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Orange Herald - Fusion Bomb ?

Hood

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Eric Grove is a well known and respected naval historian, but he does have a tendency to fall into rabbit holes.

He had this idea that the second Grapple test, which was Orange Herald, was a bluff to show the world the UK had a fusion weapon. I remember him valiantly trying to defend this thesis in a presentation which included Lorna Arnold and a former Director of AWRE in the audience.
I seem to remember a Channel 4 documentary along the same lines about a decade ago which featured this argument and Grove.
 

kaiserd

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I vaguely remember something about this - was his argument that it wasn’t a “true” fusion H-bomb and/or that it’s yield have been significantly exaggerated?
My understanding is that it is now generally excepted that it wasn’t a true fusion H-bomber and that there was at least a degree of bluff going on.
 

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The second Grapple test was of a device codenamed Orange Herald, which was intended as the warhead for Blue Streak. The weight of any warhead for Blue Streak was critical in terms of the range of the missile, and at the time the missile was being designed, there was no suitable fusion warhead available.
Orange Herald was an immense fission bomb employing several critical masses of U 235. However, the British government were hardly likely to release details of nuclear weapons under test. It was never claimed that this was a fusion device, but that it was a device in the megaton range. However, if people assumed as a consequence that it was a fusion device, the government were hardly likely to deny it.
A reduced version of Orange Herald went into service briefly in the RAF as Violet Club. As a safety device, several hundred pounds of ballbearings were contained in a rubber bag in the centre of the device. A plug had to be pulled out to release the ballbearings before the bomb could be armed!

It does seem that the idea of defining the warhead in 1957 for a missile which would come into service before around 1964 wasn't very clever, but it is easy to criticise in retrospect.
 

Hood

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Danger of thread derailment here, but here is probably the start of Grove's tentative thesis, at a time when details on the nuclear programme were still hazy and under wraps: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v14/n20/norman-dombey/britains-thermonuclear-bluff

Whether the press simply got the wrong end of the stick or were steered into printing what they did by the government (assuming government input given the D-notice arrangements) is open to speculation unless anyone has found any smoking guns in the Cabinet papers at Kew.
 

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Chaps this is such an interesting subject that it really deserves to be a separate thread. Could you move the contributions with a link, as the original post about Prof Grove does belong here, with CNH's comment to me and a link to the new thread
 
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CNH

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Danger of thread derailment here, but here is probably the start of Grove's tentative thesis, at a time when details on the nuclear programme were still hazy and under wraps: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v14/n20/norman-dombey/britains-thermonuclear-bluff

Whether the press simply got the wrong end of the stick or were steered into printing what they did by the government (assuming government input given the D-notice arrangements) is open to speculation unless anyone has found any smoking guns in the Cabinet papers at Kew.
 

CNH

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My own opinion – and I cannot back it up in detail, since 'conspiracy' theories are difficult to rebut – is that the test of Orange Herald was designed to prove the design of the warhead for Blue Streak.
The test proved a considerable success, but the UK government was hardly going to divulge details of the warheads under test.
At that time, the tests of fusion weapons were not going as well. However, later in the year, successful fusion designs were tested.
Grove and Domedy, not knowing the reasons for this test, have suggested that it was some sort of bluff, intended to show that the UK had got a feasible design for a fusion weapon. However, this is because they did not know the rationale behind the test of Orange Herald, which would not be revealed until several decades later.
This is now an myth which should be put to rest.
 

JFC Fuller

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I think Lorna Arnold sums this up perfectly:

As for Orange Herald, it was not a failed H-bomb; and never had any pretensions of being a H-bomb. It was a huge fission bomb, only slightly boosted, that could be relied on to give a very big explosion.
As for the bluff theory, my view is it is destroyed by the fact that (as CNH states) Orange Herald was intended as the Blue Streak warhead and therefore testing it was entirely logical. More importantly, there appears to be no evidence that the government, specifically and most importantly Macmillan, ever attempted to claim to the Americans or anyone else in official circles that it was a fusion weapon. Additionally, even prior to the 1958 US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement there was close cooperation between the two countries, US observers were present at many of the Grapple tests and there was significant data exchange between the two sides, it is therefore very hard to imagine how any "bluff" could have been pulled off even it one had been intended. Finally, Grapple X and Y demonstrated working fusion devices just a matter of months later anyway so it would have been a pointless exercise to fake one earlier.

As for the Dombey-Grove article in the LRB, I just did a quick scan and one thing immediately stuck out (emphasis mine):
Mark recalls, however, that the British, who had no computers at Aldermaston to speak of, unveiled a spherical secondary.
This is flat out untrue, in 1957 Aldermaston had the only IBM 700 series installation in Europe and this had supplemented earlier systems, a Ferranti Mk.1* and an English Electric DEUCE that had been installed in 1954 and 1956 respectively. This was publicly available information in 1992, and had been reported in various journals in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
 
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Zootycoon

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According to “Britain and the H Bomb” by Lorna Arnold, it was not a fusion weapon, it was fission weapon with a very thin walled levitated core of several critical masses. It may have been core boosted but she’s s a little ambiguous. It was considered to be a very dangerous and risky weapon for the test team to handle.

The question of it being a bluff aimed at the US she considered is a nonsense as they could easily tell from cloud sampling even a good number of days after the test what was going on in the core.
 

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There was one 500kT fission bomb that was intended as a bluff, but after that followed Grapple X and Y, of 1.8MT and 3.7MT yield respectively. Most of the yield of X still came from fission but that was typical of early early trial H-bomb tests. Grapple Y however produced most of its power from fusion.
 

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A Jan 57 Air Ministry description of Orange Herald describes two candidate rounds for Grapple. Orange Herald Small was 30in in diameter, 2,200lb in weight, had 32 circular lenses, an inner core of 7.5kg of U235 surrounded by 110kg of "U.235 and light elements" (annotated "Lithium 6"). Inner core suspend on six spigots. Orange Herald Large was similar but 37in diameter, and used a Blue Danube implosion system. Another Air Ministry document describes the Orange Herald as dropped at Grapple: mentions the External Neutron Initiation system and a safety system comprising two "rabbit" neutron sources which were withdrawn in-flight prior to bomb release. It didn't have a steel ball protection system, the AWRE were apparently still working on that .

Most of the documents I've seen suggest (to me anyway) that OH was a back-stop warhead for Blue Streak, in the absence of a Granite-type fusion warhead. Have not seen anything to suggest it was intended as a bluff.
 

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From Britain and the H bomb page 147;-

Following Grapple test “Orange Herald”

“The yield of Orange Herald (small) was estimated at 700-800kt, a record for pure fission weapon. But it was uncertain if there had been any boosting effects at all.......It was very close to Corner’s estimate for an unboosted yield..... the WDPC thought the boosting had failed”

Corner (John) was the theoretical physicist in charge of weapons design.

WDPC - Weapons Development Policy Committee
 
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RanulfC

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Would the 'bluff' be run towards the American's or the real "enemy" at the time the USSR?

The nuclear "back-and-forth" between the sides during the Cold War was rather odd at times. I recall when stationed in Italy during the mid-80s reading an small article on the front page of the Stars-and-Stripes on an incident at a Physics conference in New York early that month. It seems a Soviet Nuclear Physicists was removed from the conference during his presentation when security was alerted to his formula on the provided white board. The board was confiscated and he was escorted to the airport where he was met with his bags and the Soviet ambassador. (Who had checked him out of his hotel room earlier that morning… The conference still had two days to go) He was put on a waiting Aeroflot flight which departed immediately. All strange enough but the article went on to specify that the board had the starting of the process to initiate a gigaton explosion which I thought at the time was an odd thing to mention let alone the rest of the article. The cited ‘source’ of the original article was a small New York paper that I could never find and it was ONLY published there and in the European Stars-and-Stripes. Pretty much everyone knew the Soviets had access to the Stars-and-Stripes so it was rather obvious who the article was actually aimed at but it makes you wonder…

Randy
 

Hood

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The thesis was that it was a bluff for the Americans to convince them we could build a H-bomb so they would give us access again to their nuclear secrets.
Indeed that soon happened under Eisenhower, but I think the timing was coincidental rather than as the result of a clever ploy. This seemed to Grove et al to be confirmed by the fact that US designs soon supplanted our own, in that the US were determined to smother our own attempts. I don't think that we would have forked out millions on multiple warhead designs just as a gambit to get US secrets. This seemed to Grove et al to be confirmed by the fact that US designs soon supplanted our own, in that the US were determined to smother our own attempts.
 

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The reason why the UK did not proceed any further with its own fusion weapon designs – the Granite designs – was that it would have meant a good deal more atmospheric testing at a time when this was becoming unacceptable. After the US/UK bilateral meetings, the UK was given the blueprints for a 1 megaton design. This was put into production in the UK without any further testing.

Later, the UK gained access to the US underground test sites, and was able to proceed with tests of devices indigenous to the UK. These concentrated mainly on the primary of the fusion weapon; in particular, what was referred to as the Super Octopus design. There were also issues with the explosive used in the US primaries; again, tests had to be done on devices which used explosives which were more acceptable to the Ordnance Board.
 

kaiserd

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I think “bluff” is perhaps not the right way to put this.
The “boosted” fission device was not really a sufficiently practical or efficient device to be made in anything but tiny numbers and was always going to be somewhat of a dead-end from an actual deterrence perspective.
Rather than actively deceiving the US it perhaps would be more accurately seen as an attempt to demonstrate credibility and intent to the US (and obviously other parties like the USSR) at a critical point in the nuclear relationship between the UK and the US, when an actual fusion weapon was not to hand.
 

JFC Fuller

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Rather than actively deceiving the US it perhaps would be more accurately seen as an attempt to demonstrate credibility and intent to the US (and obviously other parties like the USSR) at a critical point in the nuclear relationship between the UK and the US, when an actual fusion weapon was not to hand.
It was an attempt (ultimately abandoned unilaterally by the AWRE) to produce a warhead for Blue Streak, which is why the Operational Requirement for the Blue Streak warhead was written around the Orange Herald design.
 

kaiserd

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Rather than actively deceiving the US it perhaps would be more accurately seen as an attempt to demonstrate credibility and intent to the US (and obviously other parties like the USSR) at a critical point in the nuclear relationship between the UK and the US, when an actual fusion weapon was not to hand.
It was an attempt (ultimately abandoned unilaterally by the AWRE) to produce a warhead for Blue Streak, which is why the Operational Requirement for the Blue Streak warhead was written around the Orange Herald design.
From reading through various sources there still appears to be some murkiness around exactly what Orange Herald was (test device for Grapple tests necessarily exactly the same device intended for Blue Streak?, etc.)
There are also reports of it using up ALOT of fissile material (far more than would be practical for a weapon the UK could actually field in any numbers what so after) and for being blamed (accurately?) as a contributory factor to the Windscale nuclear accident.
And to give some context to some historians referring to British “bluffing” around the Grapple tests it should be noted this was more focused on UK claims of “megaton” weapons when the early Grapple tests were actually well short of that.
Again it is not that the US military and President wouldn’t have had a reasonably accurate idea of their true yield, it was that these exaggerated claims gave extra credibility to the UK in the eyes of a wider US audience (politicians, public etc.) when significant decisions re: the US & UK nuclear relationship were being considered, made and defended.
 

kaiserd

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Haven’t had a chance to do much research on the reliability of the site itself (not vouching for that) but there is at least a neat summary of the “bluff” perspective below.

 

JFC Fuller

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There isn't any murkiness, the archival evidence is clear that Orange Herald was the intended warhead for Blue Streak prior to AWRE switching to a 2 stage device. It was never intended as a "bluff" and nobody has ever found any evidence to suggest it was.

The confusion around the Grapple 1 shot is just that; an optimistic government jumping on early yield estimates then failing to correct the public story later. It is also irrelevant as Orange Herald delivered 0.72mt just 16 days later as a fission device and Grapple X produced 1.8mt just five months after that. Despite the grossly inaccurate use of the word "conspiracy" in the RUSI article the actual narrative, and far more importantly the archive documents shown, make the point perfectly; the government did not intend to mislead, the PM got carried away and announced inaccurate early yield estimates then failed to provide a correction, likely because politicians don't like saying sorry.
 
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kaiserd

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There are competing narratives in this regard (examples in the links below).
And while it is reasonable to be skeptical of claims that that the US military and high-level government were “duped” it is also rather one-eyed to assume (and to state it as incontrovertible fact?) that UK “ambiguity” around yields etc. was not intentional (and somehow related to individual politicians willingness or otherwise to say “sorry”, as claimed above?) as this “ambiguity” clearly served several useful purposes at that time.

And to be clear my comments above are not criticism of the UK government of the time or of the UK’s technical capabilities of the time.
This kind of “ambiguity” in issues of national security and nuclear weapons is hardly unique and was seen among many nations. And in historic retrospect we should try to understand them in context.




 
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Hood

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It was the arms race of the day, it was big news however the press played it. Britain wanted to keep its seat at the top table. Regardless of the yields of the real tests, the Megaton headlines did their bit in projecting Britain's power. The readers of the Daily Mail of a bowl of cornflakes could be safe in the knowledge we could scare off the other side, any casual reader anywhere else in the world would have expected nothing less from a Great Power. Headline hyperbole is hyperbole no matter what the story or year.
It suited the government, Macmillan was a shrewd man. So he may of gotten carried away but he knew sooner or later we would have a megaton bomb and correcting a public statement would have caused confusion and suspicion and there was no need to give details.
 

JFC Fuller

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There are competing narratives in this regard (examples in the links below).
And while it is reasonable to be skeptical of claims that that the US military and high-level government were “duped” it is also rather one-eyed to assume (and to state it as incontrovertible fact?) that UK “ambiguity” around yields etc. was not intentional (and somehow related to individual politicians willingness or otherwise to say “sorry”, as claimed above?) as this “ambiguity” clearly served several useful purposes at that time.
Yes, there are two competing narratives. There is the sensationalist narrative of dupe, bluff and conspiracy peddled by people incapable of properly using archive material (or even basic open source research in some cases) or of digesting the work of historians who have now spent decades working with said archive material. Then there is what actually happened, which has been adequately described in this thread, ultimately a very successful fusion weapons development programme even if it did take a few months longer than hoped.

And to be clear my comments above are not criticism of the UK government of the time or of the UK’s technical capabilities of the time.
This kind of “ambiguity” in issues of national security and nuclear weapons is hardly unique and was seen among many nations.
Lets make this simple, at the core of the dupe, bluff and conspiracy argument are two clams:

1) The UK government deliberately sought to mislead the world around the yield of the Grapple 1 test shot: You have already provided a link showing the actual cause of this confusion, inaccurate early yield estimates. Macmillan may not have gone out of his way to change the narrative when a more accurate figure was produced but there is no evidence that he actively sought to lie either.

2) Orange Herald was a bluff deliberately intended to trick the world into thinking the UK had a fusion device: no evidence for this has ever been found and it is directly contradicted by the extensive archive evidence showing that Orange Herald was specified for Blue Streak at the time.

If you want to claim that either of these are true you need to provide actual evidence, either archive documents, quotes from the handful of senior politicians or military personnel who would have been in a position to know or from the scientific community actually involved in the programme. In short, your original claim that "a degree of bluff [was] going on" in relation to Orange Herald currently has no evidence supporting it.
 
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CNH

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To the kaiserd:

I have looked at the references you have provided. Most of them are rather sensational newspaper articles which are pushing a certain political line.

I think Cathcart has been debunked now as someone who was within Aldermaston for a relatively short period of time, and had no real idea of the work done so far, and no real idea of the work done afterwards.

The idea that Macmillan "duped" the Americans is simply absurd. After the Grapple tests, the UK and the US entered into talks without any commitment. The British presented their designs for thermonuclear weapons. The Americans were impressed. The cooperation between the Americans and the British government on nuclear weapons had nothing at all to do with Orange Herald, but relied almost entirely on the work the British government had done on the Granite devices.

Orange Herald was a dead end, and had zero impact on the subsequent collaboration between the US and UK governments on atomic weapons.
 

kaiserd

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Why does so many discussions on this site descend into argumentative exchanges in which one party is trying to “win”?

I would agree with 90 plus percent CNH’s post above; I do think claims of willful (and successful) duping of the US are way over played and were always unlikely to be true.
I’d agree 100 percent with Hood’s post.

(Subsequent addition - the 2 paper articles from the early 90’s I included are somewhat sensationalist and take different perspectives but are from the same paper so I don’t think you can necessarily attribute the difference to some kind of political bias as the same paper should have the same consistent biases.)

However claims that there wasn’t at least some “creative ambiguity” re: the nature of the devices and their yield for the 1st 3 Grapple tests is equally pushing past the point of credibility.

So relating to JFC Fullers points above;

1)
there was a degree of misleading the world (but not the US) by the UK government re: the 1st three Grapple tests

2)
there was a degree of bluff re: Orange Herald (at least in terms of being taken from a test weapon to a practical production weapon) IF we believe reports of how much fissile material it used up (reports it was unsustainably large proportion of the UK’s annual production per weapon) and in relation to the very retrospective but now acknowledged aspects already discussed above re: not being a true fusion weapon.

I really don’t think any of that is even mildly controversial at this stage.
 
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JFC Fuller

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Why does so many discussions on this site descend into argumentative exchanges in which one party is trying to “win”?

1) there was a degree of misleading the world (but not the US) by the UK government re: the 1st three Grapple tests

2) there was a degree of bluff re: Orange Herald (at least in terms of being taken from a test weapon to a practical production weapon) IF we believe reports of how much fissile material it used up (reports it was unsustainably large proportion of the UK’s annual production per weapon) and in relation to the very retrospective but now acknowledged aspects already discussed above re: not being a true fusion weapon.

I really don’t think any of that is even mildly controversial at this stage.
You are right, this is not controversial, your claims are untrue and shown to be by the available archive material. Equally, there is nothing "argumentative" about this, multiple forum members are simply providing the facts that disprove your claims, something I will now do again:

1) You have already provided a link showing the archive material that demonstrates how the confusion around the Grapple 1/Short Granite yield came about. Early yield estimates were inaccurately high, Macmillan made initial statements based on those then toned down his rhetoric (though without offering a full correction) when more accurate estimates were delivered.

2) The archive evidence is clear, Orange Herald was intended as a warhead for Blue Streak, it was written into OR.1142 (and had been since November 1955) and the RAE was designing the Blue Streak re-entry vehicle to carry it. To quote one of the most eminent historians of the UK nuclear programme, Lona Arnold, "As for Orange Herald, it was not a failed H-bomb; and never had any pretensions of being a H-bomb. It was a huge fission bomb, only slightly boosted, that could be relied on to give a very big explosion". There was no bluff going on here.

To repeat: If you want to keep making the claims you have been you need to provide actual evidence, either archive documents, quotes from the handful of senior politicians or military personnel who would have been in a position to know or from the scientific community actually involved in the programme. In short, your original claim that "a degree of bluff [was] going on" in relation to Orange Herald currently has no evidence supporting it.
 
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Zootycoon

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Ivy Mike was the US’s (nee worlds) first hydrogen bomb, but it’s very next test was Ivy King which was a large thin walled fission device containing four critical masses (60kg of HEU) which yielded 500kt;- conceptionally very similar to Orange Herald. At this point in time the key requirement was increased blast radii to compensate for the feared inaccuracies of the then proposed ICBM’s or ultra long range cruise missiles i.e Navaho. The method as to how the high yields where achieved was almost secondary compared to proving feasibility.

At the beginning of 1955 Aldermaston proposed to develop two types of weapon against HMG requirement for a megaton class weapon;- the Type A was a large fission device and Type B was a Fusion device. The Type A was to be tested in 57 and the type B maybe as late as 1960. This was largely driven by the U.K. immature Lithium technology;- Lithium Hydride had not been produced in the U.K. at that time. The break through came in September 55 when a whole lot of things came together and Aldermaston declare a Type B could be ready for test in 57 along side the Type A......which is pretty much what happened.

No cover up or deception, just good technology risk reduction thinking.

All from “Britain and the H Bomb” and “Christmas Island Cracker”- good reads for those interested in this subject.
 
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kaiserd

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Why does so many discussions on this site descend into argumentative exchanges in which one party is trying to “win”?

1) there was a degree of misleading the world (but not the US) by the UK government re: the 1st three Grapple tests

2) there was a degree of bluff re: Orange Herald (at least in terms of being taken from a test weapon to a practical production weapon) IF we believe reports of how much fissile material it used up (reports it was unsustainably large proportion of the UK’s annual production per weapon) and in relation to the very retrospective but now acknowledged aspects already discussed above re: not being a true fusion weapon.

I really don’t think any of that is even mildly controversial at this stage.
You are right, this is not controversial, your claims are untrue and shown to be by the available archive material. Equally, there is nothing "argumentative" about this, multiple forum members are simply providing the facts that disprove your claims, something I will now do again:

1) You have already provided a link showing the archive material that demonstrates how the confusion around the Grapple 1/Short Granite yield came about. Early yield estimates were inaccurately high, Macmillan made initial statements based on those then toned down his rhetoric (though without offering a full correction) when more accurate estimates were delivered.

2) The archive evidence is clear, Orange Herald was intended as a warhead for Blue Streak, it was written into OR.1142 (and had been since November 1955) and the RAE was designing the Blue Streak re-entry vehicle to carry it. To quote one of the most eminent historians of the UK nuclear programme, Lona Arnold, "As for Orange Herald, it was not a failed H-bomb; and never had any pretensions of being a H-bomb. It was a huge fission bomb, only slightly boosted, that could be relied on to give a very big explosion". There was no bluff going on here.

To repeat: If you want to keep making the claims you have been you need to provide actual evidence, either archive documents, quotes from the handful of senior politicians or military personnel who would have been in a position to know or from the scientific community actually involved in the programme. In short, your original claim that "a degree of bluff [was] going on" in relation to Orange Herald currently has no evidence supporting it.
I have other sources but would as example would point to the quotes below "A Vertical Empire: History of the British Rocketry Programme" (2012) by By C. N. Hill.
Despite your comments above the other sources I have stated above also contain content that you appear to be ignoring or misrepresenting in support of a particular agenda that you appear to be pursuing.

In relation to point (1) we are all saying in different ways that McMillan and the UK government were less than fully honest around these initial 3 Grapple bomb tests. I am not looking to posthumously admonish him or anything like that (I quite understand that 100% honesty was not the best policy at the time) but proposing that this is not a fact is completely at odds with the evidence and with everyone but your own comments.

In relation to point (2) Orange Herald I know it was intended for blue streak and a device of the same name was part of the Grapple test. However it is completely misleading representation of history to pretend that it's non-H-bomb nature was widely disseminated to and understood by the various "audiences" for these tests at the time, and I've not just invented questions around how realistic is would have been for the UK to produce and field Orange Herald in any numbers (quotes below as examples, the question appears to relate to volume of U235 required versus that produced.).

More than that I need to again to warn you against this continued pattern of border-line dishonesty and bullying activity.
And I would ask other contributors who "liked" this activity to think again about what they are willing to endorse and why.

Annotation 2019-10-06 185759.pngAnnotation 2019-10-06 185760.png
 

JFC Fuller

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I have other sources but would as example would point to the quotes below "A Vertical Empire: History of the British Rocketry Programme" (2012) by By C. N. Hill.
Despite your comments above the other sources I have stated above also contain content that you appear to be ignoring or misrepresenting in support of a particular agenda that you appear to be pursuing.

In relation to point (1) we are all saying in different ways that McMillan and the UK government were less than fully honest around these initial 3 Grapple bomb tests. I am not looking to posthumously admonish him or anything like that (I quite understand that 100% honesty was not the best policy at the time) but proposing that this is not a fact is completely at odds with the evidence and with everyone but your own comments.

In relation to point (2) Orange Herald I know it was intended for blue streak and a device of the same name was part of the Grapple test. However it is completely misleading representation of history to pretend that it's non-H-bomb nature was widely disseminated to and understood by the various "audiences" for these tests at the time, and I've not just invented questions around how realistic is would have been for the UK to produce and field Orange Herald in any numbers (quotes below as examples, the question appears to relate to volume of U235 required versus that produced.).
1) When Macmillan stated that Grapple 1 was in the megaton range he genuinely believed it was, once he was informed otherwise he ceased stating that it was in the megaton range. You even posted a link where this was described.

2) I am not sure why you would expect the UK to openly broadcast the exact design of its nuclear weapons in national newspapers but, as repeatedly pointed out, the UK government never claimed Orange Herald was a fusion device. Equally, nobody disputes that it would have been costly and time consuming to produce in volume either, but it is a simple statement of fact that it was the intended warhead for Blue Streak and the the re-entry vehicle was being designed around it.

In neither case is their any evidence of dupe, bluff or conspiracy. At best one might be able to say Macmillan was premature in announcing success and should have waited for more refined yield estimates from Grapple 1 but I fail to see how outright dishonesty can be claimed.

CNH's A Vertical Empire is a wonderful book, if you are interested in all things Blue Streak I would highly recommend purchasing the second edition rather than relying on Google Books extracts, it is definitely worth the investment.
 
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kaiserd

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I have other sources but would as example would point to the quotes below "A Vertical Empire: History of the British Rocketry Programme" (2012) by By C. N. Hill.
Despite your comments above the other sources I have stated above also contain content that you appear to be ignoring or misrepresenting in support of a particular agenda that you appear to be pursuing.

In relation to point (1) we are all saying in different ways that McMillan and the UK government were less than fully honest around these initial 3 Grapple bomb tests. I am not looking to posthumously admonish him or anything like that (I quite understand that 100% honesty was not the best policy at the time) but proposing that this is not a fact is completely at odds with the evidence and with everyone but your own comments.

In relation to point (2) Orange Herald I know it was intended for blue streak and a device of the same name was part of the Grapple test. However it is completely misleading representation of history to pretend that it's non-H-bomb nature was widely disseminated to and understood by the various "audiences" for these tests at the time, and I've not just invented questions around how realistic is would have been for the UK to produce and field Orange Herald in any numbers (quotes below as examples, the question appears to relate to volume of U235 required versus that produced.).
1) When Macmillan stated that Grapple 1 was in the megaton range he genuinely believed it was, once he was informed otherwise he ceased stating that it was in the megaton range. You even posted a link where this was described.

2) I am not sure why you would expect the UK to openly broadcast the exact design of its nuclear weapons in national newspapers but, as repeatedly pointed out, the UK government never claimed Orange Herald was a fusion device. Equally, nobody disputes that it would have been costly and time consuming to produce in volume either, but it is a simple statement of fact that it was the intended warhead for Blue Streak and the the re-entry vehicle was being designed around it.

CNH's A Vertical Empire is a wonderful book, if you are interested in this topic I would highly recommend purchasing the second edition rather than relying on Google Books extracts.
You can try to balance on a head of a pin if you so desire but it is interesting that you are so happy to attack my honesty for repeating relatively uncontroversial statements of fact (that there were other historians and writers with views different on this topic than yours, etc.) while you are also being so keen to defend others honesty who a blind man would say were less than completely honest in the instances discussed above.
And to repeat myself I am not attacking McMillian or the UK government at the time, in their place most of us would do exactly the same thing and I am not projecting unrealistic expectations onto them. But to now try to pretend that there wasn't some "constructive ambiguity" going on is ridiculous and in itself dishonest.
 

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Both of you can take a day off from posting to rethink your attitudes here. Tired of getting constant reports on each other.

As to whether Orange Herald was a "bluff" or not, I think the evidence from the Harold Macmillan memo is that they only ever believed it was a 500KT bomb, which is a bit of a stretch to describe as "megaton range", which implies to me somewhere near 1 megaton or higher.

The "bluff' here was not that Orange Herald was never intended to be a viable weapon (it was a fallback in case the fusion bomb didn't work out in time), but that a boosted fission device of 500KT could only charitably be described as "megaton range" in the first place. The subsequent recalculation to 300KT just made the original half-truth closer to a lie.
 

CNH

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Orange Herald, at approx 700 kT, was an almost entirely fission device.

The later version, developed as Violet Club, was a reduced version at around 400kT. It was supposed to come in at 500+ kT [later revised] in order that the UK Govt could claim to have a weapon 'in the megaton range'.

But I am grateful for kaiserd for quoting from my book. Perhaps he needs to understand the context.
 

kaiserd

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Orange Herald, at approx 700 kT, was an almost entirely fission device.

The later version, developed as Violet Club, was a reduced version at around 400kT. It was supposed to come in at 500+ kT [later revised] in order that the UK Govt could claim to have a weapon 'in the megaton range'.

But I am grateful for kaiserd for quoting from my book. Perhaps he needs to understand the context.
To clarify I never said or intended to suggest that Orange Herald was not intended as a viable device. That would be a misreading of my comments which more related to the ability of the UK to field such a weapon in anything like large numbers given the constraint aspects I’ve flagged above quoting from CNH’s book.
Maybe subsequent research has overtaken that understanding of potential constraints but as no one here has actually addressed that point in this discussion I am currently none the wiser.
 
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overscan

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I feel we are going in circles here. What is the point of this discussion?

If Blue Streak was fielded and if the fusion warheads had failed to work out and if production Orange Herald type devices used excessive amounts of fissile material, Britain would either have had to restrict the total number deployed or increase production of uranium. Which would have been a decision for the Government of the day to make. These are secondary considerations after actually producing a test to show it worked.

You seem to labouring under the impression that there's some conundrum to solve here, I don't see it.
 
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