Nuclear landmine?


Is there (or was there) such a thing as a nuclear landmine? According to the most recent issue of Time Magazine there was, but I suspect ignorant, liberal journalism at work…



Nuclear Landmines
Written by Alan Bellows on 12 January 2007

In 1950s-era Germany, the British forces which had been stationed there after World War 2 were understandably nervous about an invasion from the Soviet Union. The Cold War had begun, the Iron Curtain was in place, and Stalin was making every effort to compromise Germany’s capacity for another war despite attempts by the U.S. and England to rebuild Germany as the economic center of a stable Europe. Additionally, amid tensions, Stalin had split off the Soviet sector of Germany as a communist state.

It was generally perceived that the Soviet Union possessed overwhelming superiority in conventional weapons, and the threat of a new war with the communist USSR was looming over Europe. As part of the preparations for such a conflict, British forces developed a new kind of landmine to leave behind if they were forced to withdraw from Germany. It was codenamed the Blue Peacock, and it was essentially a nuclear landmine.

The seven-ton Blue Peacock consisted of a huge steel casing containing a plutonium core surrounded by high explosives. Its yield was about ten kilotons, and the plan was to bury and submerge ten such landmines around key targets in Germany in the event of an invasion. The mines would be set to detonate after eight days using a mechanical timer, or alternatively they could be exploded remotely from up to five kilometers away. Once armed, there was also an anti-tampering system which would detonate the bombs within ten seconds if they were damaged or disturbed. The mines were intended to cause massive destruction, and leave radioactive contamination over a large area to prevent subsequent occupation by Soviet forces.

One bizarre proposed design called for a casing capable of housing chickens, with the intent to use their body heat to prevent the electronics from being disabled due to winter’s cold. For this reason, the Blue Peacock is sometimes referred to as the “Chicken powered nuclear bomb.” Another design called for more traditional fiberglass insulation.

Two prototypes of the Blue Peacock were constructed and tested, though never detonated. In July 1957, British army leaders ordered ten Blue Peacock mines, which they planned to station in Germany under the cover story that they were atomic power units. But the project was cancelled before the order could be filled; Hiding nuclear weapons in an allied country was deemed “politically flawed” by military leaders, and the risk from radioactive fallout would have been “unacceptable.”

Further reading:
Article from the British National Archives
Book: Secret State by Peter Hennessy


Love that chicken heat idea.


That sounds like something General Buck Turgidson would have used. “Mr. President, I’m not saying we won’t get our hair mussed. I do say, no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops!”


Anyone want to see a “Nuclear Mine” or “Atomic Demolition Munition” or in the smallest for a SADM Special Atomic Demolition you can go to Youtube put in SADM or atomic demolition. There are unclassified movies of a couple of these items. There were ADM, SADM and TADM each had a different intended use/application. The two bigger ones were engineer items, the SADM was the smallest, being man portable/man parachute jumpable; and were for special forces. These are also from the days of the Davy Crocket tactical nuclear recoilless launcher in conventional Battalions.


Here some bits of info on them: … n_Munition … /adm.3.htm … n_Munition

The Russians have or had similar devices.


The Pic that EOD logged are from a handbook of nuclear weapons. The big silver tube looking device is the MADM or Engineer Nuclear Demolition. The MADM was a heavier device. The other pic of the container is one of the containers for the SADM. Total container weight is 163 … not the device weight. If you watch the SADM movie you will see them rigging a parachutist / swimmer with the W54 device or warhead, smallest of our nuc’s. Of interest is that any of you out there who is or was a jumper and jumbed a T10 (early non stearable) knows the allowable weight for a front D-ring rigging. In the movie watch close the container being rigged size and shape. Then watch closely the jumper that exits from the tail gate of the chopper and the size and orientation of the container. These items/devices are another part of Ordnance history that is still little known. Our view of nuclear war has changed… A LOT!!


These are just scary! Hard to believe they were really invented and so easily armed and detonated. Still, I love learning about it :-)