Death Sand

Radiological warfare is the use of radiation as a weapon. "Death Sand" is a variant of this — the use of irradiated sand as a weapon. Details from Popular Science, Feb 1951.

Prof. Hans Thirring of Vienna proposes drying a solution of the RW [radiological warfare] agent upon sand, or metal powder. Naming the preparation "death sand," he calls it "the lightest and most transportable of all weapons of mass destruction."

Airplanes for "death-sand" attacks could resemble those used for crop dusting and spreading fertilizer from the air. A British plane for the latter purpose has dropped five tons of chemicals in a single experimental flight.

To protect occupants from the cargo's radioactivity a death-sand plane would need heavy shielding. (After calculating its weight, one scientist suggested dropping the shielding instead of the RW agent on the enemy!) But shielding could be omitted if crewless planes, under radio control from accompanying aircraft, laid the sand.

Troops in an area sprinkles with death sand will have no choice but to get out. Those who remain will receive a fatal dose in anywhere from a few hours to several weeks, depending on the intensity of the radioactivity. Like victims of A-bomb radiation, they will suffer nausea, loss of hair, anemia, and hemorrhages. But those who flee at once will suffer no ill effects.

     Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 14, 2023
     Category: War | Weapons | Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters

And we thought land mines were the gift that keeps on giving
Posted by eddi on 09/14/23 at 04:34 AM
A concept famously fictionalized by Heinlein a decade earlier!
Posted by Paul on 09/14/23 at 10:19 AM
Something like this was actually developed under the name "Project Pluto" - an autonomous nuclear powered cruise missile carrying 16 H-Bombs, flying at supersonic speeds, spewing radioactive exhaust along the way until its final dive into the ground, dispersing its highly radioactive core as a dirty bomb.
Posted by Eric on 09/16/23 at 03:36 PM
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