Davy Crockett (nuclear device)

Davy Crockett (nuclear device)
Davy Crockett was a recoilless rifle on a tripod for firing the M388 atomic round

The M-28 or M-29 Davy Crockett Weapon System(s) was a tactical nuclear recoilless gun for firing the M388 nuclear projectile that was deployed by the United States during the Cold War. Named after American soldier, congressman, and folk hero Davy Crockett, it was one of the smallest nuclear weapon systems ever built.



U.S. officials view a W54 nuclear warhead, as used on the Davy Crockett. The unusually small size of the warhead is apparent.

The Davy Crockett recoilless spigot gun was developed in the late 1950s for use against Soviet troops had war broken out in Europe. Small teams of the Atomic Battle Group (charged with operating the device) would be stationed every few kilometers to guard against Soviet attack, using the power of their nuclear artillery to kill or incapacitate advancing troop formations and irradiate the area so that it was uninhabitable for up to 48 hours, long enough to mobilize NATO forces.

The M-388 round used a version of the W54 warhead, a very small sub-kiloton fission device. The Mk-54 weighed about 51 lb (23 kg), with a yield equivalent to somewhere between 10 or 20 tons of TNT (very close to the minimum practical size and yield for a fission warhead). The only selectable feature with either versions of the Davy Crockett (M28 & M29) was the height of burst dial on the warhead (post-Davy Crockett versions of the nuclear warhead apparently had a selectable yield feature). The complete round weighed 76 lb (34.5 kg). It was 31 in. (78.7 cm) long with a diameter of 11 in. (28 cm) at its widest point; a subcaliber piston at the back of the shell was inserted into the launcher's barrel for firing.[1] The "piston" was considered a spigot prior to the discharge of the propellant cartridge in the recoilless gun chamber of the Davy Crockett. The M388 atomic projectile was mounted on the barrel-inserted spigot via bayonet slots. Once the propellant was discharged the spigot became the launching piston for the M388 atomic projectile. The nuclear yield is hinted at in FM 9-11: Operation and Employment of the Davy Crockett Battlefield Missile, XM-28/29 (June 1963).

The M-388 could be launched from either of two launchers known as the Davy Crockett Weapon System(s): the 4-inch (120 mm) M28, with a range of about 1.25 mi (2 km), or the 6.1-in (155 mm) M29, with a range of 2.5 mi (4 km). Both weapons used the same projectile, and could be mounted on a tripod launcher transported by an armored personnel carrier, or carried by a Jeep (M-38 & later M-151); the Jeep was equipped with a launcher, whereas the Davy Crockett carried by an armored personnel carrier was set on a tripod away from the carrier. The Davy Crocketts were operated by a three-man crew.[2]

A Davy Crockett casing preserved in the United States Army Ordnance Museum

Both recoilless guns proved to have poor accuracy in testing, so the shell's greatest effect would have been its extreme radiation hazard. The M-388 would produce 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 m).[3]

The warhead was tested on July 7, 1962 in the Little Feller II weapons effects test shot, and again in an actual firing of the Davy Crockett from a distance of 1.7 miles (2.72 km) in the Little Feller I test shot on July 17. This was the last atmospheric test detonation at the Nevada Test Site.

Production of the Davy Crockett began in 1956, with a total of 2,100 being made. The weapon was tested between 1962 and 1968 at the Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawaiʻi island, with 714 M101 spotter rounds (not live warheads) that contained depleted uranium.[4][5] The weapon was deployed with U.S. Army forces from 1961 to 1971. It was inactivated from US Army Europe (in West Germany) in 1967.

Versions of the W54 warhead were also used in the Special Atomic Demolition Munition project and the AIM-26A Falcon.

The 55th and 56th Infantry Platoons, attached to the Division Artillery of the US 82nd Airborne Division, were the last units equipped with the M-29 Davy Crockett weapons system. These two units were parachute deployed and, with a 1/2 ton truck per section, (3 per platoon) were fully air droppable. The units were deactivated in mid-1968.


Below is a list of museums which have a Davy Crockett casing in their collection:

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

См. также в других словарях:

  • Davy Crockett (disambiguation) — Davy Crockett was a celebrated 19th century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier and politician. Davy Crockett may also refer to: Davy Crockett (nuclear device) Davy Crockett (TV miniseries) Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, a 1955… …   Wikipedia

  • Davy Crockett (arme nucléaire) — La Davy Crockett était composé d un lance missiles sans recul qui propulsait des obus atomiques M388. La Davy Crockett, officiellement le M 28 ou la M 29 Davy Crockett Weapon System, était composée d un lance missiles sans recul qui tirait des… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Crockett — Crocketts redirects here. For the Welsh band, see The Crocketts. For information on the surname Crockett , see Crockett (surname). Crockett refers to: Contents 1 People 2 Fictional characters …   Wikipedia

  • Nuclear weapons in popular culture — A nuclear fireball lights up the night in a United States nuclear test. Since their public debut in August 1945, nuclear weapons and their potential effects have been a recurring motif in popular culture,[1] to the extent that the decades of the …   Wikipedia

  • Nuclear weapon design — The first nuclear weapons, though large, cumbersome and inefficient, provided the basic design building blocks of all future weapons. Here the Gadget device is prepared for the first nuclear test: Trinity. Nuclear weapon designs are physical,… …   Wikipedia

  • Nuclear weapon yield — Logarithmic scatterplot comparing the yield (in kilotons) and weight (in kilograms) of all nuclear weapons developed by the United States. The explosive yield of a nuclear weapon is the amount of energy discharged when a nuclear weapon is… …   Wikipedia

  • Nuclear weapons and the United States — United States Nuclear program start date 21 October 1939 First nuclear weapon test 16 July 1945 …   Wikipedia

  • Little Feller (nuclear tests) — Little Feller II and Little Feller I were codenames for a set of nuclear tests undertaken by the United States at the Nevada Test Site on July 7 and July 17, 1962 as part of Operation Sunbeam. They were both tests of stockpiled W54 warheads, the… …   Wikipedia

  • List of nuclear weapons — This is a list of nuclear weapons ordered by state and then type within the states.United StatesNote: US nuclear weapons of all types (bombs, warheads, shells, and others) are numbered in the same sequence starting with the Mark 1 and (as of… …   Wikipedia

  • Suitcase nuke — H 912 transport container for Mk 54 SADM. A suitcase nuke is a tactical nuclear weapon which uses, or is portable enough that it could use, a suitcase as its delivery method. Synonyms include suitcase bomb, backpack nuke, mini nuke, pocket nuke… …   Wikipedia

Поделиться ссылкой на выделенное

Прямая ссылка:
Нажмите правой клавишей мыши и выберите «Копировать ссылку»