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Thread: "B" Bombing in Coastal Command

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    Default "B" Bombing in Coastal Command

    The "B" refers to the buoyancy bomb, at least in the references I came across, and it seems a lot of practice was carried out with the technique but what was the technique and was the "B" bomb used in anger?

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    PNK, Hi,

    From: https://ww2data.blogspot.com/2016/12...ance-anti.html (and you have to scroll a long way down!).

    Buoyancy Bombs Introduction
    Only the 250lb buoyancy bomb has been used by the British. The bomb is designed to be dropped in front of ships under way, and to rise and detonate on contact with the ship's bottom.
    The bomb consists primarily of an explosive charge, a buoyancy chamber, and a clip-on tail. it is fuzed with a Tail Fuze No.850. The bomb in painted dark gray overall, and has a red nose band and a green band at the base of the ogive.

    This looks like a particularly hazardous procedure! It gives me the distinct impression of having been invented by a scientist, and not by an aviator or matelot!!

    HTH
    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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    Peter,

    Thanks for the link and info. I recall reading in a document that bombing a ship took a lot of bombs before a hit was made and even then not always guaranteed that the ship would be out of action. The other two weapons used against shipping, the torpedo and rocket projectile had some sort of stand-off capability so over flying the target wasn't always necessary. The B bomb was no doubt lumped in with standard bombs and although it theoretically had its merits it sounds as though a ship could veer away from its path.

    I wonder why the larger depth charges were not used, set to 10 ft, as the pressure wave on a single skin hull would do a lot of damage, having said that, delivery would have been murderous.

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    "This looks like a particularly hazardous procedure! It gives me the distinct impression of having been invented by a scientist, and not by an aviator or matelot!!"

    I don't see why dropping a bomb ahead of a ship should be any more murderous than attempting to drop a bomb actually onto one, and if anything considerably less so. As I'm sure you're aware, a bomb going off underneath the hull could be considerably more damaging than one making a hole in the deck. Which is sufficient to explain the interest in this weapon.

    I would also argue that the great majority of successful weapons were not invented by airmen or matelots, or scientists for that matter, but engineers.

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    I suspect it was supposed to be delivered at low level which increases the dangers somewhat. Most ship bombing by standard bombers was practised at high level and some bomber squadrons were given special training in anti-ship bombing in the early part of the war. The only caveat to that is that the term high level was re-calibrated as the war progressed and ceilings rose.

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    12,000 lbs of ‘Tallboy’ impacting from 18,000 feet at a terminal velocity of around the speed of sound (regardless of any subsequent explosion!) would, I think, transfer rather more kinetic energy to, or in the vicinity of, any target than a mere 116.45 lbs of Torpex/TNT. It sorted the Tirpitz out! And, I suspect, was considerably safer for the aircrew dropping them?
    But we still don’t know the dropping technique for the Bouyancy Bomb? Did they overfly the ship from astern, and drop the bomb as they passed the bow (analogous to GRP para-dropping)? Or did they fly across/ahead of its track and drop the bomb at some pre-determined point in space (analogous to CARP para-dropping)?
    HTH
    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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    No doubt, but the B bomb preceded the Tallboy by a number of years so the latter was not an option at the time. There is, of course, considerable doubt about the unguided Tallboy actually hitting a moving ship from 18000ft; level high-altitude bombing did not have a great record in WW2. It took the guided Fritz-X to raise the success average.

    Frankly, flying over the ship from astern really does sound unhealthy, although it is pretty well what dive-bombers would do, certainly against smaller more agile ships. However the B bomb was intended for Bomber Command's aircraft, so dive bombing was not an option there, either. Coastal did not have aircraft capable of carrying the heavier variants that would be used against capital ships.

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