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Old January 11th, 2018, 01:04 PM   #1

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Dornier 17


I read that Do 17 had good maneuverability at a low level flight and I saw a fragment of a German film, where this method of dropping bombs with this airplane was practiced:

https://www.fotosik.pl/zdjecie/af866b1db9db9414

What was the name of the method and was this airplane actually often used in this way?

Last edited by Zbigniew; January 11th, 2018 at 01:07 PM.
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Old January 11th, 2018, 01:41 PM   #2
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I wouldn't know what to call that other than low-level horizontal bombing. It's a common attack profile, perhaps the most commonly used. The only rival would be high-level horizontal bombing, the high and low being references to the delivery aircraft's altitude. Other attack profiles would include dive bombing, toss bombing, and skip bombing (which was used very rarely, most famously on the dambuster's raid). As far as I know, the DO-17 was not unique in its ability to carry out horizontal bombing.
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Old January 11th, 2018, 02:12 PM   #3

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It seems to me that such a method of bombing is quite difficult, because when the plane flies low, it passes the building under itself at great speed and you must have perfect reflexes to throw the bomb right at the moment. If you release the bomb a second too soon, it will fall to the ground in front of the building, and if you let it down a second too late, it will fly over the building. In addition, at such a low level every pilot error can result in the plane crashing against the ground or building. The pilot must be guaranteed that the aircraft has very sensitive rudders and can be precisely directed at a low level. It is also important that such a plane can be quickly pulled up, because the terrain is usually uneven. So rather, not every bomber is suitable for such "games". But I'm not a pilot, so I'm just talking about my assumptions.
PS
I read about the situation when Bf 109 pursued the unarmed Polish reconnaissance aircraft, but because the flight was low, the German crashed to the ground, because he did not manage to pull up his plane. And that was a light fighter! To fly so low on the ground a bigger and heavier bomber, probably you must have iron...

Last edited by Zbigniew; January 11th, 2018 at 02:32 PM.
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Old January 11th, 2018, 02:31 PM   #4

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The Do 17 was sometimes used for low level bombing in the early war years, but this could only be done by medium bombers like the Do 17 where the enemies AA defenses were weak.
There was a low level attack by Do 17's on RAF Kenley airfield during the Battle Of Britain but the unit suffered such high casualties it was never attempted again in the Battle.

photo of raid on its way to the target
Attached Images
File Type: jpg do-17 low level.jpg (43.6 KB, 17 views)

Last edited by redcoat; January 11th, 2018 at 02:41 PM.
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Old January 11th, 2018, 02:41 PM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zbigniew View Post
I read that Do 17 had good maneuverability at a low level flight and I saw a fragment of a German film, where this method of dropping bombs with this airplane was practiced:

https://www.fotosik.pl/zdjecie/af866b1db9db9414

What was the name of the method and was this airplane actually often used in this way?
If your doing it over water it was usually called skip bombing.



Theyre doing it over land here to impress the news crews but the idea was to be low enough that the bomb would hit the water fast, bounce and hit a ship like an aerial torpedo.

Suicidal against warships but very cheap and effective against transports
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Old January 11th, 2018, 02:52 PM   #6

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If your doing it over water it was usually called skip bombing.

Suicidal against warships but very cheap and effective against transports
It may have been suicidal, but it didn't stop some.
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Old January 11th, 2018, 02:53 PM   #7

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I remember the German pilot's statement that Ju 87 was a mad idea for stuntman Udet, because the flight vertically down caused the nightmares of most pilots, and the horizontal bombardment used by Americans was equally accurate, but it was a Polish translation of the English film where the German statement was translated, so there is a great risk that I repeat these words inaccurately.
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Old January 11th, 2018, 03:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zbigniew View Post
It seems to me that such a method of bombing is quite difficult, because when the plane flies low, it passes the building under itself at great speed and you must have perfect reflexes to throw the bomb right at the moment. If you release the bomb a second too soon, it will fall to the ground in front of the building, and if you let it down a second too late, it will fly over the building. In addition, at such a low level every pilot error can result in the plane crashing against the ground or building. The pilot must be guaranteed that the aircraft has very sensitive rudders and can be precisely directed at a low level. It is also important that such a plane can be quickly pulled up, because the terrain is usually uneven. So rather, not every bomber is suitable for such "games". But I'm not a pilot, so I'm just talking about my assumptions.
PS
I read about the situation when Bf 109 pursued the unarmed Polish reconnaissance aircraft, but because the flight was low, the German crashed to the ground, because he did not manage to pull up his plane. And that was a light fighter! To fly so low on the ground a bigger and heavier bomber, probably you must have iron...
In theory, the technique is not as difficult as you think. The bomb's glide path is easily predicted, given the plane's altitude and speed. Bomb sites were designed to tell the pilot or bombadier exactly when to release the bombs. These bomb sites were relatively simple to operate as they put a crosshair on the target and the aircrew had only to push a release button. In practice, you are correct that any little bump, like air turbulence just to name one, will throw the bomb off it's intended aim point. Most WW2 aerial bombs did miss their target. In fact, sometimes dozens or even hundreds of bombs had to be dropped just to get one hit.

Dive bombing was more accurate but was more difficult to carry out.

Last edited by Chlodio; January 11th, 2018 at 03:43 PM.
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Old January 11th, 2018, 04:11 PM   #9

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Quote:
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The bomb's glide path is easily predicted, given the plane's altitude and speed.
I was just thinking in this way that if you fly by plane at the same speed and at the same altitude every time, after a few attempts, you will quickly find out how far ahead of the building you can release the bomb. Then you mount the viewfinder in such a way that, when the cross is on the building, you release the bombs. But this easy method is only possible if you always fly at the same speed and at the same altitude (and the bomb is always identical). I think that in a war, when the enemy shoots, it is very difficult to fly so perfectly. Of course, if you have a computer, he will calculate how far ahead of the target you can drop the bomb if you change the altitude or speed. But a violent maneuver by plane under enemy fire will destroy this calculation anyway. One girl once agreed that he would drop something secure from the plane, but somehow contact with her stopped. So I have to rely only on my theoretical assumptions or find another girl with an airplane. A guy can also be.

Last edited by Zbigniew; January 11th, 2018 at 04:35 PM.
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Old January 11th, 2018, 04:15 PM   #10

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Thats the method that was used by the RAF Lancastewrs on the dambusters raid.
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