DIRECTIONAL KITE DETONATOR
3. Endorsed on Supplement 1
Lt. Comdr. P.E. Garber - Listed in Supplement 1.
(a) This project originated as the result of a suggestion by a fellow officer, Lieutenant Ketcham, who had seen a demonstration of the target kite and formed the opinion that it might be used to carry and direct placement of an explosive charge. He had communicated this idea to an officer in the Army's Demolition Unit at Ft. Belvoir, VA., and that officer, Lieutenant Lichtenstein, indicated that he would be interested in see the kite, and would assist in exploiting it possibilities for detonation experiments.
In order to conduct this demonstration and test the Project Engineer requested official approval in Supplement 1 and having been given permission to proceed, visited Lieutenant Lichtenstein on 11 June. He demonstrated both the Mark 1 and Mark 2 kites, although facilities at the time were limited by a small area and little wind. Nevertheless
Lieutenant Lichtenstein expressed himself as impressed by the ability
of the target kite and anxious to learn its weight carrying possibilities.
In order to test explosives which were readily available, the Project Engineer procured from the Demolition Group a hand grenade and a mine grenade, Type A-T, T-7, together with several different types of detonators of the form used with booby traps.
It was determined that the center of gravity of the Mark 1 kite lay 26" from the top of the mast and that of the Mark 2 type 36". A hand grenade with a compression detonator attached was rigged to a Mark 1 kite at the center of gravity and with a dowel stick extending vertically upward along the mast, projecting 2" beyond. Thus weighted, the kite was flown, it being determined that a 15 knot wind pressure was required to maintain it aloft (contrasted to 10 knots for the unweighted kite). The weight of the kite itself is 1 lb. 15 oz., that of the hand grenade with attachment is 1 lb. 6 oz. This additional weight greatly increased the "wing loading" of the kite.
(b) Supplement ___ illustrates the Mark 1 kite with the explosive charge attached.
The equipment was ready for test on 3 August 1945.ITEM 7
The excess wing loading carried by the target kite when loaded with the explosive charge greatly restricted its flexibility of movement. although the kite responded to the usual controls it lateral movement
became restricted to a narrow arc and it required expert skill to
keep it from falling over into a dive. Figure 8's were very erratic
and instant corrections were required to maintain the kite in a dive,
there being a constant tendency to change course.
Shortly thereafter the project engineer availed himself of the opportunity to study a number of films showing combat operations and as a result, became of the opinion that the occasions when a situation would permit use of the target kite as a directional detonator would be extremely infrequent, and so far as he could determine, the desired military results would be as easily achieved through the use of a properly handled mortar. The only situation particularly applicable to the use of the Directional Kite Detonator would be that of operations against caves on the walls of a defile. To use the kite it would be necessary to have a strong wind blowing down the course of the defile, and the kite operator would be required to stand in an exposed position.
ITEMS 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
As a result of the experiments described it was believed that the use of a target kite for directing explosives was impractical. A verbal report to this effect was given to Lieut. Lickenstein who concurred as a result of the evidence given, and expressed himself as appreciative of the efforts made.