Nuclear Chickens? What was Operation Blue Peacock?

The political tensions during the Cold War introduced several significant military inventions that we still see today. Things like nuclear launch-capable submarines, the AK-47 rifle, the rocket propelled grenade, and the F-16 fighter jet. However, for every noteworthy invention, there are dozens that were just too outlandish or impractical to make it into mass production.

Blue Peacock is one of these inventions.

In the 1950’s, Great Britain was looking to develop a nuclear landmine capable of deterring and preventing a potential soviet invasion in Western Germany. The weapon’s design allowed for the mine to be remotely detonated; but there was one variable the 7,300-kiloton explosive’s design didn’t account for: Europe’s freezing winter temperatures.

To overcome this problem, a radical solution was proposed: chickens.

The idea was to encase live chickens in the bomb with enough food and water to survive a week so their body heat could warm the device. The proposal, as bizarre as it sounds, was seriously considered.

When the project’s files were declassified on April 1, 2004, people received it as an April Fool’s Joke. Although the project wasn’t a farce, the aggressively overpowered mine was scrapped before it was ever used – which was probably a good idea considering each weapon was capable of a blast almost as powerful as the Little Boy bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

Looking back on history, its evident this weapon would’ve never been deployed anyway, but the potential long-term environmental effects probably would’ve done more harm than good. But what do you think? Was this one of the Cold War’s craziest weapons? Was there something worse? Let us know in the comments!


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