Article SADM not Saddam

If you look on the internet seeking information on suitcase nuclear bombs you might be surprised to find that the US had one as early as the 1960's that wasn’t fazed out until 1988. In fact, we had over 200 of the little beggars. Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SADM) the backpackers nuclear bomb. They make everything else in a back pack version, so why not?

The internet will tell you that the MK-54 Mod 1 was a Navy-Marine device and they will show you a short video of a SEAL jumping from a CH-46 at low level after he has supposedly suited up the thing and has it on his back. This information is fine because the Navy and Marines need the press, SF doesn’t want it. SF thrives on misdirection.

The MK-54 actually was a derivative of a device called a T-4 designed to blow a canal across Nicaragua. When, surprisingly enough, Nicaragua lost interest in the project (duh) the device was returned to the cone heads, I think at Los Alamos who came up with the suitcase bomb. The idea was to place the little jewel behind enemy lines against critical pinpoint targets where a lot of damage could be done with a small weapon.

When complete, it was a modified artillery round, completely sealed, that could be armed in a couple of different ways including the timer without which, every spy movie ever made would be sadly lacking in suspense. The M 96 arming device was about the size of a baseball, the timing was activated by revolving a set of rings to select the delay time, it was armed in a separate operation. That was the good news, the bad news was that you couldn’t de-activate it once it was armed. Oh yeh, there was an “instant” setting (go boom now) for those Rambo types who are invincible. No one on the team had the authority to set it off, the decision had to come from a lot higher up the totem pole. The word was usually transmitted by an encoded radio transmission. Just in case someone changed their mind and you were already starting on your E and E route and you were told it was all a big mistake and you had to go back and remove it from the target , you could blow the device without setting off the bomb. Right! Anybody wanna try? I can just imagine getting the word to stop the countdown and busting your butt back into the place you had just snuck out of, carrying it out of the place you had so carefully snuck it in to and trying to plant an explosive in just the right place when some local shines his light in your face and says, “What you doing, Gringo?” When I start me E and E my last words will be, “You’re coming in garbled, say again?”

The device was almost two feet long, was shaped like an artillery round and weighed 45 pounds without its jump container which added another 15 pounds. That much added to the jumper’s combat weight when fully loaded made for an interesting jump. Now I know the internet says the thing weighed 165 pounds, but WE know who sponsored that article. The yield was not going to exceed .1 KT.

I said before that the thing did not belong to the Navy and Marines, it belonged to the Field Command of the Armed Forces Special Weapons Center, a Defense Department Agency, and was under extremely tight control. Most people that saw it never really saw it, they were looking at a mockup complete in every detail except no nuclear stuff. When the device, even a mockup, went anywhere it was accompanied by armed guards. When it was being jumped, a guard was on the airplane and one was on the DZ. The only time it was out of sight of one of the guards was between the plane and the ground.

Having a suitcase nuke is cool, but how do you get it on target? The Navy and Marines had a solution demonstrated in the video. Drop the thing in the water and float it in. It would float, air could be pumped into the container and buoyancy could be established so it would float on the surface or under water, so that was one way, but what if you wanted it inland? SF had the answer. An SF had jumped with the SADM as early as 1960, proving it could be done, but back then the container wasn’t available so he just wrapped it up in his sleeping bag, stuffed it into his rucksack and jumped. During the 1960's SF at Fort Bragg were experimenting with HALO (high altitude low opening) parachute techniques. No money was available, so by providing the sport jumping clubs around the fort with a boxcar full of surplus Air Force parachutes, experimentation was proceeding. By the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis SF felt confident they could jump at 36,000 feet over water outside the three mile limit and land on Cuban soil, a glide ratio of 1:1.8. Good money was available for the Army wife with a sewing machine that didn’t mind spending her spare time sewing parachutes for club members. By the 1970's HALO was an established fact and the SADM could be jumped from as high as 25,000 feet.

For the SADM scenario, the jump would be made at high altitude two miles from the DZ. Chute opening would be at 1,800 feet and touchdown made just before sunset. If the device had to be carried very far it was jumped wrapped in a sleeping bag in a rucksack. One man jumped with the device, another man jumped with the timer. Once on the ground, the mission proceeded like any other SF mission, only the bang would be bigger.

Very Interesting, reminds me of this concept. Would you want to be on this Gun Crew? It failed for several reasons, one of which was to use it effectively you were too close to escape the after effects, another was the thought of leaving a Junior Officer in charge of releasing an Atomic Weapon didn't sit well with some folks, Imagine that!! I suppose this could all go under the heading of "What will they think of next??" The 50's and the 60's were heady times for Atomic Boffins!! Of course who better to populate the world of 007 and Our Man Flint LOL

davycrocket nuclear.jpg

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All True. The SF team I was on was a HALO SADM Team (early 80's). We still trained with the mockup and were certified each year. We jumped the "device" as we called it both static line and HALO. It was a real challenge to jump that lump of ****. The 2 man rule always was in effect--eyes on the device at all times by 2 people--even when we jumped it at night. We had several HALO incidents (in the air) of not being able to control our descent and direction because of the strange shape and dead bulk weight. The biggest challenge was keeping eyes on the target after placement. The questions it begs is who was going to be the eyes on the target (the device) until it went off??? No volunteers!!!?? Since the timers were suspect at best because of their age---the Team SOP became to watch until reasonably certain that it wouldn't get discovered (knowing the selected detonation time) and then beat feet. The emplacement radio transmission was to be sent by the remaining team members at least 2K's away from the emplacement site (at least 1-2 terrain features--hills, streams, city blocks or just distance). While the 2 man emplacement team moved towards a linkup site with the remaining team members they would send a radio message that that it was a "GO".
At least in our Special Weapons Section of our 155mm Artillery Battery, we could blast the darn thing 46 miles down range with an oversized powder charge. Problem was the recoil of the gun tube was so heavy, it gutted the entire hydralic system, which made the Howitzer completely nonfunctional. The gun would therefore be abandoned immeadiately after firing the TACNUKE; every person on the gun crew jumping into a duece-and-a-half, and driving as fast as humanly possible in the opposite direction!!gren;gsling;
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I'm currently having way too much fun playing FALLOUT 3 on my XBOX 360. There's this really cool gun in the game called the FAT MAN. It launches mini nukes about 100 meters down range!! Man, this game is fun!!!!
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Thing about nuclear weapons, at least of the heavy metal variety, is that they are actually VERY easy to make, the only hard part is getting your hands on the suitable materials without looking either suspicious or giving your future children 3 heads.
Hey, it's the American Dream... a wife, a house in the country, and 3 kids, one of each.
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Have you read the book written by Sergeant Major Joe R. Garner (U.S. Army ret.) with Avrum M. Fine. Joe Garner entitled "Code name: COPPERHEAD" which was his call sign in Vietnam. He was the first man to test it in 1960. He was also the one of the first man to do it again after his stint in SF assigned to a STRATA Team in Vietnam. He ran with SOG on occasions, but mostly by themselves in both South and North Vietnam. He also was privy to placing one, with switches not armed next to a dam where Marines were to watch it and he succeed in doing it. His last jump was made with him doing it HALO style.
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That's where I first found out about it. I then went down the road to some old f**ts left over at Bragg that I know to fill in the pieces. I also checked out Lake Tillery Dam, it has changed a lot. Garner's book is one of my favorites. The way he fleshes out people like Jerry Schriver, who I met on one occasion, and Dick Meadows, an SF legend is great.

the real Sadm

You are all close but let so far from the truth. I was a 12E in the army and our job ADM. all we did is was SADM and MADM. You know a little rototwash but far from the truth
Sapper, you can challenge me all you want, but the info I got was from the first man to jump with one and two others who still actually know where they now are. If you got better info, go for it, just know that on this forum you gotta put your money where your mouth is.

Amen, Rotorwash!!

Anybody can talk all kinds of bulls**t on the internet, as nobody knows anybody from Adam... but when BS artists get rolling, they tend to forget that the experience lies in the details. If you ain't been there, or ain't done it, then don't go tellin' folks that have how much more knowledgable you are... 'cause you WILL get burned!!

'Nuff said.

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The Army carried the MOS for a number of years. 12E - Atomic Demolitions Muntions Technician. We used both the SADM and the MADM. I was with the 66th Eng. Co. (ADM) [Atomic Demoliton Munitions] at Ft. Hood, TX when the MOS was dropped and the SADMs were put in mothballs. That was in '86. There were also ADM units in Germany and Korea.
The Army carried the MOS for a number of years. 12E - Atomic Demolitions Muntions Technician. We used both the SADM and the MADM. I was with the 66th Eng. Co. (ADM) [Atomic Demoliton Munitions] at Ft. Hood, TX when the MOS was dropped and the SADMs were put in mothballs. That was in '86. There were also ADM units in Germany and Korea.

I was stationed in Germany from 1977 to 1980 as a 12E also, my only job was MADM and SADM's
SPAMMERS ain't got no rights on this here site....PERIOD!
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Thanks for the heads up bunny SPAM is now deleted

Someone should tell Bob 12E didn't need an officer to complete mission only NRAS clearance and a PFC who could break a card
Our MOS was changed from 12B2N to 12E20 sometime in 1967-1968. I was stationed at Ft. Belvoir, VA., then in Ettlingen, West Germany. We had both the SADM and the MADM.
Ok sapper12E, tell us about it :)
We had 3 different ADM’s. SADM, TADM and MADM. My MOS was 12b2n, stationed in WILDFLECKEN, Germany. Nato17. Here is a video on the SADM...

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