The parafrag bomb was invented by George Churchill Kenney in the 1920s and put to good use in the Southwest Pacific theater. It was a relatively small bomb (24 pounds or 11 kilograms) scored to break into 1" (25mm) fragments on detonation and equipped with a small parachute. The parachute allowed the bomb to be dropped directly over the target in a low-level attack while allowing the attacking aircraft to get clear before detonation. The low weight allowed a very large number of these weapons to be dropped at once. The effect of a parafrag attack was to saturate a zone half a mile long with bomb fragments.

The parafrag bomb was thus an ancestor of both modern laydown bombs and of cluster ammunition. It was highly effective against airfields, since its fragments shredded aluminum airframes and its delivery in large numbers from directly above foiled ordinary aircraft revetments.

The Japanese copied the idea after examining dud American parafrag bombs, but to little effect. The Japanese parafrags were much lighter (about 8 pounds or 3.6 kilograms) and were equipped with an arming propeller that often malfunctioned, resulting in a high dud rate.

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