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Aluminium and RAF bombs

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by Kai-Petri, Jan 23, 2004.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I just read that the British started using aluminium in their bombs in Dec 1943 after a report saying Germans´ bombs were 80% more effective. In 1940 this had been already known but as the aluminium was not readily available this was not considered furtheruntil the report was made in 1943.

    Is this true or false? I did not find this anywhere in the net.

    :confused:
     
  2. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    During the 'Blitz' the Germans used a number of different types and combinations of explosive filling ; it's possible that the British weren't sure which one was more effective !

    In any case, you are right, the destructive effectiveness of British air-dropped HE bombs, particularly the HC weapons, was improved considerably in late 1943 by the adoption of MINOL, basically the previously-used AMATOL ( a combination of TNT/Ammonium Nitrate ) with 20% powdered aluminium added.

    I have read that the name MINOL was patented by Du Pont in 1941 so perhaps this was shared technology with the USA ?
     
  3. TA152

    TA152 Ace

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    That is interesting. I never gave any thought as to what was in a bomb. How did the 20% powdered aluminium improve the effectivness of the bombs ?
    Did they ever try Napalam in the European theatre ? I know they used it on the Japanese late in the war.
     
  4. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    I have no idea why aluminium contributed to the effectiveness of HE ; the answer must lie in the field of Chemistry somewhere....

    As for Napalm, this is interesting because 'Napalm' has become as emotive as the words 'Holocaust' and 'Dresden'.

    From what I've studied of Bomber Command, napalm was never used by them in WW2. They initially used the 4lb magnesium incendiary and 30lb phosphorous bombs, and later tried the 'J-Bomb' which combined petrol, magnesium and rubber but was unreliable in service.

    The first recorded use of true Napalm was on Tinian in the Pacific, 23rd July 1944. The 8th AF in NW Europe definitely used Napalm in very late '44/ May '45 ; there is a well-known photo of Napalm bombs being loaded into the 452nd BG's B-17G 'E-Rat-Icator' at Deopham Green in early '45.

    At the very end of the war, some Mosquitoes of 2 TAF carried Napalm bombs.

    Beware Internet sources on this one ; I have found several sites referring to Bomber Command 'drenching cities with Napalm'. This is totally incorrect ; as usual, no authoritative sources are quoted :rolleyes: :mad:
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  6. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Just read a little more about this in James Hampton's book, 'Selected For Aircrew' .

    The British did indeed realise early in the war that aluminium-enriched HE was extremely effective. At that time, however, supplies of aluminium in Britain were low and priority was given to production of depth-charges.

    When the supply situation eased, production of aerial bombs containing aluminium was not prioritised. This doesn't sound like mischief, more like typical British bureacratic inertia.

    ( Still don't know why aluminium is so effective in HE.... :( :confused: )
     
  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Found this after awhile when I found the right key words......
     
  8. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Active Member

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    Churchill in his memoirs mentions the issue of adding aluminum to the explosive in order to increase the destructive power of the bombs.

    I can see how powdered aluminum (or another light metal, lithium or magnesium) stirred into an explosive compound could make the whoooom that much sharper.
     
  9. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Aluminum not only increased the power of an explosive, it added an extra dose of heat. "Thermobaric" is the scientific term, I believe. You end up with a wave of pressure and also a wave of heat.
     
  10. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Thermite:

    "a mixture of finely powdered aluminium and iron oxide that produces a very high temperature on combustion, used in welding and for incendiary bombs."
    Iron oxide = Rust.
     

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