"... bogie over pole!"

... the battle-staff of Atomic Annihilation has been decorating the War Room; located here in solid granite far below the Midwest prairie. There's wreaths on the radar displays, Christmas cards, little cut-out snowflakes and even the missile crews have hung stockings outside their blast doors! So, now that we've had a few cups of the General's special egg-nog, we're feeling all warm and fuzzy and can't quite put up our regular "bomb-em back to the stone-age" posts. 

... here's a LINK to the traditional Cold War updates from Cheyenne Mountain where those ever vigilant radar warriors help to separate Santa's sleigh from the chaff and incoming ICBM's.

...  entire LP Album recording - 1964 

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1962 ... recruiting!

... be a man? This kid looks like he's too young to drive!

1950 ... recruiting!

... wanted! Hayseeds, Hicks and anybody named Gomer!

1953 ... real dud!

... there's an old saying amongst pilots and grizzled aircraft designers; "if it looks good, it'll fly good!" Well the Douglas X-3 Stiletto looked great! But it turned out to be a dismal failure. A real 'Edsel' of the X-Planes. 

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1962 ... I'll have a cheeseburger!

... under the swank Greenbriar Hotel Resort in West Virginia a vast bunker was constructed between 1959 and 1962 to shelter both Houses of Congress during an Atomic War. Here is the main cafeteria. Now a tourist attraction you can go to the link and check out the scheduled tours or even rent a meeting space!

... hmmm- doesn't this place look familiar?

1957 ... atom powered bombers!

... nothing was cooler than pointy nosed supersonic atomic-powered bombers! And nothing sold magazines or generated Pentagon financing like illustrations of those cool Doomsday bombers. This was a true-ism of the 1950's and 60's. "We don't care if it's practicle or possible- just make it look cool!" Which is why there are not any flying cars or atomic-powered bombers today. But there is a Santa-Claus!

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... [video] Atomic Powered Bomber!

... microwave links!

... like much of the modern American infrastructure* being constructed during the 1950's;
communication technology was considered vital to National Defense. This meant that the Pentagon often underwrote and financed much of the research and construction. Unlike copper wire, which had a tendency to melt in an atomic fireball, radio waves could zoom important orders from point to point unhindered by the carnage. If tower number 37B was replaced by a giant glowing crater- no problem: just reroute through tower number 37C!

... like all Cold War technology it was part of 'The Race'. Early and middle 1950's tech was based on an Atomic War fought with fission weapons in the Kiloton range. With the development and deployment of Hydrogen Bombs and the thousand fold increase in yield the effects of Electomagnetic Pulse (EMP) and high fallout levels made other new technologies and tweaks to the infrastructure necessary.

* the Interstate Highway System

  previous post

1955 ... Missiles 'R' Us!

... the 'Corporal' missile was designed for tactical, battlefield use in Europe as a counterforce against the overwhelming numbers of Soviet and Warsaw Pact conventional forces. It carried a W52- 200 kiloton warhead.

... I get the top bunk!

... speaking of bunkers; those nice Shelter Ladies have got your cozy little bed almost ready for you!

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1961 ... all in one!

... makes sense for all those frugal post-depression Dad's to try to get the most peace-time use out of their doomsday bunkers! Considering that estimating materials is one of the hardest parts of any DYI construction project; I'll bet there was all kinds of backyard additions made out of the leftovers. Of course a patio and with an outdoor grill is the perfect disguise. How many sleepless nights were caused when Mr. Smith built a backyard shelter but his foolish neighbors did not?

... hmmm- looks like the next-door neighbor's wife has been invited to ride out 'the big-one' along with June and his always cheerful son Bobby. Maybe Smith has already laid plans for his patriotic duty of re-populating a devastated America? Perhaps the neighbor husband has just conveniently fallen down that backyard wishing well that Smith so kind-heatedly built for him with the rented backhoe and all that left over brick? 

... could it be that there is no Conelrad alert at all? Is ever industrious Smith just now completing a plan of the best way to avoid the next twenty years of integration, hippies and women's lib? Tune into next week's 'Twilight Zone' and maybe we can get some answers from that screenwriter, standing over there by the garage smoking a Lucky.

1950 ... "very faithfully"

... okay- this is nuts! But, if the enemy drops atomic bombs on you, I suppose it makes sense to make the best out of it!

1949 ... B-36: a whole lotta airplane!

(above) set-up for Recon version
(above) note red arrows show movement between different levels

 ... ah yes- the mighty B-36 Convair 'Peacemaker'. I got a chance to see one of these at the Dayton Air force Museum back in the late 1960's when it was still on display outside. It was clear that it was a case of available technology pressed to the limits- and beyond! Conceived of originally as a way to bomb Germany with conventional weapons if England has fallen during WW II. Crazy big heavy monster that could not hold together for very long. It had to be so big to hold all the rail cars full of high-test gas to get it to the other side of the world and back.

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1971 ... " 'Searchlight' on Sequoia"

... memo regarding improving communication links for the times President Nixon was aboard the official presidential yacht USS Sequoia .

1962 ... lesson of the glowing house!

... actually a 'split-level' is a poor choice for shelter- since only a part of the basement level is actually below grade! Remember- dirt is your friend!

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1964 ... yummy!

... a Civil Defense cracker is the size and shape of a full shingle of Graham Cracker. It intentionally tastes like cardboard! Six crackers a day was the basic ration for an adult.That was only 700 calories per 24 hours with a goal of approx.10,000 calories, total stockpiled rations per person, during the course of a two week sheltering. 

With the average healthy diet listed at  2,000 calories a day; we would have seen a much slimmer America emerging into the post-apocalypse landscape! Civil Defense plans really meant a bare subsistence diet. I have to wonder in what shape these survivors would be in to rebuild the world!
This must be one of the reasons that many Civil Defense instructions urge people to bring along non-perishable food to a public shelter. But no family pets allowed- unless they're part of the smorgasbord! 

... it was common policy for government Survival Rations (specifically military) to 'have the taste appeal of a boiled potato'. This was to discourage there consumption in all but the life and death circumstances they were designed for.

... more on Civil defense rations here.

1955 ... "man down! "

... Operation 'Teapot'. 'Apple -2' shot. 29 kiloton. Dime store mannequin survival rate- zero.

... what were they thinking? Well, the 'Apple-2' shot was a chance for the Civil Defense folks to learn as much as they could about just how badly Atomic Bombs walloped all the various parts of our everyday American lives. Houses, cars, telephone poles and the various etc. Of course someone wanted to know what it did to people. In 1955 a cheap plaster dummy was the closest scientific instrument.

(there have always been rumors the Soviets and the Chinese used political prisoners)

... here's a link to an official 1955 film about this test. It's called 'Operation Cue'; which really refers to 'Operation Doorstep'; which is a part of the larger 'Operation Teapot'; from which 'Shot: Apple #2' was the 29 kiloton atomic detonation utilized. Is that clear? And for all you suburbanites who have been putting off that much needed house painting we'll throw in 'The House in the Middle'.

... 'makin' the donuts!'

... X-10 reactor 'face' at Oak Ridge Labs. One way to 'enrich' atomic fuel is to stick it in with a bunch of other radioactive stuff. Hence the tern 'atomic-pile'.

1951 ... another bad idea!

1950 ... Ilyushin 'Beagle'

... Boris and Natasha may have told the guys at Popular Science this was a Tupolev design- but in reality it is an Ilyushin II-28, NATO code name "Beagle'. Side note: the Soviet Air Force has always been obsessed with providing all aircraft with a rear gun if there was any possible way to jam one in. This devotion to blazing away at tail-gators extends to present day military transports!

1953 ... lurid fantasies!

... this reminds me of an email conversation I had with a Russian fellow who lamented they had no equivalent comic books in the USSR during the Cold War.

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1951 ... unstoppable bomber!

1950 ... 'Self Preservation In An Atomic Attack'

...US Army training film ... who, what, where and how of about the when you get nuked and all of the how to KEEP FIGHTING!

Is that clear soldier?!

1981 ... patio brick not included!

... it's the 80's and they're still digging!

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1957 ... will fly forever!

... there are already a lot of earlier entries in this blog about the dreams and faltering attempts to develop an atom-powered airplane. Short version- too dangerous- too expensive- surpassed by more reasonable technology.

LINK to this 1957 article. (isn't the Internet amazing!)

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1954 ... 'ooo, look at the colors!'

... LSD was also seen as having great potential for psycho-therapy and Vincent Price can be seen shooting-up a big hypo of the stuff in the horror movie 'The Tingler'. LSD was made illegal in 1968.

... bomb and balloon!

... effective, cheap and reliable; a big balloon can lift your 'test device' to a height well above an expensive 'shot-tower'. Just make sure that it's well tethered and doesn't go floating off!

1950's ... 'military effects' test

... my guess is that this a 20 kiloton 'Hiroshima size' weapon detonated from a tethered balloon. Those little specks are various unoccupied tanks and other armored vehicles being sacrificed.

1981 ... 'boomer'

... 'Ohio Class'  Ballistic Missile submarine. One of the three legs of the 'triad' nuclear deterrence force.

1989 ... Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit


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... US Strategic Nuclear Weapons

... excellent series prepared by Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs.

1962 ... Oct. 22, 7:00PM, President Kennedy- Live Television address to the Nation... please stand by

"It shall be the policy of this nation - to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba - against any nation in the Western Hemisphere - as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States... requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union."

... The Armageddon Letters

... interesting, and a little off-beat, multi-media website, dedicated to 'The Cuban Missile Crisis'

1962 ... JFK- Cuban Missile Crisis

... full 18 min live address to the nation via television on October 22nd, 1962. John F. Kennedy President of the United States.  This is the view from the 'newsreel' camera and the not the straight on image that the television camera was seeing.

1974 ... 'Missiles Of October'

... stage play, ABC TV broadcast, 1974 production of the events of 'The Cuban Missile Crisis'

1960 ... radar lines!

... DEW Line- Alaska

... brrrr- I have to go get some hot chocolate just looking at this picture!

... home, home on the range!

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... science to the rescue!