The A7E Corsair had an empty weight of around 19,000 pounds. Its fuel load was 10,500 pounds, and with six armed 2,000 pound MK84 general purpose bombs hung under the wing it had a total weight of around 42,000 pounds. This was maximum takeoff weight, and coming off the cat shot the aircraft response felt lazy and sloppy as you did your clearing turn.
By the time we got to the target, which was a rock in the Aegean called Avgo-Nisi, we were at around 7,000 pounds fuel remaining. That put the aircraft at around 26,000 pounds and a 12,000 pound bomb load still under the wings. We cleared the target with a low pass before climbing up to the pattern altitude burning probably a 1,000 pounds. It was a popular fishing spot and so we wanted to make sure the area was safe before our delivery.
We were in combat formation when we rolled in to our 45 degree dive, arming the pylons. I was on the wing of my lead in a loose formation around 400 to 800 feet away. The formation was a tactical position, and if either one of us got hit during combat operations the other was far enough away to survive. A 45 degree dive looks very steep from the cockpit and we were fast at the release point. Minimum altitude for this kind of run was 2,500 feet AGL to keep you out of the blast radius. We were at 1 G when we released 24,000 pounds of bombs on the rock, 12,000 pounds apiece.
I watched the bombs release from the lead's aircraft as I saw mine drop away in the mirrors. I just shed around half of my total weight. I immediately felt the aircraft "jump up." This is the way I characterize it, and someone else might call it a jerky motion. It was definitely stronger than the nose tuck you experience in the A7E breaking the sound barrier. The jump wasn't disconcerting, but definitely noticeable. In fact, it was a welcome change to what felt like a lumbering, gas eating configuration.
We pulled out of the dive hard and had our noses high in a turn when I felt the blast wave go through my internal organs. It was a weird feeling, like someone rearranging the position of my stomach. I must have been at 4,000 to 6,000 feet above the detonations and could hear the explosions over all the noise in the cockpit. It was massive.