🔶Which bomber do you like more: The B-17 or the B-29?🔶
This picture depict US troops as they prepare to load an American B-29 with a payload of general purpose bombs during the Second World War.
The whole point of a general purpose bomb is to have an explosive able to inflict damage upon whatever it meets on the ground when the bomber drops its payload. Basically, it is a compromise between blast damage, penetration, and fragmentation in its explosive effect. They are designed to be effective against enemy troop formations, armor/vehicles, or buildings. This way the allies did not have to specify only one specific type of target on their bombing runs over Europe, and rather could attack all these different types of enemy targets all at the same time.
GP (General Purpose) bombs are usually between 500-850lb's, and they also proved to be a good match for fighter-bombers and attack aircraft because they can be used for a variety of applications and are relatively cheap.
In low altitude bombing runs, there was always the danger that the GP bomb's blast would damage the bomber that dropped it. To address this, the bombs were fitted with retarders. These basically were parachutes or pop out fins that slowed the decent of the bombs and allowed the aircraft to escape the detonation.
During World War Two, a bomb that exploded before it hit the ground or immediately after contact with the ground was always more effective and deadly than one that detonated after lodging itself into the ground (for obvious reasons). The Luftwaffe, with their Stuka dive bombers and other aircraft, began using extended nose fuses that detonated their bombs when the bomb first made contact with the ground, and the results were immense. The allies quickly caught on, and this was just another aspect of the war that made it so horrible and deadly.
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