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Op GRAPPLE

Old 1st May 2017, 21:58
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Op GRAPPLE

Britain’s Nuclear Bomb: The Inside Story is on BBC Four on Wednesday, 9pm.


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Old 2nd May 2017, 14:13
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The first three tested didn't work as intended, iirc. The fusion element didn't deliver... got it right in the November test.
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Old 2nd May 2017, 14:40
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As well as the incomplete reaction on more than a few tests, it is also interesting to see how far off some of the yield calculations/estimates were with some of the early UK and US testing of A-bombs and H-bombs (and I assume programs in other countries). Not blaming anyone, just interesting to note some of the uncertainties involved. Hey what's a megaton or so off....
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Old 12th May 2017, 18:21
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My Father was there for 12 months 1957/58 and witnessed them, no protective clothing only wearing shorts, he was impressed by the explosions then paid the price by dying from a very unusual cancer later. There were many others.
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Old 12th May 2017, 21:14
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Just watched this on iplayer having been in France when it was first aired. Interesting programme.
Good to see both Alan Pringle and Derek Tuthill look in quite good nick cosidering both must be 82/83 ish now !
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Old 12th May 2017, 21:58
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I'm I the only one thinking of Bosnia! (I.e. Operation Grapple for the Balkans)
Strange that there is two....
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Old 13th May 2017, 09:02
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Originally Posted by Rotate too late View Post
I'm I the only one thinking of Bosnia! (I.e. Operation Grapple for the Balkans)
Strange that there is two....
There must be at least three. The Zambezi Valley Operational Area in Rhodesia was 'Op Grapple'.
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Old 14th May 2017, 16:13
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Yeh, there was JOC Grapple, Thresher, Cauldron? - memory fading
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Old 14th May 2017, 16:16
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sandiego89
a very good point - the first ever test (in USA) had a greater effect than predicted - imagine if it had been a couple of orders bigger - would we have done a first test of such a device in our own backyard these days?
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Old 15th May 2017, 05:38
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An interesting program and actually confirms that the British design for the H-Bomb was based around a spherical secondary instead of the Cylinder that was used by the US 2 stage weapons. The First two British H-bomb tests did actually give a Sizeable Fusion yield (300+ and 120+ KT) , while the middle test was in fact a bloody huge 700+KT Fission Bomb with maybe a bit of DT boosting. First Fizzle by the US was deliberate and that was to see how little Fissile material could be used, while the king of cocking up weapon designs yields was one Edward Teller!!!!
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Old 15th May 2017, 09:58
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Originally Posted by Ddraig Goch View Post
My Father was there for 12 months 1957/58 and witnessed them, no protective clothing only wearing shorts, he was impressed by the explosions then paid the price by dying from a very unusual cancer later. There were many others.
Had the same with the father-in-law. Funnily enough, can't find record of his service life either, yet photos of him on Arctic Convoys in late 44 !
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Old 15th May 2017, 11:13
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Originally Posted by MAINJAFAD View Post
while the king of cocking up weapon designs yields was one Edward Teller!!!!
There they were, 75 years ago, trying to harness completely new technology and physics at the utter outside limits of mechanical, scientific and intellectual capability which were only partially understood and so new that only a handful of men on the planet had any knowledge of them at all...

and someone drops a throwaway line like the one above!

Teller was one of the top three or four most innovative and brilliant scientists involved in the conceptualising, building and developmant of atomic weapons and to belittle his ability like that is extraordinarily smug, even with such evident 100% knowledge from hindsight (!!). They were inventing the science as they went along. You'd be one-in-a-million if you even understood a thousandth part of it.

Given the complexity and imperfect understanding of the science it is amazing that they made so few errors, and those they did make were not so very serious.

We'd do better recognising their extraordinarily accurate genius rather than slagging them off for the odd minor mistake from imperfect understanding of a completely new science as though we were capable of doing a thousandth as much ourself without cocking up in spades.

It's a good thing we don't tend to slag off our historic aircraft designers in the same way. I mean incompetent fools like Roe, Sopwith, Mitchell or Chadwick all of whom designed lemons... Kings of cocking up designs, the lot of them. Evidently.
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Old 15th May 2017, 14:22
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Well said Nofly. Armchair quarterbacking on issues understood by a quick Google search belies the complexity of the endeavor.
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Old 17th Feb 2018, 13:17
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A three-year £450,000 cytogenetic study by Brunel University London’s Dr Rhona Anderson will carry out chromosomal analysis of cells from nuclear test veterans and their children. Researchers will look for any cytogenetic alterations to ascertain if there are any differences between nuclear veteran and control family groups.
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Old 17th Feb 2018, 13:29
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It is curious how all this affects people. Wifes Uncle was an airman at Woomera and is still fit as a fiddle but his wife died from the big C and brother (father in law) has had the big C - never served but worked in a chemistry lab.
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Old 17th Feb 2018, 13:33
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Originally Posted by Rotate too late View Post
I'm I the only one thinking of Bosnia! (I.e. Operation Grapple for the Balkans)
Strange that there is two....
Nowadays it would presumably be named "Trial GRAPPLE", as it wasn't an Operation.

When did the nomenclature change?
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Old 17th Feb 2018, 14:23
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Well, if we're talking about "grappling", how about the Bombs of Palomares ?
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Old 17th Feb 2018, 22:51
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This thread has just come to my notice so I am late with my comments.
My father was a RAF weapons specialist (observer brevet) and was present at Christmas Island and Woomera for the British tests. Family lore had it that he was in the crew of either a Valiant or Canberra at Christmas Island that was tasked to fly - depressurised, through the mushroom cloud to take air samples.
Of course he died subsequently from multiple carcinomas.
He too was ordered to be on the ground another time to witness an explosion and his brief was to face the other way until he heard the bang and then turn to look at the result.
Pedro
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Old 18th Feb 2018, 05:20
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Originally Posted by noflynomore View Post
Teller was one of the top three or four most innovative and brilliant scientists involved in the conceptualising, building and developmant of atomic weapons and to belittle his ability like that is extraordinarily smug, even with such evident 100% knowledge from hindsight (!!).
They were working in unexplored territory, and there were huge uncertainties (including the possibility, which was real enough for some scientists to have a bet on it, that Trinity would ignite the atmosphere). I don't have any idea whether Teller was better or worse at yield estimates than any one else. But all the histories I have read suggest that he was by no means a major asset when it came to weapon design, being too undisciplined to do the work assigned to him, and the Teller-Ulam design is named that for a reason (chiefly, that Teller was senior so his name had to go first). His chief attraction in some quarters was political.
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Old 18th Feb 2018, 11:00
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Retreating blade

My father was a Canberra nav on the 76 Sqn xmas island detachment. I’m away from home at the moment so can’t check dates from his log book, but he flew through the subsequent ‘cloud’ as ‘Sniff 2’. I don’t know whether the ac was pressurised or not but I believe it was equipped with sampling devices, so probably not.
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