Sunday, April 17, 2022

Could The Moskva Have Been Carrying Nuclear Weapons? Possibly.


Could The Moskva Have Been Carrying Nuclear Weapons? Possibly.

Copyright 17 April 2022 by Michael H. Maggelet

  The recent sinking of the Russian Federation Navy flagship Moskva (formerly the “Slava”, i.e. Glory in Russian) has brought concerns by some in the media that the warship may have been carrying nuclear weapons.

  The possibility exists that the ship may have been carrying nuclear weapons, however there are no public announcements made by NATO countries, which likely have surveyed the area of Moskva’s sinking in the Black Sea.

  Aerial sniffer aircraft, such as the USAF WC-135W, are equipped to monitor the atmosphere for radionuclides, and media claims of Turkish and Romanian rescue ships rescuing at least 50 Russian naval personnel have yet to be verified. Losses on the Moskva may number in the hundreds. 

  At this time, there is no evidence that the Moskva used her defensive systems (flares, chaff) and anti-aircraft missiles and guns. Also, note that apparently two missiles hit the ship; more than two may have been fired in order to overwhelm defenses (along with other measures). 

Project 1164 "Atlant" and NATO "Slava" class, now known as the "Moskva" class (

  The location of the attack was near 45 deg 10 min N, 30 deg 55 min E. At the time of this writing, several Russian ships were in the vicinity of the sinking (as reported by naval blogger H.I. Sutton). The depth of the sinking is around 50 meters (164 feet). 

  It should be noted that US and NATO surface vessels do not carry nuclear weapons, while the Russian Federation still retains at least 1800 tactical nuclear weapons in its arsenal.

  Given the fact the Moskva was heavily armed with sixteen liquid fueled surface to surface missiles, sixty-four surface to air missiles, RPK-6 anti-submarine rockets, dozens of RBU-6000 anti-submarine rockets, and possibly depth bombs (not to mention CIWS and cannon), a hull penetrating hit by ordnance such as the R-360 Neptune with a 330 pound warhead could have been initially catastrophic.

  Additionally, Russian nuclear weapons are undoubtably one point safe, meaning a one point detonation of the warhead high explosive will not produce a nuclear yield.

  The Moskva could carry the following Russian nuclear weapon systems-

P-1000 Vulkan (SS-N-12 Sandbox)- 350 Kt.

RPK-6 Vodopod (SS-N-16 Stallion)- 200 Kt.

Nuclear depth bombs for the Ka-27 helicopter.

(Source for ordnance-

  Attacks on warships using artillery and iron bombs were not uncommon during the Cold War era. During the Viet Nam war, several US warships were hit by North Vietnamese MiG-17s and shore artillery batteries, at some times leading to extensive damage and fatalities.

  One case was the USS Ozbourn (DD-846), patrolling off the DMZ Viet Nam on 25 March 1967. The ship was stationary in the fog, and as morning light highlighted the ships mast, North Vietnamese shore batteries opened fire hitting the ship twice. At least one round hit the ASROC storage compartment, seriously damaging several conventional and nuclear armed ASROCs.

The most serious nuclear weapons accidents to date at sea include the loss of the USS Scorpion in 1968, loss of the Soviet submarine K-129 in 1968, K-8 submarine in 1970, K-219 in 1986, and K-278 in 1989. These accidents are covered in detail in "Broken Arrow, Volume II" by yours truly and the late James C. Oskins.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Air Force to Change Nuclear Weapons Terms and Glossary

Air Force to Change Nuclear Weapons Terms and Glossary
(1 April 2022, Albuquerque, NM).

  In keeping with other branches of the US military, the Air Force recently announced changes to the nomenclature for nuclear weapons materials and components.
  “This is a practice that is long overdue, and we need change” stated Colonel Rike Moades, noting that in the early days of the nuclear weapons field, weapon components were known by their drawing number and a long name. For instance, the H-12 Handtruck, first developed and used in 1950 with the Mark 4 bomb as the “Cartridge Dolly”, continues to be used with the B83 bomb.
“It's probably a good idea to change uniforms, rank insignia, awards and decorations, etc., well, just because”. Moades cited the exemplary leadership of retired Air Force general Merrill McPeak for his redesign of the US Air Force “dress blues”, changes to regulations as “instructions”, and US Army general Eric Shinseki's brave decision to make every soldier “elite” with black berets. Moades also noted that such a move will also likely confuse adversary nations and anti-nuclear groups, who along with active duty and retired airmen, can't figure out how munitions squadrons fall under "logistics".
  As an example, the B61 bomb would be renamed the AGM-61 BWPABFABMC, or “Bomb Which Produces A Big Fireball And Big Mushroom Cloud”.

  Some components and terms would remain the same, since no one can figure out the history of them anyway, and outsiders are unaware of certain terms, Moades stated. This includes the terms “Group X Kit”, “interlocking slide fastener”, “zipper”, and “fuze”.

  Technical orders would also undergo a fundamental change, combining all the service branch nomenclature into one TO. For example, TP-35-51 would not be referred to as the “Bible” of the 2W2/463 career field, but the “Codex Maximus” and TMSWOPTO 35-51.
  Weapons related tech orders would also undergo a significant change, being referred to as “The Book of Armaments” technical series.

    AGM-61 and AGM-83 BWPABFABMC test units are secured to a flatbed trailer under new recently approved castoring and tiedown procedures (Photo SNL). 

Germany To Start Rationing Beer

 Germany To Start Rationing Beer

(Berlin, 1 April 2022)- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has stated that German breweries are overwhelmed by the increased arrival of US ("Ami") and other NATO military personnel to help defend NATO. 
  Starting next week, German citizens will have to obtain ration cards to buy beer produced in German breweries, and will be limited to purchasing only ten cases a month. However, they have the option of consuming foreign beers deemed not on par with German beer, such as Stella Artois.  
 There would be a penalty however, as the Polizei have been given authority to ticket anyone consuming American beer such as Budweiser, Miller, and Coors off US bases
and posts, and imprison those who drink “offensive” wine coolers and “hard seltzer's” 
such as White Claw in violation of the 1516 “Rheinheitsgebot”.

                  League of German Brewers protest pending legislation to ration beer. 

Canadian Forces will rely on old standby's. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Russian Jets Don't Appear To Be Carrying Nuclear Weapons

Russian Jets Don't Appear To Be Carrying Nuclear Weapons. 

30 March 2022 by Michael H. Maggelet
  A recent headline from the UK Daily Mail, US Daily Mail, and TV broadcast from 
TV4 Sweden proclaims that Russian aircraft flying over the Baltic near Gotland were
equipped with nuclear weapons-

"Two Russian fighter jets that violated Swedish airspace earlier this month 'were equipped with NUKES with the aim of scaring Stockholm' after Putin had threatened military action if Sweden or Finland joined NATO".

  However, there aren't any close ups of the aircraft, and video is also shot from
distance. Enhancement of the photo's and video on the websites do not show 
any known Russian nuclear weapons, only external fuel tanks on the Su-24's.

 Until close-up's of the Su-24's are shown, we can call this report "fake news". 

Enhanced photo does not show any external ordnance. 

Michael H. Maggelet is a U.S. Air Force retiree who worked in the nuclear weapons career field for 15 years. He is the author of two books on nuclear weapons accidents with James C. Oskins- "Broken Arrow, The Declassified History of US Nuclear Weapons Accidents", and "Broken Arrow, Volume II- A Disclosure of Significant US, British, and Soviet Nuclear Weapon Accidents and Incidents, 1945-2008". 

Contact- mhmaggelet "at"

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Wednesday, February 23, 2022

No, the First M16 Maintenance Manual Was Not a Comic Book

No, The First M16 Maintenance Manual Was Not A Comic Book. 

Copyright 2022 by Michael H. Maggelet

  Despite claims appearing on several websites ("The Original M16 Manual Was a Vietnam War Comic Book"), the first maintenance manual for the M-16 was not a comic book.    The Colt Model 01 (Model 601) was tested during Project Agile in Vietnam in 1962, and gave excellent performance with South Vietnamese Special Forces, ARVN Ranger units, and US advisors.  Several reports stated that the .223 Remington round produced horrendous wounds on Viet Cong troops, later disproven. These forces also tested the Energa rifle grenade with the Model 601 with excellent results. 
 These troops gave excellent marks to the select fire AR-15 for its handling, with Colt noting the troops kept the rifles clean. Such was not the case in later years, with many older, worn out early M16 rifles without chrome plating in the chamber or barrel still in theater. It should be noted that the military issue Colt AR-15/M16 was a select fire weapon, while the commercial Colt AR-15 SP1 Sporter (Model 6000 and subsequent versions) was a civilian legal single shot rifle with parts in the fire control group and a lower receiver that were not interchangeable with the full automatic version. It was first offered for commercial sale in 1964 for $189.50 (about $1690.76 in 2021 dollars). 
  Regardless, General Curtis LeMay finally succeeded in ordering 19,000 AR-15 rifles in 1962, which were supplied to U.S. Air Force units worldwide to replace worn out M-1 and M-2 Carbines (the USAF was still using WWII era small arms). Navy SEAL teams also obtained around 100 rifles when they were first formed in 1962. 

  Early USAF maintenance manuals included Technical Order 11W3-5-5-1 dated February 1960, and Air Force Manual 50-12 dated August 1963.

  The procurement of the M16 was finalized on 4 November 1963 when SECDEF signed Contract 508 for 104,000 XM-16E1's with the forward assist (for the Army), and 19,000 M16's (for the USAF). 
The maintenance manual was produced for all the services by at least 15 June 1964 under Army TM 9-1005-249-14, USAF TO 11W3-5-5-1, and NAVWEP O.P. 3333.  

  In our armory in West Germany during the late '80's, we had a good quantity of Model 601's (with black painted furniture), in addition to 602's and 604's. 

             Screenshot of TM 9-1005-249-14 dated 15 June 1964 (source- website). 

  The maintenance manual for the XM-16E1 was US Army Technical Manual 23-9, dated  January 1965, and the "M16A1" nomenclature was officially adopted by 28 February 1967 as noted in Army correspondance (it is referred to as the M16 in previous ordnance correspondance).   In August 1967, a playing card sized "maintenance card" GTA 21-1-3 was issued. 
  It wasn't until June 1968 that the "comic book" style Army pamphlet 750-30 was issued. We had the Air Force technical manual for the M16 in our armory, along with several copies of Army pamphlet 750-30.

  For a detailed history on the development of the M16 rifle, I'd recommend "The Black Rifle- M16 Retrospective" by R. Blake Stevens and Edward Clinton Ezell, along with tons of historical documentation on the "Small Arms Review" website and the "" forum.  

Timeline of Maintenance Manual issuance-
February 1960- USAF TO 11W3-5-5-1.
August 1963- AFM 50-12.
15 June 1964- XM16E1 and M16 maintenance manual under Army TM 9-1005-249-14, USAF TO 11W3-5-5-1, and NAVWEP O.P. 3333.
January 1965- TM 23-9. 
August 1967- Maintenance card GTA 21-1-3 issued. 
February 1968- Change 1 to FM 23-9. 
June 1968- Army pamphlet 750-30 "comic book" issued. 
Additional reading-

"The Black Rifle- M16 Retrospective" by R. Blake Stevens and Edward Clinton Ezell. Collector Grade Publications, 1992. May be out of print. forum archives. 

Interview with Eugene Stoner by Edward Clinton Ezell on the development of the M16 rifle-

The Coconut Rifle


No US Nuclear Missiles in Europe, Vladimir.

No US Nuclear Missiles in Europe, Vladimir.

Copyright 2022 by Michael H. Maggelet

  One outlandish claim circulating in Russian state media and among its Western lackeys are statements that the US and NATO have “missiles in Europe that can hit Moscow in minutes”. Seriously?

  During the 1990’s, I was one of several USAF enlisted liaison’s working with the US Army during Operation Silent Echo from 1990 to 1992. The US Army withdrew all of its tactical nuclear weapons from NATO during that time, and retired and dismantled all of the nuclear warheads. The only nuclear deterrent remaining in USAFE are air delivered bombs (
declassified per DOE Office of Classification, WNP-137, 24 March 2011).

  However, Kremlin apologists and Putin’s western lapdogs continue to claim that “US missiles” in eastern Europe are capable of hitting Moscow. This is not true, since the only missile systems deployed in Poland and Romania are short range SM-2 and THAAD anti-ballistic missiles, etc., with conventional warheads. Of course, Comrade Putin is well aware of the capabilities and order of battle of every NATO country via open sources and GRU espionage, but he chooses to ignore the facts when pushing his Chekist/KGB vision of a Nazi style “anschluss” (going so far as to proclaim that the president of Ukraine 
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has Jewish ancestry) and his countrymen are "nazi's". 

 In 2008, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev announced the deployment to Kaliningrad of Iskander surface to surface missiles, in response to the US ballistic missile defense program (while conveniently ignoring their own tactical and strategic ABM capabilities). 

  Russian forces currently have approximately 1800 tactical nuclear weapons to include surface to surface rockets, short range ballistic missiles, ground launched cruise missiles, tactical nuclear bombs, nuclear depth bombs, nuclear torpedoes, nuclear armed anti-submarine rockets, surface to air missiles, and air to surface missiles operationally deployed on Russian soil, in Kaliningrad, and on warships in the Northern and Pacific fleets (the US has no nuclear weapons on surface ships).

  What Vladimir Putin has guaranteed is a future re-deployment of US tactical nuclear weapons systems to NATO.

Suggested reading-

"NATO Says Russian Missile Deployment Threatens Arms-Control Efforts" by Ahto Lobjakas, 6 November 2008. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Missile Defense Agency countries, radars, systems, and deployment-

Background information on BMD systems-

"Russia’s Nuclear Weapons: Doctrine, Forces, and Modernization" Updated January 2, 2020 by Congressional Research Service. Links to pdf.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Facts Check Please. "National Interest" Gets It Wrong.

Facts Check Please. "National Interest" Gets It Wrong.

Copyright 2021 by Michael H. Maggelet

A recent article in the "National Interest" website entitled "Missing in Action: Six of America's Nuclear Weapons Are Unaccounted For" (April 18, 2021) is rife with errors. Not surprisingly, the article has been copied and the disinformation spread on the web on various websites. 

Let's take a look at some of the claims versus the facts. Many of the claims are partially extracted from the 1977 and 1980 DOD accident list, with some disinformation thrown in by the "Center for Defense Information" and others over the decades.

Claim- "February 13, 1950- The longest missing nuclear weapon hasn't been seen in 71 years, and it is unlikely it will be found anytime soon.

It was lost when the crew of a United States Air Force Convair B-36 bomber was conducting a mock nuclear strike and was en route from Eielson Air Force Base (AFB), Alaska to Carswell AFB, Texas, when it developed engine trouble. Not wanting to have a crash with a nuclear warhead, the crew was ordered to drop its 30-kiloton Mark 4 (Fat Man) bomb into the Pacific Ocean.

According to the "official" report, the bomb didn't contain the plutonium core necessary for a nuclear detonation, but it still contained a substantial amount of uranium."

In the case of the February 13, 1950 accident, the Mk 4 bomb was intentionally jettisoned due to an in-flight emergency, and set for an airburst. The aircraft did not have a nuclear capsule on board, and only a lead (Pb) training capsule was installed in the bomb. Only the bomb's high explosive content detonated (a nuclear detonation was not possible), and the depleted uranium content could not produce any nuclear detonation (and was vaporized in the HE detonation).

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Claim- "March 10, 1956- Six years after losing the first bomb, two nuclear cores were lost when a B-47 bomber likely crashed in the Mediterranean Sea while en route from MacDill AFB, Florida to Ben Guerir Air Base, Morocco. The aircraft had successfully completed its first aerial refueling, but it failed to make contact with a tanker for a second refueling and was reported missing. 

The exact weapon wasn't disclosed, but the B-47 typically carried the 3,400-kilogram Mark 15 nuclear bomb. No trace of the plane nor the cores has ever been found."

Facts- There was no nuclear bomb aboard the aircraft, only two capsules of nuclear material stored in "birdcages". This information is rather evident if one actually bothers to read the official DOD narratives-

March 10, 1956 / B-47 / Mediterranean Sea

The aircraft was one of a flight of four scheduled for non-stop deployment from MacDill AFB to an overseas air base. Take-off from MacDill and first re-fueling were normal. The second refueling point was over the Mediterranean Sea. In preparation for this, the flight penetrated solid cloud formation to descend to the refueling level of 14,000 feet. Base of the clouds was 14,500 feet and visibility was poor. The aircraft, carrying two nuclear capsules in carrying cases, never made contact with the tanker.

An extensive search failed to locate any traces of the missing aircraft or crew. No weapons were aboard the aircraft, only two capsules of nuclear weapons material in carrying cases. A nuclear detonation was not possible.

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Claim- "February 5, 1958- During a simulated combat mission near Savannah, Georgia, another Air Force B-47 bomber carrying a Mk 15 weapon collided with an F-86. After multiple attempts to land, the bomber crew was given the green light to jettison the bomb to reduce weight, and also to ensure it wouldn't explode during an emergency landing. The bomb, which was dropped over the Wassaw Sound near the mouth of the Savannah River, wasn't recovered."

Facts- In actuality, an F-86 collided with the B-47. The Mk 15 Mod 0 bomb aboard the B-47 did not contain a nuclear capsule, and a lead training capsule was stored in the cockpit (nor could it be installed into the bomb unless downloaded from the aircraft). The aircrew did not attempt to land with the bomb aboard, it was intentionally jettisoned before landing.
The bomb was jettisoned off Wassaw Sound and has not been recovered. It cannot explode in a nuclear manner since it does not contain a nuclear capsule for the primary.

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Claim- "January 24, 1961- Somewhere near Goldsboro, North Carolina, a uranium core is likely buried in a field. It had been one of the cores for a pair of 24-megaton nuclear bombs that were on a B-52 that crashed shortly after takeoff. What is especially unsettling about this incident is that three of the four arming mechanisms on the bomb that was recovered had been activated.

The second bomb's tail was discovered 20 feet below ground in the muddy field, and when efforts to find the core failed to uncover it, the military did the next best thing. The United States Army Corps of Engineers purchased a 400-foot circular easement over the buried components to restrict digging."

Facts- There is no "uranium core" buried in any field in North Carolina. What is missing was the secondary from bomb two, which contains uranium (detailed in the 1977 DOD "Narrative Summaries of Accidents Involving US Nuclear Weapons, 1950-1980"). 

The bomb yields were not 24 megatons, they were approximately 3.8 megatons each, and due to safety mechanisms (two electrical ready/safe switches in each weapon), they were not pre-armed nor armed, and they could not have produced a nuclear detonation under the circumstances. 

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Claim- December 5, 1965- "Somehow an A-4E Skyhawk attack aircraft, loaded with a one-megaton thermonuclear weapon, managed to roll off the deck of the USS Ticonderoga and fell into the Pacific Ocean. The pilot, plane and bomb quickly sank in 16,000 feet of water and were never seen again. 

However, it wasn't until 15 years later that the U.S. Navy even admitted the accident had taken place, and only noted it happened 500 miles from land. However, that wasn't true – as the carrier was about 80 miles from Japan's Ryuki island chain. As a result of that accident, the Japanese government now prohibits the United States from bringing nuclear weapons into its territory."

Facts- The A-4 did roll off the deck of the USS Ticonderoga, incidentally after crewmen attempted to stop it with chocks. The accident was acknowledged in the 1977 DOD "Narrative Summaries of Nuclear Weapons Accidents". The locations of many overseas accidents were classified due to agreements with the host nation, and to prevent retrieval by hostile nations. 

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Claim- "Spring 1968- The final bomb to be lost and not recovered occurred sometime in the first half of 1968, and involved the loss of the U.S. Navy's nuclear attack submarine USS Scorpion, which sank about 400 miles to the southwest of the Azores Islands. In addition to the tragic loss of the 99 crewmembers, the submarine was carrying a pair of nuclear-tipped weapons, which had yields of up to 250 kilotons.

While this should be as scary as suggested, the good news is that in the past 50 plus years, no other nuclear weapons have been lost – at least that we know of."

Facts- The USS Scorpion was carrying two Mk 45 ASTOR torpedoes with W34 Mod 3 nuclear warheads. While the yield remains classified, it certainly was not 250 kilotons. There is no evidence that the sub was sunk by any torpedo or hostile action, and the two nuclear armed torpedoes remain inside the sub's hull.
The author ignores the loss of Soviet nuclear weapons on submarines in various accidents, not to mention the grounding of a nuclear armed Soviet sub in Swedish waters in 1981.

For more information on the facts surrounding US and Soviet nuclear weapon incidents and accidents, please purchase the books by Michael H. Maggelet and the late James Oskins.