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Operation Tumbler-Snapper
Photograph taken milliseconds after detonation of nuclear device from the "Tumbler-Snapper" test series. (The shot tower is faintly visible below fireball; downward spikes are termed "rope tricks").
Country United States
Test site Nevada Test Site
Period April–June 1952
Number of tests 8
Test type Atmospheric tests
Device type Fission
Max. yield 31 kt
Previous test Operation Buster-Jangle
Next test Operation Ivy

Operation Tumbler-Snapper was a series of atomic tests conducted by the United States in early 1952 at the Nevada Test Site. The Tumbler-Snapper series of tests followed Operation Buster-Jangle, and preceded Operation Ivy.

The Tumbler phase, sponsored by the Atomic Energy Commission consisted of three airdrops which were intended to help explain discrepancies in the actual and estimated blast shock wave damage noted on previous detonations, and to establish more accurately the optimum height of burst. The Snapper phase, sponsored by the Department of Defense consisted of one airdrop and four tower shots intended to test various new weapons developments.

The military exercise Desert Rock IV, involving 7350 soldiers, took place during the test series. They trained during the Charlie, Dog, and George shots and observed shot Fox.[1]

The individual shots were:[2]

Name Date, Time (UT[3]) Location Yield Notes
Able 1 April 1952 17:00:07.5 NTS Area 5, 36°47′54″N 115°56′11″W / 36.7983°N 115.9364°W / 36.7983; -115.9364, altitude 240m 1 kT Free airdrop, weapon effects test, Mark 4 with U-235 core.
Baker 15 April 1952 17:29:57.1 NTS Area 7, 37°05′03″N 116°01′13″W / 37.0841°N 116.0203°W / 37.0841; -116.0203, altitude 340m 1 kT Free airdrop, weapon effects test, Mark 4.
Charlie 22 April 1952 17:30:10.0 NTS Area 7, 37°05′04″N 116°01′16″W / 37.0844°N 116.0211°W / 37.0844; -116.0211, altitude 1050m 31 kT Free airdrop, weapon development test, Mark 4; live on TV; Desert Rock IV.
Dog 1 May 1952 16:29:59.1 NTS Area 7, 37°05′03″N 116°01′16″W / 37.0841°N 116.0211°W / 37.0841; -116.0211, altitude 320m 19 kT Free airdrop, weapon development test, TX-7, deuterium boosted; Desert Rock IV.
Easy 7 May 1952 0:14:59.3 NTS Area 1, 37°03′11″N 116°06′23″W / 37.053°N 116.1064°W / 37.053; -116.1064 12 kT 90m tower; weapon development test; Mark 12; first use of beryllium as a tamper.
Fox 25 May 1952 11:59:59.6 NTS Area 4, 37°05′44″N 116°06′23″W / 37.0955°N 116.1064°W / 37.0955; -116.1064 11 kT 90m tower; weapon development test; Mark 5.
George 1 June 1952 11:54:59.8 NTS Area 3, 37°02′53″N 116°01′19″W / 37.048°N 116.022°W / 37.048; -116.022 15 kT 90m tower, weapons development test, Mark 5; tested external neutron initiator; Desert Rock IV.
How 5 June 1952 11:55:00.3 NTS Area 2, 37°08′19″N 116°07′07″W / 37.1386°N 116.1187°W / 37.1386; -116.1187 14 kT 90m tower; weapon development test; TX-12; Desert Rock IV.


A clip of a mushroom cloud during Operation Tumbler-Snapper. Background color change is photographic artifact; vertical smoke trails allow for making shock wave visible.

  1. "Operation TUMBLER SNAPPER Fact Sheet". Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Retrieved 10/26/2013. 
  2. Robert Standish Norris and Thomas B. Cochran. "United States Nuclear Tests July 1945 to 31 December 1992". Retrieved 12/11/2007. 
  3. Universal Time at the Nevada Test Site is 8 hours after local time; UT dates are one day after local date for UT times after 16:00.

External links

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