Norden BombsightThe Norden Bombsight

By Heather Salazar, Curator

Originally developed for U.S. Navy aircraft by the Dutch Engineer Carl Norden, the Army Air Corps received its first Norden Bombsight in 1932.  A highly classified device at the time, it gave American forces greater bombing accuracy compared to other nations. The bombardier entered the required information into the device after identifying the target and the bombsight automatically calculated the trajectory of the bomb dropped.


The Norden Bombsight enabled the bombardiers to drop their bombs within a 100-foot circle of their target from an altitude of over 20,000 feet. Today’s technology allows bombs to land within a few feet of the target.  While at the time, the bombsight was considered the most accurate around, in comparison to today’s technology it was full of error.