BIG BOMBS AND V WEAPONS by Squadron-Leader John Strachey The sinkine o f the Tirpitz at anchor in Trom soe Fjord by 20 Lancasters o f Bomber Command has struck the imagination of the world. The battleship was only finallv destroyed by the Lancasters at their third attempt this year. In the final attack each o f the Lancasters carried only one very large bomb. You will have seen from the pictures in the newspapers and on the news-reels what a tiny target the Tirfiitz looked. The bombing was done at over double the height from which those pictures were taken. Yet so accurate has bombing become that the Lancasters got enough hits to sink the ship out o f only 29 shots. The next thing I want to mention is the special Vo-ton bomb which did the job. The sinking o f the Tirfrilz is only the latest example o f the use o f this remarkable weapon. Mr. Wallis its designer was also one o f the designers o four first really effective bomber, the Wellington— he also devised the special mines which broke theM oehne and Eder dams. When the history of this war comes to be written he will be recognised as one of the great omen four war effort. H e is a man of clear and simple ideas he has stuck to those ideas through thick and thin through all the inevitable trials and emergencies o f a designers life in wartime and now his ideas have been triumphantly vindicated. The bombs which sank the Tirpitz are not only very large they arc also perfectly streamlined. The result is that they fall vcrv much faster through the air than docs an ordinary bomb. This greatly increases their accuracy but it also has the effect o f making them fall faster than sound so first they arrive and then you hear them Incoming. this o f course they are like another weapon which those o f us who live in the south o f England can now talk about the enemy’s V2 rocket. As a matter o f fact there has been something in the nature o f a struggle between Mr. W alliss bomb and Hitlers secret weapons. All last spring and summer our reconnaissance aircraft brought us photographs o f some mysterious half-underground works which the Germans were building along the Channel coast. They were far bigger than the hundred or so launching sites for the flying-bomb which the enemy was also busy with and which we were attacking. We could not tell exactly what these monstrous sites were but we did not like the look o f them so wc forwent them at first with ordinary bombs. The American Fortresses knocked out one o f them at a place called W atten before it was finished but in other cases notably at two places called Wizernes and M imoyecques the enemy pushed 011 with the work in spite o f the bombing and soon began to rebuild W attcn also. Finally we got very detailed air-reconnaissance photographs o f these places. W c found that they were all BOMB LOAD FOR 20 LANCASTERS The bomb load both high explosives and incendiaries for a force of 20 Lancaster aircraft and the armourers and men who are responsible for the servicing of the bombers. 245
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