1952 ... the bombers get through!

... meanwhile: after the evil traitor at the Air Force headquarters has sent our jet-fighters in the wrong direction; the Soviet bombers get through to New York ... with cataclysmic results!

... this looks like a lot more destruction than to be expected by a single 20 kiloton bomb such as the Soviets were fielding in 1952... but it is a comic book. All the better to give the baby-boomers decades of nightmares!

... color me radioactive!

... the nuclear weapons industry and the AEC get a special award for irony; after producing a children's coloring book to explain the wonderful world of atomic bombs!

1955 ... the alarming "Thunderscreech"

... putting a propeller on a jet-fighter isn't quite as stupid as it looks; but almost! Early jets were copious drinkers of JP-4 and it was thought that a combination of a Turbo-Prop and a Jet-Turbine might be a solution. But the Republic XF-84H, like many hybrids, was a design that incorporated the worst of both.

... another bizarre drawback was the excessive noise caused by the supersonic-propellers.

"Unlike standard propellers that turn at subsonic speeds, the outer 24–30 inches of the blades on the XF-84H's propeller traveled faster than the speed of sound even at idle thrust, producing a continuous visible sonic boom that radiated laterally from the propellers for hundreds of yards. The shock wave was actually powerful enough to knock a man down; an unfortunate crew chief who was inside a nearby C-47 was severely incapacitated during a 30-minute ground run. Coupled with the already considerable noise from the subsonic aspect of the propeller and the dual turbines, the aircraft was notorious for inducing severe nausea and headaches among ground crews. In one report, a Republic engineer suffered a seizure after close range
exposure to the shock waves emanating from a powered-up XF-84H."  -wiki

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1950 ... nobody left!

... although the first Hydrogen Bomb (Thermonuclear Weapon) was not tested until 1952, you can be sure that scary children's comic books were following the theory as closely as the KGB!.

... to infinity and beyond!


... it's the 1950's, those Russkie bombers are going to come streaming over the horizon any day now! Everybody and everything needs to get airborne as quick as possible. Including this lumbering Fairchild C-119 "Flying Boxcar". So bolt some JATO bottles on that baby and let her gooooooooooo!

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... this is a test!

... personally I find the old-style continuous tone much more soothing and poetic than today's jarring Klaxon!

No words can convey the icy chill and heart stopping suspense that continuous tone meant to those who grew-up and lived through the Cold-War. For those who grew-up since; no words can explain that there was once a single harmonious all penetrating note of sound that signaled the end of everything!

1952 ... and so it begins!

... the dramatic beginning of the first issue of the comic book "Atomic War".
Unfortunately as I post more and more of the unfolding drama it will appear backwards to newcomers to the blog. 

Aren't you glad that YOU are a faithful reader?

What a mistake to let a bald guy with a mustache run the 'big-board'. I mean, look at him; he's got Lenin written all over him! 

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1958 ... the Nike missile system

1951 ... FLASH !

... another panel from the booklet for grade school teachers that accompanied the Civil Defense film "Duck And Cover".

1948 ... peace through Air Power?


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1952 ... end of the world comics!


1958 ... Avro "Arrow"

... books could be, and have been, written about the controversial history of the Avro-Canada 105 "Arrow". Many feel that this extremely advanced fighter program, along with the British TSR project, were the victims of conservative short-range thinking. Additionally, these breakthrough engineering projects were 'run out of town' by the heavy handed brow-beating of a US Military Industrial Complex that would tolerate no competition. Pentagon types would have more directly said they didn't want complications from expensive, problem ridden, pie-in-the-sky designs from our whining, pink underweared allies!

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(1950) de Havilland "Vampire"

... in the early Jet-Age the British has the lead. Introduced at the end of WWII the de  Havilland "Vampire" was a zippy little number. Here is the trainer version. The Brits liked to seat their student and instructor side-by-side as opposed to the US practice of one-behind-the other. (easier to hear the screams and cursing?) A popular export, the "Vampire" soldiered on until 1979.

1980 ... "the doomsday plane"

... illustrations from an official 1991 'History Of SAC'. A sort of a "those were the good-old-days" yearbook. I think that the E-4B National Emergency Airborne Command Post (NEACP) looks extra spiffy with it's unusual white nose radome. No doubt they thought the normal black rubberized plastic was not appropriately 'anti-flash' and might melt a bit from nearby detonations.

Modified Boeing 747's were used for "Kneecap" as early as 1974. Jeeze- the President had to wait for his Jumbo-Jet until 1990!

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1986 ... Soviet civil defense!

... two more pages from our extensive and always cheerful guide to the USSR; after being nuked by the USA. The upper looks like a DYI guide to going for a stroll in the fallout; along with helpful household items you'll want to have on hand. The lower illustrations are your basic how to dig out your Comrade diagrams.

1960 ... the SIOP

... two interesting pages from two separate 1960 reports. This was a period at the end of the Eisenhower administration when the planners of Nuclear War realized they had no real plan. The Air Force had one set of objectives, the Army with their battlefield weapons had another and the Navy with it's end of the deterrent Triad emerging, still other goals. Add all of that confusion together with NATO's nuclear capabilites and the end of the world was going to be one big traffic jam!

Enter the SIOP. (Single Integrated Operational Plan). A grand plan for who goes where and blows up what.

The first fascinating part is the number count at the bottom of the first document.

"the alert force will consist of 880 vehicles" (No, not trucks!) This would be the bombers. (Also included would be a handful of missiles; remember it's way back in 1960 and ICBM's are still a small, new part of the inventory. Approximately one third of SAC's force was kept on Alert status and ready to be airborne in fifteen minutes.

"1459 weapons on 654 targets" gives us a classic 'overkill' factor of X2. In order to be sure to hit a specific target it's best to try at least twice. Of course 'major targets' like a capitol city or a command center might see their popularity ramped up to four or more attempts.

"average assurance of 74.5 percent" might be the most interesting number. If we figure they are going to try for 654 targets with 880 'vehicles' ... hmmm ... math was my worst subject ... it sounds like they expected about 55 to 60 per cent of the bombers to survive to the target.

... as an interesting side note- it took fourteen SAM's to bring down Gary Power's U-2 as he flew over some of the most strategic targets in the USSR. The U-2 flew at 80k feet; while the B-52 maxed at 50k and the B-47 at 33k.

Secondly; it is interesting to note the two simple paragraphs of the redacted second document.
The A and B 'to do list' of Armageddon.

1956 ... ka-blooey!

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... a guy after our hearts!

... here's another plug for Alex Wellerstein and his well researched and entertaining articles about the history of boys and their toys that go BOOM! He's a for- real scientist and historian (unlike some of the amateurs around here!). He's even got a for-real scientist type name and crazy scientist hair!!

Alex Wellerstein is also the inventor and developer of the NUKEMAP; a fun site that lets you nuke your neighbors, your boss or yourself! Available in kiloton to large mega-death yields!

1951 ... prepare your bomb shelter!

... hey- it's been awhile since we had a DYI project! Once again this is the early 50's so we don't have to go too deep of spend too much to protect out family against a small Russkie Nuke! From the pervasive green ink in use I'd say this was from 'Popular Mechanics'

... ooo - look at all the pictures!

 ... here's a plug for a fun site Jet Pilot Overseas.  It has almost endless photos of pilots and jets from the hey-days of the Cold War!