Mark 15 Nuclear Bomb

A Mark 15 nuclear bomb

See here for a brief introduction to the Gateau Method.

On February 5, 1958, a USAF B-47 bomber lost a Mark 15 nuclear bomb in the waters near Tybee Island at the northernmost extremity of the Georgian seaboard. The 3,400kg munition had a nuclear yield of about 3.8 megatons of TNT. The Mark 15 in question hadn’t had its primary detonator installed when it was lost (or at least, that’s the USAF’s story), but to this day, the bomb has never been located.

To put this into perspective, Little Boy—the bomb dropped on Hiroshima—had a 15 kiloton yield, and the highest yield reputedly in use in the US’ ready arsenal today is around 1.2 megatons. You can go here to see the pressure effects of a 3.8 megaton detonation on New York City—just remember to zoom out. Note also that this doesn’t include the effects of heat, fallout or EMP.

As horrific as the loss of such a weapon may be, it also makes it the perfect McGuffin. Particularly if it fell in the shallows off Wassaw Island, only to be discovered by anti-New American patriots—or maybe even by the black-toothed Sallies inhabiting the swamps nearby, willing to trade the bomb for the promise of a homecoming long-delayed.

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