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    U.S. had Cold War 'backpack nukes'

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    Originally published on February 12, 2014


    New info is shedding light on backpack nukes, long rumored to have been created by both superpowers during the Cold War.

    The massive nuclear arsenals maintained by the U.S. and the USSR during the cold war were not secrets, but it's now been confirmed that 'backpack nukes,' small, but powerful atomic weapons that could fit into a large backpack, were carried by U.S. forces for over two decades in virtually every Cold War battlefront

    The weapons, called B-54 Special Atomic Demolition Munitions, could be sneaked across enemy lines by a SCUBA diver, dropped into battlegrounds by parachutists, or even deployed by troops on skis.

    These smaller nukes were designed to sabotage installations or create uninhabitable stretches of land.

    The U.S. military believed the backpack nukes were needed in the event of a conventional attack by the numerically superior forces of the USSR, but luckily, no atomic weapons were used during the Cold War and backpack nukes were retired in 1989.

    Tests were conducted to determine how effective a small atomic explosion would be at halting an enemy advance, but any use of atomic weapons could have easily escalated into a full-scale nuclear war, a scenario we are grateful never occurred.


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