AN-M65A1 Fin M129 (1,000 lb)
The AN-M65A1 Fin M129 1,000 lb bomb is an aerial bomb developed for the United States Army Air Corps and United States Navy in 1939, just prior to WWII. It is a General Purpose bomb that is employed against pretty much any target that may be encountered, and, due to its weight, has a powerful blast, and is very effective against vehicles, infrastructure and ships. It was designed to have a somewhat thin shell and pack the highest possible amount of explosives (in this case, Amatol), and was used chiefly by heavy bombers such as the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-24 Liberator, although smaller aircraft such as the P-47 Thunderbolt, P-51 Mustang and F4U Corsair could use it (but didn't as often).
After the war this bomb was more widely used, being commonly fitted to ground attack aircraft and was favoured by the US Navy, which used them extensively in the Korean War in the F9F Panther and AD-4 Skyraider. As it was being used by smaller aircraft that carried it externally instead instead of packing them into an internal bomb bay, measures were taken to reduce their drag, and so the M129 Fin was developed and fitted to this weapon.
This bomb is also notable for being involved in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire, in which one of these bombs was detonated in the deck of the USS Forrestal by flaming jet fuel, killing dozens of sailors and wounding many more (the whole incident would have a death toll of 134 sailors killed and 161 wounded).
Vehicles equipped with this weapon
|Vehicles equipped with this weapon|
|CL-13||CL-13 Mk.4 · CL-13A Mk 5 · CL-13B Mk.6|
|F-86F||F-86F-2 · F-86F-25 · F-86F-30 ▅ · ␗F-86F-30 · F-86F-35 · F-86F-40 ▅ · F-86F-40 JASDF▅|
|MD.450||M.D.450B Barougan · M.D.450B Ouragan|
|MD.460||Super Mystere B2|
|Jet bombers||B-57A · B-57B · S.O.4050 Vautour IIA · Vautour IIA IDF/AF · S.O.4050 Vautour IIB|
This bomb weighs 1,000 pounds, roughly 454 kg. This is a bomb of considerable size, and as such, is also quite powerful. Approximately half of this weight is comprised by the Amatol filling (240.4 kg or 530 lb), making this a very capable bomb, and can be very effective against pretty much any target.
Being a General Purpose bomb, this weapon relies on Blast and Splash damage effects to harm and destroy its targets.
Comparison with analogues
Similar weapons would be the German SC500K (500 kg) bomb (which is more powerful), the Soviet FAB-500 (500 kg) bomb (slightly weaker), the British M.C. 1,000 lb Mk.I (1,000 lb) bomb (considerably more powerful) and the G.P. 1,000 lb Mk.I (1,000 lb) bomb (slightly weaker), the Japanese Army Type 92 GPHE (500 kg) bomb (both Army and Navy bombs are slightly weaker than the AN-M65A1), the Italian GP 500 (500 kg) bomb (slightly weaker) and the French №.2 (500 kg) bomb (which is considerably more powerful).
Usage in battles
Describe situations when you would utilise this bomb in-game (vehicle, pillbox, base, etc)
Pros and cons
Summarise and briefly evaluate the weaponry in terms of its characteristics and combat effectiveness. Mark pros and cons as a list.
Early in aviation history, applications for aircraft to serve in a military capacity surfaced, not only with the intent to scout a battlefield from an aerial vantage point but for the possibility to drop explosive bombs too. Due to the frail nature of the early wood-frame and cloth covered aircraft, lifting capacity resulted in the ability to only carry small bombs. Effectively these early bombers were hailed as aerial artillery fire which could reach targets hundreds of miles further than the most powerful land-based cannons of the time. Prior to the war, contests abounded where pilots would drop oranges or flour sacks upon predesignated targets to see who could hit closes to the centre.
Italian aviators were the first to use bombs in a warfare capacity in 1912 during their campaign of Tripoli. These first bombs were conversions of existing cannon ammunition and were effective only against personnel as they did not provide a strong enough provision to damage hardened equipment or structures. As lifting capacity of aircraft increased, so did the ability for them to carry more and larger explosives.
For the United States, bomb design did not become a priority until the middle of 1917 when a French official came to the U.S. with several samples of the Gros Andreau bombs which the French were using in large quantities at that time. Immediately these bombs were accepted by the U.S. and used as a standard in developing the first three sizes to be implemented in the military. These three bombs were known as the early “Mark” series, 25 lb Mk.I demolition bomb, 50 lb Mk.I demolition bomb and the 100 lb Mk.I demolition bomb. By December 1917, only six months later, the military put forth requirements for the development of bombs larger than the existing 100 lb bomb. After two more months of development, production of demolition bombs up to 1,000 lbs was started. Rejected 3-inch artillery rounds were the basis for early 25 lb bombs which were modified into a streamlined shape, very similar to the British Cooper bombs of the time. Larger bombs were manufactured and filled with explosive filler, all of which were placed into a streamlined body, of which a cylindrical shape was the most advantageous.
Early on, the Mark series of bombs proved to be largely unsatisfactory in a number of different areas. The bomb body itself was weak due to the sheet metal it was made from and the number of welds needed to join the pieces together. The stabilizing fins were made of flimsy metal which tended to distort during both the handling and flight of the bomb, adversely affecting accuracy. For the field technicians, inserting the fuse was a complicated process which required removing the stabilizing fin structure potentially damaging the fins. The fuses tended to have a high fail rate and due to their design, they would instantly arm after release from the aircraft posing a direct to the delivery aircraft. Later modifications would eliminate many of the negative factors to include adding a nose fuse, time delaying arming of the fuse, strengthening of the stabilizing fins and adding primer detonators to ensure proper explosive train sequences. Other changes including streamlining all bomb bodies and utilising 100% T.N.T. as an explosive filler resulted in the newer “Modified Mark” series of Army bombs.
Prior to World War II, the military determined that the Modified Mark series of bombs were obsolete requiring newer and up-to-date bombs to be developed. Both the U.S. Army and Navy began development of their own series of bombs, the Army with the “M” series and the Navy with their “Mk” series. Both similar, these bombs were designed with parallel sides, an ogival nose and a boat tail which is a box type-tail reinforced to prevent warping and aid with accurate drops. Due to the shortage of T.N.T., the Army filled their bombs with 50/50 Amatol with T.N.T. ends to seal in the Amatol and protect it from moisture. The Navy, on the other hand, continued to manufacture their bombs with 100% T.N.T.
With the approach of World War II, the U.S. Army (including the Army Air Corps) and the Navy standardized their series of bombs allowing for interchanging between services, consolidating manufacturing capabilities and allowing for modifications which enabled British service aircraft to mount these bombs too. Even after the standardization of bombs in 1941, the standardization process went through a few phases of further refinement, the first of which changed all high-explosive bombs to be termed general purpose (G.P.) or general purpose high-explosive (G.P.H.E). Later the designation of demolition bomb would come back for a few specific bombs.
When bombs are dropped, there is always a chance that something in the explosive train of the bomb will fail and it will not explode. Early AN style bombs were defusable in the event they did not explode on contact, meaning that any unexploded AN bomb could have the fuses and boosters removed without the bomb exploding, rendering it inert. To counter this and allow for the potential “dud” bomb to explode when tampered with, the AN G.P.H.E. series bombs with the modification “A1” annotated that these bombs now had special pins mounted in the bomb's baseplate which fused with the explosive filler making it impossible to remove the booster without causing the bomb to detonate. Other modifications later added would include minor changes to the bomb body or the type of explosive filling used. During this time a second option for bomb tails was added, the box-type tail was already the mainstay of the bombs, however, to create a more aerodynamic bomb a conical tail assembly was added. This stretched out low profile tail improved the aerodynamics of the carrying aircraft, allowing it to carry more ordnance.
Progressing towards the Korean and Vietnam wars, piston-driven aircraft were giving way to jet fighters, bombers and attackers, many of which carried their ordnance on external pylons hung under the wing or underbelly. The new Mk 80 series bombs (Mk 81, 82, 83 and 84) were developed to keep external hung ordnance from creating too much drag on the delivery aircraft. Initially, the Mk 81 250 lb bombs were considered ineffective for their size or required a large amount to be effective and were removed from the munitions inventory. All-weather fighters and attackers were now being outfitted with the Mk series bombs and a new problem developed when it came to low-altitude attacks (typically coming in under low cloud cover) where the aircraft would deploy its ordinance which would hit the ground and explode catching the delivery aircraft in either the explosive blast or the shock-wave from the blast.
Modifications were developed to slow down or retard the flight of bombs, allowing for the delivery aircraft to depart out of the blast zone before they hit and detonated. Several options became available which allowed these bombs to remain aerodynamic low-drag while en-route to the target, but when deployed converted to high-drag, slower falling bombs. One option was to attach four bladed plates to the rear of the bomb so that when the bomb deployed, these plates would pop out and create high-drag to slow the fall. Another option was to use a ballute which was basically an airbag which deployed from the rear of the bomb that acted like a drogue chute, effectively causing high-drag. Later during the fighting in Iraq, the US military brought back the 250 lb Mk 81 bombs due to their ability to be used when deploying against a specific target and to help minimize collateral damage.
An excellent addition to the article would be a video guide, as well as screenshots from the game and photos.
Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:
- topic on the official game forum;
- encyclopedia page on the weapon;
- other literature.