Help Me Drop a (Guided) Bomb

OK, so the visibility is unlimited, I am in the belly turret of a WWII bomber of some sort. The target is a huge X marked on the desert floor below. Got it?

We make a target run. I use my trusty bomb sight and release the sucker. It has a flare in the tail to allow me to track it. I release when the target is well ahead of me. The bomb is moving at the aircraft’s speed (and so is right below me) and is falling. If I keep my eye on the target, I presume the bomb will occult the target at the moment of impact, right?

OK, now let’s make another run. This time with a radio-controlled bomb. (By the way, bombs usually miss long or short, not left or right.) First, do I keep my eye on the target, or on the bomb?

I suspect the target would be my best bet. As the target gets closer, I adjust my turret until I am facing almost straight down. At that moment, the bomb ought to come between me and the target just at the moment of impact. Presume the bomb is slightly long (over the target), how would I be able to tell? If I had super depth perception I suppose I could tell, but at a distance of a mile or so, could anyone really notice?

First-generation guided bombs worked like this (manual control from the aircraft), I just do not see how you could do it.

Early guided bombs

I only scanned the article and didn’t see the answer to the OP, but I thought some of the information might be useful.

I also found a cite on early guided weapons.

I agree that as you described it, human guidance wouldn’t work very well. It is conceivable that with a lot of training an operator could improve on the accuracy of an unguided bomb to some extent but I have trouble seeing how there would be great improvement using this method.

My impression of the guidance of the Henschel bomb described in the cite is that the guiding plane flew a parallel path slightly off to one side. This would make it considerably easier to guide the thing.

If we presumed the right-left was OK, then being to the side to do the over-under makes sense.

Does air resistance significantly slow the bomb from it’s original speed, so it’s not keeping pace with the airplane?

At some point yes. When the bomb hits, it will behind the plane and in line with its direction of flight (presuming ideal conditions). How far back, depends on the height of the drop, wind, air density humidity and moon phase.

Moon phase?

You just got whooshed. And for that matter, humidity doesn’t really factor in, either.

But, strangely, the day of the week does.

I’m sure that I’m being wooshed, but you’ve piqued my interest.

How does the day of the week change the flight path of a bomb?

It’s only days that end in “y”.

Bombardiers are more likely to be hungover on these days. :smiley:

Does it make any difference that a bombadier is likely to be in the nose, not a belly turret?

Also, wouldn’t humidity be more of a factor than the day of the week, since humid air is thinner, causing less air resistance?

yes, it’s called trail. The bombsight takes account of that as much as can be done.

The day of the week thing was a joke.

And no, humidity shoudl have no noticable effect on a bomb’s trajectory. Humid air isn’t thinner (or thicker) by any appreciable amount. And if it were humid enough to significantly affect the drag on the bomb, then Paul’s mention of density in his post would cover the effects. Because that’s the only conceivable way humidity could factor into the drag calculation. Two samples of air with different humidities but the same density will cause the exact same drag on a projectile. Humidity alone has no effect.

It seems to be enough of a factor to be included in engine tuning calculations, but probably negligable for bomb dropping purposes. It’s counter intuitive, but moist air is thinner than dry air. Water has only about 2/3 the weight of air.

Sorry, I made a joke and derailed my own thread. Although since humidity impacts density altitude, I presume it would have a measurable effect on the bomb’s flight.

OK, any other ideas how these early 1st Generation guided bombs worked?

You could always use a pigeon-guided missile.

Although sufficiently high humidity will require that you switch to a torpedo.