This is for the command area... sorry, no bunkers. It looks fairly intact. For anyone who ever wanted to own their own Army base!
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Posted 19 September 2015 - 08:57 PM
I'm not really familiar with how Nike sites/ commands were operated, but what level of unit would have been stationed here? A platoon, or a company?
Posted 20 September 2015 - 01:49 PM
From Wikipedia, it looks like it would have been a small company:
Each launch site had three parts, separated by at least 1,000 yards (914 m). One part (designated C) of about six acres (24,000 m²) contained the IFC (Integrated Fire Control) radar systems to detect incoming targets (acquisition and target tracking) and direct the missiles (missile tracking), along with the computer systems to plot and direct the intercept. The second part (designated L), around forty acres (160,000 m²), held 1-3 underground missile magazines each serving a group of four launch assemblies and included a safety zone. The site had a crew of 109 officers and men who ran the site continuously. One launcher would be on 15 minutes alert, two on 30 minutes and one on two hour alert. The third part was the administrative area (designated A), which was usually co-located with the IFC and contained the battery headquarters, barracks, mess, recreation hall, and motor pool. The actual configuration of the Nike sites differed depending on geography. Whenever possible the sites were placed on existing military bases or National Guard armories; otherwise land had to be purchased.
Posted 15 October 2015 - 07:38 PM
Nike sites were manned by individual firing batteries (not companys), typically four batteries to a battalion, each battery having its own tac site.
Wikipeda's statement about individual 'launchers' being on various states of alert is incorrect; these states of alert applied to an entire battery, with one battery 'hot' and the others in various lower states of readiness, as described. I am not sure what they mean by a 'launch assembly.'
Wikipedia is correct in stating there could be flexibility in the layout of the three areas (launcher area, fire control, or IFC area, and admin area) based on the local real estate situation. The admin area was frequently a separate third location. The underground magazines (not bunkers) were peculiar to the ARADCOM sites located in the US; one exception was site HM69 in the Everglades; which had above ground barns because the water table was too high for an underground magazine. The battalion tactical HQ, or BOC, might be co-located with a firing battery. However, the IFC area was always separated from the launcher area to enable the missile tracking radar to lock onto the elevated missile while the latter was still on the ground. If memory serves, the minimum separation was one half mile.
USAREUR sites were above ground with 'barns,' big sheet metal buildings at the end of rails which allowed stored ready rounds to be rolled onto launchers. Taking photos in the launcher area was frowned upon, but I have appended a picture of a USAREUR pattern launcher section done by a model maker. This is a very accurate and realistic representation showing the barn, launchers,(three to a section, three sections to a launcher platoon) the connecting rails, and at the top, the section revetment (again, not a bunker) built into the side of the berm surrounding each firing section.
These launchers have mobility kits, something not seen on CONUS sites. Note the blast pad at the rear of the launcher, and the extended jacks. Such launchers could be towed on a bogie behind a 5 ton prime mover. A 5 ton ready round could be towed along on its transporter behind another 5 ton truck. As one can imagine, with the Nike Herc the term 'mobility' should be taken with a grain of salt.
The section revetment housed the section control indicator panel (SCI) and section simuilator group (SSG) by todays standards a delightfully clunky piece of vacuum tube era electronics from which individual launchers were selected and fired. On CONUS sites I believe the SCI was housed in a little room off the underground magazine. Am appending a photo of the SCI sitting on the SSG (love that military alliteration)
Because some Nike Herc rounds were nukes (I believe all of them in CONUS but I'm not sure on that) the launcher area was surrounded by double fence with guard towers. Eveything was triplicated in the protected launcher area, but the IFC area had no such protection and a single skilled rifleman could possibly have put an entire battery out of action by disabling one of the two tracking radars.
Anyone still awake after reading the above feel free to PM questions. Anyone wanting to see the real thing should visit site SF88, north of San Franciso in Marin County.
Edited by El Bibliotecario, 15 October 2015 - 07:51 PM.
Posted 16 October 2015 - 06:49 AM
Thank you for the detailed clarification.
I remember being on an exercise in Germany and being shuttled around by a small observation helicopter. When we landed we flew right over a battery with the missiles deployed out on the rails. I seem to recall that the missiles were painted an overall OD green. It was quite the sight to see, and I regret that I did not have my camera ready. Of course, as noted above, it was probably just as well that I did not photograph the site. Folks were touchy about these things back then.
I remember also driving on the autobahn one day, and for some reason my eyes looked at the ridge line above me. There was a row of at least 3 Nike missiles standing erect above the tree line. Some of the trees had lost their leaves and the profile was quite distinct. And yet everyone was just driving along without taking a bit of notice. I guess this was just a common site during the Cold War.
I remember too the month that the magazine Der Spiegel published a map of the nuclear sites in Germany, including the Nike sites. While it wasn't with pinpoint accuracy, it gave you a good idea where these locations were. That really stirred the feathers between allies for awhile.
Posted 22 October 2015 - 01:38 PM
These were way cool when i was a kid...
Edited by Mr.Jerry, 22 October 2015 - 01:40 PM.
Posted 22 October 2015 - 02:55 PM
I thought the same thing when I was a kid, until I realized that was the skyline of an American city in the background.
Notice that the exploding aircraft is taken from photos of a drone B-17. There is an existing photo that matches that image. If the aircraft had gotten that close to the battery before being hit, I think we'd be in trouble.
I like how the operators are fleeing for their well being as these missiles are being launched behind them.
Posted 26 July 2017 - 03:20 AM
This one is back up for sale on eBay again. Only $250,000
I stopped by the gate here a few years ago and snapped some photos from outside the gate. The owner came out and we chatted a bit. I was hoping for a tour but no such luck...
Posted 26 July 2017 - 03:22 AM
I also went down the road and found the former launch site. There was a house next door to the main gate and I was tempted to knock but it was getting late. So I didn't
Picture of the locked front gate and remains of the guard shack.
Posted 29 July 2017 - 08:51 PM
I worked around Pan-Tex for a long time (custom drilling from the northern panhandle down through Chihuaha Mexico. Seems there were unusual block buildings everywhere from the 50's and 60's. Huge area. Rumor was there was a tunnel running from Pan-Tex back to Lubbock at Reese AFB. Gotta love a good rumor. I'm trying to decide what I would do with one of these facilities if I owned it. Maybe a vintage type strip club/liquor store/bowling alley/shooting range?
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