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Title:BOMB CLUSTER HE 600ib No 1 MK 1 & 2 (BL755) [Main Title]
Film Number:MIL 537
Summary: Edited film with captions showing the development, manufacture and testing of the BL755 airborne munition: the original “cluster bomb”, a single projectile which, when fired and approaching a ground target (such as an airfield runway) discharges a large number of high explosive bomblets which detonate over a wide area.
Description: Royal Ordnance Factory, Glascoed (with assistance from RAE Farnborough)
“Research and Development Phase.” The development of the bomblets is briefly illustrated using close-ups of the individual parts.
“Production Stages.” “Preparation and Filling of Warheads.” Civilian workers assemble parts of the bomblets and fill them with explosives; much of this process is automated, and close-up views of the assembly equipment are shown. “Assembly of bomblets.” Wide shots of the large assembly line at the Glascoed factory. “Assembly of Weapon.” A different assembly line, during which the various bomblets are loaded into the main missile casings. The missiles are then enclosed and primed before being placed in crates and moved by trolley.
“Proofing & Weapons Trials.” Ground testing of the bomblets at the vacuum gun range at QAD(W), the Quality Assurance Directorate (Weapons) testing facility (location not given). Preparations for firing. Brief low motion shots of the ground-based trials. Complete bombs are wheeled onto an airfield and attached to an aircraft prior to full trials.
“Live release Mk 1 Weapon Slow Motion Buccaneer aircraft”. Ground-based camera shows, in slow motion, the Buccaneer flying overhead, releasing the munition, and the discharge of the multiple HE bomblets which detonate over a large area. Further views are shown, including the attack in real time, and a plan view from above taken by a helicopter at higher altitude. This shows, in slow motion, the approach of the aircraft, launching of munition, discharging and detonation of bomblets; this view shows the wide scale of destruction caused by the weapon. Finally, the strike is shown from a ground-based camera facing the aircraft “head-on”.
ON SAME REEL (AT THE END):
A second, much shorter film showing further trials of the BL755 munition, possibly the Mk 2. No titles or explanatory captions, apart from “RESTRICTED”.
CUSP Scientific Film Unit, undated.
16mm colour silent 3.5 mins
Aircraft is fitted with BL 755, takes off, and is filmed during the bombing run: this run clearly shows the launch of the munition, the airborne release of the bomblets and the multiple ground impacts, both slow motion and real time. There is also an aerial plan view.
Production Details: Royal Ordnance Factory, Glascoed (Production company)
CUSP Scientific Film Unit (Production company)
Technical Details: Format: 16mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 1
Footage: ca 960 ft : Running time: 26 mins 30 secs
Notes: Remarks: These two films are excellent records of the development of the cluster bomb, a singular weapon about which the IWM holds very little. The film can is labelled “Commentary by Colin Doran”, although the actual print is silent. However, the captions are very adequate in giving an overview of the film’s contents. No copy with commentary has yet been located.