Bomb, Tarzon

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    Bomb, Tarzon

    Tear-drop shaped with 8-sided fin, or shroud assembly in rear; circular fin assembly around nose; front painted silver, rear painted orange.

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Shown here is the Tarzon, a modified British 12,000 pound Tallboy bomb. It was the last and the largest U.S.-built guided bomb built during World War II and was intended for use against heavily fortified enemy targets, such as bridges, U-boat pens, and underground factories.

In April 1942, the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) let contracts for the development of free-fall missiles based on existing bombs equipped with various guidance and control systems. The Tarzon grew out of this early effort. Although visually tracked to the target, radio signals emitted by the carrier aircraft adjusted the control surfaces on the missile's tail.

Development of the Tarzon began in April 1945, but appeared too late to see action in World War II. The U.S. Air Force, however, deployed Tarzon missiles on three B-29 long-range bombers during the Korean War. Visual tracking, however, required good weather conditions, which limited the Tarzon's use.

The U.S. Air Force transferred the Tarzon to the Museum in 1966.