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Report - ESA Collyweston Bomb Store/Dump, Wittering/Rutland, October 2014

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by JaneEyre, Apr 19, 2015.

  1. JaneEyre

    JaneEyre The clumsiest explorer in Yorkshire!
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    Visited with Rincewind and the sister, who we had promised we would take out somewhere as a treat. The site is big but with little going on; it's a laugh for running around and a couple of local kids have set up a few bike ramps inside yet other than that there is not a tonne left to see.

    The history of the site is pretty cool, it used to have Thirty 'Dutch Barns', though some have been demolished, for storage of BL755 Cluster Bombs which were manufactured by Hunting Engineering in Ampthill, Bedfordshire. It also has/had several other storage buildings, some SNEB 68mm Rocket storage buildings and nine hardened 'Igloo' cells with filtered air supply and totally enclosed electrical supplies. Apparently these hardened units were used for storing 'unspecified' American explosives from RAF Lakenheath. This site was never used for Project E weapons, they remained in the Igloos at RAF Wittering SSA as the US Military insisted that such weapons were never dispersed. This is meant to have caused some conflict with the RAF who would rather have dispersed the V Force at times of high political tension. The site has been empty for a while, except for the occasional person trying to live in the old stores and a few big raves. The biggest one apparently had 4,500 people and the music could be heard from miles around. There is a quote from the Mercury below about it.

    "MORE than 4,500 revellers took part in a three-day illegal rave at a former bomb dump near Stamford.
    The party-goers descended on the site between RAF Wittering and King's Cliffe on Saturday and didn't leave until 3pm on Monday.

    At the height of the party house music could be heard in Duddington, Easton-on-the-Hill and Collyweston and traffic on the A47 tailed back to Wansford." - From the Stamford Mercury

    Some info about the bombs
    "It housed the BL755 Cluster Bomb which was carried by offensive support and attack aircraft. Weighing 600lb, each bomb carries 147 small bomblets which scatter over an area on release. A dual-role weapon, it entered RAF service in 1972. It is designed to provide a high `kill' probability against a range of hard and soft targets. Also the 1000lb High Explosive Bomb." - Stolen from The Wombat's report so thank you for that!

    Now on with the photos!

    The site might have been used for biking or go-karting or something, there was laptime board up on some of the buildings

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    Most of the buildings are gutted and smashed up

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    But the grass verges make for good running about on (and falling down too!)

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    There are a couple of out buildings too

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    These are some of the barn style stores

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    And these were the cool igloo stores, some were sealed up tight and some had signs of people living in them! Had to explain to the sister that the grass and dirt was not only to take some of the impact if anything happened but also so that they were not as visible from above.

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    All in all it was a nice mooch on an overcast day, most of the decent stuff has been nicked and trashed, even the lamp posts are now few and far between

    [​IMG]

    As we left found the game keeper at the gate who informed us we shouldn't be in there...ooops tut tut ... and also that quite a few cars get trashed on the road outside so to keep an eye cars.

    Thanks for looking guys <3 xx

    JE x







     
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  2. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Your sister taking no chances of airborne Asbestos or does she suffer from hayfever ;)

    Looks a nice mooch JE :thumb although i don"t fancy model No 2 :p
     
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  3. JaneEyre

    JaneEyre The clumsiest explorer in Yorkshire!
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    My fault actually, way over protective big sister. She has asthma and I wasn't risking her breathing in any crud.

    Least it wasn't a gas mask haha and I happen to think model number 2 is pretty good ;)
     
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  4. Ordnance

    Ordnance Moderator
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    You speck of 1,000Lb HE Bombs which were probably held in higher numbers than the BL755 Cluster Bomb. The 1,000Lb HE Bomb Body could also be retro-fitted with the Paveway II Laser Guided Bomb Kit making it into a pinpoint precision weapon, and is still in service.

    [​IMG]
    1,000Lb HE GS Bomb Bodies in Open Storage

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    1,000Lb Practice Bombs fitted with Paveway II Guidance Kits.

    The 68mm SNEB Rockets were for use on the Harrier Jump Jet and are now withdrawn from use

    The BL755 Cluster Bomb was withdrawn from use as over 50% of its bomblets failed to function and was a danger to advancing ground troops/
     
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  5. JaneEyre

    JaneEyre The clumsiest explorer in Yorkshire!
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    Wow...I bow to your knowledge! I just knew there were bombs there and my gramps gave me a very long talk about which ones.
    Thanks for the extras :) <3
     
  6. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    A danger to advancing Ground Troops ? ..........replaced with friendly fire off the Americans which was cheaper :(
     
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  7. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    Good stuff :thumb
     
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  8. Bertiebassett

    Bertiebassett 28DL Full Member
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    Good report, often park outside the gate for a break in my lorry but never ventured in.
     
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  9. The Wombat

    The Wombat Mr Wombat
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    Nice report :thumb
    I enjoyed having a mooch round here a couple of years back
     
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  10. crablab

    crablab 28DL Full Member
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    Great report ; pity the vandals have taken most of the good stuff. Still, I'll try and pay a visit...
     
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  11. hamtagger

    hamtagger 28DL Regular User
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    Pretty sure the 68mm SNEB's were for the American aircraft at Lakenheath or somewhere, last harrier to use them was the GR3 i think? Maybe the Sea harrier used them at one point and the buccaneer years ago. Later variant British Harriers used CRV-7 coupled with Sidewinder, Paveway II and EPWII up until their demise in 2010/11

    Oh and nice report that :)
     
  12. BrainL

    BrainL 28DL Full Member
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    Very interesting report that, :)
     
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  13. Ordnance

    Ordnance Moderator
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    Most if not all the US Air Force munitions were stored in the Igloo's. Collyweston ESA was mainly a RAF Maintance Unit, and 68mm Rockets were indeed be used by the Harrier II (GR5 & 7) in the Ground Attack Role.

    The SNEB rocket (French for: Societe Nouvelle des Etablissements Edgar Brandt) was an unguided air-to-ground 68 mm (2.7 in) rocket projectile (RP) manufactured by the French company TDA Armements and the RAF used both the Matra Type 116M & later Matra Type 155 both which used the same basic 68mm rocket.

    The last RAF salvo firing of a 68mm SNEB occurred in October 1999 on Salisbury Plain ranges by 2 x 20(R) Squadron Harrier GR7 aircraft from RAF Wittering,

    But were as you say they were mainly replaced by newer munitions The older 68mm Matra Pod and the newer 70mm CV7 Pod (also used on the Apache attack helicopter) used the same weapons rail and firing circuit and were operationally interchangeable, but the internal rocket load was not. The 68mm SNEB rockets had simply passed their 'Use By' date and were declared obsolescent. (or is my take on the changeover)

    Collyweston ESA closed when ? 1996 I think ?
     
  14. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Those igloo store things look awesome.

    Great report :thumb Found it very informative.
     
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  15. hamtagger

    hamtagger 28DL Regular User
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    Yeah mate, it was recorded to close in Nov/Dec 96 officially but that was the date by which they were to stop prepping weapon systems for issue to the various supported squadrons, but the ESA was used for quite a few months later for storage, and relocation of stores took them into 97 by several months.

    The CRV7 rockets can and were used by apache but aren't carried on a "rail" as they are not missiles. They came in "pods", (LAU-5002 for the training ones which had 6 rockets in each and the operational pods had 19 in a LAU-5003). GR7's in Herrick role carried one of each whereas the GR9's usually carried two 19's. The pods were "cocked on" to ERU's (Ejector Release Units 119 and 120). The 19 shot pods could be jettisoned but the 6 shot were not usually.
    Single or Salvo mode was set by the Armourer on the ground before take off. The pilot could change the pattern of salvo but not switch between modes whilst airborne :)
     
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