Topic: Military history/Weaponry
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1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash
The 1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash was an accident that occurred near Goldsboro, North Carolina, on 23 January 1961. A Boeing B-52 Stratofortress carrying two 3–4-megaton Mark 39 nuclear bombs broke up in mid-air, dropping its nuclear payload in the process. The pilot in command, Walter Scott Tulloch, ordered the crew to eject at 9,000 feet (2,700 m). Five crewmen successfully ejected or bailed out of the aircraft and landed safely, another ejected, but did not survive the landing, and two died in the crash. Information declassified in 2013 showed that one of the bombs came very close to detonating.
- "1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash" | 2016-12-16 | 10 Upvotes 3 Comments
Bat bombs were an experimental World War II weapon developed by the United States. The bomb consisted of a bomb-shaped casing with over a thousand compartments, each containing a hibernating Mexican free-tailed bat with a small, timed incendiary bomb attached. Dropped from a bomber at dawn, the casings would deploy a parachute in mid-flight and open to release the bats, which would then disperse and roost in eaves and attics in a 20–40-mile radius (32–64 km). The incendiaries, which were set on timers, would then ignite and start fires in inaccessible places in the largely wood and paper constructions of the Japanese cities that were the weapon's intended target.
- "Bat bomb" | 2017-09-07 | 18 Upvotes 4 Comments
- "Bat bomb" | 2014-11-08 | 252 Upvotes 40 Comments
Blue Peacock, renamed from Blue Bunny and originally Brown Bunny, was a British tactical nuclear weapon project in the 1950s.
The project's goal was to store a number of ten-kiloton nuclear mines in Germany, to be placed on the North German Plain and, in the event of Soviet invasion from the east, detonated by wire or an eight-day timer to:
... not only destroy facilities and installations over a large area, but ... deny occupation of the area to an enemy for an appreciable time due to contamination ...
- "Blue Peacock" | 2019-09-23 | 56 Upvotes 8 Comments
A bouncing bomb is a bomb designed to bounce to a target across water in a calculated manner to avoid obstacles such as torpedo nets, and to allow both the bomb's speed on arrival at the target and the timing of its detonation to be pre-determined, in a similar fashion to a regular naval depth charge. The inventor of the first such bomb was the British engineer Barnes Wallis, whose "Upkeep" bouncing bomb was used in the RAF's Operation Chastise of May 1943 to bounce into German dams and explode underwater, with effect similar to the underground detonation of the Grand Slam and Tallboy earthquake bombs, both of which he also invented.
- "Bouncing bomb" | 2016-11-15 | 91 Upvotes 67 Comments
Canal Defence Light
The Canal Defence Light (CDL) was a British "secret weapon" of the Second World War.
It was based upon the use of a powerful carbon-arc searchlight mounted on a tank. It was intended to be used during night-time attacks, when the light would allow enemy positions to be targeted. A secondary use of the light would be to dazzle and disorient enemy troops, making it harder for them to return fire accurately. The name Canal Defence Light was used to conceal the device's true purpose. For the same reason, in US service they were designated T10 Shop Tractor.
- "Canal Defence Light" | 2015-10-14 | 33 Upvotes 16 Comments
Davy Crockett (nuclear device)
The M-28 or M-29 Davy Crockett Weapon System was the tactical nuclear recoilless gun (smoothbore) for firing the M-388 nuclear projectile that was deployed by the United States during the Cold War. It was one of the smallest nuclear weapon systems ever built, with a yield between 10 and 20 tons TNT equivalent (40–80 gigajoules). It is named after American folk hero, soldier, and congressman Davy Crockett.
- "Davy Crockett (nuclear device)" | 2018-09-15 | 58 Upvotes 59 Comments
The demon core was a spherical 6.2-kilogram (14 lb) subcritical mass of plutonium 89 millimetres (3.5 in) in diameter, that was involved in two criticality accidents, on August 21, 1945 and May 21, 1946. The core was intended for use in a third nuclear weapon, but remained in use for testing after Japan's surrender. It was designed with a small safety margin to ensure a successful explosion of the bomb. The device briefly went supercritical when it was accidentally placed in supercritical configurations during two separate experiments intended to guarantee the core was indeed close to the critical point. The incidents happened at the Los Alamos Laboratory in 1945 and 1946, both resulting in the acute radiation poisoning and subsequent deaths of scientists: Harry Daghlian and Louis Slotin. After these incidents the spherical plutonium core was referred to as the "demon core".
- "Demon Core" | 2019-06-17 | 153 Upvotes 55 Comments
- "The Demon Core" | 2012-10-07 | 20 Upvotes 1 Comments
FOGBANK is a code name given to a material used in nuclear weapons such as the W76, W78 and W80.
FOGBANK's precise nature is classified; in the words of former Oak Ridge general manager Dennis Ruddy, "The material is classified. Its composition is classified. Its use in the weapon is classified, and the process itself is classified." Department of Energy Nuclear Explosive Safety documents simply describe it as a material "used in nuclear weapons and nuclear explosives" along with lithium hydride (LiH) and lithium deuteride (LiD), beryllium (Be), uranium hydride (UH3), and plutonium hydride.
However National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator Tom D'Agostino disclosed the role of FOGBANK in the weapon: "There's another material in the—it's called interstage material, also known as fog bank", and arms experts believe that FOGBANK is an aerogel material which acts as an interstage material in a nuclear warhead; i.e., a material designed to become a superheated plasma following the detonation of the weapon's fission stage, the plasma then triggering the fusion-stage detonation.
- "FOGBANK – How USA forgot how to manufacture an essential ingredient for nukes" | 2017-09-25 | 22 Upvotes 6 Comments
Fu-Go Balloon Bomb
A Fu-Go (ふ号[兵器], fugō [heiki], lit. "Code Fu [Weapon]"), or fire balloon (風船爆弾, fūsen bakudan, lit. "balloon bomb"), was a weapon launched by Japan during World War II. A hydrogen balloon with a load varying from a 33 lb (15 kg) antipersonnel bomb to one 26-pound (12 kg) incendiary bomb and four 11 lb (5.0 kg) incendiary devices attached, it was designed as a cheap weapon intended to make use of the jet stream over the Pacific Ocean and drop bombs on American cities, forests, and farmland. Canada and Mexico reported fire balloon sightings as well.
The Japanese fire balloon was the first ever weapon possessing intercontinental range (the second being the Convair B-36 Peacemaker and the third being the R-7 ICBM). The Japanese balloon attacks on North America were at that time the longest ranged attacks ever conducted in the history of warfare, a record which was not broken until the 1982 Operation Black Buck raids during the Falkland Islands War.
The balloons were intended to instill fear and terror in the U.S., though the bombs were relatively ineffective as weapons of destruction due to extreme weather conditions.
- "Fu-Go Balloon Bomb" | 2019-12-08 | 42 Upvotes 10 Comments
The "gay bomb" and "halitosis bomb" are formal names for two non-lethal psychochemical weapons that a United States Air Force research laboratory speculated about producing. The theories involve discharging female sex pheromones over enemy forces in order to make them sexually attracted to each other.
In 1994 the Wright Laboratory in Ohio, a predecessor to today's United States Air Force Research Laboratory, produced a three-page proposal on a variety of possible nonlethal chemical weapons, which was later obtained by the Sunshine Project through a Freedom of Information Act request.
- "Gay Bomb" | 2017-01-09 | 16 Upvotes 10 Comments