Blockbuster bomb
Overview
 
Blockbuster or "cookie" was the name given to several of the largest conventional bomb
Bomb
A bomb is any of a range of explosive weapons that only rely on the exothermic reaction of an explosive material to provide an extremely sudden and violent release of energy...

s used in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 by the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 (RAF). The term Blockbuster was originally a name coined by the press and referred to a bomb which had enough explosive power to destroy an entire city block
City block
A city block, urban block or simply block is a central element of urban planning and urban design. A city block is the smallest area that is surrounded by streets. City blocks are the space for buildings within the street pattern of a city, they form the basic unit of a city's urban fabric...

.
The bombs then called Blockbusters were the RAF's 4,000 lb — also known as a cookie — 8,000 and 12,000 lb (1,800, 3,600 and 5,400 kg) HC (High Capacity) bombs.
Encyclopedia
Blockbuster or "cookie" was the name given to several of the largest conventional bomb
Bomb
A bomb is any of a range of explosive weapons that only rely on the exothermic reaction of an explosive material to provide an extremely sudden and violent release of energy...

s used in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 by the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 (RAF). The term Blockbuster was originally a name coined by the press and referred to a bomb which had enough explosive power to destroy an entire city block
City block
A city block, urban block or simply block is a central element of urban planning and urban design. A city block is the smallest area that is surrounded by streets. City blocks are the space for buildings within the street pattern of a city, they form the basic unit of a city's urban fabric...

.

Design

The bombs then called Blockbusters were the RAF's 4,000 lb — also known as a cookie — 8,000 and 12,000 lb (1,800, 3,600 and 5,400 kg) HC (High Capacity) bombs. These bombs had especially thin casings that allowed them to contain approximately three-quarters of their weight in explosive, with the 4,000 pounder containing over 3,000 lb (1,360 kg) of Amatol
Amatol
Amatol is a highly explosive material made from a mixture of TNT and ammonium nitrate. Its name originates from the words ammonium and toluene...

. Most "normal" bombs (termed Medium Capacity — or MC — by the RAF) contained 50% explosive by weight, the rest being made up of the fragmentation bomb casing. Typically, three separate impact fuzes were fitted to a blockbuster in order to guarantee detonation
Detonation
Detonation involves a supersonic exothermic front accelerating through a medium that eventually drives a shock front propagating directly in front of it. Detonations are observed in both conventional solid and liquid explosives, as well as in reactive gases...

.

In 1947 Alfred Brooks of Stourbridge was awarded the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

, for creating the Blockbuster. The local newspaper referred to him as "Blockbuster Brooks".

Blockbusters got larger as the war progressed from the original 4,000 lb version, up to 12,000 lb (1,800 to 5,400 kg). The initial 4,000 lb version was 30 in (76 cm) diameter. The larger 8,000 lb version was constructed from two 4,000 lb sections, however these sections were of a larger 38 in (97 cm) diameter. A 12,000 lb version was created by adding a third 4,000 lb section.

The High Capacity design was little more than a cylinder full of explosives — it was unaerodynamic and did not have fins. Accuracy was not important, however, as these bombs were designed for their blast effect, to cause damage to buildings so that the smaller 4 lb (1.8 kg) incendiary bombs could reach the building interiors. These "High Capacity" bombs were only used by the RAF, being too big to fit in the bomb bay
Bomb bay
The bomb bay or weapons bay on some military aircraft is a compartment to carry bombs, usually in the aircraft's fuselage, with "bomb bay doors" which open at the bottom. The bomb bay doors are opened and the bombs are dropped when over the target or at a specified launching point.Large-sized...

s of other countries' aircraft.

Use

The first type of aircraft to carry cookies operationally was the Wellington
Vickers Wellington
The Vickers Wellington was a British twin-engine, long range medium bomber designed in the mid-1930s at Brooklands in Weybridge, Surrey, by Vickers-Armstrongs' Chief Designer, R. K. Pierson. It was widely used as a night bomber in the early years of the Second World War, before being displaced as a...

, but they later became part of the standard bomb load of the RAF's heavy night bombers, as well as that of the Mosquitoes
De Havilland Mosquito
The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito was a British multi-role combat aircraft that served during the Second World War and the postwar era. It was known affectionately as the "Mossie" to its crews and was also nicknamed "The Wooden Wonder"...

 of the Light Night Strike Force, whose aircraft would sometimes visit Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 twice in one night carrying "cookies", flown by two different crews. The 8,000 lb (3,600 kg) bomb, because of its large size, could only be carried by the Handley Page Halifax
Handley Page Halifax
The Handley Page Halifax was one of the British front-line, four-engined heavy bombers of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. A contemporary of the famous Avro Lancaster, the Halifax remained in service until the end of the war, performing a variety of duties in addition to bombing...

 and Avro Lancaster
Avro Lancaster
The Avro Lancaster is a British four-engined Second World War heavy bomber made initially by Avro for the Royal Air Force . It first saw active service in 1942, and together with the Handley Page Halifax it was one of the main heavy bombers of the RAF, the RCAF, and squadrons from other...

 and the 12,000 lb (5,400 kg) variant only by the Lancaster.

First use of the 8,000 lb was by 15 Squadron Lancasters against Berlin on 2 December 1943. Bad weather and other factors meant their effectiveness was not noted.
The 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) cookie was regarded as a particularly dangerous load to carry. Due to the airflow over the detonating pistols fitted in the nose, it would often explode even if dropped, i.e., jettisoned, in a supposedly "safe" unarmed state. Safety height
Altitude
Altitude or height is defined based on the context in which it is used . As a general definition, altitude is a distance measurement, usually in the vertical or "up" direction, between a reference datum and a point or object. The reference datum also often varies according to the context...

 for dropping the 4,000 lb "cookie" was 5,000 ft; any lower and the dropping aircraft risked being damaged by the explosion.

Bombs

  • 4000 lb HC
    • Mark I - first production design
    • Mark II - three nose pistols
    • Mark III - no side pistol pockets
    • Mark IV - no stiffening beam
    • Mark V - U.S. production
    • Mark VI - U.S. production


In 1943, 25,000 of these were used, this rose to 38,000 in 1944. In 1945 up to the end of the war a further 25,000 were used.

Air mines

During The Blitz
The Blitz
The Blitz was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, during the Second World War. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed...

 the Germans
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 used naval mine
Naval mine
A naval mine is a self-contained explosive device placed in water to destroy surface ships or submarines. Unlike depth charges, mines are deposited and left to wait until they are triggered by the approach of, or contact with, an enemy vessel...

s dropped on parachute
Parachute
A parachute is a device used to slow the motion of an object through an atmosphere by creating drag, or in the case of ram-air parachutes, aerodynamic lift. Parachutes are usually made out of light, strong cloth, originally silk, now most commonly nylon...

s as improvised blockbusters. They exploded on contact with a hard surface; as the bomb was not in a crater, the force of the blast would laterally disperse, causing extensive damage. The large raid on Coventry on November 14/November 15, 1940 included the use of 50 parachute naval mines, which caused extensive blast damage. The British called these devices air-mines. These types were used also during air raids on Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

, especially on its harbour areas.

Bunker busters

"Blockbuster" may also refer to a bomb designed to destroy a blockhouse
Blockhouse
In military science, a blockhouse is a small, isolated fort in the form of a single building. It serves as a defensive strong point against any enemy that does not possess siege equipment or, in modern times, artillery...

. Bombs which can penetrate reinforced concrete of a blockhouse are also referred to as bunker buster
Bunker buster
A bunker buster is a bomb designed to penetrate hardened targets or targets buried deep underground.-Germany:Röchling shells were bunker-busting artillery shells, developed by German engineer August Cönders, based on the theory of increasing sectional density to improve penetration.They were tested...

s. The two World War II bombs which best fit the description of bunker busters are the Tallboy bomb
Tallboy bomb
The Tallboy or Bomb, Medium Capacity, 12,000 lb, was an earthquake bomb developed by the British aeronautical engineer Barnes Wallis and deployed by the RAF in 1944...

 12,000 lb (5,400 kg) MC and the Grand Slam bomb
Grand Slam bomb
The Grand Slam was a 22,000 lb earthquake bomb used by RAF Bomber Command against strategic targets during the Second World War.Known officially as the Bomb, Medium Capacity, 22,000 lb, it was a scaled up version of the Tallboy bomb and closer to the original size that the bombs' inventor,...

 22,000 lb (10,000 kg) MC both designed by Barnes Wallis
Barnes Wallis
Sir Barnes Neville Wallis, CBE FRS, RDI, FRAeS , was an English scientist, engineer and inventor. He is best known for inventing the bouncing bomb used by the RAF in Operation Chastise to attack the dams of the Ruhr Valley during World War II...

 for the RAF. The Tallboy and Grand Slam bombs had a thick skin to withstand the initial impact of hitting hardened targets.

In popular culture

  • The slangy nature of the term "blockbuster" made it a frequent popular culture reference during World War II, for example the Bugs Bunny
    Bugs Bunny
    Bugs Bunny is a animated character created in 1938 at Leon Schlesinger Productions, later Warner Bros. Cartoons. Bugs is an anthropomorphic gray rabbit and is famous for his flippant, insouciant personality and his portrayal as a trickster. He has primarily appeared in animated cartoons, most...

     cartoon Falling Hare
    Falling Hare
    Falling Hare is a 1943 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Robert Clampett, starring Bugs Bunny. The title is another play on words. The word "hair" and "hare". As "falling hair" refers to impending baldness, while in this cartoon's climax, the title turns out to be descriptive of Bugs' situation....

    , about a gremlin
    Gremlin
    A gremlin is an imaginary creature commonly depicted as mischievous and mechanically oriented, with a specific interest in aircraft. Gremlins' mischievous natures are similar to those of English folkloric imps, while their inclination to damage or dismantle machinery is more...

     trying to detonate a blockbuster bomb with a mallet.
  • The term "blockbuster", as applied to film
    Film
    A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

     or theatre
    Theatre
    Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

    , denotes a very popular and/or successful production, perhaps derived from the term's use meaning simply "biggest". The entertainment industry use was originally theatrical slang
    Slang
    Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect but are considered more acceptable when used socially. Slang is often to be found in areas of the lexicon that refer to things considered taboo...

     referring to a particularly successful play
    Play (theatre)
    A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed...

     but is now used primarily by the film industry.
  • "Block Buster!
    Block Buster!
    "Block Buster!" is a popular song by The Sweet. Written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, and produced by Phil Wainman, "Block Buster!" was the band's sole UK #1 hit...

    " was a 1973 chart-topping song by British rock band Sweet
    Sweet (band)
    Sweet was a British rock band that rose to worldwide fame in the 1970s as one of the most prominent glam rock acts, with the classic line-up of lead vocalist Brian Connolly, bass player Steve Priest, guitarist Andy Scott, and drummer Mick Tucker.Sweet was formed in 1968 and achieved their first...

    , featuring the wailing sound of air raid sirens
    Siren (noisemaker)
    A siren is a loud noise making device. Most modern ones are civil defense or air raid sirens, tornado sirens, or the sirens on emergency service vehicles such as ambulances, police cars and fire trucks. There are two general types: pneumatic and electronic....

    .
  • In the pharmaceutical industry, blockbuster drug refers to a drug generating more than $1 billion of revenue for its owner each year.
  • In the Tom and Jerry
    Tom and Jerry
    Tom and Jerry are the cat and mouse cartoon characters that were evolved starting in 1939.Tom and Jerry also may refer to:Cartoon works featuring the cat and mouse so named:* The Tom and Jerry Show...

     cartoon Mouse Trouble
    Mouse Trouble
    Mouse Trouble is a 1944 one-reel animated cartoon and is the 17th Tom and Jerry short produced by Fred Quimby and directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, with music by Scott Bradley . The cartoon was animated by Ray Patterson, Irven Spence, Ken Muse and Pete Burness...

    , Tom uses a "Block Buster" Bomb and many others to try to get rid of Jerry, but miserably fails and ends up killing himself.

See also

  • RNEP
  • Grand Slam bomb
    Grand Slam bomb
    The Grand Slam was a 22,000 lb earthquake bomb used by RAF Bomber Command against strategic targets during the Second World War.Known officially as the Bomb, Medium Capacity, 22,000 lb, it was a scaled up version of the Tallboy bomb and closer to the original size that the bombs' inventor,...

  • MOAB
    Moab
    Moab is the historical name for a mountainous strip of land in Jordan. The land lies alongside much of the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. The existence of the Kingdom of Moab is attested to by numerous archeological findings, most notably the Mesha Stele, which describes the Moabite victory over...

  • BLU-82
    BLU-82
    The BLU-82B/C-130 weapon system, known under program "Commando Vault" and nicknamed "daisy cutter" in Vietnam and in Afghanistan for its ability to flatten a forest into a helicopter landing zone, is a 15,000 pound conventional bomb, delivered from either a C-130 or an MC-130 transport aircraft....

  • T-12 Cloudmaker
  • Firebombing
    Firebombing
    Firebombing is a bombing technique designed to damage a target, generally an urban area, through the use of fire, caused by incendiary devices, rather than from the blast effect of large bombs....

  • Firestorm
    Firestorm
    A firestorm is a conflagration which attains such intensity that it creates and sustains its own wind system. It is most commonly a natural phenomenon, created during some of the largest bushfires, forest fires, and wildfires...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK