How would have the world changed if an american made nuclear bomb blew up, in America?

Given the information that I uncovered about planes in the sixties flying around America carrying nukes in case of world war 3 what would have happened if one the most famous incidents in 1961 actually happened and blew up north Carolina, how big of an impact would that have on the timeline.

Or is there a timeline that talks about this sorry I have no idea in the slightest :biggrin:
 
blew up north Carolina

Do you mean "blew up in North Carolina", like eg. "Fat Man blew up in Japan", or do you actually mean that it lays waste to huge sections of the state?

Assuming it's the former, and we're talking about, at most, a city being taken out, well, obviously, a lot of people are gonna be majorly pissed off. There's certainly gonna be an official inquiry, which, like the Warren Commision, will have its conclusions trashed by paranoics all over the place. Probably both the right and the left will get in on this one, with the forner arguing that the fellow-travelers in DC are covering up a Soviet attack, and the latter claiming that it was the USA's own military-industrial complex conducting a horrifying experiment on Americans.

But most people will just accept the government's explanation, and even those with doubts will probably just continue to go about their lives, not making a huge issue of it.

(This is all assuming that the US government doesn't immediately conclude it was a Soviet attack, and bomb the Russkies back. In which case, we're probably looking at a bog-standard nuclear holocaust scenario.)
 
Do you mean "blew up in North Carolina", like eg. "Fat Man blew up in Japan", or do you actually mean that it lays waste to huge sections of the state?

Assuming it's the former, and we're talking about, at most, a city being taken out, well, obviously, a lot of people are gonna be majorly pissed off. There's certainly gonna be an official inquiry, which, like the Warren Commision, will have its conclusions trashed by paranoics all over the place. Probably both the right and the left will get in on this one, with the forner arguing that the fellow-travelers in DC are covering up a Soviet attack, and the latter claiming that it was the USA's own military-industrial complex conducting a horrifying experiment on Americans.

But most people will just accept the government's explanation, and even those with doubts will probably just continue to go about their lives, not making a huge issue of it.

(This is all assuming that the US government doesn't immediately conclude it was a Soviet attack, and bomb the Russkies back. In which case, we're probably looking at a bog-standard nuclear holocaust scenario.)
Apologies, yes with blew up in but there is one simple question I want to ask: Did normal people know about the bombs flying above their heads?
 
Apologies, yes with blew up in but there is one simple question I want to ask: Did normal people know about the bombs flying above their heads?

Thanks for the clarification.

No idea as to your question. But if you're looking for an answer to that, may I recommend changing the thread title(if possible) to something that better indicates the topic? As it stands now, someone with an interest in nuclear policy and protocol might not be inclined to click on a thread with such a non-revealing title.
 

McPherson

Banned
Given the information that I uncovered about planes in the sixties flying around America carrying nukes in case of world war 3 what would have happened if one the most famous incidents in 1961 actually happened and blew up north Carolina, how big of an impact would that have on the timeline.

Or is there a timeline that talks about this sorry I have no idea in the slightest :biggrin:
South Carolina.

1958 Mars Bluff B-47 nuclear weapon loss incident - Wikipedia

Mark 6 nuclear bomb

Impact point was about 154 km due NE of Santee dam. Predicted damage radius for human fatal casualties (From burns and concussion effects at 50%), is about 5 km, and structures ruined (Buildings knocked over or rendered unusable at 50%.), is about 4 kilometers radius from detonation zero. The assumption is a Mark 6 dialed at maximum yield, which considering the fubars and idiots involved that led up to the incident, was very likely the bomb setting.

Maybe 2,500 buildings rendered useless and 8,000 citizens killed at the time If it had gone off. Less if a surface burst. Hard to guess, since I've never seen the topology so I don't know the reflectivity and channeling of the pressure wave to be expected. Maybe half that of an air burst? (Estimated effects.). What really makes this incident somewhat worrisome is that the idiots were probably making practice bomb runs on Santee dam and just turned NE as part of this demo and training flight.

Post incident remedial review and actions?

1. Victims compensated; if any survived.
2. Investigations.
3. Sovereign immunity statute invoked.
4. Legal proceedings from 2.
5. Technical changes and policy changes from 1-4.

People would be voted out, and or reassigned to breaking big rocks into little rocks and the anti-nuclear movement would have an incident as a rally point.

Technically the Permissive Active Link systems and protocols would be reviewed and revised (on paper.).

Incidentally, there would be no way this could be palmed off as a Russian attack. The idiots who laid this one on, would be outed and court martialed faster than the volunteers from South Carolina could draw lots for the juries selected and for the firing squads needed.
 
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marathag

Banned
Apologies, yes with blew up in but there is one simple question I want to ask: Did normal people know about the bombs flying above their heads?
While the exact 'Roundup and 'Headstart' airborne alerts were classed as 'secret' SAC really didn't hide, but in fact promoted in Newsreel that they were doing 24hr airborne alerts, with other crews on 15m standby, planes hooked to starter carts 'ready to go'
Didn't need o be Sherlock Holmes to figure that doing that with unarmed planes would have been a worthless deterrent.
 
While the exact 'Roundup and 'Headstart' airborne alerts were classed as 'secret' SAC really didn't hide, but in fact promoted in Newsreel that they were doing 24hr airborne alerts, with other crews on 15m standby, planes hooked to starter carts 'ready to go'
Didn't need o be Sherlock Holmes to figure that doing that with unarmed planes would have been a worthless deterrent.
Admittedly you are right but if the nukes did go off when they crashed how badly would have this affected the cold war and onwards?
 

marathag

Banned
Admittedly you are right but if the nukes did go off when they crashed how badly would have this affected the cold war and onwards?
There have been plenty of Bent Spear/Broken Arrow events, because even with the first devices in 1945, had safety in mind.
No fission events, even with collisions of AC like happened over Spain.
Just too many interlocks, even in pre-PAL days.
 
@McPherson

Incidentally, there would be no way this could be palmed off as a Russian attack.

Well, I was thinking of people like the John Birch Society. I suspect THEY could palm it off as a Russian attack, at least to that segment of public opinion that was also willing to believe fluoride was a Communist plot.

(Looking it up, the JBS per se didn't come into existence until nine months after the South Carolina incident, but I'm sure they could easily make up for lost time by publicizing existing theories, or concocting their own. Not to mention other groups.)
 

McPherson

Banned
There have been plenty of Bent Spear/Broken Arrow events, because even with the first devices in 1945, had safety in mind.
No fission events, even with collisions of AC like happened over Spain.
Just too many interlocks, even in pre-PAL days.
That was not how it worked. The kernel or the "pit" was not introduced into the conventional imploder until on the way to run into target. That was doctrine. This is why the Mars Bluff bomb did not go off with a fission event. The fissile heart was not in the bomb. It was still on the plane. But that was not what the OP asked. PAL links for bombs were for the conventional explosive imploder and were the final stage safety check into target. With missiles, those are the only safety check. The PAL links failed on that B-47 carried bomb and that was dangerous to the mission success in event of war. The bomb should have fused and set off the bomb imploder in the air for an airburst, not fused or rather exploded due to shock on impact with the ground.

Something was wrong with the bomb design and when some smart Russian read it in the newspapers, he would know that a large chunk of the US gravity bomb dropped nuclear weapon stockpile ... were duds.
 

marathag

Banned
The PAL links failed on that B-47 carried bomb and that was dangerous to the mission success in event of war. The bomb should have fused and set off the bomb imploder in the air for an airburst, not fused or rather exploded due to shock on impact with the ground.
There wasn't anything wrong. When warhead goes off from hitting the ground, that was from a trigger from a single lens of the shaped charge being set off by that impact of it physically crushing that trigger, rather than electrically
unless all 32, 64 or 96 implosion triggers go off at the same millisecond, you don't get compression that gets the implosion, but bits of the pit scattered around by that high explosive lenses going off, out of synchronization.

H-Bombs rated for ground impact for bunkers and such, they were a different design than the airburst types

You want the extra safety that you get from radar altimeters, timers and barometric sensors. Detonation when the preset conditions are met, and not at other times.
Like a crash.
 
Bent Spear/Broken Arrow events, because even with the first devices in 1945, had safety in mind.
Where have the head that?
Books I've read suggested the military of the time was basically against safety devices because that might keep the bombs from exploding when they were supposed to.
 

marathag

Banned
Where have the head that?
Books I've read suggested the military of the time was basically against safety devices because that might keep the bombs from exploding when they were supposed to.
nobody wanted a kaboom from a failed takeoff.
What they didn't want was a Presidential Veto via PAL
Arming Mechanisms or Safeties =/= PALs
 

McPherson

Banned
There wasn't anything wrong. When warhead goes off from hitting the ground, that was from a trigger from a single lens of the shaped charge being set off by that impact of it physically crushing that trigger, rather than electrically
unless all 32, 64 or 96 implosion triggers go off at the same millisecond, you don't get compression that gets the implosion, but bits of the pit scattered around by that high explosive lenses going off, out of synchronization.

H-Bombs rated for ground impact for bunkers and such, they were a different design than the airburst types

You want the extra safety that you get from radar altimeters, timers and barometric sensors. Detonation when the preset conditions are met, and not at other times.
Like a crash.
1958 Mars Bluff B-47 nuclear weapon loss incident - Wikipedia

On March 11, 1958, a U.S. Air Force Boeing B-47E-LM Stratojet from Hunter Air Force Base operated by the 375th Bombardment Squadron of the 308th Bombardment Wing near Savannah, Georgia, took off at approximately 4:34 PM and was scheduled to fly to the United Kingdom and then to North Africa as part of Operation Snow Flurry.[3][4] The aircraft was carrying nuclear weapons on board in the event of war with the Soviet Union breaking out. Air Force Captain Bruce Kulka, who was the navigator and bombardier, was summoned to the bomb bay area after the captain of the aircraft, Captain Earl Koehler, had encountered a fault light in the cockpit indicating that the bomb harness locking pin did not engage. As Kulka reached around the bomb to pull himself up, he mistakenly grabbed the emergency release pin. The Mark 6 nuclear bomb dropped to the bomb bay doors of the B-47 and the weight forced the doors open, sending the bomb 15,000 ft (4,600 m) down to the ground below.[5]

Two sisters, six-year-old Helen and nine-year-old Frances Gregg, along with their nine-year-old cousin Ella Davies, were playing 200 yards (180 m) from a playhouse in the woods that had been built for them by their father Walter Gregg, who had served as a paratrooper during World War II. The playhouse was struck by the bomb. Its conventional high explosives detonated, destroying the playhouse, and leaving a crater about 70 feet (21 m) wide and 35 feet (11 m) deep. Fortunately, the fissile nuclear core was stored elsewhere on the aircraft. All three girls were injured by the explosion, as were Walter, his wife Effie and son Walter Jr. Seven nearby buildings were damaged. The United States Air Force (USAF) was sued by the family of the victims, who received US$54,000, equivalent to $484,381 in 2020.[2][3] The incident made domestic and international headlines.[6][7]
(^^^) is not what you suggested happened or would happen.
 
PAL links
It's a very minor terminological quibble, but PALs ("PAL links" is a tautology: "links" is what the L stands for) did not exist in the active stockpile yet in 1958. The first testbeds were not conducted until 1959. In 1958, arming was still controlled by mechanical combination locks.

EDIT: Wait, the Mars Bluff incident didn't have it's fissile core loaded (as was also the case with the Tybee Island incident), so it couldn't have gone nuclear regardless of whether the safety devices failed or not. It was the 1961 Goldsboro Incident which was only truly a single safety-fuse away from a detonation.
 
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What would change is storage and loading and rhe trigger mechanism.

There would be a Holy crap oops moment. Lots of money and clean up.

For those saying it would be blamed on the Soviets.. Uh.. What?! How.. AND WHY?!

oh let's have a nuclear war over our mistake... Eh. Boy that's gonna help what ever party runs with that big lie..

So no.. If we f it up.. Someone has to go the glue factory and move along and again that party ND group isn't getting reelected
 
South Carolina.

1958 Mars Bluff B-47 nuclear weapon loss incident - Wikipedia

Mark 6 nuclear bomb

Impact point was about 154 km due NE of Santee dam. Predicted damage radius for human fatal casualties (From burns and concussion effects at 50%), is about 5 km, and structures ruined (Buildings knocked over or rendered unusable at 50%.), is about 4 kilometers radius from detonation zero. The assumption is a Mark 6 dialed at maximum yield, which considering the fubars and idiots involved that led up to the incident, was very likely the bomb setting.

Maybe 2,500 buildings rendered useless and 8,000 citizens killed at the time If it had gone off. Less if a surface burst. Hard to guess, since I've never seen the topology so I don't know the reflectivity and channeling of the pressure wave to be expected. Maybe half that of an air burst? (Estimated effects.). What really makes this incident somewhat worrisome is that the idiots were probably making practice bomb runs on Santee dam and just turned NE as part of this demo and training flight.

Post incident remedial review and actions?

1. Victims compensated; if any survived.
2. Investigations.
3. Sovereign immunity statute invoked.
4. Legal proceedings from 2.
5. Technical changes and policy changes from 1-4.

People would be voted out, and or reassigned to breaking big rocks into little rocks and the anti-nuclear movement would have an incident as a rally point.

Technically the Permissive Active Link systems and protocols would be reviewed and revised (on paper.).

Incidentally, there would be no way this could be palmed off as a Russian attack. The idiots who laid this one on, would be outed and court martialed faster than the volunteers from South Carolina could draw lots for the juries selected and for the firing squads needed.

You’d have a hell of a fight getting sovereign immunity to stick after your incompetence vaporized the city and it’s inhabitants. Even if successful I’d expect it to be a bleeding PR and legal hemorrhage for the fine folks of the USAF’s Strategic Air Command for years, especially if Goldsboro still happens a few years later.
 
It's a very minor terminological quibble, but PALs ("PAL links" is a tautology: "links" is what the L stands for) did not exist in the active stockpile yet in 1958. The first testbeds were not conducted until 1959. In 1958, arming was still controlled by mechanical combination locks.

EDIT: Wait, the Mars Bluff incident didn't have it's fissile core loaded (as was also the case with the Tybee Island incident), so it couldn't have gone nuclear regardless of whether the safety devices failed or not. It was the 1961 Goldsboro Incident which was only truly a single safety-fuse away from a detonation.
That's the main event I'm focusing on the Goldsboro incident because it was so damn close.

Also the title I might want to change the thread to is a joke from Linkara At Atop The Fourth Wall, "The most terrifying word in the English language, Oops!"
 
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