So much publicity was accorded the famous Norden bombsight in World War II, that many people believed the closely guarded instrument was a miraculous device for all phases of aerial bombardment. They were wrong. The 40th Bomb Group's B-18 aircraft were equipped with the Norden bombsight when the first German submarines came to the Caribbean Sea in January 1942. The B-18s were not equipped with radar so the crews were forced to fly at a low altitude to find the elusive enemy. We soon discovered that the Norden bombsight was not effective during the wave-top, level attacks necessary to sink a submarine.

Our 45th Bomb Squadron was blessed with many excellent Bombardiers. Among them was S/Sgt. James E. (Buck) Dozier. He had training for high level bombing in YB-17 aircraft stationed at Langley Field, Virginia. Buck Dozier soon realized we would never sink a German U-boat with the Norden bombsight, so he designed and tested a Pre-Set, low altitude bombsight that was amazingly accurate. The attached drawing of Dozier's bombsight was prepared by Will H. Robinson, one of Buck's old buddies.

While making a bomb run with a Dozier bombsight, the pilot leveled off at a planned altitude and airspeed, then corrected for wind drift by sighting on the submarine or its wake. The Bombardier released depth charges by sighting down two rifle-like sights fastened to an adjustable bevel protractor bolted to a bombsight mount. Each bombsight cost only a few dollars, and the average Bombardier could master one by dropping a few practice bombs on any low silhouette target. It did have one drawback. The Pilot had to fly straight and level at a low altitude where the U-boat crew could fight back with its deck machine guns.

Copies of this device were installed in the B-18As involved in the sinking of German submarine #U-654 on August 22, 1942, near Colon, Panama. Buck Dozier and other Bombardiers were given credit for sinking the submarine. I would like to give credit to 45th Squadron Bombardiers Marshall (Shorty) Norton and Dick Seebach for assisting in the research and preparation of the attached drawing.

NOTE: S/Sgt. James Dozier served with the 40th Bomb Group until his promotion to the rank of Flight Officer, and transfer to a B-17 aircraft wing in late 1943. He was killed in action during a raid on Berlin, Germany, in early 1944.

NOTE: This sketch was prepared by Will H. Robinson, Jr., a Bombardier assigned to the 40th Bomb Group, 45th Bomb Squadron, from 1941 through October 1943. Will drew this sketch from memory after a lapse of more than 40 years since the device was invented and service tested by S/Sgt. James E. (Buck) Dozier of the 45th Bomb Squadron. Hand made models of the bombsight were used to bomb German submarines from B-18 type aircraft operating in the Caribbean Theater in 1941 and 1942.

* From Ira V. Matthews' Eighty-one War Stories. *