Find a Security Clearance Job!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Chapter 4

Nuclear Protection

There are three types of radiation:

ALPHA--Travels only a few centimeters, internal hazard only.

BETA--Travels a few meters in air, limited penetrating power, external and internal hazard.

GAMMA--Travels speed of light, cannot be totally shielded.

Actions Before an Attack:

The best defense against a nuclear attack is to dig in. Unit defensive positions, which vary from soldier's foxholes to improved defensive positions, should be prepared whenever the tactical situation permits.

Foxholes: A deep, round foxhole with overhead cover offers the best protection from blast, thermal radiation, initial nuclear radiation, and fallout.

Field shelters: Well-constructed fighting positions and bunkers provide excellent protection against all the effects of a nuclear detonation.

Tunnels, caves, culverts, and storm drains provide good shelter.

Armored personnel earners, infantry fighting vehicles, and tanks (in a hull-down defilade) give excellent protection.

Weapons, individual equipment, clothing, and other items should be secured in their foxholes. Supplies, explosives, and flammables should be dispersed and protected or shielded. If left unsecured, these may become lethal weapons from the blast wave.

Actions During an Attack

  • Immediately drop face down.
  • Close eyes.
  • Protect exposed skin.
  • Wait until blast wave passes and debris stops falling.
  • Stay calm, check for injury.
  • Check weapons and equipment.
  • Prepare to continue the mission.

Actions After an Attack

  • Begin continuous monitoring.
  • Organize survivors.
  • Secure and organize equipment.
  • Cover mouth with handkerchief.
  • Assist casualties.
  • Send NBC 1 report.
  • Improve protection against possible fallout.
  • Conduct damage assessment and restoration of combat power.

Simplified Fallout Prediction (M5A2)

1. Information required: NBC 2 nuclear report and effective downwind message (EDM).

2. Record date-time of burst, GZ, and wind direction on M5A2.

3. Determine Zone I from the nomogram printed on the M5A2, draw arc on M5A2, and label.

4. Zone II = 2 x Zone I; draw an arc, and label.

5. Draw tangents from cloud radius to end of Zone I.

6. Darken the perimeter.

7. Draw time-of-arrival arcs and label.

8. Orient azimuth on predictor with grid north.

Significance of Predicted Fallout Zones

Exposed, unprotected personnel may receive the following doses from fallout:

Zone I--Immediate operational concern. More than 150 centigray (cGy) within 4 hours.

Zone II--Secondary hazard. Less than 150 cGy within 4 hours. More than 50 cGy within 24 hours.

Outside the predicted area--No more than 50 cGy in 24 hours. No more than 150 cGy for an indefinite period.

Detailed Fallout Prediction (Unit Level)

1. Obtain a valid NBC 3 report.

2. Determine scale at which the prediction will be drawn (must be the same as the map on which it will be displayed.)

3. On overlay paper, mark GZ.

With Line YANKEE (from NBC 3 report):

4. Mark grid north.

5. Extend radial lines at their proper azimuths from GZ (from line YANKEE).

6. Using GZ as center, draw Zone I arc (from line ZULU) between radial lines.

7. Using GZ as center, draw Zone II arc (2 x Zone I) between radial lines.

8. Using GZ as center, draw circle with radius equal to the cloud radius (from line ZULU).

9. Draw two tangent lines from the GZ circle to the points of intersection of the two radial lines with the Zone I arc.

10. Using GZ as center, draw dashed time-of-arrival arcs (from line ZULU). No arcs are drawn beyond the end of Zone II.

11. Label zones, times of arrival.

12. Add marginal information:

a. Strike serial number (from line ALFA).

b. Date-time of attack (from line DELTA).

c. GZ coordinates (from line FOXTROT).

d. Scale.

Without Line YANKEE:

4. Using GZ as center, draw Zone I circle (the only 3 digits on line ZULU).

5. Using GZ as center, draw Zone II circle (2 x Zone I).

6. Label zones and GZ.

7. Add marginal information:

a. Strike serial number (from line ALFA).

b. Date-time of attack (from line DELTA).

c. GZ coordinates (from line FOXTROT).

d. Scale.

NOTE: If you need more detailed information on fallout prediction, see FM 3-3-1. Figure 4-6. Four parts of completing a fallout prediction.

Marginal Information

  • Map designation
  • Grid reference data
  • Nuclear burst ground zero identification
  • H-hour
  • Reference time

  • Decay rate (exponent)
  • Time of preparation
  • Validity time
  • Source of contamination (fallout, neutron-induced, or radiological agents)
  • Dose rate information

Radiological Monitoring

Periodic monitoring (readings at least once every hour) is done when--

  • Intelligence indicates a threat of nuclear war.
  • Nuclear war has been initiated or NBC threat status (nuclear) is Serial 3.
  • Continuous monitoring falls below 1 centigray per hour (cGyph).

Continuous monitoring is done when--

  • A nuclear detonation is seen, heard, or reported.
  • Periodic monitoring records 1 cGyph or higher.
  • Ordered by the unit commander.
  • A warning of expected contamination (NBC 3) is received.

Automatic NBC 4 reports are--

  • Initial report.
  • Peak report.
  • Special reports--send when a condition exists that warrants the commander's attention--for example, when the commander's operational exposure guidance (OEG) is exceeded.

Additional directed reports are--

  • Series reports.
  • Summary reports.
  • Verification reports.

Radiological Survey Briefing

1. Situation: Enemy and contamination situation

2. Mission: Who, what, when, where, and why

3. Execution:

a. Concept of operation

b. Assignments

c. Coordinating instructions:

(1) Time of departure

(2) Primary and alternate routes

(3) Coordination required

(4) OEG, turn-back dose (Dtb), turn-back dose rate (Rtb)

(5) Actions on reaching Dtb or Rtb

(6) Areas requiring marking

(7) Debriefing - when, where, by whom

4. Service Support: Forms, equipment, POL, decontamination, and so forth

5. Command Signal:

a. Command. Location of control party

b. Signal:

(1) Reporting requirements

(2) SOI

(3) Codes and call signs

(4) Primary and alternate communication means

Aerial Radiological Survey Briefing

Control party briefing includes--

  • Time of departure.
  • Course legs and routes.
  • Tentative height.
  • Coordination required.
  • OEG.

  • Actions on reaching Dtb or Rtb.
  • Debriefing: when, where, by whom.
  • Height of aircraft (150 meters AGL [above ground level] maximum, 60 meters AGL optimal).
  • Ground speed (53 knots [98 kmph] maximum; slower is more accurate).
  • Establishment procedures for the air-ground correlation factor (AGCF).
  • Time interval between readings (500 meters maximum).

To use the below table to find the downwind distance of Zone I, enter the left-hand column with the yield as indicated on line NOVEMBER of the NBC 2 nuclear report. Read across the top to locate the nearest wind speed (always round UP to safe-side). Where the two columns intersect is the Zone I distance Distances are in kilometers.

Radiological Calculations*
(For use with pocket calculator)


R1 = Dose rate measured at H + 1.
Rt = Dose rate measured at time (t) after burst (other than H + 1)
t = Time that Rt was measured (in H +m-hours after burst).
n = Decay exponent (use 1.2 if unknown).

Total Dose**

Use if Te H + 25: D = (R1/1-n)(Tx1-n - Te1-n)
Use if Te > H + 25: D = RTe x Ts
D = Total dose.
Tx = Time of exit from area (in H + number of hours after burst).
Te = Time of entry into area (in H + number of hours after burst).
Ts = Time of stay in area (hours).

Decay Rate of Fallout (n)

n = Log (Ra/Rb) /Log (Tb/Ta)
Ra = Dose rate measured at time a (Ta) (after peak dose rate).
Rb = Dose rate measured at time b (Tb) (last dose rate).
Ta = time (in H + number of hours after burst) that Ra was measured.
Tb = time (in H + number of hours after burst) that Rb was measured.

Validity Time for Decay Rate (TP)

Tp = 3 (Tb-Ta) + Tb
Ta = Time (in H + number of hours after burst) that Ra was measured.
Tb = Time (in H + number of hours after burst) that Rb was measured.

Normalizing Factor Formulas

For H + 1: NF = (T2) or
H + 48: NF = (T2/48)
T2 = Elapsed time after burst
n = Decay Exponent
R1= Rt x NF

Aerial Survey Calculations

Radiation Injury

Immediate Injury but Delayed Effects

Since a radiation injury victim does not show symptoms immediately after exposure, except for nausea and vomiting, these initial symptoms are not reliable by themselves to evaluate casualties or treat patients. Currently, the only available method to quickly estimate the radiation injury to a soldier is with a personnel dosimeter. Without this dosimetry, many days must pass before definitive diagnostic techniques of the secondary radiation exposure symptoms can provide an accurate estimate of radiation injury.


IM93 10% certified and leak checked
IM147 10% certified and leak checked
DT236 30% or 30 cGy, whichever is less, with 95% confidence after 24 hours

Self-aid and Buddy Aid

Key Factor in Nuclear Combat

Nuclear detonations can produce large numbers of blast, burn, and projectile injuries that initially must be managed by individual soldiers trained in critical frost-aid procedures.

Critical Period

The great physical damage to the surrounding area as a result of a nuclear detonation will increase delays in medical assistance and evacuation. Quality self-aid and buddy aid will improve casualty survival rates and conserve medical resources. Prompt stabilization will ensure casualties can better withstand evacuation to appropriate medical treatment facilities.

Radiation Guidance

Radiation guidance is the advice by the medical staff officer to the commander concerning the medical effects of predicted and actual radiation received by a unit. Commanders use medical advice and information to weigh the options of retaining soldiers with radiation injury (with the possibility of increasing lethality) versus entry into the medical support system.

Importance of Fitness and Wellness

The percentage of deaths that will occur from a given exposure is not a constant value, and it is, in fact, changed by many conditions. For healthy soldiers, LD + 50 is estimated to be about 450 cGy if no medical care is provided, if there are no other injuries, and if they are required to perform little physical labor. If, however, soldiers with no other injuries are worked to exhaustion or are in poor general health, LD + 50 is be reduced to approximately 300 cGy. Soldiers in good health, promptly evacuated to a CONUS hospital, and provided extensive medical care are expected to have their LD + 50 increased to 600 cGy. Soldiers' fitness and health are, therefore, critical factors for survival on a nuclear battlefield.

* For neutron induced radiological calculations, use nomograms in FM 3-3-1.

** When decay constant n = 1, use 1.000001 for the above equation.

Join the mailing list