Comment from Wade Nelson 2002 Oct 07

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From: Wade Nelson
Date: 2002 Oct 07
Subj: proximity fuse

Enjoyed your story. I'd never heard about "jumbo" before.

My father worked on the proximity fuse during WWII. I'm trying to get ahold of Christman to talk to him.

It's power was in bringing down the kamikazes, since "close counted" when you had a blast radius of more than 500'. You no longer had to score a direct hit.

An airburst, with its sphere of shrapnel is 1000% more effective against ground troops than a bomb which must hit the ground before going off in an upward cone of shrapnel. Any 3' deep foxhole will protect you from that; an airburst requires you build a serious roof on your foxhole.

Patton apparently used them against 700 Germans trying to cross a river. My father said he was shown nauseating pictures of North Koreans & Chinese soldiers cut to hamburger by proximity-fuse equipped mortar and cannon shells.

A gunnery officer from the Helena I talked to said they would march proximity-fuse-equipped 5" shells across Japanese occupied islands and when they were done, not a palm tree was left standing, so effective were the 20-50' airbursts.


I hadn't heard about the use against ground troops before. Or maybe I had and the imagery didn't stick so well. Brrr. Still, thanks for a very interesting message.