A U.S. Air Force B-52 "Stratofortress" dropping bombs over Vietnam in the 1960s

A U.S. Air Force B-52 “Stratofortress” dropping bombs over Vietnam in the 1960s

The Boston Globe’s Bryan Bender wrote a very interesting story about Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jenns Robertson, who compiled a database of every bomb ever dropped by an American or allied airplane.

The century of data was compiled from handwritten World War I and II reports and a multitude of handwritten spreadsheets and diverse computer databases for every conflict since then.

What started as a weekend hobby for Robertson has been assigned an official military acronym: THOR, Theater History of Operations Reports. The project was previewed last month at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. The compilation of data will likely have massive implications as we can visualize and better understand everything from the magnitude of destruction unleashed in war to the locations of possibly unexploded ordinance, to the locations of still missing airplanes and their lost crewmen.

Bender cites one case for instance: From October 1965 to May 1975, at least 456,365 cluster bombs were dropped on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, according to the records.

Robertson has already put the data to use. Using WWII data, he identified locations in the Tunisian desert that were bombed seven times in February and March 1942 by B-25s and B-26s. He then pulled up recent satellite images of the area and found 51 bomb craters were still visible.

The story is a great read and provides a bit of insight into the world of aerial bombardment. However, we could not find an official website for the project on Monday.