Prior to the tests of the atomic bomb on naval and merchant shipping at Bikini Atoll, there was widespread speculation on the ability of vessels to withstand the cataclysmic explosion of the splitting atom, and on the effect that the bomb would have on navies and on sea power. While complete results of the two tests so far held—a third was scheduled for early 1947—have not yet been determined, and probably will not be for months because of the difficulty of correlating all the data, certain effects seem established. Among these are: one atomic bomb detonated in the air or in the water will do infinitely greater damage than any other known explosive; the radioactivity continues dangerous longer when the atom is split under water than when it is split in the air; the radius of damage is rather less than was at first thought, as vessels moored more than a mile from the center of both explosions suffered relatively light injury; the armor of warships stood up well under the blast effect, but delicate and all-important equipment such as radar and fire control instruments suffered severely.
Sea Power and the Atomic Bomb
By John Philips Cranwell