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Thread: Very Big Bombs

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    Default Very Big Bombs

    Karl Hecks (in “Bombing 1939-45”) quotes Huskinson, P. (in “Vision Ahead”, Werner Laurie, 1949) as saying that the US Smith Corporation (who had actually made the ‘Tallboy’ and ‘Grand Slam’ bomb casings) had produced a scaled-up version of Grand Slam that weighed 45,000 lbs! It was never used operationally.
    Does anyone know if it was ever actually test air-dropped and – if so – what carried it? I’ll bet it rattled windows for miles around!! And secondly, I thought those big bombs were forged and machined in UK?
    Intrigued.
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Hi,
    From NAVORD OP 1665 British Explosive Ordnance:
    "Grand Slam bombs made in the US differ somewhat in body construction from those made in Britain. The body construction is made up of five sections welded together. The solid nose and the base section are made from forged steel, while the three centre sections are made of rolled plate, longitudinally welded, taper bored internally and then set in a die to form the external contours."
    The British made bombs were of cast steel and there is no mention of a bigger bomb in the manual.
    The above manual can be found on-line at the "Combined Arms Research Library" (CARL) at Fort Levenworth and is like an Argos catologue of things that go bang.
    Regards,
    Alan.

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    I have read about a 45,000lb bomb being designed for the B-36, can't remember where though.
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    Without consulting my notes, the US did indeed make a 45,000lb bomb (actually I think it was 43,000lb), effectively a 'double sized' Grandslam. It was known as the T-12 and was test dropped from a modified B-29, with service use intended with the B-36. A test was first made in early 1948, but incredibly, when it came to the B-36, it was able to carry two! How many, if any were dropped in anger I dont know.

    The Americans also developed the 'Grandslam' as the T-14, one of which could be carried by B-29 in the bomb bay, or apparently two on underwing pylons! Additionally they also explored the 12,000lb 'Tallboy', and came up with their own version known as 'Tarzon', which was carried in a B-29 with modified bomb bay. 'Tarzon' was basically a 'Tallboy' with radio controlled tail to guide it on to the target.

    I am sure there was at least one other derivative, but I cant bring it to mind at the moment. If you do a google search for the T-12, T-14, Tarzon etc, it should bring up images and more info.

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    Wikipedia, admitting a lack of references, says:


    " Until the B-52 came on line, the B-36 was the only means of delivering the first generation Mark-17 hydrogen bomb, 25 ft (7.5 m) long, 5 ft (1.5 m) in diameter, and weighing 42,000 lb (19,000 kg), the heaviest and bulkiest American aerial nuclear bomb ever. Carrying this massive weapon required merging two adjacent bomb bays."

    Having written the above, I have found reference on Wikipedia to the T-12 Cloudmaker bomb - the conventional "super grand slam" referred to by others.
    Last edited by HughAHalliday; 9th January 2011 at 16:32. Reason: Adding info on T-12

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    There is in one of my books on the Boeing B-29 an excellent photograph of one of these aircraft carrying two "Grand Slams" on underwing pylons. Makes a mockery of some books which still insist that the Lancaster was the only aircraft of WW2 capable of lifting one of these monsters aloft! I am not certain when the photograph was taken, although it may have been towards the end of WW2. However so far as I know these bombs were never dropped by B-29s during any war operations.
    David D

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    Well, yes and no. The Lancaster flew operationally with a single 22,000lb Grandslam, into Germany. The photo you have of the B-29 carrying two 'Grandslam' if its the one I am thinking of (or of the same series) was on trials only and the weapons were sand filled. Not to say that the aircraft couldnt lift them off the ground, but I dont think operational, long distance trials were carried out with the B-29, they were mostly handling trials before the B-36 took over.

    Also, the effect of dropping the single Grandslam from a Lancaster is well known (the aircraft tended to shoot upwards about 100ft). I wonder how the flying characteristics would have been affected on the B-29 if one had been dropped and the other 'hung up'? With 22,000lb hanging to one side of the centreline of the aircraft, it might have been hard to control.

    Whilst both were able to fly, I'm not sure how much the range of the B-29 was reduced with the extra weight, so yes, they could carry one with ease, and two without too much difficulty, but from an effective operational point of view, one was probably better over any distance.

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    Airman 1,
    I would think your estimate of 100 ft vertical movement on a Lanc after release of a Grand Slam is, very much, on the conservative side!!! Similar, I presume, to the rearing-up of the Herc on the various ULLA trial drops?!! Young, white-faced, Pilot reported to JATE that the a/c was "totally uncontrollable for 15 seconds after the load(s) left" after a double-ULLA. I am told that the debrief of the Pilot from (as far as I know) the only ever triple-ULLA attempted could not be repeated on a family Forum like this!! This is one of the reasons why I raised this problem!
    Tks yr interest
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default Translation Required

    Peter,
    I don't understand your post, 'don't understand contemporary military slang.
    I Googled to find out about JATE and ULLA (the 'double ULLA' sounded interesting) but the explanations that it returned were not, I think, connected with your post.
    Please repeat in English, thanks.
    Ian Macdonald

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    ULLA = Ultra Low Level Airdrop
    http://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?t=88620

    JATE = Joint Air Transport Establishment
    http://www.movcon.org.uk/History/Documents/DID/D-MCHS%200091/D-MCHS%200091.htm
    David

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