1952 ... Sabre 'Dogs'

... an 'all-weather' upgrade of the classic F-86 Sabre, these jets gained their nickname from the hasty addition of a radar nose cone to the front of the fuselage. On-board radar allowed the pilots to search out enemy aircraft at night or in poor visibility. Alas- many a good looking military aircraft of the 1950's was disfigured with these 'Mickey Mouse' noses. General electric made the jet engines.

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1961 ... fatal day!

... ooo- it's still available from Amazon!

1961 ... be there - or else!

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1953 ... 'Atomic Annie'

1952 ... atomic cannon preview!

... twenty of these behemoth artillery pieces were built and deployed in Europe and Korea. When first conceived the US Army did not have readily available missiles for battlefield use. Since NATO plans called for using small 'tactical' atomic bombs to halt an invasion of a much larger Soviet force delivering those bombs in the form of a very large artillery shell made some sense. The M65 'Atomic Cannon' fired a 280mm (11 inch) shell holding a W9 15 kiloton warhead. Range was 20miles. 

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... God as Nuclear Physicist!

1952 ... Operation Tumbler- 'Charlie' test

... in the early years of the Cold War the USA enjoyed a very large superiority in both number of atomic weapons and delivery systems. It seems that military planners saw a war between the Soviets and NATO as inevitable. Using atomic bombs to counter the overwhelming numbers of Russian and Chinese conventional forces was at the center of Western tactics for fighting WWIII.

This would account for the large and ongoing public relations effort to show how infantry and armor could fight on an 'atomic battlefield'. The average person did, and still does, regard atomic warfare with a mixture of ignorance, rumor and downright superstition. (Not to mention a healthy sense of doom and dread.) This was not a favorable climate for the men whose daily job it was to map out and find the funding for the coming apocalyptic showdown.

So test after test involved placing infantry in slit trenches as close as possible to ground zero. After the detonation they would scurry out like so many ants and swarm over the radioactive site. Then quickly withdraw; minimizing their exposure to radioactivity. The military went out of it's way to assemble 'composite' forces from many combat units so that a widespread number of GI's could return to their home base saying "see, I got nuked and there's nothing to it!". These were the good old days of atomic testing. If you were a Senator, Congressman or industrial VIP you could easily get an all expense paid vacation to Nevada and a front row seat for atom splitting demonstrations.

The 'Red' Chinese took it all a step further and claimed that the dangers of fallout were an Imperialist propaganda lie. Which was not very encouraging to US planners relying on the concepts of 'deterrence'!

1964 ... sci-fi view!

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1957 ... B-52 cutaway!

1952 ... hunter and killer team!

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1950 ... early- Early Warning!

1957 ... VZ-1 'Pawnee'

... it's about time we had an entry from the 'might have been a good idea that turned out to incredibly stupid' design department. If I were a member of the Pawnee Indian Nation I would file a lawsuit!

... awright! Here comes the AV Kid with some footage on this marvel! OK; this first British clip has it looking pretty silly. But the second extended color clip has me wondering where I can order one?

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1952 ... size matters!

... in this case 'size matters' means that smaller is better! The Mark 7 atomic bomb was a successful effort to produce nuclear weapons that were relatively small, lightweight and could be used 'tactically' by fighter sized jet aircraft. The original 'Fat-Man' bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 weighed five tons. The MK-7 was a scrawny 3/4 ton; yet, it was capable of 3 times the yield (61 kilotons). This was technology that helped the concept of  'flexible response' and battlefield nuclear weapons. The thinking was for lots of these bombs to be dropped by lots of fast, small hard to intercept aircraft. In fact this was one of the first 'dial-a-yeild' weapons; allowing the pilot to select from his cockpit what the final detonation force would be. Not only could the pilot select from the lowest 8 kiloton 'take out the tractor factory and the tractor-pull festival' with a flick of the wrist he could turn it into a 'melt the whole hardened command center and all the cows munching grass on top of it for ten miles around' ass kicker.

  • Length: 15.2 ft (4.6 m)
  • Diameter: 2.5 ft (0.8 m)
  • Weight: 1680 lb (764 kg)

1967 ... A-7D 'Corsair'


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1956 ... more reminders to remember!

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1961 ... many faces!

... Boeing can fly you on your Florida vacation, explore the planet Mars... or blow up the world! 
Now that's capability!

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1956 ... bigger is better!

... before the development of the Polaris missile carrying submarines the only way the US Navy could stay in the atomic war game was through it's aircraft and aircraft carriers. Nuclear weapons of the early cold War were large and heavy and it took a large and heavy aircraft to lug them all that way to a valuable target. The Douglas built A-3D Skywarrior, affectionately dubbed 'The Whale' remains the largest aircraft ever operated from a carrier. It also had an internal bomb-bay which allowed it to carry even the later model H-Bombs in comfort and style.

1957 ... 'learn and live!'

... one way to keep up enthusiasm and interest in the depressing topic of Civil Defense was to roll it into basic disaster preparedness. Your fallout shelter can double as a tornado bunker! Your stockpiled supplies can help in a hurricane! Your first-aid training can help in the coming urban riots of the 60's!

... you are here!

... this is what we will refer to as the 'Trans-Polar View' TVP. It is the Earth from the perspective of the war wagers of WW3. It did not take long for the USA and the USSR to figure out that the SHORTEST ROUTE  for bombers, missiles and Christmas cards was over the top of the world. In short- The North Pole. Yes; there is some irony in the fact that the most common geography of the 44 year long conflict called 'The Cold War' was the North Pole.

[Washington DC is marked at the 'top' of the image and Moscow to the slight lower 'left']

... today we take for granted the technology; but imagine what a brain boggling, terrifying, science fiction concept it was to use a rocket to throw a two-ton atomic warhead all the way across the top of the globe to the other side of the world! 

...Family Fallout Shelters... beep!

... for those not familiar with the audio-visual techniques of the last century; the AV Kid is here to show us a 'film-strip'. This was a low tech visual with sound presentation that was not a movie or video. Rather, it was a strip of film with single frames put through a projection device and synchronized with a phonograph record by a 'beep' on the record.

1.Project image number one of the screen- explanation of the image comes from the record- (beep) 2. time to advance the strip of film to the next frame and accompanying narration. Thank you (beep).