Atomic Weapons Orientation - Organization, Basic
Special Weapons, Support Operations, Effects of Atomic Weapons
And the Thermonuclear Weapon
Atomic Weapons Orientation - 81 minutes - Black&White and
Atomic Weapons Orientation Part One - Organization for Atomic Energy
- 17:45 - The Atomic Energy Acts of 1946 (and revised in 1954) set
up a vast government (military and civilian) industrial complex
for the research, development, testing, and production of nuclear
weapons, as well as for other assignments in the energy field. The
workings of this complex make up the subject for this video.
Shown are the coordination and liaison activities between the civilian
Atomic Energy Commission and the Department of Defense. Each organizations
major laboratories, facilities, and policy and planning groups active
in 1961 are described. Footage of nuclear weapons storage, training
and test sites is shown.
Atomic Weapons Orientation Part Two - Basic Atomic Weapons - 6:11
- This animated and live action video was designed primarily as
an instructional video on how nuclear weapons work. There is a simplified
discussion of the two categories of nuclear weapons, fission and
fusion. The video described the "gun-type" and "implosion"
fission methods. Another segment details the sequence of events
and devices that have to work in unison to enable fission or fusion
weapons to produce a nuclear yield.
An implosion weapon has a core of uranium or plutonium surrounded
by high explosives, a lensing system, and detonators. Upon receipt
of a firing signal, a firing set generates a high- voltage pulse
that fires the detonators simultaneously. The detonation wave is
focused by the lensing system into an implosion wave that compresses
the core into a supercritical mass resulting in a nuclear explosion.
The video also discusses radar, neutron generators, nuclear pits,
and other weapon components.
Atomic Weapons Orientation Part Three - Special Weapons Orientation:
Weapons Family - 6:32 - This video shows U.S. stockpiles nuclear
weapons up to 1961. The stockpile includes early airdrop fission
weapons, Mark (Mk)-3, Mk-4, Mk-5, Mk-6, Mk-6/18, Mk-7, Mk-8, Mk-12,
and Mark-9, the artillery atomic projectile. A live test of the
Mk-9 fired from a 280mm cannon is shown. This was the 15-kiloton
GRABLE test conducted on May 25, 1953, as part of Operation Upshot-Knothole.
Atomic Weapons Orientation Part Four - Atomic Weapons Support Operations
- 12:22 - The special contributions of nuclear weapons technicians
are featured in this video. They inspected, maintained, modified
and modernized nuclear weapons at various storage and operation
field sites. The video shows training conducted at the Defense Atomic
Support Agencys nuclear weapons school in Albuquerque and
the U.S. Air Forces weapons school at Lowry Air Force Base
in Colorado. Technicians are shown conducting "fire test set"
inspections on all branches of the armed services.
The narrator explains that the storage, maintenance, inspection
and modification of nuclear weapons is part of the "mine to
stockpile sequence." Also, the video shows that the technicians
are a vital part of the "stockpile to target sequence"
as they prepare weapons for shipment, load weapons onto strike aircraft,
and maintain and modify weapons at forward field sites.
Footage is shown of weapons being loaded on a B-52 and a smaller
attack aircraft. The narrator explains that the major function of
a technician was to "make the weapon ready for the day when
by Presidential decree, nuclear weapons would be sent out on intercontinental
bombers, tactical aircraft, missiles, and carrier-deployed aircraft
to the target areas."
Atomic Weapons Orientation Part Five - Effects of Atomic Weapons
- 12:22 - This video shows the heat, blast, and radiation effects
of a nuclear explosion on personnel (dummies), structures, and military
equipment. The video is a compilation of numerous nuclear detonations
in the atmospheric testing program, but does not identify each blast.
All types of detonations, including underground, surface, near surface
and high altitude are shown.
Atomic Weapons Orientation Part Six - A Special Weapon Orientation:
The Thermonuclear Weapon - 29:12 - This video provides a history
and the major developmental phases of the thermonuclear program
up to May 1, 1956. The test operations of Greenhouse, Ivy and Castle
are highlighted. The GEORGE test in Operation Greenhouse was the
first thermonuclear test explosion. It was followed by the MIKE
test in Operation Ivy, which used a liquid, or "wet" fuel.
A wet fuel was very expensive, as it had to be super cooled until
used. The first test in Operation Castle, BRAVO, used a dry fuel
successfully, and that ended the debate over wet versus dry fuel.
Two continuing goals remained: (1) determine how to reduce the
size and weight of the thermonuclear weapon, and (2) gather information
on the effects of high-yield weapons. Regarding size and weight,
the video shows a series of weapons that gradually are reduced in
these aspects. Also, it shows the air delivery capabilities of these
weapons, including footage on the B-47, the B-36 and the B-52 aircraft.
On the effects aspect, the video defines fallout and describes what
kind of path it leaves, the dangers from it, and how to protect
oneself. It shows the destructive forces of a thermonuclear weapon
in many ways, including how the MIKE test destroyed the island of
Eluglab. A dramatic scene develops at the end as the narrator says,
"This is the detonation of a thermonuclear weapon on Enewetok
Atoll. This is a man standing on Bikini Atoll, 200 miles away."
The light and boiling cloud of colors illuminates the entire sky
almost as if the explosion was only a few miles away.
Here are some sample clips from the DVD