Britain came up with a lot of inventive ideas-such as The Bouncing Bomb, during WWII, to save their tiny homeland against the onslaught of German forces. But perhaps, one of the more intriguing plans, was to bomb a series of dams in the Ruhr Valley of Germany.
The original idea, was hatched nearly three years beforehand, however, neither the aircraft of the time, nor the bombs required for such work were in Britian’s arsenal.
The plan however was simple. Fly over Germany at low level, locate a dam, drop a bomb to breech the dam and the let the resulting floods cripple the German economy and transportation systems that could be used for war production.
Barnes Wallis-Assistant Chief Designer for Vickers Armstrong Aviation, happened to be the right guy at the right time. His research provided him with the opinion, that taking out the water reserves of the Ruhr Valley would severely cripple Germany’s war industry.
Barne’s Wallace, was of the theory, that a large bomb, dropped from a great height, could penetrate deep into the ground before exploding. The resulting shockwave, would form deep in the earth, then spread out at a large radius, destroying anything on or near it.
Having designed several bombers for the RAF, he was aware, that no present aircraft, could carry a bomb of such weight needed to prove his theory. Wallis proceeded next, to develop a smaller explosive charge. He also came to the conclusion, that a smaller explosive dropped on the wet side of a dam, along with the resulting shockwave it produced through the water, could breech a dam. the result of this work, produced what would become known, as the “Bouncing Bomb.”
Next: The “Bouncing Bomb”
Barnes Wallis Image: PD-BRITISHGOV
Scanned by Ian Dunster from Imperial War Museum, Nov. 2005
from Allied Secret Weapons a Purnell’s History of the World Wars Special – Phoebus – 1975
YouTube Video: Dambuster, “Bouncing Bomb”