The Most Innovative Invention Of World War II- The Bouncing Bomb


What are bouncing bombs ?

Bouncing bombs are bombs which are cylindrical in shape that were designed by the British during the Second World War(World War II) to destroy enemy dams and ships. This brings us to an important question.

What was the purpose of these bombs ?

The water dams were usually resistant to conventional bomb attacks because of their gigantic size. A massive amount of explosive would be required to destroy them, and the cushioning effect of the water meant that accuracy of the explosive must be excellent. In the face of such problems, scientists discovered a solution.

A bomb if placed right by the dam would be effective because the water would act as a natural tamping medium, directing the explosion onto the dam, instead of protecting it, and greatly reducing the amount of explosive required. During the II World War, circumstances would not allow the placing of a large bomb with the required accuracy. Moreover, the Nazis had guarded against attack by torpedo by placing heavy nets upstream of their dams.

Working of Bouncing Bomb
Working of Bouncing Bomb

Hence, the bouncing bomb was born. It was invented in 1941 at the peak of the second World War by Barnes Wallis in order to destroy not only enemy dams but also battleships. The bomb was dropped from a specially modified aircraft over water, bounced over the water until it reached the target and sink and explode under water next to the target thus causing heavy damage to the target. How does it work?

The bouncing bomb was also called Highball or Upkeep. It was 60 inches long and 50 inches in diameter. It contained 3 hydro-static pistols which measured the pressure of the water as the bomb sank until it was equal to the pressure corresponding to 30 feet depth under water. The bomb was also fitted with a 90 second time fuse so that if the pressure measurement mechanism failed, the bomb would still detonate. The bomb weighed a total of around 4200 kg.

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