Elite Cold War Soldiers Light-Weight Nuclear Weapons in Backpacks

News Track India reported on February 2nd that the US carried light weight nuclear weapons in their backpacks during the Cold War.

The US and the Soviet Union ran deep into the Cold War, twenty years after the Second World War had ended. It lead to heightened tension between the two nations.

The Verge alleges that the Soviets had a larger supply of conventional weaponry than the United States; whereas the States had much more advanced nuclear power. Due to US President, Dwight Eisenhower’s “New Look” policy for security, all forms of aggression displayed by the Soviets were to be met with a “massive retaliation”. What this meant was there would be a quick nuclear response—regardless of the massive amount of fatalities that would occur on both sides.

In an effort to reduce the potential of lives lost, the US military engineers created tactical nuclear weaponry that could strategically destroy the enemy infrastructure without millions of innocent lives being lost.

This action led to the Special Atomic Demolition Munition to be created. These SADM units were “light weight” nuclear weapons that elite Special Force units could carry into battle; either by parachute, on foot, or even while skiing.

The soldiers who were trained to carry out these missions were put into severe danger, just to ensure that the weapon would get to the intended target. The project was very ambitious, but ultimately scrapped. The SADMs never made it into battle.


Evette Champion

Evette Champion is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE