Atomic Hangovers

Atomic Fission – The Davy Crockett nuclear rifle

Davy Crockett tactical nuclear rifle

Happy Independence Day America – Let’s split some atoms and rerun some old stories. See we’re taking one old story and creating a second burst of energy.

On the atomic battlefield of the fifties stood many unusual weapons. When you look back in hindsight you will question the decision makers of the day. Among these stood a manned portable tactical nuclear rifle.  Known as the Davy Crockett they would be placed up and down the western European front lines.  Ready to irradiate the land and stop the Ruskies from crossing into Europe at a moments notice.



When using a normal bazooka isn't enough

When using a normal bazooka isn’t enough

The early Cold War fascinates me for many reasons many of which are connected to it being the beginning of the nuclear age. Whether it’s “duck and cover” or the plan to use nukes to dig docks. It was a time of innovation and the belief that the atom was the future no matter what the repercussions would be.

Post war America was a place with a limited  military budget unless the word nuclear was involved. Since the US Army wanted some of that fine nuclear money and didn’t want to be left behind it decided the best way to do this was with an nuclear recoiless rifle. Think a bazooka that fired a 15 kiloton warhead with a mile and a half range. The single purpose of these weapons was to deny the enemy of it’s front line by irradiating the land. Naturally when you develop this type of weapon you want to give it a memorable name. Why not use a current TV craze to name your wonder weapon after. Your rifle will be the “King of the Wild Frontier” and the US military will get a free coon skin hat with each one purchased.


Here we see Davy Crockett talking to Congress in the 50's about SOPA

(ed note from 2017 – Well that SOPA reference didn’t age well)

The use of last-ditch weapons was nothing new to the US Military or any other military for that matter. The point to consider here is that it wasn’t considered a last ditch weapon. It was intended to be used in Western Europe against the Russians. Even more interesting was that the military wasn’t looking at the damage it would do. They were looking at how it would irradiate land and make it uninhabitable for 48 hours. The plan was to line up Davy Crockett rifles every couple of miles to insure that the entire front line was full of delicious radiation.

So take some time and watch the YouTube video of one of these being test fired. Then remember what life must have been like back then  sleeping better knowing that there were 2100 of these on the battleground of the future. So full of wonder thanks to the atom.


Even to this day we are still learning that there were plans to use nuclear weapons for land denial even during Korea. These would have changed the definition of conventional war. Thankfully we had a forward thinking President at the time who understood the consequences of what this meant. Until this point though there really is an America eff yeah kind of feeling to this weapon. Just ignoring the dangers and going for it.

  • I really hope Blue Peacock is on your list too.

  • fodder650

    Never heard of it until now. Just looked it up and heck yeah I will cover that. This goes right with the Davy Crockett

  • highmileage_v1

    20 Kt at 1 1/2 miles? I hope it had a remote launch capability.

    • fodder650

      That's what ditches are for. Duck and cover!

      • highmileage_v1

        Nothing like a flash-burnt ass…

        • fodder650

          Woman like a hair free ass

          • pj134

            … I'm screwed.

    • Jeb

      Wikipedia says 20 tons, not kilotons.

  • The Professor

    I remember those things, always looked a bit suicidal to me. I'll bet that it was exciting when they had a misfire.

    • fodder650

      There are no misfires. This is highly advanced American technology. More likely it would have failed to explode instead.

      • The Professor

        Pull the other one, it has bells on.

  • The mind boggles at just what word might be appropriate after "Handle With" in that second photo.

    • fodder650

      How about Handle with Handles?The other side has dozens of handles all lined up

  • Number_Six

    Nebuchadnezzar's beard, I thought Honest John was insane!

    My uncle was a colonel in a NATO force during the seventies and he states he never saw an invasion scenario that didn't include a distinct and more-or-less permanent warming trend down the Fulda Gap.

  • chrystlubitshi

    Fess Parker! if he were still with us today, I bet he would tell us that a lot more would get done in congress if people carried rifles in their arms. (I know nothing of the man's standing on guns, but… considering the roles he was typecast in–davy crockett, daniel boone, etc.)

  • Vairship

    Better hope there’s a strong westerly wind when using one of these!

  • jeepjeff

    Still my favorite nuke delivery system.

  • Rob Connolly

    Interesting … so, these weapons would/could be released or authorised for use by a battalion commander? At least according to the film; which seems to be very low down on the totem pole. And if they were merely an Area Denial weapon, wouldn’t a radiological version have been preferable? In that it would contaminate without the associated effects of a nuclear explosion. Fascinating stuff anyways!