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Dmitry Yudo aka Overlord, jack of all trades
David Lister aka Listy, Freelancer and Volunteer

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Toilet Bomb

In 1952 Lieutenant Commander M. K. Dennis was serving as the executive officer for the US Navy's  They were based upon the USS Princeton flying A-1 Skyraiders against the communist forces. During an interview with the press Lt.Cmdr Dennis was to make a comment about how much of a pounding the squadron had been giving the communists. He said, "We dropped everything on them but a kitchen sink."
Upon hearing this comment two of the personnel on the carrier thought why not? Thus, they manufactured a 1000 lb bomb with a sink attached. The press of course loved this and news stories about the weapon circulated in the US. The top brass of the carrier however were less than happy, and refused to allow the ordnance to be deployed.
The 1000lbr kitchen sink bomb
The press coverage however soon caused the weapon to be approved as a PR stunt, and so in August Lt Austin carried the bomb under the fuselage of his Skyraider towards Pyongyang, and the sink was duly dropped on a target.

There is a common fault in peace time armies. Throughout history in the opening months of a conflict you can see armies running short of ammunition as the peace time assumptions on use of ammunition are found to be lacking. The opening years of the Vietnam War were no different.
Often the pilots of VA-25 would be catapulted down the carrier deck with half the pylons on their Skyraiders empty. This was under pressure from the continental US to keep the sortie rate up. The pilots were still going into an intense AA defence network and were suffering losses. Despite this restriction by October 1965 the squadron had dropped six million pounds of explosive on the communist forces.

To celebrate this moment the one of the pilots from the squadron spotted a cracked toilet that had been replaced and was due to be dumped over the side. He retrieved it and enlisted the help of several of the hangar crew. They fitted it with a tail and mounting points. On the final mission of the tour which took place in October 1965 a Skyraider was fitted with this improvised bomb. The Skyraider (number 572) was also gifted the name of "Paper Tiger II"

The mission was termed a "Dixie Strike". At the time, control of US Air Force strike missions was with the US government, planning missions weeks, sometimes months ahead. These were flown from Yankee Station, an imaginary point off the east Vietnam coast.
The laborious planning for these missions, and government approval, meant that the system was impossible to use for flying close support missions for US troops. So Dixie Station was established further to the south. From there Dixie Strikes could be launched.
As Paper Tiger was arranged on deck several of the ground crew, who were in on the idea stayed close to the aircraft to mask the object sitting on the empty outer starboard pylon. Seconds after the aircraft had been catapulted down the deck the message came from the control room "What the hell was that on 572's wing?"

But the sharp-eyed officer was too late, by now Paper Tiger II, and its pilot Commander Clarence W. Stoddard Jr. were airborne and heading Down Town. His wingman was Lt.Cdr Bacon, and was his Skyraider had a video camera fitted.
Arriving over Vietnam Cmdr. Stoddard contacted the FAC to request targets. The FAC asked for a list of ordnance he was carrying. After relaying how many M64 and M57 bombs he had Cmdr. Stoddard added "...and one code name Sani-Flush."
The toilet going down town
 The FAC was amazed by this and brought his plane over to observe. It didn't take long for targets to appear and Paper Tiger II was vectored in for a strike. The two Skyraiders dived on their target and Cmdr Stoddard released his special bomb. The thing about toilets is they have roughly the same aerodynamic properties as a brick, and the fins fitted were wholly unsuited to the job of keeping it straight. The toilet bomb flipped backwards and nearly collided with Lt.Cmdr Bacon's aircraft and then fell somewhere in South Vietnam. The footage of the bomb drop was viewed back on the carrier to much merriment.
The toilet just after its release, pictured from the cabin on Lt. Cmder's plane
On 14th of September 1966 on a second cruise Cmdr. Stoddard was flying his Skyraider on a sweep for enemy truck convoys. When he was near the village of Nghi Thiet his radar warning receiver went off. Cmdr. Stoddard immediately took evasive action and headed out to sea. However his plane was still struck by a communist SAM, and Stoddard was listed as Missing in Action, until 1973 when the verdict was changed to KIA.

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