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"Mines Away! USAAF Minelaying in WWII" Topic

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2,150 hits since 22 Dec 2012
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Kaoschallenged Inactive Member22 Dec 2012 3:48 a.m. PST

Never thought of the B-29 as a mine-layer!! Robert

Mines Away! : The Significance of U.S. Army Air Forces Minelaying in WWII

On August 10, 1944, B-29s of the 462nd Bomb Group thundered down the Moesi River only 500 feet above the water, strafed Japanese ships and unleashed a cargo of mines. The "Hellbirds," on the longest mission of the war--4,000 miles and almost nineteen hours--sank three ships, damaged two more and closed the approach to the refinery at Palembang, Sumatra for a month.1 The Army Air Forces were writing new pages in the history of mine warfare.
In war at sea, mines--explosive underwater devices meant to damage, sink or deter the passage of ships--generally have received scant attention, even within the ranks of the Navy. Known as "weapons that wait," they lacked the dramatic flash of gunfire, or the instant blast from bombs. Yet their little known successes in World War II demonstrated both the tactical and strategic potential of mines. Throughout the war, but particularly in the concentrated campaign known as "Operation Starvation," the significant contribution that long-range air power made to minelaying signalled an important role in sea control for the future U.S. Air Force.
The following work reviews the history of mine warfare and mines, describes their wartime use by Germany and Great Britain, and then focuses on the war in the Pacific. There, the aerial mining of Japan’s far-flung empire and home waters proved the value of this little appreciated weapon. Since then, the use of mines in numerous conflicts, including Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf, further validates the lessons from World War II.
Examining the use of an "unpopular" weapon in the past can offer insights about future weapons employment and how the services work together to employ them. Yet a study of aerial mine laying in World War II is a worthy undertaking for its own sake, to illustrate the surprisingly successful, but largely unheralded, part it played in that conflict."

PDF link

troopwo Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2012 7:38 a.m. PST

Learned from Bomber Command in Europe who conducted 'Gardening' exercises throughout all the coastal regions of the Atlantic and even the Med. Few even know about the mining of the inland waterways such as the Rhine, Ruhr and the Danube.

In the Pacific, it was also carried out by SEAC throughout Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia and throughout Indochina even.

The USAAC adopted it wholesale in the Pacific and like all things American grew it out of all proportion. Most folk don't realize that Japanese shipping losses are attributed to number one submarines, and then to number two spot goes due to the air dropped mining campaign!

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member22 Dec 2012 3:12 p.m. PST

I just can't imagine a whole B-29 Bomb Group so low and strafing ships!! Robert

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member23 Dec 2012 1:12 p.m. PST

Though of course I can't imagine a B-52 dropping mines either LOL. Robert

Charlie 1223 Dec 2012 3:21 p.m. PST

You want low level action, imagine B24s skip bombing. The initial attacks using on-the-deck skip bombing were carried out by the heavy bombers. Later, the task was handed over to the medium bombers.

troopwo Supporting Member of TMP24 Dec 2012 8:40 a.m. PST

There were enough scary moments of Liberators flying under fifty feet to make timed runs for accurate minelaying of the Danube or even rivers in Indonesia.

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member24 Dec 2012 12:45 p.m. PST

Well the B-29s were just a tad bigger then B-24s wink. Robert

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member24 Dec 2012 11:31 p.m. PST


M26 Mine Dropped by B-29

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member01 Jan 2013 10:32 p.m. PST
Kaoschallenged Inactive Member02 Jan 2013 9:16 a.m. PST



(Twentieth Air Force): During the night of 1/2 Aug, 801 of 836 B-29s dispatched carry out 1 mining, 5 fire-bomb and 1 bombing raids on Japan; 1 B-29 is lost. Mission 305: 37 B-29s drop mines in Shimonoseki Strait, in Nakaumi Lagoon, at Hamada, Sakai, Yonago, Najin, and Seishin; 5 others mine alternate targets"

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member03 Jun 2013 8:38 p.m. PST

Lessons from an Aerial Mining Campaign
(Operation Starvation)

PDF link

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member06 Jun 2013 5:36 p.m. PST

Allied aircraft lay mines in Pacific Theater during World War II.

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