A pigeon and a wooden bomb

Discussion in 'Others' started by levien, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    The example of Lt Stoddard is a marvellous illustration of this. In the middle of the Vietnam War, he took off from the aircraft carrier Sartoga in a Skyraider, to which he had had a toilet bowl fixed under the wing that he was going to drop on the enemy! This mocking gesture towards the adversary was much more audacious than the small dropping of a wooden bomb in passing on a fake German airfield (undefended in 1943-1944), where wooden dummies were rotting. It was made possible by means of a faultless chain of complicity in the squadron: the mechanics who had adapted the hooks to fix the bowl on the rack, the armourers who had fixed it to the plane, the deck personnel who’d kept quiet during take-off, up to the sailors on the bridge who’d lined up making a “wall” so that the admiral couldn’t see the “Stoddard plan” when the plane advanced into position on deck. Even worse, as a film made by another plane at the right moment showed, when Stoddard dropped the “bacteriological bomb” (as he called it when contacting ground control who were flabbergasted to see it fall) on to the target, a relative wind flipped it over and it just missed the cabin, putting the pilot in danger of collision. But for the many photos taken proving it, “specialists” 40 years later would have denied such a thing happening, giving, as reasons, technical impossibility, military discipline, risk for the pilot, absurdity of such a gesture AND nothing in the archives about it. The pilot concerned was hauled up before his commanding officers, the film was impounded, but the photos that had been taken by others got out and have come down to us. After the war Stoddard and his accomplices, now demobbed, did nothing to hide their feat of arms. The wooden bombs were of the same stuff as Stoddard’s action (elegant irony in the middle of a war), but were easier and less dangerous for the 20-year-old pilots who wanted to have a good laugh at the expense of the enemy.

    Here it is.


    In October 1965, CDR Clarence J. Stoddard, Executive Officer of VA-25 "Fist of the Fleet", flying an A-1H Skyraider, NE/572 "Paper Tiger II" from Carrier Air Wing Two aboard USS Midway carried a special bomb to the North Vietnamese in commemoration of the 6-millionth pound of ordnance dropped. This bomb was unique because of the type... it was a toilet! The following is an account of this event, courtesy of Clint Johnson, Captain, USNR Ret. Captain Johnson was one of the two VA-25 A-1 Skyraider pilots credited with shooting down a MiG-17 on June 20, 1965.
    I was a pilot in VA-25 on the 1965 Vietnam cruise. 572 was flown by CDR C. W. "Bill" Stoddard. His wingman in 577 (which was my assigned airplane) was LCDR Robin Bacon, who had a wing station mounted movie camera (the only one remaining in the fleet from WWII).

    The flight was a Dixie Station strike (South Vietnam) going to the Delta. When they arrived in the target area and CDR Stoddard was reading the ordnance list to the FAC, he ended with "and one code name Sani-flush".
    The FAC couldn't believe it and joined up to see it. It was dropped in a dive with LCDR Bacon flying tight wing position to film the drop. When it came off, it turned hole to the wind and almost struck his airplane.

    It made a great ready room movie. The FAC said that it whistled all the way down.

    The toilet was a damaged toilet, which was going to be thrown overboard. One of our plane captains rescued it and the ordnance crew made a rack, tailfins and nose fuse for it. Our checkers maintained a position to block the view of the Air Boss and the Captain while the aircraft was taxiing forward to the catapult.

    Just as it was being shot off we got a 1MC message from the bridge, "Wh! at th e hell was that on 572's right wing?"
    There were a lot of jokes with air intelligence about germ warfare. I wish I had saved the movie film."

    In IV Troop Stories & Articles - Page 6

  2. singeager

    singeager Senior Member

  3. Bernard O'Connor

    Bernard O'Connor Junior Member

    Pigeon reporting dummy airfield.
    Lieven and Dennis, I am researching the use of pigeons during WW2 and found the story of interest. I've found a number of pigeon messages from Holland in the National Archives in Kew, but not one from Oordrop. From Lee's research and the Snopes website it appears to be fiction. However, if you can supply a copy of the commonwealth commendation, I'd be very grateful. Are the archives you refer to Dennis in Kew or in Holland? Best wishes, Bernard (fquirk202@aol.com)
  4. Bernard O'Connor

    Bernard O'Connor Junior Member

  5. Bernard O'Connor

    Bernard O'Connor Junior Member

    where are the Archives Dennis - can you send me a link? (Bernard O'Connor, fquirk202@aol.com
  6. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Wooden bombs were available being made to be used in training new aircraftmen in bombing up aircraft and dropping pigeons with a questionnaire was also not new indeed I believe something like this was done in WW1 so the components of the story are there. Dropping rude or sarcastic messages also dated from WW1 (when a US major got lost and led a flight of bombers to make a perfect formation landing on a German airfield a message addressed to Pershing was dropped thanking him for the bombers and asking what they should do with the Major) but as has already been pointed out letting the enemy know that you've sussed his deception would be plain daft and doesn't ring true
  7. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    I am sure that the part of the story about Dutchmen sending information about decoy airfields to the British by pigeon post was true. Undoubtedly your father was a brave man who risked his life.

    However, the wooden bombs raid is much less plausible. It is a good joke but an unlikely act of war.

    #1 One of the important aspects of deception is to avoid giving the enemy feedback about the effectiveness of his operation. There was no military benefit in telling the Germans that their deception had failed.

    #2 Telling the Germans that the British had found out about their deception put the lives of the agents at risk.

    #3 Flying over occupied Europe was very dangerous and cost many aircrews their lives or freedom. Dummy airfields can be as well defended as active fields. How do explain to a mother or widow that her son or husband died in order to play a prank on the Germans?

    Aircrew did drop un-authorised munitions, but these seem to have been mostly bottles of what can be described a stale beer.
  8. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    There was apparently a belief that dropping bottles helped extricate a bomber from a searchlight that had locked onto it. Given that there was much less likely to be reports from bombers that had remained locked on than from ones that had escaped to report back one can see how the myth developed. Bomber pilot positions were fitted with a funnel and length of rubber tube leading out of the aircraft but some evil minded ground crew did sometime tie a knot in this and many pilots preferred to rely on empty beer bottles.
  9. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Try this
    MI14 Pigeon Service to Occupied Europe - www.arcre.com

    Note if MI14,s Pigeon Service started the questionnaire intelligence gathering in mid 1941 and Shirer was telling wooden bomb story in 1940 then we have two unrelated matters
  10. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Bletchley Park and the Pigeon Spies by Bernard O'Conner on Lulu contains considerable detail of the various messages sent back in this manner

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