Did World War II-era bombs actually whistle?

In WWII-era films and newsreels, aerial bombs are often shown making a whistling sound as they fall; starting high pitched, then decreasing as the bomb approaches the Earth (example here, starting at about 0:50). I also remember it being mimicked in WWII-era Looney Tunes and the like that I saw as a kid (okay, and as an adult).

Did WWII-era bombs actually whistle like this? Why did they do so? Was it by design? I presume the bombs were falling slower than the speed of sound, so was the whistling audible from the ground - and soon enough to seek shelter?

It is true that bombs in World War II would make a whistling sound as they fell. This could be heard by both the pilot and the target, however due to the Doppler effect, they heard different things. The pilot would hear a high pitched whistle and as the bomb accelerated it lowered in pitch. The target would initially hear a higher pitched whistle than what the pilot heard because the target is in front of the bomb and the pilot is behind the bomb. The pitch would continue to increase until the bomb struck. This is assuming the bomb is going slower than the speed of sound. The bomb will not reach the speed of sound until it has fallen ≈19 500 ft.

The whistles were purposefully attached to the bombs. Their purpose was to weaken enemy morale and to enhance the intimidation of dive-bombing. Look at the Stuka dive-bomber, a similar case. What other purpose did it's sirens have? As far as warning the target, it's too late to get to safety once you hear the whistle if you're not there already (bombs fall fast). Not all bombs were equipped with whistles, but they still all made noise as they fell due to air displacement (just not the famous whistling sound). This Wikipedia page gives one example of bombs that were purposefully fitted with whistles.

  • Whistling Bombs - Topic

  • Whistling Bombs - Straight Dope

  • Will the Whistling Bombs Hit Me? - World War 2 Talk

  • Why did World War II-era unguided bombs whine or whistle? | Answerbag

  • Stuka Divebomber

Yes, I can tell you from personal experience that they certainly did whistle. When I was a boy I lived in Nottingham, and until May 1941 we were lucky in that, although we heard (and sometimes saw) German aircraft, they usually passed over on their way to less fortunate cities like Sheffield, Coventry or Birmingham. But on the night of Thursday 8 May 1941, for the first (but not the last) time, Nottingham itself was the target. We were woken up by the sound of the warning sirens, but they were very quickly followed by the sound of falling bombs (including the terrifying whistling), and we were too scared to leave the house and go into our air raid shelter: we sat on the steps leading down to our cellar. There were a lot of people killed in Nottingham that night; luckily for us we escaped unhurt, and nobody we knew was killed. But I can tell you - nobody who has ever heard that whistling noise will ever forget it. I am nearly 81, and I was 8 at the time, and I can remember it all too well. So why did the bombs whistle? To warn people to take shelter? Don't make me laugh - there would be no time. There is only one reason that makes sense to me - it was to scare the hell out of those beneath them, and it certainly succeeded as far as I was concerned!

Yes I can tell you from personal experience also I was six years old we lived in Haverton Hill, County Durham, England, there was a lot of heavy industry in that area including Dorman & long steel works, the ICI Imperial chemical industries, Furness ship building company, and Smith's dry dock, for ship repairs plus many smaller companies. They were after these targets however many of the bombs landed on nearby housing estates, we were in a shelter in our back garden and the whistling bombs always sounded as if they were going to land right on your head. When they were falling everyone tensed up then after they exploded everyone relaxed till the next ones came then it was the same all over again, our house and all our belongings were destroyed by these bombs and we had to go and live with an aunt. The bombing raids would last from about 11pm untill 5am They were frequent and over a long period of time.This is the north east part of England on the river Tees, they also dropped incendiary bombs, and fired V2 rockets into our area

Bombs (or anything metal with sharp edges) naturally tend to whistle as they fall, however, in many cases they were designed to enhance the whistle to make it louder and more intense, the purpose being to terrify anyone in the vicinity of the target zone. The patent diagram below shows a typical design:

The elliptical cutouts labeled I5 in the diagram are modifications to the tailfin designed to generate a loud, piercing whistle.

This is true. The whistles nomenclature was Bomb Whistle MK. 1, MOD. 1 BU. ORD. DR. NO 301047. They were made by The Ohio Art Company Bryan, Ohio

Entrenching tool

An entrenching tool (U.K.), [1] [2] intrenching tool (U.S.A.), [3] [4] [5] E-tool, or trenching tool is a digging tool used by military forces for a variety of military purposes. Survivalists, campers, hikers and other outdoors groups have found it to be indispensable in field use. Modern entrenching tools are usually collapsible and made using steel, aluminum, or other light metals.


History Edit

The problem of aiming a torpedo has occupied military engineers since Robert Whitehead developed the modern torpedo in the 1860s. These early torpedoes ran at a preset depth on a straight course (consequently they are frequently referred to as "straight runners"). This was the state of the art in torpedo guidance until the development of the homing torpedo during the latter part of World War II. [11] The vast majority of submarine torpedoes during World War II were straight running, and these continued in use for many years after World War II. [12] In fact, two World War II-era straight running torpedoes — fired by the British nuclear-powered submarine HMS Conqueror — sank the ARA General Belgrano in 1982.

During World War I, computing a target intercept course for a torpedo was a manual process where the fire control party was aided by various slide rules [13] (the U.S. examples were the Mark VIII Angle Solver (colloquially called the "banjo", for its shape), and the "Is/Was" circular sliderule (Nasmith Director), for predicting where a target will be based on where it is now and was) [14] or mechanical calculator/sights. [15] These were often "woefully inaccurate", [16] which helps explain why torpedo spreads were advised.

During World War II, Germany, [17] Japan, [18] and the United States each developed analog computers to automate the process of computing the required torpedo course. [19]

In 1932, the Bureau of Ordnance (BuOrd) initiated development of the TDC with Arma Corporation and Ford Instruments. [20] This culminated in the "very complicated" Mark 1 in 1938. [20] This was retrofitted into older boats, beginning with Dolphin and up through the newest Salmons. [20]

The first submarine designed to use the TDC was Tambor, [21] launched in 1940 with the Mark III, located in the conning tower. [20] (This differed from earlier outfits.) [22] It proved to be the best torpedo fire control system of World War II. [23]

In 1943, the Torpedo Data Computer Mark IV was developed to support the Mark 18 torpedo. [24] [25]

Both the Mk III and Mk IV TDC were developed by Arma Corporation (now American Bosch Arma).

The problem of aiming a straight-running torpedo Edit

A straight-running torpedo has a gyroscope-based control system that ensures that the torpedo will run a straight course. [26] The torpedo can run on a course different from that of the submarine by adjusting a parameter called the gyro angle, which sets the course of the torpedo relative to the course of the submarine (see Figure 2). The primary role of the TDC is to determine the gyro angle setting required to ensure that the torpedo will strike the target.

Determining the gyro angle required the real-time solution of a complex trigonometric equation (see Equation 1 for a simplified example). The TDC provided a continuous solution to this equation using data updates from the submarine's navigation sensors and the TDC's target tracker. The TDC was also able to automatically update all torpedo gyro angle settings simultaneously with a fire control solution, which improved the accuracy over systems that required manual updating of the torpedo's course. [27]

The TDC enables the submarine to launch the torpedo on a course different from that of the submarine, which is important tactically. Otherwise the submarine would need to be pointed at the projected intercept point in order to launch a torpedo. [28] Requiring the entire vessel to be pointed in order to launch a torpedo would be time consuming, require precise submarine course control, and would needlessly complicate the torpedo firing process. The TDC with target tracking gives the submarine the ability to maneuver independently of the required target intercept course for the torpedo.

As is shown in Figure 2, in general, the torpedo does not actually move in a straight path immediately after launch and it does not instantly accelerate to full speed, which are referred to as torpedo ballistic characteristics. The ballistic characteristics are described by three parameters: reach, turning radius, and corrected torpedo speed. Also, the target bearing angle is different from the point of view of the periscope versus the point of view of the torpedo, which is referred to as torpedo tube parallax. [29] These factors are a significant complication in the calculation of the gyro angle and the TDC must compensate for their effects.

Straight running torpedoes were usually launched in salvo (i.e. multiple launches in a short period of time) [30] or a spread (i.e. multiple launches with slight angle offsets) [30] to increase the probability of striking the target given the inaccuracies present in the measurement of angles, target range, target speed, torpedo track angle, and torpedo speed.

Salvos and spreads were also launched to strike tough targets multiple times to ensure their destruction. [31] The TDC supported the firing of torpedo salvos by allowing short time offsets between firings and torpedo spreads by adding small angle offsets to each torpedo's gyro angle. Before the sinking of South Korea's ROKS Cheonan by North Korea in 2010, the last warship sunk by a submarine torpedo attack, the ARA General Belgrano in 1982, was struck by two torpedoes from a three torpedo spread. [32]

To accurately compute the gyro angle for a torpedo in a general engagement scenario, the target course, speed, range, and bearing must be accurately known. During World War II, target course, range, and bearing estimates often had to be generated using periscope observations, which were highly subjective and error prone. The TDC was used to refine the estimates of the target's course, range, and bearing through a process of

  • estimating the target's course, speed, and range based on observations.
  • using the TDC to predict the target's position at a future time based on the estimates of the target's course, speed, and range.
  • comparing the predicted position against the actual position and correcting the estimated parameters as required to achieve agreement between the predictions and observation. Agreement between prediction and observation means that the target course, speed, and range estimates are accurate.

Estimating the target's course was generally considered the most difficult of the observation tasks. The accuracy of the result was highly dependent on the experience of the skipper. During combat, the actual course of the target was not usually determined but instead the skippers determined a related quantity called "angle on the bow." Angle on the bow is the angle formed by the target course and the line of sight to the submarine. Some skippers, like Richard O'Kane, practiced determining the angle on the bow by looking at IJN ship models mounted on a calibrated lazy Susan through an inverted binocular barrel. [33]

To generate target position data versus time, the TDC needed to solve the equations of motion for the target relative to the submarine. The equations of motion are differential equations and the TDC used mechanical integrators to generate its solution. [34]

The TDC needed to be positioned near other fire control equipment to minimize the amount of electromechanical interconnect. Because submarine space within the pressure hull was limited, the TDC needed to be as small as possible. On World War II submarines, the TDC and other fire control equipment was mounted in the conning tower, which was a very small space. [35] The packaging problem was severe and the performance of some early torpedo fire control equipment was hampered by the need to make it small. [36] It had an array of handcranks, dials, and switches for data input and display. [37] To generate a fire control solution, it required inputs on

  • submarine course and speed, which were read automatically from the submarine's gyrocompass and pitometer log
  • estimated target course, speed, and range information (obtained using data from the submarine's periscope, Target Bearing Transmitter (TBT), [38]radar, and sonar)
  • torpedo type and speed (type was needed to deal with the different torpedo ballistics)

The TDC performed the trigonometric calculations required to compute a target intercept course for the torpedo. It also had an electromechanical interface to the torpedoes, allowing it to automatically set courses while torpedoes were still in their tubes, ready to be fired.

The TDC's target tracking capability was used by the fire control party to continuously update the fire control solution even while the submarine was maneuvering. The TDC's target tracking ability also allowed the submarine to accurately fire torpedoes even when the target was temporarily obscured by smoke or fog.

TDC functional description Edit

Since the TDC actually performed two separate functions, generating target position estimates and computing torpedo firing angles, the TDC actually consisted of two types of analog computers:

  • Angle solver: This computer calculates the required gyro angle. The TDC had separate angle solvers for the forward and aft torpedo tubes.
  • Position keeper: This computer generates a continuously updated estimate of the target position based on earlier target position measurements. [39]

Angle solver Edit

The equations implemented in the angle solver can be found in the Torpedo Data Computer manual. [40] The Submarine Torpedo Fire Control Manual [41] discusses the calculations in a general sense and a greatly abbreviated form of that discussion is presented here.

The general torpedo fire control problem is illustrated in Figure 2. The problem is made more tractable if we assume:

  • The periscope is on the line formed by the torpedo running along its course
  • The target moves on a fixed course and speed
  • The torpedo moves on a fixed course and speed

As can be seen in Figure 2, these assumptions are not true in general because of the torpedo ballistic characteristics and torpedo tube parallax. Providing the details as to how to correct the torpedo gyro angle calculation for ballistics and parallax is complicated and beyond the scope of this article. Most discussions of gyro angle determination take the simpler approach of using Figure 3, which is called the torpedo fire control triangle. [6] [7] Figure 3 provides an accurate model for computing the gyro angle when the gyro angle is small, usually less than 30°. [42]

The effects of parallax and ballistics are minimal for small gyro angle launches because the course deviations they cause are usually small enough to be ignorable. U.S. submarines during World War II preferred to fire their torpedoes at small gyro angles because the TDC's fire control solutions were most accurate for small angles. [43]

The problem of computing the gyro angle setting is a trigonometry problem that is simplified by first considering the calculation of the deflection angle, which ignores torpedo ballistics and parallax. [44] For small gyro angles, θGyroθBearingθDeflection . A direct application of the law of sines to Figure 3 produces Equation 1.

vTarget is the velocity of the target. vTorpedo is the velocity of the torpedo. θBow is the angle of the target ship bow relative to the periscope line of sight. θDeflection is the angle of the torpedo course relative to the periscope line of sight.

Range plays no role in Equation 1, which is true as long as the three assumptions are met. In fact, Equation 1 is the same equation solved by the mechanical sights of steerable torpedo tubes used on surface ships during World War I and World War II. Torpedo launches from steerable torpedo tubes meet the three stated assumptions well. However, an accurate torpedo launch from a submarine requires parallax and torpedo ballistic corrections when gyro angles are large. These corrections require knowing range accurately. When the target range was not known, torpedo launches requiring large gyro angles were not recommended. [45]

Equation 1 is frequently modified to substitute track angle for deflection angle (track angle is defined in Figure 2, θTrack=θBow+θDeflection ). This modification is illustrated with Equation 2.

where θTrack is the angle between the target ship's course and the torpedo's course.

A number of publications [46] [47] state the optimum torpedo track angle as 110° for a Mk 14 (46 knot weapon). Figure 4 shows a plot of the deflection angle versus track angle when the gyro angle is 0° (i.e.., θDeflection=θBearing ). [48] Optimum track angle is defined as the point of minimum deflection angle sensitivity to track angle errors for a given target speed. This minimum occurs at the points of zero slope on the curves in Figure 4 (these points are marked by small triangles).

The curves show the solutions of Equation 2 for deflection angle as a function of target speed and track angle. Figure 4 confirms that 110° is the optimum track angle for a 16-knot (30 km/h) target, which would be a common ship speed. [49]

There is fairly complete documentation available for a Japanese torpedo fire control computer that goes through the details of correcting for the ballistic and parallax factors. While the TDC may not have used exactly the same approach, it was likely very similar.

Position keeper Edit

As with the angle solver the equations implemented in the angle solver can be found in the Torpedo Data Computer manual. [40] Similar functions were implemented in the rangekeepers for surface ship-based fire control systems. For a general discussion of the principles behind the position keeper, see Rangekeeper.


Izzie Clarke spoke to Professor Peter Main from King’s College London to sound out George’s question…

Peter - Most of the missiles shown in documentaries and films refer to the Second World War and for the typical height of those bombers, the falling missiles are accelerating, but not sufficiently to break the sound barrier. That means that apart from a relatively gentle whoosh, they would not naturally make any sound. However, it was in the interests of the bombers to terrify those under attack so, often, an artificial whistle was incorporated into the missile.

Izzie - You hear right - they added a fake whistle. But what does that mean for missiles that travel in this hypothetical endless hole?

Peter - If the missile could fall under gravity further, accelerating all time, after falling about 5,000 metres it would reach the speed of sound and would then emit a sonic bomb, just as supersonic aircraft do when then fly at speeds greater than the speed of sound.

Izzie - This happens when objects travel faster than 343 metres per second. The air molecules are pushed aside with such a great force that it forms a shock wave. It sounds a bit like a thunderclap. So how does the missile sound relative to the pilot?

Peter - In principle, if the pilot of the plane could have heard the whistle, he would have heard it in the way described - a high pitched sound, falling in frequency according to the well known Doppler effect. This is the same effect as when say a police siren changes pitch as it approaches and then passes by, and is due to the motion of the object compressing the wavelength of the sound as it approaches the observer - that is increasing its pitch and stretching it as it moves away.

Izzie - Someone on the ground would actually hear the pitch increase. In other words, it sounds higher and higher as it approaches. So that means those beloved filmmakers are using the wrong sound…

Peter - Well, that’s because the sound has nothing to do with bombs or missiles it’s a special effect created in the studio. The particular sound with the frequency of the whistle falling has become a cinematic convention, which explains its common use in many films.


Unexploded ordnance, however old, may explode. Even if it does not explode, environmental pollutants are released as it degrades. [3] Recovery, particularly of deeply-buried projectiles, is difficult and hazardous—jarring may detonate the charge. Once uncovered, explosives can often be transported safely to a site where they can be destroyed, failing that, they must be detonated in place—sometimes requiring hundreds of homes to be evacuated.

Unexploded ordnance from at least as far back as the mid-19th century [4] [5] [6] still poses a hazard worldwide, both in current and former combat areas and on military firing ranges. A major problem with unexploded ordnance is that over the years the detonator and main charge deteriorate, frequently making them more sensitive to disturbance, and therefore more dangerous to handle. Construction work may disturb unsuspected unexploded bombs, which may then explode. Forest fires may be aggravated if buried ordnance explodes [7] and heat waves, causing the water level to drop severely, may increase the danger of immersed ordnance. There are countless examples of people tampering with unexploded ordnance that is many years old, often with fatal results. [8] [9] [10] For this reason it is universally recommended that unexploded ordnance should not be touched or handled by unqualified persons. Instead, the location should be reported to the local police so that bomb disposal or Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) professionals can render it safe.

Although professional EOD personnel have expert knowledge, skills and equipment, they are not immune to misfortune because of the inherent dangers: in June 2010, construction workers in Göttingen, Germany discovered an Allied 500-kilogram (1,100 lb) bomb dating from World War II buried approximately 7 metres (23 ft) below the ground. German EOD experts were notified and attended the scene. Whilst residents living nearby were being evacuated and the EOD personnel were preparing to disarm the bomb, it detonated, killing three of them and severely injuring six others. The dead and injured each had over 20 years of hands-on experience, and had previously rendered safe between 600 and 700 unexploded bombs. The bomb which killed and injured the EOD personnel was of a particularly dangerous type because it was fitted with a delayed-action chemical fuze (with an integral anti-handling device) which had not operated as designed, but had become highly unstable after over 65 years underground. [11] [12] [13] [14] The type of delayed-action fuze in the Göttingen bomb was commonly used: a glass vial containing acetone was smashed after the bomb was released the acetone was intended, as it dripped downwards, to disintegrate celluloid discs holding back a spring-loaded trigger that would strike a detonator when the discs degraded sufficiently after some minutes or hours. These bombs, when striking soft earth at an angle, often ended their trajectory not pointing downwards, so that the acetone did not drip onto and weaken the celluloid but over many years the discs degraded until the trigger was released and the bomb detonated spontaneously, or when weakened by being jarred. [15]

In November 2013 four US Marines were killed by an explosion whilst clearing unexploded ordnance from a firing range at Camp Pendleton. The exact cause is not known, but the Marines had been handing grenades they were collecting to each other, which is permitted but discouraged, and it is thought that a grenade may have exploded after being kicked or bumped, setting off hundreds of other grenades and shells. [16]

A dramatic example of munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) threat is the wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery, sunk in shallow water about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the town of Sheerness and 5 miles (8.0 km) from Southend, which still contains 1,400 tons of explosives. When the deeper World War II wreck of the SS Kielce, carrying a much smaller load of explosives, exploded in 1967, it produced an earth tremor measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale. [17]

Ten countries with the greatest number of mines deployed on their territory in millions [18] [19]
Rank Country Mines (millions)
1 Egypt 23
2 Iran 16
3 Afghanistan 10
4 Angola 10
5 China 10
6 Iraq 10
7 Cambodia 7
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina 6
9 Kuwait 5
10 Vietnam 3.5
World Total = 110 million Mines

Africa Edit

North Africa, and in particular the desert areas of the Sahara, is heavily mined and with serious consequences for the local population. Egypt is the most heavily mined country in the world (by number) with as many as 19.7 million mines as of 2000.

Land mines and other explosive remnants of war are not limited to North Africa, however they pose a persistent threat to local people all over the continent, including the countries of Ethiopia, Somalia, Nigeria, Senegal, Angola, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa to mention just a few. In the Tropics, typhoons and floods often displace and spread landmines, further aggravating the problem. In Mozambique, as much as 70% of the country is now contaminated with mines because of this. [20] [21]

The Americas Edit

Colombia Edit

During the long Colombian conflict that began around 1964, a very large number of landmines were deployed in rural areas across Colombia. The landmines are homemade and were placed primarily during the last 25 years of the conflict, hindering rural development significantly. The rebel groups of FARC and the smaller ELN are usually blamed for having placed the mines. All departments of Colombia are affected, but Antioquia, where the city of Medellin is located, holds the largest amounts. [22] After Afghanistan, Colombia has the second-highest number of landmine casualties, with more than 11,500 people killed or injured by landmines since 1990, according to Colombian government figures. [23]

In September 2012, the Colombian peace process began officially in Havana and in August 2016, the US and Norway initiated an international five-year demining program, now supported by another 24 countries and the EU. [24] Both the Colombian military and FARC are taking part in the demining efforts. The program intends to rid Colombia of landmines and other UXO by 2021 and it has been funded with nearly US$112 million, including US$33 million from the US (as part of the larger US foreign policy Plan Colombia) and US$20 million from Norway. [25] Experts however, have estimated that it will take at least a decade due to the difficult terrain. [23] [26]

United States Edit

While, unlike many countries in Europe and Asia, the United States has not been subjected to aerial bombardment, according to the Department of Defense, "millions of acres" may contain UXO, Discarded Military Munitions (DMM) and Munitions Constituents (e.g., explosive compounds). [27]

According to US Environmental Protection Agency documents released in late 2002, UXO at 16,000 domestic inactive military ranges within the United States pose an "imminent and substantial" public health risk and could require the largest environmental cleanup ever, at a cost of at least US$14 billion. Some individual ranges cover 500 square miles (1,300 km 2 ), and, taken together, the ranges comprise an area the size of Florida. [ citation needed ]

On Joint Base Cape Cod (JBCC) on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, decades of artillery training have contaminated the only drinking water for thousands of surrounding residents. [28] A costly UXO recovery effort is under way. [29]

UXO on US military bases has caused problems for transferring and restoring Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) land. The Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to commercialize former munitions testing grounds are complicated by UXO, making investments and development risky. [ citation needed ]

UXO cleanup in the US involves over 10 million acres (40,000 km 2 ) of land and 1,400 different sites. Estimated cleanup costs are tens of billions of dollars. It costs roughly $1,000 to demolish a UXO on site. Other costs include surveying and mapping, removing vegetation from the site, transportation, and personnel to manually detect UXOs with metal detectors. Searching for UXOs is tedious work and often 100 holes are dug to every 1 UXO found. Other methods of finding UXOs include digital geophysics detection with land and airborne systems. [30]

Examples Edit

In December 2007, UXO was discovered in new development areas outside Orlando, Florida, and construction had to be halted. [31] Other areas nearby are also affected for example boaters avoid the Indian River Lagoon, which contains UXO [32] thought to be left from live bombing runs performed during World War II by pilots from nearby DeLand Naval Air Station.

Plum Tree Island National Wildlife Refuge in Poquoson, Virginia was heavily used as a bombing range by pilots from nearby Langley Air Force Base from 1917 through the 1950s. The 3,276-acre (1,326 ha) former bombing range was transferred to the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 1972. Air Force records show that 300,000 pounds (150 short tons 140 t) of various-sized bombs were dropped in just one exercise in December 1938. Because the area is alternately marshy or sandy, many of the bombs didn't explode and instead were partly or completely buried in the mud and sand or lie in the surf just offshore. In 1958 three teenage boys who landed their boat on the island were seriously injured when a 25-pound (11 kg) practice bomb exploded. As of 2007, the US military had not removed a single bomb from the Island. The island is adjacent to the Poquoson Flats, a popular destination for fishermen and recreational boaters. Some signs that have been placed offshore to warn boaters of the hidden danger posed by the UXO in the surf or buried beneath the idyllic-looking sand beach and salt marsh have been blown down by storms and have not been replaced. [33] According to the US Army Corps of Engineers, the cleanup of the UXO on Plumtree Island could take years and cost tens of millions of dollars. [34]

During World War I, the US Chemical Corps was established at American University, based in the University's McKinley Building. After the war, many toxic chemicals and weaponry were buried in or around the Northwest DC community where the university is located. Excavations in the area were carried out after significant discoveries were made in 2010. [35]

Although comparatively rare, unexploded ordnance from the American Civil War is still occasionally found and is still deadly 150 years later. Union and Confederate troops fired an estimated 1.5 million artillery shells at each other from 1861 to 1865. As many as one in five did not explode. [36] In 1973, during the restoration of Weston Manor, an 18th-century plantation house in Hopewell, Virginia that was shelled by Union gunboats during the Civil War, a live shell was found embedded in the dining room ceiling. The ball was disarmed and is shown to visitors to the plantation. [37]

In late March 2008, a 44-pound (20 kg), 8-inch (20 cm) mortar shell was uncovered at the Petersburg National Battlefield, the site of a 292-day siege. The shell was taken to the city landfill where it was safely detonated by ordnance disposal experts. [36] Also in 2008, Civil War enthusiast Sam White was killed when a 9-inch (23 cm), 75-pound (34 kg) naval shell he was attempting to disarm in the driveway of his home in a Richmond, Virginia suburb exploded. The explosion sent a chunk of shrapnel crashing into a house one-quarter mile (400 m) away. [36]

According to Alaska State Troopers, an unexploded aerial bomb, found at a home off Warner Road, was safely detonated by Fort Wainwright soldiers on September 19, 2019. [38]

Canada Edit

Much of the unused ordnance in Canada after the Second World War was dumped along the country's eastern and western coasts at sites selected by Canadian Military authorities. [39] Other UXOs in Canada are found on sites used by the Canadian military for military operations, training and weapons tests. [40] These sites are labeled under the "legacy sites" program created in 2005 to identify areas or risk due to unexploded military ordnance. [40] As of 2019, the Department of National Defense has confirmed 62 locations as legacy sites, with a further 774 sites in assessment. [41] There has been some controversy because some of the lands that were appropriated by the Canadian Military during the Second World War were owned by First Nations, such as the 2,000 acres that make up Camp Ipperwash in Ontario, and were given with the understanding that the land would be given back at the end of the war. [42] These lands have required and still need extensive clean-up efforts due to the possibility of the presence of UXOs. [42]

Asia Edit

Japan Edit

Thousands of tons of UXOs remain buried across Japan, particularly in Okinawa, where over 200,000 tons of ordnance were dropped during the final year of the Second World War. From 1945 until the end of the U.S. occupation of the island in 1972, the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and the US military disposed of 5,500 tons of UXO. Over 30,000 UXO disposal operations have been conducted on Okinawa by the JSDF since 1972, and it is estimated it could take close to a century to dispose of the remaining UXOs on the islands. No injuries or deaths have been reported as a result of UXO disposal, however. [43] Tokyo and other major cities, including Kobe, Yokohama and Fukuoka, were targeted by several massive air raids during the Second World War, which left behind numerous UXOs. Shells from Imperial Army and Navy guns also continue to be discovered.

On 29 October 2012, an unexploded 250-kilogram (550 lb) US bomb with a functioning detonator was discovered near a runway at Sendai Airport during reconstruction following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, resulting in the airport being closed and all flights cancelled. [44] The airport reopened the next day after the bomb was safely contained, but closed again on 14 November while the bomb was defused and safely removed. [45]

In March 2013, an unexploded Imperial Army anti-aircraft shell measuring 40 centimetres (16 in) long was discovered at a construction site in Tokyo's Kita Ward, close to the Kaminakazato Station on the JR Keihin Tohoku Line. The shell was detonated in place by a JGSDF UXO disposal squad in June, causing 150 scheduled rail and Shinkansen services to be halted for three hours and affecting 90,000 commuters. [46] In July, an unexploded 1,000-kilogram (2,200 lb) US bomb from an air raid was discovered near the Akabane Station in the Kita Ward and defused on site by the JGSDF in November, resulting in the evacuation of 3,000 households nearby and causing several trains to be halted for an hour while the UXO was being defused. [47]

On 13 April 2014, the JGSDF defused an unexploded 250-kilogram (550 lb) US oil incendiary bomb discovered at a construction site in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, which required the evacuation of 740 people living nearby. [48]

On 16 March 2015, a 2,000-pound (910 kg) bomb was found in central Osaka. [49]

In December 2019, 100 buildings were evacuated to remove a 500-pound (230 kg) WWII bomb found on Okinawa's Camp Kinser. [50]

South Asia Edit

Afghanistan Edit

According to The Guardian, since 2001, the coalition forces dropped about 20,000 tonnes of ammunition over Afghanistan with an estimated 10% of munitions not detonated according to some experts. [51] Many valleys, fields and dry riverbeds in Macca have been used by foreign soldiers as firing ranges, left them peppered with undetonated ammunition. Despite the removal of 16.5m items since mine-clearing programmes were established in 1989 after the Soviet withdrawal, Macca and its predecessors have recorded 22,000 casualties in the same period. [51]

Sri Lanka Edit

Southeast Asia Edit

Most countries of Southeast Asia – and all countries of Indochina specifically – are contaminated with unexploded ordnance. Most of the UXOs of today are remnants from the Vietnam War which, apart from Vietnam, also included neighbouring Cambodia and Laos, but other conflicts and civil wars has also contributed.

Cambodia Edit
Laos Edit

Laos is considered the world's most heavily bombed nation per capita. [52] During the period of the Vietnam War, over half a million American bombing missions dropped more than 2 million tons [53] of ordnance on Laos, most of it anti-personnel cluster bombs. [52] Each cluster bomb shell contained hundreds of individual bomblets, "bombies", about the size of a tennis ball. An estimated 30% of these munitions did not detonate. [52] Ten of the 18 Laotian provinces have been described as "severely contaminated" [ citation needed ] with artillery and mortar shells, mines, rockets, grenades, and other devices from various countries of origin. [54] These munitions pose a continuing obstacle to agriculture and a special threat to children, who are attracted by the toylike devices. [55]

Some 288 million cluster munitions and about 75 million unexploded bombs were left across Laos after the war ended. From 1996 to 2009, more than 1 million items of UXO were destroyed, freeing up 23,000 hectares of land. Between 1999 and 2008, there were 2,184 casualties (including 834 deaths) from UXO incidents. [56] [54]

Myanmar Edit
Vietnam Edit

In Vietnam, 800,000 tons of landmines and unexploded ordnance is buried in the land and mountains. [ citation needed ] From 1975 to 2015, up to 100,000 people have been injured or killed by bombs left over from the second Indochina war. [ citation needed ]

At present, all 63 provinces and cities are contaminated with UXO and landmines. However, it is possible to prioritize demining for the Northern border provinces of Lang Son, Ha Giang and the six Central provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien and Quang Ngai. Particularly in these 6 central provinces, up to 2010, there were 22,760 victims of landmines and UXO, of which 10,529 died and 12,231 were injured. [57]

"The National Action Plan for the Prevention and Fighting of Unexploded Ordnance and Mines from 2010 to 2025" has been prepared and promulgated by the Vietnamese Government in April 2010. [58]

Western Asia Edit

Western Asia, including the Middle East and border states towards Russia, is severely affected by UXO, in particular land mines. Not only are civilians killed and maimed regularly, it also impedes economic growth and development by restricting the use of natural resources and farmland.

Iraq Edit

Iraq is widely contaminated with unexploded remnants of war from the Iran–Iraq War (1980–88), the Gulf War (1990–91), the Iraq War (2003–11) and lately the recent Iraqi Civil War. The UXO in Iraq poses a particularly serious threat to civilians as millions of cluster bomb munitions were dropped in towns and densely populated areas by the US and British air forces, mostly in the first few weeks of the invasion in 2003. An estimated 30% of the munitions failed to detonate on impact and small unexploded bombs are regularly found in and around homes in Iraq, frequently maiming or killing civilians and restricting land use. [59] From 1991 to 2009, an estimated 8,000 people were killed by cluster bomblets alone, 2,000 of which were children. Land mines are another part of the UXO problem in Iraq as they litter large areas of farmland and many oil fields, severely affecting economic recovery and development. [60]

Reporting and monitoring is lacking in Iraq and no completely reliable survey and overview of the local threat levels exists. Useful statistics on injuries and deaths caused by UXO is also missing, only singular local reports exist. UNDP and UNICEF however, issued a partial survey report in 2009, concluding that the entire country is contaminated and more than 1.6 million Iraqis are affected by UXO. More than 1,730 km2 (670 square miles) in total are saturated with unexploded ordnance (including land mines). The south-east region and Baghdad are the most heavily contaminated areas and UNDP has designated around 4,000 communities as "hazard areas". [61] [62] [60]

Kuwait Edit

The Government has launched the Kuwait Environmental Remediation Project, a set of deals of the scale of US$2.9 billion to promote, among other initiaves, the clearance of unexploded ordnance remaining from the First Gulf War. [63]

Regarding especifically the removal of bombs, it is estimated to have a budget in the region of US$20 million.

The companies that have been prequalified as KOC has announced are:

  • Azerbaijan National Agency For Mine Action (ANAMA, Azerbaijan)
  • EOD Technology (US)
  • Expal Systems (Spain)
  • Explomo Technical Services (Singapore)
  • G4S Risk Management (UK)
  • Horizon Assignments (India)
  • Maritime & Underwater Security Contractors (UAE)
  • Mechem (South Africa)
  • Mine / Eodclr (Canada)
  • Minetech International (UK)
  • Notra (Canada)
  • Olive Mine Action (British Virgin Islands)
  • Relyant (US)
  • RPS Energy (UK)
  • Sarvatra Technical Consultants (India)

According to an industry source, KOC is expected to issue another tender later this month. This will request bids on a contract that will include taking 30,000 samples from oil lakes in Kuwait in order to better understand the nature of the pollution in the country's oil-contaminated deserts.

There are numerous mines, bombs and other explosives left from the Persian Gulf war, which makes a simple U-turn on a dirt road a life-threatening maneuver, unless performed entirely in an area covered by fresh tire tracks. Risking walking or driving in unknown areas puts oneself in danger of detonating those forgotten explosives.

In Kuwait City, there are some signs that warn people to keep distance from the broad and gleaming beaches, for example. Although, even the experts still have trouble. According to a New York Times article: Several Saudi soldiers involved in mine clearing have been killed or wounded. Two were hurt while demonstrating mine clearing for reporters. [64]

Weeks right after the Gulf, hospitals in Kuwait reported that mines did not appear to be a major cause of injury. Six weeks after the Iraqi retreat, at Ahmadi Hospital, in an area thick with cluster bombs and Iraqi mines, the only injury was a hospital employee who had picked up an anti-personnel bomb as a souvenir.

Lebanon Edit

In the aftermath of the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, it is estimated that southern Lebanon is littered with one million undetonated cluster bombs [65] – approximately 1.5 bombs per Lebanese inhabitant of the region, dropped by Israeli Defense Forces in the last days of the war. [66]

Yemen Edit

Europe Edit

Despite massive demining efforts, Europe is still affected to some extent by UXO from mainly World War I and World War II, some countries more than others. However, newer and present military conflicts are also affecting some areas severely, in particular the countries of former Yugoslavia in western Balkans and Ukraine.

Austria Edit

WWII's unexploded ordnance in Austria is blown up twice a year in the military training area near Allentsteig. Moreover, explosives are still being recovered from lakes, rivers and mountains dating back to WWI on the frontier between Austria and Italy. [67]

The Balkans Edit

As a result of the Yugoslav Wars (1991–2001), the countries of Albania, [68] [69] Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo have all been negatively affected by UXOs, mostly land mines in hilly and mountainous regions. Due to the lack of awareness of these post-war landmines, civilian casualties have risen since the end of the wars. Many efforts made by peacekeeping forces in Bosnia such as IFOR, SFOR (and its successor EUFOR ALTHEA), and in Kosovo with KFOR in order to contain these landmines have been met with some difficulty. [ further explanation needed ] Despite this, some areas have been completely cleared. [ citation needed ]

The Federal Civil Protection Administration (FUCZ) team deactivated and destroyed four WWII bombs found at a construction site in the centre of Sarajevo in September 2019. [70]

France and Belgium Edit

In the Ardennes region of France, large-scale citizen evacuations were necessary during MEC removal operations in 2001. In the forests of Verdun French government "démineurs" working for the Département du Déminage still hunt for poisonous, volatile, and/or explosive munitions and recover about 900 tons every year. The most feared are corroded artillery shells containing chemical warfare agents such as mustard gas. French and Flemish farmers still find many UXOs when ploughing their fields, the so-called "iron harvest".

In Belgium, Dovo, the country's bomb disposal unit, recovers between 150 and 200 tons of unexploded bombs each year. Over 20 members of the unit have been killed since it was formed in 1919. [71]

In February 2019, a 1,000 lb (450 kg) bomb was found at a construction site at Porte de la Chapelle, near the Gare du Nord in Paris. The bomb which led to a temporary cancellation of Eurostar trains to Paris and evacuation of 2,000 people, was probably dropped by RAF in April 1944, targeting the Nazi-occupied Paris before the D-Day landings in Normandy. [72]

Germany Edit

Germany has a specialized unit for defusing bombs called (German: Kampfmittelbeseitigungsdienst (KMBD), Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service). It is considered one of the busiest worldwide as it deactivates a bomb every two weeks. [73]

Thousands of UXOs from the Second World War are still uncovered each year in Germany. [74] Concentration is especially high in Berlin, where many artillery shells and smaller munitions from the Battle of Berlin are uncovered each year. While most cases only make local news, one of the more spectacular finds in recent history was an American 500-pound (230 kg) aerial bomb discovered in Munich on 28 August 2012. [75] As it was deemed too unsafe for transport, it had to be exploded on site, shattering windows over a wide area of Schwabing and causing structural damage to several homes despite precautions to minimize damage.

One of the largest individual pieces ever found was an unexploded 'Tallboy' bomb uncovered in the Sorpe Dam in 1958. [76] In 2011, a 1.8-tonne RAF bomb from the Second World War was uncovered in Koblenz on the bottom of the Rhine River after a prolonged drought. It caused the evacuation of 45,000 people from the city. [77] In May 2015, some 20,000 people had to leave their homes in Cologne in order to be safe while a one-tonne bomb was defused. [78]

On December 20, 2016 another 1.8-tonne RAF bomb was found in the city centre of Augsburg and prompted the evacuation of 54,000 people on December 25, which was considered the biggest bomb-related evacuation in Germany's post-war history at the time. [79] In May 2017, 50,000 people in Hanover had to be evacuated in order to defuse three British unexploded bombs. [80]

On 29 August 2017, a British HC 4000 bomb was discovered during construction work near the Goethe University in Frankfurt, requiring the evacuation of approximately 70,000 people within a radius of 1.5 km. This was the largest evacuation in Germany since the Second World War. [81] [82] [83] Later, it was successfully defused on 3 September. [73]

On 8 April 2018, a 1.8-tonne bomb was defused in Paderborn, which caused the evacuation of more than 26,000 people. [84] On 24 May 2018, a 550 lb (250 kg) bomb was defused in Dresden after the initial attempts of deactivation failed, and caused a small explosion. [85] On 3 July 2018, a 550 lb (250 kg) bomb was disabled in Potsdam which caused 10,000 people to be evacuated from the region. [86] In August 2018, 18,500 people in the city of Ludwigshafen had to be evacuated, in order to detonate a 1,100 lb (500 kg) bomb dropped by American forces. [7]

In Summer 2018, high temperatures caused a decrease in the water level of the Elbe River in which grenades, mines and other explosives founded in the eastern German states of Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony were dumped. [87] In October 2018, a WWII bomb was found during construction work in Europaviertel, Frankfurt, 16,000 people were affected within a radius of 700 m (2,300 ft). [88] In November 2018, 10,000 people had to be evacuated, in order to defuse an American unexploded bomb found in Cologne. [89] In December 2018, a 250 kg (550 lb) WWII bomb was discovered in Mönchengladbach. [90]

On 31 January 2019, a WWII bomb was detonated in Lingen, Lower Saxony, which caused property damage of shattering windows and the evacuation of 9,000 people. [91] In February 2019, an American unexploded bomb was found in Essen, which led to the evacuation of 4,000 residents within a radius of 250 to 500 metres of defusing work. [92] A few weeks later, a 250 kg (550 lb) bomb led to the evacuation of 8,000 people in Nuremberg. [93] In March 2019, another 250 kg (550 lb) bomb was found in Rostock. [94] In April 2019, a WWII bomb was found near the U.S. military facilities in Wiesbaden. [95]

On 14 April 2019, 600 people were evacuated when a bomb was discovered in Frankfurt's River Main. Divers with the city's fire service were participating in a routine training exercise when they found the 250 kg (550 lb) device. [96] Later in April, thousands were evacuated in both Regensburg [97] and Cologne, upon the discovery of unexploded ordnance. [98]

On 23 June 2019, a WWII aerial bomb that was buried 4 metres underground in a field in Limburg self-detonated and left a crater that measured 10 metres wide and 4 metres deep. Though no one was injured, the explosion was powerful enough to register a minor tremor of 1.7 on the Richter scale. [99] In June 2019, a World War II bomb, weighing 500 kilograms (1,100 lb), was found near the European Central Bank in Frankfurt am Main. More than 16,000 people were told to evacuate the location before the bomb was defused by the ordnance authorities on July 7, 2019. [100]

On September 2, 2019, over 15,000 people were evacuated in Hanover, after a World War II aerial bomb, weighing 500 pounds (230 kg), was found at a construction site. [101]

Poland Edit

In October 2020, Polish Navy divers discovered a six-ton “Tallboy” British bomb. While remotely neutralizing the bomb, it exploded in a shipping canal off the Polish port city of Swinoujscie. The Polish Navy considered it a success because the divers were able to ultimately destroy the munition with zero casualties reported. [102] The government reportedly took all necessary measures before they started to defuse the bomb, which included evacuating 750 residents from the site. [103]

Spain Edit

Since the 1980s, more than 750,000 pieces of UXO from the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) has been recovered and destroyed by the Guardia Civil in Spain. In the 2010s, around 1,000 bombs, artillery shells and grenades have been defused every year. [104] [105]

Ukraine Edit

Ukraine is contaminated with UXO from World War I, World War II, former Soviet military training and the current Ukraine Crisis, including the War in Donbass. Most of the UXO from the world wars has presumably been removed by demining efforts in the mid 1970s, but sporadic remnants may remain in unknown locations. The UXO from the recent military conflicts includes both landmines and cluster bomblets dropped and set by both Ukrainian, anti-government and Russian forces. Reports of booby traps harming civilians also exist. [106] Ukraine reports that Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast are the regions mostly affected by unexploded submunitions. Proper, reliable statistics are currently unavailable, and information from the involved combatants are possibly politically biased and partly speculative. [107] However, 600 deaths and 2,000 injured due to UXO in 2014 and 2015 alone have been accounted for. [108]

United Kingdom Edit

UXO is standard terminology in the United Kingdom, although in artillery, especially on practice ranges, an unexploded shell is referred to as a blind, and during the Blitz in World War II an unexploded bomb was referred to as a UXB.

Most current UXO risk is limited to areas in cities, mainly London, Sheffield and Portsmouth, that were heavily bombed during the Blitz, and to land used by the military to store ammunition and for training. [109] According to the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA), from 2006 to 2009 over 15,000 items of ordnance were found in construction sites in the UK. [110] It is not uncommon for many homes to be evacuated temporarily when a bomb is found. [111] 1,000 residents were evacuated in Plymouth in April 2007 when a Second World War bomb was discovered, [112] and in June 2008 a 1,000-kilogram (2,200 lb) bomb was found in Bow in East London. In 2009 CIRIA published Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) – a guide for the construction industry [113] to provide advice on assessing the risk posed by UXO.

The burden of Explosive Ordnance Disposal in the UK is split between Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Officers, Royal Logistic Corps Ammunition Technicians in the Army, Clearance Divers of the Royal Navy and the Armourers of the Royal Air Force. The Metropolitan Police of London is the only force not to rely on the Ministry of Defence, although they generally focus on contemporary terrorist devices rather than unexploded ordnance and will often call military teams in to deal with larger and historical bombs.

In May 2016, a 500 lb (230 kg) bomb was found at the former Royal High Junior School in Bath which led to 1,000 houses being evacuated. [114] In September 2016, a 1,102 lb (500 kg) bomb was discovered on the seabed in Portsmouth Harbour. [115] In March 2017, a 500 lb (230 kg) bomb was found in Brondesbury Park, London. [116] In May 2017, a 550 lb (250 kg) device was detonated in Birmingham. [117] In February 2018, a 1,100 lb (500 kg) bomb was discovered in the Thames which forced London City Airport to cancel all the scheduled flights. [118] In February 2019, a 3 in (76 mm) explosive device was located and destroyed in Dovercourt, near Harwich, Essex. [119]

On September 26, 2019, Invicta Valley Primary School in Kings Hill was reportedly evacuated after an unexploded WW2 bomb was discovered in its vicinity. [120]

In February 2021, thousands of residents of Exeter were evacuated from their homes prior to the detonation of a 1000 kg WWII bomb the ensuing blast blew out windows and caused structural damage to nearby homes, leaving some uninhabitable. [121]

The Pacific Edit

Buried and abandoned aerial and mortar bombs, artillery shells, and other unexploded ordnance from World War II have threatened communities across the islands of the South Pacific. As of 2014 [update] the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs invested more than $5.6 million in support of conventional weapons destruction programs in the Pacific Islands. [122]

On the battlefield of Peleliu Island in the Republic of Palau UXO removal made the island safe for tourism. At Hell's Point Guadalcanal Province in the Solomon Islands an explosive ordnance disposal training program was established which safely disposed of hundreds of items of UXO. It trained police personnel to respond to EOD call-outs in the island's highly populated areas. On Mili Atoll and Maloelap Atoll in the Marshall Islands removal of UXO has allowed for population expansion into formerly inaccessible areas. [122]

In the Marianas, World War II-era unexploded ordnance is still often found and detonated under controlled conditions. [123] [124] [125] [126]

In September 2020, two Norwegian People's Aid employees were killed in an explosion in a residential area of Honiara, Solomon Islands, while clearing unexploded ordnance left over from the Pacific War of World War II. [127]

Protocol V of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons requires that when active hostilities have ended the parties must clear the areas under their control from "explosive remnants of war". Land mines are covered similarly by Protocol II.

Many weapons, including aerial bombs in particular, are discovered during construction work, after lying undetected for decades. Having failed to explode while resting undiscovered is no guarantee that a bomb will not explode when disturbed. Such discoveries are common in heavily bombed cities, without a serious enough threat to warrant systematic searching.

Where there is known to be much unexploded ordnance, in cases of unexploded subsoil ordnance a remote investigation is done by visual interpretation of available historical aerial photographs. Modern techniques can combine geophysical and survey methods with modern electromagnetic and magnetic detectors. This provides digital mapping of UXO contamination with the aim to better target subsequent excavations, reducing the cost of digging on every metallic contact and speeding the clearance process. Magnetometer probes can detect UXO and provide geotechnical data before drilling or piling is carried out. [128]

Aftermath of the Zoot Suit Riots

Zoot suiters lined up outside Los Angeles jail en route to court after feud with sailors, 1943.

Local papers framed the racial attacks as a vigilante response to an immigrant crime wave, and police generally restricted their arrests to the Latinos who fought back. The riots didn’t die down until June 8, when U.S. military personnel were finally barred from leaving their barracks.

The Los Angeles City Council issued a ban on zoot suits the following day. Amazingly, no one was killed during the weeklong riot, but it wasn’t the last outburst of zoot suit-related racial violence. Similar incidents took place that same year in cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago and Detroit.

A Citizens’ Committee appointed by California Governor Earl Warren to investigate the Zoot Suit Riots convened in the weeks after the riot. The committee’s report found that, “In undertaking to deal with the cause of these outbreaks, the existence of race prejudice cannot be ignored.”

Additionally, the committee described the problem of juvenile delinquency youth as “one of American youth, not confined to any racial group. The wearers of zoot suits are not necessarily persons of Mexican descent, criminals or juveniles. Many young people today wear zoot suits.”

This insect pain scale will help you test your warrior mettle

Posted On April 29, 2020 15:50:20

The sting of the Warrior Wasp is pure torture, according to entomologist Dr. Justin Schmidt, who was willingly stung by each of the most painful insect stings on Earth to create a scale of pain. He went on to describe it as being chained in the flow of an active volcano. It was the only one that ever made him question why he would endeavor to create such a scale.

Schmidt’s Pain Index covers the stings of Hymenoptera, a class of insect that includes bees, wasps, and ants. On the scale of one to four, with four being the worst pain imaginable, only three insects made the top of the list.

Level one

The first level is short, sharp, but not lasting stings from things like sweat bees and fire ants. The pain from these stings generally last around five minutes or less. There is minimal damage done to the body from the insect venom. Schmidt described the sting of a sweat bee as “light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.”

Level Two: Been There, Done That.

Level two

Raising the stakes just a little means the next level is still filled with creatures with which most of us are familiar. Level two includes common honeybees, yellow jackets, and hornets. Dr. Schmidt says the vast majority of bees, wasps, and ants will fall into level two, though the sensations of pain are different from creature to creature.

While a yellow jacket can cause a very directed and hot kind of pain, Schmidt describes the sting of a termite-raiding ant as a “migraine contained on the tip of one’s finger.”

Level three

This level, though not exclusively filled with wasps, is mostly wasps. The stings of a level three insect can last from anywhere from a few minutes to longer than an hour. Though the ants that do make a level three kind of pain are very painful and memorable.

He described the sting of the Maricopa Harvester Ant as “After eight unrelenting hours of drilling into that ingrown toenail, you find the drill wedged into the toe.”

Level Four: Kill It With Fire.

Level four

As previously mentioned, only three insects fall into this level of pain, and Dr. Schmidt has experienced all of them, including that of the bullet ant, long regarded as the most painful insect bite ever felt and lasting for hours. The others include the tarantula hawk, a wasp whose venom is meant to hunt giant tarantulas and the warrior wasp, with a sting that was once clinically described as “traumatic.”

The Amazonian Tribe of the Mawé have a puberty right for males that includes wearing a bullet ant glove. If you experience the worst pain the jungle has to offer, how can you possibly fear anything else?

More on We are the Mighty

More links we like


The Army will soon have female grunts, tankers in all brigade combat teams

Posted On June 04, 2020 20:05:13

1st Lt. Jessica Pauley became the Idaho Army National Guard’s first female infantry officer in 2019. She is now assigned to the 116th Cavalry Regiment’s C Company, 2nd Battalion, as its first female platoon leader. (U.S. Army/ Crystal Farris)

The U.S. Army announced recently that female soldiers will be integrated into all of its infantry and armor brigade combat teams (BCTs) by the end of the year.

Currently, 601 women are in the process of entering the infantry career field and 568 are joining the armor career field, according to a recent Army news release.

“Every year, though, the number of women in combat arms increases,” Maj. Melissa Comiskey, chief of command policy for Army G-1, said in the release. “We’ve had women in the infantry and armor occupations now for three years. It’s not as different as it was three years ago when the Army first implemented the integration plan.”

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta started the process by lifting the ban on women serving in combat roles in 2013. The Army then launched a historic effort in 2015 to open the previously male-only Ranger School to female applicants.

Out of the 19 women who originally volunteered in April 2015, then-Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver became the first to earn the coveted Ranger Tab that August.

The plan is to integrate female soldiers into the final nine of the Army’s 31 infantry and armor BCTs this year, according to the release. The service did not say how many female soldiers are currently serving in the other 22 BCTs.

At first, the gender integration plan, under the “leaders first” approach, required that two female officers or noncommissioned officers of the same military occupational specialty be assigned to each company that accepted women straight from initial-entry training.

Now, the rule has been changed to require only one female officer or NCO to be in companies that accept junior enlisted women, according to the release.

Comiskey said it’s still important to have female leaders in units receiving junior enlisted female infantry and armor soldiers, to help ease the culture change of historically all-male organizations.

“Quite frankly, it’s generally going to be an NCO leader that young soldiers will turn to for questions,” she said. “The inventory of infantry and armor women leaders is not as high as we have junior soldiers. … It takes a little bit longer to grow the leaders.”

In 2019, the Army began opening up more assignments for female armor and infantry officers at Fort Stewart, Georgia Fort Drum, New York Fort Riley, Kansas Fort Polk, Louisiana and in Italy.

This article originally appeared on Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.

More links we like



George Churchill Kenney was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, on 6 August 1889, [1] during a summer vacation taken by his parents to avoid the humidity of the Boston area. The oldest of four children of carpenter Joseph Atwood Kenney and his wife Anne Louise Kenney, née Churchill, Kenney grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts. He graduated from Brookline High School in 1907 and later that year he entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he pursued a course in civil engineering. After his father left his family, Kenney quit MIT and took various jobs before becoming a surveyor for the Quebec Saguenay Railroad. [2] [3]

His mother died in 1913 and Kenney returned to Boston, where he took a job with Stone & Webster. In 1914 he joined the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad as a civil engineer, building a bridge in New London, Connecticut. After this was completed, he formed a partnership, the Beaver Contracting and Engineering Corporation, with a high school classmate, Gordon Glazier. The firm became involved in a number of projects, including the construction of a seawall at Winthrop, Massachusetts, and a bridge over the Squannacook River. [4]

The United States entered World War I in April 1917, and Kenney enlisted as a flying cadet in the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps on 2 June 1917. He attended ground school at MIT in June and July, and received primary flight training at Hazelhurst Field in Mineola, New York, from Bert Acosta. He was commissioned as a first lieutenant on 5 November 1917, and departed for France soon after. There, he received further flight training at Issoudun. This ended in February 1918, when he was assigned to the 91st Aero Squadron. [5] [6]

The 91st Aero Squadron flew the Salmson 2A2, a reconnaissance biplane. Kenney crashed one on takeoff on 22 March 1918. He broke an ankle and a hand, and earned himself the nickname "Bust 'em up George". [8] [9] His injuries soon healed, and he recorded his first mission on 3 June. Kenney flew one of four aircraft on a mission near Gorze on 15 September 1918 that was attacked by six German Pfalz D.III scouts. His observer William T. Badham shot one of them down, and Kenney was credited with his first aerial victory. For this he was awarded a Silver Star. A second victory followed in similar circumstances on 9 October while he was flying near Jametz in support of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Once again, the formation he was flying with was attacked by German fighters. This time he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, which was presented by Brigadier General Billy Mitchell on 10 January 1919.

For extraordinary heroism in action near Jametz, France, October 9, 1918. This officer gave proof of his bravery and devotion to duty when he was attacked by a superior number of aircraft. He accepted combat, destroyed one plane and drove the others off. Notwithstanding that the enemy returned and attacked again in strong numbers, he continued his mission and enabled his observer to secure information of great military value. [11]

Kenney remained for a time with the Allied occupation forces in Germany, and was promoted to captain on 18 March 1919. [5] He returned to the United States in June 1919. He was the co-author in 1919 of "History of the 91st Aero Squadron" [12] He was sent to Kelly Field, near San Antonio, Texas, and then to McAllen, Texas. As commander of the 8th Aero Squadron, he flew reconnaissance missions along the border with Mexico during the Mexican Revolution. Poor aircraft maintenance, rough landing strips and bad weather led to the squadron losing 22 of its 24 Airco DH.4 aircraft in just one year. [13]

Kenney applied for one of a number of Regular Army commissions offered to reservists after the war, [13] and was commissioned as a captain in the Air Service on 1 July 1920. [5] While he was in hospital in Texas recovering from an aviation accident, he met a nurse, [14] Helen "Hazel" Dell Richardson, the daughter of a Mobile, Alabama, contractor, George W. Richardson. They were married in Mobile on 6 October 1920. [3] Hazel miscarried twins, and was warned by her doctor of the danger of another pregnancy, but she strongly wished to have a child. In 1922, while the couple was living on Long Island, New York, a son, William Richardson Kenney, was born to them, but Hazel died soon afterward from complications. Kenney arranged to have the infant cared for by his neighbor, Alice Steward Maxey, another nurse. On 5 June 1923 Kenney married Maxey in her home town of Gardiner, Maine. [14]

From July to November 1920, Kenney was air detachment commander at Camp Knox, Kentucky. He then became a student at the Air Service Engineering School at McCook Field, near Dayton Ohio. [15] He was the Air Service Inspector at the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company in Garden City, New York, where he was responsible for the acceptance of the fifty Martin NBS-1 bombers that the Air Service had ordered from Curtis between 1921 and 1923. Kenney inspected the aircraft, and test flew them. [14] While there, he was reduced in rank from captain to first lieutenant on 18 November 1922, [5] a common occurrence in the aftermath of World War I when the wartime army was demobilized. [16] He returned to McCook in 1923, and developed techniques for mounting .30 caliber machine guns on the wings of a DH.4. [15] [17] He was promoted to captain again on 3 November 1923. [5] His daughter, Julia Churchill Kenney, was born in Dayton in June 1926. [3] [18]

In 1926, Kenney became a student at the Air Corps Tactical School, at Langley Field, Virginia, the Air Corps' advanced training school. He then attended the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the Army's advanced school where officers were taught how to handle large formations as commanders or staff officers. Most Air Corps officers, including Kenney, considered the course largely irrelevant to them, and therefore a waste of time, but nonetheless a prerequisite for promotion in a ground-oriented Army. [18] Afterwards, he returned to the Air Corps Tactical School as an instructor. He taught classes of attack aviation. He was particularly interested in low-level attacks, as a means of improving accuracy. There were tactical problems with this, as low-flying aircraft were vulnerable to ground fire. There were also technical problems to be solved, as an aircraft could be struck by its own bomb fragments. [19] His interest in attack aviation would ultimately set him apart in an Air Corps where strategic bombardment came to dominate thinking. [20]

Kenney reached the pinnacle of his professional education in September 1932, when he entered the Army War College in Washington, D.C.. At the war college, committees of students studied a number of World War I battles Kenney's committee examined the Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes. They updated actual war plans, Kenney's study group working on War Plan Orange. They also had to write an individual paper Kenney wrote his on "The Proper Composition of the Air Force". One benefit of the Army War College was that it brought Air Corps officers into contact with ground officers that they would later have to work closely with. Members of Kenney's class included Richard Sutherland and Stephen Chamberlain, both of whom worked with him on committees. [21]

Graduation from the Army War College was normally followed by a staff posting, and on graduation in June 1933 Kenney became an assistant to Major James E. Chaney in the Plans Division of the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps, Major General Benjamin Foulois. He performed various duties, including translating an article by the Italian air power theorist Giulio Douhet into English. In 1934, he was involved with drafting legislation that granted the Air Corps a greater degree of independence. This legislation prompted the Army to create GHQ Air Force, a centralized, air force-level command headed by an aviator answering directly to the Army Chief of Staff. Lieutenant Colonel Frank M. Andrews was chosen to command it, and selected Kenney as his Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans and Training. [22]

In this role, Kenney was promoted to the temporary rank of lieutenant colonel on 2 March 1935, skipping that of major. He became involved in an acrimonious debate with the Army General Staff over the Air Corps' desire to purchase more Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers. He also became caught up in a bureaucratic battle between Andrews and Major General Oscar Westover over whether the Chief of the Air Corps should control GHQ Air Force. As a result, Kenney was transferred to the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, on 16 June 1936, with the temporary rank of major, to teach tactics to young infantry officers. He was promoted to the substantive rank of major on 1 October 1937, but the assignment was hardly a choice one for an Air Corps officer. In September 1938 he accepted an offer to command the 97th Observation Squadron at Mitchell Field, New York. [5] [23]

In 1939, Kenney was made Chief of the Production Engineering Section at Wright Field, Ohio. He was sent to France in early 1940, once again with the temporary rank of lieutenant colonel, as Assistant Military Attaché for Air. [5] His mission was to observe Allied air operations during the early stages of World War II. As a result of his observations, he recommended many important changes to Air Corps equipment and tactics, including upgrading armament from .30 caliber to .50 caliber machine guns, and installing leak-proof fuel tanks, [24] but his scathing comparisons of the German Luftwaffe with the Air Corps upset many officers. [25] This resulted in his being sent back to Wright Field. [26] In January 1941, he became commander of the Air Corps Experimental Depot and Engineering School there, with the rank of brigadier general. He was promoted to major general on 26 March 1942, when he became commander of the Fourth Air Force, [5] an air defense and training organization based in San Francisco. [27] Kenney personally instructed pilots on how to handle the Lockheed P-38 Lightning and A-29 Hudson. [28]

Southwest Pacific Area Edit

In July 1942, Kenney received orders to take over the Allied Air Forces and Fifth Air Force in General Douglas MacArthur's Southwest Pacific Area. MacArthur had been dissatisfied with the performance of his air commander, Lieutenant General George Brett. Andrews, by then a major general, turned down the job, and, offered a choice between Kenney and Major General James Doolittle, MacArthur chose Kenney. [29] Kenney reported to MacArthur in Brisbane on 28 July 1942, and was treated to "a lecture for approximately an hour on the shortcomings of the Air Force in general, and the Allied Air Forces in the Southwest Pacific in particular." [30] Kenney felt that MacArthur did not understand air operations, but recognized that he somehow needed to establish a good working relationship with him. When he asked MacArthur for authority to send people he considered "deadwood" home, something that his superiors in Washington, D.C. had refused to give, MacArthur enthusiastically approved. [31] [32]

Building a good relationship with MacArthur meant getting past Sutherland, MacArthur's chief of staff. Brett advised Kenney that "a showdown early in the game with Sutherland might clarify the entire atmosphere." [31] Sutherland, who had a civil pilot's license, had taken to issuing detailed instructions to the Allied Air Forces. This was more than simply a turf battle to many airmen, it was a part of the ongoing battle for an independent air force that they had long been advocating. [33] At one point, Kenney drew a dot on a plain page of paper and told Sutherland, "the dot represents what you know about air operations, the entire rest of the paper what I know." [34] Sutherland backed down, and would henceforth let Kenney run the Allied Air Forces without interference. [31] It did not follow, however, that MacArthur would invariably accept Kenney's advice. [35]

Kenney sent home Major General Ralph Royce, Brigadier Generals Edwin S. Perrin, Albert Sneed and Martin Scanlon, [36] and about forty colonels. [31] In Australia, he found two talented, recently arrived brigadier generals, Ennis Whitehead and Kenneth Walker. [37] Kenney reorganized his command in August, appointed Whitehead as commander of the V Fighter Command and Walker as commander of the V Bomber Command. [38] The Allied Air Forces was composed of both United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel. Kenney moved to separate them. Brigadier General Donald Wilson arrived in September and replaced Air Vice Marshal William Bostock as Kenney's chief of staff. Bostock took over the newly created RAAF Command. [39]

This brought Kenney into conflict with the Chief of the Air Staff of the RAAF, Air Vice Marshal George Jones, who felt that an opportunity had been lost to simplify the administration of the RAAF. Kenney preferred to have Bostock in command, and while he regarded the antipathy between Jones and Bostock as a nuisance, was happy to leave arrangements the way they were. [40] However, Kenney deviated from the normal structure of an air force by creating the Advanced Echelon (ADVON) under Whitehead. The new headquarters had the authority to change the assignments of aircraft in the forward area, where fast-changing weather and enemy action could overtake orders drawn up in Australia. [41] Kenney was promoted to lieutenant general on 21 October 1942. [5]

Perhaps because of his experience in World War I, Kenney had a great deal of respect for Japanese fighters. [42] He decided to conserve his bombers, and concentrate on attaining air superiority over New Guinea. Kenney switched the bombers to attacking by night unless fighter escorts could be provided. [43] SWPA had a low priority, and simply could not afford to replace losses from costly daylight missions. [44] What he needed was an effective long-range fighter, and Kenney hoped that the Lockheed P-38 Lightning would fit the bill, but the first ones delivered to SWPA were plagued with technical problems. [45] Kenney had Charles Lindbergh teach his P-38 pilots how to extend the range of their aircraft. [46]

The Southwest Pacific was not a promising theater of war for the strategic bomber. The bombers of the day did not have the range to reach Japan from Australia, [47] and there were no typical strategic targets in the theater other than a few oil refineries. [48] This set up a doctrinal clash between Kenney, an attack aviator, and Walker, the bomber advocate. The long-standing Air Corps tactic for attacking shipping called for large formations of high-altitude bombers. With sufficient mass, so the theory went, bombers could bracket any ship with walls of bombs, and do so from above the effective range of the ship's anti-aircraft fire. However the theoretical mass required was two orders of magnitude greater than what was available in the Southwest Pacific. [49] A dozen or so bombers was the most that could be put together, owing to the small number of aircraft in the theater and the difficulties of keeping them serviceable. The results were therefore generally ineffective, and operations incurred heavy casualties. [43]

Walker resisted Kenney's proposals that the bombers conduct attacks from low level using bombs armed with instantaneous fuses. [50] Kenney ordered Walker to try the fuses for a couple of months, so that data could be gained about their effectiveness [51] a few weeks later Kenney discovered that Walker had discontinued their use. In November, Kenney arranged for a demonstration attack on the SS Pruth, a ship that had sunk off Port Moresby in 1924 and was often used for target practice. [52] After the attack Walker and Kenney took a boat out to the wreck to inspect the damage. As expected, none of the four bombs dropped had hit the stationary wreck, but the instantaneous fuses had detonated the bombs when they struck the water, so bomb fragments had torn holes in the sides of the ship. Walker reluctantly conceded the point. [53] A few weeks later, Walker was shot down leading a daylight raid over Rabaul, an attack that Kenney had ordered to be conducted at night. [54]

In addition to trying different types of ordnance, the Allied Air Forces experimented with modifications to the aircraft themselves. Major Paul I. "Pappy" Gunn modified some USAAF Douglas A-20 Havoc light bombers by installing four .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in their noses, [55] and two 450-US-gallon (1,700 l 370 imp gal) fuel tanks were added to give the aircraft more range. This was successful, and an attempt was then made to create a longer range attack aircraft by doing the same thing to a B-25 Mitchell medium bomber, to operate as a "commerce destroyer". [56] [57] This proved to be somewhat more difficult. The resulting aircraft was obviously nose heavy despite adding lead ballast to the tail, and the vibrations caused by firing the machine guns were enough to make rivets pop out of the skin of the aircraft. [58] The tail guns and belly turrets were removed, the latter being of little use if the aircraft was flying low. [59]

The Allied Air Forces also adopted innovative tactics. In February 1942, the RAAF began experimenting with skip bombing, an anti-shipping technique used by the British and Germans. [60] Flying only a few dozen feet above the sea toward their targets, aircraft would release their bombs, which would then, ideally, ricochet across the surface of the water and explode at the side of the target ship, under it, or just over it. A similar technique was mast-height bombing, in which bombers would approach the target at low altitude, 200 to 500 feet (61 to 152 m), at about 265 to 275 miles per hour (426 to 443 km/h), and then drop down to mast height, 10 to 15 feet (3.0 to 4.6 m) about 600 yards (550 m) from the target. They would release their bombs at around 300 yards (270 m), aiming directly at the side of the ship. [61] The two techniques were not mutually exclusive. A bomber could drop two bombs, skipping the first and launching the second at mast height. [62] The Battle of the Bismarck Sea demonstrated the effectiveness of low-level attacks on shipping. [61]

Another form of airpower employed by Kenney was air transport. This started in September 1942 when troops of the 32nd Infantry Division were airlifted from Australia to Port Moresby. [63] Later in the campaign, C-47 Dakotas landed Australian troops at Wanigela. [64] A year later, American paratroops landed at Nadzab, enabling the Australian 7th Division to be flown in. [65]

The ultimate challenge was to integrate air power with MacArthur's strategy. Kenney described the process this way in 1944:

The first step in this advancement of the bomber line is to gain and maintain air control as far into enemy territory as our longest range fighters can reach. Then we put an air blockade around the Jap positions or section of the coast which we want in order to stop him from getting supplies or reinforcements. The bombers then go to work and pulverize his defensive system, methodically taking out artillery positions, stores, bivouac areas and so on. Finally comes the air cover escorting the amphibious expedition to the landing beach, a last minute blasting and smoking of the enemy beach defenses and the maintenance of strafers and fighters overhead, on call from the surface forces until their beachhead is secured. If emergency supplies are needed we drop them by parachute. The ground troops get a transport field ready as fast as possible so that we can supplement boat supply by cargo carrying airplanes. When necessary, we evacuate the wounded and sick and bring in reinforcements in a hurry. The transport field becomes a fighter field, the strafers and finally the heavies arrive and it is time to move forward again. [66]

Far East Air Forces Edit

In June 1944, Kenney was appointed commander of the Far East Air Forces (FEAF), which came to include the Fifth, Thirteenth, and Seventh Air Forces. He created the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Air Task Forces to control air operations in forward areas, each for a specific mission, another departure from doctrine. While Kenney was enthusiastic about this innovation, Washington did not like it and, over Kenney's objections, converted the three air task forces into the 308th, 309th and 310th Bombardment Wings. [67] He was promoted to general on 9 March 1945. [5]

Kenney hoped to get Boeing B-29 Superfortresses assigned to the Far East Air Forces so that, based from airfields near Darwin, they could destroy the Japanese oilfields at Balikpapan. [68] His agitation for the B-29s did not endear him to the USAAF staff in Washington, D.C. Instead, B-24 Liberators were used in a strike from Darwin in August 1943 by the American 380th Bombardment Group assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force. Another series of five air raids were launched by B-24's of the 5th and Thirteenth Air Forces from Noemfoor Island. The Japanese had been conserving their fighter forces to protect the oil fields [69] and the first two raids, which did not have fighter cover, suffered severe losses. After the war, the Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that this would have been far more productive than Operation Matterhorn, which saw B-29s based in China to bomb steel plants in Japan, as oil was more critical to the Japanese war effort than steel. [70]

In April 1946, Kenney became the first commander of the newly formed Strategic Air Command (SAC). He was encouraged by Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington to join him in the political battle surrounding the establishment of an independent United States Air Force. [71] Separately, the two men gave promotional speeches around the country. As a result, SAC's efficiency suffered. [72] On 8 May 1946, Kenney publicly presented the Medal of Honor to the family of Thomas B. McGuire, Jr, the second-highest scoring US fighter pilot, who had been killed in action. [73]

Kenney left day-to-day operations at SAC in the hands of his deputy commander, Major General St. Clair Streett. Part of the reason for Kenney's lack of focus on SAC was also his assignment as U.S. representative to the United Nations Military Staff Committee, which appeared at that time to be potentially an important assignment. In January 1947, Streett was replaced by Major General Clements McMullen. With McMullen serving officially as Kenney's deputy but actually in command, a cross-training program was implemented in early 1948 to teach bomber crew members each other's tasks, the goal being to reduce each bomber's contingent of officers from five to three. Morale suffered as a result. Major General Lauris Norstad, responsible for reporting the readiness of American airpower to the U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal, heard from unhappy airmen that the SAC was in a poor state of readiness, and he initiated an investigation. He selected Charles Lindbergh and Paul Tibbets to perform the inquiry. Tibbets told Norstad that he found nobody at SAC knew their job. [74] Lindbergh said that McMullen's cross-training program "seriously interfered with training the primary mission." [75]

On 6 May 1948, Kenney spoke to a crowd in Bangor, Maine, telling them that the US was likely to be attacked by the Soviet Union as soon as the latter had enough atomic bombs. In Washington, D.C., a group of senators including Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. complained of Kenney's "belligerent" speech, and previous ones in the same vein by Symington, saying that matters of foreign policy should be left to the president and the secretary of state, not to leaders of the United States Air Force (USAF). [76] Another controversy that Kenney became embroiled in concerned the Convair B-36 Peacemaker. He was less than impressed with this expensive and under-performing aircraft, preferring the Boeing B-50 Superfortress, an upgraded version of the B-29 instead. The USAF, however, had staked much of its credibility on the B-36, something that Kenney did not seem to appreciate. [77]

In the context of the Berlin Blockade in June 1948, the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Hoyt S. Vandenberg met with Forrestal to report the poor state of SAC. Following this meeting, Norstad recommended that Vandenberg replace Kenney, and Vandenberg quickly agreed, choosing Lieutenant General Curtis LeMay as the man he would prefer to lead the strategic bombing arm in case of war with the USSR. [74] [78] LeMay was made leader of SAC, and Kenney became commanding officer of the Air University, a position he held from October 1948 until his retirement from the Air Force in September 1951. [79]

In April 1949, Kenney became the sixth person to receive the General William E. Mitchell Memorial Award. [80]

After his retirement, he lived in Bay Harbor Islands, Florida. In 1958 he appeared as the host of the TV anthology series Flight. He died on 9 August 1977. [81]

Kenney wrote three books about the SWPA air campaigns he led during World War II. His major work was General Kenney Reports (1949), a personal history of the air war he led from 1942 to 1945. He also wrote The Saga of Pappy Gunn (1959) and Dick Bong: Ace of Aces (1960), which described the careers of Paul Gunn and Richard Bong, two of the most prominent airmen under his command.

He was survived by his two children, five grandsons and one granddaughter. His son, William "Bill" R. Kenney, rose to the rank of colonel in the USAF. [82] His daughter, Julia, married Edward C. Hoagland Jr., a fighter pilot in World War II and later in Korea, who eventually retired from the USAF at the rank of lieutenant colonel. [83]

Effective dates of rank, which count towards time in service, are when the officer formally accepted the appointment or promotion.

President Truman and the Atom Bomb Decision: “Preventing an Okinawa from One End of Japan to Another”

D. M. Giangreco is the author of Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947 (Naval Institute Press, 2009) and his Journal of Military History article “Casualty Projections for the U.S. Invasions of Japan: Planning and Policy Implications” was awarded the Society for Military History's Moncado Prize in 1998. The following article is abridged from his Pacific Historical Review article, “ ‘A Score of Bloody Okinawas and Iwo Jimas’: President Truman and Casualty Estimates for the Invasion of Japan” which is available from the University of California Press. On Thursday, August 6, the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima, Mr. Giangreco will be speaking on "US, Soviet, and Japanese Plans for the Invasion and Defense of Northern Japan" at the Navy Memorial in Washington, DC., 701 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, 1:30 PM.

What did President Harry S. Truman and his senior advisers believe an invasion of Japan would cost in American dead? For many years this has been a matter of heated historical controversy, with Truman's critics maintaining that the huge casualty estimates he later cited were a "postwar creation" designed to justify his use of nuclear weapons against a beaten nation already on the verge of suing for peace. The real reasons, they maintain, range from a desire to intimidate the Russians to sheer bloodlust. One historian wrote in the New York Times: "No scholar of the war has ever found archival evidence to substantiate claims that Truman expected anything close to a million casualties, or even that such large numbers were conceivable." Another skeptic insisted on the total absence of "any high-level supporting archival documents from the Truman administration in the months before Hiroshima that, in unalloyed form, provides even an explicit estimate of 500,000 casualties, let alone a million or more."

A series of documents discovered at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri, and described by this author in an article in the Pacific Historical Review, tell a different story.

In the midst of the bloody fighting on Okinawa, which began in April 1945, President Truman received a warning that the invasion could cost as many as 500,000 to 1,000,000 American lives. The document containing this estimate, "Memorandum on Ending the Japanese War," was one of a series of papers written by former President Herbert Hoover at Truman's request in May 1945.

The Hoover memorandum is well known to students of the era, but they have generally assumed that Truman solicited it purely as a courtesy to Hoover and Secretary of War Henry Stimson, who had been Hoover's Secretary of State. What had lain buried in the Truman Library archives, however, was Harry Truman’s reaction to Hoover’s memoranda and the “Truman-Grew-Hull-Stimson-Vinson exchange” that it prompted.

Truman reviewed the material from the former president and after writing “From Herbert Hoover” across the top of its memo 4, “Memorandum on Ending the Japanese War,” he forwarded the original copy to his manpower czar, Fred M. Vinson on or about Monday, June 4. The War Mobilization and Reconversion director had no quarrel with the casualty estimate when he responded on Thursday, 7 June, suggesting that Hoover’s paper be sent to Secretary Stimson and Acting Secretary of State Joseph C. Grew, as well as former Secretary of State Cordell Hull, who was currently a patient at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center.

Truman agreed and had his staff type up additional copies of memo 4 on Saturday, June 9 and sent them to Stimson, Grew, and Hull asking each for a written analysis and telling both Grew and Stimson that he wished to discuss their individual analyses personally — eye to eye — after they submitted their responses. Stimson subsequently sent his copy to the Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Thomas J. Handy because he wanted to get “the reaction of the Operations Division Staff to it” and mentioned in his diary that he “had a talk both with Handy and [General George C.] Marshall on the subject.” Handy's staff then produced a briefing paper for Stimson which drew attention to the fact that memo 4's figure of potentially 1,000,000 American dead was fully double the Army's estimates. It was “entirely too high under the present plan of campaign” which entailed only the seizure of southern Kyushu, the Tokyo region, and several key coastal areas. The pointed disclaimer “under the present plan of campaign” was, however, literally the only part of the 550-word analysis, excluding headlines, that carried a typed underline and was an ominous reminder that the battle then raging on Okinawa was itself not playing out as planned.

Hull was the first to respond directly to Truman. He branded memo 4 Hoover’s “appeasement proposal” in his June 12 letter because it suggested that the Japanese be offered lenient terms to entice them to a negotiating table. Hull did not take issue with the casualty estimate. Grew also did not take issue with the casualty estimate in his June 13 memorandum and confirmed that the Japanese “are prepared for prolonged resistance” and that “prolongation of the war will cost a large number of human lives.”

Grew’s opinion would not have come as any surprise to the president since he had told Truman, ironically just hours after the meeting with Hoover, that “The Japanese are a fanatical people capable of fighting to the last man. If they do this, the cost in American lives will be unpredictable.” One can readily surmise that Hoover and Grew’s statements, hitting virtually back-to-back in the midst of America’s costliest campaign of the Pacific war on Okinawa, were not of much comfort to the new commander in chief.

Grew’s memorandum, messengered by government courier, and Hull’s letter both arrived on Wednesday, June 13, and Truman subsequently met with Admiral William D. Leahy on the matter. Leahy, who was the president’s personal representative on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and acted as unofficial chairman at their meetings, sent a memorandum, stamped “URGENT” in capital letters, to the other JCS members as well as Secretary of War Stimson and Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal. The president wanted a meeting the following Monday afternoon, June 18, 1945, to discuss, “the losses in dead and wounded that will result from an invasion of Japan proper,” and Leahy stated unequivocally that “It is his intention to make his decision on the campaign with the purpose of economizing to the maximum extent possible in the loss of American lives. Economy in the use of time and in money cost is comparatively unimportant.” The night before the momentous meeting, Truman wrote in his diary that the decision whether to “invade Japan [or] bomb and blockade” would be his “hardest decision to date.”

The “Truman-Grew-Hull-Stimson-Vinson exchange” not only places the very high casualty numbers squarely on the President's desk long before Hiroshima, but, says Robert Ferrell, editor of Truman's private papers, it demonstrates that Truman "was exercised about the 500,000 figure, no doubt about that." Ferrell adds that the exchange answers the question of why Truman called the June 18 meeting with the Joint Chiefs, Navy Secretary Forrestal, and Stimson. Said the senior archivist at the Truman Library, Dennis Bilger, when shown the documents: "This is as close to a one-to-one relationship as I have ever seen in the historical record." Yet another discovery, by the Hoover Presidential Library's former senior archivist, Dwight M. Miller, indicates that the huge casualty estimate likely originated during Hoover's regular briefings by Pentagon intelligence officers.

The possible cost in American blood was of paramount importance. Entering the war “late” –and because of its sheer distance from Europe and the western Pacific – the United States did not begin to experience casualties comparable to those of the other belligerents until the conflict’s final year. By then the U.S. Army alone was losing soldiers at a rate that Americans today would find astounding, suffering an average of 65,000 killed, wounded, and missing each and every month during the “casualty surge” of 1944-45, with the November, December, and January figures standing at 72,000, 88,000 and 79,000 respectively in postwar tabulations.

Most of these young men were lost battling the Nazis, but Truman was greatly disturbed by the casualty figures from the ongoing Okinawa Campaign and the Marines’ recent battle on Iwo Jima. Even though the United States was by now several months into the steep increase in draft calls implemented under President Franklin D. Roosevelt to produce a 140,000-men-per-month “replacement stream” for the now one-front war, Truman wanted to directly address this matter with his most senior advisors.

The president’s meeting with the Joint Chiefs and service secretaries took place before one of the recipients of Truman directive, Stimson, had submitted a written response. It was not until after the meeting and several drafts that Stimson wrote: “The terrain, much of which I have visited several times, has left the impression on my memory of being one which would be susceptible to a last ditch defense such as has been made on Iwo Jima and Okinawa and which of course is very much larger than either of those two areas. . . . We shall in my opinion have to go through a more bitter finish fight than in Germany [and] we shall incur the losses incident to such a war.”

At the Monday meeting, all the participants agreed that an invasion of the Home Islands would be extremely costly, but that it was essential for the defeat of Imperial Japan. Said Marshall: “It is a grim fact that there is not an easy, bloodless way to victory.” There was also considerable discussion of the tactical and operational aspects surrounding the opening invasion of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s Home Islands, with the emphasis on their effects on American casualties. The meeting transcript says that: “Admiral Leahy recalled that the President had been interested in knowing what the price in casualties for Kyushu would be and whether or not that price could be paid. He pointed out that the troops on Okinawa had lost 35 percent in casualties.”

Leahy noted that “If this percentage were applied to the number of troops to be employed in Kyushu, he thought from the similarity of the fighting to be expected, that this would give a good estimate of the casualties to be expected. He was interested therefore in finding out how many troops are to be used in Kyushu.”

Leahy did not believe that the dated and narrowly constructed figure of 34,000 ground force battle casualties in a ratio table accompanying General Marshal’s opening presentation offered a true picture of losses on Okinawa which, depending on the accounting method used, actually ran from 65,631 to 72,000 partially because of extreme exhaustion and combat-related psychosis. He used the total number of Army-Marine casualties to formulate the 35 percent figure, a figure which excluded the U.S. Navy’s brutal losses to Japanese Kamikaze suicide aircraft. Since Leahy, as well as the other participants including Truman, already knew that ground force casualties on Okinawa were far higher than 34,000 and approximately how many men were to be committed to the Kyushu fight, he was obviously making an effort — commonly done in such meetings — to focus the participants’ attention on the statistical consequences of the disparity. General Marshall presented the most recent figure for the troop commitment in this first (and smaller) operation of the two-phase invasion, 766,700, and allowed those around the table, including Leahy, to draw their own conclusions as to long-term implications.

A discussion then ensued on the sizes of the opposing Japanese and American forces which was fundamental to understanding how Leahy’s 35 percent might play out. Finally, Truman, who was continuing to monitor the rising casualty figures from Okinawa on a daily basis cut to the bottom line since the initial assault, Operation Olympic against the Island of Kyushu, would in fact be dwarfed by the Spring 1946 strike directly at Tokyo, Operation Coronet: “The President expressed the view that it was practically creating another Okinawa“ to which “the Chiefs of Staff agreed.”

More discussion ensued and Truman asked “if the invasion of Japan by white men would not have the effect of more closely uniting the Japanese?” Stimson stated that “there was every prospect of this.” He added that he “agreed with the plan proposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff as being the best thing to do, but he still hoped for some fruitful accomplishment through other means.” The “other means” included a range of measures from increased political pressure brought to bear through a display of Allied unanimity at the upcoming conference in Potsdam to the as yet untested atomic weapons that it was hoped would “shock” the Japanese into surrender.

Continued discussion touched on military considerations and the merits of unconditional surrender, and the president moved to wrap up the meeting: “The President reiterated that his main reason for this conference with the Chiefs of Staff was his desire to know definitely how far we could afford to go in the Japanese campaign. He was clear on the situation now and was quite sure that the Joint Chiefs of Staff should proceed with the Kyushu operation” and expressed the hope that “there was a possibility of preventing an Okinawa from one end of Japan to the other.”

Other HNN articles by D. M. Giangreco relating to President Harry S. Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bomb:

Why Wasn’t Big Ben Bombed During World War II?

This question originally appeared on Quora, the best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

At the time of the Blitz, the Germans, like every air power, did not have the ability to specifically target key buildings through high-altitude bombing raids, which were themselves necessary to hit valuable targets in order to avoid intense anti-aircraft fire. That combination of factors resulted in the reliance on city-flattening, strategic bombing raids: Just drop a bunch of bombs from where the guys on the ground can’t hit you and hope for the best.

The drawback to that strategy, of course, is that the Germans had no way to avoid hitting critical, cultural landmarks as they saturated cities with bombs—that is if they were so inclined to preserve them in the first place (and with the exception of Paris, that wasn’t really the case).

Early in the Blitz, the Luftwaffe deployed its workhorse dive bomber, the Ju 87 , whose accuracy became a legendary symbol of the Luftwaffe’s power (and terrifying, if you were its intended target) during the war, and which would have been the most likely candidate for scoring a direct hit. However, its comparatively slow speed, short range, and poor maneuverability compared with other fighters (particularly the RAF’s) and bombers resulted in high losses, so the Luftwaffe fell back on using high-level bombers for most of the campaign.

To expand on the specific challenge of targeting Big Ben from a level bomber—though we really ought to be referring to Elizabeth Tower at this point—let’s say you’re a Luftwaffe bombardier, and you’re attached to a crew whose plane has been upgraded with the state-of-the-art Lotfernrohr 7 bombsight. You absolutely have it in your head that, no matter what the cost, you’re going to put a bomb right through the tower’s clock.

On one daylight raid, you have the fortune of flying over London with no obstructing cloud cover. To maximize your chances of hitting the tower, you fly at the lowest possible altitude and the slowest possible speed for the bombsight to still function effectively. This puts you at an altitude of 850 meters and traveling at 150 kilometers per hour (much to the terror of your crewmates).

The bombsight has a field of vision of 35 degrees, and has a 1.4-times magnification. This would mean that you would be looking at a total area of about 115,000 square meters. Elizabeth Tower, in comparison, has a footprint of 225 square meters, occupying 0.19 percent of your total field of view. For those of you more visually inclined, it means your sight picture, once you’re right over the tower, looks something like this.

Now, traveling at 150 kilometers per hour, you will cover the width of the tower’s footprint in a mere 0.36 seconds, or possibly slightly more than half a second if you’re coming at it on a direct diagonal.

What’s an average person’s reaction time to a visual stimulus? According to data collected by Human Benchmark: 0.26 seconds.

Even if you’ve got super reflexes—because you’re a hot-shot, well-trained aviator—there’s still a chance that, unless you are perfectly on the ball and anticipating the target, you might miss your window to hit the tower at the very moment you recognize it.

And of course, we’re basing your potential accuracy on a picture that was taken from a steady satellite. You’re in a World War II–era bomber that’s vibrating from powerful engines, being buffeted by winds and pressure waves from anti-aircraft bursts, and being chased by fighters. You would almost certainly not have the benefit of a steady sight picture to line up your bomb run. But even if you did, and even if your timing was perfect, all it would take at that altitude and speed would be the slightest interruption in your course to ruin your chances at destroying the tower.

Following your (likely) failed bomb run, you would almost certainly be descended upon by any number of fighters, owing to your slow speed and low altitude, and that would be the end of your war.

But that would be the story of a single determined bomber crew on a single raid. The Blitz was a massive, months-spanning campaign that brought immense destruction to the city. Surely, just by chance, the tower should have been hit, right?

Recently, researchers managed to plot every bomb dropped on London during the Blitz . In all of that destruction, several bombs did land perilously close to the iconic tower. As detailed earlier, these misses represent mere fractions of a second of difference to what could have resulted in a direct hit.

So whatever other considerations there might be or have been, given the sheer volume of ordnance that fell on London during the Blitz, the only true answer as to why Big Ben wasn’t hit directly comes down to luck.

To explore the rest of London, check out the full interactive site.