Those crazy soviets

Throughout the century, it has come to my attention that the soviets tinkered with some military concepts that ‘seemed good at the time, but don’t pan out’. They’d get these ideas that seemed to lack practical follow-through. Or maybe I’m just siting urban legends when I make mention of the supposed soviet nuclear hand grenade (The A-bomb in the suitcase was a good idea tho) and the tank paratroopers with the tank crews in the tank as it is parachuted.

Mods may want to move this to MPSIMS as there doesn’t seem to be a question in the OP.

But even so…
The cold war spawned lots of crazy shit on both sides as governments were willing to throw megabucks at new ways to fight the dreaded enemy. We developed a nuclear powered ramjet for an atomic warhead cruise missle, Pluto I think it was called. Truth is stranger than fiction. The reactor core was essentially in the open and was formed of long hexagonal hollow fuel elements that superheated air passing through. It never flew but was run on a test stand with compressed air in place of the supersonic airstream. it took several days to compress enough air for a run of only9 a few minutes. Good thing they cancelled the project before ever test flying it.

Try running a search for the “Orljonok” aircraft. (If you can call it an aircraft) And I thought the USN’s “LCAC” was unusual…


OK, now I’m curious: Can anyone direct me to where I can find more information on the “Tank Paratroopers” mentioned in the OP?


Perhaps the BMD-3 Airborne Infantry Fighting Vehicle?

Wasn’t it the Soviets who pioneered “remote viewing”? And the CIA who attempted to copy them?

I seriously doubt there’s any truth to the ‘nuclear hand grenade’ thing.

There is, or was, at least, a Polish handgrenade with a lethal blast radius greater than the distance it could be thrown.

It was intended for urban combat, and was basically a large DPICM grenade, to be dropped out of windows into troop formations or onto the tops of armored vehicles, and came equipped with a drouge to ensure that it landed fuze-down.

I don’t think that you can make a nuke small enough for a person to throw it. Critical mass does require some mass after all, not to mention the apparatus to cause fusion.

There is the Davy Crockett nuclear grenade. It’s launched out of a recoil-less rifle on the back of a jeep. Range is about 4 miles. I saw a mockup at the Los Alamos nuclear museum.

Here’s a picture of the Davy Crockett:
from this thread: How small can a nuclear explosion be?

another thread: Small nuclear bombs

Nit-pick. The Davey Crockett is in no way, shape, or manner, a ‘grenade’. It’s warhead weighs 50+ pounds, and was (as mentioned) intended to be launched by a recoiless rifle. That properly makes it an artillery shell, albeit a rather short-ranged and oddly shaped one.

Ranchoth: It seems unlikely that many people would want to climb into a tank and drive it out the back of a C-130 and umpteen-thousand feet, but the United States had airborne armor forces–the 3/73rd Armor Battalion. We dropped armor into combat during Operation Just Cause. There’s about a zillion military sites out there–I’d be surprised if there wasn’t one for the 3/73 Armor. The only other places I can think of to look for info on airborne armor is–I hate to say it–Tom Clancy. He mentions airborne tankers in one or two of his non-fiction books–unfortunately, I can’t remember which ones off the top of my head.

Incubus: About the Soviets–are you sure you’re not talking about airborne tankers jumping out of airplanes separate from their armored vehicles which are dropped on pallets? America has done this; it wouldn’t be surprising to find out that other nations’ militaries have as well. Otherwise . . . well, that really is just insane.

The U.S. next-generation tank can be deployed at high altitude by parachute, I believe.

The other way to deploy tanks is to do LAPES drops (low altitude parachute extraction). The plane flies something like 30 feet off the ground, and the payload is pushed out the back. A parachute opens, and the whole thing hits the ground in a controlled skid. I’ve seen hundreds of them. I don’t know if they drop heavy tanks that way, but certainly support vehicles and supplies.

Mephisto, the BMD-3 is Russian armor that is airdropped with the crew inside, ready to go.