Nuclear Demolition Charges and Landmines
In the event of the Red Army swarming across the Elbe, NATO were well aware that they needed to buy time to reinforce Germany and funnel the Red Army's tanks onto killing grounds. Landmines have long been used to obstruct movement and create no-go zones on the battlefield. The use of demolition charges on bridges and other important communications infrastructure are established practice in warfare.
In the fifties when atomic warfare was looking like it was on the cards, the application of nuclear weapons to this field was the obvious way to slow up any potential invasion. Both the US and the UK embarked on projects to produce atomic demolition devices. What follows cover some of the UK attempts.
First project was Brown Bunny in 1953/4. This was a 7.5-ton device mounted on a truck and used the same warhead section as a first-generation RAFBlue Danube free-fall bomb. The name was unofficial and later changed for consistency with rest of the colour code system to Blue Bunny. Still later this name was compromised and Blue Peacock chosen instead. Eventually two prototypes were built and there were demos to senior generals of preparation and arming drill etc. However, the truck's centre of gravity was too high to drive off-road! Plans were to deploy 10 Blue Bunnies to Germany in 1958/59.
As 1950s went on, clear that Blue Danube warhead was obsolescent and wouldn't be available beyond 1961. So plans were changed: instead a smaller warhead would be fitted, producing a package of much smaller overall size. Names Blue Hare and Blue Badger were suggested, but too similar to Blue Bunny! Instead this combination became Violet Mist. In 1957, theRed Beard warhead was suggested for Violet Mist - this would have made overall weight 1.5tons. There were later ideas for using even smaller warheads such as Blue Fox/Indigo Hammer or a US warhead. But by 1961 Deputy CIGS was not prepared to support the requirement at the projected cost, and the project was stopped.
One example of Blue Peacock survives in the Atomic Weapons Establishment museum.
Many thanks to Richard Moore for the information on the above.
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