Fact File about the Invention of the Bouncing Bomb: Invention: Bouncing Bomb *** Date of Invention: April 1942 *** Name of Inventor: Barnes Wallis *** Lifespan of Inventor: 1887 - 1979 *** Nationality of Inventor: English *** Historical Period: WW2 (1939 - 1945) *** Category: Weapons *** Country of Origin: England *** Facts about the Inventor, Barnes Wallis, and the invention of the Bouncing Bomb ***
Fact 1: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? The Bouncing Bomb was invented by Barnes Wallis in April 1942 during the WW2 (1939 - 1945) era of inventions.
Fact 2: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? Prior to the invention of the
Bouncing Bomb in April 1942, British bombers did not possess the degree of
accuracy required to successfully attack the dams in Germany's heavily
industrialised Ruhr Valley, an important strategic target.
Fact 3: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? The inventor of the Bouncing Bomb, Barnes Wallis, was born on 26 September 1887 in Ripley, Derbyshire, England, UK and died on October 30, 1979.
Fact 4: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? The early years of Barnes Wallis were spent in Ripley, Derbyshire, England, UK where he was raised by his family.
He was the son of Charles Wallis and Edith Ashby and had two brothers and a
Fact 5: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? Barnes Wallis was educated at
Christ’s Hospital School in Horsham and he took a degree in engineering via the University of London External Programme. Following his education
at the age of 17 his first job was as an apprentice at the Thames Engineering
Works, Blackheath making ship engines, and then in the J.S. White's shipyard in
Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
Fact 7: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? In 1913, Barnes Wallis joined
Vickers Ltd who had expanded their shipbuilding business into manufacture of
airships and airplanes, a new and exciting industry.
Barnes Wallis was assigned to the Aviation Department and the airship and
aircraft design team where he played a crucial role in the development of the
Fact 8: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? Barnes Wallis married Molly
Bloxam on April 23, 1925 and they had four children, Elizabeth, Christopher,
Mary and Barnes and also adopted Molly’s sister's orphaned children. The family
lived their lives in Effingham, Surrey.
Fact 9: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? The outbreak of WW2
continued his career at Vickers focussing on the development of the fuselage and
wing structure design of the Wellesley, Wellington and Warwick aircraft. The
outbreak of WW2 (1939 - 1945) led to his invention of the Bouncing Bomb.
Fact 10: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? When WW2 erupted Barnes Wallis
was appointed as the assistant chief designer in the Vickers aviation section.
He soon realized the need for accurate, strategic bombing, but the bombs that
were being used made the task impossible.
Fact 11: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? The dams surrounding the Ruhr
Valley provided hydro-electric power to the Nazi factories. If the factories
were disrupted, and this important industrial base was destroyed, there would be
no German war supplies.
Fact 12: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? Barnes Wallis began working on
his idea of bombing dams. The dams in the Ruhr Valley were protected by torpedo
nets, so to counter this obstacle Barnes Wallis designed a ten tonne bomb
which created an earthquake effect. However there were no airplanes capable of
carrying the weapons at the height required.
Fact 13: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? The idea which led to the invention of the Bouncing Bomb
was based on the "ducks and drakes" game of skimming stones across water. The
stones spun in a series of hops over the water. Barnes Wallis came up with the
initial idea of creating a 'bouncing bomb' that bounced over the water and the
torpedo nets in 1942.
Fact 14: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? His novel idea for developing a Bouncing Bomb
received a mixed reaction, most believed it was totally mad. Sir Arthur Harris,
Chief of British Bomber Command, initially called the scheme "tripe of the
wildest description" stating that "there is not the smallest chance of its
Fact 15: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? Barnes Wallis persisted with his
idea for creating a Bouncing Bomb and the top secret project, codenamed
Operation Chastise, was given the go ahead on February 26, 1943.
Fact 16: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? Barnes Wallis worked
relentlessly on his invention of the Bouncing Bomb. Components for the bombs and
modifications of Avro Lancaster Mk IIIs were required followed by a series of
tests, re-calculations and yet more modifications that would reduce the risk of
aircraft damage and increase the range of the bouncing bombs.
Fact 17: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? He demonstrated his invention to
the RAF who witnessed a drum-shaped, rotating bomb bounce over the water, roll
down a wall and explode at its base. Wallis Barnes was given orders to prepare
bombs for an attack on the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams in the industrial area of
Ruhr in Germany.
Fact 18: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? The RAF 617 Squadron under the
command of 24-year-old Wing Commander Guy Gibson whose expert crews underwent
highly intensive night-time and low-altitude flight training to prepare for the
air raids hat would drop the 4.2 tonnes bouncing bombs.
Fact 19: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? The modified 30 tonne Avro
Lancaster planes had to approach the dam at exactly the right height (60ft) and
speed (230mph) in order to deliver the precision bouncing bomb.
Fact 20: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? The Dambuster Raids were
successfully carried out between 16–17 May 1943 by the 617 Squadron, who became
known as the Dambusters. The dams were breached and created massive flooding
across the Ruhr Valley. There were heavy RAF losses as 53 of the 133 aircrew who
participated in the Dambuster raids were killed.
Fact 21: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? A movie called 'The Dam Busters'
was made in 1955 that charted the story of Barnes Wallis, the Bouncing
Bomb and the 617 Squadron. The movie is highly recommended for anyone interested
in the invention of the Bouncing Bomb.
Fact 22: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? Barnes Wallis carried on
inventing after WW2 and in 1968 received a knighthood for his work and service
to his country.
Fact 23: Who invented the Bouncing Bomb? Barnes Wallis died on October
30, 1979, at the age of 92, and his funeral was held at St Lawrence Church in
Effingham. A memorial service was also held for Barnes Wallis a year later at St
Paul's Cathedral in London that was attended by the Prince of Wales.
Fact 24: Barnes Wallis will always be remembered for his contribution to
engineering and as the inventor of the Bouncing Bomb.