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Hanglands
01-14-2007, 06:15 AM
Though this was quite funny. C&P'd from here. (http://457thbombgroup.org/New/Recollections/Anecdotes/dive.html)

Dive Bombing in a B-17
There were times during our tour of duty when we managed to have some fun, even though it was not always approved by the field commander. I don't remember what date or time of year this was but it was a time of very bad weather in England in 1944.

We had prepared for a mission and had taken off with a full load of 500 pound bombs. After only a few of the Group's planes were airborn there was a mission recall. This meant that the mission was scrubbed, probably because of very bad weather over Germany. We were told via radio that we were to dispose of our bombs and return to our field.

Our Group's procedure for disposing of our bombs was to arm them and drop them in an area of the North Sea that cuts into the side of England known as "The Wash". The Wash was perhaps a hundred miles Northwest of Glatton airfield. The other primary rule for bomb disposal was to be sure that the visibility was good. We must also be out of site of land, and we were to drop our bombs only when we were sure no English fishing vessels or military boats were anywhere near the area.

We proceeded to the Wash only to find that there was a low thin cover of clouds whose top was perhaps 400 feet above the water and extending as far as we could see. There was never any thought of returning to the field with the bombs. Landing with a load of bombs and full gas tanks was too risky.
What to do?

We decided to go down to determine how low the cloud layer actually was. We made a slow instrument descent through the clouds. When we broke through at about 200 feet we found the visibility to be clear and we could readily see for a considerable distance over the water . A suggestion from our bombardier (Joel Lester) and with gleeful agreement from the rest of the crew, we decided that we would rise above the cloud layer, which was only a few hundred feet thick, arm a bomb, then dive down through the cloud layer, level off, observe that no ships were in the area, quickly release one bomb, pull up as quickly as possible and get as much distance between us and the bomb before it exploded.
We did not know how close we could be to an exploding 500 pound bomb without sustaining damage.

We first made a dry run or two before Joel finally armed one of the bombs. Then, down we went. We started at about 1000 ft altitude and dove down with engines at full throttle, broke through the clouds, "bombs away" came over the intercom from Joel, and up we went as fast as a B-17 could climb at full throttle. Just before we broke out of the cloud layer we heard the bomb explode with a loud 'WOOMMP'. Hearing the bomb explode surprised me since I had never experienced that before.

A check of the crew and the plane determined that there was no sign of damage and no one in the crew observed the bomb exploding through the clouds. We continued this bombing, one at a time, until we had exhausted our supply of bombs. Everyone seemed to enjoy this adventure and I kinda wished that we could do this with some of the Group's targets in Germany. Bad, bad, bad idea. This may be the only B-17 in the 8th Air Force to practice dive bombing.

As we returned to our home field there was much chatter on the intercom about the incident and the fun we had had dive bombing in a B-17G.
Willard (Hap) Reese<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m203/ChickenHawk_2006/logoHH.jpg (http://www.geocities.com/hanglands/)

Hanglands
01-14-2007, 06:15 AM
Though this was quite funny. C&P'd from here. (http://457thbombgroup.org/New/Recollections/Anecdotes/dive.html)

Dive Bombing in a B-17
There were times during our tour of duty when we managed to have some fun, even though it was not always approved by the field commander. I don't remember what date or time of year this was but it was a time of very bad weather in England in 1944.

We had prepared for a mission and had taken off with a full load of 500 pound bombs. After only a few of the Group's planes were airborn there was a mission recall. This meant that the mission was scrubbed, probably because of very bad weather over Germany. We were told via radio that we were to dispose of our bombs and return to our field.

Our Group's procedure for disposing of our bombs was to arm them and drop them in an area of the North Sea that cuts into the side of England known as "The Wash". The Wash was perhaps a hundred miles Northwest of Glatton airfield. The other primary rule for bomb disposal was to be sure that the visibility was good. We must also be out of site of land, and we were to drop our bombs only when we were sure no English fishing vessels or military boats were anywhere near the area.

We proceeded to the Wash only to find that there was a low thin cover of clouds whose top was perhaps 400 feet above the water and extending as far as we could see. There was never any thought of returning to the field with the bombs. Landing with a load of bombs and full gas tanks was too risky.
What to do?

We decided to go down to determine how low the cloud layer actually was. We made a slow instrument descent through the clouds. When we broke through at about 200 feet we found the visibility to be clear and we could readily see for a considerable distance over the water . A suggestion from our bombardier (Joel Lester) and with gleeful agreement from the rest of the crew, we decided that we would rise above the cloud layer, which was only a few hundred feet thick, arm a bomb, then dive down through the cloud layer, level off, observe that no ships were in the area, quickly release one bomb, pull up as quickly as possible and get as much distance between us and the bomb before it exploded.
We did not know how close we could be to an exploding 500 pound bomb without sustaining damage.

We first made a dry run or two before Joel finally armed one of the bombs. Then, down we went. We started at about 1000 ft altitude and dove down with engines at full throttle, broke through the clouds, "bombs away" came over the intercom from Joel, and up we went as fast as a B-17 could climb at full throttle. Just before we broke out of the cloud layer we heard the bomb explode with a loud 'WOOMMP'. Hearing the bomb explode surprised me since I had never experienced that before.

A check of the crew and the plane determined that there was no sign of damage and no one in the crew observed the bomb exploding through the clouds. We continued this bombing, one at a time, until we had exhausted our supply of bombs. Everyone seemed to enjoy this adventure and I kinda wished that we could do this with some of the Group's targets in Germany. Bad, bad, bad idea. This may be the only B-17 in the 8th Air Force to practice dive bombing.

As we returned to our home field there was much chatter on the intercom about the incident and the fun we had had dive bombing in a B-17G.
Willard (Hap) Reese<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m203/ChickenHawk_2006/logoHH.jpg (http://www.geocities.com/hanglands/)

leitmotiv
01-14-2007, 07:08 AM
In the Pacific , the Forts, as long as they were there from 1941 to 1943, were used for everything from high altitude level bombing to low level anti-shipping strikes. Steep glide bombing was a favorite night tactic of Bomber Command in the early days of the night air war.

jarink
01-14-2007, 03:26 PM
I love these kinds of stories.
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by leitmotiv:
In the Pacific , the Forts, as long as they were there from 1941 to 1943, were used for everything from high altitude level bombing to low level anti-shipping strikes. Steep glide bombing was a favorite night tactic of Bomber Command in the early days of the night air war. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Skip bombing with B-17s became a standard tactic in the SW Pacific fairly early on. For obvious reasons (mainly heavier light flak defenses), it never caught on in Europe. The only other case I know of where heavy bombers dropped from this low was Operation Tidal Wave, the attack on Ploesti by several groups of B-24s.

From Air Force Magazine Online (http://www.afa.org/magazine/valor/1290valor.asp):

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">A priority task for the few Fifth Air Force B-17s of the 19th and 43d Bombardment Groups during the summer of 1942 was interdicting the Japanese sea line of communications from Rabaul, New Britain, to enemy forces on New Guinea. AAF doctrine then held to bombing from altitude with nine-plane (when that many were available) squadron formations. Results had not been good, especially against maneuvering ships. Only about 1 percent of bombs dropped were hitting their targets. Clearly a better way had to be found.

Promising experiments with skip bombing were under way in the US, based on RAF experience. Lt. Gen. George Kenney, commander of Fifth Air Force, was enthusiastic about the new technique. The 63d Squadron of his 43d Bombardment Group set to work in September, testing skip bombing with B-17s against a wrecked ship in Port Moresby Harbor. Approaching the target at 200 mph, aircraft released bombs at 200 feet or lower, about 300 yards from the hulk. The bombs would skip across the water into the side of the ship--if airspeed, altitude, and range were properly coordinated. Modified Australian fuzes were used in the absence of suitable US stock.

Capt. Kenneth McCullar already was credited with sinking or damaging four Japanese vessels, using conventional tactics. He soon became one of the most proficient practitioners of skip bombing, with 60 percent hits in practice runs. Skip bombing looked like the answer, but it added another element of danger to the normal hazards of combat. Chief among these was the nerve-racking experience of flying at point-blank range directly into the muzzles of deck guns on enemy ships. Since the older B-17s didn't have enough forward firepower to keep those guns down, early skip-bombing attacks were made at night, by the light of the moon or flares.

The Japanese were introduced to skip bombing at Rabaul Harbor on the night of Oct. 23, 1942. While six B-17s of the 64th Squadron bombed from 10,000 feet, six 63d Squadron bombers came in at 100 feet to skip their bombs into the sides of Japanese ships. McCullar reported sinking a destroyer with two hits amidships. Two nights later the 63d returned to Rabaul with eight B-17s, about a third of the Fifth Air Force's operational heavy bombers at the time. McCullar was one of four to score hits. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Notice the smoke in the background from the attack. http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-P-Strategy/img/USA-P-Strategy-53.jpg <div class="ev_tpc_signature">

My PF movies:Aluminum Eagle (http://files.netwings.org/files/fb_videos/Aluminum_Eagle/OneVisionLg.zip), Fire and Rain (http://files.netwings.org/files/fb_videos/Fire_and_Rain/Fire_and_Rain.zip) Snowbirds (http://files.netwings.org/files/fb_videos/Snowbirds/Snowbirds.zip) and Crew 22 (http://files.netwings.org/files/fb_videos/Crew_22/Crew22.zip)

http://home.grics.net/jrink/signature.jpg