The explosion “evaporated” the ship: how Britain’s first nuclear tests took place


Great Britain conducted its first nuclear tests on October 3, 1952. The nuclear device was placed on board a frigate anchored near the Montebela Islands.

It is worth noting that the choice in favor of the ship as a nuclear charge carrier was not made by chance.

Firstly, the British at that time did not have aircraft that could take on board such a large and heavy device.

Secondly, the British military command wanted to test in practice what a nuclear bomb could do to warships and port infrastructure, as they feared an attack from the USSR.

As for the design of the first British atomic bomb, in this regard it was very reminiscent of the “Fat Man” that the United States dropped on Nagasaki. The only difference was the levitating core between the plutonium charge and the shell, which significantly increased the power of the explosion.

On the day of testing, the ship with the bomb anchored between two islands. The distance to land was approximately 400 meters. The depth of the sea in this place reached 12 meters.

The tests took place at 8:00 local time. However, for some reason the explosion occurred 36 seconds earlier than planned.

Meanwhile, the outcome of the operation greatly surprised the military. The fact is that as a result of the explosion, the carrier frigate practically evaporated. Only a few pieces of melted metal rose into the air, and then fell onto the shore and set fire to dry vegetation.

Moreover, despite the fact that the ship anchored in an area where the sea depth reached 12 meters, a crater with a diameter of 300 meters and a depth of 6 meters was formed at the bottom after the explosion.

The operation, called Operation Hurricane, made Great Britain the third country after the United States and the Soviet Union to possess nuclear weapons.

1 comment
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. -2
    9 June 2024 09: 19
    So it seems that when a ship with ordinary explosives exploded somewhere in a port, it also evaporated.
    Life is everyday.
    And the Medvedevs and Simonyans are fans of nuclear weapons, they are far from such ships..