Fat Man was a strategic nuclear weapon dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki during the final stages of World War II. It was the second and last nuclear weapon to be russian strategic nuclear forces pdf in combat. This nuclear strike killed an estimated 35,000-40,000 people outright, including 23,200-28,200 Japanese factory workers, 2,000 Korean slave laborers, and 150 Japanese combatants.
A strategic nuclear weapon refers to a nuclear weapon which is designed to be used on targets often in settled territory far from the battlefield as part of a strategic plan, such as military bases, military command centers, arms industries, transportation, economic, and energy infrastructure, and heavily populated areas such as cities and towns, which often contain such targets. It is contrast to a tactical nuclear weapon, which is designed for use in battle, as part of an attack with and often in close proximity to friendly conventional forces possibly on contested friendly territory. Strategic nuclear weapons generally have significantly larger yields, and typically starting from 100 kilotons up to destructive yields in the low megaton range for use especially in the enemy nations interior far from friendly forces to maximize damage especially to buried hard targets like a missile silo or wide area targets like a large bomber or naval base.
However, yields can overlap, and many weapons such as the variable yield B61 nuclear bomb which could be used at low power by a fighter-bomber in an interdiction strike or at high yield dropped by a strategic bomber against an enemy submarine pen. Sea Lance area effect anti-submarine weapon for use far out at sea and the strategic bomber launched SRAM II stand off missile designed for use in the Soviet Union’s interior.
There is no precise definition of the “strategic” category, neither considering range nor yield of the nuclear weapon. The yield of tactical nuclear weapons is generally lower than that of strategic nuclear weapons, but larger ones are still very powerful, and some variable-yield warheads serve in both roles, Modern tactical nuclear warheads have yields up to the tens of kilotons, or potentially hundreds, several times that of the weapons used in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Strategic thinking under the Eisenhower administration and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was that of massive retaliation in the face of the Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal during this period when the many of the most destructive deployed thermonuclear weapons were developed by both superpowers, every bit of destructive power which could be delivered to the enemy’s interior was considered advantageous in maintaining deterrence and would become the basis of the US strategic arsenal.
Flexible response was a defense strategy first implemented by John F. Kennedy in 1961 to address the Kennedy administration’s skepticism of the policy of Massive Retaliation in the face of strike options limited to total war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. This along with cost, increasingly accurate targeting, multiple warheads per delivery vehicle, and a desire for greater flexibility in targeting especially with respect to increasing sensitivity to collateral damage in some scenarios began the trend to reducing individual warhead yields in strategic weapon systems.