TBM rocket victory and F4U's blowing up

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by vikingBerserker, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I just finished reading Flights of Passage - Recollections of a World War II Aviator by Samuel Hynes and he mentioned a few things that I had never heard of.

    1 - A TBM pilot flying at night shot down a Japanese float plane using only rockets as his ammo had run out.

    2 - F4Us were carrying bombs with proximity fuses that had been incorrectly installed and during a flight the arming wires had fallen out, the proximity fuses took over and 5-10 aircraft exploded in mid-flight.

    Has anybody else ever heard of either of these events?


    He also mentioned in one instance a friend had been shot down and the Japanese soldiers had buried them with a marker that read "In Memory of the Brave American Fliers which I have only seen once when somebody here posted a picture of one like it. - That I found very interesting.
     
  2. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    The only one I have heard about is the last one about the American flyer being buried by the Japanese.
     
  3. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    I can't say that the incident with the proximity fuses could not have happened, but I certainly don't see how.

    The installation of the arming wire was no different on a proximity fuse than any other bomb fuse ( we were still using WW2 fuses in my time in the USAF), and it was a simple, common sense operation, not hardly rocket science.

    Mistakes can be made when one is in a rush, but I don't see the same mistake being made on several aircraft.
     
  4. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    Proximity fuse malfunction took down Lance Sijan’s F-4C in Vietnam. So it happens.

    If he doesn’t ring a bell, he’s worth the effort to Google.
     
  5. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    This is what it states (from page 240):

    "Some of the Corsairs had carried bombs with proximity fuses. Once such bombs are armed (a wire is removed from the fuse) a small propeller on the nose begins to turn. When it has turned a certain number of revolutions, the bomb begins to send out radio impulses, and when they return, bounced back from some solid surface, the bomb explodes. If you arm the bomb as you attack, and drop it, its impulses will bounce back as it nears the ground , and it will explode in the air and scatter shrapnel; it is therefore useful against troops, parked planes and vehicles, and supplies. But these bombs had been rigged incorrectly, the arming wires had dropped out in flight, and the bombs began transmitting impulses too soon, before they were dropped. When those impulses returned, bounded from another plane, the bombs exploded, and plane after plane was blown from the sky."
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Military hardware doesn't always work as advertised. Especially new technology.

    More then one USN ship torpedoed itself during WWII.

    Early WWII German magnetic torpedo exploders didn't work above Arctic Circle.

    Early WWII German attack aircraft carried bomblets on wing racks. Sometimes one would hang up. Bump from aircraft landing would cause bomblet to release. This caused Luftwaffe to adopt submunition containers for bomlets.

    Otto Carius mentions a malfunctioning sear on tank mounted MG34. The machinegun fired unexpectedly injuring several friendly infantry riding on another tank.

    Quad main gun turrets on KGV class battleships frequently malfunctioned.

    More then one warship blew up from internal explosion. When this happened to U.S.S. Maine it was used to justify declaration of war on Spain during 1898.

    etc.
     
  7. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    #7 tyrodtom, Feb 16, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
    I'm well acquainted with the Lance Sijan story.
    The A1E wheels up landing I described in another thread was one of the aircraft damaged in the rescue attempt the next day.

    Seeing as how it was a night mission, with only one other F4 present, and a FAC. Neither pilot nor co-pilot Sijan transmitted one word before ground impact.

    Ground fire was reported by the FAC, ( a 0-2 from NKP )

    With no one able to see, and ground fire present. They were bombing active AA positions.

    It seems like a giant leap to blame it on the bomb fuses.

    I see one of the web sites blames it on new proximity fuses. At the time I was only about 6 months out of munitions training school. There was no "new" proximity fuses that I remember at that time. Of course, my memory isn't perfect.

    At NKP at that time, a lot of the missions flown used proximity fuses, or daisy cutters, for AA sites, truck convoys, and truck parks.

    We were still using WW2 and Korean era proximity fuses at NKP. We were generally using the same bombs as the jets, but dropping them from A1's, A-26s, and A-28s.

    At the time, of course, all we knew was that there was a F4 shot down the night before over Laos, and we were making a maximum effort to rescue the crew. I read the book years later " The mouth of the Tiger" or whatever the title was, and realized that it was Lance Sijan, and his pilot we had been trying to rescue.
     
  8. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    you arent going to see ground fire or air to air fire if there are no tracers. i have heard stories ( but have yet to confirm it ) that some bomber tail gunners didnt like to use tracers as they believed the LW would think the tail gunner dead and move in closer before firing. you fire a full auto at night...you will get muzzle blast but have no idea where the bullits are going.
     
  9. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    #9 tyrodtom, Feb 16, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
    You have no trouble seeing the muzzle flash of anything .50 cal and up, tracers or not, even in daytime.

    What I was meaning " with no one able to see" It was dark, no one would be able to see the bombs drop, or not. The FAC would be the closest, but he would be far enough away so that the bombs that were going to be dropped, and airburst wouldn't endanger him. The other F4 would be even more distant. Nobody would have been close enough, nor was there enough light to determine if it was ground fire, or a early bomb detonation that brought the F4 down.
     
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