7. The M65 atomic cannon came to be known as Atomic Annie
In 1949, a United States Army weapons research and manufacturing facility known as Picatinny Arsenal, located in New Jersey, was assigned the task of creating a nuclear shell capable of being fired from a piece of artillery. Loosely based on the German railroad guns deployed in both World Wars, the arsenal created the M65 cannon to fire the weapon, which was based on the same warhead used by the Davy Crockett. Rather than being deployed on a railway car, the cannon was driven by specially designed tractors, each capable of being steered independently. The cannon was first fired at the Nevada Test Site in May 1953, when it lobbed a 15 kiloton nuclear warhead a distance of seven miles, which successfully detonated. It is to date the only time a nuclear shell was fired from a cannon, and its success led to more than 20 of the enormous guns being built and deployed in Europe and the Korean Peninsula.
Other nuclear shells were later developed for artillery already in existence in the arsenal of the US Army, including the 155 mm howitzer (W48) and the 203 mm (W33). The use of nuclear artillery bombardment on the battlefield of the future was part of strategic and tactical planning for the United States Army and allied war planners during the 1950s as a means of countering the Soviet superiority in armor and in troops. At the time the United States had a decided advantage in strategic nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them, and the development of tactical nuclear weapons included many others, including mines and missiles. The deployment of the W33 nuclear shell continued into the early 1990s, as did the W48, remaining a part of NATO planning long after several missile systems had been discarded. The US Navy developed a warhead to be fired from sixteen inch battleship guns, the W23, though by 1962 the system was discontinued as the battleships became less of a part of naval planning.