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U.S. M83 "Butterfly Bomb" - Copy of the German Splitterbombe, SD-2


Components This is the U.S. made M-83 anti-personnel munition used during the 1950's and after.

It is an almost identical copy of the infamous German SD-2 Splitterbombe ("Splinter Bomb"), commonly known as the "Butterfly Bomb", used during WWII.  
The SD-2 was used against British cities, dropped along with other high explosive and incendiary ordnance. A small weapon (about 2kg), its primary purpose was as a booby trap device, to slow the progress of damage control after a bombing raid.

A common configuration for the SD-2 was to load them into a container, holding 23, which resembled a 50kg bomb. When dropped from a plane, the container immediately opened, emptying its lethal cargo.

There were five different kinds of fuze that could be used for the SD-2 including impact, air burst, long delay and anti-handling.
(The M-83 shown has a 2-function selectable fuze.)

The bomb has a lethal radius of up to 70 yards.

After the bomb is released, a torsion spring pops the wings open. Air drag pulls that assembly to the end of the connecting  piece where it locks and proceeds to rotate, unscrewing the threaded arming spindle. Once the spindle completes about 10-turns, it arms the fuze. Once armed, there is no way to defuze the bomb and must be destroyed in place.

SD-2 on a roof top, during WWII
Somewhere in England, WWII
(Note the arming spindle in the armed position.)
"They were found on roofs, on beds, hanging by one wing through ceilings, and the only way for the bomb disposal squads to deal with them was to blow them up with a charge just wherever they happened to be.
"A Grimsby fireman told me that "they tied the whole town up for three days - everything came to a standstill.""
"A German prisoner of war told our bomb disposal people that the Germans dropped some containers of butterfly bombs onto a race
course near Paris, in order to give their bomb disposal squads the experience of coping with them. The result was a number of German casualties. Very thorough!"

Commander Sir Aylmer Firebrace, C.B.E, R.N.
Chief of Fire Staff, British National Fire Service

Fire and the Air War
National Fire Protection Assoc. (U.S.), 1946



(A Worthwhile Visit)  -  Royal Air Force Bomb Disposal Association


WWII Poster



SD 2 in a He 46 Against Infantry Purposes
(A German Web Site - Interesting Luftwaffe Munitions Photos)LuftArchiv.de

Close-Up Photos of the German SD-2  

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