October 27, 2006

Tactical nukes detonated in Iraq?

Take a look at this video and tell me at 3:56 that's not a low-yeild nuke.

In the supersize I'm posting another video, supposedly from a Marine with a closer view of the blast which rocked most of Baghdad on October 10th as Forward Operating Base Falcon's ammunition supplies were targeted and destroyed by insurgents (The Islamic Army in Iraq has claimed responsibility for the attack), along apparently with the base itself. Although initial reports put the death toll at 0 (which no one believed) there are new reports surfacing that casualties may have been 'covered up' and are in fact at least 300, possibly higher.

Why would DoD and the Administration cover this up? Simple... for the same reason Bush is saying we're going to get out of Iraq while privately delivering assuarances to the Iraqi's that it's all 'election year politics' and that we have no intention to pull out. They don't want to be devastated in the midterm elections now little more than a week away.

At this point I'm disinclined to believe the massive explosion was a tactical nuke detonation because the Marine video was shot fairly close by and the detonation of a nuclear bomb always generates an EMP pulse. While I can't say for sure how localized the effects of the EMP would have been from a small nuke, I think it probable that had the blast been nuclear it would have fried out the camera the Marine was using to video. Anyone have any ideas as to what it might have been? Anyone have any info on the propogation of EMP from smaller weapons?

Regardless, the fact remains that the attack on FOB Falcon was far more devastating than we were originally told.

UPDATE As The Mayor points out in the comments, the marine video is not of the attack at Falcon. It was footage from ANOTHER ammo dump fire in April. I'm leaving it up because it's kind of cool footage. However, it is not of the event on October 10th.

(Hat tip to Stephen Webster at The Gonzo Muckracker)

Posted by mcblogger at October 27, 2006 02:49 AM

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I'm calling TOTAL BULLSHIT on this. If you click my name, you can see a portion of the second, so-called "Marine" video, that was posted on YouTube July 13, some months before the attack on Falcon Base.

Tactical nuke? Highly unikely. Where are any reports from around the globe of increased radiation and fallout? To say nothing of the absence of a very large hole in the ground and THOUSANDS of casualties likely to have resulted from the surface-level detonation of a nuke.

Posted by: mayor mcsleaze at October 27, 2006 07:24 AM

I did say I was disinclined to believe it was a nuke. However, on the casualty side, given the footage shot by the Iraqi's, and that fact that ABC and BBC reported no casualties (which may or may not be the truth), there may well be thousands of casualties.

A M-388 or something comparable (who knows what happened to those weapons) would have had blast effects limited to about 600 meters, with life threatening radiation limited to abouit 400 meters from the detonation. Even if the marine video was real, from that distance they would not have been knocked around too much and would not have picked up a fatal radiation dose.

As for a crater, you saw the blast... can you tell me that didn't produce one hell of a crater?

Again, my problem with calling this a nuke is the EMP effects. However, given that the marine video is obviously fake, we have no way of knowing what happened to electrical systems close by.

Lethal after effects from a tactical nuke (sub-kiloton device) are usually limited to around 48 hours.

Posted by: mcblogger at October 27, 2006 11:00 AM

Sub-kiloton devices? Why fucking bother?

Well, here's what Wikipedia has to say about the M-388:
One of the smallest nuclear weapons ever wielded, the Davy Crockett was developed in the late 1950s for use against Soviet troops in West Germany. 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 shells 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 selectable yield of 10 or 20 tons (very close to the minimum practical size and yield for a fission warhead). 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 actually inserted into the launcher's barrel for firing. [1]

The Davy Crockett could be launched from either of two launchers: the 4-inch (120 mm) M28, with a range of about 1.25 mi (2 km), or the 6-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 or carried by truck or armored personnel carrier. They were operated by a three-man crew. [2]

Both recoilless rifles proved to have poor accuracy in testing, so the shell's greatest effect would have been its extreme radiation hazard. Even at a low yield setting, the M388 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 meters).

I don't doubt that the insurgent attack left a large number of craters and destroyed a lot of munitions, but the detonation of nuclear weapons would have resulted in quite a number of radiation casualties, especially among the unprotected civilian population, don't you think?

Posted by: mayor mcsleaze at October 27, 2006 11:29 AM

If they were within 600 meters, probably. There's a wiki on tactical nukes? Why am I not suprised.

Falcon was a very large base and I don't think there were too many Iraqi's looking to live close to an installation that has a gigantic bullseye on it.

Just to clarify, IF this was a tacnuke, I don't think it was detonated by the insurgents. I think if it was a tactical nuke detonated by US forces, it may have been purposely detonated in an attempt to 'blow out the fire' caused by the mortar attack. Most of our weapons are supposedly safe until armed.

HOWEVER this brings up a number of questions I didn't really get into in the post.
1) Are there tactical nukes in Iraq with US forces? Why the hell would you do that?
2) Has release authority been devolved and what is the chain?

On the first question, these are designed for use against a large mobile force, not a isolated groups of insurgents. In Iraq they would be essentially useless.

On the second, I would like to know that some yahoo I went to high school with DOESN'T have the authority to set one of these things off on his own, know what I mean?

Posted by: mcblogger at October 27, 2006 12:17 PM

Forgot to answer your first question- why a sub KT nuke- because it's more usable. It's a hell of a way to take down a large mobile force that's numerically superior. Which is exactly what we don't face in Iraq. Given the insanity of the whole invasion, however, it's just the kind of retard thing I'd expect the Admin to demand the military to do.

Over 1KT you get into more of the traditional nuke drawbacks, including size of the weapon, delivery method and blowback, unless you are using an airburst ER weapon to minimize blast effects and maximize radiation output.

Sister Ruth would really freak if she knew we were talking about this.

Posted by: mcblogger at October 27, 2006 12:27 PM

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