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Dam Busters: clips from the movie

Who were the Dam Busters?

During World War II (1943), British scientist Barnes Wallis invented the spinning cylindrical bomb -- a bomb in a barrel -- to blow up German dams. The German dams provided hydroelectric power, water supply, a control of canal levels; thus a blow to the dams would be devastating to the Germans. A regular bomb would do no harm to the dams; the water would just cushion the impact unless the bomb was right up next to the dam. Torpedos would not work because the Germans had set up nets around the dam to prevent such an attack. But if a bomb could be dropped from an airplane and then skip/bounce along the water right up to the dam, it could work. So Wallis performed many experiments to determine if it could work at all, the size of the bomb, and how far from the dam it needed to be dropped.

He determined that the barrel bomb had to be dropped at a speed of 230 mph and a height of 60 ft -- dangerously low. A special squadron of British pilots was gathered by Wing Commander Guy P. Gibson to do the job, the 617 Squadron (also called the Dam Busters and the Dam Raiders). Their targets were the Mohne, Eder, and Sorpe Dams on the Ruhr in Germany. They successfully breached the Mohne and Eder Dams, devastating Germany, but lost fifty-three men in the process.

clips from the movie Dambusters
courtesy of Canal & Image U.K. Ltd.
superimposed titles added by megann polaha

More on the Dam Busters

Spinning Clyindrical Bombs (Fluid Flow module)
National Aviation museum (#)
Columbiad (#) (a great picture)
The Dambusters Raid (#)
WarBirds (#)
Aviation Art (#)
A connection to the movie The Wall (#)
About the book Dambusters (#)
Sir Barnes Wallis (#) (the inventor of the bomb)

More recently, the Peruca dam in at-that-time Croatia was the subject of enemy attack during the Patriotic War, 1991-5. Explosives were planted and exploded in the grouting gallery and spillway with the intent to cause a catastrophic flood destroying towns, villages, other dams, and hydroelectric plants. But the dam held and disaster was averted. The ICOLD President, Dr. W. Pircher, intervened, stressing the possible catastrophe if the dam failed. Reservoir level was significantly lowered to avoid further consequences.
ref: Rupcic, 1997

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