Wallis, Sir Barnes, 1887-1979

A British aeronautical engineer, Wallis was responsible for the design and construction of many of the Allied ‘super bombs.’ Before World War I he was a designer for Vickers and after a brief period with the Royal Naval Air Service returned to Vickers as an airship designer. In the 1920s he designed and built the R.100 airship. As an airplane designer he invented the ‘geodetic’ fuselage used on the Vickers Wellington. During the war he specialized in developing new and different types of bombs. On 16 May 1943 Wing Commander GIBSON led the RAF on a mission to destroy the dams on the Mohne and Eder. It was the first known use of the ‘bouncing bomb,’ one of Wallis’s more famous and useful weapons. It had to be dropped from sixty feet and then it bounced on the water up to the dams where it exploded. His other big success was in the development of the Grand Slam bomb. The first of these was dropped on Bielefeld viaduct and weighed ten tons. He was also responsible for the development of the ‘Tall Boy,’ a 12,000 pound deep penetration bomb which was used to sink the Tirpitz on 12 November 1944. There were 854 Tall Boys and 41 Grand Slam bombs dropped during the war.

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