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Dr. Strangelove (1964)

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I've seen this a zillion times and thought I would pick this moment to bring

up something so insignificant..


The end of the film when Slim Pickens rides the bomb to it's target, it appears to go all the way to the ground - or within several hundred feet. I believe this was not the correct practice of "wasting" your enemy. Could have been an optical illusion because the action was speeding by at that second. Now we're into that relativity stuff.

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Nuclear/thermonuclear weapons are normally detonated a couple thousand feet off the ground for better blast effect. Exceptions are test explosions.




to show the insanity of the time this is probualy the most idiotic nuclear design. Uh, I mean what if the rocket motor malfunctioned. (ker plunk)



Edited by: hamradio on Nov 13, 2013 11:37 AM

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In the film Slim sets the dial for the number of feet to detonate the bomb to ZERO. I noticed that last night (I have seen the film many times but I only noticed it last night), and wondered about it.


I wasn't sure how many feet off the ground would be the 'standard' practice but I knew enough about bombs in general to know that ZERO wasn't right.


Also, on an off color topic related to precious bodily fluids; was the general impotent and this is what made him go crazy? He talks about discovering his theory while making love and that he doesn?t give up his PBF. That has to be his ****, right? Since the general couldn?t make love he made war. That fits the satire of film.

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The Little Bioy nuke used both radar altitude and barometric sensors to assure it detonated 1,400 feet above ground. Notice the Yagi antenna arrays on the side.




Hard to believe there are very few photos of the actual bomb.





Edited by: hamradio on Nov 13, 2013 12:21 PM

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So setting that dial to Zero would still explode the bomb around 1,400 feet off the ground?


OR was no dial required (which is what you're implying I believe). i.e. that this was just a prop for the film but in reality no manual setting is necessary.



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I believe James you have a point. ie: there was no dial. At least from all the stuff I've read about the development of the bomb it usually says "above ground". Even the early tests were from a tower. Not 1400 feet mind you but up. Guessing Hollywood at work.

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Basically, he rode it all the way to ground zero, from the way it appeared on film.


Without looking it up, I always believed the general altitude for detonation was around 1 to 2 miles. I think it depends on the type of bomb and what destruction pattern is desired. When detonated at zero feet, most of the blast force would be deflected upwards. At say 1 mile, the explosion would have a chance to produce the desired downward mushroom pattern which would then spread outwards resulting in mass destruction.


Newer bombs with multiple warheads may be quite different.

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