“TheCeļotājs”
"Latvia" Former Soviet Union Military Bases
 
Appendix XXVII
 
German SD-2 Sprengbombe Dickwandig – Butterfly Bomb
 
A Butterfly Bomb or "Sprengbombe Dickwandig 2kg or SD-2" was a German 2 kilogram anti-personnel submunitions used by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. It was so named because the thin cylindrical metal outer shell which hinged open when the bomblet deployed gave it the superficial appearance of a large butterfly. The design was very distinctive and easy to recognize. SD-2 bomblets were not dropped individually, but were packed into containers
containing between 6 and 108 submunitions e.g. the AB 23 SD-2 and AB 250-3 submunitions dispensers. The SD-2 submunitions were released after the container was released from the aircraft and had burst open. Because SD-2s were always dropped in groups "never individually" the discovery of one unexploded SD-2 was a reliable indication that others had been dropped nearby. This bomb type was one of the first cluster bombs ever used in combat and it proved to be a highly effective weapon. The bomb containers that carried the SD-2 bomblets and released them in the air were nicknamed the "Devil's Eggs" by Luftwaffe air and ground crew. 
 
Description 
 
         
                       German SD-2 Closed                                           German SD-2 Open
 
The SD-2 submunitions was an 8-centimetre "3.1 inch" long cylinder of cast iron, which was slightly smaller in diameter before its wings deployed. A steel cable 15cm long was attached via a spindle to an aluminum fuze screwed into the fuze pocket in the side of the bomblet. The outer shell was hinged and would flip open as two half-cylinders when it was dropped. Additionally, spring-loaded wings at the ends would flip out. The wings at the end were canted at an angle to the airflow, which turned the spindle "connected to the fuze" anti-clockwise as the bomblet fell. After the spindle had revolved approximately 10 times "partially unscrewing itself from the bomb" it released a spring-loaded pin inside the fuze, which fully armed the SD-2 bomb. The wings and arming spindle remained attached to the bomb after the fuze had armed itself, as the bomb descended towards the ground. Butterfly bombs contained 225 grams of TNT. They were generally lethal to anyone within a radius of 10 meters "33 feet" and could inflict serious shrapnel injuries "e.g. deep penetrating eye wounds" as far away as 100 meters "330 feet". Butterfly bombs were usually painted either dark green or grey. A dull yellow color scheme was sometimes used, either for use in the Middle East, or when dropped on grain crops at harvest time to kill farm-workers.
 
Butterfly bombs could be fitted with any one of three fuzes, which were made of aluminum and stamped with the model type surrounded by a circle:
  • 41 Fuze - has an external selector switch with two settings. The "Zeit" "time" setting will detonate the bomb in the air, approximately 5 seconds after being armed. The "AZ" "impact" setting triggers detonation when the bomb hits the ground. The fuze is armed if 4 screw threads at the base of the arming spindle are visible. This fuze is highly sensitive to disturbance if the selector switch is set to "Zeit" and the bomb is unexploded. The particular switch setting of any type 41 fuze is clearly visible on its exterior.
  • 67 Fuze - clockwork time delay, adjustable between 5 and 30 minutes after arming itself in the air. This fuze also has an external selector switch for impact detonation. The particular switch setting of any type 67 fuze is clearly visible on its exterior.
  • 70 Fuze - anti-handling device [See Appendix XXIV] "i.e. booby-trap" will trigger detonation if the bomb is moved after impact with the ground. The fuze is armed if 3 screw threads at the base of the arming spindle are visible.
Butterfly bombs in a submunitions container could have a mixture of different fuzes fitted to increase disruption to the target. Additionally, when a single fuze type with two operating functions was fitted "e.g. type 41", bombs in a submunitions container could have either or both possible fuze settings selected. Fuze variants such as the 41A, 41B, 70B1, 70B2, etc., also existed. These variants were inserted into the fuze pocket via a bayonet fitting "the fuze was held in place via two steel clips" but otherwise functioned identically.
 
As with more modern cluster bombs, it was not considered practical to disarm butterfly bombs which had fully armed themselves but failed to detonate. This was because SD2 fuzes were deliberately designed to be extremely difficult and dangerous to render safe once they had armed themselves. Instead, the standard render safe procedure for any unexploded SD-2 butterfly bomb was to evacuate the area for at least 30 minutes "in case the bomblet was fitted with a type 67 time delay fuze", then surround it with a ring of sandbags "to cushion the explosion" and destroy it in situ by detonating a small explosive charge beside it. Other solutions were to attach a long string to the bomb and tug on it after taking cover, or for bombs in open countryside, shooting at them with a rifle from a safe distance.
 
Not all unexploded SD-2 butterfly bombs still have their wings attached. In some cases the wings have rusted away and fallen off. The SD-2 then resembles a rusty tin can with an aluminum disc "the fuze" in its side, sometimes with a short stub projecting from it. Regardless of age and condition, all unexploded SD-2s remain highly sensitive to disturbance and can easily detonate.
 
Use
 
Butterfly bombs were first used against Ipswich in 1940, but were also dropped on Grimsby and Cleethorpes in June 1943, amongst various other targets in the UK. They were subsequently used against Allied forces in the Middle East. The British Government deliberately suppressed news of the damage and disruption caused by butterfly bombs in order not to encourage the Germans to keep using them.
 
On 28 October 1940 some butterfly bombs that had incompletely armed themselves were discovered in Ipswich by British ordnance technicians Sergeant Cann and 2nd Lieutenant Taylor. By screwing the arming rods back into the fuzes "i.e. the unarmed position" the two men were able to recover safe examples to reverse engineer.
 
The SD-2 saw use in the opening stages of "Operation Barbarossa", the German invasion of the "Soviet Union", which began on "22 June 1941". Twenty to thirty aircrews had been picked to drop SD-2s and SD-10s "10kg submunitions" on key Soviet airfields, a flight of three aircraft being assigned to each field. The purpose of these early attacks was to cause disruption and confusion as well as to preclude dispersion of Soviet planes until the main attack was launched. It was reported that Kampfgeschwader 51 had lost 15 aircraft due to accidents with the SD-2s, nearly half of the total Luftwaffe losses that day.
 
The last recorded death from a German butterfly bomb in England occurred on 27 November 1956, over 11 years after the Second World War ended: Flight Lieutenant Herbert Denning of the RAF was examining an SD-2 at the Upminster Bomb Cemetery" "some remote sandpits situated East of RAF Hornchurch, where EOD experimental and research work took place" when it detonated. He died of shrapnel and blast injuries at Oldchurch Hospital the same day. 
 
Deaths have also been recorded on the Island of Malta as late as 1981 when Paul Gauci, a 41-year-old Maltese man, died after welding a butterfly bomb to a metal pipe and using it as a mallet, thinking it was a harmless can. The latest find of such a bomb was on 28 October 2009, by an 11-year-old boy in a secluded valley close to a heavily bombarded airfield. This bomb was safely detonated on-site by the Armed Forces of Malta. 
 
U.S. Copy
 
              
                                                   [1]                                                                                       [2]                                                                                [3]
[1] US M83 Cluster Bomb with Wings Closed, Fuse not yet Armed  
[2] US M83 Cluster Bomb with Wings Deployed 
[3] 500 pound M29 Cluster Bomb with ninety M83 Submunitions inside it
The United States manufactured a copy of the SD-2 for use during World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War, designating it the M83 submunitions. The 4-pound "1.8kg" fragmentation bomblet was used in the US M28 and M29 cluster bombs.
 
 
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Revised: 02/04/2013 – 14:15:06