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Rare photos of US experimental bombs from WWII

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Hello all.

I just found these photos listed strangely on ebay. I at first thought they were shots of GI's with captured German experimental glide bombs like the "Fritz X" etc. I bought them and found out that although there is one shot showing a German V-2 engine on display and what I think is an experimental German surface to air rocket called the "wasserfall", most of the photos are of the experimental US VB series of glide bombs some of which are on display at the US Air Force museum. Anyway, I am learning.

Some of the first series were actually used on targets in Germany and during the CBI theater in the destruction of bridges etc. Any more info. on this program would be appreciated. For starters...any ideas where these photos were taken? It's a desert like setting so I assume one of our training grounds. Also, the 120 mm cannon pictured has the date of 1947 on the back. Nothing else on any of them.

Thanks for looking!

Paul

IMG_2525 (2).jpg

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2 minutes ago, USCapturephotos said:

Hello all.

I just found these photos listed strangely on ebay. I at first thought they were shots of GI's with captured German experimental glide bombs like the "Fritz X" etc. I bought them and found out that although there is one shot showing a German V-2 engine on display and what I think is an experimental German surface to air rocket called the "wasserfall", most of the photos are of the experimental US VB series of glide bombs some of which are on display at the US Air Force museum. Anyway, I am learning.

Some of the first series were actually used on targets in Germany and during the CBI theater in the destruction of bridges etc. Any more info. on this program would be appreciated. For starters...any ideas where these photos were taken? It's a desert like setting so I assume one of our training grounds. Also, the 120 mm cannon pictured has the date of 1947 on the back. Nothing else on any of them.

Thanks for looking!

Paul

IMG_2525 (2).jpg

Any one have any idea what the spherical thing or the cone is in the background? Remind me of Sputnik...but obviously this is 10 years earlier.

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The "spherical thing" looks like the hydrogen peroxide tank with the turbopump below it. Both would be mounted directly above the engine in a V2. The "cone" looks like the nose cone of the rocket.

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Some more details on these photos.

 

The top one appears to be a US display for public consumption of German technology on a flatbed truck trailer.

The first item is a model of a Wasserfall W-5 of W-10  surface to air missile.  It has to be a model because the actual missile is far larger.

The next item, the "mushroom on a cone" is a V-2 rocket motor.  I'd bet it is the real thing.

I can't make the other three items out clearly enough to identify them for sure.

 

The next set of photographs, six in all I believe, are likely taken at Elgin AFB in Florida.  While this is speculation, the enlisted personnel in the photos are probably from the 303rd BG (heavy) but might be base personnel or from the 384th or 379th BG's (heavy).  These three groups trained there on these weapons rotating through one after the other.  Elgin was a major testing site for much of US advanced technology of this sort at the time.

 

Going through the photos L to R, top to bottom:

 

Top Left:  A 120mm M1 AA gun.  Comparison photo:

 

img-28.jpg

 

Middle Top:

 

A Douglas VB-10, 11, or 12 Roc.  The forward circular wing controls the direction of fall of the bomb, while the tail ring and assembly slows decent.  It's impossible to tell which version it is as the difference is in the type of guidance used.  Tested between September 1944 and May 1945.

 

Top Right

 

This is a a VB-3 / 4 RAZON.  It is a 2000 lbs. bomb and the two shrouds towards the tail are used for guidance by the bombardier on the dropping plane.  One controls range, steepening or flattening out the fall of the bomb, the other near the rear controls the left - right movement (azimuth) of the bomb.

 

Lower Left:

 

This is the VB-1 AZON (AZimuth ONly) bomb.  This is a standard AN/M65 1000 lbs. bomb fitted with a controllable tail assembly.  This allowed the bomb to be steered left or right as it fell.  It was intended for use against targets like bridges (long and thin) and used with some success in Burma late in WW 2.  It was used in Europe a few times also with indifferent results.

Note that there is a JB-2 behind the VB-1 in the photo (that long tube).  The JB-2 was a US copy of the German V-1 "Buzz bomb" made by Ford Motor Co. and Willy's Overland.  Elgin was a major firing site for the USAAF / USAF of these missiles late in the war and in the early postwar years.

 

Middle lower:

 

This is why I suspect Elgin and the 303rd BG (heavy).  This is the GB-1 glide bomb manufactured by Aeronca Aircraft Co.  It was issued for service in Europe to the 303rd BG and later to the 384th and 379th BG's all of which were in 8th AF in England.  The first combat use was against Cologne on May 28th 1944 when the groups dropped 108 bombs scoring 35 hits on the city with these.  The poor results were chalked up to the crews having been in theater so long that most of the original ones that trained at Elgin had rotated out completing their combat missions and the new crews were not trained on the weapons.

 

bombs-glide.jpg

 

This is a photo of a 303rd BG B-17 (all the groups flew B-17) dropping two GB-1 in the US while training.  This is likely mid to late 1942 when the photo was taken.

 

The last photo I already gave details of.

 

Elgin remained a major base for experimentation with the weapons shown into the late 40's.  Many were used up from wartime stocks in testing and experimentation for more advanced systems.

 

I hope this is useful.

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17 minutes ago, tgardner said:

Some more details on these photos.

 

The top one appears to be a US display for public consumption of German technology on a flatbed truck trailer.

The first item is a model of a Wasserfall W-5 of W-10  surface to air missile.  It has to be a model because the actual missile is far larger.

The next item, the "mushroom on a cone" is a V-2 rocket motor.  I'd bet it is the real thing.

I can't make the other three items out clearly enough to identify them for sure.

 

The next set of photographs, six in all I believe, are likely taken at Elgin AFB in Florida.  While this is speculation, the enlisted personnel in the photos are probably from the 303rd BG (heavy) but might be base personnel or from the 384th or 379th BG's (heavy).  These three groups trained there on these weapons rotating through one after the other.  Elgin was a major testing site for much of US advanced technology of this sort at the time.

 

Going through the photos L to R, top to bottom:

 

Top Left:  A 120mm M1 AA gun.  Comparison photo:

 

img-28.jpg

 

Middle Top:

 

A Douglas VB-10, 11, or 12 Roc.  The forward circular wing controls the direction of fall of the bomb, while the tail ring and assembly slows decent.  It's impossible to tell which version it is as the difference is in the type of guidance used.  Tested between September 1944 and May 1945.

 

Top Right

 

This is a a VB-3 / 4 RAZON.  It is a 2000 lbs. bomb and the two shrouds towards the tail are used for guidance by the bombardier on the dropping plane.  One controls range, steepening or flattening out the fall of the bomb, the other near the rear controls the left - right movement (azimuth) of the bomb.

 

Lower Left:

 

This is the VB-1 AZON (AZimuth ONly) bomb.  This is a standard AN/M65 1000 lbs. bomb fitted with a controllable tail assembly.  This allowed the bomb to be steered left or right as it fell.  It was intended for use against targets like bridges (long and thin) and used with some success in Burma late in WW 2.  It was used in Europe a few times also with indifferent results.

Note that there is a JB-2 behind the VB-1 in the photo (that long tube).  The JB-2 was a US copy of the German V-1 "Buzz bomb" made by Ford Motor Co. and Willy's Overland.  Elgin was a major firing site for the USAAF / USAF of these missiles late in the war and in the early postwar years.

 

Middle lower:

 

This is why I suspect Elgin and the 303rd BG (heavy).  This is the GB-1 glide bomb manufactured by Aeronca Aircraft Co.  It was issued for service in Europe to the 303rd BG and later to the 384th and 379th BG's all of which were in 8th AF in England.  The first combat use was against Cologne on May 28th 1944 when the groups dropped 108 bombs scoring 35 hits on the city with these.  The poor results were chalked up to the crews having been in theater so long that most of the original ones that trained at Elgin had rotated out completing their combat missions and the new crews were not trained on the weapons.

 

bombs-glide.jpg

 

This is a photo of a 303rd BG B-17 (all the groups flew B-17) dropping two GB-1 in the US while training.  This is likely mid to late 1942 when the photo was taken.

 

The last photo I already gave details of.

 

Elgin remained a major base for experimentation with the weapons shown into the late 40's.  Many were used up from wartime stocks in testing and experimentation for more advanced systems.

 

I hope this is useful.

This was all super helpful TGardner. Thank you! Interesting that the 303rd BG tested some of this stuff as coincidentally I also recently picked up a nice 303rd photo group in trade from another nice forum member. I will be doing some more research on these as I was really unaware that the US was experimenting so much with glide bomb technology before I found these.

Paul

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