2Lt. Edward M. Buyer

AZON Calibration Officer

10th Air Force / 7th Bombardment Group / 493rd Bombardment Squadron

(Images/Info Courtesy of Douglas Buyer, Son)

Lt. Buyer, standing at far left
Everett R. "Red" Lowder, Front - 3rd from right
Roger W. Tobias, 2nd Row - 2nd from Right, humbs in belt.

Caption reads: "from L to R sitting, #s 3,7,9,10 and standing, 1,8,9,11,16 are me and my men. Lt. Richardson at the right brought his 25 man outfit here in March to help out because I didn't have enough men. My men worked very little after that, with the exception of checking out the other outfit on our methods and making Azon installations on new ship."

AZimuth ONly - The World's First "Smart Bomb"

From Wikipedia: Officially designated VB-1 ("Vertical Bomb 1"), it was invented by Major Henry J. Rand and Thomas J. O'Donnell during the latter stages of World War II, as the answer to the difficult problem of destroying the narrow wooden bridges that supported much of the Burma Railway.

AZON was essentially a 1,000 lb (450 kg) General Purpose Bomb with a quadrilateral 4-fin style radio controlled tail fin design as part of a "tail package" to give the half-short ton ordnance the desired guidance capability, allowing adjustment of the vertical trajectory in the yaw axis only, giving the Azon unit a laterally steerable capability and mandating the continued need to accurately release it with a bombsight to ensure it could not fall short of or beyond the target. There were gyroscopes mounted in the bomb's added tail package that made it an Azon unit, to autonomously stabilize it in the roll axis via operating a pair of ailerons, and a radio control system to operate the proportionally-functioning rudders, to directly control the bomb's direction of lateral aim, with the antennas for the tail-mounted receiver unit built into the diagonal support struts of the tail surface assembly. The bomb's receiver and control system were powered by a battery which had around three minutes of battery life. The entire setup in the added "tail package" was sufficient to guide the weapon from a 5,000 foot (1,500 m) drop height to the target. Situated on the tail of the bomb was a 600,000 candela flare which also left behind a noticeable smoke trail, to enable the bombardier to observe and control it from the control aircraft. When used in combat, it was dropped from a modified Consolidated B-24 Liberator.

The 493rd Bomb Squadron dropped Azon bombs in Burma in early 1945 from similarly-modified B-24s, based at Pandaveswar Airfield, India, with considerable success, fulfilling the designers' original purpose for the ordnance.

Photo Collection of Douglas Buyer

AZON Crew & Guidance Equipment

Pandaveswar, India - 1945, 493rd Bomb Squadron. The 493rd was designated as the AZON guided bomb unit for the 7th Bomb Group, making first use of this weapon on 27 December 44, when three specially equipped B-24s used one bomb each to destroy a bridge at Pyinman, Burma.

Photo @ left: Ed Buyer & Doug Shamberg, Kurmitola India - 1942
Photo @ right: Buyer & I.D. unknown

Photo @ left: "Me (Buyer) in the sack, plus one beer."
Photo @ right: "Me on porch sack and window to room in background."

"Operations on left, latrine at right"

"L. to R.: Moleski, Buyer, Dick ?, 1Lt. Conley V. Hart, 1Lt. Irwin M. Goot" (at Taj Mahal)

From Douglas Buyer

Edward M. Buyer, retired electrical engineer, Adamstown, Md., on February 4, 2012. Born in 1921, Buyer was the valedictorian of New Rochelle (N.Y.) H.S., earned a B.S. in engineering from Columbia and flew with the 493rd Bombardment Group, Tenth Air Force in India and Burma. An accomplished sailor, athlete and swimmer, he earned an M.S. from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and was an electrical engineer who helped pioneer the development of electronic reconnaissance.

493rd BS Personnel

7th BG Personnel