Is it realistic that bombs explode when shot?

i understand the logic behind it. A bomb is full of explosives, therefore when it’s shot it should explode. But from my reading, it seems like larger bombs would use stable explosives like amatol that needed specific conditions to get of, along with the thick casings. So I’m wondering if this mechanic is realistic for larger bombs.

in addition to the Explosive and the Shell a Bomb Usually also has a fuse

and if you shoot something with an armed Impact fuse on it there is a good chance the Whack from the Bullet could set it off

But what are the chances that you not only hit the fuse, and not destroy it? Plus the fuze was only armed once the bomb was dropped, and Im talking about bombs being blown up before they are dropped.

Impact fuses are very sensitive and especially on older bombs it’ll be enough if you hit the side of the thing with enough force, and a bunch of Bullet hits surely are enough force

again, fuzes were disabled inside of the aircraft. its why you see wires hooked up to fuzes in the B-17’s bomb bay. And the fuzes are powered by those small blades on the front and rear of the bombs. So while in the B-17 they would be completely inert, because they have no power.
Here is a good example on a Corsair:
They are hooking wires up to prevent the fuses from arming until the bomb is dropped.


The short answer is yes and no.

The long answer depends on the bomb/explosive in question as well as what you hit it with. There has been a consistent drive since the days of TNT to make explosives more stable and less likely to go ‘bang’ unless you expressly detonate them. Modern explosives are safer, harder to accidentally fuse and generally require A LOT of abuse to make them go off.

They become less stable as they age however - so all bets are off if you dig up an old WW2 bomb - it will have chemically degraded to the point that it is no longer predictable.

You can actually burn modern plastic explosives and they won’t detonate for example. If you shot a block of C4 with a bullet - it would just go through without setting the stuff off. Rather clever chemistry goes into making them pretty stable unless exact criteria are met.

Now obviously if a bomb gets struck by another explosive shell - it isn’t too radical to suspect it would go off in a sympathetic detonation. However shooting a rifle-calibre machine gun round at an aircraft bomb probably would not do much other than take chunks out of the casing.*

-Takes work hat off-

*For the avoidance of doubt - don’t do that…


I was skeptical about this whole thing since it was introduce.

I mean, yes there are weapons systems which are capable and designed to shoot down e.g. anti ship missiles (Phalanx and Goalkeeper CIWS, Skyguard with AHEAD, etc.), and I’ve seen videos of a 20mm Phalanx weapons system shooting down 81mm mortar rounds in flight.

But in WT we usually talk manually operated or coaxial machine guns shooting down ATGM’s and bombs repeatedly and reliably by just spraying and praying. I’ve once tried to shoot a tank more than a km away with TOW’s and he got at least 3 of my missiles with MG fire before I managed to get one through his “wall of lead” and got him. I think that was when the mechanic was very new however, probably it’s much better now.

Has anyone heard about cases where bombs carried on a plane were shot and went off? I mean the bomb bay and the bombs therein make up quite a big portion of a strategic bomber’s fuselage, hitting it shouldn’t be so impossible. Why was that not “a thing”?

Guess because it doesn’t work that way. Sure, if you would hit the explosive part of the fuse maybe, but hitting that is very improbable, plus a lot of bombs would have the fuse so that it only arms (and is physically put in a position where it can detonate the bomb’s explosives) after being armed.

I personally find such mechanics should belong into a James Bond movie, not a sim game trying to emulate realistic weapons systems.


there is just too much that needs to go into it. Like its fine for GRB, but it just makes playing things like the tu-2 or the b-17 even less fun, now that fuel explosions are a thing.

in the overall yes but also no

bombs depending on their explosive can be set off by something as simple as a being hit by a hammer, now this is very problematic so that’s why over the years instead of focusing on making a bigger bomb our focus has been to make the boom less problematic and more reliable, it’s possible the same way it was possible for the Bismarck to sink the Hood, in real life it’s an oddity but not exactly impossible

personally I would just like to see things like torpedoes and dept charges explore more reliably on the decks of ships

Or things like sea-skimming anti ship missiles not actually fly over a ship, right? = )


oh don’t get me started on the anti ship missiles, I want justice for the RB04 and the RB15! I know they are pointless to add but Sweden went nuts for anti ship missile capability for their fighters, both the Drakens and the Viggens carried the RB04 and the AJS viggen carried the RB15 so come on lets have them added

Please support this bug report: As.34 Kormoran incorrect flight altitude // // Issues

= )

I guess more ASM’s will come, and then also the mechanics should be fixed.

They need to fix it so that when you shoot them, and they get taken out by them, whoever shot the bomb gets the credit.

It’s quite confusing to people who just explode and don’t know what went on.

The issue here is how to actually impliment it so it can’t be abused… Easiest way would probably be a mechanic that makes you drop the bomb on the left wing when it gets hit repeatedly instead of just detonating.

If the bomb gets a model and really only just gets dented in by rifle caliber it would make things with loads of bombs on them near invulnerable.

Otherwise shooting bombs with rifle caliber mid flight could instead of detonating them also just move them away. If slight wind already changed the path of a bomb imagine what an actual bullet impact would do to it.

These are a few ideas that came to my mind just now

Despite books about air war in WW2 mention quite often direct hits by flak on B-17s/B-24s leading to an explosion of the bomb load, i am not aware of any pilot claims of explicitly shooting at the pay load.

Having the much closer combat ranges of irl in mind, going for the payload would have been suicide as the attacking fighter might have been caught by the explosion blast. German night fighters aimed for wing fuel tanks due to this whilst attacking with Schraege Musik. You will also might heard of the issues of RAF pilots avoiding to get killed/damaged whilst intercepting V-1s.

All i remember are very rare claims of 262 pilots scoring kills by hitting the bomb load - with 30mm and/or R4Ms but i looks like that those were just lucky hits and a result of their tactics of using high speed zoom climbs from below and behind.

To be complete, even it was not shooting at the payload:

We have the Knoke memoirs claiming that he scored 3 B-17 kills with a single SC 250 dropped with his 109 from 1.0000 meters above with a fuze delay.
He claims he scored a direct hit on the middle plane of these 3 B-17s, the explosion of the bomb load of the middle plane caused the 2 subsequent kills.

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You are fully right. IRL if fighters dropped 100 bomber, 1 of them destroyed by hits to bombs. In WT i dropped 6 bombers and 3 of them by hitting bombs. THIS IS STUPID.

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Not really a pro of physics but that sounds quite impossible.
wind is a light force but a constant one and applied to the entire body of the bomb so yes it will end up moving the bomb.
A bullet is a strong force yes, but unique and very localised.

It’s pretty much the same thing as trying to move a bomb on wheels by pushing it (less force but constant) or by punching it (more force but applied a single time).

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This whole thing with destroying external ordinance seems arcadey to me…

Don’t all TV weapons target a dead space just above the ship too?

Not only external, can’t even count how many times I’ve got my Lancaster mk3 obliterated by a single shot at the 12k bomb

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