Desert Rock exercises

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Aerial view of Camp Desert Rock.

Desert Rock was the code name of a series of exercises conducted by the US military in conjunction with atmospheric nuclear tests. They were carried out at the Nevada Proving Grounds between 1951 and 1957.

Their purpose was to train troops and gain knowledge of military maneuvers and operations on the nuclear battlefield. They included observer programs, tactical maneuvers, and damage effects tests.

Camp Desert Rock was established in 1951, 1.5 miles south of Camp Mercury. The site was used to billet troops and stage equipment. The camp was discontinued as an Army installation in 1964.

Summary[edit]

Exercise Nuclear Test Series Date Total DoD Participants Tactical Maneuver Personnel
Desert Rock I, II, III[1] Operation Buster-Jangle 22 Oct. - 22 Nov. 1951 11,000 6,500
Desert Rock IV[2] Operation Tumbler-Snapper 1 Apr. - 5 Jun. 1952 11,700 7,400
Desert Rock V[3] Operation Upshot-Knothole 17 Mar. - 4 Jun. 1953 20,100
Desert Rock VI[4] Operation Teapot 18 Feb. - 15 May 1955 11,700 8,000
Desert Rock VII, VIII[5] Operation Plumbbob 24 Apr. - 7 Oct. 1957 14,000
Desert Rock I - Buster-Jangle Dog - November 1, 1951.
Desert Rock IV - Tumbler-Snapper George - June 1, 1952.

Desert Rock I, II, III[edit]

Observer programs were conducted at shots Dog, Sugar, and Uncle. Tactical maneuvers were conducted after shot Dog. Damage effects tests were conducted at shots Dog, Sugar, and Uncle to determine the effects of a nuclear detonation on military equipment and field fortifications.

Desert Rock IV[edit]

Observer programs were conducted at shots Charlie, Dog, Fox, and George. Tactical maneuvers were conducted after shots Charlie, Dog, and George. Psychological tests were conducted at shots Charlie, Fox, and George to determine the troops' reactions to witnessing a nuclear detonation.

Desert Rock V[edit]

Exercise Desert Rock V included troop orientation and training, a volunteer officer observer program, tactical troop maneuvers, operational helicopter tests, and damage effects evaluation.

Desert Rock VI[edit]

Observer programs were conducted at shots Wasp, Moth, Tesla, Turk, Bee, Ess, Apple 1, and Apple 2. Tactical maneuvers were conducted after shots Bee and Apple 2. Technical studies were conducted at shots Wasp, Moth, Tesla, Turk, Bee, Ess, Apple 1, Wasp Prime, Met, and Apple 2.

A test of an armored task force, RAZOR, was conducted at shot Apple 2 to demonstrate the capability of a reinforced tank battalion to seize an objective immediately after a nuclear detonation.

Desert Rock VII, VIII[edit]

Tactical maneuvers were conducted after shots Hood, Smoky, and Galileo. At shot Hood, the Marine Corps conducted a maneuver involving the use of a helicopter airlift and tactical air support. At shot Smoky, Army troops conducted an airlift assault, and at shot Galileo, Army troops were tested to determine their psychological reactions to witnessing a nuclear detonation.

See also[edit]

Totskoye nuclear exercise of 1954, a somewhat comparable series of Soviet exercises, although with fewer radiation safeguards present.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Operation BUSTER-JANGLE Fact Sheet, Defense Threat Reduction Agency
  2. ^ Operation TUMBLER-SNAPPER Fact Sheet, Defense Threat Reduction Agency
  3. ^ Operation UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE Fact Sheet, Defense Threat Reduction Agency
  4. ^ Operation TEAPOT Fact Sheet, Defense Threat Reduction Agency
  5. ^ Operation PLUMBBOB Fact Sheet, Defense Threat Reduction Agency

External links[edit]