After the Rhodesian Air force developed this submunition, utilising a rubber casing to ensure a "bounce", the idea was taken up by S.A, who had tacitly assisted Rhodesia. The unusual allways fuze on the Alpha had two safety- pins, and was designed by someone who had no previous armament experience. Does anyone have access to a sectional drawing of same, as the only crude drawings available seem to suggest a bunch of segments was used?
After being productionised in S.A. the arming mechanism was changed completly. As the tail-fins of the mother bomb were inclined, this would suggest that centrifugal force was used, and perhaps an inertia element was also introduced to sense the launching velocity after being propelled from a tube by a launching charge. Again, is a sectional drawing or any other information available. Perhaps Andy Naude might know more?
Some of these weapons were found in Iraq, so perhaps someone around gained experience of the modus operandi when safing same?
Many thanks for that excellent illustration of an "Alpha" munition. I have seen it before, but so blurred and coloured as to be incomprehensible. The drawing has mysterious areas of black, as if the Indian ink had run when creating the section. There is also one drawing error, where the top screwed ring (Turned by a Pin Driver) retaining the fuze parts is shown as an integral part of a sleeve on the L.H.S., and a separate piece on the R.H.S, which it must be to enable assembly. Thanks to your drawing, the allways fuze, for lateral impact, would seem to be operated by a ring (Topmost Part 9), having a hole formed by two conical bores meeting in the middle, and the resultant ridge bearing on the stem of the striker. The ring being displaced would tilt the striker,whose lower flange, in contact with a vee ring, would tilt and thus bring the striker into contact with the cap. There is another dwg. error, with the Cap carrying sleeve (Lowest part 9) shown as having a separate flange. If this was the case, the longest safety pin would not be able to prevent said Cap-sleeve moving upwards. What a job unscrewing each Central Safety pin (Mysterious holes in head of same, perhaps wire locking holes)and pulling both pins out! I understand that it was intrinsically dangerous, as there was no safety during carriage, other than using a very strong spring. If one fell on soft ground, it could fail to detonate as consequence, but it was found that local kids were detonating them by throwing at trees. Considering it was designed by an engineer who had no previous experience, and having to use toy rubber balls, rather than unavailable rubber moulding facilities, it was quite anachivement. I think one of the designers recorded the development of this on an audio tape, but I doubt anyone has heard same.
The Rhodesian Air Force were most original,even developing the most advanced Golf bomb, not much information of which is available.
Finally, would you know anyone who might have had experience with the CB470, the S.A. productionised version of the Alpha.
The 450kg Golf Bomb
(This information is extracted from Winds of Destruction by P.J.H. Petter-Bowyer)
This bomb, developed for and by the Rhodesian Air Force, was employed operationally from early 1977.
The 450kg version was designed for use by the Hawker Hunter FGA9.
A smaller version nicknamed Mini Golf was introduced later to give light propeller driven aircraft a huge punch off a low level attack profile. As it happened only the Reims-Cessna F337, converted by Rhodesia for armed use, employed the Mini Golf. This modified aircraft was known as Lynx.
The proboscis of the Golf Bomb (and later mini Golf) was designed to detonate the bomb above ground in a manner that limited energy losses to ground and upper air mass. Simultaneous initiation at front and rear of the explosive charge provided a 'squeeze' effect that concentrated energy low and flat across target ground.
The 450kg Golf Bomb employed double steel plating to sandwich thousands of pieces of chopped 10mm steel rod. The double skin and chopped rod driven by the high-volume gas generating explosive ("Anfo" = the Rhodesian name for Amatol mixed with a small quantity of diesel fuel) when added to shredded vegetation proved Golf Bomb to be a truly devastating weapon. A pair of these bombs gave a bush flattening-pattern 90 metres wide by 135 metres in the line of attack with lethal effects extending beyond.
To maximize blast effect each bomb was fitted with a one-metre long proboscis to ensure airburst. To minimize energy losses downward and upward, and to maximiZe ground over-pressure, simultaneous initiation of Pentolite booster charges at the front and rear of the ANFO charge resulted in a very satisfactory squeeze effect. In doing this, each bomb flattened everything around the point of contact and no energy was lost to punching out ground craters.
The entire tailpiece was usually found at the centre of detonation proving that almost no energy was going skyward.
During early tests each pair of bombs landed close together; so the Rhodesians decided to improve the 90-metre diameter bush-clearing effect by retarding one bomb to force it to fall short of the un-retarded one. Spring-loaded metal paddles were used initially but these were clumsy and inefficient. They were discarded as soon as the Rhodesians learned how to absorb the high shock loading involved in deploying their own designed and manufactured drogue chutes. The drogue chutes worked well and forced the retarded bomb to fall about 35 metres short of the streamlined unit. From then on a pair of ANFO bombs gave a bush flattening-pattern 90 metres wide by 135 metres in the line of attack.
450 kg Golf bombs were cleared for operational use in March 1977.
Testing continued for some time thereafter, resulting in the ANFO bombs being upgraded with double steel cylinders sandwiching thousands of pieces of chopped 10mm steel rod to give lethal shrapnel effect beyond the over-pressure boundaries.
Although officially termed 450 kg HP bombs, the project title stuck and everyone knew them as Golf Bombs.
From other sources:
Golf bomb - A Rhodesian invention with the appearance of a gas cylinder one and a half meters high and weighing 460 kilos; this percussion bomb contained amatol which was detonated by a tube one metre long at the nose of the cylinder which struck the ground first. On detonation the casing burst into over, 80,000 fragments lethal at 60 meters with an accompanying stun effect for a further 60. A Hunter could carry 2 golf bombs. There was also a mini golf bomb of 80 kilos for light aircraft such as lynx).
It was a 450kg bomb, consisting of double steel cylinders conventionally shaped, between which thousands of pieces of chopped 10mm steel rod had been encased.. There were two pentolite booster charges, one at the front & one at the rear, both simultaneously initiated when the meter long proboscis impacted with the ground, causing an airburst. The filling was ANFO, manufactured locally by mixing prilled ammonium nitrate with a small quantity of diesel fuel, giving the benefit of equally damaging explosion & implosion.
The tail unit incorporated locally designed & manufactured drogue chutes which caused the bomb to become vertical before impact.
They also provided adequate separation when the bombs were dropped in pairs & produced a bush flattening area 90 meters wide by 135 meters in line of attack. These bombs became operational in March 1977 and were very effectively used by the Hunter & Canberra aircraft on airstrike operations thereafter.
Mini-Golf Bombs: The operational limitations of the Lynx aircraft soon became apparent in the field resulting in frustrations in being unable to effectively combat terrorists in areas where they were known to be but had not been pinpointed. This caused the Team to investigate the development of a mini-golf bomb which could be used adequately by the Lynx. Certain modifications were required to facilitate use by this aircraft. First, safety features needed to be embodied to cater for low level release from this slow flying aircraft. The thin skinned inner steel cylinder, also surrounded by steel slugs & outwardly covered by a steel casing, had no tail unit. When the bomb was released from the aircraft, a large drogue parachute was deployed which severely retarded the bomb & caused it to pitch vertically before impact with the ground. Housed in the nose cone was a steel sphere containing an electric switch device & five meters of electrical cable. When the parachute was deployed, the steel sphere was released & dropped below the bomb to the extent of the 5 meters of cable, causing the batteries to become aligned, completing a link between the electrical switch in the sphere & the detonator in the bomb, positioned at the rear of the ANFO bomb filling. Tests proved that the optimum release height was 300 ft AGL, giving effective over-pressure & dense shrapnel cover to 30 - 40 meters radius, depending on bush density. Soon after clearance for operational use the mini-golf bomb proved a more than satisfactory success.
1) Golf Bomb
2) Golf bomb among Hunter Armament display
3) Mini-Golf Bomb
Mark 1 Mini Golf bombs (not used for very long).jpeg
Last edited by Dreamk; 9th March 2017 at 11:51 PM.
For that most interesting report on some of the other munitions that Rhodesia produced. It is amazing that so few personnel, and very limited manufacturing, could produce such inspired items. I believe that Rhodesia also had a handful of people who worked on clandestine poison gas and biological warfare, which was actually used !