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Blue Peacock (wikipedia.org)
56 points by benbreen on Sept 24, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 8 comments



One of the more amusing bits:

> One technical problem was that during winter buried objects can get very cold, and it was possible the mine's electronics would get too cold to work after some days underground. Various methods to get around this were studied, such as wrapping the bombs in insulating blankets. One particularly remarkable proposal suggested that live chickens be included in the mechanism. The chickens would be sealed inside the casing, with a supply of food and water; they would remain alive for a week or so. Their body heat would, it seems, have been sufficient to keep the mine's components at a working temperature. This proposal was sufficiently outlandish that it was taken as an April Fool's Day joke when the Blue Peacock file was declassified on 1 April 2004. Tom O'Leary, head of education and interpretation at the National Archives, replied to the media that, "It does seem like an April Fool but it most certainly is not. The Civil Service does not do jokes."


This is the weirdest fried chicken recipe I've ever read.


Blue Peacock Team Lead: "We can split them atoms but I just don't know how to keep that dang atom splitter warm."

Rube Goldberg: "I've got it!"

I work for a defense contractor and this is going up on our bulletin board.


They should have proposed to use peacocks instead.


The U.S. Army worked on several similar projects in the 1950s and '60s, under the general name of "Atomic Demolition Munitions": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_demolition_munition#Uni...

The weirdest of these was probably the Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SADM; see (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Atomic_Demolition_Muni...), also known as the "backpack bomb" because its relatively light weight (around 50 pounds) made it possible for a single soldier to wear it like a backpack.

The Soviet Union is rumored to have developed even smaller nuclear weapons, the so-called "suitcase nukes" (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suitcase_nuclear_device), though the existence of those has never been conclusively proven.


And if you want to know what it was like to be one of the soldiers tasked with wearing a backpack bomb, Foreign Policy has an excellent feature article on that subject here: https://foreignpolicy.com/2014/01/30/the-littlest-boy/


See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulda_Gap

>The Fulda Gap route was less suitable for mechanized troop movement than was the North German Plain, but offered an avenue of advance direct to the heart of the U.S. military in West Germany, Frankfurt am Main, which as indicated in its name, is on the Main River, a tributary of the Rhine River.

(The North German Plain is where the Blue Peacock project would have been)


And if you want to learn about the equivalent thing today's generals worry about, that would be the Suwalki Gap:

https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/suwalki...

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/why-suwalki-gap-keeps-top...




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