Declassified Video Shows How B-52 Crews Would Conduct Nuclear Strikes During Cold War

B-52 Nuclear Strike


B-52 Nuclear Strike
Screenshots from the video displaying the B-52 in the course of the fictional nuclear strike and a B-57 bomber navigating close to a nuclear explosion.

A 1960 Strategic Air Command coaching video familiarized B-52 crews with the devastating results of nuclear weapons and how one can navigate by way of a nuclear battlefield.

The U.S. Nationwide Archives and Information Administration (NARA) lately declassified some very attention-grabbing coaching movies and movie stories that the Strategic Air Command ready within the Sixties to prepare bomber pilots and crews for a potential nuclear war. Amongst these there’s the US Air Pressure Coaching Movie 5363, “Nuclear Results Throughout SAC Supply Missions,” made in 1960 and which stored its secret classification till now.

The aim of Coaching Movie 5363 was to familiarize SAC pilots and crew members with the devastating results of nuclear weapons detonations and the detailed plans that had been developed so the crews might evade the risks of a nuclear battlefield and return house after finishing their mission. These plans had been among the many contents of the “Fight Mission Folders,” which included steering wanted to achieve targets and return to base safely and had been assigned to each nuclear-armed bomber on alert duty.

Again within the day, B-52s with nuclear weapons on board had been on alert and able to launch in simply quarter-hour from the alarm, whereas others carried out airborne alert missions as a part of Operation Chrome Dome. These bombers on excessive alert had been meant to carry out retaliatory nuclear strikes within the occasion the Soviet Union attacked the US. The truth that the coaching movie was declassified as Russia continuously threats the use of nuclear weapons, as retaliation for the Western help to Ukraine because the invasion began final yr, is value of comment.

The movie begins with a B-52 flying a sortie of the Emergency Conflict Order, launched beneath Constructive Management and on its solution to the “go/no-go” place, however with out the crew realizing if it is a actual mission or an train till they get there. Earlier than ultimately getting in, nonetheless, the narrator explains that, whereas they know that the mission might be efficiently achieved because it was rigorously deliberate and reviewed by extremely certified fight planners they usually flew numerous profile missions, they should know the nuclear effects of a detonation.

The narrator then takes the viewers trough the fundamentals of a nuclear detonation’s thermal, blast and radiation results and the efforts that the U.S. Air Pressure had taken to arrange the crews for conditions the place they could expertise them. The truth is, the central a part of the movie covers the results of nuclear explosions of each plane and crew and the measures taken to minimize crew exposure, like rigorously deliberate routes that created a secure distance between the bomber and the detonation of their weapon and the detonations attributable to different SAC bombers working in the identical space.

The movie goes on with an outline of the a number of atmospheric nuclear tests carried out by the US, from Crossroads in 1946 to Laborious Tack in 1958, which more and more included efforts to measure the results of the exams on plane and buildings, each within the air and on the bottom, and which frequently used drones to measure radioactivity within the air, in addition to B-47 Canberra bombers with air sampling equipment. Along with these exams, analysis by college and Air Pressure scientists helped refine SAC operational procedures.

This big amount of knowledge flows proper into the planning cells of SAC, numbered Air Forces and Wings to rigorously plan the missions of the EWO in accordance with the goal task by the Joint Chief of Employees to SAC. The detailed plans and the “overwhelming mass of info and figures” required to safely perform the mission are then saved within the Fight Mission Folder saved on the plane.

The movie then returns to the B-52 approaching the turnaround level, when then a radio message from SAC is available in: “Sky King. Sky King. That is Migrate. That is Migrate. Don’t reply. Break. Break. Alpha Sierra Foxtrot Juliet Oscar Papa Mike Tango. Break. Go-Code.” The crew scrambles to confirm the code and uncover that that is the go code for an actual mission: “Pilot to crew. We checked the go code and verified it. That is it. We’re getting in”.

After a really temporary second of disbelief, the crew members get all the way down to enterprise and put together the plane for the nuclear strike mission as they’re about to cross the H-Hour Management Line on the best way to their assigned goal within the Soviet Union. As they navigate in direction of the goal, the crew expertise the shockwave from one other nuclear bomb dropped within the neighborhood of their route, before a low-altitude flight over lakes, mountains, forests and fields to keep away from Soviet air protection missiles.

As soon as they get few miles from the goal, the bomber performs a pop-up maneuver, drops the bomb and descends once more to low altitude and excessive pace to create a secure separation distance from the goal. As soon as the bomb detonates, a battle harm evaluation is carried out and the B-52 returns to the “secure aspect of the HHCL, however not earlier than flying within the contaminated cloud of a bomb dropped half-hour earlier to keep away from flying within the explosion of a multi-megaton bomb scheduled on the time would move over the realm.

The narrator concludes the movie with a dramatic assertion which mirrored the strain of the potential nuclear conflict that was anticipated to occur at any time in the course of the Chilly Conflict: “This might occur. If this nightmare scenario ever materializes into grim actuality, you’ll have an actual bear by the tail, however not less than you might be assured of escaping from the nuclear results of our personal weapons.”

That is simply one of many movies that had been lately declassified, along with a movie particularly speaking concerning the Fight Mission Folders, a number of semi-annual stories and a coaching movie on the Tactical Operations Rooms of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System. Yow will discover out extra on National Security Archive, along with the movies and detailed descriptions.

Stefano D’Urso is a contract journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based mostly in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he is additionally learning to realize a Grasp Diploma in Aerospace Engineering. Digital Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT strategies utilized to the world of army operations and present conflicts are amongst his areas of experience.


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