The 'other' secret bouncing bomb of World War Two

Related to the bouncing bomb of Dambusters fame, Highball was intended to be effective against specific military targets. Malcolm V Lowe tells the story of this secret World War Two weapon

The problem of successfully attacking precise, small but high-value military installations taxed the minds of armed forces and scientific personnel on both sides during World War Two. Unlike nowadays, guided weapons were in their infancy in the 1940s, and therefore other means had to be found for delivering useful ordnance onto a required target with the maximum effect.

The famous bouncing bomb as used by 617 Squadron and its Lancasters to breach the Ruhr dams in May 1943 was a successful demonstration of the coming together of clever science with exceptional airmanship. Code-named Upkeep, the large weapon of Dambusters legend was, however, not the only spinning, water-bouncing weapon that equipped RAF aircraft during World War Two. Also developed by Barnes Wallis and his talented team of scientists and practical creators was a related bomb named Highball.

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