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Thread: Jettisoned bombs over Channel

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    Default Jettisoned bombs over Channel

    During late 1942 an incident was accounted where a 4000lb was jettisoned over the channel as a result of an aborted raid. The pilot records a suggestion that the terrific explosion that took place was as a result of being dropped in a minefield.

    My questions are

    were areas allocated to dump bombs in the channel,
    what were the chances of the pilots suggestion being correct,
    would a 4000lb cookie explode upon contact with the water.

    I look forward to reading opinions on this, thank you.

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    Hi Colin
    The pilots suggestion could depend upon the fusing of any mines. Contact or acoustic mines could be set off by the shockwave of a large explosion,I wouldn't like to say about magnetic fusing.
    If the bomb was dropped in a fused state a 4000 lb cookie could easily detonate. Water hit at aircraft speed feels solid and the speed buildup would be more than enough.A Cookie was designed for surface detonation to produce maximum blast effect and minimum surface penetration to pave the way for other bombs to do their work. Dropped "safe" ,reduces the chance of detonation but probably doesn't totally eliminate it given the possible violence of the impact
    Regards
    Dick

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    Bomb release areas in the Channel existed later in the war - it has been suggested that the loss of Glen Miller was caused by such an event. I don't know if they existed at the time you suggest, but I suspect so.

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    Dick.

    Thanks for your thoughts on that, most interesting.

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    Graham, Dick & Colin

    The book "Missing :Believed Killed" by Roy Conyers Nesbit
    ISBN 0-7509 3003-9 Pub. by Sutton Publishing 2002 has a chapter on Glenn Miller which includes [supposed] eye witness accounts of cookies being dropped in the Channel & seeing Miller's Norseman go down -Dec 1944.
    Chapter 5 pages 123-160

    Anne

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    A certain area of the Channel was designated for us to jettison our bomb load, returning over France in '45. A bomb aimer of a Lancaster who now lives in South Africa reported that at the moment he jettisoned, a Nordlander(?) which was often used by the USAF for transport purposes, appeared in his bombsight which coincided with Glenn Miller's flight to join his band at Munich(?). From what I remember, his flight was not sanctioned by the authorities. Another area for jettisoning was the North Sea.

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    Hello Hugh

    The plane in which Glenn Miller was a passenger was a Noorduyn UC-64A Norseman. Its serial number was 44-70285. This loss is the subject of U.S. Missing Air Crew Report 10770, which was filed at that time, hence no further details.

    I remember reading articles by Roy Nesbit in magazines, but I've not seen the book mentioned by Anne. I suppose this chapter is what has been published in the magazines, probably more detailed according to the number of pages given by Anne.

    Joss

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    Hello all,

    From my own limited exposure to records it seems that fighter-bomber units didn't necessarily have "safe drop" areas, although I am led to believe that Bomber Command did, presumably updated nightly in conjuncture with the Admiralty to avoid dumping large quantites of HE in areas where the Navy boys were operating! Possibly worth checking out Admiralty records?

    An interesting mine-related incident with 263 Squadron occurs on 25 Sep 43. On the way back from an unsuccessful dive-bombing attack, the pilots were given permission to jettison...

    "Those who wished dropped their bombs N of Fr. Coast. Sgt Green's were dropped “safe” from 100 feet and their splashes were seen. About 10 seconds later, an explosion in the water made a large hole in his stbd engine & glycol leak soon made it U/S. He switched off & flew back to a good S.E landing. Squadron opinion is that his a/c set off an acoustic mine – unconnected with bomb-dropping."

    Given that they would have been cruising at around 180 mph, I would assume that the mine, either adrift or shallow-moored, was set off by his leader passing over; if it had been Green's aircraft, surely the explosion would have been behind him?

    Either way, when you stop and think about it there must be an eye-watering amount of HE rolling around at the bottom of the North Sea somewhere.

    Cheers,

    Jeff

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    Just a thought, but it may come as a surprise to many that jettisoning a bomb load was not the only option for a bomber crew if their primary target was "weathered out". There was almost always a "secondary target" available to at least provide some return on the tax payers pounds, shillings and pence invested in the flight to strike against the enemy. If all else failed and the aircraft was undamaged, it was also perfectly acceptable to land with a full load of bombs at home base provided the airfield commander and aircraft captain were happy with the situation. Bombs were in very short supply in Britain in (I think it was) latter part of 1944, and the RAF had to beg supplies of suitable bombs from the USAAF at this time, such had been the expenditure of hardware leading up to and following the invasion of Europe. I don't know exactly how the decision was made to jettison bombs in the manner described earlier in this thread, but I am certain that if there were no available useful targets to Bomber Command aircraft wandering around over Europe at this time, then "bringing them home alive" was always a possibility, provided no great risk was involved. Any comments welcome!
    David D

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    Roy Conyers Nesbit's chapter on Glenn Miller [& on others such as the Duke of Kent] is very detailed .According to his writing Glenn Miller was flying to Paris to give a Christmas concert .

    Fred Shaw was the airman who emigrated to South Africa .He had seen the film The Glenn Miller Story in 1956 & wrote a letter to the Daily Express but "received a reply that the matter was no longer newsworthy"

    Many years later in 1984 he was interviewed by a SA broadcaster after relating his story about the Norseman to a group of ex servicemen .His broadcast was "spread to the English speaking world " & picked up by a member of the Glenn Miller society & on it went ! Shaw died in 1992 .

    Channel 4 made a film about Glenn Miller's last flight which was shown in on NY eve 2001.

    I remember the song "Little Brown Jug" from the film which I think I saw as a young girl .Did James Steward play Glenn & June Allison his wife ?

    Anne
    Last edited by aestorm; 30th May 2010 at 09:11.

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