icon for Home page
icon for Kid's Home page
icon for Digital Collection
icon for Activities
icon for Turns Exhibit
icon for In the Classroom
icon for Chronologies
icon for My Collection

Online Collection


Soldiers of the 278th infantry regimental combat team watch mushroom cloud form atop column of smoke following a simulated atomic explosion at Ft. Devens. The simulated "bomb" was made up in a 55-gallon oil drum containing TNT, white phosphorous grenades, 40 gallons of 100-octane gasoline, 100 pounds of Napalm and two different types of chemical smoke and detonated electrically. The purpose of the simulated bomb was to "familiarize troops with the sight and sound of the atomic bomb without the danger of radioactivity."

800 Troops See Dummy 'A-Bomb" At Fort Devens

FT. DEVENS, Mass. (P) Some 800 troops say what an atomic bomb explosion looks like yesterday when the Army detonated a dummy "A-bomb" which sent a ball of red flame and towers of smoke mushrooming over a 100-yard area.

The simulated blast was designed by the First Army Chemical Defense School to show troops what the atom bomb looks and sounds like without exposing them to dangerous radiation.

The artificial bomb, put together by Army scientists for less than $100, exploded with a force which shook the ground for hundreds of yards. Veterans of genuine atomic tests in the southwest and the Pacific termed the explosion "very realistic."

Observers seated more than 100 yards from the blast said there was a distinct concussion. They earth buckled, followed instantly by a wave of heat similar to that emanating from a roaring furnace when the door is opened suddenly.

The "bomb" consisted of a 55-gallon metal drum containing a mixture of napalm with 40 gallons of 40-octane gasoline, 10 white phosphorous grenades, and other chemicals encircled with 198 feet of primer cord.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
Contact us for information about using this image.

label levels:

There is currently no available "Beginner" label. The following is the default level label: Three weeks after the hydrogen bomb was detonated in the Pacific, soldiers at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, saw a simulated atomic bomb. The stated purpose of the explosion was to "familiarize troops with the sight and sound of the atomic bomb without the danger of radioactivity." In 1954 the United States was in the middle of the Cold War and a nuclear arms race. The United States and the Soviet Union had developed atomic bombs, and in 1952, the United States detonated its first hydrogen bomb. During the 1950s, many people felt that it was likely that a bomb could be dropped. People built fallout shelters, and school children participated in "duck and cover" drills. The danger of nuclear war was high on the public mind, and the civil defense exercises attempted to assure the American people that something could be done to defend against nuclear attack.


top of page

"800 Troops See Dummy 'A-Bomb' At Fort Devens" article in Greenfield Recorder-Gazette newspaper

publisher   Greenfield Recorder-Gazette
date   Mar 25, 1954
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
height   9.75"
width   3.25"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L07.017

Look Closer icon My Collection icon Document Image icon Detailed info icon

ecard icon Send an e-Postcard of this object

See Also...

"Say Russian Atomic Particles Falling On Japan" article in the Greenfield Recorder-Gazette newspaper

"Britain Gets Jitters Over Hydrogren Bomb" article in Greenfield Recorder-Gazette newspaper

"Any Cowboys, Gran'pa?" cartoon on H-bomb in Greenfield Recorder-Gazette newspaper

button for Side by Side Viewingbutton for Glossarybutton for Printing Helpbutton for How to Read Old Documents


Home | Online Collection | Things To Do | Turns Exhibit | Classroom | Chronologies | My Collection
About This Site | Site Index | Site Search | Feedback