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Author Topic: BOMBS 101  (Read 660 times)

Ric Gillespie

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BOMBS 101
« on: October 14, 2018, 09:05:48 AM »

A TIGHAR member recently took me to task for writing, in the Friendly Fire Myth section of the Phase 1 Investigative Report, "...bombs dropped into non-target areas were jettisoned unfused." 
He wrote, "Everything I have read claim bombs were armed before being loaded into planes on base prior to mission.
If mission were to be aborted, bombs then were dropped in English Channel.  I have never read
bombs were defused in flight upon return England. This does not sound correct."

His challenge prompted me to dig further into WWII bomb procedures and it's really quite fascinating (if that sort of thing interests you).  It turns out there is a big difference between “fusing” and “arming” a bomb.  Fuses were installed on the ground prior to the mission but the bombs were not armed (rendered capable of detonating) until they were actually dropped.  At any time, the bombardier had the option of disengaging the arming mechanism.  I should have written, '...bombs dropped into non-target areas were jettisoned unarmed."
How it all worked is explained in "Aerial Bombs: Method of Loading Bombs 1941 US Army Air Corps Training Film" (https://youtu.be/5vwwohaWJCg)

I've also asked my 97 year-old DFC decorated B-17 lead pilot father for his recollection of what the procedures were in 1944.  He arrived in England about the time Miller went missing.
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: BOMBS 101
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2018, 07:44:49 PM »

Dad says that procedures had evolved by 1944.  The safety pins that, in 1941, were removed on the ground were later removed in flight by the bombardier when the aircraft had reached the target area. Another layer of safety.
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