Credible nuclear deterrence effects, debunking dogmatic "disarm or be annihilated" enemy propaganda. Realistic effects and credible nuclear weapon capabilities for deterring or stopping aggressive invasions and attacks which could escalate into major conventional or nuclear wars.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

1929 photo of Dr Samuel Glasstone for a Leeds Mercury newspaper love story (plus Glasstone's WWI TNT effects experience, and Russian translations of Glasstone and classified Russian nuclear weapons manuals)

For an amusing break from news of the North Korean Missile Crisis, have a look at the photo story newspaper clipping from The Leeds Mercury 15 February 1929 (the day after Valentine's Day).

Samuel Glasstone's photo was published for a love story on page 4 of The Leeds Mercury newspaper, England, Friday 15 February 1929 (newspaper clipping copyright Johnston Press plc, c/o British Newspaper Archive; however the actual photographs are not necessarily the copyright of the publisher).

I found this amusing article while searching for another photo of Glasstone (the one on a blog post in 2006 is from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission's 1967 third edition of Sourcebook on Atomic Energy).  As we noted in the 2006 blog post about Glasstone and Dolan, Glasstone was a chemistry lecturer at Sheffield University and in May 1928 gave a series of five BBC radio broadcasts on "chemistry in daily life", which formed the basis for his first book, published in 1929.

Violette Collingwood, who Glasstone married, illustrated that first book, and also helped him to edit the classified 1950 (Korean War era) book on Radiological Defense, Volume II as Walmer E. Strope describes in detail in his Autobiography of a Nerd (chapter 9, page 115): "In the summer of 1950, as the Marines were desperately trying to halt the North’s invasion of South Korea, we received word from AFSWP that Samuel Glasstone would be arriving to accomplish the final editing of RD2. ... Glasstone arrived but not by himself. He had his wife with him. She, it turned out, did not come to keep house for Sam. She was his help-meet at work; not a secretary, mind you, but a full-fledged partner. Fortunately, the office I had reserved for Glasstone was large enough for the Glasstones. They sat across from each other at a library table and passed our drafts back and forth."

(Note that extracts from the Glasstone's edited Radiological Defense volume 2, The Principles of Military Defense Against Atomic Weapons, can be found here.)

In addition, she also helped Glasstone with the editing of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons 1957 (see Glasstone's 1 February 1957 letter to Colonel Dent L. Lay of the AFSWP).

According to the amusing 15 February 1929 newspaper article, Glasstone had spotted a photo of botany student Collingwood exhibited at a London studio:

"The portrait of Miss Collingwood is the one exhibited in a London studio, which so attracted Dr Glasstone that he sought an introduction to the lady.  As a result of the meeting they are to be married in June."

Update (26 September 2017): more about Samuel Glasstone

There is an interesting article about Samuel Glasstone on page 4 of the 14 May 1928 Sheffield Daily Telegraph which explains that he was engaged at Brunner Mond on chemistry research during World War I, including at Silvertown, where the Brunner Mond TNT factory blew up:

The Brunner Mond munitions plant at Silvertown where Glasstone worked during the war (in the East End of London) suffered a devastating explosion of 50 tons of TNT on 19 January 1917, destroying 900 houses, killing 73 people, injuring nearly 500, and causing damage to 70,000 homes (these self-goal accidental war effects were a classified secret until 1950, unsurprisingly):

Above: the Silvertown explosion hit London’s Royal Docks in the East End of London on January 19, 1917.

"Brunner Mond had established a factory at Crescent Wharf in 1893 to manufacture soda. Two years into the First World War, the Army was facing a crippling shell shortage. The War Office decided to use the factory’s surplus capacity to purify TNT from 1915 onwards, despite opposition from Brunner Mond and the fact that the factory was in a highly populated area. Their fears became a reality at 6.52pm on January 19 when a fire in the melt-pot room caused an explosion of 50 tonnes of TNT. ... streets of houses were destroyed in what is still regarded as the biggest explosion in the history of London. Fires raged in the nearby flour mill and on ships in the dock. ... Among the dead was Dr Andreas Angel, an Oxford professor doing voluntary war work as the plant’s chief chemist. He was attempting to help put out the fire when the explosion happened." -

"Historian Graham Hill, who co-wrote with Howard Bloch The Silvertown Explosion: London 1917, said: “It was said that by the turn of the century every household in the country owned or had at least one product that had come from Silvertown.” Said Graham: “The Minister of Munitions, David Lloyd George, said two years before the explosion: ‘Even after utilising every workshop and factory capable of turning out munitions, we found that output would be inadequate unless we supplemented our resources by setting up emergency buildings.’” Despite warnings from Brunner Mond’s chief chemist at the time, Dr Francis Arthur Freeth, that there would be a catastrophe sooner or later, the Ministry of Munitions believed it was worth taking the risk and the factory began TNT production in September 1915." - 

UPDATE (4 November 2017): Russian edition of Samuel Glasstone's 1962 revision of the Effects of Nuclear Weapons, and some classified Russian manuals on nuclear weapons capabilities and effects

ABOVE: Russia's translation of the 1962 edition of Samuel Glasstone's Effects of Nuclear Weapons (ENW), now on Internet Archive with other related Russian materials from 1960-2014, linked here.  There are some interesting differences to the original American Department of Defense book: Russia excluded the appendix listing all nuclear weapons tests (although it included the other two appendices about nuclear weapons safety and the detection of nuclear tests), and it also removed the "bibliographies" at the end of each chapter in the 1962 version (in fact, what Glasstone called "bibliographies" were actually just further reading lists, since when you get and read the documents he lists you find very little of it is used in ENW, and there is a lot of material in ENW for which you can find no source whatever in his "bibliographies"!).  The Russians have also changed all the graphs from the original American imperial units of pressure, psi, to metric units.

ABOVE: Russian nuclear weapons manual from 1960 (extracts of some vital pages are linked in Internet Archive here, with the full book linked here).  Russia's own nuclear weapons effects manuals contained critical mass curves and illustrations of the use of smoke trails laid by rockets just prior to nuclear tests, to allow the path of the Mach stem to be filmed (the smoke is blown by the blast winds when the shock front arrives, but if the camera is some distance away you also get an optical detection of the precise location of the blast since the higher density air in the shock front refracts light and causes the illusion of a "break" in the rocket trains, akin to looking at a spoon in a glass of water from above at a slanted angle!).

ABOVE: Russian military nuclear warfare manual published in 1963, the year after the Cuban missile crisis, How to operate in the conditions of application of nuclear, chemical and bacteriological weapon (manual to soldier and sailor), by the USSR's Department of Defense, Moscow.  It is 127 x 198 mm in size, with 99 illustrations and 128 pages.  Sold to us by an ebayer in Kiev, Ukraine.  (Since most of the information is in illustrations, only minimal use of an English-Russian dictionary is required. For more technical Russian nuclear weapons documents, the situation is similar, since the mathematics and graphs display the data as plain as day regardless of language.)

ABOVE: a 1974 USSR warning poster on the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) effect from nuclear explosions.  In the same year, 1974, the USSR published a 234 pages long hardback book on the EMP, consisting of Russian translations of extracts from American research reports and journal articles on various aspects of the EMP (below). It is interesting that the EMP report extracts were edited, as for Glasstone's Effects of Nuclear Weapons, to bring out the most relevant information, deliberately excluding the lengthy bibliographies and irrelevant waffle that leads nowhere and is of no help (typically about half the text of the American reports).

ABOVE: the 1974 USSR Russian language 234 page long hardback book of extracts from American reports on the EMP covers all mechanisms of EMP, and interestingly is focused on good approximations for analytical calculations of the EMP strength.  For example, as shown in Equation 57 on page 72 (above right), for approximate calculations of the maximum EMP field strengths from the E1 or magnetic dipole mechanism in high altitude bursts, the calculation can be divided into two parts: the Compton current contribution (the non-attenuated field is proportional to the Compton current integrated along the radial line from burst to observer in retarded time), which is then multiplied by the exponential attenuation factor due to the conductivity of the air (the exponent contains the air conductivity integrated over distance in retarded time).  

As a result of the Ukrainian civil war, Ukraine having been a USSR nuclear weapons site during the Cold War, some in Ukraine have been selling Russian nuclear weapons literature on ebay. Finding, translating and correlating the information with Russian internet hosted military sites has led to a complete analysis of what Russia knows on nuclear weapons effects, particularly Russian military nuclear weapons effects on tanks, personnel, etc.  This is a big improvement on the older analysis of Russian nuclear and Russian public civil defence information, which was based on Western information such as Glasstone's American Effects of Nuclear Weapons (all editions of which were translated into Russian, as an unclassified general public information book).  The most detailed Russian information is a limited, copy-numbered distribution (officers only): (English translation here):

Educational literature
Group of authors

Nuclear weapon. A Manual for Officers

The website "Military literature":

Edition: Nuclear weapons. A Manual for officers. - Moscow: Military Publishing, 1987.

Book on the site:
Nuclear weapon. Manual for officers / Fourth edition, revised and enlarged. - Moscow: Military Publishing, 1987. - 168 p.

Annotation of the publishing house: This Handbook is a revised edition of the manual "Nuclear Weapons", published in 1969. The new edition specifies the characteristics of the striking effect of nuclear explosions on personnel search, armament, military equipment and other objects. The focus of the manual is on the detrimental effect of ground and air nuclear explosions. Questions related to the protection of troops from nuclear weapons and the assessment of the results of nuclear explosions are excluded from the Manual, since they are devoted to published manuals and handbooks. The manual is intended for officers and warrant officers of all types of the Armed Forces, as well as for cadets of military schools.

This book, Nuclear Weapons - A Manual for Officers, is the Russian equivalent not of Glasstone's Effects of Nuclear Weapons, therefore, but rather of Philip J. Dolan's Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons.  It is vitally important to read and study, because it shows just what the Russians were planning to do with their nuclear weapons if war broke out.  It contains extensive tables of data on the capabilities of nuclear weapons blast and initial nuclear radiation against a wide variety of military targets, aircraft, tanks and other military vehicles, with nuclear test photos of damage to these targets to help the user understand the tabulated information.  Unlike the extremely long American manual, the Russian book is relatively more concise, compressing nuclear test data into tables and graphs rather than trying to formulate theoretical models and then testing their predictions against test data (the preferred American analysis method, at least since the 1972 edition of US Effects Manual EM-1). Moreover, the earlier editions of Nuclear Weapons - A Manual for Officers, are much longer and contain photos of damaged Russian military equipment at Russian nuclear weapons tests.  The best edition is the 328 pages long 1961 edition, crammed with photos of damage caused by the 1950s Russian nuclear weapons test programme prior to the 1958 moratorium. (We will compare the 1961 and 1987 editions in detail in an update below, later in this post, when time permits.)

Russian classified Nuclear Weapons Effects Publications and the East-West Wiki schism over the Swan device design

The civil war between pro-Westerners in the Western parts of Ukraine, and generally pro-Russian immigrants in the East (near the largely imaginary border between Russia and Ukraine) has led some Ukrainians selling off cold war era (1955-1987) Russian military nuclear weapons effects manuals, printed with "Official Use Only" and serial number in the top right of the outer cover and title pages.  These are worth a blog post since they are the Russian equivalent to the classified American Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Weapons Employment manuals.  Formerly we only had access to unclassified Russian publications, mainly Russian civil defence (rather than military defence) manuals, the nuclear effects data in which was mostly unclassified Western literature.

Before we get into the details, I want to draw attention to a key distinction between the Russian language and English language Wikipedia sites on Nuclear Weapons: they have differing designs shown for the American 1956 Swan nuclear weapon (tested that year as the 15 kt Redwing Inca shot).  This is of importance because Swan was a very special miniaturised warhead of use in tactical weapons and also as the fission (primary) stage in thermonuclear weapons.

According to the Russian Nuclear Weapons Wikipedia article (but not the American one), the name Swan appears to reflect the radial symmetry of the device itself, which is one point implosion (the American article claims it is two point implosion) as follows:

The Swan fission implosion design is allegedly a heart-shaped, one-point implosion fission weapon, with a radial cross-section resembling the curve of the neck and head of swan, according to animation on the Russian Wiki article, "Nuclear Weapons".  This differs substantially from the two-point Swan design on the English "Nuclear Weapons" Wikipedia article!  There is a special lens system of explosives: the outer shell which ignites is a fast-burning explosive like TNT, whereas the inner region of the heart shaped shell is filled with slower burning explosive, so that the compressive implosion wave is shaped to converge around the fissile core, despite the implosion having been initiated at one point only!  The Swan device was successfully tested in 1956 as the 15.2 kt Redwing-Inca shot, which notes that Swan was one-point safe (which clearly is not strictly true for the Russian one-point implosion Swan design, the whole point of which depends on a single point of high explosive initiation!).  However, the Russian article's one-point implosion Swan illustration is an ingenious design and if the "one point implosion" at the base of the heart was shielded/protected from accidental ignition (such as by fireproof impact-absorbers), then the remainder of it would be one-point safe.  While the outer heart-shaped design of the high explosive system may make sense, note that the design above has the fissile core system placed far too close to the top of the heart: there is too little thickness of explosive above it (or to the right of the core in the lower sequence of implosion images) to produce uniform compression.  The Russian graphic is unreliable for this reason.  You can get a single detonator one-point implosion to work with a heart shaped TNT charge, but you need the fissile material to be located closer to the centre (so that it receives similar implosive impulses from all sides, at the same time!).  The mixture of crazy ingenuity, and slip shod inattention to important details, permeates a great deal of Russian nuclear weapons information, and we will encounter further examples of this.  Again, I'm not claiming that the Russian illustration of the Swan device is in any way accurate or has any connection to the actual Swan design; I'm merely commenting on an interesting difference between Russian and American ideas.

Excerpt from a 1974 USSR nuclear weapons design poster showing critical masses under different conditions.
1974 USSR nuclear weapons effects poster depicting capabilities of a 1 megaton explosion.
USSR troops train for nuclear weapons fallout monitoring and decontamination. Unlike America and Britain, which had separate Radiac survey meters (meters with the ionisation chamber or miniature geiger counter tube in the main boxes for measuring 0.1-300 R/hour gamma dose rates, for use in the first 2 weeks after an explosion) and contamination meters with probes on cables (for use during decontamination more than 2 weeks after an explosion, measuring dose rates below 500 mR/hour), the Russians instead used a single instrument which covers the entire range of dose rates by using multiple geiger tubes in the probe unit.  

Russians practice duck and cover against nuclear explosions despite their Marxist overseas propaganda units hypocritically sneering at Westerners doing the same!

2014 official Russian Civil Defense Manual Extract: nothing fundamental has changed since the Cold War.  Compare Figure 1.8 on page 42 (above right) to the similar earlier illustration in this blog post from the the year 1960, based on 1950s Russian nuclear test data (linked here for your convenience) showing survival in deep tunnel shelters near ground zero and survival in good trenches close to ground zero!

13 November 2017 update: detailed review of the limited distribution 1961 and 1987 editions of the Russian effects data manual, Nuclear Weapon - A Manual for Officers

Russian MIG-15 fighter jets and tanks were exposed to nuclear tests.  Most of the content is military effects.  Note that invading forces, while actually on the move in offensive attacks and invasions, are highly vulnerable to nuclear weapons effects like neutrons and the wind sandstorm blast "precursor" for detonations above a dark sandy surface (they are more vulnerable than civilians in modern concrete buildings, who had a 50% survival rate at just 0.12 mile from ground zero in Hiroshima, according to Glasstone).  The opposite is true for troops in defensive dugouts, which are relatively safe from blast, heat and radiation.  Therefore, nuclear weapons are an effective defensive weapon that can stop invasions, of use by dug in troops to prevent an enemy invasion of a peaceful country.  They could have deterred the invasion of Belgium in 1914, the invasion of Poland in 1939, the invasion of Russia in 1941, of Afghanistan in 1979 and of Kuwait in 1992.  In short, they can deter precisely the kind of military invasions that resulted in all the world wars and major wars of history.

Above: the 1961 Russian Nuclear Weapon - A Manual for Officers book contains an extensive collection of Russian nuclear test damage photos on all kinds of military equipment, fortifications, and some Russian type houses to illustrate the definitions of damage criteria in data tables which cover nuclear weapon yields of 1 kiloton to 300 kilotons. The book even includes a chapter on "Some issues of organizing and conducting military operations in the conditions of the use of nuclear weapons" which discusses the use of tactical nuclear weapons with coloured diagrams (below):

Use of tactical nuclear weapons with regards to offensive and defensive forces in the 1961 Russian restricted distribution book, Nuclear Weapons - A Manual for Officers.

Above: the 1961 Russian manual Nuclear Weapon - A Manual for Officers also includes vitally important data on the survival of field defense fortifications which are similar to improvised civil defense shelters and countermeasures, such as shallow pits for preventing blast wind displacement damage to vehicles, and wood pole and earth shelters, as well as the good old trench type shelters which prevented rapid knockout blows by high explosives in World War I.

1961 Russian Nuclear Weapon book: field fortifications damage distances chart in original colour: red is for 150 kilotons, green for 30 kilotons and blue for 8 kilotons yield.  (This is a photo.  The small scanned PDF extracts file is in greyscale.  Eventually, the entire 1961 manual will be scanned in original colour, but that will take time, and the extracts on Internet Archive will do for the present, as the data is also contained in tables.  The coloured diagrams are for quick, emergency use in a war.)
1961 Russian book colour illustration of the terrain effects on blast overpressures: if you are on a hill with a view of a nuclear explosion, the blast is reflected and there is an increase in overpressure (this is partly due to the conversion of dynamic pressure into overpressure, and partly the doubling of pressure that momentarily occurs as the reflected shock front reflects and collides with further incoming compressed air).  But if you are on the opposite side of the hill to the explosion, you get a reduced blast overpressure (compared to unobstructed terrain), due to diffraction (which is the opposite of reflection).

1961 Russian Nuclear Weapons book illustration of fallout overlap from 8 and 30 kiloton tests; note the downwind "hotspots" of 500 R/hour from each weapon.  This is based on research from original Russian nuclear test data.

1961 edition of the USSR Nuclear Weapon Manual for Officers military effects of tactical weapons A

1961 edition of the USSR Nuclear Weapon Manual for Officers military effects of tactical weapons B

1961 Russian Nuclear Weapons book poster-style illustrations of damage to military field equipment.  None of these full colour plates are reprinted in the much briefer 1987 edition of the manual, so it appears that they were colour photos of military posters included in the longer 1961 edition.  

Above: Comparison of the 1961 and 1987 editions of the USSR Nuclear Weapon Manual for Officers.  Both the 1961 and 1987 editions of Nuclear Weapons - Manual for Officers are hardcover published by the USSR military publishing agency Voenizdat, in Moscow, but they are very different in superficial appearance.  The 1961 book is 328 pages long and 150x227 mm with colour illustrations, whereas the 1987 edition is just 168 pages long with no colour and 145x220mm.  (You almost get the impression just by comparing these editions of the book that in 1961 the USSR's star was rising with Gagarin that year becoming the first person in space and Khrushchev's peace shattering 50 megaton nuclear test, while in 1987 it was on the wane due to the concessions made in order to agree to the INF treaty signed by Reagan and Gorbachev in that year.)

(This post is under revision. To be updated with detailed data summaries from the Russian nuclear testing based Nuclear Weapons - A Manual for Officers manuals, and Russian nuclear testing damage photos.)