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Subject: Do bombs really whistle as they fall? rss

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David Heldt
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Two panzer jocks in the South Seas hoping that soon they'll get lei'd--
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This is prompted by a recent playing of B-17: Queen of the Skies. As I was dropping my bombload on Hitler's Europe, I recalled that my first experience with B-17s--indeed, my first experience with aerial bombardment of any sort--came as a result of watching the 12 O'Clock High television series as a young child. The big thing I remember about the bomb runs on the show is that the bombs whistled very nicely as they fell--for example, at about 1:32 in this clip:

(BTW, this is from the rarely-seen "Target: KHAN!!" episode)
At any rate, here's a very dumb question from a gamer who's thankful to be a lifetime non-combatant: Do bombs really whistle as they fall?
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Roger Hobden
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Only as they go past the graveyard.

whistle
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Duncan R.
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Stukas had a siren installed to make their noise when diving.

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K G
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Incoming!

http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/31709/sound-frequ...
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jumbit
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A quote from this link:

"Yes, I can tell you from personal experience that they certainly did whistle. When I was a boy I lived in Nottingham, and until May 1941 we were lucky in that, although we heard (and sometimes saw) German aircraft, they usually passed over on their way to less fortunate cities like Sheffield, Coventry or Birmingham. But on the night of Thursday 8 May 1941, for the first (but not the last) time, Nottingham itself was the target. We were woken up by the sound of the warning sirens, but they were very quickly followed by the sound of falling bombs (including the terrifying whistling), and we were too scared to leave the house and go into our air raid shelter: we sat on the steps leading down to our cellar. There were a lot of people killed in Nottingham that night; luckily for us we escaped unhurt, and nobody we knew was killed. But I can tell you - nobody who has ever heard that whistling noise will ever forget it. I am nearly 81, and I was 8 at the time, and I can remember it all too well. So why did the bombs whistle? To warn people to take shelter? Don't make me laugh - there would be no time. There is only one reason that makes sense to me - it was to scare the hell out of those beneath them, and it certainly succeeded as far as I was concerned!"
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David Heldt
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Interesting discussion there, Kluvon--
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David Janik-Jones
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Combat Commander, Up Front, Fields of Fire, Cats were once worshipped as gods and they haven't forgotten this, The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me!
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Some mortars don't make any sound when they're falling.

My father-in-law's (see avatar left, 1944 British 8th Army picture) back was heavily scarred with the damage done by a Soviet mortar whilst being forced to serve in the German Army in the Ukraine.

He was near his foxhole and told me one minute he was standing chatting with another soldier, the next minute he's blown hard forward, flat onto his face, with his back feeling like it's on fire. No one in his unit heard the rounds incoming.
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Steve Herron
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Only because they don't know the words.
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David Heldt
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sherron wrote:
Only because they don't know the words.

No, that only applies to Humvees--
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Carl Paradis
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Duncan01 wrote:
Stukas had a siren installed to make their noise when diving.



YES, and that siren was intended to inform the pilot of the speed of his dive while he was concentrating on his target. They were removed later in the war as they were also alerting a potential target that an attack was upcoming. So later-war Stukas do not have them.
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Lucius Cornelius
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Coconut-carrying swallows, whistling while they work. whistle
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Troy Winfrey
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Compare the German Nebelwerfer, or Screaming Mimi:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebelwerfer
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Andy Daglish
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DaveyJJ wrote:
Some mortars don't make any sound when they're falling.


because, as every ASL player knows, they usually don't rotate, because usually they aren't fired from rifled tubes, usually because their path to the target is short in distance but great in height, so they change direction a lot during flight to the target, thus the conservation of angular momentum that stabilises rotating projectiles is not desired. Rotation is usual among objects that travel a long way through air, and this creates noise. The Japanese used a signal arrow that made a ululating whistle as it flew, due holes in its large head that had an aerodynamic effect.
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Forty One
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Planes do.

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Steven McBride
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I was under the impression the Luftwaffe put whistle-tips on their bombs as a terror tactic. Dont know where I heard this from. Could just be hear-say.
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Jorik
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There's a great passage in George Orwells' Hommage to Catlonia in where he describes that they quickly learned the ability to judge incoming artillery fire by the sound the shell makes.

(not directly relevant to bombs falling but it reminded me of that passage)
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Carl Paradis
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aforandy wrote:
because, as every ASL player knows,
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Steve Arthur
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Just on planes..the Australian Boomerang had a very odd sound no doubt due to it's Pratt and Whitney engine..I've heard this aircraft for real and it sounds just like this...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5H_u5Oytpiw
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Steven Robinson
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They were installed as a safety precaution after some protest from PETA. Too many Deer were getting hit.
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Michael Dorosh
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VanVeen wrote:
Compare the German Nebelwerfer, or Screaming Mimi:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebelwerfer


Nebelwerfer means "smoke thrower" in German, so not very evocative.

French-Canadian soldiers called the rockets "la Vache", which Monty Python fans can find a suitable video meme for, I am sure.
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Steve Arthur
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VanVeen wrote:
Compare the German Nebelwerfer, or Screaming Mimi:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebelwerfer


I'm waiting for the Nerf-werfer..
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Andy Daglish
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licinius wrote:
aforandy wrote:
because, as every ASL player knows,


The ASLRB [notably its Gun & Vehicle Notes] is better source than you'll find elsewhere, albeit dated. I am unsure of the current status of Charles Markuss' project to write a multi-volume set of books dealing with each nations weapons in a similar, expanded & improved manner to his first attempt, for Pen & Sword, provisionally titled Fighting Vehicles of World War Two.
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Nathan James
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DaveyJJ wrote:
Some mortars don't make any sound when they're falling.

My father-in-law's (see avatar left, 1944 British 8th Army picture) back was heavily scarred with the damage done by a Soviet mortar whilst being forced to serve in the German Army in the Ukraine.

He was near his foxhole and told me one minute he was standing chatting with another soldier, the next minute he's blown hard forward, flat onto his face, with his back feeling like it's on fire. No one in his unit heard the rounds incoming.

A saying in Vietnam was "You never hear the one that get's ya."
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Craig C
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Lots of funny answers here, but I'm going to take the serious angle: bombs whistle while they fall if their casing is metal. It resonates as it falls through the air, making the whistling sound.

If you read the book Clear and Present Danger, that's why the F/A-18's "car bomb" was encased in cellulose instead of metal; so the drug lords wouldn't hear the telltale whistle and think it actually was the SUV detonating.
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Christian Sperling
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FortyOne wrote:
Planes do.


When I hear this, I remember a story my grandmother told me once, when she and a female friend were attacked by a plane on open ground.
She was a young girl and as by a miracle survived the attack (she was told to immediately go flat when she hears a plane out in the open). The female friend only lost some fingers. But she always mentioned that terrible, shrill, scream like sound. She had seen many horrible things, but this sound haunted her a lifetime.
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