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Submitted on
December 9, 2007
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Incoming by K-Zaitsev Incoming by K-Zaitsev
Photo of an M65 nuclear artillery cannon and the atomic detonation of a shell fired by it
just moments before.
The M65 was developed in 1949 and was based on the design of the German K5 railroad gun that saw service during World War II (the similarities can be clearly seen). The gun weighted over 83 tonnes (50 in the firing position), was 83 feet (25,5 m) long and had a calibre of 280mm (11.02 inches) making it the largest mobile artillery piece ever constructed and used by the US army. It could fire it's projectile up to a range of 20 miles (32 km).It had a unique transportation system. Suspended between two truck tractors with 375 hp engines each, it could be transported at road speeds up to 35 miles per hour (56 hm/h). The gun recieved the nickname of "Atomic Annie" because it was the only cannon ever made, capable of firing
tactical nuclear warheads.
20 such cannons were eventualy made at a price of 800000$ each. Throughout the 50's they had been deployed in Europe and the Far East but had proven to be obsolete the moment they got there. The guns were quite volatile and powerful for their size, but their enormous weight limited the mobility to the strongest paved roads and hard, packed surfaces,furthermore they constantly had to be guarded by whole platoons of infantry and were an easy target of a
potential Soviet attack. All of the guns were deactivated in the 60's.
This is a photo of the "Grable" test fired on May 25th 1953 on the NTS during operation Upshot-Knothole. "Atomic Anie" fired a Mark 9 nuclear warhead fitted in a 280mm artilery
shell. The projectile was 54.4 in. (138 cm) long and weighed 803 lb. (364 kg). It had a yield of 15 kilotons. Having been set on a timer, the shell exploded 20 seconds after firing, at a distance of over 6 miles (10km) away, at an altitude of 524 ft. (160 m) above ground. It was the first and only time in history that a nuclear weapon has been fired out of a cannon.
The film footage of this test became an iconic image of popculture, and is still widely used. You can find it in many places, try You Tube if you're interested.
Photo is public domain, obtained thanks to courtesy of the site.
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AlexTJ10 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013  Student Artist
Dobrze że nie używają już tego. I że powstał tylko prototyp.
Hettman Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
Your dead at that close distance! Not even enough time to rush down to nuclear bunker through several kilometres of Earth to avoid the main heat wave and the radiation fall out!

Infact, you will actually be completely vaporized in 7 seconds flat! If your not killed by the sheer shockwave generated by the intial blast, you will be nothing but a black carbon fused print when the heat wave comes. Killed by nothing but pure energy released from the bomb!

Even if you were fortunate enough to be in a bunker. You still will not be better off if you don't have a lead suit or something denser to not allow the subatomic particles to penetrate your body! And a closed lead oxygen tank, for the air is also contaminated!

Though, I do wonder how far (IS) a safe distance on ground level! Every explosion has a limit or range!

I would probably guess its damage is minimal if you don't even see it yet with your own eyes. By the way looking at that kind of explosion directly will blind and melt your eyes in seconds! It produces a light of incredible intensity!

Man! What a real headache tyhis world has created!
K-Zaitsev Featured By Owner May 21, 2012
You're generally right and I see you've got some knowlege on this topic although I think you are overestimating the power of nuclear weapns as powerful as they are. First of all what do you mean by "that close distance"? The cannon was 6 miles from the blast point and although I didn't mention it in the description the warhead had a yield of 15 kilotons. similar to the one droped on Hiroshima (13 kilotons), and even there the maximum extent of destruction stretched for just more than two miles (2.1 to be precise) Besides I wrote that the cannons maximum range was 20 miles so that's an even safer distance. Otherwise firing the cannon would mean suicide for the crew. You are right that every weapon yield has a calculated safe distance.
As for the vaporization of the body, it only ocours at or close to ground zero when the bomb goes off. To vaporize 1 square centimeter of tissue right to the bone you need at least 100 calories of energy per square centimeter of skin (that's a lot!) and thermal radiation dissipates very fast in the air.

The protection offered by a bunker is another matter. Several meteres of concrete are indeed enough to stop all of the alpha and beta particles completly and although I don't have my references handy at the moment I remember that they also would stop nearly all of the harmful gamma radiation.

As for the light intensity, again it's not as bad as you describe. Complete blindness will be caused only in the most extreme of cases because to damage your retina you would have to be looking EXACTLY at the point of the blast which is hard to achieve acidentaly. Although visible light intensity doesn't decrease with range you would usually only get temporarily blinded from seconds to minutes and none of this damage would be permanent.

In short, the effects of nuclear weapons are not a prety thing to behold, but overestimating them will not help us in figthing them. I'm sure you would agree.
Hettman Featured By Owner May 30, 2012
Better safe than sorry! It never hurts to be cautious!

And I only very limited knoledge of the physics involved but most of what I said is just a small hypothesis! I just thought if you were able to see a nuke explode nearby eventually even if the initial heat wave of the blast dissipates, you will still have raditian passing and seering through your body like its not even there! Never the free radical byproducts! You'll still very likely die of radiation poisoning if you don't have the proper materials to protect you, on!

P.S: Even the Atom bomb at Hiroshima, though small compared to todays monster weapons! Still was able to melt parts of peoples bodies even at that distance! Some even recall seeing their freinds eye ball melting onto their hand! It's no joke!
MaxHD2490 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2011
thats got to be alot of win, I think no one wants to be near where the impact area is or even possibly in mountains?
ZuStorm Featured By Owner May 10, 2010
"Behold, the mother of all weapons."

"Precious cargo."

"Brighter than the sun!"

Wonder why this became chinese :P
the-nuclear-wolf Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2010  Hobbyist Artist
I wonder why they were deactived in the 60s. Maybe they were to expensive. :/
Zam0079 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2008
"I build for China."
Command and Conquer:Generals, first thing I thought of when I saw this, very cool.
(in an disturbing way)
Xareel Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2008
...and I love it. I wish I could have one of that...and at least twenty rounds with it.
K-Zaitsev Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2008
Hmm, and what would you choose to bomb? ;)
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