Every time I mention I want to eventually get a .50 BMG or a machine gun people tell me they are overkill. Well they apparently don’t know what overkill is. THIS is overkill…
I present for your amusement the M-388. The M-388 is a system involving a recoilless rifle that shoots a nuclear warhead. No this isn’t some exotic weapon from the Fallout series of games, this is a real weapon that was actually produced during The Cold War.
The idea was to have a bunch of soldiers with these and various other nuclear weapons between the border of The Soviet Union and Europe. If Russia tried to invade the idea was to make the border a total radioactive wasteland for at least 48 hours, enough time to get NATO forces into position.
The M-388 could propel a projectile with up to half a kiloton payload to a distance of two and a half miles. The radioactive fallout would be instantly lethal to all people within 500 feet. Of course the recoilless rifle was dreadfully inaccurate so the three man team operating it more or less just lobbed the projectile at the largest Soviet group they could find and figure the concept of blast radius would take care of the problem. Certainly a most interesting weapon.
All I can say is overkill in a semi-portable weapon has been defined.