October FTX will begin at 1000 on the 29th and end at 1600 on the 30th. Bring your own pumpkin and goblin costume. Topics to discuss are IFAKs, Land-Nav, long-term food storage, and disaster-preparedness communications.
Much has been written recently on Syria, Russia, and the possibility of WWIII. It does look like we have a foreign policy conflict where we are wanting one thing but doing another. And not just in Syria. There is a problem there that needs fixing there. It makes little sense to bring the problem here, not wanting to fix it here, then saying the problem is fixed back there. Russia has a foreign policy that recognizes the problem there in Syria and they know if it’s not fixed there, it will come to them directly and it will be much more difficult to solve that problem when that happens in the near future. The big problem is it looks like we can’t agree on how that gets done. And if you look at the track record of our State Department, well, it’s not exactly confidence inspiring.
This of course leads to a lot of posturing and policy speeches as an effort at warfare by other means. One really blatant item on that list is the story about some B-2 bombers making practice runs with dummy bombs over the test range in Nevada recently. This is not news mostly because the B-2’s are (very expensive) bombers, and we should expect them to practice bombing runs with (cheap) dummy bombs in Nevada. From time to time. What makes this news is the propaganda twist of saying the dummy bombs are specifically modeled after the B-61 Mod 11 Thermonuclear bombs. Saber rattling with 1200 pounds of plastic and steel dummy bombs is one thing, but the actual mention of a real B-61 is not meant for domestic consumption. Next to nobody inside the U.S. knows anything about our nuclear arsenal, and the reason we don’t mention those kinds of details is because we want everybody to sleep at night.
If the U.S. government wants to whip their B-61’s out and wave them around, maybe we should take a little peek at the real destructive forces behind these little jewels. Maybe you should develop a little respect for exactly what we may be in for once these things get hitched up and sent off for a short ride. Having spent some time, way, way back around these sorts of things, here is the nickel tour.
The best look at the B-61 (all variants) is at nuclearweaponarchive.org. Nothing classified here. Not enough detail to make you a weapons expert with these things, but you’ll learn a smidgen about oralloy, Lithium-6, and IHE. You’ll soon learn the B-61 Mod 11 is not just the run of the mill bunker buster, but a smallish hydrogen bomb (no such thing) that targets “things” that might be several hundred meters below the ground level, horizontal or vertical , with an equivalent yield of up to 340,000 tons of TNT all in one spot for just a few microseconds. The yardstick for nuclear bombs is always, Hiroshima, and that was just a speck under 15,000 tons and that whopper weighed 10,000 pounds. Our little B-61 is only 12 foot long and weighs in at 1200 pounds. That silvery pick-nick basket sized thing in the middle is 500 pounds of pure meanness just waiting to leap out. All those other parts are there just to make it easy to deliver. Technology sure is great, isn’t it!
So now we have our B-2 loaded up with 16 of these little B-61 thingies in both the rotary bomb dispensers and we’re cruising to bust up somebody’s party in just a little while. Exactly what can we expect from our little toys once the lights start changing color and our special delivery is on it’s way?
Well, as it turns out, yes, there’s an app for that. More or less. You can spend several hours playing with this thing. Here is an example how it works. Remember, we’re not actually planning large-scale destruction and loss of life on U.S soil here, just putzing around with the theory behind it all. First, you’ll see that the main map is just google maps and you can navigate to any spot in the whole world. Let’s pick someplace familiar though, just to bring things home. Greensboro Coliseum. Seating capacity – 23,000.
Today, we’ll say it’s empty, along with the parking lot and everyone in the neighborhood is enjoying the last 30 minutes of their ethereal existence. Over on the right column, you’ll see there is a short list of options. For Option 1, we’ve selected our empty coliseum. In Option 2, we’ve selected an off the shelf B-61 unit. In Option 3, we want to hit the ground (real easy if you know anything about gravity) and then check both those little boxes to see how big our paychecks will be, if we worked on commission. All that’s left is Option 4. Click the big red button to get that little taste of Global Thermonuclear War in your neighborhood. It should look something like this:
But wait, there’s more. Not only did we make a 200 foot deep hole a quarter of a mile wide, as a bonus, one that you always get with surface detonations (air burst works entirely different), we just lofted highly contaminated dirt and debris, covering a 30 mile wide swath, all the way to Richmond, Virginia. Woo Hoo! That ought to clean out the kudzu for the next 10,000 years. And we can do that 31 more times while we’re flying the afternoon away. Isn’t war great!
Well now, wasn’t that fun? Let’s try something else. It’s not that we don’t like having 1350 of these B-61′ sitting around, each waiting for their own “special day”. Deterrence is a great thing. A reminder that “Strength Thru Superior Firepower” is just the shadow of “Strength Thru Superior Diplomacy”. And we can drop diplomats on your little foreign capital all day long.
Operation Plumbbob, Stokes test, 19 kt, August 1957