Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Iron Harvest Continues

Up to 70,000 people have been told to leave their homes in Frankfurt after an unexploded second world war bomb nicknamed “blockbuster” was uncovered.

The evacuation was due to take place on Sunday and is one of the biggest such operations ever mounted.

It will allow for the safe defusal of the 1,400kg British bomb, which German media said was nicknamed “Wohnblockknacker” (blockbuster) during the war for its ability to wipe out whole streets or buildings.
As I recall it, that's exactly wrong. The purpose of the heavy bombs that the Brits dropped was to break up the underground water lines so that the Germans would have a harder time in fighting the fires caused by incendiaries. Smaller bombs were dropped to break open the roofs of buildings. Then incendiaries were dropped like rain.


Ten Bears said...


Anonymous said...

War never goes away.... I recently read about the "Red Zones" in France that are fenced off because they are so poisoned by remnants of tons of explosives and chemical mustard shells that many plants can't even grow; more importantly, thousands of unexploded artillery shells are still buried there.

The area of the Battle of Verdun is one of the most afflicted. Even supposed safe areas see incidents of farm tractors detonating buried gas or HE shells that kill or wound the operator.

Jack the Cold Warrior

ole Phat Stu said...

We have One of to spontanes Explosions of WW2 bombshell still here.
And 100+ defused.

CenterPuke88 said...

Well, the HC-4000 was used with a buttload of incendiaries and an impact fuse. It was unstreamlined and would not penetrate the ground, and was designed to blow the tiles off roofs so the slower falling incendiaries could set fire to the interior of buildings. The "Tallboy" (12,000 lb) and the "Grandslam" (22.000 lb) were the "earthquake" bombs that you are perhaps thinking about. They had delayed fuzing, but were primarily for military targets protected by concrete. If you look at the pictures of the HC 4000's, they have crude, sheet metal casings with rudimentary concessions to airflow. In fact, the HC 4000 was the most dangerous of the HC bombs to carry because the fusing pistols often armed, even when safed, and it required at least 6,000 ft of altitude to drop or dump safely.

Now, the American AN-M56 was another 4,000 lb, light case bomb that was designed to use a short time-delayed fuse in the tail, but could be fitted with a contact fuse in the nose. Perhaps that's the one you are thinking about?

One of the ugly realities of the RAF campaign against German cities was that there was little need to disrupt the water system to prevent responders, because the RAF bombers arrived over an extended time period. If the responders waited, the city burned down, if they went out to fight the fires, a later bomber might well kill them. That was the true terror portion of the RAF campaign, when the USAAF bombed during the day, the responders knew the threat was likely over within the first hour or less.

Anonymous said...

Centerpuke has it mostly right. I would point out that the Germans used slate tiles, not the flammable asphalt roofing tiles so common in North America so the incendiary bombs were ineffectual if the blockbuster didn't blow the tiles off before they struck.

The night raids did not last very long, however and that was by design. Bomber Command's doctrine was to have the bomber stream converge over the target within a 45 minute window. With three or four different bomber types taking off from different
airfields this was difficult to accomplish. The idea was that the defences would be overwhelmed. Rather than letting the AA guns and searchlights have a series of targets to engage at leisure there would be dozens of bombers in the sky at once. Focus on one and the others bomb unmolested. Likewise, night fighters were hampered in that the ground radar stations had difficulty isolating a single bomber in the stream and directing its assigned night fighter to it. Bomber Command accepted the losses from mid-air collisions, reasoning that the overall casualties would be less.


CenterPuke88 said...

Al, before the first "bomber stream" raid in 1942, a large raid would last about 3-4 hours. The bomber stream compressed the time frame, with an average 1,000 bomber raid taking 90 minutes.