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German Cluster Bomb Units

Discussion in 'Weapons & Technology in WWII' started by JCFalkenbergIII, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    I think its very interesting that the Germans were the first to use cluster bombs units. Unfortunately they did not produce enough of them to really effect the war on the Eastern Front. The modern military have found them very useful and they are used alot more often and have proven their worth. IMO If more had been produced and used by the Germans I think it would have had a larger impact on the combat there.I am refering to the AB 250 container that carried 225 of the SD 1 2.2 lbs fragmentation bombs. It was shaped like a bomb itself. It had a detonator that opened the container and scattered the bomblets spreading them out over a large area. Apparenty when used they were very devastating .Early in the war the Germans captured over 1 million French 2lb bomblets. But they recycled them to get the copper out of them. What a waste of useful munitions. But I guess they didn't figure back then that they would need them in fighting the Soviets LOL. Some of the info I have is from the book "Spearhead for Blitzkreig" by General der Flieger Paul Deichmann. As to the French bomblets, the Luftwaffe General Staff released them for scrap without consulting the field forces. Im not sure why the French hadn't used them. Heres a little more info from the book:

    In 1943 the present author commanded Air Division 1 operating in the central area of Russian. On one occassion units of the division employed these bombs during an attack on a wooded area where Russian troops had assembled prior to an attack. Afterwards German troops entered the wooded area without encountering resistance and found what could be termed,in the truest sense, a "dead man's wood".
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  3. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Makes me wonder why they weren't as widely used by other countries. I think they would have been IMO much more effective if they were used more on the Eastern Front against Soviet formations and units. And why didn't the French use them?
     
  4. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The Soviets also had cluster bombs. Theirs included the RRAB-1, 2, and 3 models commonly refered to as "Molotov's breadbaskets." Incendinary, fragimentation, and gas bombs could be loaded into these cluster units. The RRAB 1 held 1064 2.2 lb ZAB-1 incendinaries or 240 AOKh -10 fragimentation bombs. the -3 model held 240 or 46 respectively.

    The US also had incendiary cluster bombs as well as a cluster fragmentation type generally refered to as the "para-frag" bomb used widely in the SWPA theater.
     
  5. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    The Italian AR-4 Thermos Bomb (also called Anti-personnel (AP) Bomb Manzolini) was one of the first scatterable mine-laying systems used in combat. Scattered by aircraft, it was used fairly extensively in North Africa from 1940 to 1942). Another early scatterable mine was the German SD-2B Schmetterling (butterfly). It was used effectively against the Poles in September 1939. Both types employed antidisturbance and time-delay fuzing. The Germans also developed a cluster-bomb version of the SD-2 that had airburst or impact fuzing. An aircraft-dropped bomb container could carry 24 Thermos bombs as a submunition. The Schmetterling could be carried as submunitions in the following cluster-bomb containers: AB 23 (23 SD-2s), the AB 250-3 (108 SD-2s), the Mk 500 (6 SD-2s), and the AB 24t (24 SD-2s). In addition to Poland, the Schmetterling was used in France, North Africa, Italy, England, and Russia. It could be dropped by one of 15 Luftwaffe groups equipped with specially modified aircraft (Ju-88s, Do-17s, Me-109s, or Ju-87s). The U.S. Air Force copied this mine, called it the M-83, and used it against Germany and later in Korea and Vietnam.
    http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/docs/981100-schneck.ht
     
  6. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    A little more information on the German ones.

    "A large array of bombs were used by the Luftwaffe. At the start of the war, the most common fragmentation bombs were the SD-10 (22 lbs.) and SD-50 (110 lbs.). As the war progressed, it became apparent that there was a need for an area-saturation fragmentation weapon, rather than the earlier models that more or less required an accurate drop. The SD-2 was procured and mass-produced, and at the start of the Russian campaign was in widespread use. Initially, the bomblets were hung individually on aircraft (the Bf-109 and Ju-87, for instance, could carry 96 of them), but time went on, a plywood dispenser container was created and used by many airframes. In the largest size used, these plywood containers could carry up to 248 of the SD-2 bomblets. A low-level profile was needed for accurate drops, which became increasingly difficult due to ground fire. Of more use on the front was the SD-1 bomblet, which at 2.2 lbs offered a larger spread for the same size dispenser. With the design of a popular new dispenser, the AB250, this bomb case could be more accurately dropped in more profiles and would release about 225 SD-1s.

    For attacking armor, however, both the SD-1 and 2 were ineffective. After discovering that conventional bombs often were ineffective at scoring hits on moving or dispersed armor, the Germans introduced the 8.8 lb SD-4HI cluster bomblet, which had a hollow charge warhead that could penetrate as much as five inches of armor. As many as 78 SD-4HIs were packed into 1,100 lb containers and were used heavily by Ju-87 Stukas, which had the means to accurately drop them in steep dives. Larger 550 lb hollow charge bombs were used against fortifications, and they allowed up to 10 ft of armor penetration against concrete fortifications."

    http://www.sponauer.com/germancas/
     
  7. PzNovak

    PzNovak Member

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    An interesting fact about these SD-2 "splitterbombe" was their tendancy to hang up on the racks when the pilots went to drop them. Only when the aircraft slowed down and the air pressure around them was reduced (as in about to land), would they finally drop off the racks. Would give the pilots good reason to make a low speed pass somewhere other than a friendly airfield
    thaught it may be of some interest
    PHIL
     
  8. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Thanks and yes it was :)
     
  9. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    [​IMG] 'Thermos Bomb' or (AR-4) was an anti-personnel bomb dropped by the Italian Air Force during the Second World War. Large numbers were used against Malta and in the Middle East. It was named for its superficial appearance to a Thermos bottle, a popular brand of vacuum flask. The bomb was a cylinder 31 cm long and weighing 3.9 kilograms. It could be fitted with a very sensitive fuse which would detonate if any attempt was made to move it and could kill someone in the open up to about 35 metres away. Because of this it was normally destroyed where it fell, generally by attaching a long piece of string to it and giving it a jerk.

    Ethiopia - United States Mapping Mission*
     
  10. skunk works

    skunk works Ace

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    My old man used to tell a story about one of these they found abandoned (the whole bomb, still in crate) at an airfield they moved to. They were constantly moving up as the situation dictated.
    They were in pup tents and it was raining, so the rest of the guys (him to) began to take the crate apart for a dry floor for their tent(s). Soon enough the wood was gone and typical AAF (bored to tears most of the time) began to take apart the casing as well. Well, then the bomb-letts appeared.
    He said they were stacked end to end (with a flat/cylindrical nose) up the tail of the next one. They had fins as well.
    Soon they were laying about all over, and one "Jocko" type got the idea to throw one like a football. It didn't explode when it hit the mud so everyone thought they were duds. It became a game to see who could throw one the farthest/furthest?
    Most got bored and moved on, till one day the "cook", a simpler than most individual imitated the rest with a new twist. He aimed at a tree. One evening, after he was done with mess duties he went back to the area to try again.
    BOOM !
    He hit and startled the entire camp. So much for the the dud theory. They found him standing about 25 feet away from a tree with a big chunk out of it, wide eyed and motionless.
    It was determined that the roundness of the tree saved his life by sending the shrapnel everywhere but back at him.
    The Colonel put an end to that & all other silly/stupid games.
     
  11. Chuikov64th

    Chuikov64th Member

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    I can imagine it would have brought it to a screeching halt. Lucky man.
     
  12. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Its amazing that these were used through out the war and yet you barely heard of them or thier use. You would think that being so effective that they would have been used much more on both sides.
     
  13. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Just read that these were used during the battle of Kursk in 43. Any others?
     
  14. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    yes used by twin engines in the Ardenne Battles as well as Intruder ops over England in 1945 by twin engine Night fighters
     
  15. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    I seem to recall that they were used on British airfields when aircraft were landing or taking off ?
     
  16. Mats

    Mats Member

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    There are a lot of discussions going on just now regarding the use of Cluster Bombs.

    My question - did someone use such bombs during WW2 ? For instance in Northern Africa??

    I would be very grateful for your info!

    Best regards / Mats
     
  17. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Certain sections of todays' media seem to confuse 'Cluster' with 'Anti-personnel' but let's not have exactitude get in the way of a good headline....:rolleyes:

    In WWII, the German 'butterfly bombs' were dropped in a canister which then split and distributed anti-personnel bombs over a wide area ; certainly used against airfields in the UK.

    A true 'Cluster bomb' was the British Cluster projectile 500lb No. 14 which consisted of 106 x 4lb incendiary bombs, which was a strategic, not strictly anti-personnel bomb.
     
  18. Mats

    Mats Member

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    Thanks for the info Martin!!

    Mats
     
  19. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    There may well have been others, Mats - I just don't have much info to hand, for instance, about US bombs...:(
     
  20. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Bumpies for mats
     

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