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Flaming Onions

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  • Flaming Onions

    I've wondered about them for years since I first saw it mentioned in Biggles when I was a wee slip of a lad but I have never seen a satisfactory answers as to what they were.

    This is the best I could find:

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstrac...649C946996D6CF

    But you will need to click on the "view full article" to see the whole lot.

    Any info that can be provided on them would be appreciated.
    Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the cheesemakers

    That's right bitches. I'm blessed!

  • #2
    This was a multi-barrel 37mm mortar which discharged its bombs in rapid sequence. One of the first dedicated anti-aircraft weapons, which wasn't resurrected in the Nazi period due to the availability of more efficient 20mm and 37mm cannon.

    Allied airmen believed that the bombs were connected like a string of onions, hence the name.
    Indyref2 - still, "Yes."

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    • #3
      Originally posted by the ace View Post
      This was a multi-barrel 37mm mortar which discharged its bombs in rapid sequence. One of the first dedicated anti-aircraft weapons, which wasn't resurrected in the Nazi period due to the availability of more efficient 20mm and 37mm cannon.

      Allied airmen believed that the bombs were connected like a string of onions, hence the name.
      Thanks. Rep on the way. Do you have any links that I can have a look at about it?
      Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the cheesemakers

      That's right bitches. I'm blessed!

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      • #4
        I too have wondered about this for years (since reading Biggles, obviously), sounds pretty interesting. If anyone has any more info it would be greatly appreciated!
        "Little pigs, little pigs, I've come to nick your tele!"

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        • #5
          I did find something on Wiki. It wasn't until the end of the war that any of these things were captured. Seemingly it had five barrels, not exactly lightweight.
          Indyref2 - still, "Yes."

          Comment


          • #6
            Briefly, there's a lot of confusion regarding this weapon, there's the gun and the shells.

            This subject has been discussed many times over the year at The Aerodrome web site, finally two years ago, the riddle was solved by doctor Hannes Träger. I will give you a quick summary.

            There was a German weapon wich was a five barrelled revolver cannon (Revolverkanone), wich was like an oversized Gatling gun, this was an early kind of rapid firing gun, employed in ships against the threat of torpedo boats, and also as a gun for fortress anti infantry defense. It was about 37mm in caliber. These cannons were pressed into service as light antiaircraft guns earlier in the war, mainly for kite balloon defense. Somehow, somewhen, somebody made the connection between these impressive looking contraptions and the scary balls of fire seen by Allied airmen in the air.

            But this is not the "flaming onion" gun"

            The "flaming onions" or balls of fire were essentially an optical illusion product of seeing tracer projectiles in the air, wich fueled speculation and wild rumours.

            They were nothing than tracer rounds fired by a light antiaircraft cannon, also 37mm, but this time an automatic weapon. Guess what? It was nothing other than the Maxim 1 pounder gun, the pom-pom also used by the British in both World Wars. Both sides used the same gun, but the British fired a mix of HE shells + tracer roudns , and the Germans fired every round a tracer, wich made the weapon look different in the air.

            The impression on the retine caused by the flamings rounds in their passage through the air gives the optical illusion of a "string" of flaming balls. You don't need to look any further than some news footage of the first Gulf War of 1991 of the night bombings of Bagdad to see something very similar as the Iraqi light flak (20 or 30mm in caliber) fired from rooftoops into the night.
            CANNON, n.
            An instrument employed in the rectification of national boundaries.

            The Devil's Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce

            http://guerraenucrania.wordpress.com/

            http://pinturasdeguerra.tumblr.com/

            http://pinturasdeguerra-mar.tumblr.com/

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            • #7
              Originally posted by von Junzt View Post
              I will give you a quick summary.
              Thank you kind sir. A good explanation and I do remember seeing those "flaming onions" over Iraq but did not put 2+2 together.
              Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the cheesemakers

              That's right bitches. I'm blessed!

              Comment

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