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!

1952 - Present: "Raven Rock Mountain Complex"

... often referred to as "Site R" or just the "Rock" this is an underground alternate command center for the United States Military. Raven Rock Mountain Complex officially houses the Alternate Joint Communications Center (AJCC) and the Alternate National Military Command Center. It is as close as reality comes to the War Room in Dr. Stranglove.

That is- unless you want to speculate about the "Deep Underground Command Center"
and the "Deep Underground Support Center". Both were proposed 1960's super-bunkers. At depths of over 3,000 feet they would have been  able to survive a direct hit from a 100 megaton H-bomb! The official story goes that the big-brains in the think-tanks decided that airborne command centers like "Looking Glass" TACAMO and "Nightwatch" were a more survivable and cheaper alternative. The super deep bunkers were canceled. However, it is well known that "Site-R" was additionally hardened in the 1970's to be able to withstand 140psi overpressure. They have built some pretty cool tunneling machines since the 1950's. I would not be surprised if Raven Rock goes a lot deeper than advertised.

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1959 ... "Our Worldwide Airforce"

1962 ... 'Overland Train'

... just as mind-boggling and scary looking as more deadly Cold-War devices is this gigantic all-terrain cargo vehicle. As the vast reaches of the Arctic became the strategic playground for airbases and radar installations alternative methods for hauling cargo were researched and developed. One of these was the TC-497 Overland Train-MkII. 

What kid could resist daydreams of driving this Tonka Truck thru the icy wilderness or glowing post-apocalyptic landscape!

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... not a good day!

"... does this mean I don't have to go to school?"

... six turnin' four burnin' !

... time to see 'Dutch Holland' (Jimmy Stewart) get the old B-36 Convair 'Peacemaker' in the air one more time!

1954 ... the last B-36 built!


1954 ... MK-12

...significant step in the 'miniaturization' of atomic weapons, the MK-12 was a fission weapon with a total yield of just under 15 kilotons.

1962 ... rations: Greenbriar Bunker

... speaking of spending the rest of your life hiding in your basement from mutant atomic zombies; here's a nice view of some of the rations stockpiled at one of the 'continuity of government' bunkers. Just kidding about the 'rest of your life' kids - even Congressmen at the Greenbriar bunker only had to hunker down for two weeks.

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1963 ... everybody's favorite nuke!

... with over 3,000 built and having a handy 'dial-a-yield' of 0.3 - 340 kiloton the slim and trim B-61 thermonuclear weapon is always popular favorite for your next Armageddon get-together!

... here's a nifty early 1970's 'industrial film' about all the wonderful innovations included in the B-61. Seems like everyone, including Gus the auto mechanic, get's a hand in manufacturing this little wonder!

1956 ... Survival!


... surviving World War Three isn't just a self-preservation issue. It is your patriotic duty! 
If all of 'us' are dead than 'they' win!

1956 ... fill 'er up for the jet-age!

"... that's a pretty big pitot tube you got there big fella!"  

Introducing the Boeing KC-135 'Strato-tanker'! Next to nuclear weapons, the biggest development in strategic bombing was the perfection of aerial refueling. The idea had been played with from the earlier days of aviation. In the early 50's propeller driven KC-97's were in service. But the mis-match of speeds between props and the jets made an already tricky piece of flying a real nail-biter.

... the early development of long-range heavy lift jet aircraft for America was a military priority. Commercial jet ideas took a back-seat. This was not a big complaint for the airlines as early jet engines were unreliable and their high fuel consumption made them uneconomical. The 'Strato-tanker' came into service several years before it's slightly larger cousin the Boeing 707.

... the vital role of the tankers cannot be overstated. Their mission of refueling the bombers on their way to the target and on their return was a lynch-pin of the SAC's manned bomber deterrent.

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...if you do not feel well!

... sadly - radiation sickness has a cruel twist; many victims feel better (just before they start dying).