Saturday, January 12, 2008

Up To Bat...

Okay. It was bats. They were going to be
used for bombers - had there not been so many
problems with the project. It was approved
by Pres. Roosevelt and began in 1942.
The largest bats thought of for
use were Mastiff bats that
had a wingspan of 20" and could
carry a full stick of dynamite (1 lb).
There was not enough supply of these
bats, so the decision to use the free-tailed
bat was made. They weigh about 1/3 of an
ounce, but could carry a full 1 ounce bomb and
still fly fairly well. There was, also, a seeming endless
supply of this breed. The bats were refrigerated to
put them in hibernation while they were loaded.
Upon release, the warm air would wake them,
and they would go find a structure to rest
in....and the fire bomb (with delayed
fuses) would go off - igniting fires.
The top "brass" at Carlsbad, NM
airfield insisted on a demonstration
of the project during which a careless
handler left a door open - allowing some
bats to wake and escape. The result was a
fire set to a large hangar AND the General's car!
In august, 1943, the project was given to the
Navy, and named "Project X-ray". By
October of the same year, the
project was handed to the
Marine Corps - who were
guarding caves for the
Navy. The project was ended
- not for it's "batty" nature, but
because it would not be combat-ready
until mid-1945. Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King, Chief
of Naval Operations put the stop to it.

Most info obtained from Airforce magazine

Thanks for playing, Stan. Here's
another one for you:

What is this unique aircraft, and what was it
specifically designed for?

hint - 28 of them were built by Japan,
but never flew a mission.

3 opinionated prattle:

Stan said...

The Plumma is doing a lot of research. Japan with assistance from Germany most likely produced more aircraft than any nation, it was a very competitive business between the large comapnies. Sevral airtcraft of this style was experimented with. The most suscessful was the "Jake", 1,4518 were produced. A similar model, the Yokosuka E144 was played with when a total of 125 were built. The Kawanishi E15, code name Norm only had 15 models built. The Aichi E16A or code name Paul had a total of 256 aircraft built. The particular aircraft that you have pictured is the Aichi M6A Sei Ran or translated Mountian Haze. No code name assigned to it. It was suppose to be a sub based bomber and carried a crew of two, it had retachable floats and retractable landing gear, with a range of about 642 miles and armed with 2 13mm Machine guns and could carry a payload of two 250kg bombs or one 800 or 850kg bomb. Only 28 of these were produced. Is there anythign else that I can help you with this fine morning. I have plenty of time, no snow to plow!

Stan said...

Correction: This model had detachable floats, not retractable. However, it also had retractable landing gear...

j, d plumma said...

well reported, wise one.

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