View Full Version : Wound Ballistics and Flak Damage

06-25-2007, 12:36 PM
I found this site, (linked through wikipedia) about wound ballistics, but chapter X is the one most related to planes.


I wonder if they had this study during WW2, would they have reinforced the bombers knowing the explosion patterns as well as the positions that were most prone to getting hit?

06-25-2007, 02:16 PM
Reuben Smeed's work in this area during WWII is often overlooked today, perhaps because of his more famous post-war work in the field of road traffic.

However, it was most influential at the time because the Mosquito was a clear demonstration of the correctness of his analysis.

I later applied the same method of analysis to the question of whether experience helped crews to survive. Bomber Command told the crews that their chances of survival would increase with experience, and the crews believed it. They were told, After you have got through the first few operations, things will get better. This idea was important for morale at a time when the fraction of crews surviving to the end of a 30-Â*operation tour was only about 25 percent. I subdivided the experienced and inexperienced crews on each operation and did the analysis, and again, the result was clear. Experience did not reduce loss rates. The cause of losses, whatever it was, killed novice and expert crews impartially. This result contradicted the official dogma, and the Command never accepted it. I blame the ORS, and I blame myself in particular, for not taking this result seriously enough. The evidence showed that the main cause of losses was an attack that gave experienced crews no chance either to escape or to defend themselves. If we had taken the evidence more seriously, we might have discovered Schräge Musik in time to respond with effective countermeasures.

Smeed and I agreed that Bomber Command could substantially reduce losses by ripping out two gun turrets, with all their associated hardware, from each bomber and reducing each crew from seven to five. The gun turrets were costly in aerodynamic drag as well as in weight. The turretless bombers would have flown 50 miles an hour faster and would have spent much less time over Germany. The evidence that experience did not reduce losses confirmed our opinion that the turrets were useless. The turrets did not save bombers, because the gunners rarely saw the fighters that killed them. But our proposal to rip out the turrets went against the official mythology of the gallant gunners defending their crewmates. Dickins never had the courage to push the issue seriously in his conversations with Harris. If he had, Harris might even have listened, and thousands of crewmen might have been saved.

In other words, don't attempt to defend the aircraft from the enemy - fly faster and higher so that the enemy can't catch you.

Modern bombers don't generally feature large amounts of armour or heavy defensive armaments because it is now generally accepted that it is better not to be attacked or hit in the first place!



With the benefit of hindsight then, all bomber production should have been concentrated on Mosquitoes since they had a lower loss rate than any other type in Bomber Command service and could manage 2 sorties per night, which more than compensated for their relatively light payload...

06-25-2007, 02:45 PM
fascinating link viper!