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Practice bomb and target ranges

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Home Front
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2006/04/26 07:50:28 (permalink)
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Practice bomb and target ranges

 Combat crew training at the Sioux Cty AAB and the Rapid City AAB required the air crews to make use of practice bombing and aerial machine gun target ranges located in various places in South Dakota. Is it true that some ranges were located in the Badlands area? Would be interested in knowing more about these ranges and where they were located.
 
Also have a question on the practice bombs that were used. I understand the weigh of the bomb was around 100 lb. and it left some kind of white marker on a bombing range where it hit. What type of detonators were used and how much explosive charge was in a practice bomb and what would be the approximate size of the crater that was left by the exploding bomb?
 
Thanks for any input.  Home Front
 
 

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    misterg97
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    RE: Practice bomb and target ranges 2006/04/26 10:06:27 (permalink)
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    While I cannot comment on the WWII practice bombs, I did spend some 7 months at the Suwon Bomb and Gunnery Range in Korea.   We mostly handled flights of F-86's.
     
    The bombs dropped were various sizes, 3lbs, 100lbs, 500lbs and as large as 1,000 lbs.  We were located on the banks of the Yellow Sea and had a small island.   Attaching a picture showing an F84 flying low on the beach on a skip bombing run. There was a 10x20' target for skip bombing that is not shown on the picture. The targets shown were 3 of 4 (10'x10') for gunnery.  As you can see, there is an island in the background that was used for all bombing of 100 lbs and larger.  We had 3 towers used for plotting the results. 
     
    The small 3lb bombs were dropped into a circle located on ground and you can see the yellow outline of the circle.  These bombs left off a yellow smoke.  I am assuming the charge was 3lbs.  However we had some Korean Boys take some live ones and we ended up driving them for many hours to the hospital in Suwon and did manage to save their lives.
     
    We also hande night bombing by Navy planes from carriers who dropped flares by parachute to light up the area.  Normally flights of 4 with the lamplighter.  I happen to have one of the parachutes here and hope to have some embroidery relative to the time in Korea on it and then try to find a museum to have it displayed.
     
    And finally, on one occasion a bomb was dropped on the island that was a replica of the A-Bomb with no nuclear charge of course.  It was a timed factor from the time the bomb was released untill impact and the plane was clocked as to distance from the island.  I have some pictures somewhere of this hit and the plume is one of a mushromm shape.
     
    Not sure this answers your question but it might give some insight.
     
     
     
     

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    Jerry
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    Dave T
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    RE: Practice bomb and target ranges 2006/04/26 12:57:56 (permalink)
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    HF,
    Some of your questions will be answered on this page of my website: http://freepages.military.rootsweb.com/~hfhm/Training/Training.htm
     
    More practice bomb photos: http://freepages.military.rootsweb.com/~hfhm/photos/photos_gallery2.htm
     
    Dave
    jhor9
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    RE: Practice bomb and target ranges 2006/04/27 12:10:05 (permalink)
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    I was at Rapid City in spring of 1943. All I know of the bombs were that they were 100lbs.
    At gunnery range the gunners shot at mock up planes .I would fly lazy eights to allow the gunners to see the target from different angles. Occassionally we spotted large jack rabbits taht ran at high speeds , the gunners would shoot at them, I dont think that any of them were ever hit.

    Jules Horowitz, B-17 pilot, 99th BG, 50 missions/sorties
    My tour was from 7/19/43-2/13/44
    scott348
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    RE: Practice bomb and target ranges 2006/09/01 01:57:09 (permalink)
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        From the Sioux City Base History for January to November, 1943:
         The 12th bombing and Gunnery Range Squadron was activated at Casper, Wyoming on 8 April, 1943 and tranferred without personnel to Army Air Base, Sioux City, Iowa 16 days later.
         The original bombing ranges were located at Elk Point, Springfield, Mitchell, and two at Watertown, all in South Dakota, and one near Scribner, Nebraska. Each range was equipped with lighting, radio, and personnel to enable "around the clock" bombing practice.
        The first air-to-ground gunnery range was located west of Yankton, S.D., and was probably in use by February of 1943. By April, 1944 the Base History refers to additional air-to-ground ranges at Pierce County, Ne. and Gann Valley, S.D.
         The May, 1944 History also mentions the bombing range southeast of Stanton, Ne. and the closure of one of the Watertown bombing ranges.
         I currently have no info on the Rapid City ranges, but would not be surprised if the Badlands area was used. Also, Sioux City shared other Nebraska ranges in the Fairmont/Bruning area.
         I grew up in northeast Nebraska and used to have a motocross practice track at the Elk Point range! We also rode in the Stanton range several times, and saw bomb fragments from time to time. The Yankton air-to-ground range is now at the bottom of Lewis and Clark Lake, constructed after the war as part of the Missouri River flood control project.
     
    Hope this helps!
    Scott
    Terry T.
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    RE: Practice bomb and target ranges 2006/09/01 02:54:12 (permalink)
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    ORIGINAL: Home Front

     Combat crew training at the Sioux Cty AAB and the Rapid City AAB required the air crews to make use of practice bombing and aerial machine gun target ranges located in various places in South Dakota. Is it true that some ranges were located in the Badlands area? Would be interested in knowing more about these ranges and where they were located.

    Thanks for any input.  Home Front



     
    Sioux City AAB, Iowa Bombing Ranges:
    PBR:Precison Bombing Ranges
    A-G :Air to Ground Gunnery range
    A-A GR; Air to Air Gunnery Range
    Statom #1 (Neb) PBR 61mi.SW of (2484 acres)
    Elks Point (S. Dakota) PBR 25mi. NW of  (1804 Acres)
    Mitchell #3 (S. Dakota) PBR  141mi NW of (2720 acres)
    Mitchell #4 (S. Dakota) PBR  141mi. NW of (2560 acres)
    Yankton (S. Dakota) A-G GR  60mi. WNW of (5480 acres)
    Rapid City (S. Dakota) A-A GR 
    Watertown (S.Dakota) PBR  206mi NNW of  (2550 acres)
     
     
    Terry T.
     
     
    scott348
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    RE: Practice bomb and target ranges 2006/09/01 09:38:22 (permalink)
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    I just looked at the March, 1945 Sioux City Sectional to double check, and found that I had forgotten the Ainsworth ranges. There was a bombing range straight west and air-to-ground range southwest of the Ainsworth base. Ainsworth was on standby status at this time, and Sioux City shared the ranges with Rapid City. I believe Rapid City was the controlling agency for these two facilities.
     
    Scott
    Terry T.
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    RE: Practice bomb and target ranges 2006/09/01 16:45:22 (permalink)
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    Rapid City AAB, S. Dakota
    Newall Bombing Range
    Butte County #1, S. Dakota PBR  27mi N of  (8123 acres)
     
    Pierre Bombing Range
    Rapid City #1, S. Dakota  PBR  129mi E of  (2390 acres)
     
    Rapid City, S.D. A-G GR 33mi. ENE of (11532 acres)
     
    Rapid City, S.D. A-A GR, 33mi SE of  (384497 acres),shared with Grand Island AAF & Sioux City AAF
     
    Terry T.
     
     
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    RE: Practice bomb and target ranges 2006/09/01 21:38:29 (permalink)
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    The practice bomb (M38A2) actually weighed 98 lbs. The total weight was made up of 80 lbs dry sand,  22 gage,light sheet body and 2.6 lbs of high explosive in the tail fuse (M1A1).  It did not have a nose fuse.  The bomb was blue in color.
     
    On impact with the ground during day light hours, you would see a puff of black smoke from the H.E. powder in the tail fuse.  At night you would see the flash of the powder.
     
    You might be interested in knowing, the 8TH Airforce
     continued using the practice bombs on training flights between missions during the war.
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    scott348
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    RE: Practice bomb and target ranges 2006/11/11 11:11:23 (permalink)
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    It's been a while since we talked about the various ranges, thought I would send this photo on- this is the Stanton, Nebraska Precision Bombing Range target circle. I don't know the actual date of the photograph, but I flew over last week and it still looks much the same. The concrete footings for the towers are still in place as well.
     
    Scott

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    Ben
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    RE: Practice bomb and target ranges 2006/12/09 22:21:30 (permalink)
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    It is quite interesting the number, location, and size of former target sites.  I have been looking for these in my area and the US Army Corps of Engineers are the lucky ones who get to go clean these up under a program called Formerly Used Defense Sites or FUDS.  Check out their web site.  Once you get their, go to the bottom of a page to the GIS which will allow you to get more detailed info on each range such as size and how used.
     
    http://hq.environmental.usace.army.mil/programs/fuds/fuds.html
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