Chesil Metal spheres dropped from a Wellington bomber at Chesil in Dorset were tested in December and early January 1943. They were severely destroyed, however, when they touched the water rather than bouncing across the top. The bombing campaign continued until May.
Spheres were also dropped on land targets in France and Belgium. These tests are not included in the total number given here but we can estimate them by assuming spheroid damage patterns for hit structures. This would increase the total number of dropped bombs tested by about 20%.
The first prototype of the Wellington bomber was flown by New Zealand test pilot Bertie Searle on 2 November 1939. It was an immediate success with both the British and New Zealand governments committing themselves to building hundreds of these bombers. Initial production was split between Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) and Canada's RCAF, but after the United States entered the war in December 1941, they took over responsibility for manufacturing Wellingtons.
Testing of the first production batch started in late 1940 with each aircraft being sent to England for major modifications before being returned to New Zealand for further testing. By the time production ended in 1945, more than 1,000 Wellingtons had been built for the RAF and RCAF.
Metal spheres dropped from a Wellington bomber at Chesil in Dorset were tested in December and early January 1943. The bomb, called the "bouncing bomb" by its designers, proved to be a success; over 500 bombs were made.
It was during these tests that the need for accuracy within tight tolerances became apparent. Previously, metal balls had been used because there were no accurate means of measuring tiny distances on land until fairly recently. However, modern technology has changed all that now, making the use of such devices possible. The first problem this caused was that only certain materials would work as targets for testing the bomb's accuracy. Iron, for example, would distort the path of the bomb, while wood would quickly burn away.
For this reason, glass or concrete are much better targets. They won't affect the course of the bomb, and can still provide information about its accuracy.
The second problem that emerged was that not all locations were suitable for dropping bombs. Near airports or large cities, for example, there's a serious risk that the bombs will be lost before they reach their target. Also, people often live near military facilities - so if you drop a bomb too close to a house it could cause damage or kill someone.
In late September or October 1942, tests on a 54-inch sphere were launched from a Wellington bomber, and the first trials were carried out off Chesil Beach in Dorset. They lasted until March 1943, from December 1942 to December 1943. It is said to be Wallis' original sketch of his "Dam Busting Weapon," but it might have been a later replica. Anyhow, it is known that the first prototype was made from wood and coated with sheet metal, and it is also known that after several failures he finally succeeded in making a working model.
The device used hydrostatic suspension to absorb shocks during flight and this is what makes it different from other bombs at that time. It is said that it could hit a target three miles away with good accuracy.
These are some interesting facts about Barnes Wallis you should know about. Did you know that he developed the bouncing bomb?
They were dubbed "bouncing bombs" because they could hop across the sea and dodge torpedo nets before sinking and becoming depth charges. They were tested in Watford, then on the decommissioned Nant-y-Gro dam in Wales and at Chesil Beach in Dorset.
The first prototype was flown in July 1943 by John Cunningham Bryan, a member of the British radar team. The idea came from Geoffrey de Havilland, who had been hired by the War Office to come up with ways to use commercial aircraft for military purposes. The project moved quickly since the Germans were also working on their own version of the bomb called the Eikonometrieagentur (EA). The two devices would eventually be tested together in August 1943. Although the British bomb worked as designed, the German version failed to function properly. A new version was made but this one too proved unsuccessful. Finally, in April 1944, a successful test was carried out with the original design. It is not known how many of these bombs were made or used during World War II.
After the war, several countries continued to develop the bomb, including the United States. The first test flight of a modern version of the bomb took place in Nevada in October 1995. It is called the GBU-12 and its maximum weight is 12,000 pounds (5,443 kg).
Until a successful test in May 1956, the actual use of dropping the weapon over an opponent was just a theoretical possibility. The hydrogen bomb was dropped over Bikini Atoll by a B-52 bomber at a height of more than 50,000 feet. At around 15,000 feet, the bomb burst. The heat from the explosion turned water into steam, which expanded violently and caused other explosions.
The United States tested its first hydrogen bomb in 1952. It was almost 20 years before another country followed with a test of its own device. The Soviet Union conducted its last test in 1975. They had started testing them earlier but stopped in 1969 when they feared that our tests would reveal their secret plans. The world's first nuclear power plant opened in France in 1973. It used plutonium produced at a reactor built entirely inside a mountain.
In 1955, President Eisenhower warned that we were approaching "the edge of madness". In 1956, he said we had passed it.
Ike wasn't alone in fearing we were on the brink of annihilation. Many scientists believed that global cooling was going to cause temperatures to drop dramatically, causing all kinds of problems for humans and many other species. Some scientists even believed it might be the end of humanity itself.
During the Cold War, there were fears that either side might use nuclear weapons first. No one wanted a nuclear war.
Known military activities with bouncing bombs Guy Gibson and the Avro Lancasters of No. 617 Squadron RAF dropped the cylindrical bombs, which spun at 500 rpm, during Operation Chastise. The revolving bomb sailed across the water and exploded near the foot of the dam's retaining wall. This caused more than 100 million cubic feet of material to be thrown into the air, destroying it entirely.
In total, Gibson and his crew dropped 20 bouncing bombs during their mission. One bomb failed to explode and was recovered by a member of the crew. It is now on display at the National Museum of Flight in Scotland.
Another man who contributed to the success of Operation Chastise was Tony Brooks. He managed to escape from Germany after being taken prisoner of war and made his way back to England. Here he met up with Gibson and told him about a new type of bomb that had been developed called the BLITZ. They agreed that this new weapon should be used instead of the bouncing bomb because it could destroy larger areas of the dam and allow time for the remaining enemy forces to be destroyed too.
The BLITZ was an incendiariesome 740 yards long and 30 inches in diameter. It was manufactured by COWAN HALL & CO LTD and named "Comet". There were only three of these bombs available for use in Operation Goodwood but they still caused significant damage when they hit the dam.