T-12 Cloudmaker

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The T-12 (also known as Cloudmaker) earthquake bomb was developed by the United States from 1944 to 1948 and deployed until the withdrawal of the Convair B-36 Peacemaker bomber aircraft in 1958. It was one of a small class of bombs designed to attack targets invulnerable to conventional "soft" bombs, such as bunkers and viaducts. It achieved this by having an extremely thick, hardened nose section designed to penetrate deeply into hardened concrete structures and then detonate inside the target after a short time delay.


The T-12 was a further development of the concept initiated with the United Kingdom's Tallboy and Grand Slam weapons developed by British aeronautical engineer Barnes Wallis during the Second World War: a hardened, highly aerodynamic bomb of the greatest possible weight designed to be dropped from the highest possible altitude. Penetrating deeply in the earth before exploding, the resulting shock wave was transmitted through the earth into targets. The resulting underground cavity and ground motion[1] could also undermine structures. The bomb could also be used against hardened targets. These types of bombs can reach supersonic speeds and have tail fins designed to spin the bomb for greater accuracy.

Originally designed to meet a 42,000 lb (19,000 kg) target weight (the maximum payload for the Convair B-36 "Peacemaker" bomber), with its hardened case was slightly less than 43,000 lb (19,500 kg). The final T-12 weighed 43,600 lb (19,800 kg). This was twice the size of the United States' previous largest bomb, the 22,000 lb (10,000 kg) M110 (T-14), the American-built version of the British Grand Slam. The T-12 was not a simple scale up of the M110, but incorporated modifications based on testing and calculations. The B-36 was redesigned so it could carry the T-12, although a converted B-29 Superfortress was used for testing.

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  1. ^ Li, J.C.; Ma, G.W. (19 May 2010). "An analytical study to predict underground explosion-induced ground motion". In Zhao, Jian; Labiouse, Vincent; Dudt, Jean-Paul; Mathier, Jean-Francois (eds.). Rock Mechanics in Civil and Environmental Engineering. CRC Press. p. 305. ISBN 978-0-203-84069-6. Retrieved 27 April 2017.

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