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The Cold War

Urban Decay > The Cold War

The cold war circus

For me the cold war was something I had to live with during the 70's and 80's. Although relations between the U.S and Russians  were twitchy way before this, I have clear memories of the anxiety felt by many people during the period.
The politics of the time was irrelevant for many people; the all pervading fear of course was the threat of a nuclear war.  This was exacerbated by numerous films such as the chilling threads made by the BBC which was immediately banned) as well as the day after

The British government started a series of short public films entitled protect and survive.  A booklet of the same name was available to every household in the U.K explaining what to do in the event of a nuclear strike. Most people considered the contents of the films and literature as a farce which only made things worse.
As luck prevailed the threat of a Soviet nuclear war gradually receded, the Berlin wall came down and the United Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) was dismantled. The SALT 2 treaty and nuclear non proliferation agreements were put in place which I am sure have all helped us get to this current point in time with only 2 nuclear devices being used in anger during the 1940's against the Japanese at Hiroshima and Nagasaki

In the information below I have started to visit ( as a civilian ) and document some of the places, the hardware and literature from this period.

Fort Sill Air Defense Artillery Museum
Lawton, Oklahoma - United States

Fort Sill, Oklahoma is a United States Army post north of Lawton, Oklahoma, about 85 miles southwest of Oklahoma City and I was fortunate enough to visit in August 2017.
Fort Sill remains the only active Army installation of all the forts on the Southern Plains built during the Indian Wars. It is designated as a National Historic Landmark and serves as home of the United States Army Field Artillery School as well as the Marine Corps' site for Field Artillery MOS school, United States Army Air Defense Artillery School, the 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade, and the 75th Fires Brigade. Fort Sill is also one of the four locations for Army Basic Combat Training. It has played a significant role in every major American conflict since 1869.

Titan II nuclear missile complex  571 - 1
Sahuarita - Arizona

I visited the Titan II missile museum in Sahuarita, Arizona during October 2011 and consider it a very sobering experience. The missile itself is 103 feet in length and would carry a type W53 nuke with a 9 Megaton yield. Access to the control room is through a set of 3 ton blast doors with a tunnel through to the 8 level missile silo, the building is constructed from steel reinforced concrete up to 8 feet thick. The silo became operational in 1963 and was deactivated in 1982 due to a weapons modernization program NOT an arms reduction treaty.
54 of these missile silos were in use during this period but the unique nature of this particular site is that all the original equipment is intact. Please note this is the LGM - 25C two stage ICBM version of the missile and not the 23 B space launch vehicle
The museum is run by the Arizona Aerospace Foundation

click on a thumbnail for a hi res photos

National Atomic Museum - Albuquerque, New Mexico

I visited here during September 2009 and found an astonishing collection of hardware. As the museum is so close to Kirtland Air force base  (home to the air force Nuclear Weapons centre), they have access to some remarkable hardware from this period.
Perhaps my favourite part is "Heritage Park", a 5 acre park containing planes, rockets, cannons and missiles.

If you have a look through the photos below, I have tried to fit a short description of each one

click on a thumbnail for a hi res photos

White Sands Missile Park - Alamogordo New Mexico

White Sands missile range covers almost 3,200 miles of Southern New Mexico and has hosted such landmark events as the Trinity atomic bomb explosion in 1945 and the landing of the Space Shuttle "Columbia" in 1982.
I visited the site during October 2011 and found the contents of the missile park completely fascinating. Below are some of the photos I took during several hours spent at the base.

Here is a link to the official home page

click on a thumbnail for a hi res photos

Museum of Space History - Alamogordo New Mexico

This place has a superb collection of items related to space flight and contains various rockets and missiles as well as the "daisy track".

click on a thumbnail for a hi res photos

Nike Missile Defence Area - M 74
Waukesha - Milwaukee  (I took these photos in August 2011)

The Nike nuclear missile installations were the worlds first successful guided surface to air missile system. They represented a final continental U.S defence in the event long range soviet bombers made it through the air force fighter-interceptor aircraft.

A typical installation comprised of an Integrated Fire Control area and the Launcher area where the underground missiles could be launched. These "Ajax" missiles were rapidly upgraded to the "Hercules" series which were a far more capable missile loaded with the "W-31" thermonuclear  warhead in 3, 20 and 30 kiloton varieties.
These missile systems are still in operation today used by the armed forces of Italy, Greece, Turkey and South Korea.

You can find out some amazing information about the Nike missile program here http://www.techbastard.com/missile/nike/index.php

click on a thumbnail for a hi res photos

THOR ( Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile )

The pictures below include photos I took in Melton Mowbray this year while trying to get some info on these missiles. Not much remains here other than the huge blast shields serving to protect the launch crews. While on the ground the missile was kept in a hangar and permanantly fed power to keep the gyros in the inertial guidance system ready for firing and there were a number of umbilicals for system monitoring. Prior to firing, the missile was filled with Lox and Kerosene and the launch could start.

I have included some stills taken from a film called "trinity and beyond" for reference purposes only. This is the only footage I have come across. This film is available from www.vce.com and is highly recommended for further information.

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