Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Davy Crockett (nuclear device)

The Davy Crockett nuclear bazooka is a one-of-a-kind device that was deployed by the United States in West Germany from 1961-1971, during the Cold War. The smallest missile-launched nuclear weapon ever built, the Davy Crockett carried a variable 10-250 tonne W-54 fission warhead. The Davy Crockett could be launched from either an M28 (102mm) or an M29 (155mm) recoilless rifle, with the only difference being the effective range, between only 1.24 miles for the smaller M28 and 2.5 miles for the larger M29.

Operated by a 3-man team, the Davy Crockett was mounted on a small triangular launcher that could be mounted on a Jeep or tank, or on the ground. This enabled small teams of the Atomic Battle Group (charged with operating the device) located every few kilometers to effectively guard against any Soviet attack, as the Davy Crockett could kill every man in an advancing army and irradiate the area so that it was uninhabitable for up to 48 hours - long enough to mobilize American troops.

The warhead was tested on July 7, 1962 in the LITTLE FELLER II weapons effects test shot and again in an actual firing of the Davy Crockett from distance of 1.7 miles in the "SMALL BOY" test shot (LITTLE FELLER I) on July 17. This was the last atmospheric test detonation at the Nevada Test Site.

The Davy Crockett rocket made an appearance with both a nuclear and conventional payload in the 1962 movie King Kong vs Godzilla, even though the rocket system was still classified at the time.

See also: nuclear weapon, nuclear artillery, nuclear weapon design, nuclear strategy