Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough
To get it ready for the plough.

JOHN BETJEMAN (1906-84) 


The 'Up and Atom' City

Nowadays Las Vegas is known for glitz and gambling, but in the 1950s one of its major attractions was the Nevada Nuclear Test Site, located in the desert about 65 miles from the city. Vegas promoted itself as a great spot from which to view the explosions.
Trips to the 'Up and Atom' City included drinks parties around the pool timed to coincide with the tests and the chance to buy postcards of Miss Atomic Bomb (a showgirl named Lee Merlin), as well as other mushroom-cloud memorabilia. The city had previously been known mostly for its proximity to the Hoover Dam, as well as for gambling and prostitution.
Each test had a code name; the list included 'Sunbeam', 'Nougat', 'Grommet', 'Toggle' and 'Teapot'. For 12 years from 1951, a bomb was detonated every three weeks on average. There have been nearly 1,000 detonations in the area, and over 10,000 people ('downwinders') have received over $541 million in health-related compensation from the US government.

THE QUEEN MOTHER (1900-2002)

I'm glad we've been bombed. It makes me feel I can look the East End in the face.

The words 'bumblebee' and 'bomb' come from the ancient Greek bombos meaning 'booming' or 'buzzing'.

The Love Bomb

1994 plans (declassified in 2005) from the US Air Force disclose that the Pentagon examined the possibility of developing an aphrodisiac bomb that would cause enemy troops to find one another sexually irresistible. The plan noted that: 'One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behaviour.' They also considered development of a 'Who? Me?' bomb. This was designed to disrupt morale by producing odours that suggested other soldiers were passing wind. It is not known when, or if, these programmes were abandoned.
The designers of the Love Bomb should perhaps be made aware of the existence of the Sacred Band of Thebes, a force of 150 homosexual couples who were regarded as the best troops in Greece from 378-338bc. In 375bc, they defeated three times their own number of Spartans at Tegyra. Philip of Macedon and his son Alexander eventually wiped them out at the Battle of Chaeronea (338bc).

Hitler's house in Bavaria had a bomb-proof kennel.

The first bombs of the Second World War to fall on British soil fell on the Shetlands and killed a rabbit.

Chicken-Powered Nuclear Bomb

Project Blue Peacock was the codename of a 1950s British project to conceal ten 10-kiloton nuclear mines, weighing 7.2 tons each, in Germany. They would be buried and set to be detonate on an 8-day timer. The bombs were ordered but cancelled before being deployed. The electronics wouldn't work if they got too cold. The solution: live chickens should be included in the mechanism, sealed inside the casing with a sufficient supply of food and water to last a week - which was all that was required. The body heat given off by the chickens would be sufficient to keep all the components at a working temperature.

HAROLD UREY (1893-1981)

The next war will be fought with atom bombs and the one after that with spears.

During the Second World War the US considered strapping napalm bombs to hundreds of tiny bats.