In the news this week is the Massive Ordnance Penetrator and its acceptance into USAF service.
At 14 tonnes the MOP is the heaviest air delivered bomb ever created but the tremendous engineering challenges involved with creating such a deep penetration weapon have taken some time to resolve. As much a strategic weapon as anything else it will no doubt create a reaction, driving those with something to hide deeper (more expensive) underground.
But enough of these new fangled weapons, what about when the UK ruled the roost in making things go bang in a rather spectacular fashion.
The engineering genius Barnes Wallis proposed a 10 tonne bomb that used ground penetration and the power of shock waves in 1941 but it wasn’t until mid 1944 that the weapon was first deployed against a French rail tunnel.
The Tallboy bomb weighed in at around 5.4 tonnes, Wikipedia has a very good piece on Tallboy that is well worth a read and especially interesting is the precision manufacturing and ingenious multiple delayed fusing mechanisms. Tallboy enjoyed a great deal of operational success including sinking the Tirpitz
Tallboy was just the warm act though, the main event was the aptly named Grand Slam.
Grand Slam was nearly twice as heavy as Tallboy, 10 tonnes, Grand Slam also enjoyed success but arguably less than Tallboy depending how you view these things. Bridges and submarine pens were particular specialities and the first use of Grand Slam was by 617 Squadron against the Schildesche viaduct in suburbs of Bielefeld in Germany.
The web site Bomber History has an excellent account of the attack and its aftermath, click here to view
The Tallboy also spawned the USAF TARZON bomb
Comparing Tallboy and Grandslam with MOP is interesting but the WWII bombs were never intended to have the same concrete penetration capability as MOP but after 60 years, it seems what goes around seems very much to come around.
I also thought it was an interesting bridge building themed story, just working on the next bridging post.