Myth Or Real? Germany Built Wooden Airfields to Fool the Allies, So They Bombed It With Wooden Bombs


SI-A-50270pView of a Messerschmitt Bf 109 decoy sitting on the ground. Two other Messerschmitts are visible in the background. SI A-50270, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Archives.

Still, there are a lot of aspects of the story that make it seem more like an urban myth than reality:

  1. Just as there is strategic value in fooling your enemy, there is also strategic value in allowing your enemy to continue believing he has you fooled even after you’ve caught onto his plans. That’s a considerable advantage to throw away merely for the sake of a minor “up yours” stunt.
  2. The proposed scheme (particularly the version quoted at the top of this page, which states the use of a single plane and bomb) is fraught with possibilities for failure that could easily have rendered it pointless. What if the Germans didn’t see the “bomb” fall from the plane? What if they watched it fall but didn’t know what it was, and it broke into unrecognizable pieces when it hit the ground? What if it landed off-target and the Germans never found it? (And why not send someone along to film the event, thereby greatly increasing its propagandic value?)
  3. The Germans used plenty of real anti aircraft guns around their fake airfields, if the Allies were to bomb one of their fake airfields, they would be received with real anti aircraft fire. If there were no anti aircraft guns around a fake airfield the Allies would quickly surmise something fishy was going on.
  4. Would you risk one or more aircrews to drop a wooden bomb on an airfield just for laughs? Giving the fact that the life expectancy as a (bomber) pilot wasn’t that high, it is highly doubtful that any could be found that would risk real Ack Ack to drop a wooden bomb.
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WoodForWood23Young Leutnant Werner Thiel (left) around the time he witnessed the legend in the making and a photograph of of him in 2010 holding a mock-up of the bombs he saw lying on the airfield at Luftkriegschule Werder in 1943 after the night’s air raid. Source:

However a book has been written on the subject, French author Pierre-Antoine Courable and his Belgian cohort Jean Dewaerheid have brought the force of serious research to the seven decade-old legend of Allied bomber crews hitting fake German airfields with fake British bombs.

According to Vintage Wings of Canada In 2009, Courable published his book which, for this writer, finally proves with absolutely thorough research and the first-hand accounts witnesses that everyone said never existed that the wooden bombs for wooden targets skit actually happened.. and many times.  A year later, the long-sought star witness for Courable’s thesis, a Luftwaffe pilot by the name of Oberstleutnant Werner Thiel came forward and was video-taped corroborating the story of the Allied air force’s joke.

The riddle of the wooden bombs
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What do YOU think?

Sources: 1,