Atmospheric Nuclear Detonation - Baker
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Baker
Mushroom Cloud Gallery - Baker
Test:Baker; Date:July 24 1946;
Operation:Crossroads;
Site:Bikini Atoll lagoon, Marshall Islands;
Detonation:Underwater, depth - 90ft(27.5m);
Yield:23kt; Type:Fission;

   Second test in the Crossroads operation and the 5th nuclear explosion in the mankind's history. Baker was the continuation of the study of the nuclear weapon effects on the naval vessels and personnel. At this time the Mk 3A fission bomb ("Model 1561", basically the Fat Man) bomb has been detonated underwater. The bomb has been encased in a watertight shell and placed beneath the landing ship LSM-60. LSM-60 itself has been placed approximately in the center of the target fleet which consisted of 71 vessels. Closest to the device was the aircraft Carrier USS Saratoga. To study the effects of the heat, blast and radiation numerous lab. animals, plants and even biological warfare agents were brought in and placed on the target ships.
    For the reference, the first test in this series, Able was an Airburst at the altitude of 520ft (160 m). Even though the devices used in the two consecutive explosions were identical the results were significantly different. Baker dished out a tremendous punishment, even compared to Able.
    Eight ships were sunk or capsized: USS Saratoga, USS Arkansas, the submarines USS Apogon and USS Pilotfish, the Nagato, LSM-60, the concrete dry dock ARDC-13, and the barge YO-160. Eight more vessels were severely damaged.
    The explosion lifted several million tons of water in the air. In its apogee the water column was 2000ft(600m) high with walls 300ft(100m) thick. Obviously the explosion generated huge waves in the ocean. Aircraft carrier USS Saratoga's stern was rising 43ft(13.5m)! above the surface, on the crest of the first wave.
    The entire lagoon has been contaminated with radioactive particles. Matter of fact, for the first 24 hours after Baker detonation the radiation levels were lethal, and remained very dangerous for the next week. This effect has not been anticipated, and eventually President Truman called off the third deep underwater test codenamed Charlie.

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