Play / pause Dumb Bombs

Dumb Bombs

  • Al Byford
  • Interview by: Karen Worden


Really, the Gulf War, I think,

was a significant watershed because, I think,

that demonstrated to us why we did need precision weapons.

So, our principle weapon, at the time,

were dumb bombs, which were essentially,

thousand-pound second World War-type bombs,

and we had a lot of them that sat in a quarry in Wales,

and there were two varieties, a retard version,

which had a parachute, and a slick, or ballistic version.

Both of those, we thought we would drop at low level.

Retard thousand pounders, obviously if you're dropping

at low level, the bomb slows up behind the aircraft,

which allows you to escape and avoid the risk

of suffering fragmentation damage from the bomb

when it goes off, and the slick,

or ballistic thousand pounders, were intended

to be lofted into the target from low level.

So that's where you go in very fast, pull up,

and loft the bomb like a howitzer shell,

about three miles ahead of you, into the target area.

And really, those were our principle weapons,

and my first combat mission, I can remember now,

was carrying 8,000 pounders on twin store carriers.

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