/03/1954
    Type: Barge shot @4.2m
    Yield: 11 Mt

    Like Bravo, Romeo's explosive power exceeded projections almost tripling the best guess yield. At 11 megatons Romeo was the third largest test ever detonated by the US. The original yield estimate for this test device, known as Runt was only 4 megatons. It used inexpensive and abundant unenriched natural lithium, as opposed to the 40%-enriched lithium used in Bravo. If Bravo had fizzled, then the Romeo shot would have been cancelled. In fact as late as October 1953, Los Alamos was considering not even testing this device. It's success was significant in that that it brought far greater affordability to subsequent solid-fuel TN weapons. Runt was later deployed as the MK-17, the heaviest and 2nd highest yield of any US weapon. Romeo was also the first nuclear test conducted on a barge as they were rapidly running out of islands to vapourise.

    Alternate View

    Uni0n - |Castle|
    Date: 18:10 UTC 25/04/1954
    Type: Barge
    Yield: 6.9Mt

    Union was a prototype an untested dry fuel thermonuclear weapon that had already been stockpiled by the U.S. as the EC-14. Also known as the Alarm Clock, not to be confused with the Soviet Layer cake. It's secondary consisted of expensive and rare 95% enriched lithium-6 deuteride fuel. The TX/EC-14 had been part of the emergency capability program to provide a deliverable TN weapon to cover the period between Ivy Mike in 1952, and the successful testing of both solid and liquid fueled designs in 1954 during Castle. A requirement driven at least in part by a desire to have a TN bomb to use in Korea. The test left a crater 91m wide, 27m deep in the bottom of the lagoon.

    Wide-screen

    Yankee - |Castle|
    Date: 18:10 UTC 04/05/1954
    Type: Barge
    Yield: 13.5 Mt

    The Yankee shot was a proof test of the TX/EC-24, the sister of the Romeo device. Both weapons had virtually identical characteristics, but differed in the choice of thermonuclear fuel. While Romeo used natural lithium, Yankee used partially enriched lithium, the same as the Shrimp device tested in Bravo. Due to the use of tritium rich lithium, the yield exceeded it's predicted yield of 9.5 Mt, producing 13.5 Mt the second highest of any U.S. test ever. This yield increase of 2.5 Mt was entirely due to fusion.

    Nectar - |Castle|
    Date: 18:20 UTC 13/05/1954 | Type: Barge | Yield: 1.69Mt

    The device tested in Nectar was a prototype of the TX-15 lightweight thermonuclear weapon, a transitional design between fission and hydrogen bombs. In essence a radiation imploded fusion-boosted fission bomb. Although most of yield was due to fission, it was fast fission of ordinary uranium driven by the fusion-produced neutrons. The mushroom cloud topped out at 21,640m.

    The success of the Castle solid fueled weapons meant the cancellation of shot Echo, a full-yield test of stockpiled liquid fueled TX/EC-16 Jughead weapon. Liquid fueled "wet" weapons are logistically complex compared to "dry" ones. If stored unarmed, they require filling before deployment meaning delay and vulnerablity. On the other hand, if maintained fully-loaded, then the equipment required to maintain them would be in constant operation. This same heavy equipment was still required aboad the delivery aircraft, affecting range and bombload. The TX-16 vented explosive hydrogen gas at a rate of 50 liters an hour, in effect making the bomber a mini Hindenburg.

    Ess - |Teapot|
    Date: 20:30 UTC 29/03/1955
    Type: Subsurface @-20m
    Yield: 1 Kt


    Ess was the sixth test to use the Ranger Able U-235 core, this time in a Mk-6 HE assembly. Ess ("Effects Sub-Surface") was a test of atomic demolition munition (ADM) cratering. The 3,600kg device was placed in a shaft lined with corrugated steel, 3 meters wide and 21 feet deep, then back-filled with sandbags and dirt prior to firing. Material was thrown out to an altitude of 200 meters, with the highly radioactive base surge reaching out 1,600 meters. Ten minutes after the detonation the cloud height had reached 3,200 meters. The resultant crater measured 91 meters wide and 39 meters deep. One hour after test, the dose inside the crater lip and out to 45 meters was 6000 roentgens, 20 roentgens 4 miles downwind. Doses in excess of 5,000 roentgens are immediately incapacitating, and 100% lethal within a week.

    Apple-1 - |Teapot|
    Date: 12:55 UTC 29/03/1955
    Type: Tower @150m
    Yield: 14 Kt


    LASL test of a Class "D" (light weight) thermonuclear weapon primary and radiation implosion system, using small quantities of fusion fuel. The primary failed, yielding much less than the predicted 40 kt. No reaction was detected in the secondary stage. The nuclear system was 75cm wide and 190cm long and weighed 1,043kg.

    Wasp Prime - |Teapot|
    Date: 17:59 UTC 29/03/1955
    Type: Airburst @230m
    Yield: 3.2 Kt


    Wasp Prime was an air defense orientated effects test using the tried and trusted Ranger Able uranium core. Dropped by a B-36 in a Mk-12 ballistic case, this was the 5th time this core design had been tested. The Able light-weight implosion system was only 55cm wide and weighed only 55 kg, although the total bomb weight was 680 kg. The Wasp Prime results were primarily used in direct comparison with the high altitude HA shot that followed it using an identical physics package but using a Mk-5 bomb case. The shot was fired 5 hours after Apple-1, the first time in U.S. history that two nuclear explosions had been detonated in one day.

    HA - |Teapot|
    Date: 18:00 UTC 06/04/1955
    Type: Airburst @111600m
    Yield: 3.2Kt

    HA (high-altitude) was a test of a proposed air-to-air missile warhead. However for the purposes of the test it was dropped by a B-36 in a 500 kilo Mk-5 ballistic case. Due to the extreme high altitude of this test (for an air dropped device) it was parachute retarded to permit the release aircraft to escape to a safe distance, the only parachute weapon drop ever conducted at the NTS.

    MET - |Teapot|
    Date: 19:15 UTC 15/04/1955
    Type: Towershot @121m
    Yield: 22Kt

    MET ("Military Effects Test") was a Los Alamos test of a composite 76cm diameter, U-233/plutonium bomb core (the first U.S. test of U-233) in a Mk 7 HE assembly. The purpose was to evaluate the destructive effects of nuclear explosions on military vehicles and matériel. The predicted yield was 28 kt, the actual yield was 22Kt, this difference seriously compromised the collected data. The primary objective was to confirm the phenomenon of precursor and 'dust loading' in increasing damage to drag sensitive targets, discovered accidentally during shots 9 and 10 of Operation Upshot-Knothole. The secondary objective was to measure damage to aircraft structures, by flying three radio-controlled QF-80K drones directly above the blast. The timing of this test was so critical, that the tes was to be cancelled as little as 30 seconds before zero time if the aircraft were out of position. The inclusion of these drones required daylight, making MET the first US daytime tower shot.

    Alternate footage | Rapatronic footage | Cloud Development | Drone test | Precursor effect

    Wigwam - |Wigwam|
    Date: 20:00 UTC 14/05/1955
    Type: Subsurface @600m
    Yield: 30Kt

    Operation Wigwam consisted of a single nuclear detonation conducted 400-500 miles SW of San Diego, California. It was a deep water test to investigate the vulnerability of submarines to deep nuclear weapons. The test device was a Mk-90 Betty depth bomb that was suspended beneath a barge. The ships conducting the test were 5 miles upwind from the barge, with the exception of the USS George Eastman and USS Granville S. Hall which were equipped with heavy shielding and stationed 5 miles downwind. Both ships were contaminated by the base surge.

    Alternate clip









    Published on: 2006-01-22 (97809 reads)

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