It’s the Cold War. You’re a US Special Forces operative, parachuting into enemy territory (could be Eastern Europe, could be North Korea). Besides your kit, you’ve got a 90 pound, half-kiloton nuke attached to your harness. Your job is to backpack it to your assigned target, evade patrols and guards, and set it off. And, since the timing mechanism is imprecise, you’re supposed to hang around nearby until if goes off.
Sound like fun?
This story from Foreign Policy on the history of the SADM (Special Atomic Demolitions Munition) is a reminder of how weird the Cold War got. The US Army felt that to keep pace with the other Services, it too needed a nuclear capability. The backpack demolition nuke grew out of ideas for “nuclear landscaping”, using nukes to create obstacles against advancing enemy forces. From there the SADM idea was claimed by the Special Forces types for offensive use. Tom Clancy would have been hard-pressed to think this stuff up.The article is quite fascinating, in a rather horrific way, and would make an excellent scenario for those of you that do Cold War goes hot gaming.