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The Wooden Airfield

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by poprox101, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. poprox101

    poprox101 Member

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    I read an urban legend about an German airfield, and I was wondering if there was any truth to this:

    The story goes that in the later part of the war, Germany had constructed an airfield (In Denmark, I believe) where everything was made of wood. The hangars, runways, anti-air guns, and every little thing were wooden, and looked completely like an airfield from the air. They did this to hope to attract and fool Allied bombers. Soon after finishing, a lone Allied bomber crossed the channel, circled around the airfield a few times, and dropped a lone wooden bomb.

    The problem I see with this story is that it says one bomber dropped one "bomb." That sounds like an odd risk of resources, surely not worth as much as giving them their comeuppance, right?

    So, any truth to this legend?
     
  2. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    I no nothing of this, but would love to hear more on the subject.
     
  3. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor Patron  

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    I know that both sides built dummy airfields but never heard of this particular story.
     
  4. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

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    I've heard the story before, tragically I'm not sure it's true. I checked it out on 'snopes' (for all your urban legend needs), their article is available here:

    Urban Legends Reference Pages: Wooden Bomb

    That said, true or not it's one of those stories which should have happenned even if it didn't.
     
  5. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr Patron  

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    I've heard this one several times and seen it mentioned in at least one book ; it's the sort of story which does the rounds at veterans meetingsafter a few beers.

    However, I've never read any proof or verification and I think that both sides would have had more pressing matters to attend to....

    ( The Germans did indeed use wooden decoy targets eg the Binnen Alster lake in Hamburg was completely covered in mock wooden building to disguise the outline of the City - the 'dummy' just added to the eventual conflagration )
     
  6. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    German A/F's did have a few and I mean only a few wooden buildings set up for use as Flak traps-"bait" for USAF and RAF fighters in 45. the big question though is when would LW ground crews or Falk defenses have the time for this sort of thing....

    think the story is full on bogus
     
  7. poprox101

    poprox101 Member

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    I think so too, and it was Snopes.com where I first heard the story. Since this is a WWII story, I figured someone here would of heard of it. According to the story, the airfield was in excruciating detail; literally nothing wasn't wooden.

    The 'lone airplane' part is what strikes me. Why would the Allies send one bomber with a single, dummy bomb for a mission of no imporance? Obviously they had figured out that it was there. It seems like a waste of resources that could easily be doing other things.
     
  8. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

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    Ahh, you see whilst I can't understand the RAF sending a single aircraft, it wouldn't surprise me if a single pilot decided to chuck a wooden bomb from his aircraft.

    Reminds me rather of a WW1 pilot buzzing a beach where German soldiers were resting and pelting them with fruit.

    EDIT: To provide a source, this is actually the story of Samuel Sibley 'Squibs' (pilot) and PNM 'Puggy' Shone (observer) who dropped oranges on German troops in Ostend. The story comes from Ralph Barker - A Brief History of the Royal Flying Corps in World War I.
     
  9. bigfun

    bigfun Ace

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    Never heard that one, but I don know the Allieds built inflatable decoys such as this:
    [​IMG]
     
  10. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    You think that is something try finding some of the pictures of US factories in places like California that were camoflauged including having complete phoney neighborhoods on their roofs and the like.
     
  11. skunk works

    skunk works Ace

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  12. TA152

    TA152 Ace

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    I wonder if there would be a market for those rubber tanks today ? If the price is right you could rent them out like moon walks. I know Martin would buy one. :eek:

    You forum members with an entrepreneurial spirit should look into who has the rights to the things.
     
  13. poprox101

    poprox101 Member

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    I've also read that several times, including just recently, Ripley's Believe It Or Not. I looked at pictures and it's simply amazing how well it's stitched together.
     
  14. arneken

    arneken Member

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    There was one in Wevelgem. (A dummy airfield).with woodne planes and hangars. a quite large buhnker was set next to it. A local legend here is that a plane came over and dropped a wooden bom (now doens't look that familiar) but this story dates from ww1. (in ww2 the germans put A flak next to the bunker and never rebuild the fake airfield again.)
     
  15. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    There were dummy airfields everywhere. I have several pictures of what the germans called "Attrapen" . They could be very diffrent according to the matelrals available. In Lille the Luftwaffe has painted beautiful brick houses with panes and curtains on hangar doors. In Melun the used forest like camos and wooden planes. Near Orleans they even used real French airplane fuselages painted in German coulours and carved wooden guns which were put in the noses and in the cockpits. These fields were guarded by a few soldiers who would even allow the French children to sit in the cocpits and use the field as a playground, as their was no apparent danger (in 1942).

    Now, one thing I have not managed to prove. It is about the legendary British humor and it is very possible it really happened: when the British found out about a wooden airfield in Northern France, a pilot wanted to straf the place. After a few days he decided he would fly ove rthe field. There was no flak so it wasn't too dangerous. There were however a few German guards running. So he got close to them...... and threw a ....wooden bomb!!
     
  16. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor Patron  

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    I had a difficult time finding photos of the German Dummy Airfields. Found a lot of British Dummy Airfields though.
     
  17. bigfun

    bigfun Ace

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    hehe, a wooden bomb, i'll bet they didn't find the humor in that!
     
  18. Joe

    Joe Ace

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    I have another (true) Story.
    As part of the Atlantic wall, They painted the gun emplacement bunkers to look just like beach chalets. One of them (In Normandy) actually had an old lady painted behind a window!
    when the Germans evacuated this battery they even said goodbye to this woman!
     
  19. bigfun

    bigfun Ace

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    Hey Joe, that got me to looking for something written about this topic and look what I found!
    Masquerade: The amazing camouflage deceptions of World War II
    by Seymour Reit.
    [​IMG]

    you know i used to be able to post a pic from freeimagehosting.net, but it doesn't seem to work anymore!
    anyway, i think i'll get this book!
     
  20. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Member

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    Re. the wooden bomb dropped on the wooden airfield story. This story has done rounds in different versions since the early days of the war.

    Sorry to be plugging myself in my first post here, but my article about propaganda rumours in WWII sheds more light on this story:
    Whispers of War – The British World War II rumour campaign by Lee Richards

    The story was going to be deliberately spread by the British propaganda department in January 1941 in this version:

    But the story was vetoed and not spread.

    However, a few months later a version of it was printed in William L. Shirer's book, Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934-1941. Under the entry for 27 November 1940, Shirer claims he heard it from a mysterious source referred to only as "X" but this time the location of the dummy aerodrome was near Amsterdam.

    Lee
     

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