Aerial mines (used on land)

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Belville, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. Belville

    Belville Senior Member

    What exactly were aerial mines, and when were they used on land? How did they differ from bombs?

    I have come across an Army man (VIIIth Hussars) who was killed by one at Benghazi.

    Belville
     
  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    When I was an apprentice aircraft engineer (Toolmaker) I worked with a colleague who was working at Coventry during the war and experienced the wrath of the Luftwaffe.

    He mentioned returning to the workshop after the all clear, only to find hanging from a parachute stuck in the roof rafters was a mine.

    They are similar if not identical to sea mines and can cause untold damage.

    I am not sure without checking if they were contact or delayed action or indeed both.

    Regards

    Tom
     
  3. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member

    I think the Luftwaffe use of mines translates as thick case blast bombs. I know the one your thinking of is the largish parachute retarded one. Designed for large scale demolition, which also did a lovely job on Liverpool.

    See if I can find some info.

    Kev
     
  4. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member

  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  6. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    A very nasty piece of kit!
    I have also read about oil bombs being dropped also, but have no idea what they look like.
    Did the British have a similar Aerial mine? I cannot say that I have read anything about British Aerial Mines.

    Regards

    Tom
     
  7. Belville

    Belville Senior Member

    So, a parachute bomb, then. I hadn't seen it called an aerial mine, but that reminds me! There was a TV series some years ago called "UXB" about the bomb disposal squads. One of the episodes involved one of these and I think they called it a land-mine. Anyway, because it was a "mine", it was the job of the Naval bomb disposal squad, not the Army, much to the relief of the hero of the series.
    Was that true, it being a Navy job, does anyone know?
    Belville
     
  8. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

  9. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Having been in the Blitz in Southampton, and in the Home Guard, we knew all about these weapons.They were called "Land Mines" And they did actually get caught up in trees. After a raid we were often detailed to look for UXBs along the docks roads and to look for Land Mines that may have been caught in the trees.

    The land mine had the quality of causing huge damage as the never exploded upwards line a bomb but always outwards as the exploded "Above Ground"

    The UXB could always bee identified as the scream of the bomb was never followed by ab explosion but by a sickening thump that made the ground beneath your feet jump.

    They were called Land Mines!
    Sapper
     
  10. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Hull, I believe, was the first town to be bombed by the Luffwaffe using land mines sometimes referred to as parachute mines.As a prelude to these type of aerial warfare, the Luffwaffe would drop high intensity flares and then drop their mines by parachute which were fused to explode something like 200 feet above ground.The result was widespread devastation.(This technique was later to be used for the first free fall nuclear bombs).Looking back, the prelude to any bombing at the time was the dropping of flares but I suppose experience of raids by civilians was to look for the "tell tale" signs of what was to come.

    I remember being bombed with the first development being the intensive flares which lit up a large area.Fortunately what rained down on us were incendaries with the odd high explosive bomb which was aimed at a particular target, which looking back the Germans must have had intelligence on the target. It was generally thought the Luffwaffe were trying to get into Leeds and failed although they may have had intelligence on a well known power station which apparently although thought to be well camouflaged was easily seem from the air.

    Sea mines dropped by the likes of Bomber Command Hampdens were normal sea mines with the Hampden bomb bay modified to carry the mine.These then were dropped by parachute in the chosen "Gardening" sea zone. Handling these mines could be fatal as experienced one evening by No 144 Squadron.With technology there is always a reason why incidents occur and these can be determined and the lesson learnt.As handling normal bomb loads, the safe procedure is to ensure that activities are undertaken as the rule book states.
     
  11. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Sapper/Harry,

    Very informative posts. Thanks

    Regards
    Tom
     
  12. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member

    Having been in the Blitz in Southampton, and in the Home Guard, we knew all about these weapons.They were called "Land Mines" And they did actually get caught up in trees. After a raid we were often detailed to look for UXBs along the docks roads and to look for Land Mines that may have been caught in the trees.

    The land mine had the quality of causing huge damage as the never exploded upwards line a bomb but always outwards as the exploded "Above Ground"

    The UXB could always bee identified as the scream of the bomb was never followed by ab explosion but by a sickening thump that made the ground beneath your feet jump.

    They were called Land Mines!
    Sapper


    I wonder if there was a problem with the relaibility. I vaguely recall my Grandma telling me a story about one in liverpool, theres athat pic of one in childwall (Yep Drew that was the pic) in liverpool and then sappers recolections?

    Kev
     
  13. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member

    Did the British have a similar Aerial mine? I cannot say that I have read anything about British Aerial Mines.

    Regards

    Tom

    Yes the British did have thin case blast bombs, try a google on cookie, I recall two cookies being bolted together too. really came into the own with the lancaster which was able to carry a mixture of blast bombs and incenderies, which cause so much destruction of German Cities.

    Not sure what aircraft would carry the German blast bomb. Presumebly it didnt go in the bomb racks of a He111 or strapped to a JU88 either. But then as the Luftwaffe is written to be a tactical air force I guess this Bomb doesnt exist.

    Kev
     
  14. Ferahgo

    Ferahgo Senior Member

    I have a recording from my Great Grandad which was recorded by his friend as he was caught in a liverpool air raid in may 1941. the mines feature alot...apparently they were meant to be dropped into water for anti-shipping roles...but Jerry doscovered they made rather nice ground explosives too. A ship was sunk in the Mersey, the Seekum i believe, possibly by a mine such as this.
     
  15. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    Belville, I'm really glad that you've brought this subject up. It's something which has become ingrained in my own mind, and yet filed away as, " Not sure about all that and shall probably never know. "

    But, yeppers; " Land Mines ". That's most definitely what they were remembered as, around Pompey (Portsmouth), when I was younger. And, by god, they Were Remembered!

    Sadly, I can't recall a single detail now. Only that my mate said that his Dad had told him (Probably repeating what His Dad had told him) how a " Land Mine " had been dropped ~ quite possibly on the Highbury Estate, between Cosham and Hilsea? And that would explain why the older houses suddenly stopped dead, at the bottom of the south eastern corner of that estate. Now given over to newer, council maisonettes.

    Looking back, and putting two and two together; It would have fallen Just to the North West of the railway bridge across Hilsea Creek and / or just west of the main railway line convergence, spitting distance north of there.

    Good lord. They'd have smashed the rail communications into Portsmouth at a stroke! As it is, by minuscule error of placement, maybe fifty yards at 'ground zero'? They, yes, did indeed raze an area of about 100 + yards!

    Blimey! That must have been a Bang to remember! :eek: Hopefully, everyone was up in the Chalk Pit Shelters?
     
  16. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I wish you would not go on about your granddads. makes me feel old.
    When I was in Southampton during the blitz, there was a land mine suspended in the trees in the Southampton Avenue.
    You may be interested to know that the enemy used aerial bombs and sea mines connected up to fire later in the Europe campaign. Lifting those out the ground, or cliff face under fire was deadly
    Sapper
     
  17. Ferahgo

    Ferahgo Senior Member

    They were 'scarier' than the average bomb because they had parachutes...on the recording its silent...possibly as the bombers would glide to maximise this effect... then a massive explosion and all hell let loose, the guns up on hill would open fire and there would be bombers everywhere!
     
  18. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    kfz
    Yes the British did have thin case blast bombs, try a google on cookie, I recall two cookies being bolted together too. really came into the own with the lancaster which was able to carry a mixture of blast bombs and incenderies, which cause so much destruction of German Cities.
    When you compare methods and bomb loads the approach was the same open the buildings up with blast bombs and what follows will burn them to the ground.
    The approach was exactly the same.
     
  19. chrisb

    chrisb Junior Member

    Hi guys

    Harry Ree is right.

    Landmines were dropped by parachute to slow the decent. They were so haevy that if they were not, they would bury themselves so far underground on impact, that the explosion would be muted by the soil/ground. They were designed to explode laterally on or near the surface to cause maximim devastation. There were called mines because they did not have fins and so weren't classed as free falling bombs.

    I think this is right. It's what my dad told me, and he was buried by one of those mines in Hull.
     
  20. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I saw the documentary on the Coventry bombing last night and listened to the particular account of the then young boy who was in what appeared to be a Morrison shelter when the mine exploded above them.I believe his father was at the entrance to the shelter when the mine exploded.These mines had a devastating effect on a large radius and were feared by the civiliian population who really had no place to hide unless they had access to deep shelters which were few and far between at the early stage of the war.(In London,the Underground provided the ideal shelter)

    The Morrison shelter, buried at the usual depth was certainly no protection for one of these devices exploding above them.High density housing had brick shelters in the street which had a roof of about 6 inches of concrete were death traps in reality as the concrete roof collapsed onto the occupants when the side walls collapsed under blast pressure wave.
     

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