Atomic Cannon - Annie.

Atomic Cannon

Field review by the editors.

Fort Sill, Oklahoma

The idea of an Atomic Cannon makes sense, in an insane Cold War kind of way: if you build a gun big enough it can fire a nuclear warhead far enough that it won't kill the people who pull the trigger. As an atomic holocaust delivery system, a cannon is also a lot cheaper than a jet or a missile.

1953 live fire test - Annie hurls a nuke.
1953 live fire test - Annie hurls a nuke.

So the USA built about 20 Atomic Cannons in the 1950s, each 84 feet long, weighing over 83 tons. Each was known familiarly as, "Atomic Annie." One was even fired, once, at the Nevada Test Site, on May 25, 1953. The shell detonated 500 feet in the air with a 15 kiloton nuclear explosion, the same as the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

Despite their demonstrated effectiveness, the Cannons were retired from service in 1963. Several have survived as outdoor displays at museums and military installations. While memorable in concept, an Atomic Annie could visually be any other plugged-up piece of old military hardware. There are no special markings, flash protection screens, or radiation symbols. Guess if something went wrong, there's really no point.

The Atomic Cannon at Fort Sill is extra special; it's the one that fired the live nuclear bomb in 1953.

Atomic Cannon

U.S. Army Field Artillery and Fort Sill Museum

Address:
437 Quanah Rd, Fort Sill, OK
Directions:
U.S. Army Field Artillery and Fort Sill Museum. Displayed outdoors. I-44 exit 41 (Key Gate). West on Sheridan Road, then immediate right on Randolph Rd. Drive one-half mile. The cannon is on the left, just past the museum, at the corner of Randolph and Geronimo Rds.
Phone:
580-442-5123
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

U.S. Army Field Artillery Museum - Mule GunU.S. Army Field Artillery Museum - Mule Gun, Fort Sill, OK - < 1 mi.
Geronimo's GraveGeronimo's Grave, Fort Sill, OK - 2 mi.
24-hr. Prayer Teepee24-hr. Prayer Teepee, Apache, OK - 15 mi.
In the region:
General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum, Hobart, OK - 47 mi.

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