Monday, February 11, 2013

The Atomic Cannon - Desert Oddity

Another item that can only be found in the desert....

"Atomic Annie" (real name M65 Atomic Canon) was a piece of artillery manufactured by the U.S. in the early part of the cold war. It was able to fire a 600 pound nuclear projectile about 20 miles. There were 20 of these canons made, but none of them were ever fired in anger.  In fact, only one atomic projectile was ever fired.  That test shot was taken at the the Nevada Test Site on May 25, 1953.

Because of the rapid development and effectiveness of conventional  ground to ground and air to ground missile systems after World War II, the M65 was rendered obsolete even as it was being deployed to sites in Europe and Korea.

If this photo looks phony to you, please watch the very short video that is just below.

Here is a video of it!

The canon is currently sitting near the entry road that leads to the Yuma Proving Grounds. It's one of  largest military installations in the world and extremely isolated in one of the most desolate desert areas anywhere.  
We found some interesting and odd things in the desert on this trip, but I'm holding back the strangest of all for a little while. Still doing some research on it! I PROMISE that you will be as amazed as we were!



  1. Wowowowow! I really learned some things today. All that money spent on those things and then they were obsolete almost as soon as they were moved. I am glad, though, that we didn't ever need them.

  2. The action shot is disturbing. Boy, that is an expensive piece of sculpture now!

  3. Now that's what I would call a big gun.

  4. A BIG gun indeed!! Great shots and interesting history!

  5. very scary!

    (i like your new square on your side bar. :))

  6. Woah. I would not want to get on the bad side of that big boy!! It's really cool, too bad it didn't really get to prove itself in war before they killed it off.

  7. This blog is getting spookier and spookier,

  8. could you tow it home? I bet it would make a great lawn ornament.

  9. Some of humankind's best engineering has typically gone into things designed to kill other humans. Weird how that works, eh?

    You find the seriously neatest things to explore. I hope you never change.

  10. Believe it or not, I was present for some of these test blasts in the Nevada desert. My father was stationed there in the 50s, and there are photos of me as an infant child with mushroom clouds poking up in the far distance.

    I obviously have no memory of this, but I'm told that the families often gathered at what was deemed a safe distance to view these experiments, especially those conducted at night.

    My wife believes early exposure to radiation may explain some of my peculiar behavior traits....


  11. WOW! That is some neighborhood watch program!

  12. Patrick, I am amazed at EVERYTHING you've found in the desert!!

  13. That's fantastic Pat!
    I remember seeing that as a kid, or a photo of it. A symbol of times past (thank God).

  14. Beautiful pictures! Awesome video ...!

  15. Did you have your Geiger counter handy? Isn't the Half-life of radioactive isotopes something like 250 years? Maybe you're glowing more than normal now?

  16. After watching the video that photo still looks fake. haha.

    This has been a great series of posts, so if you say there's something yet stranger to come, I can't wait to see what it is.

  17. Quite eerie! Looking forward to seeing the rest of your desert finds...

  18. 20 miles? Well, Those people who were there probably died of cancer later. That is an amazing photo of the blast.

  19. That video is freaky. Yet I imagine it's gotten much scarier since the 50s. I'd hate to see what Korea set off the other day.

    Thanks for bringing us such fascinating photos and stories, Pat.


  20. The video is just scary, and I am glad they were not put to use, but I agree with everyone here...expensive deco now!

  21. The video is just scary, and I am glad they were not put to use, but I agree with everyone here...expensive deco now!

  22. The video is spectacular, but also makes me sad that we need nuclear weapons (I know: to kill or be killed:()

  23. 20 miles? Can you imagine being the poor SOBs being assigned THAT duty?

  24. I'm in awe of the sheer power and destructiveness of this canon, Pat. Glad it was never use.

  25. wow! great find! i would never have thought of seeing this in the desert.
    a big gun indeed, great history, too.

    superb shots as usual.

    that is a scary video.

  26. HI Pat,

    If you're able, please hop over and vote. It's neck and neck at the polls right now.

    Be well.

  27. WOW!! So disturbing! Back then it would have been terrifying but the terrorism now is equally, if not more terrifying!!

    Great find!

  28. You find the craziest things! Did you see the theme for photo Friday yesterday? Neglected. I thought of some of your photos.

  29. Shelly - I agree with you, it is disturbing and was a lot of money spent for nothing (thankfully)!

    mshatch - About as big as it gets!

    Alex - It was scary! Did you notice the gun crew running away after they fired it?

    Sylvia - Yep! I like that square also.... Squirrel!

    Costas - It still looks brand new!

    Esther - Yep! We keep finding weirder and weirder things out there.

    becca - I agree! The whole idea of this thing is scary!

    PTM - Oh yeah! That would teach those kids to stay off my lawn!

    Carmi - Yeah it's weird and says a lot about us earthlings! Thanks Carmi! I have a REALLY weird one coming up...

    The Geezers - Wow! That's crazy stuff! We were pretty innocent about these things back then.

  30. Brian - HA! It sure is!

    Rosemary - I promise you, the weirdest one is coming up soon!

    Anthony - Thanks Anthony! I believe they made nuclear projectiles for smaller howitzers, but I'm going to have to look it up.

    Leovi - Thanks Leovi!

    TJD - Well, I did look in the mirror and my reflection was an x-ray of myself. Are you who I think you are?

    Tim - I'll see if I can schedule another firing for us to see it in person!

    Nat - Thanks Nat! Plenty more to come...

    Belle - I'm truly amazed that they used to expose so many people to radiation.

    Robyn - Thanks and my pleasure! I agree with you about Korea. Scary stuff...

    Wayne - Well, you just have to wait a bit longer. I'm not sure if I can the REALLY weird one ready for tomorrow. If not, it will be soon.

  31. Icy BC - Very scary! The amount of money spent on stuff like this must be astronomical...

    Jesh - It is a sad state of affairs, that's for sure!

    Al - I can't imagine it at all. I'm betting you those guys volunteered!

    Pam - I'm always amazed at how casual they used to be about it.

    Betty M - You're so right Betty! That is why we love the desert...

    Leia - Me too! I'm happy that it was never used.

    altadenahiker - I'm going to take that as a compliment! Thanks!

    Liz - I totally agree with you. I'm not sure which one scares me more. Thanks for all the nice comments Liz.

    Carly - I do find some nutty stuff, but we really do look for them. I'm not familiar with "photo Friday." I'll check it out.

    Laura - Sure is! Odd and scary...

  32. Amazing how much money is spent on things like this --and yet, by the time they get them built, they are obsolete... GADS--what a waste.....

    I'll bet you do find lots of interesting things in the desert. Can't wait to see more.

  33. More amazing than this? Scary. This area is desert country we're not familiar with...I always love re-visiting places we've been when you go there, and I'm looking forward to learning more about places we haven't! Bring it on.

  34. Well thank God this isn't down South or the Kudzu would have smothered it by now!

    this is soooo cool.


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