Earl: You mean that's not enough? Oh Burt, don't tell me it's not enough!
Burt: Not enou... Never mind, just run! Run!
Any bomb that is at least as big as a car (either as one explosive or a cluster), is truly made to make a huge blast.
The reason is that when you have Stuff Blowing Up, it's often good to have bigger explosions. But that doesn't necessarily mean the actual bomb has to be large, especially these days with high yield explosives. Before then, huge bombs were the easiest way to make it clear the blast would be huge (in fiction and Real Life). With high yield in a large amount, the blast goes Up to Eleven.
May overlap with the Incredibly Obvious Bomb, because it's going to be hard to hide something this big.
This is about the size of the bomb. If the actual explosion, or its effects, seem too big to be true for the materials of the bomb, you're probably looking at a Ridiculously Potent Explosive
- The Neutron S Missile from Genesis Climber MOSPEADA. When all you got is nukes, make them a mile wide.
- In One Piece, as a part of their plot to take over Alabasta, baroque Works set a giant bomb in the big clocktower. It explodes, but only after it had been, at the last second, flown up out of the city.
- Deidara from Naruto has two of these: C3 plays this straight, as it is the size of a car (though before being used it's about the size of a basketball) and powerful enough to destroy most of a village. On the other hand, C4 subverts this as it's is a doll of Deidara which is about 3 stories tall and explodes ... into a cloud of dust which is actually millions of microscopic bombs that go into the bodies of organisms before exploding. On top of that, his strongest bomb, C0, isn't large either, as it's simply himself.
- The Kyuubi can make a Tailed Beast Bomb up to 10 times his size. A Combined Tailed Beast Bomb is far larger, and the explosion itself can devastate an entire city's worth of land. Then there's the Juubi's relative-to-body-sized equivalent that can destroy a small country. Kaguya near the end forms a similar-sized bomb made out of solid chakra matter that can open up an entire new dimension.
- Hunter × Hunter features a device called "Little Rose". Said device combines this trope with Why Am I Ticking? and produces a cloud in the form of a rose flower when used. While officially banned as inhuman, a sufficiently trustworthy character mentions that those deviced were embedded in millions. In the Crapsack World of the series, death by suicide bombing is better than ending up as either chimera ant soldier or chimera ant soldier food. As the only shown explosion was a Heroic Sacrifice of a Retired Badass, it is not known if the shown destructive power is linked to the individual's power level.
- Super Dimension Fortress Macross tends to feature a BFB within a Macross Missile Massacre event toward the end of the series, which carries over to the final episodes of subsequent Macross series; at one point, the gigantic battleship/robot reveals that significant portion of its mass consists entirely of "Reaction" missiles. The resulting explosion wipes a fleet of millions from existence.
- Buster Machine III, a.k.a. the Black Hole Bomb in Gunbuster. Part of its construction involved compressing the planet Jupiter into a shell roughly two-thirds the size of the Moon. When detonated, it swallows the entire core of the Milky Way galaxy.
- Parodied by D.Gray-Man where Komui attempts to launch a classic bomb on one of the scientists who was walking around town with Komui's younger sister Lenalee to go shopping. Komui assumed that the poor guy was hitting on Lenalee, so he sets out to do all he can to kill him, which explains the bomb. Luckily, Lavi defuses that bomb, only to find that Komui had an extra mini bomb in hand, which he uses to blow half a store.
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, part of Homura's plan to take down Walpurgisnacht involves using a gas truck to wham it(?) into a landmine-filled stadium. Literally.
- And just so we're clear... that was part of the plan. It was a very explosive laden plan. Unfortunately, it didn't work, but it was nice watching. Who knows how many times she has done this on Walpurgisnacht.
- Other parts included a Field of Bazookas, oil cistern and a pair of battleship-launced missiles.
- In Ranma ½, Mousse chains Ranma to a giant bomb bigger than himself, complete with digital timer. It was supposedly hidden in his robe. Rules of Cool, Funny, and Drama were all arguably used.
- The Gamilus Empire in Space Battleship Yamato 2199 takes "big" where it's never gone before, with what appear to be nearly conventional bombs with diameters of about a third of a mile. The resulting explosions are so large that they easily destroy cities, leaving only city-sized, molten holes in the crust of whatever planet they detonate on. We see them used to great effect during the destruction of Alteria. Words cannot expression the level of destruction brought to that planet, it can only be seen.
- Robo Rally has "The Big One", a bomb that's larger than the titular robots that carry it. Its explosion deals 64 damage at point-blank range, where the individual robots have 10 hit points at best.
- DC Comics' Cosmic Odyssey included some big bombs, like the splash-page bomb found by Green Lantern. A yellow bomb.
- In Transformers: Generation 2, Grimlock comes up with a ploy to take out the flagship of Jhiaxus' Decepticons by sneaking a preposterously sized Incredibly Obvious Bomb called the Chaosmaster Bomb onto the Decepticon ship. Given that this thing seems to be a nuke that is visibly bigger than Grimlock, who is himself one of the larger Autobots to begin with, it's probably safe to call this a very big bomb.
- The climax of Tremors 2: Aftershocks. Earl has set Burt's entire cache of explosives to explode. Earl has previously referred to Burt as "putting a new shine on the word 'overkill.'" Burt's only reaction and advice is to run. Eventually, Earl and the rest of the group run and hide behind a building pretty far away from the bomb. Burt runs right past them, shouting "Keep going, it's gonna be 'BIG!!" He's right. When it goes off, the building they tried to hide behind is blown to kindling.
Kate: Is he serious?
Earl: Burt knows his bombs.
- The Tallboy (see below) which John Rambo uses to kill a significant chunk of the Myanmar army in Rambo IV.
- In Sunshine, the goal is to jump-start the Sun by destroying or disrupting a theoretical particle only barely understood by physics which has latched onto it and is slowing its fusion reaction, effectively causing it to fade and die. The means: an enormous f***ing bomb which required half of Earth's fissile resources to build. And it's one of two.
- In Avatar, the bad guys attempt to blow up the Tree of Souls with a huge pallet of mining explosives. When the shuttle loses an engine, it rolls back and crushes the marine who was preparing to push it out.
- The Alpha-Omega bomb in Beneath the Planet of the Apes
- Pacific Rim gives us this.◊ A 2,400 pound thermonuclear explosive, attached to a Jaeger's back, the detonation is equivalent to 1.2 million tons of TNT exploding, which results in a massive bubble of air being created underwater.
- Die Hard with a Vengeance has both a Red Herring bomb the size of a vending machine (the explosive liquids are actually maple syrup), and the actual bomb that takes a major part of a ship's basement and leads to an impressive blast.
- In Stephen King's Under the Dome, a relatively small chunk of C4 is used to blow up a meth lab with enough propane to generate a column of flame over one mile high and start a devastating wildfire that burns through the forest like paper and is hot enough to melt asphalt. Bear in mind that this is set in the equivalent of a locked room full of people. Predictability ensues.
- Harry Turtledove's The Guns of the South uses the concept of the Battle of the Crater (see Real Life below), but changes the situation so it's used by the Confederates against time-traveling Afrikaaners (It Makes Sense in Context).
- Andy Remic's novel War Machine has one of the main characters gaining an RPN- Rocket Propelled Nuke.
- Matthew Reilly usually uses high yield explosives in his books, but occasionally uses these when a nuke would be impractical.
- In Scarecrow, the US Marines call in an airstrike to destroy a mine full of terrorists with a MOAB (see Real Life below).
- In The Six Sacred Stones, Jack takes out a plane with a scaled up version of a Bouncing Betty, nicknamed "Super Betty". It's a large bomb that uses a secondary detonation to propel it into the air before it explodes.
- In Graham McNeil's Warhammer 40,000 novel Warriors of Ultramar, some orbital fuel refineries are rigged to blow and packed with extra explosives. The first one is tossed into the middle of a Tyranid hive fleet, and detonated when one of the hiveships tries to eat it. The second time the Imperium tries the same thing, but the 'nids toss it back at them.
- A similar incident occurs in the second Ciaphas Cain book, where a refinery is detonated after flushing most of its product down a series of tunnels to deal with a Necron Apocalypse. The fumes left in the tunnels turn it into the universe's largest Fuel Air Explosive: A God-Emperor Of All Bombs, if you will. How big? It rocks the shuttles in high atmosphere, that's how.
- In the Belisarius Series, there's a point where the heroes set off an enormous explosion for earthmoving purposes. Aide had warned repeatedly that they were using more explosives than they really needed for the job (it would still have been a massive detonation, but it didn't have to be that massive), but "Belisarius and Basil had both insisted that more was vastly preferable than enough." After the rocks stop falling — on them:
Belisarius: Next time. Smaller charges.
Basil: Much smaller.
Baresmanas: Crazy f***ing Romans.
Kurush: Whoever put him in charge?
- In Gust Front, the Fredericksburg Executive Building in Fredricksburg, Virginia is filled with propane for the purpose of turning it into a giant fuel-air explosive that, when detonated, completely levels the town, as part of a deception to keep the Posleen from locating the impromptu bomb shelter the townspeople are using to hide from the aliens.
- While not the size of a car, the terrorist bomb in The Sum of All Fears in the Ryan Verse is almost six times larger than a standard nuclear bomb. The scientist who made it justified the size by explaining that he had no actual experience making such a bomb, only theory, and as a result deliberately over-engineered it to make sure that it works. It doesn't, at least not as intended, because he was killed by the terrorists before he could explain the final, simple procedure that would've made it work much better.
- Used in combination with Incredibly Obvious Bomb in Star Wars Legends novel Apocalypse as a distraction for Abeloth who can see the future.
- Clue: One is planted in Boddy Mansion in book 6, chapter 2 - it's six feet tall and two feet wide, and is intended to blow up the entire mansion. Luckily, they stop it before it goes off.
- Various ''Mythbusters' mantras dictate there must be at least one explosion per episode. Most of the early Myths were small scale booms (e.g. an exploding cellphone, or blowing up a house using bug bombs, or blowing up a tree cannon with five pounds of black powder—which admittedly was a pretty spectacular explosion). Then came the myth that cherry bombs could remove concrete after it solidified in a mixer truck. After escalating to dynamite and only chipping the surface of the mess (just the thinner layers got removed), the gang tried several hundred pounds of ANFO.
- Just to be absolutely clear, it vaporized the truck. Which they knew it would do - after all, if they had to track down an unused-for-the-day quarry for the blast, and shut down highways miles away, they darn well knew that that much explosive wouldn't just remove the concrete; they simply wanted to blow up the truck.
- Knightmare featured a room which contained nothing but an exit and an enormous bomb. The fuse would start shortly after the dungeoneer entered the room from a door on the left hand side of the screen. The dungeoneer's advisors, who were used to being able to describe the dungeoneer's surroundings for them, had no time to do anything but get the dungeoneer to a door in the far wall of the room. The room soon became known simply as the Bomb Room, and it provided many an Oh, Crap! moment.
- An The Outer Limits (1995) episode involves humans fighting a losing war against a race of Lizard Folk. In order to win it, humans build a "sub-atomic bomb", which looks like an early atomic bomb but many times larger, capable of causing an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. Unfortunately one of the crew is The Mole, and the ship sent to drop the bomb gets disabled. The last surviving crewmember ends up killing the mole, and drops the bomb... on Earth, because The Mole turned the ship around while everyone was knocked out. Thanks a lot, Wil Wheaton!
- Some of the Bob-ombs in the Super Mario Bros. games could get this large, especially in Super Mario RPG (pictured above) and the second Paper Mario.
- The aptly named 'Big Bob-omb' from Super Mario 64 onwards. He's already pretty big in his debut, but it's in Mario Party where he ends up being shown as absolutely massive. Don't let him explode in the mini games 'Defuse or Lose' or 'You're the Bob-omb', otherwise the player character ends up flying through the air and smashing into the ground hard enough to make a sizable crater.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The Powder Keg in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. It's a friggin' barrel of kerboom that's bigger than Link. To drive the point home, Link cannot carry this thing in his Hylian, Deku or Zora form. He has to be in Goron form to do so.
- The Super Bomb in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is as big as Link. It doesn't harm anything else except the one specific wall you need to use it on: you can leave it in the middle of a group of enemies and stand next to it, and nobody takes any damage when it blows up.
- There's the Big Bombs from The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, which are roughly the size of the screen, and if you're anywhere on screen when one of those things goes off, you are dead. And Dark Link has a nasty habit of hovering over the occasional mini-maze dropping these things at you repeatedly.
- The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass has floating barrels of boom scattered all around the Great Sea. You don't see them as anything much- just another obstacle to be blasted out of the way. Until one day you stop right alongside one and realize it's 6 times as tall as Link.
- The Groosenator in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is designed to launch giant-sized bombs to stun the Imprisoned, as well as putting it down when it starts flying.
- The powered-up version of the bomb subweapon in Hyrule Warriors is nearly as tall as Link, wider than everyone except Ganondorf, and is in fact larger than several of the smallest characters (like Midna and Agatha). One of the finishers for Link's Great Fairy weapon rain these down on nearby foes - however, these only apply to the viewpoint of her opponents, as the Great Fairy is large enough to carry Link around in a bottle. Finally, one roughly the size of a keep is used in a cutscene in the first level of Story Mode, created by another Great Fairy.
- Bomb Man's super attack in Mega Man Powered Up is producing and throwing a bomb about five times his size.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Supreme Time Bomb ready. Also, MOABs and Fuel-Air Bombs in Command & Conquer: Generals. Even the first-order Time Bomb is the size of a tank. The Deluxe Time Bomb is two of them laid cross-ways on top of each other; the Supreme Time Bomb is two Deluxe Time Bombs strapped together.
- World of Warcraft:
- Skybreaker, the Alliance airship that patrols Icecrown, is armed with a massive bomb (the Horde equivalent has a massive cannon instead). The bomb is easily 2/3rds the length and breadth of the ship. The cannon is large enough that an engineer's one-person helicopter can fly into it without touching the sides. Unfortunately, you never get to see either of these weapons deployed.
- There's the dragon-sized Mana bomb that destroyed Theramore, it's implied that if Rhonin didn't commit a Heroic Sacrifice to stop the damage at the outside of the city walls, it may have turned the entire marsh into a smoking crater.
- The ninth Might and Magic game had a fireworks salesman living in a village whose docks have become unuseable due to being completely frozen over. The local regent asks you to do something about the ice. Ensue the problem's logical solution.
- Team Fortress 2's bomb cart on the Payload Maps, where it's the BLU team's responsibility to dump it into RED team's waste pit. RED Team, obviously, needs to prevent this. Also, the Mann Vs Machine mode is all about preventing a horde of robots and bombcarrying tanks from planting a bomb into a hole which specifically allows bombs to be chucked into, as a selfdestruct mechanism which all Mann Co. facilities have. The Sentry Busters (which bust Sentries), are essentially Action Bombs.
- The Covenant have jeep-sized bombs that are covered in Spikes of Villainy. There's one in the original trilogy, at the beginning of the second game where Master Chief has to defuse one that's on a space station he's currently in. He drags it into space, reactivates it, and throws it at a Covenant cruiser to give them a taste of their own medicine.
- There's another spiky Covenant bomb in the Halo Legends short The Package.
- The Expanded Universe novels also have the planet-busting NOVA bombs.
- The Theronian Bomb in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. Its parts need to be collected and assembled manually, using Samus' gunship (and the individual parts are still a lot bigger than the ship) to be dropped on the Seed shield on Elysia. The explosion certainly is more than enough to break the shield.
- Ace Combat:
- Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War— the MPBM. A weapon only used by the Cool Plane, the ADFX-0# Morgan. While it's technically a missile, it's more like a Star Fox Smart Bomb—and it's the size of said Cool Plane's Cockpit. The resultant Boom is the second largest blast in the game (the only larger is a Nuke). The Real Life "Daisy Cutter" Fuel-Air Explosive Bomb (see below) is also in this game, and its blast is pretty big, but has nothing on the MPBM's almighty Sphere of Destruction.
- The SWBM from Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception makes the MPBM look like a pussy, since its Planar Shockwave can cover the entire map. Then again, it is an explicit superweapon. Its little brother the LSWM, which can be fighter-mounted - albeit on a superfighter - is still (slightly) bigger in blast coverage than the MPBM, though.
- Bomberman games technically do this, since the bombs are the same size as the bombermen.
- In Bomberman 64 and The Second Attack!, it's actually a gameplay mechanic for players to inflate held bombs to increase the blast radius!
- Only in the intro sequence, but Saturn Bomberman takes special note for the titular protagonist dodging a bunch of truly gigantic bombs several times his size, then catching and flinging one of those bombs back to his assailants, which overshoots and falls into a volcano. Cue Oh, Crap! reactions over the next few seconds, then the camera cutting away to the planet bulging three times, then turning into a planet-sized Cartoon Bomb before exploding.
- Done in the Monster Hunter series as well, with "Barrel Bombs" (i.e. very large gunpowder kegs). In Unite, you can recruit an anthropomorphic cat buddy who, with the proper skill, can pull out one of these (it's about twice his size), run up to the enemy, and blow it up. (He gets better). Strap a False Felyne mask to your Shakalaka buddy in Tri, and he can do it, too!
- The "extra strength" bomb in Gears of War 2, which takes two people to carry at a slow walking pace.
- Spore has the Planet Buster Space stage tool, which, as the name implies, busts a planet epic mini cutscene. Could qualify as Awesome, but Impractical as it makes all nearby empires HATE you.
- Conduit 2 has a pulsing Nazi nuclear Doomsday Device in D.C. that Prometheus must disable before it blows.
- Peacock in Skullgirls can summon a massive cartoon bomb called the "Fat Man", which causes a huge explosion when it detonates and damages any character standing too close — including Peacock herself.
- The MB Bomb from the Worms series.
- FreeSpace has the GTM N1 Harbinger Bomb, a huge space bomb with a fusion warhead with three salted-fission warheads. Only the Ursa heavy bomber can carry it, plus it can carry two per missile bank and takes thirty seconds to reload. Ditto its counterpart in FreeSpace 2, the Helios Torpedo, which is a massive Antimatter bomb.
- The bomb used for Exterminatus in Dawn Of War II: Retribution (as seen in cutscene) is roughly a size of zeppelin◊.
- The Creative mode in Minecraft lets you make some truly terrifying piles of TNT. Big enough to crash the game when set off if you have the patience.
- X-COM Interceptor has a Nova bomb, which is so large it only fits on the special hardpoint of the Super Avenger Fighter.
- The turian bomb in Mass Effect 3's mission Tuchanka: Bomb is big enough that when Lieutenant Victus has to manually remove its detonator, he climbs up a ladder on its side to do it. The detonator housing alone is bigger than he is. Turns out to be justified; if you let it go off, flavor text will later tell you that it killed everyone within 500 kilometers. NukeMap says that to achieve near-100% fatality rates at 500 kilometers against mere humans (and nearly everything on Tuchanka is tougher than a human) would require 7.2 teratons of TNT equivalent. For context, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was the equivalent of a little over 14 kilotons of TNT (about 500 million times less) while the largest fusion bomb ever detonated, the Tsar Bomba, was equivalent to 50 megatons (144,000 times less).
- It's also justified as being a crude and out of date device by modern standards; the turians planted it over 1,400 years ago.
- Flit has the plasma driver missile he almost used on the Vagan in Super Robot Wars BX. It has two flavors: regular and map version. Both have 9999 power and 1 ammo.
- Infinifactory has one in the final level of "The Heist" sub-campaign for the Resistance. You have to build ten of them to blow up the alien base. Each one is 3*3*3 blocks. It's only slightly smaller than the shuttle you built in the last level you spent working for the Overlords.
- In early Schlock Mercenary, Massey learns that the Partnership Collective are going to try to kill the Toughs by blowing up the space elevator they're on with some nukes;
Tagon: Do you know how big they are?
Massey: About the size of a watermelon.
Tagon: I mean the yield...Kilotons? Megatons?
Massey: The label said "3TT-Yield".
Kevyn: 3TT... Three teraton... Captain, that's not a nuclear yield. That's the kind of label you'd see on a conversion bomb. Just ''one'' of those will take out the Kitesfear, the entire hellevator, and then severely, irreparably irradiate this side of Luna.
- Housepets! plays with this trope in "The Great Water Balloon War" story arcnote here.
- Jimmy-Timmy Power Hour 2, the second crossover between The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and The Fairly OddParents, reaches its climax when Professor Calamitous uses Jorgen's magic powers to create the "Big Bang Bomb," literally, an enormous bomb a thousand times bigger than your conventional explosives, set to destroy the whole universe when it goes off. Calamitous plans to shield himself from the blast under an equally large... table.
- The Tallboy (12,000 lb.) and Grand◊ Slam bombs (22,000 lb.) used by the Royal Air Force in WWII were streamlined single armour-piercing bombs dropped from great heights which would allow them to impact with supersonic speeds; they were intended to cause earthquake effects, collapsing coalmines, road and rail tunnels, viaducts and large concrete constructions such as U-Boat pens, the V2 rocket launching facilities and V3 millipede gun facilities in Northern France. They were developed by Barnes Wallis, who had also designed the skipping bombs used in the Dam Buster raids. He figured that allowing a bomb to explode underground next to a hardened target like a bunker, instead of on top of it like bombs tended to do back then, would transmit much more of the bomb's explosive energy to the target, causing its foundations to collapse rather than simply making a hole in the reinforced roof, which could otherwise leave the contents below undamaged - having that roof fall on it was very much more dangerous. Being a glasses-wearing Grade A British Boffin, he was entirely right. Tallboys also sank the German battleship Tirpitz. Variants on these weapons, with additional guidance, became the Azon and Tarzon bombs used in the Korean War to launch precision attacks on targets from USAF B-29s. The Tallboy design became the casing for the early UK nuclear weapons, under the euphemistic codename of "Target Marker Bomb". Later, during Operation Desert Storm, the US Air Force would develop the Guided Bomb Unit-28 to help them penetrate reinforced Iraqi bunkers that normally couldn't be penetrated by their Paveway and BLU-109 bombs, with greatly successful results.
- Large, high-capacity bombs of 4,000 lbs, 8,000 lbs (two 4,000-lb bombs bolted together) and eventually 12,000 lbs (three 4,000-lb bombs bolted together) were used by Lancaster bombers of the RAF's Bomber Command during WWII. Simple cylinders designed to explode in contact with a city's rooftops, these can be realistically called "blockbusters".
- In 1959, what was thought to be a dummy Grand Slam bomb, used as a gate marker at RAF Scampton airbase, turned out to be not a dud after all. "Exhaustive investigations then took place, but nobody could find the long-gone 1944, 1945 or 1946 records which might have shown how a live 22,000 lb bomb became a gate guard for nearly the next decade and a half. Some safety distance calculations were done, however, about the effect of a Grand Slam detonating at ground level in the open. Apart from the entire RAF Station, most of the northern part of the City of Lincoln, including Lincoln Cathedral, which dates back to 1250, would have been flattened."
- The Soviet take on the concept was the gargantuan FAB-9000, which is lighter than the Grand Slam at 9000 kg (19000+ pounds). Initially it was thought that it would never be used in combat, since it was just too impractically big, instead existing to test aircraft capacity. Then along came the IranIraq War, and Iraqi used Tu-22 Blinders and FAB-9000s to good effect by toss-bombing them—in other words, by blazing in at supersonic speed, pitching upwards, and then releasing the bomb, which would then fly through the air like a 9000kg artillery shell. A good pilot could place the bomb within a hundred-meter circle at ranges of several kilometers.
- Then in 1944, the Americans decided the Grand Slam, which they had been using as the M110/T-14, was too small for their shiny new B-36 then under development. So they developed a new bomb to the maximum capacity of the B-36's bomb bay, which produced the 43,600-lb T-12 Cloudmaker.
- At the end of World War II, Fat Man and Little Boy qualified, even though they were microscopic for their yield. Not only were their explosive yields orders of magnitude above anything that had ever been deployed previously, they filled the entire bomb bay of the B-29 Superfortresses that carried them.
- The Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear device ever built in Real Life, was so big that even the largest bombers the Soviets had couldn't fly it without special modifications (they had to remove the bomb bay doors to fit it in and remove 2 fuel tanks to decrease the weight of the plane once it was loaded).
- To add to the awesomeness (not to mention impracticality), the 50 megaton detonation was a toned down version. The original 100 MT design was so powerful, the plane wouldn't even be able to escape the blast. Repeat with me: 50 MT is one quarter of a Krakatoa eruption!
- As an aside, his work on this bomb is what turned Andrei Sakharov to become a thorn in the Soviet side, as a peace activist.
- To add to the awesomeness (not to mention impracticality), the 50 megaton detonation was a toned down version. The original 100 MT design was so powerful, the plane wouldn't even be able to escape the blast. Repeat with me: 50 MT is one quarter of a Krakatoa eruption!
- Along the same vein, Ivy Mike, the U.S.'s first thermonuclear test detonation. Granted, the "Mike" device was not a bomb in the sense of "weapon of war," as it took up an entire building and weighed 62 tons.
- America's early deplorable hydrogen bombs weren't much better. They were essentially still used a Fatman type warhead as the primary and had truly gigantic secondaries. While this is already bulky, the whole apparatus had to be encased in several climate proofing layers which then had to be held in a truly massive refrigerator unit to keep the components from degrading. B-36s, the largest bomber ever, were required to move these monstrosities around.
- In conventional explosives, there's the 15,000 lb. BLU-82 bomb that US forces used to clear LZs during the Vietnam War and clearing minefields during the Gulf War, inaccurately called "Daisy cutters" from the fusing mechanism that allowed the bomb to detonate above the ground, to maximize the blast area.
- The modern take on this is the GBU-43 Massive Ordinance Air Blast, or MOAB. A.k.a. the "Mother of All Bombs". For comparison, a 2,000lb bomb, which is big enough that they're rarely used, creates a crater with a radius of about 15 meters. The MOAB has a crater radius of more than 150 meters. They are so massive, they can only be carried by cargo transports because the bombers were not designed with big enough bomb bays to carry the weapon. The Russians topped this, with an even larger device nicknamed the Father of All Bombs, a very badly faked fuel air bomb pretending to be a thermobaric explosive designed for blast size rather than actual damage, supposedly being dropped from a Tu-160, yet larger than its bomb bay and designed to fall out a cargo bay, and far larger and less powerful than stated.
- There's also the Spiritual Successor to the aforementioned Grand Slam bomb: the GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a 30,000-lb monster of a bunker buster.
- While computer simulations have taken the place of most nuclear tests, there's still the occasional need to set off a very large blast to test equipment and architecture in the real world. Such a test was the Minor Scale test at White Sands in 1985, where the Defence Nuclear Agency set off 4.7 kilotons of chemical explosive - equal to an 8 kiloton nuclear blast - to test blast shelters. Other, smaller versions, have been done since.
- Technically any nova or supernova, since they come from stars, which require a hell of a lot of mass to even become a star, whether or not they explode.
- The Battle of the Crater from The American Civil War, in which the Union used mines to plant 8,000 pounds of gunpowder beneath Confederate fortifications near Petersburg, Virginia. The resulting crater is still visible today, and is part of of Petersburg National Battlefield Park. The Battle of the Crater was depicted in Cold Mountain.
- Similarly, the Battle of Messines in World War I. The evening before the explosion, General Plumer remarked:
"Gentlemen, we may not make history tomorrow, but shall certainly change the geography."
- That's actually a basic tactic of siege warfare since introduction of explosives: you dug a tunnel under the enemy walls, planted gunpowder and made a part of the wall go boom before attacking. It was rarely successful because a competent defender could intercept the tunnels, but it could still be pulled off successfully as late as 1799, when Napoleon breached Acre's walls with it (the assault was repelled because the enemy continued to receive reinforcements and supplies from sea, but Napoleon still breached the fortress). The examples at Petersburg and Messines were just adapting that to the context of trench warfare.
- And in one rather early such event, chemical warfare appears to have been deployed to knock out the defense. In 256AD, a Roman fortress was under siege, and the attackers were tunneling under the fortress wall to either make it collapse or to get the attackers into the fortress. The Roman defenders had caught on and were digging interception tunnels. At one such interception point the remains of some 20 Roman soldiers were found, but without any telltale skeletal damage to show they either died fighting, or by the tunnel collapsing. One historian surmises the attackers had set off a pitch-and-sulphur 'bomb', the sulphur dioxide suffocating the Roman soldiers in the tunnel
- Similarly, the Battle of Messines in World War I. The evening before the explosion, General Plumer remarked:
- Tragically, during World War I a couple of ships, one filled with high explosives, collided causing what is known infamously as the Halifax Disaster. It was considered a German plot at the time until the true circumstances surrounding it came to light. It lives on in Canadian memory, and while technically not a bomb, it was the single largest conventional manmade explosion until the A-Bombs gave rise to the nuclear age (it remains one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history). The freighter in question, the Mont Blanc, was loaded with high explosives and car fuel and was inbound to Halifax harbour in the morning; she and her crew were following the "rules of the road" at the time, but the Norwegian relief ship Imo was outbound on the wrong side of the Narrows while keeping clear of a tramp steamer and an ocean-going tug. Thanks to a fantastic screw-up in communications, the Mont Blanc tried to dodge to the middle of the Narrows while the Imo reversed engines; unfortunately, said reversal swung the bow of the Imo straight into the Mont Blanc, generating some handy sparks as the ships collided, parted, and drifted away from one another. Various ships and tugs tried to come to the aid of the burning Mont Blanc; unfortunately, only her crew knew the true nature of her cargo and, unable to communicate the danger in English, they took the most sensible course of action: they ran as fast as they could. When the Mont Blanc blew, the resulting shockwave and tsunami basically obliterated the northern half of Halifax along with some of the shoreline areas of Dartmouth (where the Imo was driven aground). The explosion was so powerful that the anchor and a cannon of the Mont Blanc were found 2 and 3.5 miles away respectively in opposite directions, and the blast was felt as far as 360 kilometres away in Cape Breton. The south end of the city was only saved from serious damage because the shock waves rebounded off of Citadel Hill. As if the direct effects of the explosion weren't bad enough, the subsequent fires and blizzard certainly didn't help matters either.
- Telegraph operator Vince Coleman's Emergency Broadcast Dying Moment of Awesome remains Canada's iconic Heroic Sacrifice. "Stop trains. Munitions ship on fire making for Pier 6. Goodbye boys."
- It is still possible to go to Halifax and see what the blast wave destroyed and what it didn't. After a certain point, the really old buildings just stop, replaced by newer architecture.
- Similar to the Halifax explosion is the Texas City Disaster, the largest industrial accident in US history, when two transport ships carrying two and a half thousand tons of ammonium nitrate (commonly used for two purposes: agricultural fertilizer and high explosives) caught fire and exploded in the harbor. In addition to killing at least 567 people (generally believed to be an underestimate because the ferocity of the explosion meant that there simply weren't any remains of some of the victims), the force of the explosion shattered windows in the city of Houston, 40 miles away, and the shock wave could still be felt a hundred miles away in Louisiana. It is considered the birth of modern disaster preparedness planning in the US.
- From the other end of Canada, we have the Ripple Rock explosion. According to one urban legend, chunks of the rock were found in Australia. While that's probably not true, shifting well over half a million metric tonnes of rock and water (and blowing a lot of it 300 meters into the air) is impressive in and of itself.
- The Soviet built the Raduga Kh-22 antiship missile which was HUGE for its purpose - nearly 40 feet long (as big as some small aircraft). It could even take a nuclear payload, making it more like a cruise missile (then again, its primary targets were the US Supercarriers, but nowadays much smaller modern AShMs, like the Exocet and Harpoon which are a fraction of the size, could do the job nicely). Its size meant only the largest bombers like the Tu-95 "Bear" could deploy them.
- The PEPCON plant explosion: a rocket fuel factory that manufactured ammonium perchlorate (the oxidizer in solid rocket fuel) caught fire and BLEW UP; the biggest of the explosions registered 3.0 and 3.5 on the Richter scale, shattering windows as far away as 10 miles.
- During the Peninsular War, the Anglo-Portugese fortifications of Almeida were destroyed in an enormous explosion, one of the most powerful of the pre-TNT age, when a French artillery shell penetrated the British magazine in the basement of the cathedral. The blast was visible from the British headquarters 50 miles away, and charred pieces of the city were carried all over Portugal. In Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series, the title character set it off.
- In the Dutch city of Enschede, a bunker used to store imported fireworks exploded in what is now known as the Enchede fireworks disaster, completely wiping out 400 homes and 15 streets, and heavily damaging many more. The final blast was estimated to be in the range of 4000-5000 kg TNT.
- In 1947, British sought to blow up the German island of Heligoland with 7,000 tons of high explosives. While the supposed target was old German fortification on the island, "total destruction of the island would also be acceptable."
- The biggest bomb actually suggested was Edward Teller 10-gigaton (ten millions of megatons) SUNDIAL warhead. It was planned to be a true monster, several hundreds or even thousand tons of fusion fuel packed with negaton-scale primer. Contrary to the usual assumptions, it was not supposed to be detonated on the ground: it was planned to be blow up in space, about 150 km over enemy territory. The main damaging effect would be enormous x-ray flux, which, interracting with upper atmosphere, quite literally "ignited the sky", creating enormous cloud of hot plasma. The heat emission of such plasma cover woukd be enough to ignite everything flammable on surface below, creating continental-scale firestorm - but no radiation contamination.