Friday, January 31, 2014

SADM: special atomic demolition munitions


foreignpolicy |  Documents from the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) show that America's nuclear weapons developers were happy to support the Army's quest for tactical nukes. In 1957, according to an AEC history, Sandia Corporation President James McRae lamented that "indiscriminate use of high-yield nuclear weapons inevitably created adverse public opinion." Since the future of war lay in an "unending succession of brushfire wars, rather than large-scale conflicts," McRae recommended that "greater emphasis should be placed on small atomic weapons," which could be used in "local ground combat."

McRae's urgings paved the way for the development of the Davy Crockett, a sub-kiloton-yield nuclear rocket that could fit on the back of a jeep. In 1958, when the Army came knocking for an atomic demolition munition that could be carried by a single soldier, the AEC looked to the Crockett's lightweight Mark 54 warhead for its solution. The resulting weapon would be a smaller, more mobile version of the ADMs. The Army, though, would have to share the device with the Navy and Marine Corps.

The AEC's final product -- the B-54 Special Atomic Demolition Munition -- entered the U.S. arsenal in 1964. It stood 18 inches tall, encased in an aluminum and fiberglass frame. It rounded to a bullet shape on one end and had a 12-inch-diameter control panel on the other. According to an Army manual, the weapon's maximum explosive yield was less than 1 kiloton -- that is, the equivalent of a thousand tons of TNT. To protect the bomb from unauthorized use, the SADM's control panel was sealed by a cover plate secured by a combination lock. Glow-in-the-dark paint applied to the lock allowed troops to unlock the bomb at night.

As Soviet forces advanced into such countries as West Germany, the SADM would allow Special Forces units (dubbed "Green Light" teams) to deploy behind enemy lines to destroy infrastructure and matériel. But their mission wouldn't have been limited to NATO countries alone. What many nuclear historians don't realize is that Special Forces Green Light teams were also prepared to use SADMs on territory of the Warsaw Pact itself in order to thwart an invasion. The teams prepared to destroy enemy airfields, tank depots, nodes in the anti-aircraft grid, and any potentially useful transportation infrastructure in order to mitigate the flood of enemy armor and to allow allied air power to punch through. According to an internal report, the Army also considered burying SADMs next to enemy bunkers "to destroy critical field command and communications installations."

Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces were trained to reach their targets by air, land, and sea. They could parachute behind enemy lines from cargo planes or helicopters. Teams specializing in scuba missions could swim the bomb to its destination if necessary. (The AEC built an airtight, pressurized case that allowed divers to submerge the bomb to depths of up to 200 feet.) One Special Forces team even trained to ski with the weapon in the Bavarian Alps, though not without some difficulty. "It skied down the mountain; you did not," said Bill Flavin, who commanded a Special Forces SADM team. "If it shifted just a little bit, that was it. You were out of control on the slopes with that thing."

Special Forces thus turned to teams trained in special high-altitude parachute jumps and scuba diving to deliver the weapon. Team leaders were allowed to choose which of their men would receive training on the weapon in order to make sure their units could pass the Army's periodic, demanding nuclear surety inspections. "The people with the best records, the people with the most experience, usually ended up on the SADM team because they had to pass the surety inspection," said Flavin. To receive SADM qualification, soldiers also had to be screened through the Defense Department's personnel reliability program to make sure they were trustworthy and mentally stable.

Some men approached for the mission were gung-ho; others were less so. "Of course everybody would volunteer. That wasn't a problem," said Capt. Davis. "We did it because, hey, it was gee-whiz. It was a neat thing to do, and I wanted to learn about it." But when Green Light team member Ken Richter began interviewing potential candidates, he said, not everyone was as enthusiastic: "I had a lot of people that I interviewed for our team. Once they found out what the mission was, they said, 'No, thanks. I'd rather go back to Vietnam.'"

16 comments:

John Kurman said...

General: "Two flying saucers... have just landed on my plate".

Colonel: "Well, turn away sir, I'll eat them".

http://www.angelfire.com/md/k3ky/page23.html

woodensplinter said...

What do you know about those four Georges? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Hunt_Williamson

CNu said...

I don't think you're on about any of those nitwits as much as you may be about this George http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_de_Mohrenschildt and this weird little dumpling, as well http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Dudley_Pelley

John Kurman said...

I don't have cable, so thanks for that clarification. I like the boondocks version as well.

makheru bradley said...

Speaking of impulse control and Big Don’s IQ 76 crowd.. This story is an eerie reminder of the pathological Susan Smith.

[Heather Jensen told her live-in boyfriend that she was taking the kids to play in the snow, the police investigation showed. Jensen's husband had died less than two months earlier in a car crash. She left her sons, Tyler, 4, and William, 2, in her SUV with the engine running for 90 minutes while she had sex in the truck of a male friend. The boys died from hyperthermia. Tests done later on the vehicle showed the temperature inside could have reached 140 degrees. In the courtroom Jensen didn't stop sobbing when her defense attorney portrayed her as a lonely widow with an IQ of 76 who was trying her best to protect her children when she locked them in a car with the heat on to keep them warm.]

http://bit.ly/1eiPlYZ

makheru bradley said...

How many pundits in the MSM have called Congressman Grimm a thug, compared to Seahawks CB Richard Sherman? Also Grimm is being protected by the Zionists.

http://nydn.us/1ef8vAs

Vic78 said...

When it comes to conservative stories, I figure it's bullshit most of the time. I've accepted that they were vile and liable to do anything. Conservative spokespeople all follow the same model. Whenever they make a public appearance, they're talking to their audience. It doesn't matter where they are, if the camera's on it's time to play the nut role.

On the electoral level conservatives spokespeople know that their base hates Obama so they run the most ruthless campaigns against him. Those campaigns extend to his party. The conspiracy shit around election time is just what they need to get the base out to vote.

What gets me is that the tactics being used against Obama were used against Clinton in the 90s. You'd think that the side taking these attacks would have a plan to neuter the white wing. Twenty years is plenty of time to have something figured out. I couldn't be the president with my party that sorry. My attitude would be fucked up if my people couldn't beat Ted Cruz. My response would be like this: http://youtu.be/yzjWXduLPjs

CNu said...

but wasn't it a WSJ reporter who precipitated all of this by putting Grimm on the spot there on the capital balcony?

CNu said...

You'd think that the side taking these attacks would have a plan to neuter the white wing.No, I wouldn't. Because that presumes we're looking at something other than the 2party/1ideology system of neoliberal divide and conquer governance - and we're not.

I buy Adolph Reed's analysis of the situation and see "artificial negativity" going all the way back to Bacon's Rebellion.

makheru bradley said...

Michael Scotto works for Time Warner Cable, not that it makes much difference. I was more focused on how the MSM went off on Sherman, compared to Grimm.

“Because he verbally, not physically, roughed up San Francisco 49er Michael Crabtree after the NFC championship game 10 days ago, Sherman was globally denounced as a “thug” and worse, as ugly racial stereotypes and flat-out projection defined the talented scholar from tough Compton by way of Stanford University as a criminal. Stand Grimm and Sherman side by side, there is only one “thug,” and it’s the GOP congressman.”

http://bit.ly/1eootqE

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024411155

The WaPo did run this, which I missed.

http://wapo.st/1eg5sYT

CNu said...

This is not a forum for big-upping Sherman. Instead of acting like a Stanford educated professional athlete, he acted like a classless jiggaboo and ass-clown. I note that he has subsequently deported himself with greater finesse and conducted himself in a manner to make his mother proud, but he should've done that in the first place - instead of taking three large steps backwards.



When my son first asked me my opinion about this nullity, my instantaneous response to him was to ask, "what would Tsonga do?" Should you ever so fortunate as to get paid millions to play for a living, make sure your class and grace is so legendary that sponsors line up a mile deep to put mo'money in your pocket, and, the whole world has a positive opinion of you and whatever you represent in their imaginations.

makheru bradley said...

My focus here is on the comparative applications of the word thug. Although the hypocritical Roger Goodell fined Sherman, you can bet your bottom dollar that the corporatists loved it. It is guaranteed that both Seahawks-49ers games next year will be nationally televised. As regards hypocrisy, how is Sherman fined and Tom "That is f---ing brutal” Brady isn’t?

http://bit.ly/1jJwZEe

His comments in the heat of battle aside, Richard Sherman’s Compton, to Stanford, to NFL, story is inspiring. A pick 6 on Pety would seal the deal.

CNu said...

It is precisely in the "heat of battle" (in this case "play" and "discussion" - strictly punkass and low-stakes modes of "battle") that one's true nature shines through. Thus we know Grimm is a murderous thug and Sherman is a low-class buffoon.

Vic78 said...

Rich Sherman is trying to be like the last cornerback people knew about.

http://youtu.be/AEEPVGtwsO8

makheru bradley said...

Kshama Sawant Responds to Obama's State of the Union

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lh7LBtrBq1g

makheru bradley said...

Dr. Welsing on sagging pants:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa-NGwSkilI

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