Here's one from the "What the Hell were these people thinking?!?!?!" files.
Back in the 1950s the nuclear powers didn't have anything better to do than create newer and more absurd nuclear weapons systems. It's almost as if they were in a contest (albeit a deadly one) to see who could build the stupidest contraption; of course, nuclear weapons (and the people who would consider using them) are pretty stupid. This one probably would have garnered the attentions of animal welfare groups had it not been top secret.
In the 1950s, physicists in the United Kingdom designed a nuclear land mine that would be placed along the West German border to stop a hypothetical Soviet ground assault on the rest of Europe, according to a BBC report. The landmine, dubbed Operation Blue Peacock, would be operated remotely (however that was going to work) so that it could be detonated at the moment when it could inflict maximal damage on the invading Soviet army.
But the weapon had a major hitch. Buried underground, it was possible that the mine would become so cold that the detonator would not function. In 1957, British nuclear physicists found a solution: chickens.
|Not much room for the poor chickens!|
I certainly wonder what might have happened had the chickens run out of food and started pecking at the wires and other things that initiate the nuclear detonation???
The landmines designed in Operation Blue Peacock were thought to yield a 10-kiloton explosion, which is roughly half the explosive yield of the bomb that incinerated Nagasaki. Such destructive potential ultimately led to the abandonment of the project as the British realized that there would be an unacceptable amount of nuclear fallout from such a blast. I can't imagine why anyone was worried about that back in those days.
By 1958, after the production of only two prototypes, Operation Blue Peacock was abandoned after it was decided that this was much too expensive a method for cooking chicken. And the chickens rejoiced.
And hopefully, the physicists involved found new and different lines of work.