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Old 03 April 2014, 05:00 PM
Kibu Kibu is offline
 
 
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Default Wood for Wood confirmation

While doing a great deal of research for a novel set in world war two, I happened across photographic confirmation of the Wood for Wood myth.



This is a photo from the construction, the following is testimony from the attack.

Werner Thiel: I was born on the 24th of August 1923 in Dillenburg, in the center of Germany. I joined the Luftwaffe in 1942. After training courses in France (first in Romorantin, then Angers and later Le Mans) I was posted in October 1943 at the airfield of Werder, near Berlin. In those days I also worked at the false aerodrome of Borkheide that was equipped with a runway. We were living in a kind of container, nearby two air-raid shelters. These were in fact small bunkers where we could find refuge when the Allies bombed Berlin. At the end of October 1943, the air raid warning alarm went off. We put the lights on from the false runway and moved the decoy planes.

Courouble: How many decoy airplanes did you use?

Thiel: Maximum ten, I would say. They were made of wood and netting. A few nights before, we noticed reconnaissance missions, so we were prepared for the raid. We heard the planes coming …

Courouble: Sorry to interrupt you once again, but how many people were in charge at this dummy airfield?

Thiel: I would say a dozen soldiers. Not more.

Thiel: ... Like everybody else, we were afraid of these air raids. We heard the planes flying above us but this time nothing happened. At dawn, we left our shelter with cautious steps. We dreaded time bombs. We didn’t believe what we saw: they bombed us with wooden bombs! Six to ten wooden bombs laid on the ground, all with painted in white « Wood for Wood ».

Courouble: What about the body of those bombs? Was it hollow?

Thiel: They were made of solid wood. One of us was carpenter and managed to use this excellent wood material to build new frames for the enlarged aerial pictures that were going to decorate our austere surroundings.

Courouble: Did you use all these bombs for that purpose?

Thiel: Yes, all of them. We were not the only guardsmen. Our colleagues were full of admiration and we exchanged some of our pictures for cigarettes or food …

Courouble: Do you remember what you thought at that time? Did you have any idea about the use of these wooden bombs?

Thiel: We thought it was meant as a joke. Something like “Look how stupid you are. You built a dummy airfield. We saw it and it’s not worth dropping a real bomb!”


http://www.vintagewings.ca/VintageNe...-For-Wood.aspx
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Old 03 April 2014, 05:12 PM
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The photograph doesn't document anything other than the construction of a dummy airfield, hardly an uncommon phenomenon in World War II. The only real documentation the article offers that such a dummy airfield was actually "bombed" with wooden bombs is an account given by a Luftwaffe pilot 67 years after the fact -- not exactly a highly reliable form of evidence (especially given the prevalence of manufactured memories).
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Old 03 April 2014, 05:23 PM
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The linked article has pictures of a wooden bomb that says "Wood for Wood" in paint that looks remarkably clean for being 60+ years old.
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Old 03 April 2014, 05:24 PM
Kibu Kibu is offline
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
The linked article has pictures of a wooden bomb that says "Wood for Wood" in paint that looks remarkably clean for being 60+ years old.
It also says that he's holding a replica mock up of it if you read it....
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Old 03 April 2014, 05:34 PM
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France

Inflatable Chevaux would be a good name for a band.
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Old 03 April 2014, 06:09 PM
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If you figure out that the other side is engaging in deception (decoy airplanes) why would you let them know you know? Why would you waste payload capacity and risk pilots' lives in the process?
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Old 03 April 2014, 06:15 PM
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Because everyone knows wars are won by one-upsmanship, not by troops and weapons.
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Old 04 April 2014, 12:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL View Post
Why would you waste payload capacity and risk pilots' lives in the process?
It wasn't that much of a risk because on that day all the anti-aircraft guns were loaded with wooden bullets that said "we see your wood and raise you wood".
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Old 04 April 2014, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL View Post
If you figure out that the other side is engaging in deception (decoy airplanes) why would you let them know you know? Why would you waste payload capacity and risk pilots' lives in the process?
That assumes that it was an officially sanctioned mission. Chances are that it was just a few pilots acting on their own initiative.

Read Chuck Yeager's book (the name of which I can't remember right now), and you'll see that, especially during the later part of the war, allied fighter pilots roamed pretty much freely and attacked targets of opportunity. I can easily imagine a few of them getting the idea in their head to put some wooden bombs on their aircraft to "show those Germans they can't fool us!".
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Old 04 April 2014, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
The linked article has pictures of a wooden bomb that says "Wood for Wood" in paint that looks remarkably clean for being 60+ years old.
There's a picture of the airman holding that bomb further down, and it actually says in the caption that it's a "mock-up". (The original caption on the picture of dummy says that some of them are reconstructions too, but not which ones).

I guess they might have used real wooden bombs for target practice? Easier to see exactly where they hit, and less risk to people on the ground. Certainly dummy bombs must have been used, and wood seems a reasonable thing to make them from since metal would have been needed for real bombs.


(eta) The actual Wood for Wood story doesn't make much sense though - part of the point of a dummy airfield is to distract the enemy from real missions. If they wasted a mission dropping wooden bombs on it, the side with the airfield would be more likely to think "Hooray, it worked!" than "Curses, foiled!"... I notice that the German pilot's version of the story includes the idea that all the lovely wood that they'd been given by the Allies was useful to them as a material, too.

Last edited by Richard W; 04 April 2014 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 04 April 2014, 02:36 PM
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Just a point, practice bombs have to weigh the same as real bombs. Otherwise, they don't carry as far so the practice isn't very instructive. Bombs are dropped from from moving airplanes and where they land is affected by their density and wind resistance.
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Old 04 April 2014, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
Just a point, practice bombs have to weigh the same as real bombs. Otherwise, they don't carry as far so the practice isn't very instructive. Bombs are dropped from from moving airplanes and where they land is affected by their density and wind resistance.
Not quite true. Even today, our modern day "practice ammunition" for aircraft delivery, artillery delivery and rocket delivery, are what are called sub-calibre. In other words, smaller, lighter and cheaper. Yes, they are more affected by local meteorlogical conditions, but they are typically used to practice procedures, rather than accuracy. In order to practice accuracy, you practice with the real thing.

Even during WWII, they used practice bombs. My hometown was a major training centre for the Commonwealth Air Training Plan and housed part of the bombing school. Just to the northwest was the full bombing school. Anyways, they dropped metal bombs about the size of a coffee can weighing in about 8 pounds. The bomb was aerodynamically shaped with a hole in the back where a phosphorous tracer was placed to allow for tracking the round by the bombardier. Just to the west of my home town, a fall dance was ruined by it being bombed by a bunch of these practice bombs. The lights from the dance were accidentally confused by the aircrew as the target on their range and they dropped their ordnance. They killed one person.

So, in WWII and nowadays, practice munitions are all round us.
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Old 03 April 2014, 05:24 PM
Kibu Kibu is offline
 
 
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Apparently half my post vanished in my computer posting "saved" data. There was more to it.



The above is a photo taken by a French author who, after several years of research, produced a book documenting the various attacks. (It seems there were multiple attacks.) The author is Pierre Antoine Courouble, and that is from the Normandy Museum. He book is titled L'enigme les bombes en bois", in which he researches all accounts and the original legend, and came to the conclusion that the original legend is more of an amalgamation of several incidents where wooden decoy bombs were used, but also a variant of incendiary bombs which were made of wood to better start fires. The incendiary bombs were hit and miss at best, and notorious for not detonating until long after dropped.
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