The Honest John is a rocket dear to many a modelers heart. Perhaps it is the shape of the flared olgive nose cone or just the fact it was a solid fueled propelled rocket, the Honest John is one of the most reproduced rockets in the modern modelers arsenal. The rocket was first tested in 1951 and deployed in 1953. The rocket was the first nuclear capable surface to surface rocket but also could be used with standard high explosive warheads. The missile was unguided and launched from a truck mounted launcher. This gave the missile great maneaverability in the field.
There were 2 versions:
* MGR-1A(large fins) had a range of 48 kilometers, takeoff thrust of 400 kN, takeoff weight of 2720 kg, diameter of 580 mm and length of 8.32 m.
* MGR-1B(small fins) had a range of 37 kilometers, launch thrust of 382 kN, launch weight of 2040 kg, diameter of 760 mm and length of 7.56 m.
There is an interesting story told by an officer about the pin system on the Honest John.The rocket prior to ignition is held secure by three large pins on its raised launching rail or ramp. The pins are painted red so they can be readily seen, but apparently the one in the middle is obscured from casual observation by some of the mechanism and might be overlooked. A failure to notice and remove that middle pin would set events in motion.
One of the U.S. officers gave this account:
“I was sitting there waiting for the rocket to fire, and finally it did. I saw this big cloud of smoke and flames, but I noticed that I didn’t see any rocket coming out of it. I thought, ‘uh oh!’” When the smoke cleared up a little, I could see the rocket was still sitting there attached to the truck. Then, the truck started to shake and bounce around, and pretty soon the whole thing kind of rose up slowly into the air — truck, rocket, and all! It got up about 50, 60 feet and then nosed over, and slammed into the ground. The motor was still burning, so it started rolling and bouncing end-over-end down range, until it finally blew up.”
Here is a link to the history and a monograph on the Honest John.
How about some video on the HJ?
Here are two pieces of documentary footage
An HPR HJ flight