Presentation about the 59th Ordnance Brigade and Nuclear Artillery

by , under Cold War, Germany, nuclear weapons, U.S. Army

Nuclear artillery.

These words are reminiscent of the Cold War Era, when both the Soviet Union and United States developed what were termed as “tactical nuclear weapons”; in short, battlefield nuclear weapons used by artillery units with a short range, and possible short lifespan for the soldiers who fired these weapons.

The 59th Ordnance Brigade was the largest U.S. Army Brigade until 1992. It consisted of over 6000 soldiers covering an area that bordered with the North Sea in the north to Italy in the south, and as far east as Greece and Turkey.

While researching nuclear artillery I came upon a presentation given by former XO (executive officer) of a nuclear artillery unit, Keith Guillory, who gave a presentation at the Army War College on nuclear artillery sites and their basic operations.

Nuclear field artillery units in Germany were on the front lines of the Cold War in Germany. Their main goal during an outbreak of hostilities with the Warsaw Pact were to defend the Fulda Gap, wreaking havoc by firing nuclear artillery rounds (203mm and 155mm) and nuclear capable Lance missiles. The artillery rounds had a range between 15 and 25 miles, and the Lance missile had a range of about 75 miles. NATO strategy included the use of tactical nuclear weapons because of the numerical superiority of the Warsaw Pact.

In 1992, all U.S. Army tactical nuclear weapons were removed from Europe and South Korea and eventually removed from the Army itself.

This presentation is an excellent resource in historical studies of U.S. Army nuclear forces in Germany during the Cold War.