Listen: There are quite a few lists out there ranking bombs, explosives, and the magnitude of their destructive or murderous power, but all deal with a specific category of explosive, like non-nuclear ordinance, or specific contexts, for example, domestic acts of terror in the US. Because of this, nearly every article out there (save the present one) either has the Russian "Tsar Bomb," or the Oklahoma City Bombing at the top of the list... conspicuously leaving out any reference to bombs deployed in combat and whose devastation is measured in casualties on the order of hundreds of thousands dead.
This is a list of the most destructive and the deadliest single-bomb detonations, and not just those that happened on US soil. Because death is at least slightly more tragic than property damage, we start with nuclear test detonations whose destruction is measured in megatons and in terms of blast radius. Further down the list are the deadliest explosions of a single "bomb," usually in the context of ideologically motivated terrorism. In-between are the nuclear tests and controlled explosions that turned deadly (another fact the blogosphere has thus far ignored). These are 15 of the most devastating, in any and every sense of the word, single bombs that have ever been detonated.
15 The Grapple Falls Far From the Tree
14 Operation Hardtack 1: Poplar
13 Ivy Mike
12 Castle Romeo
11 Soviet Tests #147, #173, And #174
10 Castle Yankee, Castle Bravo
9 Soviet Test #219
8 Tsar Bomb(a)
7 The RDS-37: A Test Turns Deadly
6 The 2009 Peshawar Bombing
News media tend to focus on the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, the constant upheaval in the powder keg that is the Arab-Israeli world, forgetting that the root of the conflict, religions extremism and zealotry, is rampant across the globe but especially in the Eurasian steppes and South Asian countries, like Sri Lanka and Pakistan. On the 28th of October, 2009, a suicidal, presumably Sunni Pakistani man drove a truck full of homegrown explosives up to a police checkpoint and detonated himself. The explosion "only" killed 29 individuals and injured around 100 more but also created a 3 ft.-deep crater and led to the collapse of several buildings in the vicinity.
5 Habarana/Digampathana Massacre
In 2006, a different South East Asian conflict, not that between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims, but the ongoing conflict between militant Tamil-descendant Sri Lankans and the ruling powers that flared up enough for international news outlets to take notice. A military convoy of 300+ Navy-men was en route between the cities of Habarana and Dambulla until they reached the smaller town of Digampathana, where a suicide truck bomb and its suicidal driver were waiting. The majority of the 100+ dead were sailors targeted by the "Tamil Tigers," self-described freedom fighters who have arguably unjustly terrorized the Sri Lankan government and its innocent citizens since 1976.
4 Sana'a Unity Day Bombing
3 The 2005 Al Hillah Bombing
2 Oklahoma City Bombing
1 Little Boy, Fat Man
The one item on the list that involves multiple bombs, two to be exact, one (Fat Man) that devastated Nagasaki and the other (Big Boy) decimating the Japanese city of Hiroshima. We know the story, but what few know is that these bombs were firecrackers next to the weapons tested on deserted islands and in uninhabited tracts of desert in the US and the uninhabitable parts of the Soviet Union. On the order of kilotons instead of megatons, outside of the 20 Allied P.O.W.s that were deemed acceptable collateral damage, the real toll of dropping "the bomb" were broken diplomatic relations between West and East, a scorched earth, and irradiated genes/mutated offspring for generations to come.
Sources: BusinessInsider, Gizmodo, MassLive
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