If anyone has the time and patience to properly hyperlink these films, please let me know.  Ed.



sent in by BobC 25Gr.

Use this link to You Tube   ...and copy    DECLASSIFIED U.S. NUCLEAR TEST FILMS #00   to the search box at the top of the page.

For the next film just change the number at the end (in the Search box) to #01, #02  up to #72.

If you have other sources for any of these films, there may be variations of a few seconds in the time quoted here and that given elsewhere. If you have a copy of the identical title, and there is a time difference of minutes, then I’m sure different copies have been released, at different time, during the declassification process.

“Nuclear Testing Review”
Collection of numerous short extracts, from many of the test films, from the list following. Produced by SANDIA LABS.
(col, 25 mins 12 secs)

“Trinity 1945 – Video Transfer”
Silent colour film, showing the bomb being hoisted up the Tower. Sanitised US film by the US Dept of Energy. Evocative film of the Los Alamos mesa. A redacted version of the film, even after all those years perhaps?
(col, 11 mins 21 secs)

“Project Crossroads Test Able – Bikini Atoll – 1 July 1946”
The story of Operation Crossroads, in the Pacific, in 1946. Story of Joint Task Force 1 (JTF-1). Not the best of quality film/audio but worth watching for description of the underwater burst, which is of course, Test Baker. Did you know that with the air drop, test Able, that the bomb was dropped so far off target?
(b&w, 41 mins 46 secs)

“Operation Sandstone”
Test Series in 1948, 3 shots, X-ray – 37Kt, Yoke – 49Kt, Zebra – 18Kt. The series Occurred in the Pacific Test Area, April through May 1948. Film explains quite a bit about the testing logistics and the effects tests. They were tower shots. This is a ‘public release film’ and a bit over the top. I found it slightly pretentious.
Zebra test was the first implosion device to use U235. At that time HEU stocks were greater than Pu239. Still using the design of ‘FAT MAN’ (Mk III), but used different cores to give different yields, with greater efficiency. i.e. more explosive power (total Kt, from limited stock of U235 and Pu239).
(col, 20 mins 6 secs)

“Operation Sandstone E G G”
As per #03, but the story of E G G (Edgerton, Germeshausen & Grier), one of the contractors who were responsible for the timing equipment i.e. to switch on the high speed camera, all the other test kit: and to set of the bomb itself! Quite technical. Good graphics showing the layout of the 3 blasts, each on a separate Island in the Atoll. With a ‘camera tower’ in the middle of the lagoon, such that it could photograph all 3 tests.
(col, 15 mins 52 secs)

“Operation Sandstone – The USAF Participation in the Test Series”
The Story of what the USAF did to make a success of the series, quite a bit of ‘propaganda’, especially the text at the beginning of the film. Already the idea of deterrence is prevalent.
(col, 29 mins 54 secs)

“United States Army Engineers in Operation Sandstone”
Classified ‘Restricted’, very much the logistics of the operation, showing flow of men, machinery and materials to the Pacific Test Site. Detail of concrete ‘mixture’ interesting; the engineers added sugar to the mix to give a suitable pouring time. They also added ‘nuts and bolts’ to decrease the half value thickness for gamma rays, the building of towers, airfields, roads, burying of the cables and the ‘blast paths’. Strange views of blast measuring equipment.
(b&w & some col, 19 mins 40 secs)

“Blast Measurement Group In Operation Sandstone”
Produced by AEC and Naval Ordnance Laboratory. Story of the BMG, starting in late 1947, tasked to measure blast value and the timing of positive and negative phases. [Some of the film used also appears as b&w in the film #06.] Explains why the coral sand had to be stabilised, to prevent the dust and sand distorting the measurements. Many images of the various types of gauges used, including ‘free piston gauge’, ‘indenter gauge’ (?), ‘penny gauges’ (empty 5 gallon cans), ‘blast velocity switches’ (shielded from heat effects by tin foil).
Like so many of the films of atomic blasts, ‘blast sound’ is added immediately the flash is seen. Some film of the area of the instrument array, close to the GZ, soon after the burst. Measurement of damage to the 5 gallon cans was by filling them with water and measuring the weight!
(col, 18 mins 18 secs)

“The Navy’s Part in Operation in Operation Sandstone”
Film produced for the AEC and USN, and much of the film is low quality. It also uses some footage from film #06. Navy ships delivered 57,000 tons of material. 1,000,000 feet of submarine cable were installed. There are 2 gaps in film, when different film reels are combined on to one video(?). Some shots of huge Radiac Survey Meter training on an aircraft carrier’s deck. If you are an a/c buff, some quaint detail of B-17 drones taking off in the dark, illuminated by searchlights from one end of the runway, with the ground control at the other end of the runway, as control is passed from ground to airborne command. (Also on #09).
Brief introduction of neutron measurement, on cable arrays, collected after the burst by reeling in the cable which had measurement devices at intervals on the cable. Collimated gamma tubes, in blast shelters, aligned onto the cloud for D R measurement. Swift recovery, by helicopter, of the neutron samplers was a necessary part of the measurements. Some footage of the blast affected areas, and recovery of the kit soon after, by personnel in gas masks, gloves and overshoes. ‘Blast Harps’ gauge shown!
(b&w, 40 mins 50 secs)

“The Atomic Energy Commission Presents Operation Greenhouse”
Fifth series of nuclear tests by USA. Starts with film of Los Alamos, maps of Eniwetok Atoll. George Test (May 8th), 225 Kt, was test of ‘boosting’ and said to be step towards fusion weapons. Good graphics of heat, blast, light measurement, high speed cameras, radiation detectors by film badges. Film very ‘modern’ in comparison with some earlier test films, large change in production standard. Some military effects tests, industrial type buildings were constructed, a view of a tower shot with a couple of barrage balloons close by. This was also first use of jet drones, to fly into the cloud and stem, to collect samples.
Edward Teller appears in this film. Test kit shown, different from previous test films, but not explained. The Greenhouse series included animal experiments.
Four tests, Dog (April 7th, 81Kt), Easy (April 20th, 47Kt), George (May 8th, 225 Kt), Item (May 24th, 45.5Kt).
(col, 22 mins 03 secs)

“Military Participation in Operation Buster Jangle (and Ranger) - 1951”
Prepared by US Dept of Defense. Buster, drop ‘Able’, A/B, 1Kt, Airdrop, was the first explosion at the Nevada Proving ground, aka, Nevada Test Site. Series of five tests. All low yield, 1 Kt to 22Kt, January through February 1951, all air drops (Ranger) and another seven during (October and November). Many views of tactical nuclear effects. Starts with shots of road transportation of weapons in (I think) “mini-shipping containers” to storage sites. Story of why the Nevada Test Site established. Film not particularly clear, at the start but gets better.
Short view of loading procedure from a pit onto the bombing a/c, as was used at Tinian in 1945. At the end some brief shots of a test shape being dropped, with almost a glider like approach as it hits the desert. These tests (also featured on film series ‘Ranger’) all took place at Nevada Test Site, include dramatic shot of first underground test (1.2Kt, buried 17 feet). Detail of an accompanying C-47, with parachutists, as a safety measure, in case the a/c with the bomb on board had to jettison the nuclear weapon as a result of an in-flight emergency. They would jump near to location of the jettisoned bomb and secure the site. Film of the first drop by a jet plane, a B-45.
Interesting graphics of ‘hot cells’ in nuclear cloud, some detail of cloud samplers – both manned and drone a/c – penetrating the cloud in the early hours after burst. Simple explanation of procedure of sampling. Interesting comment on how the ‘rad monitor’, on board the a/c, could tell from the behaviour of the radiation meter, whether the a/c had penetrated the cloud, or only flown close to it.
(col, 1 hr 16 mins)

“ DECLASSIFIED NUCLEAR TEST FILMS #11” [08000011] (1952, Nevada)
“Military Participation on Tumbler/Snapper”
Produced by the US DoD for the AFSWP. Eight shots, 4 tower and 4 air dropped. Series was very much a ‘blast measurement’ test. Established theoretical blast curves/yields/height of burst were found to be in error, and this series was used to correct the curves.
(col, 47 mins 19 secs)

“Operation Ivy”
This is the story of Operation Ivy, the first fusion test, when ‘Elugelab Island disappeared!’ i.e. during shot MIKE, October 1952. Shot KING, November, which was a fission bomb of 500Kt. [This was a ‘stand-by’ in case the fusion test was not a success.]
Interesting story of TV monitoring of the test. Brief introduction to the physics, and the difference between fusion and fission. An insight into the ‘risk’ and probability of a fusion test, in comparison with previous test series. Said to be 50/50 and experiment rather than a proof test. Story of cryogenics and liquefaction of hydrogen, including the problem of ortho and para liquid hydrogen. [Watch the film for an explanation!]
(col, 1 hr 2 min)

“Joint Task Force 7 Presents – Operation Castle”
Including test BRAVO, 15 Mt, the largest bomb exploded by the US – double what was expected, on March 26th.. This was the test which showed the large area affected by fall-out with a large ground burst bomb. There were six tests, Feb 28th to May 13th. The film is heavily sanitised.
Short sequence of air dropped, parachute Mt bomb case. Fall-out map, i.e. 5,000 square miles of fall-out area, lethal to ‘unprotected people’. Dramatic film of drone ships, undergoing ‘wash down’. Some detail about sensitive a/c rad meters to measure low dose fallout rates over the sea.
(col, 20 mins 34 secs, silent)

“Dasic D and D Roll” Sanitized and silent film of Damage and Destruction
This is an undated compilation, showing the effects of nuclear weapons on civilian and military targets. Much of the film appears in other Test films, with audio, and thus this particular film is not that interesting as it’s silent. Some slow motion sequences, but very much a source of what has become ‘stock footage’, i.e. bits used when ever a news item is required to show ‘effects’. Quaint shots of a/c, on the ground, suffering heat pulse effects, then a few seconds the blast wave arrival.
(col & b&w, 17 mins 32 secs, silent)

“Armed Forces Special Weapons Project Presents Operation Upshot-Knothole 1953”
Produced by the Atomic Weapons Special Project. Good Map of Nevada Test Site, with respect to Las Vegas. Filmed in 1953, 11 shots, a mixture of test shots and weapons effects, all at the Nevada test site. Includes the 15Kt Grable test (May 25th, 1953, of the airburst of the 280mm ‘Atomic Annie’). This is one of the test series where the US Army and Marines, walked towards the GZs soon after the tests, later to acquire such notoriety. Nine tower shots and two airdrops. Some ‘stock footage’ of the often seen weapons effects on rail roads, houses etc. Sanitised – goes quiet – quite a bit. Detail of air dropped canisters to investigate Mach stem propagation.
Simple explanation of precursor: quaint story of ‘white’ vis-à-vis ‘black’ smoke and the differences in their ability to protect hidden structures from heat effects.
The Harry shot May 19th, was the explosion which produced ‘off-site’ fallout, which affected St George, Utah.
(col, 35 mins 42 secs)

“Operation Up Shot – Knothole, Project 5.2”
Atomic weapon effects on B-50 a/c. A strange film. Film footage from almost overhead of the test burst. Film has an almost ‘Charlie Chaplinesque’ - amateurish quality. The sequences of the explosion are new, and had not been seen before by myself, during many years of viewing of ‘stock’ nuclear footage.
In some of the sequences you see the ground shadow of the fireball, move across the surface as the fireball rises in the first few seconds of the Air Burst explosion. This is almost a ‘must see’ because of the surreal nature of the footage, e.g. wing movement of the B-50 as the blast wave reaches the a/c. Two air drops photographed. ‘Shot Dixie, 6th April, 1953’ and ‘Encore, 8th May, 1953’.
(b&w, silent, 18 mins 54 sec)

“Operation Teapot – Military Effects Study`”
Firth Series of tests at Nevada. 14 tests, February to May 1955. Detail of ESS u/g test and detail of ground test preparation to determine cratering effects of a burst. Information about hows/whys of test smoke trails and their use in blast measurements. Detail about Mach effect, immediately above the AB explosion.
Footage, from inside drone a/c as they flew immediately above the bomb burst at the explosion time. Detail about precursor wave. There were 3 test lines prepared, one of desert, one water filled and one asphalt covered. Identical military equipment was placed along each line, to determine thermal and blast effects. This film may be of esoteric interest.
(col, 31 mins 02 sec)

“Commander of Joint Task Group 7.3 - Presents Operation Wigwam”
Shot, by the United States Navy, of an effects test concerning the utility of atomic depth charges. This was a May 1955 test, 500 miles, WSW of San Diego. Film as dramatic as the Baker test in 1946. The explosion (30Kt) was at a depth of 2,000ft, where the seabed was at 16,000 feet. Three test Targets were moored at various distance from the bomb. Footage is dramatic of the visible surface effects. Technical detail, and informative about the construction of the test subjects. The bad weather had serious effects on the conduct of the test, i.e. positioning of the 4/5 scale submarine test samples, and the amount of data collected. [Why didn’t they wait for the weather to improve?]
(col, 35 mins 45 secs, silent)

“Joint Task Force –Presents Operation Redwing”
Sixth Test Series in the Pacific, involving both Bikini and Eniwetok atolls. Very much a background story of logistics, and the roles of the various tasks of the sub-units of the JTF i.e. 7.1 to 7.5. Details of costs given. Weather details, fall-out and safety drills (and areas). Some detail of new weather balloons (and rockets) to determine very high , circa 90,000 feet to 100,000 feet wind details. [Presumably because of greater altitude of Mt burst clouds?] It was found that the rockets, used to penetrate the cloud and takes samples were not effective.
Some basic detail of ‘fall-out computers’ used for the first time, presumably for prediction? Test series to confirm ‘small’ H Bombs; small (but inefficient fission bombs) for artillery shells, ‘small missiles’ and ‘air-to-air missiles’; ‘small diameter H-bombs for guided missiles’. However, at that point film goes silent.
Brief mention of effects tests on nuclear bombs themselves; long range detection of nuclear bursts, [like AWDREY?] Safety doses for pilots still set at 3.9r, however, for the B-57 pilots up to 50r was to be allowed, but in a great many ‘cloud penetrations 10r was maximum actually absorbed’ [How few/many absorbed more that 10r?].
(b&w, 25 mins 56 secs)

“Military Effects of Operation Redwing”- Pacific Proving Ground
Test Series in 1956 with 17 Tests, from May 4th (Runit Island, 40 Kt, surface) July 21st (Surface of Dridrilbwij Island, 250Kt, barge shot). 11 Shots were at/on Eniwetok Atoll and 6 were at Bikini Atoll.
This was the first air drop, by a B-52 of a megaton weapon; there are brief shots of the actual bomb. Burst at 5,000 ft, interesting detail of measurement of ‘free air burst’ blast wave, by means of parachute dropped instrument canisters. Footage of surface wave, from a barge shot. The air-drop was 19,000 feet off target. Also footage of effects on military kit: investigation of precursor wave over different surface types: crater effects and description of theory.
Industrial type buildings were built on ‘man-made’ islands and there were tests to measure differences in long duration blast and drag effects of Mt weapons, in comparison with Kt weapons. Some regularly seen stock footage. Explanation of positive phase duration, difference between Mt and Kt weapons. Film of a/c blast and heat damage, with pressures less than 1 psi. No effects on engines i.e. a surge in jet engine. Tests on eye effects of animals, (quite distressing when viewed now).
This was the first series, in 10 years, where uncleared civilians were observers at the test shots. They were permitted to watch 2 of them. Firstly, Lacrosse, 40Kt, surface, May 8th and secondly, Cherokee, 3.8 Mt, airdrop, May 20th. The tests were for weapon development work and were also used as effects tests.
Detail of EMP detection at long range: cloud survey photographic detail: details of the collection of fallout, after a few minutes, by rockets fired into the cloud; detail of fall-out sample collection by barges and ships in the lagoons. Time, rate, particle size, radiochemical studies - quite incredible detail of tests carried out on the fall-out.
Film of B-57 (Canberras) flying into cloud as soon as 20 minutes after the burst: detail of ratio of fall-out in cloud vis-à-vis stem. In comparison with earlier test films the personnel assigned to recover samples close to GZ are dressed with white overalls and have masks, hoods, and overshoes.
(col, 31 mins 36 secs)

“Operation Plumbob – Weapons Development Report”
Presented by the US AEC. Filmed in Nevada 1957, with 30 shots fired, development tests, which were also used as military and civilian effects shots. Armed Forces also repeated ‘nuclear walks’: some tests observed by ‘foreigners’, NATO and American TV/Press. There were 9 tower shots, with significantly higher towers to create less fallout and the tallest built was 700 ft. Detail of balloon shots, with 2ft accuracy; one underground (contained test). After this u/g test the cavity was drilled, for radio-chemistry yield determination.
Offsite-fallout details: including ‘automatic-remote reading’ of fall-out meters: detail of naval gunnery turret adapted to measure details of 4 of the shots [turret is still there in the desert]. Some ‘silent’ periods in film due to classification issues, significantly annoying towards the end of the film.
Quaint report on blast effects on an airship. Film of air-to-air atomic missile: and 5 observers directly underneath the explosion: honest!
(col, 22 mins 13 secs)

“Operation Plumbob – Military Effects Studies”
Colour very ‘washed out’. Sixth Continental test series. Detail of RANIER test, first underground (contained test). NB in a tunnel and not a shaft. Detail of high pressure area tests, i.e. circa 200psi, above and below ground. Detail of tests on u/g shelters.
PRISCILLA was first balloon test, i.e. to prevent fallout from steel in steel tower. Detail of tests on u/g shelters. Quaint story of a test with buried empty gin bottles! [At 10 mins 40 secs in.] This was in connection with construction of missile silos.
Very very distressing film of biomedical tests on pigs exposed to heat, blast and glass injuries. The pigs were in open pens with glass sheets mounted on a ‘fence’ at the front of the pen, with the pen situated quite close to GZ. [At 21 minutes or so in]. Additional detail towards the end of film of other tests on pigs.
(col, 32 mins 06 secs)

“Operation Hardtack – Military Effects Studies – Part 1”
“Basic Effects – Structures and Materials”
Produced by DASA in 1958, between April and August, 35 tests. Quaint detail of u/g tests of blast – this for missile silos. Vertical and horizontal acceleration – measured in ‘g’ units – quoted for various depths, distance and air pressures, and for different soil types and yields.
Summary of blast/heat effects on B-52, side on. This for assurance of B-52s attacking USSR and being affected by other aircraft nuclear bomb burst’s.
(col, 26 mins 19 secs)

“Operation Hardtack – Military Effects Studies – Part 2” “High Altitude Tests”
Produced by DASA. Investigating energy distribution for high and medium air bursts. Interesting story of a rocket which exploded overhead, rather then 6 miles to one side. Watch carefully for the observers, ducking undercover as the flash is seen. Second series of tests investigating the scaling laws and radio and radar effects. Three tests Yucca, Orange, Teak. Again distressing film of chororetinal eye tests on rabbits.
These tests were to assist in the development of the early anti-ballistic-missile system.
(col, 25 mins 22 secs)

“Operation Hardtack – Military Effects Studies – Part 3” “Underwater Tests”
Dramatic film of base surge flowing over ships. Footage of slow motion camera pointed at the machinery inside a ship as the shock waves hit the hull. The machinery is seen to ‘bounce around’. Quaint suggestion of an underwater burst to ‘clear a minefield’.
(col, 18 mins 57 secs)

“Operation Hardtack – Military Effects Studies – Part 4”
“Sub-Kiloton Detonation Tests”
Apart from a brief introduction, the rest of the film is silent. Footage of tests, military effects, very close to the bursts, if my interpretation is correct. Mostly in Nevada, though a couple in the Pacific, of buried and tamped, ‘contact surface (?)’ and ‘very low tower’ (?) bursts during Hardtack II. Thirty seven tests, Sept 12th to Oct 30th, 1958. Very very distressing footage of dead, and dying pigs exposed in dugouts, trenches etc, close to GZ. Not for the squeamish. Pigs being pulled by a rope from inside a tracked vehicle, soon after a burst. The men, doing the recovery, are in a rush, dressed in white and always seem to be checking the DR, or at least that is what is simulated.
(silent, col, 24 mins 25 secs)

“Operation Argus – 1958”
“Report of Chief AFSWP to ARPA”
The only series of tests by the US which were, at the time, secret. 3 high altitude tests in the south Atlantic; rocket launch from the aft deck of a ship. This was to determine the effects of beta particles, emitted during decay of the fission products, oscillating north to south and back again, in the earth’s magnetic field. [Similar to Aurora Borealis.] A very good plain language explanation, with diagrams and figures, of the possible effect on ICBM early warning radars and the possible destructive threat to incoming ICBM warheads. The ‘Christofolios Effect’ – see the movie!
(col, 45 mins 27 secs)

“Vela Uniform, Participation in Operation Nougat and Gnome”
The code name ‘Vela Uniform’ was the programme to detect u/g tests. If you are interested in Seismics, earthquakes – this is for you if not …. It was the series of tests at NTS immediately after the test ban moratorium, you can tell with the comments that not all the required instrumentation were in place at the start of the series.
Quaint story of tree roots, close to GZ, disturbed by a u/g test, which in a few days changed the leaf colouring. See #34 for good detail about site preparation and post blast detail for Gnome shot.
(col, 21 mins 42 secs)

“Dominic Fireballs, Pacific Tests 1962”
Not the best, as without commentary, nothing to listen and learn from. 16 weapon development tests, of Christmas Island – where the UK tested – all air drops by B-52s, April to July 1962, largest bomb, 7.65 Mt: smallest, 97 Kt May. All bar one, long distance air-to-air shots. [I’m sure I detected one with palm fronds, not clouds, in the foreground!] Mostly at night, many pretty colours, mostly a couple of minutes at most, with the larger bombs, with longer lingering views. Each fireball, given its title, date and yield, then one long view, with occasionally the fireball disappearing from the frame. Not particularly interesting, but with pretty colours(?) and nicely coloured cloud shots(?).
(silent, col, 44 mins 04 secs)

“Project Sedan”
July 1962, 104 Kt bomb, part of the Plowshare program. A buried test, (1,280 feet shaft) with a low value fission/fusion ratio, i.e. a ‘clean’ fusion bomb. Interesting detail of how the crater size increases, then starts to decreases, as the depth of the burst increases (for a given yield). Additionally, the amount of fallout decreases, as depth of explosion increases, as more and more fallout, is trapped in the debris which falls back into the crater and crater lip.
Detail of fall-out, as it blew north outside the NTS. Some slow motion photography. Very impressive film as the debris breaks through the mound, 3 seconds after burst. At the time there were thoughts of ‘peaceful nuclear explosion’ for mining, canal and harbour excavations. i.e. ‘Plowshare’. Sedan is the largest crater at the Nevada Test Site.
(b&w, 7 mins 43 secs)

“SADM – Delivery by Parachutist/Swimmer” – not dated: early/mid 1960s?
Presented by SANDIA Lab. SADM is a ‘Special Atomic Demolition Munition. Quaint optimistic music throughout! A military introduction training film as to how to equip oneself, dress, parachute out of a US Naval helicopter or aeroplane, swim to an enemy target, i.e. harbour, plant a nuclear bomb, set the timer, swim away and be recovered by a submarine or fast attack craft.
(b&w, 10 mins 14 secs)

“United States Army Presents MF20 9811”
An exercise, in July 1962, with a list of VIP guests including Robert Kennedy. Involving a small number of US troops at the NTS - Ivy Flats - after the firing of a nuclear ‘Davy Crockett’. Short range mortar(?), missile(?), bazooka(?). [See the film – you decide.] There were 2 types of launchers for the Davy Crockett, one with 2,000 m range and a second with 4,000 m range.
After the explosion, the infantry and tanks and artillery take a ‘strong enemy held position’, defeated by the Davy Crocket. Film of satisfactory decontamination by ‘brushing of clothes and vehicles’ (sic).
(col, 17 mins 35 secs)

“Operation Doorstep And Cue” (two films combined)
Film 1 (1953): on behalf of the American Federal Civil Defense Administration. Very dated, first example of the ‘Protective and Survive’ lean to shelter, though in this case, as it’s the USA, in a basement rather than a front room. Much stock footage, though the sequence – of the wooden white painted house, close to GZ – being ‘blown to bits goes on a bit longer than is usually shown, and is seen in slow motion.
Film 2 (1955): a good explanation of the ‘cube root scaling law’ re Kt and Mt bombs. A prime PR example of film production for ‘reassurance about the Atomic Bomb’.
(film 1, b&w, 10 mins) (film 2, col, 16 mins)

“Project Gnome”
Features an introduction by Edward Teller. Gnome was a test in the Plowshare programme, 3 Kt, 1,200 ft u/g in a ‘salt cavern’ in New Mexico. Poor quality, a very dark film, but useful detail of emplacement, neutron activation tests involving a ‘vacuum pipe’ and detail not shown in other films. The test had a long preparation time, and was ‘open’ to the press and foreigners, apart from the shot room (where the bomb was emplaced).
Interesting film from inside the cavity, still warm, 6 months after the test, when people were clambering about inside the cavity. A boulder field occurs, in the base of the cavern, where much of the fallout is trapped. There was unexpected venting from the tunnel and out the shaft soon after the detonation. [See #28 for more detail about the background to the seismic story.]
(col, 29 mins 13 secs)

“Excavation Nuclear Explosives” “Plowshare” (two films combined)
First film: Narrated story of Plowshare, the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ in various rock formations. Some slow motion shots. Good narration.
(first film, b&w & col, 8 mins 45 secs, 1968)
Second film: Optimistic film; some basic physics and very much an advert for the utility PNEs. Interesting detail given of the ‘bombs’: 10Kt, 15” diameter, 3’ long, cost $350,000, in 1973. TNT equivalent would cost $5 million: 2Mt, 2’ greater diameter, 7 foot longer, cost $600,000. About the only film I’ve seen which almost offers a ‘bomb-for-sale’! Fault, almost at the end of the film. Good description of how a sequence of bombs could have excavated a sea level canal at Panama.
(second film, col, 28 mins 22 secs, 1973)

“Project Rulison”
Took place October 1969, 40Kt, u/g, 6 miles west of Grand Valley, Colorado. This was another Plowshare test, in this case to assist ‘natural gas stimulation’ Cost was $6.5 million, [cf details in #35, much spent on emplacement and research(?)], privately funded – except for 10% – by a Texan Oil Company. A strange, incomplete ending to the film. No information if the bomb did ‘stimulate production of natural gas’? Could it be, was it, used safely?
(col, 28 mins 22 secs, 1973)

Nothing to do with nuclear tests! All about otters in Amchitka, who were rescued and ‘evacuated’ because of nuclear tests.

“The Amchitka Program”
The film is presented by the AEC. Story of the search for another site, apart from NTS, for large yield u/g tests. A film which concentrates on the logistics of the operation. By now (1970), the environment has become an important aspect of the tests, the checking of which and tests on, to ensure no damage, take centre stage. For the Mt shots a 120” shaft was drilled. Not the best of films, very dark and some sections too dark to see properly. Dramatic shots of the ground heaving after the burst.
There were 3 u/g tests. Long Shot, 80Kt, October 1965; Milrow, approximately 1 Mt, October 1969; Cannikin, November 1971, ‘less than 5 Mt’.
(col, 24 mins 11 secs, 1973)

“Project Long Shot”
Vela Uniform – u/g seismic test shot. Not the best of films, colour but faded to almost b&w. Interesting film, immediately after the explosion of water spray, from close in ponds and lakes, rising vertically, as the ground shock penetrates to the surface.
(col – but very faded, 13 mins 15 secs)

“MILROW Event”
Film presented by LASL. ‘To test an Island, not a weapon’, just one of the catch phrases used. Quaint WW11 story of a radar set disguised/camouflaged as a wooden water tower. Detail about blast measurement by ‘sealed empty food cans’ attacked to half floating/half sunk metal cages, and the cages would have otters on board. Obviously not all the otters, see #37, were evacuated.
At the surface zero the test building displaced 13 feet up, then 13 feet down, and ended 1foot lower. After the cavity cooled and collapsed, it sank another 19 feet. This occurred slowly, unlike at the NTS, where the collapse and crater formation is rapid. Detail of cable, protected from the weather – wind and rain – as they are un-reeled and lowered down the shaft. Fascinating detail of backfill procedure using gravel and sand and how it was sealed, kept dry, and once lowered down the shaft allowed to settle before backfilling continued.
(col, 27 mins 30 secs)

“Project Cannikin Review”
This was a proof test for a Spartan ABM warhead, yield ‘just under 5 Mt’. A 54” diameter shaft and it looks as if it’s the missile, lowered upside down, into the shaft, which was 5,875 feet deep. Good quality film, but there seems to be silent periods of redaction. Interesting slow motion footage of instrument trailers, close to surface zero, rising and falling. Said that the Ground rose 25 feet. There is film of 2 shock waves reaching the surface. Why? No explanation given.
Largest yield explosion, in/over/on the Continental United States.
(col, 13 mins)

“Atomic Blasts – Operation Greenhouse through Upshot-Knothole”
Compilation of many blasts, mostly fireball shots, but also some interesting effects’ shots. A strange film, some images not seen before, and with footage of ‘occurrences’ which have not been shown before and are not explained. Some film speeded up, so the detail is slightly confusing at times. Film covers tests between April 1951 and June 1953.
(silent, b&w and col, 28 mins 21 secs)

“1962 Pacific Nuclear Tests”
“ Presented by Commander Joint Task Force Eight”
film 1, “Polaris Nuclear Weapons System Test”
film 2, “ASROC Nuclear Weapons Effects Test”
First Part: Polaris Nuclear Weapons System Test. The test occurred on May 6th 1962 and involved an air burst of Polaris missile warhead. The missile launched from the submarine “Ethan Allen”, to a distance of 1,020 miles. Dramatic film taken from the submarine “Carbonero” through the periscope and from a camera mounted on a mast, of the exploding weapon. A daytime burst.
Second Part: ASROC Nuclear Weapons Effects Test. The test occurred on May 11th 1962 and was, of course a sub surface burst. One of the most dramatically filmed tests. Film from inside a submerged submarine, not a target of course, which was shaken for ‘about 45 seconds’. Look carefully and you’ll see something fall from the ceiling inside the submarine, then one sailor smiles nervously to another. One of the most ‘human’ moments recorded in all the films watched.
Rather beautiful film, it must be said, one shot taken directly over the sea surface as the nuclear depth charge explodes, the shock wave travels outward, the sea surfaces rises then the gas bubble breaks through, with the resulting base surge. A second shot, from a helicopter, behind the carrier Yorktown, with the flight deck pointing toward surface zero. Brief mention, but no results quoted, of a torpedo, fired towards the sub-surface zero, containing diagnostic equipment.
(film 1, col, 9 mins 26 secs)
(film 2, col 10 mins 30 secs)

“United States Navy Training Film”
“ ASROC Weapons System – Introduction”
Not a lot of information about the nuclear version of the ASROC, but if you want to learn about a computer aided anti-submarine attack, this is the film for you. However, after you have seen this film, the second half of ‘#43’, gives a very good record of the nuclear armed ASW system.
(b&w, 20 mins 30 secs)

“Talos Missile Handling”
“ Technical Training Film, Bulletin No 45, Part II.”
“ Cruiser Installation”
A US Navy technical training film, how sailors should handle the mating of the missile (rocket) with the warhead (Mk 30/mod 0). Footage inside a ship’s magazine, loading the missile on to the ship, loading and preparing the missile then moving it to the missile launcher. The Talos was primarily air-to-air, but did have a secondary use as air-to-ground. Produced by DASA.
(col, 12 mins 25 secs)

“Composite US Navy Film”
A collection of short scenes from many other films. It starts silent, but the commentary is soon heard. Quite remarkable film of radar scanners, on board ship, quite close to land with a conventional – but very large explosion – said to be 10 psi. Slow motion footage, very dramatic; some slow motion film from inside the ship as the blast hit. Then some short scenes from #44, #45 and #46, which are part of the ‘nuclear’ navy story.
(col, 17 mins 45 secs)

“Delivery of Atomic Weapons by Light carrier Aircraft”
The story of the planning and execution of an A-4 Skyhawk single engine a/c and its pilot planning the nuclear attack with a Mk7 nuclear bomb. This is a story of the various types of attack that can be made using the LABS system! [See the film]. Very little nuclear test film, but much how the pilot would drop a Mk7 on a target.
(col faded, 18 mins 20 secs)

“United States Navy Presents – Nuclear Effects At Sea”
Very much for recruits. Unusual footage of blast and shock damage inside ships and on exterior radar antenna. Effects defined by high altitude air burst, air burst, surface and underwater bursts. Some footage taken from #46. Unusual graphics of oscillating bubble of underwater burst. Not thought to be all about nuclear explosions, but some of the shots are HE, being used to simulate overpressures of a nuclear weapon (?). Film of a test ship, moored off-shore, with a conventional HE (though a large amount) exploded on-shore?
(col, 19 mins 50 secs)



“United States Navy Presents – Torpedo MK45 (Nuclear) – System Description”
All you’ve ever wanted to know about a USN nuclear ASW torpedo, in how the system works. Why is it important that the depth checking system works to prevent detonation at ‘too great a depth’, as it’s dangerous?
(col & b&w, 19 mins 50 secs)

“USAF Atomic Bomb Delivery Aircraft (Piloted)”
Presented by AFSWP. More for the aircraft then the bomb tests. The film shows the test of a Mk 6, and the loading of a 30” Mk 7. Much made in the film about “60 inch diameter” with respect to “30 inch diameter” weapons. Interesting detail of the LABS system – Low Altitude Bombing System – as used by tactical aircraft.
(col & b&w, 16 mins 13 secs)

“Atomic Guided Missiles”
Presented by AFSWP. 6 Missiles introduced each with a simple introduction. Not really a film for the nuclear aspects, but rather the variety. Some silent shots, when redactions prepared for declassification.
Honest John (Mk7): Corporal (Mk7): Regulus (XW5 or XW8): Matador (B-61A) with warhead (Mk 5): Snark (B-62) with warhead (Mk13): Rascal (B-63) with warhead (Mk5). Very little nuclear testing like #51, a film which concentrates more on the airframes than the warheads.
(col & b&w, 11 mins 50 secs)

“Meeting The Terrorist Threat”
Presented by the DNA. Just as the title suggests, perhaps a bit more relevant to the early 21st century? The scenario, acted out, is an attack on a weapon storage site by 8/10 determined terrorists. I now know how to get underneath an ordinary barbed wire fence! [See the film for the technique …..]
(col, 7 mins 30 secs)

“Hybla Fair”
Presented by DNA. A most unusual film, revealing the details of a horizontal, line of site vacuum test, with no other effects on the target. A very unusual type of test, unlike the other films above, this involves nuclear effects’, for example on a nuclear warhead, i.e. most likely to occur with a nuclear armed ABM against an incoming warhead. The technology – of how to close off the pipe … quite remarkable! Nothing about nuclear tests: to test the weapon or the effects of a weapon on a civilian target but rather how to use a nuclear bomb, in a test, to test other nuclear bomb’s survivability, where the criteria is the ‘strength’ of the radiation flux on the bomb target.
(col & b&w, 13 mins 10 secs)

“Let’s Face It”
Presented by the FCDA. A story justifying Civil Defense (sic), when evacuation i.e. ‘crisis relocation’ was still the policy in the USA.
(col, 13 mins 25 secs)

“Enewetak Cleanup”
Presented by DNA. The story of Enewetak atoll (notice spelling change ‘…tak’ which was .’…tok’) where there were 43 nuclear tests at the atoll between 1948 and 1958, this is the story of the plans to allow the islanders to return, by removing the derelict equipment left to decay and, of course, the radioactive residue. Most of the tests took place in the NW quadrant of the atoll, presumably to account for the prevailing winds blowing SE to NE?
(col, 12 mins 50 secs)

“Excerpts from Operation Hardtack”
For the full story of Hardtack see #24, #25, and #25 above, where each film has a commentary and is devoted to one aspect of the test series. Why do the sub-surface water bursts look the most spectacular? Suspect this had much to say which was redacted during declassification, for this compilation film.
(silent, col, 16 mins 47 secs)

“U. S. Navy Training Films, Mark 43 and Mark 45 Weapons”
Shipboard Handling, Including Aircraft Loading”
Poor audio at the start of the film, but then fine to listen to. All you’ve wanted to know about how to take on board, take down to the magazine on board an aircraft carrier, then load the nuclear bombs on to an A-4 Skyhawk. [See #47 for the pilot’s preparation in planning his nuclear sortie.]
If the audio is to be believed, there were 5 nuclear bombs on board the carrier. The Mk 43 is a thermonuclear bomb, the Mk 57 a fission bomb that could be used as a depth charge or as a ‘land bomb’. The Mk 43 was one of the first bombs that could be used in a laydown sortie. Some redaction at the start of the film. The USN, like the USAF, also operated with a ‘two man rule’.
(b&w, 20 mins 5 secs)

“U. S. Army Presents Technical Proficiency Inspection (TF9 3390)”
The story of how the US Army’s Inspector General, ensures that the Army nuclear weapons’ teams have been trained – to the required level – in the maintenance of their nuclear weapons.
Views of the ‘Davy Crockett’ [see #32 for one being fired], Mk33 8” shell, Honest John, Nike Hercules. The ‘blurb’, accompanying the film, says there is a rare shot of an ADM (Atomic Demolition Munition). The units could only be given a ‘satisfactory’ or ‘unsatisfactory’ rating, after its yearly inspection, which would take 3 days. First mention during film of ‘wooden warhead’! [See the film.]
(B & W, 23 mins 20 secs)

“Staff Film Reports Exercise Desert Rock”
Image of soldiers walking toward the GZ after an AB, during the first Desert Rock Exercise: all to the sound of cheery music.
Very much about the pre-test logistics and the construction of shelters, trenches, emplacement of military items – much closer to GZ than the troops, then the same troops walking towards the GZ and checking on the state of their kit on the way forward. Once again, the sight of brooms and brushes being used to decontaminate the soldiers of the desert dust.
(B & W, 27 mins 54 secs)

“Joint Task Force Eight Presents Operation Dominic Nuclear Tests 1962”
36 atmospheric atomic tests, in the Pacific, between April and November 1962. The story of the collapse and explosion of the nuclear tipped Thor missile on Johnson Island. The UK Christmas Island used, with UK government agreement, for some of the tests. Large difference in ‘computerisation of tests’, said that airborne diagnostic equipment – towards the end of the test series – able to adequately replace the ground based kit in earlier test series.
Dramatic slow motion film of a parachute retarded bomb as it is dropped from a B-52. C-130s and KC-135s used and shown in the film. [Christmas Island used by the UK, for their tests, during 1956 to 1958.]
The exercise series was prompted by the ‘resumption of the Soviet’s atmospheric tests, in September 1961’ after a moratorium. The Dominic series included the Polaris and Talos tests. See above for Polaris and Talos films ‘#45’
(Faded col & B & W, 26 mins 19 secs)

“Four Films on the One Video”
Not the best: Only the first film has a commentary, the other 3 are silent. Film 1; ‘Starfish Prime Event – Interim Report by Commander – JTF-8’: Film 2; ‘Fishbowl Aurora Sequence’: Film 3; ‘Fishbowl Phenomenon’: Film 4; ‘Fishbowl XR Summary’.
Hardly worth a look.
(col & B & W, col faded, Silent, except film 1, total 1 hr 9 mins 32 secs)

“Operation Fish Bowl 1962”
Presented by DASA. Couple of sections of redacted silence in the film. Very much the story of the large number of locations throughout the Pacific region used in the experiments during the tests. Quite technical. Tests involved work on ABM, the hardening of US ICBM warheads, problems with BMEWS (and of course possibly other ABM radars) and communication problems cause by high altitude bursts on the full spectrum of radar and radio frequencies. Similar coverage with #62 and #65.
Plain language, simply understood, explanation at the end of the film of effects on radar and radio. However, too technical, in truth, for this ex-Observer!
(B & W, 28 min 10 secs)

“JTF- 8 Presents Operation Dominic – Christmas Island”: film 1
“ EG &G Operation Dominic”: film 2
Film 1: NB See also #61 above. Same Christmas Island as the UK used, a few years previously, for our own tests. Christmas is the largest Pacific Atoll at 222 sq miles. 24 tests, April to July 1962, all air dropped, with B-52s taking off from Hawaii. Said that could not return to Eniwetak, because of ‘political reasons’ and instead tested at Christmas Island with UK government agreement. Unusual slow motion shot of a bomb dropped without a parachute from B-52. C-130s used in this test series.
Film 2: EG&G film, silent, fireball shots b&w only, not informative. Hardly worth watching. Bluestone seems to be the fireball photographed, from various angles and distances.
(film 1, b&w, 11 mins 40 secs)
(film 2, silent, b&w, 10 mins 50 secs)

“JTF- 8 Presents Operation Dominic – Johnston Island”
The story of success (and a lot of failures – one catastrophic) of high altitude bursts, fired by THORs well above Johnston Island. Dramatic film of a THOR IRBM, with a warhead, burning on the launch pad (though it looks to me as if there are at least 2 explosions) leading to extensive radioactive contamination, and the subsequent construction of a second launch pad. Ends with the story of airborne diagnostic equipped aircraft i.e. B-52, B-57, KC-135, RC-121 and the C-118 taking over from the ground based diagnostic equipment, shown in early test series’ films. Only slightly redacted before release
Quaint film of ‘highly radioactive instrument test pods’ being recovered from the sea, subsequently being examined on land i.e. bits and pieces being removed, by men with just gloves on. Surprising film of a large sample filter paper, being removed from a B-57 cloud sampler a/c, and it looks like a 1 m plus diameter white filter paper. It is handled by men with long tongs, i.e. kept at a distance, and they are dressed in white suits and wearing masks.
What a difference in the kit used during the tests, much more ‘computerisation’!
(col, 18 mins 54 secs)’

“High Altitude Nuclear Weapon Effects”
” Part 1 - Phenomenology”
Film presented by DNA. An impossible film to say that it is at all relevant to GBs or even atmospheric ABs. But if you are interested in physics, radio or radar, the scientific explanations are rather good of the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ and ‘what froms’ of a very high altitude burst. The film also admits that more tests were required. Good use of graphics, and the film shots [unlike those in film 2 #64 above] are, with a commentary, explain the effects and the physics of the effects which are not generally known. A good explanation of EMP, its deposition region and why cables etc., collect the current over such a large area underneath a high altitude AB.
Worth watching, but would not make sense to use at a museum – too too deep!
Basic introduction to nuclear effects on radar, optical sensors and communications – and how they are influenced by exoatmospheric bursts. Ionisation, re-combination, monatomic production from O2 and N2 in a normal atmosphere, by day and by night, and how even that varies with height, combined with a very good explanation of how the burst effects vary with the density change in the atmosphere with height. Should be followed by watching #67.
(col, 16 mins 47 secs)

“High Altitude Nuclear Weapon Effects”
Part II – Systems Interference”
Film presented by DNA. A very technical film, but with an excellent plain language introduction – lasting 3 to 4 minutes – of the problems with ground based radars, detecting and accurately plotting incoming ICBM warheads. This film concentrates on the problems of developing an effective ABM system, when nuclear bombs explode high and beyond the atmosphere as they intercept each subsequent warhead. Very good graphics. A strange sequence of a radar plot, combined with a burst film, of how the radar is confused from the interference resulting from the nuclear explosion. Also explains problems with HF and VHF radio and satellite links.
Should be watched as a companion with #66.
(col, 16 mins 12 secs)

“ DECLASSIFIED NUCLEAR TEST FILMS #68” (2 films on one video)
film 1 “Atomic Weapons Orientation – Part I – Organization” (1960)
Presented by DASA. Very much a historical film, showing the relationship between the President, Congress, DoD, armed forces, the weapons labs, and how they are all linked to produce the weapons, train the personnel, and develop newer efficient bombs. Short sequence of bombs being transported to/from storage depots and bomb loading onto aircraft.
(B& W & col, 16 mins 44 secs)
film 1 “Atomic Weapons Orientation – Part II – Organization” (1960)
Presented by DASA. A very simple introduction, with decent graphics of the fission and fusion principles. Full title ‘30-11 [Revised]’
(col, 6 mins 11 secs)

film 1 “Atomic Weapons Orientation – Part III – Weapons Family” (1952)
Presented by AFSWA. A basic introduction to the idea of IFI (in flight insertion), the firing and safety mechanisms. Side-on views of early fission bombs, some details of their characteristics but not their yields, or differing yields with different cores. The film goes silent when talking about the Mk 7. Mention of Marks III to Mk12.
(col, 5 mins 46 secs)
film 1 “Atomic Weapons Orientation – Part IV – Support Operations” (1960)
Story of how the service personnel are trained to service and maintain the stockpile of bombs, where and how the officers and other ranks receive their nuclear bomb training. Film of personnel – from all three US Services – performing electronic checking of the bombs. One sequence where bomb fins are seen to fold out and in. Suggestion that the ‘new’ bombs which would be stored further forward, would be used first in a nuclear war, then ‘older’ stored/reserve bombs, would be checked, called forward and dropped in second and third strikes.
First reference to a 1956 ‘new design’ i.e. ‘sealed pits’, which required significantly less maintenance when they were in the stockpile. Mention of ‘Controlled Retirement’ i.e. reserve bombs, kept for second strike duties (?).
(col, 12 mins 15 secs)

film 1 “Atomic Weapons Orientation – Part V – Effects of Atomic Weapons” (1964?)
Presented by DASA. Good simple explanation of colour changes to be expected in the fireball and mushroom cloud. A compilation of clips from many of the films in this series. Concentrates on heat, blast, light and initial radiation effects from GBs, ABs and u/g bursts. Describes the origin of the Mach stem.
Would make an excellent background/introductory film, while people are waiting to visit the museum or for that ‘first talk’.
(col, 14 mins 32 secs)
film 2 “A Special Weapons Orientation – Atomic Weapons Orientation – Part VI – The Thermonuclear Weapon” (1956?)
Presented by AFSWP. Good simple description of hydrogen isotopes and simple explanation of fusion vis-à-vis fission. Explanation of extended duration of Mt weapons’ heat pulses, in comparison with low yield fission bombs. Good graphic, about 32 minutes in, demonstrating the large area of fallout affected area i.e. the stories of the Marshallese Islanders: affected area said to be about 5,000 sq miles i.e. evidence from Castle Bravo and Ivy Mike. Surprising good photographs of H-Bombs, and explanation between emergency ‘liquid’ and stockpiled ‘dry’ H-Bombs. [see the film!]
Dramatic graphics of comparison of areas affected by heat and blast for a 100Kt and a 15Mt bomb, using an overlay of Washington DC. The scale rings of damages make an impressive illustration of damage of H-bomb vis-à-vis A-bomb. Even now after so many years, there is still one period of redacted silence in the film when it is discussing the physics of the H-bomb.
(col, 18 mins 20 secs)

“Tonopah Test Range - An Outdoor Laboratory Facility”
Presented by Sandia Corporation. Not a lot of nuclear detail. Some footage of a test bomb shape as it is dropped by a B-52, from high altitude and subsequently tracked by cine-theodolite. Footage of a B-61 case being dropped at very low level by an A-6 aircraft, the parachute open, and after the bomb hits the ground it rolls along until it trundles to a stop, then the parachute collapses.
(col, 12 mins 26 secs)

“Developing And Producing the B-61”
Presented by AEC. Story of development of the B-61 from conception to stockpile. Strange redaction at 9 mins, when the screen goes blank, but the commentary continues i.e. at the point when functional tests of HE components with non-nuclear cores and secondly, when discussing the accuracy of the circuitry for simultaneous detonation of the HE. Story of the size of the Mk 17, retired in 1957, and how this small weapon replaced it and other similar H-bombs.
4 options for delivery of a B-61: 1 - free fall AB; 2 - free fall GB; 3 - delayed AB (parachute retarded); 4 – delayed GB i.e. laydown (parachute retarded), [see film #71 above for footage of that method]. It’s said the bomb was set to explode “31 seconds after release”. Introduction and brief description of ‘gravel gerties’, the special bunkers where HE and nuclear components are assembled.
(col, 26 mins 29 secs)

As of June 2010, this is the last number!


If you enjoyed the story of the videos of SANDSTONE, when there was footage of drone a/c, and if you want to read a bit more about that subject, there is an open source (from the web) book:-

“History of Air Force Atomic Cloud Sampling”, from the Air Force Historical Publication Series, 61-142-1, by Master Sergeant Leland B Taylor (Jan 1963).

If your interest is in ABM, very high-altitude, EMP then look at #66, #67 & #27. That, of course, is still of relevance while there is still a BMD system planned.

For the planning of an air drop, with a tactical nuclear bomb, late 50s of course, see #47 & #58. Hardly the SAC or RAF, flying deep in to Soviet Russia, but ….

For a ‘strange’ tale about tunnel tests, closing the tunnel, after light speed effects i.e. gamma and X-Rays, arrive at a distance from the cavern, where the bomb exploded, and the slightly slower i.e. later arrival of blast/shock arrival see ‘Hybla Fair’ # 54. Again if this is of interest there is an open source book (from the web):-

“The Containment of Underground Nuclear Explosions”, Project Director Gregory E van der Vink, U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, OTA-ISC-414, (Oct 1989).

[02jul10 16:30]