Close up footage of boiling, tumbling, rolling
fireballs of great
destructive force as the nuclear power from the
splitting of nuclei of atoms is unleashed.
Atomic Blasts- Operations Greenhouse Through Upshot-Knothole -
1951-1953 - 29 minutes - Color - Silent
This video shows a compilation of early atomic blasts taken from
individual short films of the tests. These formerly classified films
have never before been seen by the public. The video shows close
up footage of boiling, tumbling, rolling fireballs of great destructive
force as the nuclear power from the splitting of nuclei of atoms
is unleashed. The blinding fury released by these early atomic devices
demonstrates the show of power that was used by the United States
to end World War II and establish a power base for the Cold War
The term "atomic" designated them as fission devices,
as opposed to the later much more powerful thermonuclear devices,
which used a fission test to start a fusion process. Eventually,
the word "atomic" was replaced by the term "nuclear."
By the time Operation Greenhouse was conducted, the Atomic Energy
Commission began testing devices of higher yields than those detonated
in the TRINITY test or in Operations Crossroads, Sandstone or Ranger.
Laboratory scientists were using the data gained from the early
operations to build more sophisticated devices that delivered more
The three "atomic" tests in four-test Greenhouse Operation
(DOG, EASY, and ITEM) had respective yields of 81, 47 and 45.5 kilotons
(kt) compared with the 21 kt yield of the earlier devices of the
Fat Man (i.e., TRINITY) design. These tests, fired from 300-foot
towers on Enewetak Atoll in the Pacific Ocean between April 7 and
May 24, 1951, provided weapons design/development data.
In Operation Buster/Jangle, the five tests conducted under Operation
Buster series, ABLE, BAKER, CHARLIE, DOG, and EASY, evaluated new
devices developed by the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and provided
data on the basic phenomena associated with these devices.
The two Jangle Operation tests, SUGAR and UNCLE, provided the first
experimental data on the military effects of surface and underground
nuclear detonations, including the response of structures to nuclear
bursts, the effects of gamma radiation versus time and distance,
and the level of residual contamination from surface and underground
bursts. The Buster/Jangle Operation was conducted at the Nevada
Test Site (NTS) between October 22 and November 29, 1951.
The eight-test Operation Tumbler-Snapper was conducted at the NTS
between April 1 and June 5, 1952, The first two, ABLE and BAKER,
were 1-kt air drop weapons effects tests, while the second pair
of air drop devices, CHARLIE and DOG, had yields of 31 and 19 kt,
respectively, and were weapons-related tests. The last four, EASY,
FOX, GEORGE, and HOW had yields of 12, 11, 15 and 14 kt, respectively,
and were weapons-related tests. The U.S. military conducted exercises
in conjunction with the CHARLIE, DOG, and FOX tests.
Only one "atomic" test, KING, was fired in Operation
Ivy. At 500 kt, it was the largest fission device ever tested. Regrettably,
this series of short films did not have a fireball view of the KING
detonation, but only footage showing its blast effects. KING was
a weapons-related airdrop test of an advanced warhead design made
possible by earlier tests and research efforts. The other test in
Operation Ivy was MIKE, the first full-fledged thermonuclear device.
There were 11 tests fired in Operation Upshot-Knothole, three airdrops,
seven tower tests and one fired from an atomic cannon. About 21,000
military personnel participated in Upshot-Knothole as part of the
Desert Rock V Exercise. The tests, all weapons related, were conducted
between March 17 and June 4, 1953. The Upshot-/Knothole tests and
their yields were as follows: ANNIE, 16 kt; NANCY, 24 kt; RUTH,
200 tons; DIXIE, 11 kt; RAY, 200 tons; BADGER, 23 kt; SIMON, 43
kt; ENCORE, 27 kt; HARRY, 32 kt; GRABLE, fired from 280mm gun (cannon),
15 kt; and CLIMAX, 61 kt.
Here are some sample clips from the DVD