Today in AFJ History

October 26, 2013  

1957: Nuclear artillery is ‘near at hand’

This 1953 test of an 11-inch nuclear shell, among other developments, led Army leaders to believe that the day of atomic artillery was coming. (National Nuclear Security Administration)

From the archive: October 26, 1957

Dual-Purpose Artillery Missiles

The Armed Forces are on the threshold of a new era in artillery firepower. Dual-purpose missiles with atomic warheads make possible the use of a single weapon for critical defense and attack duties. They will have a sharp impact on strategy planning and deployment of forces, and roles and missions may require acute revision.

The budget will be affected as a result of the availability of multipurpose missiles.

That such weapons are near at hand is the firm conviction expressed here in an interview with The Journal by Lt. Gen. S. R. Mickelsen, retiring Commanding General of the U.S. Army Air Defense Command.

“We at ARADCOM,” says General Mickelsen, “foresee the day when it will be profitable to count on dual-purpose missiles for instant use in event of emergency.”

General Mickelsen holds that the Army’s Nike family points the way clearly in this direction. He maintains that “the day is near at hand when it will be practicable to employ artillery missiles with nuclear warheads either for defense against enemy air attack or for mighty strikes against tactical or strategic targets.”