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Thread: Wooden bombs on decoys WW2

  1. #1
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    Wooden bombs on decoys WW2

    For the moment I am investigating on the following subject:
    During WW2 the Germans had installed in Peutie, Belgium (a small village 5 miles from where I live) a decoy site as they used to do in those times. It was equipped with 8 false airplanes in wood.
    A friend of mine from the local resistance sent this information to London and a couple of weeks later, a RAF plane came and dropped some wooden bombs on this fake airfield. According to another eyewitness, a man from Peutie took one of these bomb at home. I wasn't able to find the person (70 years after the facts is a bit normal).
    According to other 'specialists' this story is nonsense. :diablo:
    My question today is: does anybody have any information about the use of such wooden bombs?
    Regards
    Jean

  2. #2
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    Funny you should ask.

    See: http://airminded.org/2005/11/01/levi...ough-airpower/

    http://airminded.org/2009/07/21/the-...-wooden-bombs/

    And there's the book, now too! Must remember to borrow it from Brett.
    James K

    Looking and thinking...
    Vintage Aero Writer: Blog & Details

  3. #3
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    There were many cases of this happening, the D Day museum in St Mere Eglise has a wooden bomb on display that was dropped on a Normandy airfield.

    I guess it took time and effort, and therefore resources, to set up these decoys and this was the Allies way of saying it was a waste of effort "we're not being fooled".

    Did the reverse happen, did the Luftwaffe drop fake bombs on Allied decoy sites ?
    Ian

    Government Volunteer

  4. #4
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    Well....I don't know about wooden bombs on British dummy 'dromes but my mother used to build dummy Hurricanes as her war work in a factory called Green Brothers Ltd, at Hailsham, East Sussex. (Trade name: Geebro) Apart from the examples she built they regularly repaired them, she says, from bullet and splinter damage. I have a photo somewhere of a newly made example. Quite convincing it was, too!

    Here is a shot from my archives of dummy Ju 88's at Epinay on 2 September 1944. The caption says "....the Allies were not fooled and no bombs had dropped here"
    Last edited by Tangmere1940; 29th January 2011 at 22:47.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by EN830 View Post
    Did the reverse happen, did the Luftwaffe drop fake bombs on Allied decoy sites ?
    Hi
    I heard the story at a raf re union in the 80's, mind you there was a lot of beer flowing in the direction of the ex raf.
    cheers
    Jerry

  6. #6
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    Of course these special weapons could only be dropped from Mosquitos

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangmere1940 View Post
    Here is a shot from my archives of dummy Ju 88's at Epinay on 2 September 1944.
    By late 1944 wouldn’t there have been plenty of real German bombers set-up on airfields specifically as ‘decoys’?
    WA$.

  8. #8
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    Possibly so. But these are clearly of the wooden dummy variety. However, they seem to be "parked" in a field of cabbages or some such. Any PR interpreter worth his salt might have noticed the growing crop and lack of any wheel marks or signs of movement...although I suspect the cabbages would have been less obvious to some roving gung-ho P-51 jockey intent on spoiling the German's day in a strafing run.
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  9. #9
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    Wooden bombs on decoys WW2

    I note this subject is still 'hot' in Britain. Good for me because I'm the Dutch translator of the book 'L'énigme des Bombes en bois' from Pierre-Antoine Courouble. His book has also been translated by Frances Harper into English ("The Riddle of the Wooden Bombs"). We have a lot of evidence that the dropping of wooden bombs really took place. We have even found some of these bombs. With a little bit of luck you can buy them on the internet! I just bought two bombs in the States where the were produced in large quantities between 1936 and 1945 by 'Triumph Explosives Inc, Maryland !! These are so called smoke bombs but eyewitnesses did actually recognize them (70 years after the facts).
    The only problem is that we don't have the interview of a RAF-pilot who actually did this kind of bombing. If by any chance you know somebody who knows somebody ... I will be glad to cross the channel for an interview.
    Thanks again for the cooperation.

    Kind regards
    Jean
    PS. In the attachment you'll find thé bomb from the Airborne Museum in Sainte Mère l'Eglise, Normandy and also a good picture from a "smoke bomb".
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangmere1940 View Post
    Possibly so. But these are clearly of the wooden dummy variety.
    Yes, no doubting your photograph is clearly of dummy aircraft and quite convincing they are too, even from this range and angle, complete with ‘fake’ tarpaulins over the cockpits, or was that to avoid building the complex glazing?

    With the sun low down on the horizon the wooden supports for the wings would have been a dead-giveaway even on a higher altitude photograph but as you say a strafing P-51 hedge-hopping home would probably have been fooled, until it was too late. They should have camouflaged them and attempted to ‘hide’ them in a less obvious place.

    I’d like to see that photograph of a dummy Hurricane.

    Decoys may seem crude but wooden Mig-29 decoys were still attracting laser-guided-bombs in Kosovo!
    WA$.

  11. #11
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    Presumably to fool high-flying Luftwaffe recon planes - a very fake Hurricane:

    Daren Cogdon

    Spitfire fanatic

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangmere1940 View Post
    they seem to be "parked" in a field of cabbages
    Now does anyone know if anything has yet been written on the subject of the use of cabbages in the camouflage of airfields during the last war! Were those at Epinay real or painted plywood replica cabbages? Or maybe the photo was taken at Epinard and it was a field of spinach plants!

  13. #13
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    I'm baffled as well. I find it hard to believe that the RAF would have put aircrews at risk for such a minimal gain. Further, it would not have been sensible to let the enemy know how good our intellegence was. Dropping dummy bombs on dummy airfields would have given the game away.

    Isn't it possible that these wooden bombs were, as they said on the label, smoke bombs? Who says that all bombs have to to have a metal casing? The dummy bomb story just sounds like fiction to me. I doubt if the work of a historian who has not searched through the records at Kew will convince me otherwise.

    Best wishes
    Steve P

  14. #14
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    I think the wooden `FLOAT` by Triumph Explosives is what it says.It was probably to be dropped by any a/c on an Air/sea rescue to mark the survivors/assess the wind,or to mark a submerging submarine.It looks as if it has a weighted front with a hole to trigger a flare/smoke,float upright,and burn away merrily for a few minutes.

  15. #15
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    That would make a lot of sense. I wonder if these wooden bombs that turned up on dummy airfields were simply target markers to help the land and sea based gunners find the target?

    I am suprised that nobody has come up with a stores ref no. for them.

    Best wishes
    steve p

  16. #16
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    Wooden bombs

    Let's not forget that wood was categorised as a non-strategic material during WW2.

    It would make sense to make non-explosive stuff like smoke bombs and such like from wood because, not only did it save precious steel, it was cheaper and lighter as well as being easier to fashion using semi-skilled labour.

    Also, practice rocket projectile heads were made from concrete - another cheap and readily available material.

    Anon.

  17. #17
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    Guy Gibson tells the wooden bombs story in "Enemy Coast Ahead"
    Jim

  18. #18
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    A good deal of detail, and a reference to the book mentioned later, is covered in the links I posted in the first reply on the thread.
    James K

    Looking and thinking...
    Vintage Aero Writer: Blog & Details

  19. #19
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    Hello everybody,
    I'll try to give an answer to all your questions and remarks.
    The theory concerning individual initiatives on the part of pilots (dropping wooden bombs without their commanding officers knowing), which is the most plausible theory in my opinion, has now gone from being a reasonable assumption to a historical fact by way of various testimonies I have gathered. Since this sort of behaviour was officially forbidden, these isolated acts could have been called insubordination (war not being a game, and RAF pilots not being Monty Pythons, etc.!), and it would appear logical that the English ministries concerned would deny their existence after the war.
    Let me give you another example.
    Lt Stoddard's story is a marvellous illustration of this. In the middle of the Vietnam War, he took off from the aircraft carrier Sartoga in a Skyraider, to which he had had a toilet bowl fixed under the wing that he was going to drop on the enemy! This mocking gesture towards the adversary was much more audacious than the small dropping of a wooden bomb in passing on a fake German airfield (undefended in 1943-1944), where wooden dummies were rotting. It was made possible by means of a faultless chain of complicity in the squadron: the mechanics who had adapted the hooks to fix the bowl on the rack, the armourers who had fixed it to the plane, the deck personnel who’d kept quiet during take-off, up to the sailors on the bridge who’d lined up making a “wall” so that the admiral couldn’t see the “Stoddard plan” when the plane advanced into position on deck. Even worse, as a film made by another plane at the right moment showed, when Stoddard dropped the “bacteriological bomb” (as he called it when contacting ground control who were flabbergasted to see it fall) on to the target, a relative wind flipped it over and it just missed the cabin, putting the pilot in danger of collision. But for the many photos taken proving it, “specialists” 40 years later would have denied such a thing happening, giving, as reasons, technical impossibility, military discipline, risk for the pilot, absurdity of such a gesture AND nothing in the archives about it. The pilot concerned was hauled up before his commanding officers, the film was impounded, but the photos that had been taken by others got out and have come down to us. After the war Stoddard and his accomplices, now demobbed, did nothing to hide their feat of arms. The wooden bombs were of the same stuff as Stoddard’s action (elegant irony in the middle of a war), but were easier and less dangerous for the 20-year-old pilots who wanted to have a good laugh at the expense of the enemy.
    Who says that the British lost their sense of humour during the second World War?
    For those who still don't believe it, have a look at the “bacteriological bomb”.
    Regards
    Jean
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