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American WWII "smart" bombs . anzon and others

Discussion in 'Wonder Weapons' started by efestos, May 8, 2015.

  1. efestos

    efestos Member

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    Anzon saw some use during the war ... hit many bridges, first mission in 8 june 1944 , but failed because cloudy weather , got many hit later ... I would like someone explain me why was designed with only x axis remote control.

    Well not only the germans got it.

    [​IMG]
    Azon

    http://www.458bg.com/azonproject.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azon


    AZON ("azimuth only") was one of the world's first smart bombs, deployed by the Allies and contemporary with the German Fritz X.
    Officially designated VB-1 ("Vertical Bomb 1"), it was invented by Major Henry J. Rand and Thomas J. O'Donnell during the latter stages of World War II, as the answer to the difficult problem of destroying the narrow wooden bridges that supported much of the Burma Railway.
    AZON was essentially a 1,000 lb (450 kg) general-purpose bomb with a quadrilateral 4-fin style radio controlled tail fin design as part of a "tail package" to give the half-short ton ordnance the desired guidance capability, allowing adjustment of the vertical trajectory in the yaw axis only, giving the Azon unit a laterally steerable capability and mandating the continued need to accurately release it with a bombsight to ensure it could not fall short of or beyond the target. There were gyroscopes mounted in the bomb's added tail package that made it an Azon unit, to autonomously stabilize it in the roll axis via operating a pair of ailerons,[1]

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qTTgn-PFuM
     
  2. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Another that got used was the USN BAT missile / guided bomb. This came in several versions including one that was radar guided, another using television guidance, and radio controlled versions. The version used in the Pacific, actually damaging and sinking several Japanese ships, was radar guided. It used a 1000 lbs. bomb with some of the same control system used on AZON. A Pelican radar homing set was added at the nose (a simplified version of APS 4). The missile / bomb was normally released at about 15,000 feet and a range of between 10 and 20 miles from the target.
    It could guide itself off the radar return and against ships it was actually effective. Tried in very limited numbers in Burma against bridges it was found that ground clutter ruined the radar returns so it was abandoned for that purpose.
    The USN built nearly 3,000 before the war ended.
     
  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    efestos likes this.
  4. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Then there's the "best" AAM to come out of WW 2, the JB-3 Tiamat. This makes the Ruhrstal X-4 look like a bottle rocket of a joke made by kids. The Tiamat was a 600 lbs. beam riding AAM that had a speed of about 650 mph, a range of 9 miles, used a proper, tested, proximity fuze, and had a workable guidance system using radar and electronics rather than having the pilot of a single seat fighter try to play the equivalent of a video game with a joy stick while piloting his plane in combat trying to fly a wire guided (that was insane for an AAM) missile into a target.

    http://napoleon130.tripod.com/id822.html

    It appears that at least a few JB-3 were actually fired at actual flying targets unlike the X-4 that never go beyond a few aerial launches without guidance.

    Interestingly, it's the X-4 that gets all the attention while the far superior JB-3 Tiamat remains all but unknown.
     
  5. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    #3
    Geeze man. 69 pdf pages...my hardrive sounds like it is about to jump out of the box.
    High tech stuff on both sides in ww2 seemed like they progressed on parallel lines (atomic bomb race, radio/camera controlled missiles). Or was there a lot of espionage that kind of had both sides racing.
    Thanks for the US Azon bit, only recall reading about the German radio controlled stuff in the Atlantic. Sinking ships must have been harder than bridges.
    Who copied who?
     
  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

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  7. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Pretty much every major power came up with some portion of what the others did. The US had the advantage of money and manpower to do research. The Russians did what they could but often chose to rely on supplied technology, focused on a very bloody and expensive land war like they were. Britain did considerable basic research and often came up with neat "stuff" that they then turned over to the US for production development and actual production not having the means themselves to do it.
    Japan, likewise, came up with a pretty wide variety of wonder weapons. Their problem was usually an inability to produce these in quantity in a timely fashion.

    On rockets, the US had three primary research labs running: GALCIT at Cal Tech, ORDCIT at Fort Bliss and later Redstone Arsenal, and Goddard Labs. Research was generally limited to basic things like fuels and theoretical design issues. This was because most missile and rocketry technology beyond a simple unguided rocket for general bombardment was clearly an expensive and limited use proposition.
    Of course, that didn't stop the US military from developing several useful guided weapons like BAT, AZON, Gorgon, or Tiamat. The German V-1 "buzz bomb" was copied as the JB-2 / Loon with the first one flying just 60 days after the first V-1 hit London.

    The US did have one thing they did right in developing missiles that the Germans didn't do. That is, they developed missile systems rather than just a missile with other things as an almost after thought. For example, Bell Labs, the University of Michigan, Boeing, and ORDCIT were all involved in one SAM program or another from mid 1944 on. Their focus was on developing a SAM system not just a missile like the Germans did. That is, they were looking at what was involved in detection, tracking, guidance, as well as developing a missile for one. The Germans developed several potential SAM missiles but never went beyond a very basic CLOS control system taken from existing missiles. That meant even if the missile worked well, the rest of the system was crap rendering it worthless.

    In fact, the US spent considerably more money and effort in the 1940's and 50's developing guidance and tracking systems than they did on early missiles. The prevailing view was the missile technology would rapidly evolve but without good guidance systems it was worthless.

    The USN also evolved some very useful sort of wonder weapons. Project Cadillac is a good example. This produced the world's first viable AEW aircraft and system. The British tried a similar project using a Wellington bomber but couldn't solve the parallax and movement problems satisfactorily something the US managed using extant and widely use small gyro / syncro technology like was used in the B-29 remote gunnery system.

    Project Typhoon / Bumblebee was another interesting one. These projects were started in 1944 to develop what was envisioned at the time as something akin to AGEIS and Standard missile today. The first successful version was the Talos missile and associated systems.

    It's kind of sad that all these other nation's developments go so unnoticed and that Germany alone seems to garner attention for "Wonder weapons" when everyone else had them too.
     
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  8. belasar

    belasar Court Jester

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    Perhaps because the Allies had the luxury of seeking 'perfected' weapons that largely did not see any use in battle, and Germany who deployed what they had, when they had it, whether it worked all that effectively or not. Then there is also that factor that as the victorious side, their programs were still viable and the need for continuing secrecy was deemed more important than touting what they accomplished.
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    One can argue that it wasn't just in the missile arena though that the Germans had a tendency to sub optimize. The US for instance considered reliability, maintainability, produceablity, strategic mobility, and compatibility with other Army systems when designing their tanks. The Germans seem to have concentrated on armor, firepower, and movement while pretty much neglecting the others.
     
  10. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    Ta, MrG. Great reading. Thanks for your time and effort on that. ..Out of salutes.
     
  11. efestos

    efestos Member

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    How to loose a war even before you know you're going to start it... Heisenberg in uniform. 1938 , ready to fight for the sudeten !!!
     

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  12. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The US actually made pretty extensive use of the AZON guided bomb in both the MTO and CBI theaters primarily against bridges, and rail bridges in particular. The first unit deployed to the MTO was a squadron of 6 B-17G assigned to the 419 Bombardment Squadron, 301st Bomb Group. This unit flew missions between 17 April 1944 and 2 July when the guidance equipment was handed over to 12th AF to be fitted in B-25's.
    The success rate for this unit using AZON was very low. While the AZON bomb proved more accurate than conventional bombs versus the targets they were dropped on they weren't sufficiently better that the results warranted continued use from heavy bombers.
    The 446th BS, 321st BG equipped with B-25's flying out of Corsica got the equipment and remaining AZON bombs (183 with another 1112 at Naples) and began training to use them in August 1944. This unit was joined by the 397th BS with B-26's assigned to 9th AF late in that month. Operations began in August as well with an attack on bridges near Chartres France.
    One thing these units quickly discovered was that bombing a defended target using AZON and dropping from their usual 10 to 15,000 foot altitudes created heavier casualties due to the longer bombing runs needed to guide the bombs to their target.

    In the ETO, several units were assigned to use AZON also. The first unit to arrive in England was the 753rd BS, 458th BG with 10 B-24's equipped to guide these bombs. This unit flew 13 missions using AZON between 31 May and 13 Sept 1944 against rail bridge targets. They too had approximately the same success / failures as other AZON units experienced. The system proved more accurate, but not accurate enough.

    In the CBI, the 493rd BS 7th BG had a bit better rate of success using AZON in 36 missions between November 1944 and March 1945.

    The US also made a few attempts to use the GB-1 glide bomb operationally. This bomb was similar in concept to the German Hagelkorn glide bomb. The intent in use was the bombers carrying these would release their bombs at a set distance and altitude from the target to avoid concentrated anti-aircraft fire. The bombs would then descend at a precalculated glide slope into the target where they would either strike it vertically--eg., slam into the side of a building or structure--or impact within the target area, the target being a city.

    The first combat mission with glide bombs was carried out by the 41st Combat Wing consisting of the 303rd, 379th, and 384th BG's against the rail yards at Cologne. These bombers released a total of 108 GB-1 approximately 20 miles from the target. Due to many of the crews having a minimum of training on this weapon 28 of them immediately failed to enter a glide doing things like going into a spin, or in some cases, doing loops or other acrobatics. 81 bombs reached the target with 44 being considered to have hit it (defined as coming within 3.5 miles of the aim point).
    A close examination post-mission found that the manufacturer of the glide bomb kits, the Mutual Furniture Company, had done sloppy and inaccurate work in manufacturing these causing the guidance system to be unable to keep the bomb on an accurate course. Further problems arose from not storing the kits (mostly wood) in proper conditions that allowed the wood to warp and bow.
    While support from the top was still present, the poor initial showing and indiscriminate nature of glide bomb impacts made it undesirable to continue in operational use. Thus ended the US attempt to use glide bombs operationally in WW 2.
     

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