... entrance to 'Command Capsule"

... looking through the 'blast-door' of a Minuteman underground launch complex into the manned area where control and launch procedures are performed. Notice the sign "no lone zone" which is a reminder, that for security reasons, no solitary wandering nut-jobs will be tolerated. 

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1957 ... remove BB's before detonation!

... in the late 1950's Great Britain was struggling to develop it's own H-bomb. The US had been rather ticked off at the amount of atomic secrets that British double agents had stolen from the WWII 'Manhattan Project' and subsequently had shared very little with out English allies in terms of information or resources. 'Blue Violet' (they had a strange code-name system) was an interim design. An interesting feature was that the hollow core was rendered 'safe' by filling it with ball-bearings which would prevent it from imploding to create a critical mass. Presumably ground-crews would have performed the needed arming operation (as described above) before the V-bombers took to the air. After which everyone would have been slipping, falling and swearing all over the tarmac!

1955 ... those pesky Russians again!

... Why Not?!?

... if you have a long simmering resentment that you grew-up and have no Flying Car or Personal Rocket Pack you can blame Frank Tinsley! He was one of many artists having great fun in the 1950's dreaming up whatever new technologies there overly-creative minds could summon forth. (notice that he is both the author and illustrator the above article). We all loved this sort of stuff- which sold magazines - which helped to fuel the super consumer economy and optimism of the mid-twentieth century.

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... my illustrations are now available as Fine Art Prints and Posters!

... for all you official and non-official members of the Dr. Stranglove club; much of my photography and illustration work is now available at 'mass-market' prices!

There are two web addresses:

for Northrop-Grumman aircraft and spacecraft; including the Flying Wing, Stealth bomber. Tomcat, Apollo Lunar Lander etc... (t-shirts also!)

for all other Aircraft and Spacecraft, as well as hot babes, sci-fi, fashion etc... 

1954 ... the modern aircraft carrier!

... the newest class of US Navy aircraft carrier; the 'Gerald Ford' which came along 59 years after the Forrestal is about twice as big: weighing in at 110,000t tons and costing 12 billion smackers!

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... that's interesting!?!

... the tallies of visits to this blog show that our good friends in Russia are tuning in about three times more often than previously. Perhaps my special agents; Boris and Natasha have been doing some PR work around the Kremlin.
Лучше быть хорошими друзьями и весело провести время вместе!

... do you say RATO ot JATO?

... close-up view of the JATO internal installment on a B-47 jet bomber. With a complete fuel load and heavy H-bombs onboard a B-47 'Stratojet' needed an extra kick from these small solid-fuel rackets to get it off the runway. Didn't take long before some bright designer moved them out of the fuselage (away from the fuel tanks) and mounted them in a jettisionable 'saddle' under the aircraft. Always made sense in not having to haul eighteen empty rocket tanks to Moscow and back. (think of how much the empty tank for your outdoor grill weighs!). 

... love and death- H-bomb style!

... remember kiddies - there's nothing romantic about atomic annihilation! This lucky couple is part of the very small percentage of casualties close to the epicenter of the blast. Most folks would have to settle for the run of the mill horrors of death by burns, blast, flying debris and lingering radiation poisoning.

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1960 ... flying saucer attack!

... some of the nifty opening scenes from the US Army's "Big Picture" documentary series 'Sharper Sword and Stronger Shield' episode.  Like everyone else in the Space-Age the Army had 'future-fever' and upped the gee-whiz ante by forecasting saucers as the next step in combat mobility. (Take that you hordes of Red tanks and waves of Yellow Peril!)

... this (military) flying saucer craze was a direct result of out of control optimism for the Canadian 'Avrocar' project. A dismal failure that instead of growing-up to be a super-duper Cold War interceptor; just seemed to cruise a few feet off the ground dusting off a parking lot !  

... Berlin and the bear!


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"... calling all submarines!"

... having the third leg of the Nuclear Triad being hard to find atomic powered nuclear missile firing submarines is a great idea. But calling them on the phone and telling them to blow up the bad-guys is hard because they are hiding under hundreds of feet of ocean. 

Enter TACAMO (Take Charge and Move Out). This is an airborne system using trailing wire antennas that are miles in length. These antennas can emit very powerful, very long frequency radio signals which can be received all over the world and deep under the ocean. 

The first image is of the modified Boeing 707 aircraft in use today. Lower diagram is from the C-130 Hercules that were originally used for the mission. This is a chiefly US Navy system- but I believe it is in redundancy with other strategic forces.

In a world of rather dull military acronyms- here is one that really stands out! Could it have been the product of a drunken Admiral at a staff Christmas Party?

1954 (1952) ... photos of 1st US H-bomb test

... this appears to be a 'rapatronic' image from the first micro-seconds of the 'Mike' shot in 1952. The color images were not released to the public until over ayear later. Which accounts for the 1954 date of the magazine.

Roughly speaking the 'fireball' is the place where the real nuclear-atomic bang part is taking place. The rest of the big show: blast, mushroom clouds, fallout etc all being just aftermaths.

I repeat my question of where are the rest of the detail high speed camera shots of the H-bomb tests. This series (start pg 21) seems to be all we have seen (from 62 years ago). There are a number of high quality images from the earlier A-bomb tests in Nevada (all in black and white). 

My guess, and the answer to my question, lays in the fact that these are not just vacation snapshots of "what I did on my trip to the South Pacific". The fact is that such photographic documentation was a highly complex and expensive way of gathering scientific data. (A-bombs (purely fission devices) are oh, so old school)! All 'modern' nuclear weapons are variations on the H-bomb concept; available in convenient sizes of small, king-sized and Jumbo!. So the detailed images of the first millionths second of an H-bomb fireball still hold scientific secrets! Or nobody has simply got around to declassifying them yet. 

1956 ... "Operation Redwing"

... just gotta love a documentary with Generals standing in front of giant projections of mushroom clouds and fireballs! LINK


1965 ... US Spy Sub!

... nifty cutaway of the US Navy submarine USS Halibut reconfigured as super-secret spy sub

From the great website 'Covert Shores'

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... B-70 with 'Skybolts'

... artists conception of B-70's in USAF grey livery; with 'Skybolt' standoff missiles as external weaponry.
 artist: Erik Simonsen


1960 ... Convair 880 swing-tail cargo!

1957 ... Andy's dog gets zorched!

... guess we're missing a few panels here. #11 and #12: where Spot mutates into a 50 foot Caninesorus-Rex with death rays shooting from his eyes #12 and #14 where Andy is shipped to Guantanamo for water-boarding and LSD experiments. 

... just kidding- thanks to 'hello chicago' here's the whole thing LINK

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... Atomic Age Oppourtunity!

... seems like ever-time I watch a documentary about the development of Cold War jet-aircraft- there comes the moment when the narrator says "... finally the under performing Pratt & Whitney engines were replaced with General Electric engines!"  - just sayin'.


1953 ... oooo - missiles!

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1956 ... 'Vulcan' British Strategic Bomber

... guided tour of the 'Doomsday Plane' - Boeing E4-B

"... well Natasha- we will have a pretty easy time of supplying Fearless Leader with ultra-secret espionage information of decadent capitalist pigs this week!"
"Yes Boris- we can relax and catch-up on re-runs of 'Get Smart'.

1954 ... reading for Men!

... Sabre-Dogs and babes! What's not to like?

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1975 ... 'Safeguard' ABM system

... strange and huge monuments of the Cold War (LINK)

1954 ... Convair- Atlas ICBM (film)

... have to wonder if Gerry Anderson might have been inspired by this promotional film before he started work on 'Fireball XL-5' or 'The Thunderbirds'. Super keeno- neato models of the Atlas ICBM when it was still in development stage. Do you think the Convair President's grand-kids got the models when it was done? Actually it's more fun to imagine Dick Nixon playing on the floor of the White House with Ike's grand-kids.
"I nuked you first!" "Naw- I got in the first-strike- you are So glass!"


... early Intercontinental Bomber ideas!

... before the practical development of in-flight refueling, if you wanted to go a really long way, you had to have a really big airplane. Lots and lots of fuel meant big fuel tanks, bigger wings for more lift, bigger tails for better steering in the high-altitudes which meant bigger engines etc. etc. There were a lot of designs. And a lot of wacky ideas. 

Remember- in the late 1940's and early 50's there was a distinct lag between long range radar coverage, interceptor technology and the chance that this big baby (or a B-36) just might be able to slip through to it's target!

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1968 ... USAF in Spaaaaace!

... we have to realize that much of what spurred the "Space Race" was the Cold War and the "Arms Race". Big rockets meant big payloads; and those payloads could either be heroic astronauts of H-bombs. The Air Force had it's own space program throughout this period. USAF interest in military applications of space continued throughout the Cold-War. Remember Reagan's 'Star-Wars' (SDI) program. Here we see the sort of nifty magazine cover that I am trying to resurrect in my own illustration work. (no wimpy articles on green, baby-whale saving, technology here!)

Lifting body research helped lead to the Space Shuttle; but the fly-boys were talking manned bombers and fighters in orbit ... oorah!

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1952 ... Avro "Vulcan"

... my photo-illus - Vulcan

... I've always really liked the Vulcans in their original all-white 'anti-flash' livery.
But it's difficult to find good photos from that period. So I settled for a more moody depiction of this big V starting it's descent for it's low-level bomb run. 

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1952 ... Vulcan 'V-bomber'

... safe supply of air!

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1961 ... old iron pants!

... General Curtis E. LeMay - commander (inventor) of the USAF Strategic Air Command. Often criticized for his hawkish views (but would you really want the head of SAC to be a sissy?)

1956 ... SAC plans headquarters!

1946 ... save the world!

... pre-cold war- optimism and hope!


1964 ... Cheyenne Mountain Complex - NORAD

... the first image reminds me of a corporate 'annual-report' (could very well be a USAF version).

... second image of a 'hardened' antenna on top of Cheyenne Mountain (microwave receiver?) Apocalyptic Modern Art.


1956 ... Atomic War Sucks (rough translation)

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1983 ... Soviet Civil Defense!

"... mmmmdfmf, mmef, mmmddlm!" 
"What's that Comrade, we can't quite hear you!"

1958 ... SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment)


1950 ... the mighty Mig-15!

... talk about tall tails! probably the most successful and popular of jet-fighters about 18,000 were built. Under the unfortunate NATO reporting name of "Fagot".
Как ты меня назвал?!? 


1970 ... 'Colossus: The Forbin Project'

... originally made in 1968 ( I knew it seemed older than '70 !)  'Colossus: The Forbin Project' is a science fiction -political thriller about a giant computer that is given complete control of US nuclear forces. Great idea- what could go wrong?

( Doesn't it seem like a lot of these thrillers are made in a fictional world where no one has ever read, or even heard of, basic cliched science fiction plots?)

For me the best scenes are in the beginning when the giant machine (back in the day when BIG computers meant smart computers) is turned on and sealed away in a Cheyenne Mountain type complex. Unmanned, unable to be shut-down, shielded by glowing gamma radiation. I repeat- what could possibly go wrong?

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