Photos © by Sp4 David L. Smith,
3 Bn, 36th Inf, in 1965 & 1966
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Also called the "Davy Crockett Launcher",
in 3AD arsenal approximately 1961-1967.

  NOTE: The top photo shows a Spearhead soldier from the 3rd Bn, 36th Inf, cleaning the 37mm spotting gun on the Davy Crockett launcher. Looming on the right is a W-54 nuclear warhead look-alike (inert training version). The actual W-54, at 51 pounds, was and is the smallest and lightest nuclear munition ever deployed by the U.S. The next photo down shows the full assembly of the bazooka-like, launching system (minus warhead).

See below for technical information.

Above photos: © David L. Smith

Additional photo info:

  The above snow scene shows Davy Crockett training by 3/36th troops at Hohenfels. Two separate Crockett assemblies are visible. In the bottom photo, a Crockett crew awaits the arrival of spectators for a German-American Day function at Ayers Kaserne, Kirchgoens, with the M-29 Crockett being part of a weapons display. A dummy warhead is in place at left on the muzzle of the launch tube.

CLICK: Iranians get a peek at Davy Crockett system.

Davy Crockett technical info:


The Davy Crockett was designed in the late 1950's primarily for frontline use by the U.S. infantry in Europe against Soviet troop formations. The weapon system used a spin-stabilized, unguided rocket fired from a recoiless rifle. It's 51-pound nuclear warhead had explosive "dial-a-yield" settings of 0.01 to 0.18 kilotons (0.18 was the equivalent of 180 tons of TNT, with an added radiation effect). As a secondary design feature, the system could also fire a conventional high-explosive round for other use, such as an anti-tank weapon.

The Davy Crockett's warhead was launched from either a 120-millimeter (M-28) or 155-millimeter (M-29) recoilless rifle. The155 millimeter version, which became the standard issue, had a maximum range of 2.49 miles and could be fired from either a ground tripod mount or from a specially designed jeep mount.

The system was in the U.S. Army inventory from 1961 to 1971, and over 2,100 were produced. The W54 nuclear warhead was designed at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (now the Los Alamos National Laboratory) and built by the Atomic Energy Commission. Successful test-firings of the warhead took place on July 7 and 17, 1962, at the Nevada Test Site in what were called the "Little Feller" shots. The July 17 test (using the 155 millimeter Davy Crockett) was conducted under simulated battlefield maneuvers and detonated 20 feet above ground at a distance of 1.7 miles as planned.

[Sources: U.S. Army, National Atomic Museum, & The Brookings Institution]

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