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Published on Oct 31, 2007
0800032 - U.S. Army Presents MF20 9811, Ivy Flats Film Report - 1962 - 17:35 - Black&White - Ivy Flats, a 1962 tactical military exercise at the Nevada Test Site, involved the detonation of live nuclear rounds fired from the Davy Crockett artillery piece. The Davy Crockett was developed to give U.S. Army units an effective nuclear capability against potentially larger units of Soviet armored forces.
The Davy Crockett, a recoilless launcher, was the third artillery piece deployed, those earlier being a l55 mm piece designed to fire a nuclear round and a 288 mm mobile piece, commonly called an "atomic cannon." Nuclear-capable ground artillery pieces were gradually replaced by increasingly accurate, nuclear carrying missiles and aircraft.
The Ivy Flats video shows an Army exercise that was observed by visiting dignitaries, including U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy and General Maxwell Taylor, a Presidential military adviser. Participating in the exercise were members of the 4th Mechanized Infantry Division from Ft. Lewis, Washington.
Ivy Flats was a "battle" between a large simulated enemy armored force and a smaller U.S. force consisting of conventional artillery pieces, which could not stop the pending onslaught. U.S. Army squads then arrive in armored personnel carriers and set up the heavy (l55 mm) and light (120 mm) versions of recoilless launchers. The Davy Crockett fired a nuclear round that decimated the mock opposing force.
The Davy Crockett was deployed from 1961 to 1971. The heavy version was transported by either an armored personnel carrier or a large truck. The light version was generally carried on and fired from an Army jeep, but could be carried for a short distance and fired by a 3-man team.
The W-54 nuclear warhead in a projectile was launched by the Davy Crockett and had a subkiloton yield. The projectile was 30 inches long, 11 inches in diameter, and weighed 76 pounds. The l55 mm launcher had a maximum range of 13,000 feet, and the 120 mm could reach a distance of 6,561 feet.