Wooden bombs on Scheinfugplätze

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Luchtkastelen 40-45
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Wooden bombs on Scheinfugplätze

Postby Luchtkastelen 40-45 » 29 May 2007 20:30

Many of the Luftwaffe airfields in western Europe had a dummy airfield (Scheinflugplatz), trying to distract Allied bombers to harmlessly bomb the dummy-site instead of the operational airfield. There are many stories about many dummy sites that would have been bombed with wooden bombs. Seems that the same story is told for about each and every dummy site, over and over again. Even though the RAF and USAAF were remarkably well aware of most of these dummy airfields, I wonder about the degree of truth in these wooden bomb stories.

On the one hand, the stories of the wooden bombs are so persistant and widespread that there must be some nucleus of truth in it.

On the other hand, why would bombercrews expose themselves to extra risks trying to deliver a useless bomb to a useless target on such large scale?

Who can shed a (preferrably well documented) light on this matter?

Rgds, René Dolfsma

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SES
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Postby SES » 29 May 2007 21:44

Hi René,
There was wooden cows and chicken of stones on German dummy airfields, but I simply do not believe the wooden bomb story. There one just as persistent. In many of the occupied countries local workers worked more or less willingly to built German bunkers, but they put sugar in the concrete so it would crack after a few month. Well the bunkers are still there most of them without cracks and experts tell us that it would take 300 kg of sugar to impair the quality of 1 ccm of concrete. A standard bunker contained 600 - 1.000 ccm. There was ration measures and each family was allocated 1 - 2 kg of sugar a month. So 300 families had to give up one month ration to participate in the sabotage of 1 ccm of concrete :?
bregds
SES

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Jaap Woortman
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Re: Wooden bombs on Scheinfugplätze

Postby Jaap Woortman » 03 Jun 2007 09:07

Luchtkastelen 40-45 wrote:Many of the Luftwaffe airfields in western Europe had a dummy airfield (Scheinflugplatz), trying to distract Allied bombers to harmlessly bomb the dummy-site instead of the operational airfield. There are many stories about many dummy sites that would have been bombed with wooden bombs. Seems that the same story is told for about each and every dummy site, over and over again. Even though the RAF and USAAF were remarkably well aware of most of these dummy airfields, I wonder about the degree of truth in these wooden bomb stories. René Dolfsma


René,

During 20 years of research of the Projectgroup Airfields of the Dutch Study Group Airwar 1939-1945 on the history of the Dutch airfields during WWII, we have heard also these stories but have found NO evidence of RAF or USAAF planes who have bombed 'Scheinflughafen' with wooden bombs.
Extensive research at the files of the RAF in the NA(PRO) has not given any clue about this subject.
The only wooden bombs 'used' in the Netherlands are the wooden boms used by the Dutch Air Force before the war for practicing purposes at the beaches of the Dutch coast.

Jaap Woortman
Secretary Study Group Airwar 1939-1945
Chairman Project Group Airfields.

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Luchtkastelen 40-45
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bedankt

Postby Luchtkastelen 40-45 » 03 Jun 2007 21:34

Thanks Jaap for this autorative conclusion. Last bit of wonder is where the story has had it's evolution, but that we'll probably never know....

Rgds, René

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Re: bedankt

Postby Juha Tompuri » 04 Jun 2007 22:31

Luchtkastelen 40-45 wrote:Thanks Jaap for this autorative conclusion. Last bit of wonder is where the story has had it's evolution, but that we'll probably never know....
Maybe from Finland?

viewtopic.php?t=48588&highlight=lent%E4j%E4n+albumi

Regards, Juha
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Luchtkastelen 40-45
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wooden bombs

Postby Luchtkastelen 40-45 » 07 Jun 2007 20:29

Beautiful story! Typical Finnish humor: black and dauntless!

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Re: Wooden bombs on Scheinfugplätze

Postby Sewer King » 12 Jun 2007 03:54

Luchtkastelen 40-45 wrote:Many of the Luftwaffe airfields in western Europe had a dummy airfield (Scheinflugplatz), trying to distract Allied bombers to harmlessly bomb the dummy-site instead of the operational airfield. There are many stories about many dummy sites that would have been bombed with wooden bombs. Seems that the same story is told for about each and every dummy site, over and over again...

In what places has it been repeated over and over again?

Jaap Woortmann wrote:During 20 years of research of the Projectgroup Airfields of the Dutch Study Group Airwar 1939-1945 on the history of the Dutch airfields during WWII, we have heard also these stories but have found NO evidence of RAF or USAAF planes who have bombed 'Scheinflughafen' with wooden bombs..

If there is any truth to it, at least it need not have happened in western Europe. The only mention I have ever seen of wooden bombing was this passing one from Dino Brugioni, the ex-CIA photo interpreter who unearthed the now-famous aerial photos of Auschwitz in operation:

"... Interpretetive skills once kept the Royal Air Force from being fooled by a German dummy airfield in North Africa, even though it was expertly strewn about with dummy aircraft. In one of [a] few aerial jokes, the RAF dispatched a lone bomber to drop wooden bombs on the dummy German planes." (Brugioni, Dino. "Aerial Photography: Reading the Past, Revealing the Future," Smithsonian magazine, March 1984, page 150)

Certainly this is only a secondary reference without detail. Brugioni had been one of my instructors in military air photo reconaissance, at the time of his article. I would like to ask him a number of air-photo history questions today, and the wooden bomb story could be one of them

Luchtkastelen 40-45 wrote:On the other hand, why would bombercrews expose themselves to extra risks trying to deliver a useless bomb to a useless target on such large scale?

It need not have been a whole flight of bombers. Although I cannot tell if Juha's source refers to a wooden bombing mission by fighters. Everything else being equal -- and with their typical spirit -- that is the sort of thing that a fighter pilot seems more likely to do.

In the Korean War, a US Navy aircraft carrier's air group had bombed Communist positions and reported after-action that they had hit the enemy -- according to the American expression -- with "everything but the kitchen sink." Not long after, a single fighter returned to the target to drop a zinc washtub it had slung underneath. Upon its return to the carrier, the commander was able to say his group had truly struck the enemy with everything. (Gareth Pawlowski's Flat-Tops and Fledglings, Castle Books, 1971)

That sort of thing would be extravagant today, and unthinkable. But much less so in WW2 and Korea, with the large numbers of planes, units, pilots, and sorties being flown in those wars. So it may have been with the wooden bombs, even if only once or twice, whether by the Finns or the British.

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Re: Wooden bombs on Scheinfugplätze

Postby Luchtkastelen 40-45 » 12 Jun 2007 19:40

Thanks for your valuable contribution,

In what places has it been repeated over and over again?

I was hinting at the many official and less official airfield histories published and especially in Holland over the last decades. Many of those contain story's about wooden bombs on the local Scheinflugplatz, sometimes lavishly illustrated with eyewitness reports. I agree, eyewitnesses are after so many years a very very tricky source. But if there's smoke, there usually is a fire too....

Brugioni had been one of my instructors in military air photo reconaissance, at the time of his article. I would like to ask him a number of air-photo history questions today, and the wooden bomb story could be one of them

Would be of great value to have such story from first hand...

Found another article about the subject:
In the book "Magic-Top Secret" the wooden bomb story surfaces in the following guise: Maskelyne (a RAF camouflage-expert in the Mediterranean early WWII) sets up a dummy airfield which is soon bombed by the Italians. He repairs the damage and the next week there is a second attack, but the bombs land with a mysterious thump and fail to explode. They are dummy bombs and have obscene messages scrawled on them. Maskelyne later learns that the retaliatory raid was carried out by Balbo, a famous test pilot before the war, the Italian equivalent of Lindbergh. Shortly afterwards Balbo dies mysteriously in an accident. There is a major problem with this story. In actuality, Balbo was killed June 28 1940, several months before Maskelyne had even reached Egypt, let alone had time to construct decoy airfields.

Alas, another proof that the story was not true...

Rgds, René

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Postby Mikko H. » 15 Jun 2007 08:42


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Luchtkastelen 40-45
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wooden bomb

Postby Luchtkastelen 40-45 » 15 Jun 2007 21:27

Great contribution, kiitos!

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Juha Tompuri
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Re: Wooden bombs on Scheinfugplätze

Postby Juha Tompuri » 15 Jun 2007 22:38

Sewer King wrote: Although I cannot tell if Juha's source refers to a wooden bombing mission by fighters. Everything else being equal -- and with their typical spirit -- that is the sort of thing that a fighter pilot seems more likely to do.
Yes, it was with fighters, Morane Saulnier MS 406 (410 ?)
viewtopic.php?t=7537&highlight

So it may have been with the wooden bombs, even if only once or twice, whether by the Finns or the British.
Yep

Regards, Juha


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