In past posts to this blog, I’ve discussed suitcase nukes, loose nukes, dirty bombs, and various types of nuclear weapons. In this post, I’m going to discuss a class of nuclear weapons that have been in existence approximately 70 years, but they are rarely talked about. They are called tactical “mini-nukes” that can be fired from artillery cannons and even weapons as small as mortars/recoilless rifles. I’m sure all are familiar with artillery shells, mortars and recoilless rifles for battlefield use, but how many people realize that these weapons can be used to fire very small tactical nuclear warheads? How many people realize that such weapons are easy to make, and that they were deployed decades ago and may still be in the arsenals of a variety of modern nations?

After World War II, the USA developed very small nuclear warheads that could be fired from artillery pieces. The first one was developed in the 1950s and it was called the “Atomic Annie” (first link and second link). Reportedly, it was in the US arsenal until 1963 when it was replaced by the “Long Tom” artillery piece. Supposedly, this nuclear cannon was retired from American service in 1992 after being deployed since 1963. The USA was hardly the only nation which developed this very small tactical nuclear weapon. If you scroll down in the above links, you will see that such small battlefield nukes for artillery use were/are in the weapons inventories of Russia, Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Japan. If they could be built in the 1950s-60s, it is obvious that any nation with some reasonable level of technology can also make them today.

Periodically, there are reports that Russia has threatened to use tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine in Russia’s war upon that nation. It may be that Russia was referring to possibly using such mini-nukes on the battlefield vs. Ukrainian army units. I haven’t heard of any such Russian threats for some time. Could it be that some Western nations, in order to deter any Russian use of such mini-nukes, transferred some nuclear artillery units to Ukraine so that Ukraine could quickly use them vs. Russian army units if Russia used them against the Ukrainian military?

Also after World War II, the USA developed what was called the “Davy Crockett” heavy mortar or recoilless rifle which could fire a very small nuclear warhead in a tactical situation. The Davy Crockett was deployed in the early 1960s and retired from service in 1971 (third link). Again, the obvious question is, were all the warheads destroyed or were they placed in warehouses for long-term storage? Such tiny nukes could be sold on the black market for a lot of money. Since Russia apparently had them before the USSR broke up, were any such mini-nukes sold on black markets anywhere in the world at that time? Since they are not hard to build, any nation with a good high-tech industrial base could build and secretly deploy them. Keep in mind that these are small, tactical nukes that are not weapons of mass-destruction. In view of that fact, many nations may have them in inventory already since they would not presumably be forbidden by any nuclear non-proliferation treaty terminologies.

Personally, I doubt if the USA was so dumb that it retired and destroyed its inventory of mini-nuke weapons. Unless a treaty required their destruction, it would be wise to keep them available for use. If any other nations still have them in their inventory, the USA needs them too. These weapons are so small that they could easily be concealed and smuggled into almost any area for use as a terrorist weapon. You can’t “fire” these warheads without the artillery piece designed to fire them, but there must be any number of ways terrorists or infantry forces could rig a detonation system with a timer and affix it to these small nuclear warheads. In addition to the above-named nations which had these weapons, such nations as South Korea, Taiwan, India, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, many NATO nations, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Australia, etc. could almost surely produce such tactical weapons or could do so very quickly. All you need is a small amount of nuclear material to use in the warhead of such weaponry. Iran is reportedly very close to having enough nuclear material to build a nuclear weapon (fourth link). Perhaps Iran intends to mount very small nuclear warheads on cruise missiles or suicide drones and fire them at Israel from bases in Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon or in Syria. Terrorist forces could even conceal launchers for firing these weapons inside old merchant ships and fire them at a port city as they approach its unloading piers. Maybe they have already been smuggled across the unguarded US southern border for use vs. American targets in either a terrorist attack or in a future war with China, Iran or Russia. I’m sure you can think of all kinds of scenarios where these tiny nuclear warheads could be used either by terrorists or national armies. They would be very effective in the conduct or a “false flag” operation too.

There are many nations which could consider building a lot of these small mini-nukes to defend themselves vs larger nations. The technology has obviously been around since the 1950s/60s. It seems that while many nations could currently build them, all nations have agreed to not talk about them and pretend they don’t exist..

The Bible warned that “perilous times would come” in the latter days of our age (II Timothy 3:1). Add mini-nukes to the list of possible perils that could be unleashed in the times ahead of us.