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WW2 shaped charge bomblets question?

The FROG/Luna missile warhead had a shaped charge... why*?

View attachment 510971

* Rhetorical question.. I have no idea why putting a shaped charge on an unguided bombardment missile was thought a good idea..!

Possibly to be multi functional. The PTAB has a pre-notched body giving it that cheeky anti personnel addition despite its primary function be anti vehicle.

My best technical guess with the Luna is that Russian doctrine at the time, may be based on their own mass armour attack and facing similar from the West. Firing large quantities of these missiles into large formations of armour will be a tad troublesome to us.
 
Sorry but the casualty rate among anti tank gun aircraft was far too high to justify the losses in aircraft. Hitting a tank with a gun meant getting to within about 200- 100m -same as air to air combat. Return ground fire could be fatal. RP salvos against area targets were launched from 4,000 feet and individual tanks from 500-1000 yards. A more survivable profile.

I have a hypothesis that over Normandy the allied air forces lost far more than physical damage inflicted on German ground forces. This was masked by rampant over claiming by airmen. The allies scaled back their air to ground effort in July 1944 because of the high losses. I don't think there has been an academic study on this topic...

Of course the morale impact of allied air power weighed heavily in its favour.

Not suggesting that the gun was a better option, and certainly not the 40mm. The range of the Molins fired while airborne was impressive though - accurate from 1,000 yards in a 45 degree dive and still with enough 'oomph' to cause angst for whatever was on the receiving end. This included U-boat conning towers, which weren't quite as easy to hit as the side of a ship, for instance.

There has been an academic study - Ian Gooderson's Air Power at the Battlefront. In the book (or an article which appeared in Strategic Studies at about the same time, drawing on some material which didn't make it into the book in addition to material that did - I forget without looking) he makes the point that there was understandable over-claiming (just as in air combat) because of the speed at which everything happened. He points to the morale aspect as being of greater importance, since there was a not insignificant number of cases where tanks were abandoned as Typhoons hove into view, and if this was in support of an Allied attack, the tanks were often found minus the crew. He also suggests that armed recce was more effective in some ways, since this caused chaos amongst already fraught German supply lines; the problem was that the interdiction ops were more prone to running into flak traps, with concomitant losses. Terry Copp also covers the work of the ORS sections in his book Monty's Scientists, IIRC.

The casualty rate was, of course, part of the consideration, but it depended upon numerous factors with the Hurricane, one of which was the effect that the armour had on its maximum performance and its ability to jink out of the way in the face of ground fire. In places like Burma, the Hurricane IID worked well, and you can find instances of the seemingly bizarre asymmetric loadings for the Hurricane IV where you sometimes had a mixed armament of 40mm gun under one wing and four RP under the other. I assume that there must have been some means of getting the gun back on target after the first couple of shots had an interesting asymmetric effect on the aircraft flying straight...
 
One intended for @Listy but open to anyone interested.

During WW2, the Soviets had the 2.5kg PTAB shaped-charge bomblet, which they dropped a good few million of onto assorted opponents.

Now, we knew about shaped charges, we knew about dropping lots of 4lb incendiaries bundled up in Small Bomb Containers, we were turning out PIAT bombs that on an "I don't have to do it so it's easy" basis could have been made into the payload of antitank cluster bombs. So, it doesn't seem that we couldn't do it, but we didn't.

Is it that we never thought of the idea? Or was it looked at and decided that it wasn't good enough to divert design and production, and displace 1000lb bombs or RP-3 rockets on Typhoons, for?

Is it as simple as these things work nicely on open steppe, but in wooded European terrain you'd get lots of them dangling from trees like twitchy high-explosive fruit?
You did have the Bomb A/T 9lb Mk 1



Blow through 2 inch armor plate


I found it here-


It also has that bomb on a cable that was in a thread in the last weeks on pages 109-110
 

HE117

LE
Would it be lighter than the HE equivalent? Extra range?
Perhaps it was just done as a space filler... I suspect the main warhead for the Frog would have been a sub kiloton nuclear, and the HE alternative would have to match its volume and mass..

...we will probably never know! There was one in "Ron's garden" the UXO spotter collection at the side of the School of Ammo dem ground, that used to really confuse the students...
 
There was one in "Ron's garden" the UXO spotter collection at the side of the School of Ammo dem ground, that used to really confuse the students...

I got the soddin‘ torpedo on my UXO spotter test. That’s just great with a library full primary of LSA natures.
 

Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
There has been an academic study - Ian Gooderson's Air Power at the Battlefront. In the book (or an article which appeared in Strategic Studies at about the same time, drawing on some material which didn't make it into the book in addition to material that did - I forget without looking) he makes the point that there was understandable over-claiming (just as in air combat) because of the speed at which everything happened. He points to the morale aspect as being of greater importance, since there was a not insignificant number of cases where tanks were abandoned as Typhoons hove into view, and if this was in support of an Allied attack, the tanks were often found minus the crew. He also suggests that armed recce was more effective in some ways, since this caused chaos amongst already fraught German supply lines; the problem was that the interdiction ops were more prone to running into flak traps, with concomitant losses. Terry Copp also covers the work of the ORS sections in his book Monty's Scientists, IIRC.
I am sceptical about the rigour of these findings. What a surprise that an academic employed by the RAF happens to conclude that fear of rocket firing typhoons persuaded lots of German tank crews to abandon their tanks. There has been far to much at stake in terms of defence priorities and budgets to see an "academic" study as entirely independent or objective. This looks like an attempt to justify the high claims made for aircraft at Mortain and Falaise.

The safest place in an air attack was inside a tank. The outside world in the battle area was criss-crossed by supersonic splinters and fragments. Veterans developed a pretty shrewd idea about the relative risks to their lives. Abandoning a hardened shelter in an air raid defies logic or sense of self preservation. Abandoning the armoured protection of their tank for the outside world, is and was against the whole tankie/panzer ethos.

There may have been some instances where tank crews might have panicked, but the majority of time that tanks were abandoned was because they were bogged, broke down or ran out of fuel. I am sceptical about the logic which deduces that a significant proportion of tanks were abandoned as the result of air attack.
 
I am sceptical about the rigour of these findings. What a surprise that an academic employed by the RAF happens to conclude that fear of rocket firing typhoons persuaded lots of German tank crews to abandon their tanks. There has been far to much at stake in terms of defence priorities and budgets to see an "academic" study as entirely independent or objective. This looks like an attempt to justify the high claims made for aircraft at Mortain and Falaise.

Excellent attack on his integrity there.

He was not and is not ‘employed by the RAF’. He’s always been employed by King’s College London, and as well as misunderstanding his employment history, you’ve failed to realise that he’d finished the PhD and the article to which I referred before he started teaching at Henlow, the article appeared more than five years prior to his starting there. He also did some work for DERA which was, IIRC, a jointly-inspired study DERA had been asked to conduct (there was at least one part of the study which led to a paper by an Army officer).

Strangely enough, King’s seems to have taken the view that employing an academic who knew something about air power to help them meet the contract to teach at Henlow might be a good idea. He’s taught the RAF staff courses, but isn’t in their employment, and to imply that he’s cravenly parroting an RAF line because he’s employed by them is factually incorrect and a cheap shot.

Play the ball, not the man, please.

(And, for avoidance of doubt, as one of the site owners of Arrse, MM and various others can confrim, I‘m not Ian Gooderson...)
 
On a similar exercise at DEODS I was given a Hawkins mine. Looks spookily like a 37 pattern water bottle.

Only to a blind man in a dark alley.

37 pattern water bottle.

1602320416072.jpeg


The Grenade Anti-Tank No 75 (Hawkins Grenade).

1602320533609.jpeg
 
Only to a blind man in a dark alley.

37 pattern water bottle.

View attachment 511050

The Grenade Anti-Tank No 75 (Hawkins Grenade).

View attachment 511051

:)

It was a double bluff by Sandy Sanderson, who was an instructor there at the time. He’d started to include bits of stuff that weren’t ordnance related to make us tie ourselves in knots trying to classify them. Then he showed us the Hawkins mine, upside down out in the garden...

Since then, I’ve found that the ‘group, sub-group, role, hazard’ system of recognition is something that has been incredibly useful in all the odd places I have found myself, and seems to be pretty unique to people who have been through the British system.
 

Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
Looking at the ORS reports. Yup Joint report No2 Rocket Firing Typhoons in close support of Military Operations includes the following paragraph

1602287429340.png

But what evidence was the sentence based on? There were other ORS studies on battles where the Germans employed armour in numbers under air attack - Mortain - Falaise and The Battle of the Bulge

Report No 4 Air attacks on Enemy Tanks and Motor Transport and the Mortain Area compared the claims by the air forces with the evidence from inspecting wrecked and abandoned vehicles. The airforces claimed 301 tanks destroyed and 60 probables. Of the seventy eight vehicles found after the battle, Twenty one AFVs had evidence of damage from RP bomb or cannon. Nine had been abandoned intact and four destroyed by their crew.

This did include the following paragraphs assigning
1602320131689.png

But checking the detail many, several of the abandoned tanks had also been hit by ground fire as well. Here is a sample.
1602320670828.png

One reason for the generosity in assigning abandoned tanks to the effects of air attack may have been the desire by the army to talk up the air force claims as tank killers. The RAF was a reluctant convert to the value of Close Air Support. The bomber barons Hasrris and Spaatz resented the diversion of their bombers from Germany for tactical missions. It was less than helpful to the army's cause to point out that the RAF were over claiming by a factor of eighteen. Even by assigning all abandoned tanks to the effects of air power means that the air force overclaimed by a factor of ten.

Joint Study No 3 on Air attack on enemy armour in the Ardennes. This took the airforces claims and examined the wrecks on the ground.
1602287977116.png

PW interviews from Joint study No 3 on air

1602287778908.png
 
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Looking at the ORS reports. Yup Joint report No2 Rocket Firing Typhoons in close support of Military Operations includes the following paragraph

View attachment 511012
But what evidence was the sentence based on? There were other ORS studies on battles where the Germans employed armour in numbers under air attack - Mortain - Falaise and The Battle of the Bulge

Report No 4 Air attacks on Enemy Tanks and Motor Transport and the Mortain Area compared the claims by the air forces with the evidence from inspecting wrecked and abandoned vehicles. The airforces claimed 301 tanks destroyed and 60 probables. Of the seventy eight vehicles found after the battle, Twenty one AFVs had evidence of damage from RP bomb or cannon. Nine had been abandoned intact and four destroyed by their crew.

This did include the following paragraphs assigning
View attachment 511047
But checking the detail many, several of the abandoned tanks had also been hit by ground fire as well. Here is a sample.
View attachment 511052
One reason for the generosity in assigning abandoned tanks to the effects of air attack may have been the desire by the army to talk up the air force claims as tank killers. The RAF was a reluctant convert to the value of Close Air Support. The bomber barons Hasrris and Spaatz resented the diversion of their bombers from Germany for tactical missions. It was less than helpful to point out that the RAF were over claiming by a factor of eighteen. Even by assigning all abandoned tanks to the effects of air power means that the air force overclaimed by a factor of ten.

Joint Study No 3 on Air attack on enemy armour in the Ardennes. This took the airforces claims and examined the wrecks on the ground.
View attachment 511014
PW interviews from Joint study No 3 on air

View attachment 511013


Interesting post.
 
:)

It was a double bluff by Sandy Sanderson, who was an instructor there at the time. He’d started to include bits of stuff that weren’t ordnance related to make us tie ourselves in knots trying to classify them. Then he showed us the Hawkins mine, upside down out in the garden...

Since then, I’ve found that the ‘group, sub-group, role, hazard’ system of recognition is something that has been incredibly useful in all the odd places I have found myself, and seems to be pretty unique to people who have been through the British system.

Its always a good idea. As you know it’s quite difficult to say “it’s a none ammunition item” sometimes, because you always get a niggle that you could be wrong.

Head of a spigot mortar? Even the colour is deceiving

1602325320284.jpeg


Here it is in its rightful place
1602325387423.jpeg
 
Its always a good idea. As you know it’s quite difficult to say “it’s a none ammunition item” sometimes, because you always get a niggle that you could be wrong.

Head of a spigot mortar? Even the colour is deceiving

View attachment 511085

Here it is in its rightful place
View attachment 511086

You couldn’t blame anyone for reporting that :)

I once placed a counter charge against a 100mm AP shot in Kuwait.

It was covered in about 1” of oil and had exactly the same shape as a HESH round. All I could go on was the shape.

When I went back after the surprisingly small bang there it was, split beautifully in half down the centre line. Solid as a solid thing, not even a tracer pocket.

It had never occurred to me that Saddam would be trying to use 100mm shot against Abrams or Challenger.
 
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