Doomsday Bombs

Posted in Crazy Weapons at 8:18 am by George Smith

They all are.

However, in the US arsenal the biggest was the B-53 gravity bomb, a 9-megaton monster to be used on the Soviet leadership.

Jason at Armchair Generalist notes a Post story by Walter Pincus on the slow disassembly of the B-53.

With an explosive power of 9 million tons of TNT — the Nagasaki and Hiroshima 12 kiloton bombs are almost not worth mentioning by comparison — the B-53 was apocalyptic.

It is probably true that no big civilized nation — the US or the Soviet Union — surviving even three or four hits from 9-megaton shots like the B-53. There is no coping with such destruction over an urban area. Government would cease.

The fireball from such an explosion would engulf all five boroughs of NYC.

Now imagine the blast effects. And the fallout from all the debris of incinerated Manhattan tossed into the air and blown downrange. Depending on prevailing winds, virtually entire states could be rendered uninhabitable.

The B-53 was made to take out deep bunkers, delivered so the shockwave would crush them.

Even if a blast wave didn’t collapse such a hiding place, an explosion of such magnitude would guarantee no one emerged. Ever.

For the Strangelovian excercise, there was the succinctly named Nuclear Bomb Effects Computer, a kind of circular slide rule for anyone to use.

And there is this PC weapons simulation calculator, made for the US government. It is in DOS, however.

It will still run on a Windows PC, offering you the option of an unclassified or classified session.

And for everyone else, there is a web-based blast radius calculator here.

Input 9000 kt to make it work. And your favorite city, any country.

I chose OneWest Bank (aka Satan’s Bank of Pasadena) on Lake St. in Pasadena as ground zero. As a near miss on Los Angeles, it would still destroy most of LA County.

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