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Thread: Bomb loads

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    Default Bomb loads

    Hello. Can anyone please tell me at what point on a mission was the bomb load of 1 x4000lb bomb plus various smaller and incendiaries armed. Was it at the airfield before take off or en route before the target? Who armed them? Was it the bombardier or the pilot if en route? I am interested to know because the aircraft exploded on impact with the ground very near to the target presumably after being hit by anti aircraft flak. Tony

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    Tony:
    I was hoping that your request would generate more chatter.
    The only thing I have is from interviewing a 32-op Lanc pilot, DFC.
    He wasn’t keen on talking so I asked general question, then I didn’t press him on his answers.
    I asked, “When were you at most risk?”
    He replied (in part), “From the time the bombs were armed until the photos were taken and I was free to leave the target area; you see, before the bombs were armed there was less risk.”
    His answer seemed to imply that the bombs were fused (he used the word armed) not long before the run up to the target.

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    Hi and thank you for your response. The reason I ask is that a Lanc crashed and exploded on impact near Hamburg. I am trying to ascertain if they were on the bomb run when they may have been hit by flak. Would the bombs have exploded if they had NOT been armed. The a/c came in from the east having turned to the left. It can be determined from the crash site that they had been on course in relation to the route as quoted in official documents. Tony

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    Hi Tony - fusing (arming) the bombs was a positive action taken on the route out. Tee Emm, April 1943, has an article on the 'Positive Fusing device'. This clamped the bombing-tit into a recess with an electrically controlled lock that could only be released by pushing down the ‘NOSE’ and ‘TAIL’ fusing switches. If the bombing-tit didn’t release then the bombs could not be fused ‘live’ and ‘Proper Action’ was necessary, which consisted of checking all the fuses in the fusing circuit (fuses were in two small black boxes beneath the fusing switches on the bombing panel). ‘Above all,’ says Tee Emm, ‘do remember to get the bombing-tit out of the positive-fusing device AT THE ENGLISH COAST or your trip may be a wasted effort.’

    FWIW, the 4,000 lb cookie was HE in a thin metal skin and was dangerous even without being fused.

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    Tony, Richard:
    I suppose that when Bomber Command was hitting western France, crews made sure to have their bombloads fused shortly after forming up.
    Later in the war, when eastern Germany was targeted, crews may not have been so hasty to fuse the bombload if the unfused bombs lowered their risk even by a miniscule amount. There may have been some all-around “fudging” of the directive to fuse the bombload at the English coast when the target was four hours away.

    Apparently, the cookie had a windmill device on the end.
    As the cookie fell, the air spun the little windmill fusing the bomb.

    As a footnote:
    A boy asked, “What did you do in the war grandpa?”
    The Lanc pilot replied, “I flew a big aeroplane.”
    “Did you drop bombs?” asked the boy.
    The pilot answered, “At first we dropped little paper notes telling them to stop fighting because they were hurting so many people.”
    The boy asked, “Did they stop fighting?”
    “No,” the pilot answered, “Then we dropped lots of cookies but they still wouldn’t quit.”
    Last edited by grounded; 7th December 2015 at 19:48.

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