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27 September 2006
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In the late 1950s the US deployed a bewildering range of tactical nuclear weapons in Western Europe.
The US Army had its spectacular 280mm atomic cannon mounted between two trucks. It then had smaller 8" warheads for the M115 howitzer which were made available to the UK and other NATO allies.
The Nike Hercules SAM deployed widely in NATO, S Korea, Japan and Formosa (Taiwan) had a nuclear warhead too.
Then came a slew of missiles in order of range.
Lacrosse (Canada too)
Little John (trailer mounted for Airborne Divs)
Honest John (also to UK, France and other NATO allies)
Corporal (also UK)

There were also small (SADM) and medium sized (MADM) atomic demolition munitions in US units.

US nuclear bombs and depth charges were available as well to UK and other allies.

The USAF operated the MACE cruise missile at bases in W Germany and Okinawa.

In the 1960s.the Sergeant system replaced Corporal in US units in W Germany and Italy. Only W German Army units received them too.
The Pershing 1 replaced Mace in W Germany and was also supplied to the W German Air Force.

In the 1970s Lance replaced Honest John except in Greece and Turkey (France replaced it with Pluton).

Shells were also available for 155mm guns.

There were some unusual features of the deployments.

Redstone was offered to UK but only Corporal was taken up.

W Germany accepted Sergeant where UK and others opted to wait for Lance.

Matador/Mace were offered to W Germany but only Pershing 1 taken up. UK not offered?

GLCM and Pershing II were designed to hit targets in USSR so were classed as operational theatre or intermediate nuclear weapons. Like the Thor(deployed by RAF in UK) and Jupiter (based in Italy and Turkey) these were removed by agreement with the USSR that realised how vulnerable it made them.

Finally there was the Davy Crockett. A very short range recoiless mortar bomb carried on a jeep or an M113. W German Defence Minister Strauss wanted these for the Bundeswehr. They hung around in US Army service through the 1960s.

There were persistent but false rumours that Crockett and Little John had found their way to S Vietnam with parent units.
In October 1958, the Canadian government did announce it would acquire a dozen Martin M4 Lacrosse short range missiles for use in West Germany. It ditched that purchase in March 1960 for a variety of reasons. In any any event, the overly complex Lacrosse was not quite up to snuff when it was declared operational, in mid 1959. Indeed, it was taken out of active service in February 1964, for reasons of obsoleteness – a record for short-liveness as far as American nuclear tipped missiles are concerned.

The following chatty texts on the Douglas M31 and M50, later MGR-1, Honest John may perhaps be of interest.


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