Historical research on wooden bombs : looking for

Posted by: ACA Sec

Historical research on wooden bombs : looking for - 22/05/08 07:59 PM

Dear All,

Another request for information - a bit unusual this time. A french historian has written to me asking the following:


I am currently carrying out historical research on an astonishing tale from World War II: the dropping of wooden bombs by the Allies on dummy German airfields or on wooden dummy installations. Over the past year, I do research on this astonishing story and I have identified hundred of sites where this "legend" is circulating in France, Belgium, Holland, Finland, Germany, North Africa… It now seems that some pilots of fighter-bombers of the RAF and the USAF , had "fun", a challenge, a mockery, to drop a few wooden bombs on dummy german planes, with ironic inscriptions sometimes (“wood for wood”…) Often, these drops were made during missions realized on the real German land (on attacking the real aerodrome, during the passage, they dropped few wooden bombs on wooden decoy). The bombs used were three types: dummy wooden bombs that were used for training on the ground and studying loading into bombers (1940-1941), bombs carved by the mechanics in telegraph poles (1942-1943), wooden bombs American conception (1944) (see pictures). This type of bomb was dropped in 1944 by Allied on a false German airfield in Normandy, which is exposed to the museum of Sainte-Mère l’église. At the origin, it was a smoke bomb design used for U.S. missions markup on land or at sea tracking pilot whose aircraft was damaged. The jettisoning of some of these bombs off on the false wooden airplanes or fake German lands, like those training (or "craft"), was actually a misuse of their employment by some pilots fighter-bombers. These actions anecdotal shaped jokes were bold initiatives individual pilots sometimes with the complicity of squadron leader, probably. These operations were not ordered, and therefore there were not to the knowledge of the military hierarchy. Hence the challenge today to restore the historicity. I now searching for "rare bird", ie the testimony of a veteran of the RAF, RAAF, RNZR and USAF, which can confirm only one of these anecdotes. If you could help me get in touch with " the rare bird," I'll be the happiest of men!

Best regards

Pierre A Courouble
Historian. Joyeuse - Ardèche (South France)

PS: A RAF’s veteran speak about “surprising things were dropped from the waist gun windows of Liberators”. He speak about a dead donkey dropped upon germans! (Look at the picture attached : US skyraider with "toilet bowl" !). In a RAF forum, I have read another strange story about the use of empty bottles which were dropped over populated German areas during the '40-'41 period when crews plotted their own tracks towards targets. So I’m looking for stories about these astonish droppings. THANK’S"

You can get in touch with him direct via email:
Pierre A Courouble
Historian. Joyeuse - Ardèche (South France)

Or I will forward information on your behalf as usual.
Posted by: Martin Knott

Re: Historical research on wooden bombs : looking for - 30/08/09 10:54 AM

My Dad, Flt/Lt W F Knott was a tail gunner. He used to tell us that he never used the Elsan when on raids (too smelly). He always used to pee in jam jars, let it freeze, then throw it out when over target, if not too busy otherwise!.