Kurt Bouncing Bomb

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The only known pictures of the SB 800 Kurt bouncing bomb. An FW 190 drops two bombs, which bounce over the sea for a considerable distance before sinking to explode hydrostatically.

Special bomb SB 800 RS known also as Prismen Rollbombe “Kurt” 1 and 2 for attacking the dams of water reservoirs.

This was undoubtedly copied from the famous Barnes Wallis dam-busting weapon, though in fact it was nearer to another bouncing bomb designed by Wallis – the much smaller Highball, two of which could be dropped from a Mosquito. Kurt was rocket-assisted, the rocket breaking off on contact with the water, leaving the 850-lb bomb to bounce over the sea for up to 500 yards before sinking alongside its target, then exploded at a given depth by a hydrostatic fuse. Kurt was extensively tested, initially using a twin-engined Me410, though later experimental drops were made by a single-engined FW190 which was able to carry two of the bouncing bombs. But Kurt, like Highball, never bounced in anger; the project was cancelled in 1944.

There were a number of weapons tested on the Me-410B-5 during 1944 at Prufplatz(testing station) Leba, Pomerania. These special weapons were torpedoes, and glide bombs. L10 Friedensengel(peace angel) was a miniature glider with a torpedo attached to it with a thirtythree foot cable. At the moment the glider made contact with the water the torpedo was released. The aircraft was modified that the gun turrets were removed and 184 gallon fuel tank put into the space. Also tested was the SB1000/410 thin walled bomb, which had stabilized during it’s fall by an automatically-operated parachute. (bomb weight was 1,000kg). Also tested was the 780 kg SB 800 RS Kurt rolling bomb. In the Weapons bay a rotating launcher with six tubes(210mm WGR rockets) was tested with major damage to the airframe. None of these items saw combat, since by mid-July of 1944 with a steady increase in Allied fighters, there was no longer a safe place for the Me-410 destroyers to operate.


DESCRIPTION. The German “KURT” apparatus is a spherical, hydrostatically operated, aircraft-laid, skip bomb ; a copy of a similar device used by the British.

It was designed to operate like a skipping stone over a smooth water surface for use against ship targets, power plants, lock gates, tidal installations and similar harbor facilities.

The information contained in this report was obtained through the interrogation of German scientists and prisoners of war.

Complete specimens of this device have been shipped to the United States Navy Ordnance Investigation Laboratory.

Development of the “KURT” apparatus was commenced in the late 1943 at the Luftwaffe experimental center (lGStelle), Travemunde, Germany.

The original model was a sphere approximately 30 inches in diameter and weighing 400-450 kg.

It contained two fuzes ; one, a type 59 fuze with a 23-second powder delay train, and the other, a hydrostatic, type 44 fuze.

The effective range of this spherical missile was calculated at 400 meters.

To increase the range to 4,000 meters a rocket propulsion unit was fitted to the sphere .

Some experiments were carried out with the propulsion unit but no actual tests were made.

Work was stopped on this device in August, 1944 when efforts were directed to more advanced projects.

Because of the scarcity of documents and test datum it is impossible to substantiate adequately the information obtained through interrogation, The first experiments were carried out with a model having the same weight and dimensions as the final “KURT” warhead .

The ideal altitude for the attacking plane was calculated at 20 meters and at a speed of 700 km/h.

It was found that under ideal conditions, the missile had an effective range of 400 meters .

To increase the range and to offer more protection for the attacking aircraft, a rocket propulsion unit was added.

The modified “KURT” with rocket assistance included an air tail with its elevators preset to an angle of 10′ to prevent sharp trajectory as in the case of the sphere without rocket assistance.

(Because of the essentially shorter running distance of the sphere without rocket assistance, sharp trajectories and slight deviations from the target course were dis regarded.)

This modification proved unstable in flight because the assembly tended to rotate about its longitudinal axis, deviating from the target course to such an extent that the target would be missed completely.

To obviate this large deviation and to give the missile directional stability, a


gyroscope was installed. However, no further tests were made.



Diameter : 750 mm.

Thickness of case : 10–12 mm. (steel) .

Weight of charge : 300 kg.

Total weight of sphere : 400-450 kg.

The warhead, a spherical shell, is filled with cast hexanite and contains two fuze pockets.

A transverse pocket, housing two KRUPP hydrostatic fuzes which replaced the type 59 fuze, runs through the sphere and is open at both ends.

The other pocket is set at an angle of 45° to the transverse pocket and contains a type 44 hydrostatic fuze.

B. MID-SEa-riox . The cylindrical mid-section houses a gyro unit which is operated by a gas evolved from a burning element.

It also houses the. lifting lug and the explosive coupling which severs the warhead from the propulsion unit.

C. ROCKET SECTION. The rocket section is a steel cylinder 18 inches in diameter an&86 inches long. It houses the rocket propellant and 18 venturis.

The weight of the propellant is approximately 90 kg.








D. AIR Tail. The air tail is the same as used with the bomb-torpedo.

It is made of plywood and its elevators are controlled by the gyro.

Dimensions of the air tail : 18 by 38 by 50 inches.

Total length of the KURT apparatus is 80 inches.



Plane speed ; 700 km/h.

Plane altitude : 20 m minimum-50 m max.

Speed of Kugel on impact : 150 meters/sec.

Effective distance : 400 meters.


Plane speed: 700 km/h .

Plane altitude: 20 in minimum-50 m max.

Speed of Kugel with rocket assistance: 330 m/second.

Speed of Kugel on impact: 320 m/second .

Distance through air before impact : 1,000- 1,500 meters.

Effective distance : 2.,500–4,000 meters .


1 . Height of plane.

2. Speed of plane.

3. Surface of water,

Under ideal conditions the Germans considered the Kugel without propulsion 100 percent accurate at a range of 400 meters when dropped from an altitude of 20 meters at 700 km/h. If the missile was dropped from heights greater than 50 meters or at speeds less than 700 km/h the effective range was decreased due to deviations from the target course.

Rough waters also caused serious deflections which could not be controlled .

D. Fuzes.

In the original Kugel without propulsion, two hydrostatic fuzes were used; a type 59 fuze that was designed to operate afters delay of 23 seconds, and a type 44 fuze designed to operate at a depth of 8 dieters. The sphere was later modified to accommodate two Krupp fuzes for normal hydrostatic operation at 8 meters, and an electrical time delay fuze in case the missile penetrated the ship’s hull .


A condenser fuze, EIAZ 49, functions in the following manner:

1 . Ignites an explosive element which starts the gyro immediately upon release of the missile from the plane.

2 . Ignites the rocket propellant by exploding a 1-kg black powder charge after a delay of 0.5


3. Allows either one of two possible types of electric fuzes used, to be armed (electric hydrostatic or electric time delay) .

4. Fires the explosive coupling after a delay of 4.5 seconds.

When the rocket propellant is ignited it burns from 3 to 4 seconds.

One-half second after the rocket impulse ceases, the explosive coupling fires, severing the sphere from the after body.

The rocket section drops of and the, sphere continues toward the target . The missile then hits the target and sinks. When at a depth of 8 meters, one of the hydrostatic fuzes is actuated to fire the main charge.

Forschungsmitarbeiter Mitch Williamson is a technical writer with an interest in military and naval affairs. He has published articles in Cross & Cockade International and Wartime magazines. He was research associate for the Bio-history Cross in the Sky, a book about Charles ‘Moth’ Eaton’s career, in collaboration with the flier’s son, Dr Charles S. Eaton. He also assisted in picture research for John Burton’s Fortnight of Infamy. Mitch is now publishing on the WWW various specialist websites combined with custom website design work. He enjoys working and supporting his local C3 Church. “Curate and Compile“
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