Military Wiki
Tiny Tim
Tiny tim ar.GIF
SB2C Helldiver firing a Tiny Tim rocket
Type Rocket
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1944-1951
Used by United States Navy
Wars World War II, Korean War
Production history
Designer Caltech, NOTS
Designed 1944
Weight 1,285 pounds (583 kg)
Length 10.2 feet (3.12 m)
Width 36 in (91 cm) (across fins)
Diameter 11.7 in (29.8 cm)

Maximum range 1,600 yd (1,500 m)

Engine Solid-propellant rocket
3,000 lbf (13 kN) for 1 sec
Speed 550 mph (245.8 m/s)

The Tiny Tim was an American air to ground rocket used near the end of the Second World War. One source states it was built in response to a United States Navy requirement for an anti-shipping rocket capable of hitting ships outside of their anti-aircraft range, with a payload capable of sinking heavy shipping.[1] However, according to the China Lake Weapons Digest,[2] the Tiny Tim was

... designed by the Caltech-China Lake team as a bunker-buster, Tim was the first large aircraft rocket, and, although it saw only limited service in WWII, it helped form the foundations of many postwar developments in rocketry.

For a warhead, Tiny Tim utilized a 500 lb semi-armor-piercing high explosive bomb. It had a maximum range of 1,500 meters (1,640 yards).

They were used by the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps near the end of the war during the battle of Okinawa, and during the Korean War. A problem with the sheer power of the rocket motor causing damage to the firing aircraft was resolved by having the Tiny Tim drop like a bomb, and a lanyard attached to the rocket would snap, causing the rocket to ignite.[3] Common targets included coastal defense guns, bridges, pill boxes, tanks, and shipping.[4] An ambitious operation to use the Tiny Tim against German V-1 sites as part of Operation Crossbow, code-named Project Danny, was planned but cancelled before the squadrons assigned could be deployed to Europe.

Common Tiny Tim delivery aircraft during World War II included the PBJ-1 Mitchell,[5] F4U Corsair, F6F Hellcat, TBM Avenger, and the SB2C Helldiver.[1]

Alexis B. Dember with Tiny Tim rocket casing, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, 1953. Notice the 24 smaller exhaust nozzles arranged in two concentric circular patterns around the larger center exhaust nozzle.[6]

After World War II, the United States Navy's rocket laboratory at Inyokern, California developed an even larger version of the Tiny Tim, called "Richard", which was 14 inches in diameter and most likely the largest air to surface unguided rocket ever developed for the US military. While tested, it was never placed in production. The United States Navy also experimented with a version of the Tiny Tim which was a two-stage rocket, with another Tiny Tim rocket motor mounted behind a complete Tiny Tim. Like the Richard, it never moved beyond the R&D stage.[7]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Parsch, Andreas (2004). "CalTech/NOTS Tiny Tim". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  2. "China Lake Weapons Digest". 
  3. Slover, G: "Chapter-11-C, 11C3. Suspension and launching of aircraft rockets", "Gene Slover".
  4. Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum: "Missile, Air-to-Surface, Tiny Tim", "National Air and Space Museum", 2005.
  5. Scutts, Jerry (1993). Marine Mitchells in World War 2. 
  6. Photograph collection of Alexis B. Dember
  7. "Smash Hits" Popular Mechanics, March 1947.

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