Swedish Turnip or Skip Bombing

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Carl Schwamberger
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Swedish Turnip or Skip Bombing

Postby Carl Schwamberger » 11 Nov 2012 13:49

I've found descriptions of the "Swedish Turnip" or skip bombing technique used by the Luftwaffe. What I've not found yet is information on how much training it took to make a pilot effective at this technique. Any direct information or leads on this would be most welcome. This need not be confined to the LW operations. Info on training in this technique in any air force is welcome.

Thanks

Felix C
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Re: Swedish Turnip or Skip Bombing

Postby Felix C » 15 Nov 2012 01:13

Carl,

I recall mention in Luftwaffe War Diaries in one of the "I was there" examples. The pilot mentioned it was a night time attack only because the type of aircraft used in the Spanish Civil War, the He 59, was too slow and ungainly to be used in daytime. The pilot reads as if this is was not a typical method to attack ships per Luftwaffe doctrine.

Appears the specialized anti-ship unit with current use twin engine monoplane bombers switched to daytime level bombing in 1939 with He 111s or dive bombing with Ju 88s. Do not read any further use of the Swedish Turnip outside of 1939 North Sea period.

Perhaps accounts of the Spanish Civil War Condor Legion provide info.

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Re: Swedish Turnip or Skip Bombing

Postby Carl Schwamberger » 15 Nov 2012 04:00

I'd read the descriptions in Bekkers book you refer to. I recall some remarks elsewhere about that same specialist KG continuing that type of attack in 1940, but am unsure of the accuracy. If I can locate the source I'll present it here. Perhaps some other information will turn up here or elsewhere.

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Re: Swedish Turnip or Skip Bombing

Postby John T » 20 Nov 2012 08:15

Carl Schwamberger wrote:I've found descriptions of the "Swedish Turnip" or skip bombing technique used by the Luftwaffe.

Hi Carl

LW did expicitly design bombs not to skip, have not seen anything indicating true skip bombing.

On the other hand low level attacks performed in a (more or less) shallow dive releasing the bombs at max speed, level flight and very low altitude became standard a the time of Crete.

Cheers
/John T

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Re: Swedish Turnip or Skip Bombing

Postby Carl Schwamberger » 20 Nov 2012 10:16

John T, you must have some good sources for this. What do you recommend?

Thanks

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Re: Swedish Turnip or Skip Bombing

Postby Felix C » 07 Jun 2016 12:15

An update. I read the following over at ww2aircraft.net

- Invented by a guy named Harlinghausen during the Spanish Civil War.
- A form of skip bombing.
- Normally used against naval targets.
- Approach speed of about 200 mph.
- Altitude of 45 meters.
- Bombs released while 240 meters from the target. They hit the target side or in the water next to the hull.
- Bombs had an 8 second delay. This allows time for the aircraft to fly past the blast area.
- This attack method could be used by any level bomber provided the pilot was properly trained.
- Employed by FW 200s during their relatively short period of use as maritime bombers.
- Employed by the majority of Ju 88A4s during the devastating 2 Dec 1943 attack on Bari, Italy.

I find the last item most interesting. The Ju 88s could have dive bombed at Bari. They could also have attacked using torpedoes. Instead they chose to skip bomb. And the results were absolutely devastating. 105 bombers attacked Bari without fighter escort. They apparently suffered no battle losses at all! Apparently the low attack altitude allowed them bomb and be gone before anyone had time to man AA guns and launch fighter aircrraft. The 105 Ju 88A4s sank 17 ships and heavily damaged 7 more. Phenomenal results by WWII bomber standards.

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Ironmachine
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Re: Swedish Turnip or Skip Bombing

Postby Ironmachine » 07 Jun 2016 13:13

Felix C wrote:The pilot mentioned it was a night time attack only because the type of aircraft used in the Spanish Civil War, the He 59, was too slow and ungainly to be used in daytime.

Not directly important for this thread, but the He 59 did make attacks in daytime during the SCW.

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Re: Swedish Turnip or Skip Bombing

Postby Carl Schwamberger » 07 Jun 2016 18:36

Thanks for the info. It will be interesting to compare other nations techniques .

Felix C wrote:An update. I read the following over at ww2aircraft.net

- Invented by a guy named Harlinghausen during the Spanish Civil War.
- A form of skip bombing.
- Normally used against naval targets.
- Approach speed of about 200 mph.
- Altitude of 45 meters.
- Bombs released while 240 meters from the target. They hit the target side or in the water next to the hull.
- Bombs had an 8 second delay. This allows time for the aircraft to fly past the blast area.
- This attack method could be used by any level bomber provided the pilot was properly trained.
- Employed by FW 200s during their relatively short period of use as maritime bombers.
- Employed by the majority of Ju 88A4s during the devastating 2 Dec 1943 attack on Bari, Italy.

I find the last item most interesting. The Ju 88s could have dive bombed at Bari. They could also have attacked using torpedoes. Instead they chose to skip bomb. And the results were absolutely devastating. 105 bombers attacked Bari without fighter escort. They apparently suffered no battle losses at all! Apparently the low attack altitude allowed them bomb and be gone before anyone had time to man AA guns and launch fighter aircrraft. The 105 Ju 88A4s sank 17 ships and heavily damaged 7 more. Phenomenal results by WWII bomber standards.


Given the number of bombers that might what I'd have predicted. Docked or anchored ships were a lot easier to hit. At Rabaul in the spring of 1942 even B17s were able to hit ships from high altitude.

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Re: Swedish Turnip or Skip Bombing

Postby Felix C » 08 Jun 2016 11:04

I admit that is an impressive amount of Ju 88s to have available for a single mission by that time period.

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Re: Swedish Turnip or Skip Bombing

Postby Sooliman » 13 Jun 2016 14:18

Smart way to use those Ju 88s, interesting fact to know, thanks

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Re: Swedish Turnip or Skip Bombing

Postby Carl Schwamberger » 13 Jun 2016 17:34

By this time they'd long figured out ships in harbors are vulnerable. A smaller raid on Bone' harbor at the end of 1942 nailed several cargo ships and damaged a cruiser. Lots of others I'd have to look up.

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Re: Swedish Turnip or Skip Bombing

Postby Stovepipe » 27 Sep 2016 19:06

I read of the 190 using a lobbing technique; ie, fly towards target at very low level to within about 1000 metres and then pull up sharply and release as the aircraft assumed the climb position and then turn and dive away back to ground level to escape. Not very accurate but if you salvoed a load of SC50s and a SC 500, you'd hit something.

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Re: Swedish Turnip or Skip Bombing

Postby Mil-tech Bard » 27 Sep 2016 21:21

The two biggest reasons for the success of the Bari raid are that the Luftwaffe used radar chaff -- Duppel -- for the first time and got luicky by hitting a petrolium pipeline that spilled flaming/floating fuel across the harbor engulfing undamaged ships.

See from Wikipedia --

The attack opened at 19:25, when two or three German aircraft circled the harbour at 10,000 ft (3,000 m) dropping Düppel (foil strips) to confuse Allied radar. They also dropped flares, which were not needed due to the harbour being well illuminated.[4]

The German bomber force obtained complete surprise and was able to bomb the harbour and its contents with great accuracy. Hits on two ammunition ships caused explosions which shattered windows 7 mi (11 km) away.[4] A bulk petrol pipeline on a quay was severed and the gushing fuel ignited.[6] A sheet of burning fuel spread over much of the harbor, engulfing otherwise undamaged ships.[4]


The Allied 1.5 meter band ground control intercept and searchlight radars there -- SCR-527 and SCR-268 respectively -- were utterly overwhelmed.

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Re: Swedish Turnip or Skip Bombing

Postby Carl Schwamberger » 13 Jan 2017 04:13

Thought I'd bump this up. Can anyone point to descriptions of the tactics the Italian and German bombers were using vs the Allied ships in the Med in 1942-43?


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