I’ve recently been reading Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World, by Evan Thomas. The following bit on the development of “tactical” nuclear weapons made me laugh (p. 99):
In 1952, the air force commissioned Project Vista (named after a California hotel where the sensitive work was done), which recommended a range of small nuclear weapons that could be used on the battlefield — smaller atomic bombs and all manner of atomic artillery shells, mines, torpedoes, and antiaircraft missiles. The first of these, a large atomic cannon with a 15-kiloton shell (15,000 tons of TNT, roughly the size of the bomb used on Hiroshima), was tested in May 1953. In true Pentagon tradition, the Strategic Air Command, which coveted a nuclear monopoly, realized that most of these new tactical nuclear weapons would be controlled by the army and navy, and tried to recall every copy of the Project Vista report.