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Bombing raids during WWII sent out shockwaves powerful enough to alter the Earth's ionosphere

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C'mon, we're all anoraks round here

So let's have an accompanying photograph of a WW2 bomber, rather than a transport.

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Re: C'mon, we're all anoraks round here

That was my first thought as well. What do old DC3s, or rather C47 Skytrains, have to do with WWII bombing raids?

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Headmaster

Re: C'mon, we're all anoraks round here

A quick look at the markings will tell you that those are RAF C-47s (and Far East command ones at that) and they are therefore Dakotas, not Skytrains.

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Re: C'mon, we're all anoraks round here

I saw the picture and had to check the page URL to make sure I hadn't got onto the Daily Fail by mistake. At least it wasn't captioned "jets"

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Re: C'mon, we're all anoraks round here

If only the Second World War had provided us with iconic photos of bombers, or even iconic bombers.....

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Re: C'mon, we're all anoraks round here

At least it wasn't captioned "jets"

That reminds me of a story in the "Metro" (a free rag distributed on weekdays in Tube and London-bound stations) in about 2007. The story was about a German pilot whose aircraft had been shot down in 1942 and had damaged a church tower or something somewhere in East Anglia, and his subsequent visit there in the days before the story was printed. They attributed this shoot-down to "British jets."

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: C'mon, we're all anoraks round here

Fine, fixed - we were concentrating too much on the tech rather than the illustration.

C.

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Re: C'mon, we're all anoraks round here

"Fine, fixed"

Nice to see that the RAF had perfected not only the art of flying the Lancaster in vertical formation, but also managed to synchronise the propellers not only within each plane but also across the whole formation.

Anoraks ARISE!

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The numbers

According to Wiki, the RAF dropped nearly a million tons of bombs during WW2. The americans "contributing" a further 600kT.

Another source puts the total WW2 amount, dropped everywhere. at well over 3 million tons.

But it doesn't end there! If the researchers wanted to investigate more instances they could look at Vietnam. During operation Rolling Thunder the americans dropped 864,000 tons on the north.

Amounts so huge, that I simply can't process them.

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Re: Amounts so huge, that I simply can't process them.

There is a handy metric for handling such situations, called the "Megaton".

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Re: Amounts so huge, that I simply can't process them.

I was thinking "Shit-ton" myself.

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Re: Amounts so huge, that I simply can't process them.

3 million tons being approximately 1/17 the yield of the Soviet Tsar Bomba, as tested in 1961, at 50% of selectable yield.

Think on that; six years of industrial warfare on a global scale, including the first three fission bombs, being a tiny fraction of the yield of a single weapon 20 years later

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Re: Amounts so huge, that I simply can't process them.

There is a handy metric for handling such situations, called the "Megaton".

Out of innocent curiosity, may I ask if that's a million American metric tons, or a million Imperial metric tons?

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Mushroom

Re: Amounts so huge, that I simply can't process them.

Or a previous commentard quoted

F*ton

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Approx

about 1,000 kilometers (about 621 miles)

It's OK to say "about 600 miles" rather than reach for the calculator and quote the conversion exactly.

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Re: Approx

621 miles +/- "about"

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Re: Approx

Some of us convert regularly enough that we don't need a calculator.

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Re: Approx

And some of us know that 1000km is a lomg distance.

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Re: Approx

1,000KM is about what my Nissan achieves, before I have to start looking for a fuel station to re-fill the tank (47 litres).

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Re: Approx

It's linguine or nothing.

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Re: Approx

But what MPG is that?

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Re: Approx

But what MPG is that?

US or Imperial?

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Boffin

Re: Approx

MPG? Bah! BPF is the correct unit of measure! That's Brontosauruses per Funbag.

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Re: Approx

Refill the tank?

The Bovington people have missed a sponsorship trick with one of their exhibits.

"Put a tiger in your Tiger tank's tank"

And at 0.4mpg (Imperial, of God's Own Petrol) I imagine sponsorship would be welcome

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Re: Approx

1000 what? 1000 multiples of a lump of metal in Paris... who cares, give me proper measurements

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Re: Approx

The Americans got the size of the gallon wrong not us, so its miles per gallon not miles per mistake

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Boffin

Nope

1000 multiples of a lump of metal in Paris

0.003335641 seconds at the speed of light in vacuum, or 0.16680567 seconds at VSheepVac.

I expect that Nissan to take a little longer.

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Re: Approx

50.5 miles per US Gallon, 60.1 miles real gallon

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Re: Approx

108409.2875 lengths of a double decker bus +/-...

Fixed that for you.

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Mushroom

Duke Nukem

Has anyone looked into seeing what the effect of nuclear weapons is?

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Re: Duke Nukem

After the wrong picture, that was my second thought on the article.

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Mushroom

Re: Duke Nukem

EMP, ionospheric disruption, fallout, comms disruption, Van Allen detonated a nuke in what was the soon to be discovered Van Allen Belt and disrupted HF comms in the Pacific for days. Get a copy of "Nukes In Space: The Rainbow Bombs Movie" (edit) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJ2B8vrqdFw on Youcat. The special effects in Damnation Alley were remarkably close istr - not the giant scorpions but the atmospheric ones!

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Pint

Re: Duke Nukem

Cheers LesC

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Mushroom

Re: Duke Nukem

El Reg has touched upon this before too: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/18/atmospheric_nuclear_weapons_tests_caused_space_weather/

A nuke detonation is at the atomic level (it's a geometric space time device with the elements fissioning, fusing or both to create mindboggling amounts of energy) whilst TNT, Torpex, C4, ANFO, what have you just creates huge amounts of gas very quickly in its bang.

In an old Top Gear (?) Richard Hammond fried a VW Golf's electronics under that old lightning generator that the CEGB used to run.

The name of the Van Allen exoatmospheric nuke test was Starfish Prime fortunately all the equipment at the time was still mostly valve (vacuum tube) else Hawaii would have had all of its electronics fried if Uncle Sam tried a stunt like that today. An airburst high over the North Sea would hose electronics in the UK and a big chunk of Europe.

High energy physics is a fascinating subject especially the effort in getting more bang for your pound.... the Tsar Bomba had more explosive power than all the high explosive used in WW2.

Damnation Alley is also available on the grumpy cat channel. Complete with gigantic scorps.

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Re: Duke Nukem

And there we have the plot of GoldenEye.

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Flame

Other explosives

I wonder whether they've done similar studies for things like shuttle & satellite launches - OK, the explosives are directed downwards but there's still a metric shit-ton of force being expelled.

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Re: Other explosives

It shouldn't have the same level of effect.

With an explosion, you set the entire lot off at once, and there is a huge bang and a shockwave. Individually, the largest weapons dropped apparently caused damage to the aircraft dropping these weapons, which would have been >25,000 feet above the point of detonation. Lest it be forgotten, that these were being dropped as part of air raids numbering in excess of a thousand bombers, so Christ only knows how many bombs were being dropped at a time.

With rockets, first there is only a single rocket being fired at a time, and not a thousand bombers dropping their payloads. Secondly, it's being lit one end and burned relatively slowly compared to the entire lot exploding in a millisecond so you don't get a shockwave.

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Re: Other explosives

Individually, the largest weapons dropped apparently caused damage to the aircraft dropping these weapons, which would have been >25,000 feet above the point of detonation.

We were flying at 6,000 feet which was the minimum height to drop the 4,000 pounder. We dropped it in the middle of town [Koblenz], which gave the aircraft a hell of a belt, lifted it up and blew an escape hatch from out of the top.

— Jack Murray, pilot of "G for George", reporting on G for George's mission on 17th April 1943.

The 8klb and 12klb ones would have had a greater minimum safety height, but more like sqrt(2) (8 klb) or sqrt(3) (12 klb) times those 6000ft, if that, because of blast front area. And with a single plane dropping a large explosive load you get to add horizontal speed against time for the bomb dropping to the height where it should explode

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Boffin

Re: Other explosives

With rockets, first there is only a single rocket being fired at a time, and not a thousand bombers dropping their payloads.

Those (bombing raid) explosions would occur over several minutes, maybe even several tens of minutes, roughly the same time that a rocket would need to reach the upper atmosphere. Where it would then actually punch through the ionosphere, although the disturbance caused by that would be over a much smaller area than the cumulative blast front from a bombing raid once that reached the ionosphere.

Secondly, it's being lit one end and burned relatively slowly compared to the entire lot exploding in a millisecond so you don't get a shockwave.

Not always.

Which also makes me wonder how large an effect Buncefield, Pepcon or Enschede would have had, compared to the average bombing raid

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Re: Other explosives

It looks really weird using SI notation with imperial units.

On a separate note, the 22000lb grand slam was dropped from a great height in order to penetrate deep underground (up to 130ft of earth or 20ft of concreate) before exploding, creating earthquake like effects.

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Re: Other explosives

With the large raids it wasnt over a few minutes more like an hour or so

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Re: Other explosives

Which also makes me wonder how large an effect Buncefield, Pepcon or Enschede would have had, compared to the average bombing raid

A Lancaster could drop a total of 14,000 pounds, although in practice when bombing cities they tended to be mostly one big (4000lbs) bomb to blow the roofs off and then 10,000 pounds of incendiaries. There were quite a few thousand bomber raids, to a lazy calculation of every aircraft being a lancaster would give you 14000000 pounds, which is ~6.3 kilotons. Pepcon was about 1 kiloton.

But this is very large numbers of smallish explosions compared to one bigish one. I suspect the propagation on the blast waves of a bigger explosion has more of an effect.

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Anonymous Coward

I think I may have met Ten Ton Tess.. she wasn't a bomb though..

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WTF?

Locally she's called "The Honey Monster". The effect is much the same.

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Ten Ton Tess

IIRC " Ten Ton Tess " had a younger brother, " Two Ton Ted " I believe he came from the Teddington area and was a Baker by trade.

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Re: Ten Ton Tess

Yep, he was an evil looking man, apparently.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ten Ton Tess

But was he ever sent to prison for murder by the use of a stale pork pie.......

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Happy

Re: Ten Ton Tess

>>>But was he ever sent to prison for murder by the use of a stale pork pie.......<<<

Don't forget the animal cruelty!

For our puzzled Left Pondians (& younglings) - search for Beny Hill, Ernie song

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Re: Ten Ton Tess

Not judging by Sues needs and the ghostly gold tops

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300 lightning strikes

I may be missing something but does the equivalent of 300 strikes in the course of a raid (several hours?) not get lost in the overall background count for the european area? There is always an electrical storm somewhere in europe, the current strike rate is 6/min.

https://www.lightningmaps.org/

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