Attack Environment Manual: Chapter 2, What the Planner Needs to Know About Blast and Shock [open pdf - 6MB]
"This description of the blast and shock effects of nuclear attack is intended to provide the basic information needed to plan realistic actions to be taken in damaged areas. It does not assume knowledge of the material in subsequent chapters of the manual. It does presume that the reader is familiar with the material in chapter 1--introduction to Nuclear Emergency Operations. Until the advent of nuclear weapons, a ton of explosives delivered in a single bomb was considered to be a sort of superbomb. A thousand ton (one kiloton) bomb was unthinkable. Now we commonly speak of weapons with yields of 500 to 1,000 kilotons (one megaton). The blast damage potential from a single such weapon is enormous. The blast wave is capable of engulfing, crushing, and transporting the resultant debris of many city blocks simultaneously. The blast effects have been studied intensively and much information is available to enable the planner to anticipate the effects and to plan accordingly. [...] The chapter begins with introductory material to acquaint the readers with the phenomena of blast, blast waves, and the winds that accompany the passage of a shock front. It then turns to the effects of blast on people and on various types of structures in which people might be located. The effects of ground transmitted shock, the blast wind, and the production of debris are described. A short section on protection of industrial equipment follows. The chapter closes with a description of damage to vehicles, utility systems, and urban areas in general."
United Stated Federal Emergency Management Agency, Learning Resource Center: http://www.lrc.fema.gov/