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Fighter Phosphorus bombs

Discussions on all aspects of the Japanese Empire, from the capture of Taiwan until the end of the Second World War.
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Fighter Phosphorus bombs

Postby Peter H on 01 Mar 2006 06:40

Japanese fighters from 1944 deployed against US bombers with phosphorus bombs,dropped on formations from high above.

Were they effective?Do photos exist of their use?

This is well:

The Japanese knew that the Christmas Eve raid was coming, and they filled the sky with antiaircraft fire as the Liberators made their bomb runs. Showing "intrepid determination and daring," 20 to 25 Zekes and Hamps made repeated passes at the bombers as Tafaro and the other pilots doggedly tried to stay in formation. To make things even more difficult, the Japanese had introduced a new tactic of deploying phosphorus bombs from cables to improve accuracy. An American combat narrative states, "As the Japanese fighters came in with machine guns firing at our planes, phosphorus bombs were thrown toward the formation. No actual damage resulted from these bombs, but they were effective from a demoralizing standpoint. They burst close to our planes, with flying fragments of burning phosphorous seemingly surrounding the entire plane."


Flight Journal:Mission to Balikpapan,David Lewis,2003.
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Postby David_Aiken on 01 Mar 2006 17:00

Konnichiwa All,
When the Phosphorus bombs were first used operationally at Rabaul in 1943...Gekitsuio (ACE) Petty Officer First Class Tetsuo Iwamoto was sent aloft to test its use on a B-24 formation of thirty planes. On the ground, a host of headquarters officers made the observation that all thirty planes were destroyed, while Iwamoto watched the formation breakup and leave unscathed. Iwamoto was awarded the thirty victorys to his huge victory talley. As an enlisted person he could say nothing to the officers, tho in his personal diary he rejected the kill claims.
Kampai,
D. Ai-ken, Dai toa senso kokan senshi Shinjuwan Sakusen sensei
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Postby Sewer King on 04 Mar 2006 05:36

Peter H. wrote:Japanese fighters from 1944 deployed against US bombers with phosphorus bombs,dropped on formations from high above ... Were they effective?Do photos exist of their use?


Steve Birdsall's history of the B-24, Log of the Liberators (New York: Doubleday, 1973 ), illustrates this type of bomb in use. A photo on page 279 shows four B-24s seen through the white smoke trails of a phosphorus bomb. It's captioned:

"August 1944, and the 30th (Bomb Group, 7th Air Force) flies through one of Truk's treats, aerial phosphorus bombs. The wispy finders were deadly bue seldom found their targets."

The author also mentions their use in Guam's air defense in April 1944.

"First the fighters launched an attack with phosphorus bombs, which did not cause the Liberators a great deal of concern..."

In the photo the bomb burst itself produces a dense white cloud while the incendiaries radiate out from below in many thin, feathery white smoke trails. The whole looks like a great white man-o-war jellyfish in the sky.
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Postby Peter H on 04 Mar 2006 07:19

Thanks guys.

Regards,
Peter
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Postby hisashi on 08 Mar 2006 01:54

This bomb is 三号爆弾(type-3 bomb). This bomb has a few subtypes, 30kg to 60kg. It explodes by tyme fuze, with 144 to 270 clusters flying off. Put into use firstly at Rabaul in 1942, and used widely by IJN fighter forces.

Sources and a recall;
http://www.b-b.ne.jp/zero/zero005/zero005-0206.htm
http://www.warbirds.jp/ansq/42/D2002121.html
http://borneo.web.infoseek.co.jp/kurosawa.htm
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Re: Fighter Phosphorus bombs

Postby Peter H on 24 Aug 2008 01:40

From Time-Life's The Road to Tokyo.

Heading home from a raid on Iwo Jima,B-24s pass through a shower of incenediary fragments from two phosphorus bombs dropped by Japanese fighters flying high above.Though this spectacular weapon damaged many planes,it failed to knock down a single Liberator..
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Re: Fighter Phosphorus bombs

Postby Sewer King on 24 Jan 2009 16:12

Technical descriptions of the bombs themselves from

    report of the US Naval Technical Mission to Japan, "Japanese Bombs," from "Intelligence Targets Japan" (DNI) of 4 Sept. 1945, Fascicle O-1, Target O-23, December 1945, pages 30-33 and 50-53:

Air-to-air bomb Type 99 No 3 Mk 3 Mod 1

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The prewar date of its adoption may have some small interest. Does it suggest that this method of attack and this bomb's design was originally for use against Soviet bombers?

==========================

Air-to-air bomb Type 3 No 6 Mk 3 Model 1

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==========================

Used by intercepting fighters against bombers, but with difficulty -- possibly with aiming and short range?

Air-to-air bomb, rocket-propelled, Type 3 No 6 Mk 27 Model 1

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==========================

These can be compared to more conventional incendiaries such as:

Anti-airfield bombs Type 2 No 25 Mk 3 Model 1, and test production Model 2

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Their description as anti-airfield use is more at use against parked aircraft, rather than airfield denial in the modern sense.

==========================

Where did Japan get its phosphorus? Phosphorus typically comes from arid regions such as the Middle East. I thought it could have come from the great phosphate deposits of Nauru in the southwest Pacific, but that was reportedly unsuccessful under Nauru's harsh occupation and defense. Maybe Japan got some from China? Wartime Germany got it from North Africa -- not only for munitions, but also for use in its then-exclusively secret nerve gases.

-- Alan
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Re: Fighter Phosphorus bombs

Postby Ironmachine on 24 Jan 2009 20:22

According to wikipedia article about Japanese mining and energy resources (World War II)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_mining_and_energy_resources_(WWII)

Phosphate: In Angaur (South Mandate) there was one important deposit which produced 60,000 tonnes annually.


There is also some interesting information in http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1032&context=fathi_habashi
For example:
Palau was an important source of phosphate supply for Japan until 1944...
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Re: Fighter Phosphorus bombs

Postby Peter H on 25 Jan 2009 01:35

From Time-Life.

Here's another photo--"looking like giant jellyship with their poisonous tentacles out".
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Re: Fighter Phosphorus bombs

Postby Peter H on 15 Feb 2011 06:34

From ebay,seller cornerstoneimages
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Re: Fighter Phosphorus bombs

Postby Sewer King on 02 Jun 2011 04:16

From lonesentry.com, a illustrated wartime report of B-24s encountering the air-to-air phosphorus bombs, involving both RAF and USAAF Liberators in different areas.

-- Alan
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