Thursday, August 11, 2005

Film of the Shot of the Day

Back a little over a week ago I had a "Shot of the Day" featuring the USS Pilotfish (SS-386) resting in 175 feet of water at the bottom of the Bikini Atoll. It as well as other ships were sunk as part of atomic bomb testing in July 1946 and are now dive destinations.

Operation Crossroads Baker Shot (Source: DOE)

I ran across some film of the Operation Crossroads Baker shot (National Geographic HERE or the DOE HERE) that resulted in the test target USS Pilotfish, moored at a depth of 168 feet and at a range of 363 yards from the point of the blast, in sinking. Only 21 of the 71 ships in the Able and Baker tests actually sank but all sustained damage. If not sunk during the tests the remaining ships were heavily contaminated with radiation and were either scuttled, sunk in gunnery exercises or scrapped.

The Baker shot was a 21-kiloton shallow water test detonated some ninety feet underwater and was the final weapon test conducted as part of the original Manhattan Project.


Paul said...

I've been facinated by nukes as long as I can remember. My grandfather was part of the duPont engineering/management team on the Manhattan Project (Hanford) and my Dad was a B-29 crewman flying missions from Tinian when the bombs were dropped. His plane few the BDA mission for Nagasaki.

I happened to catch a movie on HDNET called "Trinity and Beyond" I recorded it on my DVR and have watched in several times. I had no idea that so many weapons tests took place.

The thing that blew me away was learning that there had been several high altitude/low space detonations. They are beautiful to watch on film -- completely spherical burst rather than a mushroom cloud.

There was also a clip of a DD firing an ASROC armed with a live W44 1kT warhead, which was detonated underwater within visual range of the ship.

Perhaps of more interest to you submariners, there was apparently also one and only one live Polaris test, where a missle was shot from an SSBN and detonated somewhere in the Pacific test range.

Amazing stuff.

Lubber's Line said...

Paul, the only operational test of a live SLBM nuke warhead was by the USS Ethan Allen SSBN 608 on May 6 1962. The name of the test was "Frigate Bird".

I blogged this back on the anniversary of the test. Check out the links in the archived post for more info.

Paul said...

Thanks for the link. The ASROC test was called SWORDFISH. Detonation was 4000yds from the DD, and even more amazingly, there was a manned diesel sub, USS Razorback (SS-394), parked at periscope depth also only 4000yds away from the point of detonation.