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“Deadlies” Nominee: Nuke Bazooka

by jason on November 22, 2006

Nominated by Steve Weintz
You can’t have a contest to find the most hazardous equipment of all time without including the legendary Davy Crockett — the tripod-mounted, atomic artillery launcher that inspired Starship Troopers’ nuclear bazooka.
davy4.jpgThe Davy Crockett came in two flavors, 120mm and 155mm. Both used the same round — an itty-bitty nuclear warhead, with a yield equal to “only” 10 to 20 tons of TNT (about what took down the Alfred R. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City). Maximum range was 2.5 miles for the bigger model, half that for the mini. Which meant that the Davy’s three-man crew would survive the initial atomic blast. If they fired the shell perfectly, that is. Unfortunately, “both recoilless rifles proved to have poor accuracy in testing,” Wikipedia notes.
But even if the Davy’s crew managed to make it past the first few seconds of their weapon’s firing, they still had to contend with the subsequent radiation. The minimum detonation range for the Davy was 1000 feet. The problem is, the explosion kicked off an “almost instantly lethal radiation dosage (in excess of 10,000 rem) within 500 feet (150 m), and a probably fatal dose (around 600 rem) within a quarter mile (400 meters).“
The Davy Crockett’s warheads were tested twice, in 1962. 2,100 of the things were manufactured and deployed with American armed forces, until the Davy was retired in 1971.
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