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Dambusters: Bombing Hitler's Dams
If you have a question about this talk, please contact Hugh Hunt.
This is a showing of the USA version of the recent Channel 4 Dambusters documentary as shown on PBS Nova.
In 1939, visionary aircraft designer Barnes Wallis designed a very special bomb that would bounce across water and destroy German dams. The raid in 1943 was a success and a 1950s feature film carried the Dambusters story into British legend. But the science behind the bouncing bomb is highly complex, and many of Barnes Wallis’ vital working calculations have been lost. Cambridge engineer Dr Hugh Hunt, attempts to solve the scientific puzzle of exactly how Wallis did it. Starting from scratch, he rediscovers the brilliance of Wallis’s achievement by trying to hit a dam with a bouncing bomb. It is the first time this has been attempted since the war. Hugh will be assisted by dam engineers, explosives experts, mechanics and pilots who specialise in low altitude flying. First Hugh modifies a vintage Second World War aircraft to carry a bomb the size of an oil drum, then he asks the pilots to fly dangerously low over a Canadian lake and release the bomb at the perfect point so that it bounces across the water onto a specially-constructed 130-foot-wide dam. If they’re successful they’ll blow the dam sky-high.
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