2500 bombs unexploded Allied bombs in Munich – Part 2

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A controlled explosion proved to be the only solution. Officials stacked sandbags and hay bails around the explosive to limit the concussion. Tufts of flaming hay started several rooftop fires, but they were quickly extinguished.

High altitude bombing was not accurate in that era despite the oft repeated claim by the US Army Air Force that a bomber with the top-secret Norden bomb site could drop a bomb into a pickle barrel from 20,000 feet. Maybe on a perfect drop the bomb could get within one hundred yards of the “pickle barrel.” But the aircraft had to be flying on a windless, sunny day in the desert of New Mexico without a sky filled with flak and Luftwaffe fighters.

A WWII-era strategic bombing crew employs the Norden bomb sight.

On active operations in Europe, this proved impossible — a finding the US “bomber barons” refused to accept. And the top-secret Norden bomb-site didn’t work well in poor weather and it wasn’t so top secret, either.

In 1938, a German-American Nazi sympathizer working for Carl Norden, walked out the manufacturing plant with a copy of the plans, which he handed over to the Abwehr, one of Germany’s intelligence services. It was one of the few German intelligence successes against the United States.

[Source and Image: Der Spiegel. Additional image courtesy of PBS]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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