It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
(visit the link for the full news article)
"If we are going to go on fighting these damned fool wars in the future, shelling and bombing cities to smithereens and wrecking the lives of their inhabitants," he wrote, "might there be some kind of nuclear weapon that could avoid all this?"
Alleged support from the Pope for low yield tactical nuclear bombs
Cohen reportedly worked in France on low-yield, highly discriminate tactical nuclear weapons in 1979-80. He claimed that he was awarded a medal by Pope John Paul II in 1979 for his bid to reform modern warfare. Author Charles Platt reported in a 2005 profile of Sam Cohen that "...he showed me the Medal of Peace that he had received from the Pope in 1979."
At the time, Warsaw Pact forces had a massive tank superiority in Europe (though NATO maintained an overall strategic superiority); the Christian Science Monitor reported in 1981 that there were "19,500 tanks in the Soviet-controlled forces of the Warsaw Pact aimed at Western Europe. Of these, 12,500 are Soviet tanks in Soviet units. NATO has 7,000 tanks on its side facing the 19,500." A deterrent which was designed to minimise civilian casualties was a step away from the risk of indiscriminate warfare. The neutron bomb's killing by neutron radiation is different from the fallout of a normal high yield thermonuclear weapon because it can be controlled more precisely, restricted to military targets and kept away from civilians.
The speed of modern warfare meant that the civilian population would be unlikely to be able to withdraw from combat zones and would suffer a large number of deaths in a nuclear war where the blast yields and fallout were significant. Because neutron bombs do not produce the indiscriminate blast (only 40 kilopascals at ground zero from a 1 kt blast yield detonation at 500 m altitude, and only 7 kPa at 2 km distance), heat and fallout damage of other nuclear weapons, they were more credible as a deterrent to Soviet tanks. However, many people believed that the very deployment of the neutron bomb threatened an escalation to full scale nuclear retaliation, thus canceling out the supposed benefits. Advances in precision anti-tank weapons ultimately made the neutron bomb redundant tactically in its original objective. The debate over "clean" low yield nuclear weapons continues with earth penetrator technology ("nuclear bunker busters").
Originally posted by anon72
Good post and a good man.
I remember back when I had first heard of the N-Bomb. I had just joined the Army. lol.
I still remember talking about the concept with people. Kind of makes one feel useless-in the big picture.
I find it interesting that the topic died out fairly quickly. I have to go with the belief the bomb was never prefected-at least on a large scale. If it had, most of us wouldn't be here.