Paid Advertisement
Historynet/feed historynet feedback facebook link World History Group RSS feed World History Group Subscriptions Historynet Home page

M29 Davy Crockett: King of the Atomic Frontier?

By Jon Guttman 
Originally published by Military History magazine. Published Online: January 04, 2013 
Print Friendly
3 comments FONT +  FONT -

The M29 was a radical Cold War weapon conceived to thwart a European incursion by Soviet armor. (Illustration by Gregory Proch; photo from U.S. Army)
The M29 was a radical Cold War weapon conceived to thwart a European incursion by Soviet armor. (Illustration by Gregory Proch; photo from U.S. Army)

Even as the United States and the Soviet Union stared each other down with mutually assured nuclear destruction, the U.S. Army was developing tactical nuclear weapons to cancel out Soviet armor should the latter try advancing through the Fulda Gap into West Germany. Among the weapons the Army actually deployed was a recoilless spigot gun dubbed the Davy Crockett after the Tennessee-born statesman, woodsman and Alamo martyr said to have kilt him a (perhaps Russian?) b'ar when he was only 3.

Subscribe Today

Subscribe to Military History magazine

The Army developed two Davy Crockett delivery systems: the 4-inch M28 with a 1.25-mile range, and the 6.1-inch M29 with a 2.5-mile range. Each fired an M388 fission device with an M54 warhead. Requiring a three-man crew, the weapon was carried on a vehicle and could be fired directly from it or from a dismounted tripod.

The Army produced some 2,100 Davy Crocketts beginning in 1956, deploying them in Europe between 1961 and 1971. In West Germany the Army deployed M29s with heavy mortar platoons. While Cold War tactics conceived the weapon as a counter to offensive Soviet armor, it was only actually fired during back-to-back tests in July 1962. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and General Maxwell D. Taylor were among the observers at the Little Feller I test, which marked the United States' last atmospheric detonation of a nuclear weapon. Previous test firing of M101 spotter rounds with depleted uranium revealed the weapon's accuracy to be poor, though its yield of 10,000 rem within 500 feet of impact and a fatal dose of 600 rem within a ¼-mile radius rendered the flaw almost irrelevant.

3 Responses to “M29 Davy Crockett: King of the Atomic Frontier?”

  1. 1
    Donald Patt says:

    Sounds equally dangerous to friend or foe.

  2. 2
    James Creeden says:

    It seems to me it's a crazy idea in the first place;and the last place
    as well!!Who would want to crew such a dangerous contraption?

Leave a Reply

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Related Articles

History Net Images Spacer
Paid Advertisement
Paid Advertisement
History Net Daily Activities
History net Spacer
History net Spacer
Historynet Spacer

Which of these wars resulted in the most surprising underdog upset?

View Results | See previous polls

Loading ... Loading ...
History net Spacer
RSS Feed Daily Email Update
History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement
What is HistoryNet? is brought to you by World History Group, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines.

If you are interested in a specific history subject, try searching our archives, you are bound to find something to pique your interest.

From Our Magazines
World History Group

World History Group Network:  HistoryNet | Armchair General | Achtung Panzer!
Today in History | Ask Mr. History | Picture of the Day | Daily History Quiz | Contact Us

Copyright © 2015 World History Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Advertise With Us | Subscription Help | Privacy Policy