The perils of balloon cables - lamp posts in Ramsgate and runaway bombs...

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Peter Clare, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    The perils of balloon cables - lamp posts in Ramsgate and runaway bombs.......

    I had a look for more info re this incident but could not access the 217 Squadron ORB

    In bad weather, on 2nd January 1942, a Beaufort of 217 Squadron was returning at 1902 hours from a ground patrol flight when it struck a balloon cable of the Dover Barrage, after receiving an inexplicably wrong vector from a DT Station. At the time of the impact the aircraft was flying at approximately 160 knots at 2,800 ft. ; the balloon was at 4,000 ft. The cable was hit by the wing with such violence that the aircraft spun right round. It then corkscrewed downwards, out of control. The pilot put both engines to full throttle and succeeded in regaining control at 110 knots and approximately 400 ft., after which he put out to sea and pulled the bomb release ; then he managed to climb to 600 ft. A small fire in the starboard- engine occurred immediately after striking the cable, but was quickly extinguished.
    Over the water, the aircraft received a very violent jerk (probably due to the bottom parachute being torn• away by drogue action) and the pilot had great difficulty in maintaining control. He headed back across the coast over Ramsgate and again felt some very violent jerks. Ultimately, he made a safe landing at Manston, where it was discovered that 1,300 ft. of cable was entwined round one wing. The cable had broken 500 ft. above and 800 ft. below the aircraft and looped itself round the wing with the two ends trailing. When over Ramsgate, it had carried away the top part of a lamppost, which caused a good deal of damage as it trailed across the town, before it fell off a mile away.
    It was also found that the bomb doors had failed to open and the bomb load, which had been released, was swilling about in the bomb hatch. The cable had cut cleanly into the starboard wing to a depth of about 18 ins. The starboard aileron was out of action.

    Extract - Coastal Command Review Vol.1 - January - February 1942
  2. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I think barrage balloon defense systems, as regards their effectiveness, were likely to be as much of an hazard to friendly aircraft as they were to the foe.

    A question of friendly aircraft being aware of the air space so protected but barrage balloons what the last thing that the crew of aircraft wished to negotiate on a return from ops,especially when the aircraft was crippled or had vital crew injured.

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