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I've read that by the end of World War I they had both contact and timed fuses(fuzes?), so in the case of a timed fuse (early in the war?), the bomb would just explode early, but what of the contact fuse? Would it eventually land and then explode?

I reckoned that if the contact fuse was at the nose a strong wind (or some other major attitude change) would cause the bomb to fall 'goofy' so it would just land without incident. However, I've also read that special fuses were created that armed based on sudden motion or change of direction, in which case you get roughly the same result as the timed fuse -- it would trip early or late and detonate too early or too late.

Are these valid assessments or am I missing something?

Thanks for any insights!

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I think you may be confusing the term "aerial bomb" (which is a bomb dropped from the air) with "air burst" (which is an explosive designed to explode before hitting the ground). There's no such thing as a "contact air burst fuze". See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artillery_fuze#Airburst_fuzes – Comintern Jun 30 '14 at 1:18
You need to clarify your question. What exactly are you asking? – Tyler Durden Jun 30 '14 at 16:31
Voted to close: Big stretch to call this History - closer to physics and pyrotechnical/explosives engineering; if it is History, it's trivia. – user2590 Jul 6 '14 at 22:55
up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is not really a history question, but anyway...

I presume we are talking about shells here, not bombs. You may want to read "High Explosive Shells" By Percy E. Barbour, E. A. Suverkrop (1915) which you can find on Google Books.

Shells can (and did) have dual fuzes so that the shell would explode if it hit something before timer expired. There are many different types of possible fuzing arrangements with widely different outcomes. In World War I, the preferred fuze was a timed fuze so that the shell would burst in the air above the enemy.

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In WWII, with better targeting equipment, bombs dropped on Japan from high altitude by B-29s generally missed their targets because of erratic winds. General Curtis LeMay took over command of the Pacific bombing forces and ordered the bombers to come in lower to correct the problem. See http://www.usaaf.net/ww2/hittinghome/hittinghomepg9.htm

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This would be improved with citations/evidence of research. – Mark C. Wallace Jul 3 '14 at 10:03

According to "Birth of a Legend. The Bomber Mafia and the Y1B-17" by Capt Arthur H. Wagner, USCG(ret.) and Lt Col Leon E. Braxt, a Bulgarian Air Force pilot suggested the use of aircraft for bombing during the First Balkan War in 1912.

Subsequently, Captain Simeon Petrov developed the idea and created a number of prototypes. After a number of iterations the final design had an increased payload, an X-Shaped tail, improved aerodynamics and an impact fuse.

Furthermore, the book states that copies of the plans were later sold to Germany, was codenamed Chataldzha, and remained in mass production until the end of WW1.

The paragraph containing this information can be found here (Google Books).

While this doesn't speak for the other combatant nations in WW1, I can't imagine that the technology was that different.

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