|When a bombardment squadron|
showed up at New Caledonia after
a stretch of combat at Guadalcanal,
the CO, Col. Harry E. Wilson, found
he had problems on his hands.
Six combat crews were scheduled
to return to the States and their
replacements had to be trained in
highly developed techniques of
warfare in the Pacific. There was a
shortage of practice bombs, and the
only target available for skip bombing
was an old hulk ninety miles away. It
was impossible when practice bombing
the shipwreck for flight leaders to tell
how they were doing.
The problems of what to bomb with
were solved by a little ingenuity on the
part of the officers and men of the
squadron. Master Sgt. Carl E. Siebert,
of the armament section, cut some
rough Gaiac tree logs which were
approximately the same size and weight
as the 100-pound bombs He drove in
two six-inch spikes for hangers, and
later added rough wooden fins when
it was found the logs tumbled without
A number of comparison tests were made and it was found that in masthead bombing the logs followed about the same trajectory and angles as the actual bombs. The improvisation conserves the use of expensive ordnance material, saves shipping space and, too, the supply of Gaiac logs is plentiful. One problem solved.|
Lieutenant Hinkel hit on the idea for the target. He put fifty salvage steel drums about 250 yards off shore, filled them with water, and arranged them in a pattern to look like the outline of a 250-foot long ship. The drums were placed in tiers at bow, stern and center, with flags hung on wire the entire length to give height and indicate superstructure.
An observation post for a controlling officer was placed on shore, where he can observe the bombing runs and give his comments to the planes through direct radio communication. Things work out beautifully; the crews get their bombing training and instructions from an experienced officer who can see every move their planes make. Officers of this squadron believe training time has been cut fifty percent.
The only men who have any complaint are armament section men who wade out at low tide to make repairs on the "ship," and who paddle around in rafts recovering floating logs which did not disintegrate on impact. They also cut the logs.
Member of a bombardment squadron looks over a 100-pound.The control officer takes things comfortably while he gives
bomb and the wooden one his squadron uses in practice.radio instructions to crews making bombing runs off shore.
The target is a bunch of salvaged oil drums laid out in theA B-25 makes a run on the target. The control officer on shore
outline of a ship. The flags indicate height and the superstructure.can see how the pilot is doing, and give him suggestions.
An actual 100-pound practice bomb and a log counterpart. The logs
take about the same trajectory as a bomb, and are used frequently.
The "bombs" hit at about the right spot for proper skip bombing.
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