The problem is not with this level of blast damage, but with no corresponding damage from flash. The two immediately apparent effects of the low yield detonation depicted would be an intense thermal/light flash lasting a fraction of a second, and a blast wave travelling through the air at the speed of sound (except for very close to the detonation). The effects on the motorcade correspond to about 5 psi overpressure, about 1 km from the explosion, and would have been preceded 3 seconds earlier by a thermal pulse that might have been damaging. The hospital several km away would have suffered only the minor damage from blast as depicted, but the arrival of the blast would have been preceded by the light flash about 10-20 seconds earlier. This is plenty of time for people near windows at the hospital to react--and if they are wise, to take cover--before the windows are blown out.
The low yield detonation depicted here would destroy or damage only a limited portion of the city. A detonation in the tens of kilotons range occuring beneath a large stadium would cause severe damage to a range of about 0.8 km. Compare this to Baltimore which encompasses an area about 15 km by 15 km within its city limits.
For the weapon depicted, fallout fatal within days would fall as far as 10-20 km downwind in a swath on the order of 1 km wide. The wind was described as blowing north and east, in which case much of Baltimore would remain free of fallout.
There are no SLBMs designated D3. The U.S. currently has Trident I C4 and Trident II D5 SLBMs. The now retired Poseidon C3 missile was taken off alert in 1992.
© 2002 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 17 June 2002.
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