The B-17, a high altitude strategic bomber, achieved its accuracy from the secretly developed Norden bombsight
. The Norden consisted of a gyroscopically stabilized telescopic sight paired with an electromechanical computer where flight conditions were inputted.
Discussions of the development of US strategic bombing theory leading up to World War II often focus on several elements as the main impetus behind this key component of airpower: the works of key individuals such as Generals Billy Mitchell and Benjamin Foulois, the emergence of enabling technologies such as long-range aircraft and the Norden bombsight
, and organizational decisions such as the creation of General Headquarters Air Force.
The pilot transferred control of the aircraft to autopilot, and the bombardier was now flying the plane during the bomb run and would drop the bombs using the Norden bombsight
, if clear, or the radar, if not.
By mid-1943, a year after the AAF began bombing German industries, it had become evident to all but the most devoted advocates of high-altitude daylight precision bombing that the actualization of this doctrine did not even come close to the prewar boast that bombers with the Norden bombsight
could place a 250-pound bomb into a pickle barrel from 20,000 feet.
Heavy bombers, even if equipped with the Norden bombsight
, seldom were successful in pinpoint attacks.
There are bombs in the bomb bay, radios in the radio compartment and the famous Norden bombsight
rests in the Plexiglas nose.
General Arnold was a true visionary: in 1938, he approved the first order of B-17s, and he was pushing the development of radar and the Norden bombsight
. But how could he have foreseen that....
America's Pursuit of Precision Bombing, 1910-1945 by Stephen McFarland, for example, examines the thinking on precision bombing in World War II through the lens of the Norden bombsight
and arrives at many of the same conclusions about strategic bombing as Builder.
On display are numerous electronic parts and devices and high-tech innovations such as the Norden bombsight
and an infrared sniper scope.
Before the United States entered World War II, German spies stole the Norden bombsight
, whispered to be the nation's biggest secret.
When I was about four miles from the target, I called "on course." This meant the pilot would follow the pilot's directional indicator, which is controlled by the bombardier through the Norden Bombsight
. I picked up the Konz Karthaus railway bridge south of Trier, Germany (the target) in my bombsight telescope.
Torpedo bombers also served as medium-or high-altitude bombers and were equipped with the Navy Norden bombsight