Weird History How One WWII Engineer Destroyed German Dams By Inventing The Bouncing Bomb  

Rebecca High
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Desperate to cut off energy to the Nazi war machine, Allied engineers faced the impossible task of destroying German dams and hydroelectric plants along the Ruhr valley. One British engineer, Barnes Wallis, ultimately came through with his "bouncing bombs," and this video shows who his innovative armament helped win a crucial battle against Hitler's forces in 1943.

Germany had the upper hand when it came to water-based warfare with their deadly U-boats and defensive "torpedo nets" placed strategically in front of their energy-creating dams. But the British Royal Air Force was determined to take out these German battlements as they slowly wore the Axis down.

Wallis's calculations to figure out how to bypass the torpedo nets and make direct contact with the wall of the dams only made the obstacles seem more insurmountable. That's when he seized on the potential of the Magnus effect, which would bounce a bomb across the water like a skipping stone.

The backspin would counter the gravity and send the bomb skimming over the water, then hit the designated target. The Royal Air Force commenced Operation Chastise on May 16, 1943, and the video below details how these bizarre bombs Allied actually worked in battle.