Operation TEAPOT consisted of 14 nuclear tests detonated from February 18 to May 15, 1955.
The goal of the series was to test nuclear devices for possible inclusion in the nuclear weapons stockpile; improve military tactics, equipment and training; and study civil defense requirements. With Operation TEAPOT, the Atomic Energy Commission intensified its technical effort for "clean" or reduced fallout weapons and missile warheads. This effort led to significant advances in both reduced fallout and in miniaturization necessary for warhead delivery on missiles.
Approximately 11,000 scientific and military personnel participated in the entire test series. Approximately 7,700 Army personnel and 1,300 Marines participated in the DESERT ROCK VI exercises that included the Wasp, Moth, Tesla, Turk, Bee, ESS, Apple-1, MET, and Apple-2 tests. The troops observed nuclear blasts to familiarize themselves with weapons effects and battlefield tactics. After observing a blast, they would tour a display area of military equipment exposed to the blast. Both officers and enlisted personnel practiced nuclear age battlefield tactics and combat techniques.
In addition to studying the psychological effects of nuclear weapons on ground soldiers, scientists and military leaders wanted to learn the effects of the detonations on different types of military equipment and structures. One test, Apple-2, involved a specially constructed "Doom Town," complete with houses, automobiles, paved streets, and mannequins. This village allowed scientists to assess the effects of nuclear detonations on civilian populations, products, and food supplies, and to evaluate Civil Defense emergency preparedness plans.
At that time, U.S. leaders and the public were acutely aware of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and there was a general fear of an all-out nuclear attack by the Soviets. Hence, a great emphasis was placed on Civil Defense.
The tests comprising the 1955 Operation TEAPOT were as follows:
WASP, February 18, airdrop, weapons effects, 1 kiloton (kt)
MOTH, February 22, tower, weapons related, 2 kt
TESLA, March 1, tower, weapons related, 7 kt
TURK, March 7, tower, weapons related, 43 kt
HORNET, March 12, tower, weapons related, 4 kt
(scientists sought to determine if a chemical fog attenuated the heat and precursor wave development of a nuclear fireball)
BEE, March 22, tower, weapons related, 8 kt
ESS, March 23, crater, weapons effects, 1 kt
APPLE-1, March 29, tower, weapons related, 14 kt
WASP PRIME, March 29, airdrop, weapons related, 3 kt
HA (high altitude), April 6, airdrop, weapons effects, 3 kt
POST, April 9, tower, weapons related, 2 kt
MET, April 15, tower, weapons effects, 22 kt
(scientists gathered data from 38 experiments placed around ground zero)
APPLE-2, May 5, tower, weapons related, 29 kt
ZUCCHINI, May 15, tower, weapons related, 28 kt
Ray Walston narrated this film. Walston was credited as a television, film, and Broadway stage star in parallel with a top secret life in the production of technical film reports of nuclear weapons development. This man led a very special life of selling the nuclear weapons development programs to top secret committees of Congress as well as the United States Department of Defense, during the most dangerous time in human history.
This film was sponsored by the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project (AFSWP).
There were disturbing results in archiving these extremely historic events in color, related directly to the properties and instabilities of Kodachrome I film of the time. The pigments of these color films reacted with the lacquer coating meant to protect the films in common storage conditions, causing very disappointing fading of blue dye, as well as changes in other dye components in these films. Careful, cool storage conditions in top secret vaults would have prevented much of this film quality destruction, and especially if the problem were discovered before the early 1970s, when Kodachrome I films were discovered to experience such destruction.
The pale, yellow lines in these films were caused by the transcription of the celluloid to sanitized Betacam SP masters in 4:4:4 colorspacing, then to VHS. This is a top secret film in its original form, and not many people have security clearances to observe these films in their original, unedited form. Even less have the technical skills at handling and transcribing brittle film from the 1950s. The film was then converted to from Betacam SP to VHS, which has (often less than) half the color information of the Betacam SP masters, and much less horizontal line resolution. The staging of Betacam SP to VHS created these lines.
We are not interested in feedback that does not add to the factual knowledge of events and people surrounding this film. Not many people understand these films and their true intentions, scope, or context, and these films were never designed for public consumption or entertainment.
These were dangerous research projects deemed necessary for national defense in a truly frightening time when the Soviet Union was doing the same type of research. Both sides were busy in preparing for a very possible nuclear war that could have been ignited by the devastating war in Korea, and other conflicts in developing nations, that reached its greatest threat level in November of 1962.