OPERATION CROSSROADS – OPERATION CASTLE – OPERATION REDWING – OPERATION HARDTACK 1
The United States of America started nuclear testing at Bikini atoll on July 1st 1946 and continued to test nuclear weapons on Bikini atoll and Bikini Atoll Lagoon until July 22nd 1958. In this time, the Americans detonated 23 nuclear weapons on this island.
The U.S. designated a total of 7 Test sites on Bikini Atoll and detonated nuclear test devices on the coral reef of this atoll, submerged detonation under the water and aerial detonations in the air. Bikini Atoll nuclear tests had an overall fission yield of 42.2 Megatons of TNT equivalent explosive energy.
RELOCATION OF RESIDENTS
February 1946, The U.S. Authorities requested the total of 167 people who were living on Bikini atoll to move from the island for some time and relocate elsewhere so the United States and start the Nuclear tests on the Bikini Atoll.
Nine among the total of eleven native families of Bikini Atoll came to an agreement and decided to move to Rongerik Island. Rongerik Atoll was finalized as the new temporary home for the displaced native people of Bikini Atoll.
7th March 1946, the 53rd U.S. Naval Construction Battalion Seabees personnel helped the people of Bikini Atoll to disassemble the Community House, Church and few other structures and relocate to the Rongerik Island. The residents of Bikini Atoll were then transported to uninhabited Rongerik Island by U.S. Navy’s Landing Crafts lst 861 and 1108 as the part of Operation Crossroads.
MEASURES TAKEN BY THE U.S. MILITARY
Personnel of 53rd U.S. Naval Construction Battalion Seabees, constructed towers with cameras and other instruments on Bikini Atoll well before the July 1946 Atomic tests.
The U.S. Authorities assigned a total of 242 ships and vessels, bunkers, quarters, test stations, clubs, bar and other stations for all personnel who were going to be part of these nuclear tests on Bikini Atoll. More than forty thousand personnel were going to be part of these operations.
Unites States Navy created Bikini Atoll ship graveyard in the lagoon of Bikini Atoll. In this designated ship graveyard, the U.S. Navy placed a total of 95 ships and naval vessels that were filled with different quantities of fuel and even live ammunition. These ships were going to act as the dummy targets for the nuclear devices that will be tested on the Bikini Atoll.
The Nuclear tests started with Operation Crossroads, Operation Crossroads started on 1st July 1946 and officially ended on 25th July 1946. This Operation conducted the first detonations of nuclear weapons since the 1945 Nagasaki bombings by the United States of America. As the America and its other Allied nations were engaged in the Nuclear arms race and Space race with the Soviet Union as part of the Cold War in the years of 1947 to 1991. Both superpowers were racing to build more technologically advanced and powerful Space systems and Nuclear weapons.
In the Air, A nuclear device named Able was dropped from a United States Air Force aircraft and it detonated 520 feet above the sea. The purpose of aerial detonation of Able nuclear bomb was to destroy a mock target fleet in the waters. The nuclear detonation of “Able” was done on 1st July 1946 and it was a 23 kt TJ nuclear device.
Under the water, A nuclear device named Baker was submerged through a barge and was detonated under the water. After its detonation a giant Wilson cloud was formed and it accomplished the objective by contaminating all of the targeted ships.
Also for an Underwater nuclear test, A nuclear device named Charlie was planned to be tested as part of the Operation crossroads. Charlie Nuclear device was set to be tested on 1st March 1947 and later the test of Charlie was cancelled. The reason for cancellation of Charlie Nuclear test was that the United States Navy was unable to decontaminate the ships that were contaminated and radioactive after the successful testing of Baker Nuclear device.
These Ships are still present under the blue waters of the Bikini Atoll and its Lagoon. There are 95 ships and vessels that include-
• USS Saratoga• USS Arkansas• USS Gilliam• USS Carlisle• USS Lamson• USS Anderson• USS Apogon• USS Pilotfish• IJN Nagato• IJN Sakawa• Prinz Eugen This ship is currently stuck on upper surface of Kwajalein Atoll’s lagoon
These shipwrecks of Bikini Atoll are submerged in range of a nice 69 Feet below the waters to more than 200 Feet. Some of the Divers can get special permissions and dive to explore the ship graveyard of Bikini Atoll.
Tests: The nuclear test devices were 23 Kiloton each – Detonated on Coordinates 11.57°N 165.51°E
Able, Bikini Atoll - Air Drop - Success, 30th June 1946 at 9 PM UTC
Baker, Bikini Atoll - Underwater - Success, 24th July 1946 at 9:30 PM UTC
Charlie, Bikini Atoll - Underwater - Cancled, 1st March 1947
Operation Castle was the codename of Nuclear weapons test series that was conducted by the United States of America after the Operation Crossroads. Operation Castle started with the detonation of a new Nuclear device called Castle Bravo.
Castle Bravo was first of the high yield dry fuel thermonuclear bombs and it was tested in Bikini Atoll’s nuclear test of 1954 as part of Operation Castle. It was way beyond expectation and caused a vast spread of radioactive matter. Castle Bravo detonation caused a nuclear fallout that spread its radioactive contaminants all the way to countries like Japan, Australia, India and Sri Lanka; it also spread minor nuclear materials to the United States, Europe and multiple other countries. Castle Bravo was detonated on 1st March 1954.
Castle Bravo was planned as a secret nuclear bomb test but after the miscalculations and its nuclear fallout, It became the world’s first nuclear disaster. The main problem with Castle Bravo that caused this disaster was the miscalculation, as the researchers and scientists calculated the explosive yield of nuclear detonation to be between 4 or 8 Megaton but the Castle Bravo exceeded this and produced a yield of 15 Megaton. The size of the explosion caused by Castle Bravo was beyond the imaginations and expectations of the U.S. Military and scientists, the explosion destroyed all of the instruments and devices which were placed to check and analyze Castle Bravo’s effectiveness.
The Incident of Castle Bravo prompted international calls to ban the atmospheric level testing of such dry lithium deuteride fueled thermonuclear bombs.
List of Tests in Operation Castle:
Castle Bravo - Nam Island, Bikini Atoll - Shrimp - 1st March 1954Castle Union - Iroij, Bikini Atoll - Alarm Clock - 11th March 1954Castle Yankee - Iroij, Bikini Atoll - Jughead and Runt 2 - 22nd March 1954Castle Echo - Eberiru, Enewetak Atoll - Ramrod - 29th March 1954Castle Nectar - Iroij, Bikini Atoll - Zombie - 5th April 1954Castle Romeo - Iroij, Bikini Atoll - Runt - 15th April 1954Castle Koon - Eneman, Bikini Atoll - Morgenstern - 22nd April 1954
The Operation Redwing was done by the United States of America to test a total of 17 Nuclear weapons in the Enewetak Atoll and Bikini Atoll. Operation Redwing was conducted between May 1956 to July 1956.
The objectives of Operation Redwing were to test primary detonation devices that are used to initiate chain explosions for thermonuclear weapons; Operation Redwing also tested newly developed 2nd Generation of Thermonuclear devices and other air defense weapons systems.
In Operation Redwing, the United States also executed a test called Cherokee, the purpose of Cherokee test was to deliver and deploy first deliverable Thermonuclear Hydrogen Bomb.
List of Tests conducted in Operation Redwing:
• Lacrosse test was conducted at Runit, Enewetak Atoll on 4th May 1956.
• Cherokee test was conducted at Namu, Bikini Atoll on 20th May 1956.
• Zuni test was conducted at Eninmen, Bikini Atoll on 27th May 1956.
• Yuma test was conducted at Aomon, Enewetak Atoll on 27th May 1956.
• Erie test was conducted at Runit, Enewetak Atoll on 30th May 1956.
• Seminole test was conducted at Bokon, Enewetak Atoll on 6th June 1956.
• Blackfoot test was conducted at Runit, Enewetak Atoll on 11th June 1956.
• Flathead test was conducted at Bikini Atoll Lagoon on 11th June 1956.
• Kickapoo test was conducted at Aomon, Enewetak Atoll on 13th June 1956.
• Osage test was conducted at Runit, Enewetak Atoll on 16th June 1956.
• Inca test was conducted at Rujoru, Enewetak Atoll on 21st June 1956.
• Dakota test was conducted at Bikini Atoll Lagoon on 25th June 1956.
• Mohawk test was conducted at Ebiriru, Enewetak Atoll on 2nd July 1956.
• Apache test was conducted at Elugelab, Enewetak Atoll on 8th July 1956.
• Navajo test was conducted at Bikini Atoll Lagoon on 10th July 1956.
• Tewa test was conducted at Irioj, Bikini Atoll on 20th July 1956.
• Huron test was conducted at Elugelab, Enewetak Atoll on 21st July 1956.
The Operation Hardtack 1 was done by the U.S. to test a total of 35 Nuclear weapon devices in the Pacific Providing Grounds.
Operation Hardtack 1 was conducted between 28th April 1958 to 18th August 1958. Operation Hardtack 1 was the largest nuclear test on the pacific at that time considering the total number of nuclear weapons tests In one Operation.
Nuclear Weapons Test of Operation Hardtack 1 are –
1) Yucca test was conducted at Pacific Providing Grounds on 28th April, 1958.
3) Fir test was conducted at Namu , Bikini Atoll on 11th May, 1958.
4) Butternut test was conducted at Runit, Enewetak Atoll on 11th May, 1958.
5) Koa test was conducted at Teiter, Enewetak Atoll on 12th May, 1958.
6) Wahoo test was conducted at Pokon, Enewetak Atoll on 16th May, 1958.
7) Holly test was conducted at Runit, Enewetak Atoll on 20th May, 1958.
8) Nutmeg test was conducted at Eninmen, Bikini Atoll on 21st May, 1958.
9) Yellowwood test was conducted at Enjebi, Enewetak Atoll on 26th May, 1958.
10) Magnolia test was conducted at Runit, Enewetak Atoll on 26th May, 1958.
11) Tobacco test was conducted at Enjebi, Enewetak Atoll on 30th May, 1958.
12) Sycamore test was conducted at Namu, Bikini Atoll on 31st May, 1958.
13) Rose test was conducted at Runit, Enewetak Atoll on 2nd June, 1958.
14) Umbrella test was conducted at Pokon, Enewetak Atoll on 8th June, 1958.
15) Maple test was conducted at Irioj, Bikini Atoll on 10th June, 1958.
16) Aspen test was conducted at Namu, Bikini Atoll on 14th June, 1958.
17) Walnut test was conducted at Enjebi, Enewetak Atoll on 14th June, 1958.
18) Linden test was conducted at Runit, Enewetak Atoll on 18th June, 1958.
19) Redwood test was conducted at Irioj, Bikini Atoll on 27th June, 1958.
20) Elder test was conducted at Enjebi, Enewetak Atoll on 27th June, 1958.
21) Oak test was conducted at Bogallua, Enewetak Atoll on 28th June, 1958.
22) Hickory test was conducted at Eninmen, Bikini Atoll on 29th June, 1958.
23) Sequoia test was conducted at Runit, Enewetak Atoll on 1st July, 1958.
24) Cedar test was conducted at Namu, Bikini Atoll on 2nd July, 1958.
25) Dogwood test was conducted at Enjebi, Enewetak Atoll on 5th July, 1958.
26) Poplar test was conducted at Namu, Bikini Atoll on 12th July, 1958.
27) Scaevola test was conducted at Runit, Enewetak Atoll on 14th July, 1958.
28) Pisonia test was conducted at Runit, Enewetak Atoll on 17th July, 1958.
29) Juniper test was conducted at Eninmen, Bikini Atoll on 22nd July, 1958.
30) Olive test was conducted at Enjebi, Enewetak Atoll on 22nd July, 1958.
31) Pine test was conducted at Enjebi, Enewetak Atoll on 26th July, 1958.
32) Piñon test(canceled) was planned to be conducted on the Pacific Proving Grounds in the month of August 1958.
33) Teak test was conducted at Johnston Island, Johnston Atoll on 1st August, 1958.
34) Quince test was conducted at Runit, Enewetak Atoll on 6th August, 1958.
35) Orange test was conducted at Johnston Island, Johnston Atoll on 12th August, 1958.
36) Fig test was conducted at Runit, Enewetak Atoll on 18th August, 1958.