Tallboy (bomb) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Tallboy. RAF ground crew handling the Tallboy that was later dropped on the V Weapon site at Wizernes, France (1. Type. Earthquake bomb.
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Place of origin. United Kingdom. Service history. In service. June 1. 94. 4 . 6. Squadron RAFWars.
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World War IIProduction history. Designer. Barnes Wallis. Manufacturer. Vickers. Number built. 85.
No. 3. 0 Pistol (impact detonation); or No. Fuses were inserted into tetrylboosters located in the rear of the casing.
Tallboy, or Bomb, Medium Capacity, 1. British aeronautical engineer Barnes Wallis and deployed by the RAF in 1.
Avro Lancaster. It was effective against hardened structures against which prior, smaller bombs had proven ineffective. History. As such, the RAF used bombs that they had not bought and which were still the property of Vickers the manufacturer. This situation was normalised once their capabilities were recognised. Accomplishments of the Tallboy included the 2. June 1. 94. 4 Operation Crossbow attack on La Coupole.
This was an improvement on the early part of the war, when the explosive content of British bomb designs was low. To be able to penetrate the earth (or hardened targets) without breaking apart, the casing of the Tallboy had to be strong. Each was cast in one piece of high- tensile steel that would enable it to survive the impact before detonation. At the same time, to achieve the penetration required, Wallis designed the Tallboy to be very aerodynamic so that, when dropped from a great height, it would reach a terminal velocity much higher than traditional bomb designs. In the final design, the No.
Mark I tail of the bomb was about half the overall length of the finished weapon; the bomb casing was some 1. Initially, the bomb had a tendency to tumble, so the tail was modified: the fins were given a slight twist so that the bomb spun as it fell. The gyroscopic effect thus generated stopped the pitching and yawing, improved the aerodynamics, and improved accuracy.
Tallboy was designed to be dropped from an optimal altitude of 1. It made a crater 8. Armour plating and even defensive armament were removed to reduce weight, and the bomb- bay doors had to be adapted. At the same time, No. For accuracy, multiple corrections had to be made for temperature, wind speed, and other factors.
It was only effective if the target could be identified, and several missions were cancelled or unsuccessful because of difficulty in accurately identifying and marking the targets. For use on underground targets, the bomb was fitted with three separate inertia No. Mark I Tail Pistols (firing mechanisms).
These triggered detonation after a pre- set delay, which gave the bomb sufficient time to penetrate the target before exploding. Depending on mission requirements, the time delay could be set to 3. To guarantee detonation, a total of three separate Type 4.
This dramatically improved reliability of the weapon; even if two of the fuses failed to function, the third would trigger detonation. Despite this elaborate system, at least one Tallboy failed to explode during the second attack on the Sorpe dam and was found during repairs in late 1. The bomb was aimed at the target during an operation and proved capable of penetrating deep into hardened reinforced concrete when it hit. This, however, was not the primary intention of Barnes Wallis's design. The bomb was designed to make impact close to the target, penetrate the soil or rock beneath or around the target, and then detonate, transferring all of its energy into the structure, or creating a camouflet (cavern or crater) into which the target would fall.
This 'earthquake' effect caused more damage than even a direct hit that penetrated the armour of a target, since even a burst inside a bunker would only damage the immediate surroundings, with the blast dissipating rapidly through the air. An earthquake impact shook the whole target, and caused major structural damage to all parts of it, making repair uneconomic. The attack reports below should be considered with this in mind. An alternative technique was to arrange detonation depth so that the crater broke the surface. The Tallboy produced an 8. Such a huge hole was time- consuming to fill; multiple trucks and bulldozers could not be fitted around the periphery of the hole to speed the process.
The construction of each Tallboy was labour intensive because each was largely hand- made, requiring much manual labour during each separate manufacturing stage. The materials used were costly, with very precise engineering requirements with regard to casting and machining. For example, to increase penetrative power, a large and specially hardened steel plug had to be precisely machined and mated to a recess in the nose of the bomb. The ogive had to be machined into a perfectly symmetrical shape to ensure optimum aerodynamic performance. This was no easy task when manipulating a bomb casing with the size and weight of a Tallboy.
The Torpex filling was poured by hand into the base of the upturned casing after melting it in . The final stage of explosive filling required that a one- inch layer of pure TNT be poured over the Torpex filling, followed by sealing the base with a 4- inch (1. Tallboys were not considered expendable, and if not used on a raid were to be brought back to base rather than safely jettisoned into the sea. The value of the weapon offset the additional risk to the aircrew. Given their high unit cost, Tallboys were used exclusively against high- value strategic targets that could not be destroyed by other means.
When it was found that the Lancaster could be modified to carry a bomb larger than the Tallboy, Wallis produced the even larger Grand Slam bomb. Tallboy operations. Nineteen Tallboy- equipped and six conventionally equipped Lancasters of 6. Squadron attacked on the night of 8. Squadron were guided on to the target by 8. Squadron Pathfinder Force. This was the first use of the Tallboy bomb and the line was destroyed.
No aircraft were lost during the raid. As part of the operation, Tallboys were deployed on a number of sorties by the British to destroy several missile sites. June 1. 94. 4 . Several Tallboy hits undermined the foundations but did not penetrate the dome. Aircraft from No 5 Group followed up with 1,0. In September, allied ground forces found blocked galleries with earth and debris as Tallboys had hit one of the shafts, and the V- weapon was revealed to be the V- 3 cannon.
U- boat docks were protected against conventional aerial bombardment by thick concrete roofs. June 1. 94. 4 . Just before the first wave, 2. Lancasters of 6. 17 Squadron and 3 Mosquito marker aircraft attacked, several hits were scored on the pens, one bomb penetrated the roof. A French report described the great destruction as the worst raid on Boulogne. Tallboys. Due to cloud cover ten planes returned to base with their bombs.
However the raid was considered a success as the e- boats retired to IJmuiden on the Dutch coast where they were better protected but less able to interfere with naval traffic supporting the Normandy invasion. One Lancaster was shot down by flak. Subsequent attempts to reinforce other sites with even thicker concrete diverted resources from other projects.
The Dambusters destroyed the lock gates with Tallboys dropped at low level, releasing the stored water. The Tallboy bombs were seen to hit the dam but did not breach it. The shock- wave from the hit damaged the battleship's engines, causing the Germans to convert the ship into a semi- static heavy artillery battery. The battleship rolled over and capsized in shallow water. A smoke- screen hindered the bombing, and the results went unseen.
Three Lancasters of 6. Squadron and one from 9 Squadron were lost; the Germans told the local people that 1. A local report said that three Tallboys penetrated the 3. Hits were claimed on both targets without loss. Some of the bombs hit their target and no aircraft were lost. Three Halifaxes were lost; the islands were evacuated the following night. April 1. 94. 5 . The lip of the dam was damaged, but the Germans prevented further damage by lowering the water level.
December 1. 94. 4 . The Arnsberg viaduct withstood the attack but 1. Bielefeld viaduct collapsed through the 'earthquake effect' of the Grand Slams and Tallboys. Despite intense flak, 1.
Tallboys or with 1,0. One near miss with a Tallboy tore a large hole in the bottom of the L. One Lancaster was shot down, the Squadron's last loss of the war. The bombing appeared to be accurate and effective. Development was started in late 1. Pacific to aid in softening their defences before amphibious assaults.
None were ever used in combat, since the capitulation of Japan following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki negated their need. In the late 1. 95. T- 1. 0 was re- designated the M- 1.
During the Korean War a number of T- 1. Tarzon bomb and were used to destroy railroad bridges and reservoir dams, being dropped by the Boeing B- 2. Superfortress. After the Korean War ended and the B- 2. B- 3. 6 bombers were retired, the United States Air Force no longer had an aircraft that could drop the completely assembled M- 1. Production of the T- 1. The B- 3. 6 was the last operational aircraft that could drop a fully assembled Tallboy type bomb in the conventional way.
The warheads were mounted on a platform and pulled by parachutes from the rear loading ramp of C- 1. After clearing the aircraft the large extraction chutes and pallets were cut away and small triangular chutes stabilized the large warhead until impact. A three- foot nose probe detonated the bomb at the correct stand- off distance. One of the last of the World War II Tallboy designs was dropped during a Commando Vault mission to clear a landing zone for helicopters on a ridge during the 1.
Battle of Hamburger Hill in Vietnam. Dropping from 3,0. The Commando Vault missions were more accurate in bomb delivery on target than the more modern B- 5.
None were dropped during the Gulf War in 1.