More
    HomeMilitaryUnveiling the Legacy of the M65 'Atomic Annie' Nuclear Cannon: A Remarkable...

    Unveiling the Legacy of the M65 ‘Atomic Annie’ Nuclear Cannon: A Remarkable One-Shot Wonder

    Published on

    spot_img
    280mm M65 Atomic Cannon – Yuma Proving Grounds” by rocbolt is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    The tale of the M65 “Atomic Annie” cannon is a striking glimpse of the Cold War period—a time when the threat of nuclear confrontation was significant and military advancement was fueled by the need for prevention rather than mere battlefield dominance.

    The Atomic Annie, a 280mm mechanized artillery piece, serves as a remarkable illustration of the extremes to which the U.S. military went to uphold its strategic advantage.

    Developed amid a fervor of atomic weapons research and proliferation, the M65 was the U.S. Army’s answer to the need for mobile nuclear firepower.

    Its design was a nod to the colossal artillery pieces of World War II, particularly those like Nazi Germany’s Krupp K5, infamously known as “Anzio Annie” for its role against Allied forces in Italy. The influence of this legacy is evident in the M65’s similar function and nickname.

    The unveiling of Atomic Annie was as much a statement of power as it was a functional military test.

    280mm M65 Atomic Cannon” by rocbolt is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    On May 25, 1953, at 8:31 am, during Operation UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE, the cannon fired a nuclear shell resulting in a 15-kiloton blast—mirroring the destructive capacity of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

    280mm M65 Atomic Cannon” by rocbolt is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    This single successful detonation would cement the cannon’s place in military history, despite it never being used in combat.

    280 MM Heavy Motorized Gun M65” by The Carouselambra Kid is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    The colossal size of the M65, weighing in at approximately 85 tons, required two specially designed transporter trucks for mobility.

    280 MM Heavy Motorized Gun M65” by The Carouselambra Kid is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    The entire system, when assembled with the 280mm gun, was an awe-inspiring sight, stretching 85 feet in length and tipping the scales at over 86 tons.

    280mm M65 Atomic Cannon” by rocbolt is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    With the project now funded at $800,000 per M65 unit, they were ready to be deployed to U.S. bases worldwide as a deterrent against nations like the USSR and North Korea.

    Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Rockwell B-1 Bone – Barksdale AFB Defenders of Liberty Airshow” by AV8PIX Christopher Ebdon is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    However, once operational, the M65 quickly became outdated. Advanced nuclear delivery systems such as the B-52 Stratofortress bomber and the MGR-1 Honest John rocket made it evident that a shell-based nuclear delivery system was not the future of American nuclear weapons.

    The massive cannon, with its ability to deliver a nuclear warhead in an artillery format, was soon surpassed by more advanced delivery systems, such as the B-52 Stratofortress bomber and surface-to-surface rockets like the MGR-1 Honest John.

    M65 Atomic Cannon” by nekosoft is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    The M65’s operational career, lasting from 1953 to 1963, was relatively short-lived, with most units being scrapped, and the rest preserved as museum pieces.

    280mm M65 Atomic Cannon” by rocbolt is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    The M65 Atomic Cannon systems were eventually dispatched to testing facilities in West Germany, South Korea, and the U.S.-occupied Pacific Island of Okinawa.

    Before this, one was first sent to the Nevada National Security Site, then called the Nevada Proving Grounds, situated approximately 65 miles (105 km) northwest of Las Vegas. It was at this site on May 25, 1953, during a series of nuclear tests known as Operation Upshot-Knothole, that a fully assembled M65 Atomic Cannon was armed with a W9 nuclear shell and aimed towards a target about seven miles (11 km) away.

    Relevant articles:
    The M65 280mm Atomic Cannon, theatomiccannon.com
    Atomic Annie : The Full Story of the Most Bonkers Weapon in American History, autoevolution, Jul 27, 2023
    The US Army only ever fired one nuclear artillery shell from its ‘Atomic Annie’ cannon, and this is what it looked like, Business Insider
    The US Army only ever fired one nuclear artillery shell from its ‘Atomic Annie’ cannon, and this is what it looked like, Business Insider, May 25, 2022

    Latest articles

    FN Five-seveN MRD: A New Era in Precision Handguns

    The FN Five-seveN has stood out in the modern firearms landscape for years, known...

    Raytheon’s Breakthrough: Achieving Milestones in the HALO Program

    The United States Navy is enhancing its offensive prowess and strategic vision by developing...

    Significance of Reagan Test Site in US Hypersonic Weapon Testing

    The US Air Force has garnered attention with the successful trial of a prototype...

    The B-21 Raider of the U.S. Air Force Prepares for Deployment Despite Production Hurdles and Hypersonic Competition

    The B-21 Raider, the United States Air Force's new stealth bomber, is edging closer...

    More like this

    FN Five-seveN MRD: A New Era in Precision Handguns

    The FN Five-seveN has stood out in the modern firearms landscape for years, known...

    Raytheon’s Breakthrough: Achieving Milestones in the HALO Program

    The United States Navy is enhancing its offensive prowess and strategic vision by developing...

    Significance of Reagan Test Site in US Hypersonic Weapon Testing

    The US Air Force has garnered attention with the successful trial of a prototype...