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The current time is: 2/24/2018 9:11:09 AM

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major

Posts: 3850

USN drones, September 1944
Posted on: 9/23/2017 3:14:33 AM

The drones were first demonstrated for the Navy brass in late July 1944. The Navy was impressed enough with the TDR-1 that it ordered them into combat. On September 27th 1944, four drones were armed with 2,000 pound bombs and flown towards a Japanese gun installation on the island of Bougainville. Three of the drones didn't make it but the third did, crashing directly into the gun position and exploding. The age of drone warfare had been arrived.
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 TDR-1 in action.


With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 6317

Re: USN drones, September 1944
Posted on: 9/23/2017 7:30:47 AM
That's intriguing.

I'm not an air force person so I wonder whether that device was modelled on another plane already in service or was it designed from scratch.

There were some photos available that showed a test pilot in the cockpit. I presume that he could grab the controls whenever a glitch occurred in the remote control system.

Some of the literature indicates that the British had developed a remote controlled aircraft in the '30's that was to be used for target practice.

As well, and I don't fully understand this, but it seems that the unmanned device was controlled remotely by radio from a manned aircraft following. The article didn't say whether this was the same procedure followed once the devices were used in combat or whether it was part of the developmental process.

Also interesting for those of us in the Great Lakes region is that once preliminary testing on the two mile long runways of Oklahoma had been completed, the TDR-1 project shifted to Traverse City, Michigan. There was a lot of testing of military aircraft and devices over the Great Lakes from both sides of the border. Less chance of a catastrophic error perhaps. ???

The people of Traverse City had no idea that unmanned, remote controlled aircraft were being launched from air fields in their area?

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Good article. Thanks BW



St. Louis, MO, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 650

Re: USN drones, September 1944
Posted on: 9/23/2017 7:48:15 AM
Read up on how Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., died.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major

Posts: 3161

Re: USN drones, September 1944
Posted on: 9/23/2017 9:36:43 AM
Thanks OP,

I also didn't know about the 1St drones either, they were prop driven. I did know the sad story on Joe Kennedy, his father had high hopes that he would be president someday. Tragedy ran with the Kennedy boys.

Sad history,
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

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