V Group News, September 1943

Title

V Group News, September 1943
5 Group News, September 1943

Description

Five Group Newsletter, number 14, September 1943. Includes a foreword by the Air Officer Commanding, an article on the Rolls Royce Merlin and features about training, signals, gunnery, accidents, bombing, decorations, photography, engineering, armament, navigation, flying control, operations, and a BBC broadcast from 5 Group.

In accordance with the conditions stipulated by the donor, this item is available only at the International Bomber Command Centre / University of Lincoln.

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Date

1943-10-13

Contributor

Anne-Marie Watson

Rights

This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Format

10 printed sheets

Language

Identifier

MStephensonS1833673-160205-21

Temporal Coverage

Transcription

To be inserted in folder when returned by S/L Lynch. [Underlined] Intelligence [/underlined]

V GROUP NEWS V

[Waddington Central Registry Stamp]

SEPTEMBER 1943. [deleted] CONFIDENTIAL [/deleted] NUMBER 14.

FOREWORD by A.O.C.

This Group now carries a weight of incendiaries which, if concentrated on any target, could not fail to burn it out. Unfortunately analysis of night photographs continues to reveal a spread of incendiaries which, if it continues, can only result in a needless prolongation of the War. It is common for incendiaries to cover an area measuring five to ten miles in length and this is true even on some of the most successful attacks. Large areas of Hamburg have been burnt out and I have no doubt that crews who took part in the main attacks are satisfied with what was achieved, yet it is unfortunately true that of the bombs which left this country only 30% fell in the built-up area of Hamburg, the remainder in open fields outside. That is equivalent to only one crew out of three achieving the object of bombing Hamburg. Luck, was, however, on our side and the city caught fire, but luck has not been on our side in many recent attacks, and results have been disappointing because the density of the incendiary attack has not been sufficient to start a conflagration.

I believe that one cause of this spread is that crews have difficulty in appreciating the area which is covered by incendiaries. Invariably they uber-estimate distances and report a concentrated attack when subsequent photographs show it to have been spread over seven or more miles of country. The belief that the attack is concentrated and, therefore, that it does not matter a great deal where the bombs fall provided they are within the area in which incendiaries and T.I’s are lying is at the root of much of the trouble. As a guide to distance the ordinary target indicator, by the time it hits the ground, covers an area of quarter of a mile, while a single incendiary load has a spread of about half a mile. From operational heights it is hard to appreciate these distances.

The solution to greater concentration lies in a determination by the bombing team, Pilot/Navigator/Air Bomber and Instrument Repair Staff, that the bombs will fall on the precise spot aimed at. This calls for constant practice and training, and the full analysis of results obtained on the bombing ranges.

It is sometimes said that practice bombing bears little relation to the requirements of operations, but this is not so. Turn to the table showing bombing results achieved by Squadrons last month. You will see that one Squadron with 22 details had an average error of 475 yards. Another Squadron with 32 details an error of 152 yards. Which of these two Squadrons is likely to achieve the better results on operations? An error of 475 yards under practice conditions, can only be a result of failure to maintain the sights in proper condition, coupled with failure on the part of crews to give the necessary time, thought and energy to the problem of accurate bombing. The moment carelessness creeps in there is no limit to bombing errors. An error of 475 yards on the practice range may be ten times that amount on operations, whereas an error on the practice range of under 100 yards demonstrates

(Continued on Back Page Col. 3)

[Boxed] ROLLS ROYCE AND THE MERLIN [/boxed]

PART II.

[Rolls Royce Logo]

Some idea of the complexity of the modern aero engine can be obtained from the fact that in the Merlin engine there are approximately 11,000 separate pieces, and of these, 4,500 are different. As would be expected, owing to the fundamental necessity for keeping weight down to the minimum, the maximum possible use is made of light alloy metals, and of the total engine weight almost one half is aluminium. All the metals used have been especially produced for the particular purpose for which they are used, and give the maximum strength in combination with minimum weight. Some parts are called upon to operate under exceptional conditions of heat, other parts to rotate at enormous speeds continuously; the valves, for instance, must work at 850 degrees Centigrade, the temperature of the wire in an ordinary electric radiator, and the impellor in the supercharger must revolve over 30,000 times every minute.

The aero engine of today is a highly complex piece of mechanism which must be capable of functioning under widely different conditions of temperature, and it must not falter when the machine in which it is installed is climbed, dived, rolled or flown upside down. During fighting manoeuvres the pilot’s life depends upon the response of the engine to its controls, it must not fade or cut out when he changes direction or altitude suddenly to avoid enemy attack, it must be immediately responsive to his will when he himself is attacking. Apart from the fact that it must function equally satisfactorily in climates as far opposed as Russia and the Middle East, it is subject to very quick temperature changes every time it climbs to altitudes. On a summer day in England, the pilot can leave the ground in the sweltering 90’s and climb straight up to, say, 7 miles high, where the temperature will be down to 100 degrees of frost.

Apart from the quick temperature variation encountered when climbing to altitude, there is one other natural effect which is all important, and this is rarification of the atmosphere; the higher the distance from the earth the less dense the air becomes. Air, in combination with petrol in the correct proportion, is the main factor, which determines how much power the engine is capable of giving, the more air and petrol that can be consumed by the engine in a given time the greater is the power developed. The higher the machine flies, the more difficult it is for the engine to obtain sufficient air due, of course, to the rarified atmosphere. Arrangements have to be made therefore to compensate for this effect, and in order to do so a supercharger is employed. A supercharger is in effect a pump which supplies air to the engine under pressure; this device is usually associated in the minds of most people with racing cars on which it is used to force as much air as possible into the engine, and so obtain the maximum power from a small sized engine. On the aero engine, this is a secondary consideration, and its main object is to compensate automatically for the gradually decreasing air density as the aeroplane climbs to altitude. The power output of an engine without a supercharger rapidly decreases as it climbs and at a height of 4 miles the power is less than half of what it was on the ground. By using a suitable supercharger it is possible to maintain the ground level power up to 40,000 feet or more. This has to be done automatically so that the pilot does not have to worry about working any controls.

The aero engine must also be as small and compact as possible, so that it offers the minimum wind resistance when installed in the aircraft, it must also be as light as it is possible to make it – power also is of course all important.

The Merlin engine produces more power than a modern express train engine, yet its weight including the propeller is only 1/84th. of the locomotive. All this colossal energy is packed into a space no bigger than that occupied by a single bed.

At the outbreak of war the fighter aircraft of the R.A.F. were exclusively powered by Merlin engines, it was the only engine used in all the fighter machines which so successfully defended our country in the Battle of Britain. In Spitfires and Hurricanes it is still the mainstay of our fighter attack and defence. It is employed in Defiant and Beaufighter night fighters, and the Fleet Air Arm use it to good effect in the Fulmar. In bomber aircraft also the Merlin is extensively used; the Battle medium single engined bomber which gave such good service in France prior to Dunkirk is now relegated to training use; the twin engined Whitley bomber famous for leaflet and bomb raids far into enemy territory in the early days of the was still does yeoman service defending our Atlantic convoys. It is used in Wellington bombers, and was more recently chosen as the motive power for the four engined Halifax heavy bomber, and also for the Lancaster, acknowledged the most effective bomber in the World, and which made its glorious debut in the daring Augsberg raid by 97 and 44 Squadrons

(Continued on Back Page Column 2 )

[Page break]

[Boxed] SIGNALS [/boxed] EFFORTS FOR IMPROVED TR.1196 PERFORMANCE BEARING FRUIT.

Our efforts towards improved performance from the TR. 1196 have advanced during the month. RAE are trying out two mods., one on a Conversion Unit aircraft – aimed at permitting good intercom. undisturbed by “blot out” from neighbouring R/T. An extra R – RA switch is fitted for the convenience of the instructor. Initial reports from the staff auger well. At Waddington the ground TR. 1196 has been modified to give better modulation and also provision of a manual volume control for use by the R/T operator. Tests are in progress.

A thorough vetting of Local Flying Control TR. 1196 frequencies has just been completed at all airfields. The present practice of accepting a maximum R/T range of only a few miles has rather fogged the issue. Range tests are now being carried out and all pilots are thanked in advance for the co-operation we are sure they will give. Remember our aim is to help you safely down immediately you arrive in the circuit and the greater the R/T range the nearer we shall be to attaining our object.

[Boxed] SIGNALS FAILURES [/boxed]

Helmets icing up and oil on the slip rings of the mid-upper turret are adding their toll of failures. Here are a couple of tips to help overcome them:-

Fit the oxygen mask snugly to the face and blow hard at regular intervals both before and during flight. This action prevents the valve adhering to the composition holder and so moisture cannot collect in the mask and freeze at high altitudes.

W/OP. A.G’s always carry a piece of material (4x2 is good stuff if the Gunnery Leader isn’t looking!) to clean the oil from the top of the mid-upper turret slip ring cover.

[Boxed] FAILURE SUMMARY [/boxed]

The percentage of failures against sorties detailed for operations is as follows:-

49 SQDN NIL 106 SQDN. NIL. 207 SQDN NIL
467 SQDN NIL. 57 SQDN. NIL. 61 SQDN .95
50 SQDN 2.13 44 SQDN. 2.74 9 SQDN 2.99
619 SQDN 4.25 617 SQDN 4.54

It will be noted that the figures for 617 and 619 Squadron appear unduly high: in the case of 617 it will be appreciated that due to the comparatively small number of sortied, the multiplicity of equipment carried and the nature of their tasks, the percentage represents only a small number of failures. In the case of 619, it is felt that this is due to very consciencious [sic] reporting of component failures particularly. It will be realised that the reporting of failures involving the breakdown of an individual component which, whilst not affecting the operational success of a sortie, does provide details which help considerably towards preventing their recurrence.

[Boxed] FLIGHT PLANNING TELEPHONE NETWORK CONFERENCE FACILITY [/boxed]

The conference facility has proved a great boon for flight planning purposes since its inception. To improve its efficiency and smooth workability, steps are being taken to have Base and Station installations standardised as soon as possible. This will mean that at a Base where the flight planning equipment is in the Intelligence room, this equipment will be transferred to the Operations room. Stations and Satellites provide a slight headache in this respect, because they by no means conform to a standard layout themselves.

A second aspect of the conference facility is its use as an intruder warning channel, which is not working satisfactorily. Local re-arrangements have just been completed at Group and it is hoped that a really efficient scheme has been evolved. The Teller and the Controller are now able to sit side by side, in full view of the plotting table, and each with a separate flight planning telephone. Flying Control “hook-up” will be set up whenever weather conditions or intruder activity make it necessary. Both Teller and Controller can then speak to Stations, the one to pass the intruder activity the other to order any necessary diversions.

[Boxed] MONICA [/boxed]

Our girlfriend Monica is still giving us all grey hair. The experts have now been at work for several weeks and are finding the problem far more difficult than at first expected.

In spits [sic] of this the serviceability has increased, and the faults in the sets are being cleared, slowly but surely.

A method of accurately testing the sensitivity of the Rx has been found preventing a fighter from getting into range without warning.

Some sets may give a fighter warning, but not respond to test. Crews are inclined to think these sets serviceable, but they must remember that such sets are on the borderline, and may not warn in every case. It is this drifting of the Rx gain that we are trying so hard to correct.

The aerials are a further source of trouble, partly caused by personnel using them as step ladders. A bent aerial will often make the set unserviceable.

In spite of all these difficulties, Monica has proved its usefulness over and over again, as many satisfied customers will testify. It is the only warning system we have, it can be made to work, so all concerned must keep at it until the answer is found.

[Boxed] GEE [/boxed]

As usual the GEE ranges vary from sortie to sortie. The serviceability, however, is very good from a maintenance and component viewpoint. Manipulation failures are too frequent, and every opportunity should be made to prevent these RF unit and aerial lead manipulation failures.

W/Op. A.G’s are now applying their GEE knowledge and are getting fixed on the return journeys.

[Boxed] SIGNALS SECURITY

Not many of us liked the new phonetic alphabet and the changeover was allowed to be gradual. However the time has now arrived when our Berties and Freddies should be discarded for ever. Squadrons which persist in the use of the old alphabet are labelling themselves to the Hun. [/boxed]

[Boxed] TRAINING [/boxed] WEATHER RETARDS OUTPUT.

A NEW TRAINING VENTURE.

[Illustration] MY LANDING ARE WIZARD

FAMOUS LAST WORDS Due to bad weather and shortage of Lancaster aircraft, the high output of over 100 crews per month could not be maintained by Conversion Units, and the figure dropped to 82 crews trained during the month. To overcome the temporary shortage of aircraft, it was necessary for Squadrons to loan aircraft during the stand down period to the Conversion Units and it is hoped that, given good weather, next month the deficit in crews will be more than made up.

[Boxed] THE NEW TRAINING VENTURE [/boxed]

The Conversion Base started on a new venture with a short course for Flight Commanders. All the Officers attending benefited by the course, and it is thought that at least three of the instructional staff have learned a great deal as well. Courses will continue during the coming months with, it is hoped, beneficial results.

[Boxed] TOTAL FLYING HOURS FOR THE MONTH WERE – 5481 FOR TRAINING UNITS [/boxed]

[Boxed] CREW SAFETY [/boxed]

The number of ditchings by Lancasters continues to go up. Most crews pay sufficient attention to this vital crew drill to ensure that they can leave the aircraft safely. However, constant practice is necessary to keep yourself up to the mark. In one unfortunate ditching it is known that complete panic ensued and all the crew simply leapt out of the nearest escape hatch straight into the water with fatal results excepting one man.

[Table of Link Trainer times per squadron]

[Table of Squadron Flying Times – Day and Night]

SEPTEMBER, 1943. PAGE 2.

[Page break]

[Boxed] GUNNERY. [/boxed] FEWER SORTIES – MORE COMBATS: THE VITAL NEED FOR PERFECT RECOGNITION.

Although the number of sorties during the month was considerably less than August, the number of combats for September was 133. 14 Enemy aircraft are claimed as destroyed and 27 damaged. Enemy aircraft marked “C” in “This Month’s Bag” are those confirmed by Headquarters, Bomber Command at the time of going to press.

Unfortunately instances are still occurring of Lancasters being engaged by other Lancasters and it would appear that sufficient care is not taken to identify the other aircraft before pressing the trigger. This problem of identifying aircraft is extremely difficult under certain conditions and this statement is supported by night fighter pilots with considerable experience, but the only solution is Aircraft Recognition of a 101 per cent quality and Squadron Gunnery Leaders should keep this problem in mind always and Air Gunners should be classified on their ability and a scheme instituted whereby the Gunners who are weak in this respect are given exercises daily until the required standard of 100% is reached.

Instances are still occurring of early return due to turret doors not locking, no excuse can be accepted for this, as turret doors should be checked on N.F.T. and again when the crew go out to the aircraft for take-off. It is again stressed that Gunners should check as far as possible guns and turrets immediately on arriving at the aircraft prior to take-off; this practice has frequently enabled the ground staff to put right minor troubles. Any Gunner who is not 100 per cent satisfied with the operation of his turret and guns is to request the Pilot to run the engine and a test then carried out on the turret which is suspect.

[Boxed] MODIFICATIONS AND NEW EQUIPMENT [/boxed]

Experiments with an F.N. 50 Turret are being carried out by 1660 C.U. in an attempt to improve the visibility, metal is being replaced by perspex in the Cupola and much of the metal in front of the Gunner is being removed. A new bulb for the reflector sight is also being tested by this unit. 50 Squadron are carrying out tests on a reflector sight with most of the material from the hood removed, this precludes the sight being used in bright sunlight, but it is hoped to produce an attachment to overcome this difficulty.

[Underlined] RESULTS OF C.G.S. COURSES. [/underlined]

NO. 64 COURSE
P/O HUGHES – 61 SQDN – 13TH, PLACE CAT “B”

NO. 65 COURSE
F/O ARMSTRONG – 9 SQDN – 10TH. PLACE CAT “B”
F/O BUCKLEY – 617 SQDN – 17TH. PLACE CAT. “A”

NO. 66 COURSE
P/O BLACK – 1661 C.U. – 2ND. PLACE CAT “B”
F/SGT. VAUGHAN – 49 SQDN – FAILED CAT “D”

[Boxed] WAR EFFORT [/boxed]

[Table of Group aircraft statistics by Squadron]

[Boxed] This Months Bag [/boxed]

[Cartoon]

DESTROYED

ENEMY A/C AIRCRAFT LETTER SQUADRON DATE

ME109 F “C” 207 3/.4.9.43.
S.E. B “C” 44 3/4.9.43.
S.E. Z “C” 9 5/6.9.43.
ME110 C “C” 106 3/4.9.43.
S.E. R “C” 9 5/6.9/43.
S.E. U 467 23/24.9.43.
ME109 V 467 23/24.9.43.
JU88 K 61 23/24.9.43.
ME109 Z 207 27/28.9.43.
ME109 T 57 27/28.9.43.
JU88 N 57 27/28.9.43.
JU88 P 50 27/28.9.43.
ME109 X 44 29/30.9.43.
FW190 P 207 29/30.9.43.

DAMAGED

ME210 A 207 31/1.9.43.
ME100 J 49 3/4.9.43.
JU88 O 207 3/4.9.43.
T.E. X 44 3/4.9.43.
T.E. K 44 3/4.9.43.
FW190 K 49 6/7.9.43.
JU88 A 50 5/6.9.43.
FW190 C 619 6/7.9.43.
JU88 H 57 22/23.9.43.
JU88 X 57 22/23.9.43.
ME210 P 50 22/23.9.43.
JU88 ED944 57 23/24.9.43.
ME109 Z 207 23/24.9.43.
ME109 J 207 23/24.9.43.
ME210 D 106 23/24.9.43.
JU88 H 44 27/28.9.43.
ME109 Q 61 22/23.9.43.
ME109 F 61 22/23.9.43.
JU88 A 61 22/23.9.43.
ME210 C 207 23/24.9.43.
JU88 J 207 27/28.9.43.
ME109 K 61 23/24.9.43.
ME109 A 61 27/28.9.43.
DO217 L 44 29/30.9.43
T.E. X 44 29/30.9.43.
FW190 J 61 29/30.9.43.
JU88 R 61 5/6.9.43.

[Boxed] The Gunnery Leaders’ Conference was held at Waddington on the 27th. September. The minutes of the Conference have been circulated together with information on several points raised at the Conference which have now been clarified. [/boxed]

[Boxed] ACCIDENTS. [/boxed] INCREASED FLYING HOURS BRINGS SLIGHT RISE IN ACCIDENT RATE.

There were 17 accidents listed as avoidable for September, an increase of three on last month’s total, for an increase of 378 flying hours.

Flying hours for September – 13,520
Flying hours for August – 13,142

The summary of avoidable accidents for September is as follows:-
TAXYING – 2: HEAVY LANDINGS – 5: SWINGS – 2 (One on landing the other on take-off): OVERSHOOTING – 2: ERRORS OF JUDGEMENT – 5. The errors of judgement consist of:-

1. The pilot started the three engined overshoot at 20 ft., but was caught out by the swing resulting from three engines being opened to full power. The aircraft swung completely round from 180° and came to rest in the River Trent, luckily without fatal results. As a contributory factor the Navigator was not calling Air Speeds on the approach. As a result of this accident the Captain’s log book was endorsed in red for not ensuring that his own and his crew drill was correct. MORAL – TAKE CARE OF YOUR CREW DRILL.

2. Another instance of carelessness occurred at the end of last month when an aircraft crashed through taking off with four engines switched to No. 2 tanks which were empty, and were known to be empty by the Captain and Flight Engineer. Luckily the crew were not fatally injured.

3. At 23,000 ft. the pilot passed out for lack of oxygen and it was later found that he had inadvertently nipped his oxygen tube in his harness, cutting off the supply. The aircraft went into a steep dive and was only pulled out by the Navigator and Flight Engineer in unison, after losing 15,000 feet. The terrific stresses set up rendered the aircraft Cat. AC. MORAL – TAKE CARE OF YOUR OXYGEN TUBE.

4. On return from a long sortie the crew of a Lancaster decided they had enough fuel left to reach Base, but on approaching to land three engines cut out for lack of petrol and the aircraft crashed. Attention of all aircrew especially Pilots and Flight Engineers, must be drawn to the fact that a rigorous check of fuel consumption must be kept with the untrustworthiness of fuel gauges always kept in mind. Fuel consumption calculators have been issued to all Units MORAL – KEEP YOUR FUEL CONSUMPTION CALCULATOR HANDY ON ALL FLIGHTS.

5. On return from operations a Lancaster hit the sea with the altimeter reading 160 feet. MORAL WHY COME SO LOW AS THIS?

6. On a low flying exercise a pilot took his hands off the controls to adjust his goggles, and the aircraft hit a tree. MORAL – IF LOW FLYING, DON’T LET YOUR ATTENTION WANDER.

All these accidents are entirely due to carelessness on the part of aircrew and the cost to the country is appalling. Remember, every Lancaster lostthrough [sic] your “clottishness” is one less Lancaster to drop bombs on the Hun.

[Boxed] NEARLY A GOOD RECORD [/boxed]

1660 Con. Unit’s excellent record was marred this month by a swing on Landing but there is a gratifying decrease in all Con. Units this month. In all training Units there were five avoidable accidents for a total of 5481 flying hours.

[Table of Avoidable Accidents by Unit]

5 GROUP NEWS. No. 14. SEPTEMBER, 1943. PAGE 3.

[Page break]

[Boxed] AIR BOMBING. [V Group drawings] [/boxed]

[Boxed] PRACTICE BOMBING ON THE SQUADRONS [/BOXED]

[Boxed] [Table of Practice Bombing exercises carried out by each Squadron] [/boxed]

[Boxed] Weekly returns have not yet been received from 49 Squadron and 1654 Conversion Unit, consequently leaving the monthly table incomplete.

617’s results were obtained using the S.A.B.S. Mark IIA.

5258 Practice bombs were dropped (excluding 49 Squadron and 1654 Conversion Unit)
The high level bombing average on Squadrons (from date available) was 218 yards at 10,000 feet and 308 yards at 20,000 feet. In general, results were a slight improvement on August, but the Group error was adversely affected by the high average error of 44 Squadron.

Great credit id due to 1660 Conversion Unit who achieved a Mark XIV Grouping Error better than that of any Squadron. [/boxed]

[Boxed] [Underlined] WAINFLEET BOMBING RANGE [/underlined]

During September, exactly 5,000 bombs were plotted at Wainfleet Sands, although all targets were unserviceable for part of the month.

GOOD BOMBING

The number of details with average error less than 100 yards was greatly increased

SQUADRON PILOT AIR BOMBER ERROR

617 (Using SABS)
F/O. CLAYTON P/O. WATSON 43, 59, 71.
P/O. BROWN SGT. DANCIA 72, 86, 75 (Twice)
F/LT. WILSON SGT. BARROW 94, 70, 61, 78.
F/LT MUNRO F/SGT. CALY 88, 41, 60, 94, 87, 65.
S/LDR. MARTIN F/LT. HAY 51, 82, 71, 64, 82.
F/Lt. MCCARTHY F/O. DAVIDSON 80, 49, 76.

619
P/O. JOSS F/O. ANDERSON 91.
F/O. MORRISON SGT. ALLEY 85.
F/LT. SANDISON F/O. WILKIE 81.
F/LT. SANDISON F/LT. SALMSLEY 95.
F/LT. SANDISON W/CDR. ABERCROMBIE 64.
SGT. THOMAS SGT. FONTAINE 70.
F/O. O’SHAUGNESSY F/O. KENDRICK 26.
S/LDR. CHURCHER F/O. MACDONALD 84.
F/O. FOX F/O. BRAID 77.

106
P/O. CALLAN SGT. GOMERSALL. 94.
P/O. COOPER F/SGT. CHRISTMAS 88.
P/O. STORER SGT. HACKETT 97.
P/O. YACKMAN P/O. MOREY 94.

467
F/LT. FORBES P/O. GRIME 79.
P/O. RILEY SGT. VALASTIN 90.

57
SGT. YATES P/O. WANGLER (PILOT) 86.

50
SGT. DURHAM SGT. BROCK 76.

61
F/O. PITCH P/O. LYONS 92.

1654 C.U. SGT. HOMEWOOD SSGT. WALKER 93. [/boxed]

[Boxed] [Underlined] BOMBING LEADERS’ CORNER. [/underlined]

F/O. Murtough and P/O. Wonham, both of 1661 Conversion Unit assume command of the Bombing Section of 44 Squadron and 1668 Conversion Unit respectively.

The following have passed the Bombing Leader’s Course :-

GRADE “A” F/O. HAZELL (44) F/O. STANISLAUS (9) F/SGT. RUMGAY (207)
P/O. PRICE (1654) P/O. WONHAM (1668)

GRADE “B” F/SGT. LOWANS (49) F/O. TOOGOOD (106) F/O. BOSWELL (619)
SGT. TELFORD (467) F/O. McROBBIE (57) F/O. HARDEN (1660)
F/O. ASTBURG (1661)

P/ . Wonham was 2nd. on No. 63 Course and F/Sgt. Rumgay 3rd. on No. 66 Course.

WELL DONE BOTH! [/boxed]

[Boxed] [Underlined] SQUADRON BOMBING COMPETITION. [/underlined]

Despite a record number of details only 3 Squadrons qualified for this competition.

619 Squadron are to be congratulated on winning the competition for the third successive month, and in so doing obtained by far the best average yet returned although the errors include vector error and are application errors.

[Table of Squadrons and bombing results]

[Underlined] LEADER COMPETITION [/underlined]

Only two entries were received, F/Lt. Walmsley improving on his winning score of the previous month.

LEADER PILOT HEIGHT ERROR

F/LT. WALMSLEY F/LT. SANDISON 10000FT 95 YDS

S/LDR. BEACH S/LDR. PARKES 10000FT 280 YDS [/boxed]

[Boxed] [Diagram]

From 20,000 feet the Mark XIV graticule covers a width of 540 yards and a length of 3,100 yards on the ground at the moment of release.

If the centre of your graticule is only two graticule lengths from the aiming point, you stand a grave chance of missing even quite a large city. Remember, one T.I. has a diameter of 300 yards ! [/boxed]

[Boxed] [Underlined] ‘BIGCHIEF’ COMPETITION [/underlined]

BIGCHIEF PILOT ERROR AT 10000 FT.

W/CDR. ABERCROMBIE S/LDR. SANDISON 64 YDS
G/CPT. CHRISTIE S/LDR PULLEN 94 YDS
W/CDR. PENMAN P/O. EAGER 123 YDS
G/CAPT. CHRISTIE S/LDR. PULLEN 142 YDS
W/CDR. BURNETT S/LDR. BUNKER 238 YDS

It will be noted that representatives of 619 Squadron won all three competitions. Is this the result of bombing analysis ?!

A hot pace has already been set for October, several details have already been carried out, among them two by the A.O.C. who achieved average errors of 42 yards and 48 yards respectively – the latter was actually at 18,000 feet. [/boxed]

5 GROUP NEWS. NO. 14. SEPTEMBER, 1943. PAGE 4.

[Page break]

[Underlined] V GROUP NEWS NO. 14. SEPTEMBER, 1943.

SUPPLEMENT.

AIR BOMBING. [/underlined]

The month of September was notable for a complete revision of bombing training policy.

In the days of the A.B.S. only application bombing was possible and analysis of results was haphazard and involved considerable guesswork. Now that we are rapidly becoming equipped with Mark XIV bombsights, it is possible to carry out a full analysis by means of bombing grouping which reveals clearly where bombing faults lie.

These faults may be classified in three categories (a) bombing errors due to bombsight inaccuracies or unserviceability (b) vector errors (c) errors of pure bombing attributed to the pilot/air bomber team and caused by inaccurate flying, faulty bombsight settings and bombsight levelling, imperfect co-operation on the bombing run and various other personal factors.

The errors under (a) can be discovered by careful analysis of grouping exercises and must be eliminated completely. Those under (b) are now the joint responsibility of pilot and navigator. Flying for windfinding must be completely accurate and every care is to be taken by navigators to ensure the calculated wind is as accurate as conditions permit. Analysis has proved that in almost every exercise faulty windfinding is largely responsible for the bombing errors obtained.

After (a) and (b) have been removed we come to the Grouping error (c) which can be steadily reduced by a thorough understanding of bombing problems and true co-operation on the bombing run between pilot and air-bomber.

With the present percentage of Mark XIV bombsights in Squadron aircraft, it should now be possible for all competition details to be carried out with that sight, and the results of all such details in October are to be submitted as Grouping errors, in either of the following categories:-

(i) CLOSE GROUP

(ii) As open group if bombsight error is directly attributable to mechanical fault in the Bomb Sight which could not be detected by the Bomb Aimer in his pre-bombing check.

N.B. Bombs forming an OPEN GROUP pattern around an M.P.I. where the error from M.P.I. to the inner radius of the open group is attributable to Bomb Aimer’s negligence in N.F.T. check.

e.g. Drift de-synchronisation
Wring T.V. setting
Incorrect Level Readings etc.

MUST be returned as CLOSE GROUP error being from M.P.I. to inner radius of CLOSE GROUP pattern.

Now that all Mark XIV exercises in which four or more bombs are dropped are to be carried out as Grouping exercises, the following points are to be borne in mind:-

(i) All crews must carry bombing pro formae for bombing details

(ii) The position where bombs fall is to be estimated by the air bomber and plotted in pencil on the plotting rose.

(iii) On landing, the bombing leader is to plot the position of the bombs from the quadrant readings, and transfer the plots

/to the plotting rose…

[Page break]

to the plotting rose of the bombing pro-forma in coloured pencil.

(iv) Pilot, Navigator, Air Bomber and Flight Engineer are to take the form and make an analysis of the exercise.

(v) This analysis is to be checked and amended as necessary by the Bombing Leader and Bombing Officer.

(vi) The captain of the crew is to keep all pro-formae used for future reference.

The results submitted in weekly returns are to be the Grouping errors (c) on all MKXIV exercises, but when a wind velocity is found by the Navigator his vector error is to be noted in a book and kept for future reference. Similarly, bombsight errors are to be noted and rectified where necessary by the instrument section.

The results given in the bombing training table are not a true representation of bombing in the past month, as grouping and application errors are inextricably intermingled and in many cases incorrectly compiled returns failed to differentiate between the bombsights used.

Next month’s ‘News’ should give a true picture of the training carried out. Already we are discovering where our bombing failures lie, and it is only by rigid adherence to the new system that we can hope for a tangible improvement in the operational success of our bombing sorties.

[Boxed] [Underlined] STOP PRESS GUNNERY. [/underlined]

All aircraft claimed by the Group for September have now been confirmed by Headquarters,Bomber Command. [/boxed]

[Page break]

[Boxed] DECORATIONS. [/boxed]

[Underlined] THE FOLLOWING IMMEDIATE AWARDS WERE APPROVED DURING THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, 1943. [/underlined]

9 SQUADRON
P/O. J. McGUBBIN. DFC

44 SQUADRON
F/O. A.E.H. PARSONS. DFC
F/O. G.G. PASCOE. DFC
F/O. L.W. PILGRIM. DFC
F/O. H.J. BARLEY. DFC
P/O. H. ROGERS. DFC

106 SQUADRON
SGT. N.L.E. GALE. DFM
SGT. A.J. SARGEANT. DFM

[Underlined] THE FOLLOWINF NON-IMMEDIATE AWARDS WERE APPROVED DURING THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, 1943. [/underlined]

9 SQUADRON
W/CDR. P. BURNETT. DFC
F/LT. C.A. PATTERN, MBE. DFC
F/O. C.A. HALE. DFC
P/O. J. BOCZAR. DFC
P/O. J.P.H. CARRERE. DFC
SGT. R.V. PIPER. DFM
SGT. J.W. VINALL. DFM

44 SQUADRON
F/LT. R.D. ROBINSON. DFC
F/O. A.A. ST.CLAIR-MILLER. DFC
F/O. D.F.H. WALKER. DFC
F/O. W.J. HILTON. DFC
P/O. H. DUTTON. DFC
P/O. J.O. PENNINGTON. DFC
P/O. HEWITT. DFC
SGT. D. MORRISON. DFM
SGT. L.B. HAYWARD. DFM
SGT. G. HOMEWOOD. DFM

49 SQUADRON
W/CDR. P.W. JOHNSON, AFC. DFC
F/O. S.H. MANSBRIDGE. DFC
F/O. R.C. MUNRO. DFC
F/O. T.D. TAYLOR. DFC
F/O. L.R. HASTINGS. DFC
F/O. L.H. TOLCHARD. DFC
P/O. J.T. TAYLOR. DFC
P/O. B.C. DREAVER. DFC

50 SQUADRON
F/O. G.B. MURTOUGH. DFC
F/O. R.M. METHIESON. DFC
F/O. C.F. BONEFIELD. DFC
F/O. T.E. TANDLE. DFC
P/O. J.O. CHRISTIE. DFC
P/O. H.C. BERNARD. DFC
F/SGT. A.C. PARSONS. DFM
F/SGT. A.J. CORK. DFM
SGT. A. BRANSON. DFM
SGT. G. CABLE. DFM
SGT. W. MOONEY. DFM

57 SQUADRON
F/LT. J.C. ANDERSON. DFC
F/O. F. CARTER, DFM. DFC
F/O. E.W. PATTERSON. DFC
F/O. E.W. ADAMS. DFC
F/O. C. SHAW. DFC
2ND. LT. J.E. RUSSELL (USAAF). DFC
2ND. LT. R. WRIGHT (USAAF). DFC
P/O. C.A. MACDONALD. DFC
W/O. J. TOUGH. DFC
W/O. E.T. ENGLISH. DFC
F/SGT. R.W. LORELL. DFM
F/SGT. A.B. WELFORD. DFM
F/SGT. R. ROBERTS, DFM. BAR
SGT. S.J. MONDEL. DFM

61 SQUADRON
W/CDR. W.M. PENMAN. DFC
S/LDR. S.A. BENJAMIN. DFC
F/O. R.H. WILLIAMS. DFC
F/O. J. CRAVEN DFC
[Missing] FROST. DFC
[Remainder of page corner missing]

61 SQUADRON (Continued)
SGT. C.D. TOWSE. DFM
SGT. A.C. MULLINS. DFM

106 SQUADRON
F/LT. R LODGE. DFC
F/LT. W.D. BROWNE. DFC
F/O. G.T. HARDEN. DFC
P/O. J.A.C. MUNRO. DFC
P/O. J.E. CAMPBELL. DFC
W/O. T.R. KWILL. DFC
F/SGT. G.N. FELTHAM. DFM
F/SGT. G.W. CHRISTIE. DFM

207 SQUADRON
F/O. K.H.F. LETFORD. DFC
F/O. K.T. KNIGHT. DFC
F/O. F.G. SPANNER. DFC
P/O. F.M.H. FISHER. DFC
P/O. C. SUTTOR. DFC
SGT. E.D. LUCAN. DFM

207 SQUADRON (Continued)
SGT. G.T.C. BASSFORD. DFM
SGT. R. NUTTON. DFM

467 SQUADRON
S/LDR. E.K. SINCLAIR. DFC
F/O. R. McCURDY. DFC
F/O. G.D. CURRIE. DFC
F/O. T.W. HOPPETT. DFC
F/SGT. W.H. WHITE. DFM
SGT. S.R. ANDERSON. DFM

617 SQUADRON
W/CDR. G.P. GIBSON, VC, DSO, DFC. LEGION OF MERIT. (DEGREE OF COMMANDER)

619 SQUADRON
F/SGT. W.L. VADER-DASSON. DFM
SGT. D.J. COOMBES. DFM

[Boxed] PHOTOGRAPHY [/boxed] TECHNICAL EXPERT
DECLARE WAR ON “SMOKE OBLITERATION.”

Successful ground photographs, which were of immediate operational value, total 204 this month. Whilst there is a slight reduction in the percentage of success it is still good when it is considered that the presence of cloud and smoke over targets provide conditions which are anything but conductive to good night photography.

It is ironical that the very subject which has done so much towards the improvement of bombing should now be the one which is suffering from its effects.

Obtaining good night pictures of ground detail over targets is now almost impossible when large numbers of incendiaries are used, but the camera remains the one and only proof of bombing concentration. Fire track pictures, coupled with a few ground detail photographs, provide a very true picture of a bombing attack and from these fire track pictures, those responsible for assessing operations are able to gain a very good idea as to the degree of success of a particular raid.

In the meantime research is being made to combat the factor of smoke obliteration. Every effort is being made to improve the technical equipment so that ground detail is recorded despite the adverse conditions over the targets. We have already done much in the past few months towards this aim. For instance, the introduction of the American clockwork fuse which has proved so accurate and has permitted the reduction of “open frame time” in the camera from a second to within the region of three seconds, has solved the problem of fire track obliteration

From the analysis of results this month it will be observed that there were comparatively few actual technical faults. Other than the small percentage of flash failures and camera maintenance faults, the chief cause of failures spears to be unsatisfactory bomb firing button. This button has now been modified, but it is still necessary for the Air Bomber to press the button as far as possible to ensure positive contact for camera operation.

Manipulation faults on the part of Aircrews have again decreased in number, but there are still far too many failures due to camera leads being out at the time of bombing. As mentioned in last months’ NEWS it would greatly assist if Air Bombers would check all Cameraleads [sic] and any which are out of sockets should be replaced and upon return from operations the fact should be reported. In this connection a modification is now being produced which will prevent camera leads from the control being removed accidentally.

[Table of Analysis of Results by Squadron]

[Boxed] [Cartoon] QUINTUS QUINCE THE V GROUP ACE SAYS:- “MY GUNNER IS A [underlined] HUMAN [/underlined] ‘MONICA’” [/boxed]

PAGE 5.

[Page break]

[Boxed] ENGINEERING. [/boxed] INSPECTION DIFFICULTIES OVERCOME BY HARD WORK.

All Squadrons being well below establishment in aircraft find it difficult to stagger inspection, as in many cases 100 per cent aircraft are used for each operation. This obviously brings the inspection round rapidly, and three or four more inspections become due at one time. This has made planning very difficult and Squadrons are to be congratulated on the manner in which the work has been carried out. Although the aircraft situation is improving, a somewhat similar state of affairs will exist for the most part of October and we are relying on Squadrons to keep up the good work and even intensify their efforts where possible to produce the effort in spite of the aircraft shortage. Due to certain Squadrons outside this Group re-arming it has meant Squadrons being allocated old aircraft thrown up as a result. This is never a pleasant position, as new aircraft are always more acceptable than old, but the way Squadrons have “tightened their belts” and got down to rendering these old aircraft serviceable to our standards without any undue complaint, reflects a very good spirit. Certain ex-Cat B which have had to be accepted put a great strain on the maintenance personnel, but it is hoped that there will not be many more of these unless they are fully modified prior to receipt.

With the lengthening of the nights and the aircraft being diverted or landing away from Base, it is often long after midday by the time the aircraft returns to its parent unit. This leaves very little time to prepare it for operations again that night. This cannot be helped and so speed is absolutely essential.

Often aircraft are damaged by enemy action and land away from Base. They may be Cat. ‘A’ or ‘AC’. Wherever possible, Engineer Officers are to send a representative down to examine these aircraft with a view to carrying out temporary repairs to fly them back to Base for the completion of the repair. So much time and labour is saved by carrying out the repair at the Parent Unit whether it be Cat. ‘A’ or ‘AC’.

[Boxed] ENGINES [/boxed]

Exhaust stud failures are not on the decline and further sets of trepanning tools are being made available. This is obviously only a palliative: the answer lies in the fitting of a more suitable type of stud and it is hoped that before long we will have the 3.5 per cent nickel steel stud which has given very good service on its trials.

All Lancaster III’s with Merlin 28’s and 38’s and Lancaster I’s with Merlin 22’s are now modified to Mod. 1087 and adjusted to 14lbs. boost for take-off. It is pleasing to note that power plant changes are being speeded up generally throughout the Group and it is only by quick thinking and speedy organisation that repairs and power plant changes can be accomplished in quick time.

[Boxed] MAN POWER [/boxed]

All Squadrons are now working much below establishment and this calls for most economical use of the man power available. The sending of a ground crew to dinner at 1230 while their aircraft is in the air is an example of how N.C.O’s i/c Flights can employ their resources more usefully.

All Electrical Officers will by now have become acquainted with the Mk.XIV Bombsight Group Servicing Van. It has already proved its usefulness and has cleared the few minor snags so far encountered on the A.P.I./A.M.U. and the Mk.XIV Bombsight.

The fitting of the Mk.XIV is proceeding in a very satisfactory manner and only 44 aircraft remain to be fitted. Every assistance should be afforded to the fitting parties in order to finish these aircraft before the end of the month, since the training of Air Bombers on the A.B.S. has ceased.

Most of the available A.P.I./A.M.U’s have now been fitted and are giving very satisfactory results. The accuracy of this aid to Navigation and other instruments depends to a large extent on the D.R. Compass, the maintenance of which must be kept on “top line”. Resistance units for the D.R. Compass Master Unit are coming through slowly and it is hoped that all Units will be supplied to their requirements in the near future.

[Boxed] SQUADRON SERVICEABILITY [/boxed]

[Table of aircraft serviceability by Squadron] [/boxed]

[Boxed] CONVERSION UNIT SERVICEABILITY

[Table of aircraft serviceability by Unit] [/boxed]

[Boxed] [Underlined] ARMAMENT CONFERENCE [/underlined]

[Boxed] ARMAMENT. [/boxed] GOOD NEWS OF HANDLING TACKLE.

With the increased weight of bombs it has been apparent that a means of handling these heavier type weapons had to be accomplished. The rolling technique was introduced and up to the present has not proved successful compatible with the speed of handling required. The super type lorry crane known as the “COLES” is in limited supply and its use divided between all Branches on Stations.

All available forms of lifting and handling tackle were recently demonstrated at R.A.F. Station Binbrook, and at the meeting held following this demonstration it was agreed that some form of crane was a necessity and it was not imperative that it should be a prime mover. It was decided that a type known as the Neal Rapid Mobile Crane Type N. would satisfy Armament requirements and a trial was immediately arranged for one of these type cranes to be put on one week’s trial at East Kirkby. This trial has proved entirely successful and we now await further supplies.

[Boxed] SBC FILLING, HANDLING AND STORAGE [/boxed]

With the introduction of the heavier type of SBC known as the Mk. VA (150 x 4lb.) certain preparation and loading problems have arisen. The man handling of the SBC weighing some 657 lbs. when filled, presents a difficulty likewise does the filling. It is apparent that a standardised procedure is a necessity. Several schemes showing promise are at present being investigated on Units within the Group, details and results are eagerly awaited.

[Boxed] BOMB LOADS INCREASED INCENDIARY [/boxed]

Standard bomb loads giving all the necessary details of Bomb Stations, Pre-selector settings, Peg Hole and time interval and false height settings are in the course of preparation and their issue to all Units will be completed early in the month.

[Boxed] “WHITLOCK” TWIN ADAPTORS [/boxed]

Production of the “Whitlock” adaptor is progressing slowly but surely and a limited number have been diverted to this Group by Headquarters No. 1 Group. It is anticipated that with the commencement of production by other manufacturers all Units within the Group will be equipped by the end of this month, thus ensuring that a standard bomb load can be ordered for all aircraft.

[Boxed] CAMOUFLAGE STATION BOMB STORES [/boxed]

This type of camouflage has been the “headache” of Armament Officers for some time past, and authority has been received for its removal in bomb stored at the discretion of Station Commanders.

[Boxed] AFTER ESCAPE HATCH [/boxed]

The fitment of flare chutes, H.2.S., F.N. 64 Turrets and the .5” under defence gun, all centre around the bung.

Aircraft fitted H.2.S. are being fitted tricell as the modification parts become available, whilst the armoured chute remains fitted to non H.2.S. aircraft. With the introduction of the .5” under defence gun the single flare chute will take a new position to be decided after trial installation. In all Squadrons except three 75 per cent F.N.64 Turrets are being withdrawn.

[Boxed] [Underlined] “BOMBFOOLERIES”. [/underlined]

[Underlined] PHOTOFLASH HANG-UP. [/underlined]

Air Bomber failed to select switch.

[TURRET DOORS FAILED TO CLOSE [/underlined]

Rear Gunner damaged door runner.

[Underlined] ARTICULATING PIPE [/underlined]

Fracture – due to obstruction. [/boxed]

[Boxed] FAILURES TABLE

[Table of failure types by Squadron] [/boxed] [Bottom right hand corner missing]

The monthly Armament Conference was held at Waddington. Minutes have been circulated. [/boxed]

5 GROUP NEWS. NO. 14. SEPTEMBER, 1943.

[Page break]

[Boxed] NAVIGATION [/boxed] MINIMUM GAIN FOR BEST RECEPTION

BREAKDOWN OF D.R. AFTER LEAVING TARGET

VALUABLE GROUND TRAINING.

This month’s Navigation on the whole was satisfactory, although the general standard was not as high as the preceding month’s. D.R. Navigation and allied calculations showed a considerable improvement but concentration and accurate timing at turning points did not move in parallel. On the homeward journey the chief cause of spread when reaching GEE Range is found in the initial stages after leaving the target. Most navigators do not take full advantage of the target as a pin-point. The trouble begins after “Photoflash Gone” when for the next few minutes there appears to be a complete disregard of courses and true air speed flown. This means that over 5 or 6 minutes, an aircraft may be 20 or 30 miles away from its intended position at that time, and thus the initial error creeps in. The first 5 -10 minutes flying out of the target are most important in Navigation, and if concentration and track keeping is to be maintained, the Navigator must ensure that an accurate timed run is made from “Flash Gone” to the turning point. The average indicated air speed and course flown during this run must be carefully watched, and the next course set from D.R. position - initial displacement of position after leaving the target is certainly responsible for aircraft being out of concentration and off the prescribed track when out of GEE coverage.

[Boxed] TRAINING [/boxed]

During the month’s training period most Navigators put in some good ground work and were able to brush up on certain navigational problems. It is hoped that when these training periods are arranged all Navigators will do their utmost to increase efficiency and apply the ground training to this end. You are primarily concerned with the problem of keeping the aircraft on the prescribed track at the right time, and supplying the Air Bomber with an accurate bombing wind – this requires constant practice and, above all, accuracy in calculation.

[Boxed] WIND FINDING FOR PRACTICE BOMBING [/boxed]

Until recently most Navigators were not fully alive to the fact that they are vital members of the bombing team. In the past, many approximations and inaccuracies have been made by the Navigator when finding a practice bombing wind - this has had a corresponding effect on bombing accuracy. Simple appreciation of bombing errors will prove the necessity for accurate wind finding. If an inaccurate wind is set on the bombsight, the Air Bomber’s difficulty in tracking on to the target is increased, and bombing errors will result out of all proportion to the wind vector error. The Navigator is responsible for navigating the aircraft, [underlined] and [/underlined] for providing an accurate wind to the Air Bomber, if the aiming point is to be hit. EVERY EFFORT MUST BE MADE TO INCREASE OUR BOMBING ACCURACY.

[Boxed] SPECIAL MENTION [/boxed]

F/Sgt. Lawes,C.M. of 207 Squadron, produced excellent work during the month and particularly on a recent mining sortie in the Baltic. On this occasion F/Sgt Lawes produced no less than 18 good wind velocity checks, six good Polaris position lines, and one 1st class Astro fix. This log and chart have been forwarded to H.Q.B.C. for potential publication. [/boxed]

[Boxed] [Underlined] NAVIGATIONAL QUIZ [/underlined]

1. Your W/T, R/T, I.F.F. and TR.1196 are all U/S. What radio facility is still available for contacting ground ?

2. What is the maximum shift in wind direction over likely to be experienced at 15,000 feet when flying over a distance of 50 miles ?

3. In what order from South to North should the following be placed:-

Hull, Hamberg, Wilhelmshaven, Manchester, Stettin, Dublin, Bremen.

[Missing] which airfield in 5 Group does the Greenwich hour [missing] equal the local hour angle ?

[Missing] on the D.R. Master Unit compensated [missing P.I.

[Missing] be set at night if the [missing] U/S and all radio [missing] [/boxed]

[Boxed] FLYING CONTROL.

[Table of aircraft landing times after operations by Station]

MONTHLY AVERAGE FOR THE GROUP – 3.67 MINUTES

Syerston still lead the Group in landing aircraft quickly after operations. It is hoped, in the near future, to put to practical test several quick landing schemes which are now in preparation. Suggestions from Stations, on the question of quick landings, will be welcomed. [/boxed]

[Underlined] A.P.I’s [/underlined]

During the month, many Navigators became proficient in the operational use of A.P.I. – this instrument is already proving the value of knowing an aircraft’s true position. Interesting analysis is being carried out on certain Squadrons showing the discrepancy between the plotted, and actual air positions. In most cases the fault seems to lie in the Navigator’s faulty computation of true air speed, and his failure to check the true course, and indicated air speed more frequently. One suggestion is, that the latitude and longitude of 2 A.P.I. readings be plotted about 6 minutes apart and compared with the D.R. calculations. This method will give the true air speed and true course flown, on which E.T.A’s and Ground speed can easily be calculated.

[Boxed] THIS MONTH’S NAVIGATION “PRUNERY” [/boxed]

During the month a sortie was abandoned for the following reasons:-

1. THE PILOT AND NAVIGATOR THOUGHT THEY WERE FLYING ON A STATIC VENT AIRCRAFT – THIS WAS NOT SO !!!

2. THE NAVIGATOR APPLIED COMPASS DEVIATION IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION AND GAVE THE PILOT TWO COURSES TO STEER WHICH AFTERWARDS PROVED TO BE 6 DEGREES OUT.THE COMBINATION OF THESE ERRORS RESULTED IN A LARGE ERROR BETWEEN THE PLOTTED AND ACTUAL AIR POSITION – THIS MEANT THAT WIND VELOCITIES WERE FOUND TO BE OVER 100 MILES PER HR.

If these careless mistakes had not been made this Navigator would have found a wind velocity of 255 degrees 70 miles per hour which was in agreement with the post-met winds.

[Underlined] GEE [/underlined]

During September very varied results have been received on different raids. The exact difference in ranges on different dates are now difficult to assess owing to the new method used in reporting. It is certain that GEE is still providing the most valuable aid to Navigators.

The enemy is now concentrating on transmitting “noise” which is proving as much a nuisance as the previous sine waves and railings. Some noise is always present if a gain has turned up over England, but a special transmitting grass would appear with low gain. This means that over the jamming areas, signals all tend to disappear into the grass as the distance from the transmitters increases. To combat this the Navigator is tempted to increase the gain so as to increase the signal strength. Instead of increasing signal strength, the result is increased grass which swamps all signals.

It is not necessarily weak signals which limit range but the grass signal ratio – if this ratio is kept low then the range will increase – and it can only be kept low by working with the lowest possible gain. Therefore, as a general rule always use [underlined] minimum gain [/underlined] and keep the focus and transference adjusted to meet the reduced gain.

[Boxed] [Underlined] LATTICE CHARTS [/underlined]

Command have decided that the I/M Miniature Lattice Charts shall become available for the Main force aircraft. These will not be issued immediately, for charts are not yet printed in quantity. When they are issued all charts for Series 2, 3 and 5 will be contained in one book conveniently folded. (Series 4 Charts which are rarely used in this Group will continue to be issued as large sheets). Each Navigator can then carry his own book of charts covering all likely areas, and it is thought that this system will be more convenient to use in the air.

The similarity of scales between Lattice and Plotting Charts will make the transference of a fix from one to the other much easier. [/boxed]

GEOGRAPHY Few of us liked Geography at school because so much of what we had to learn had no bearing on our lives. We knew of the Alps as a mountain range somewhere North of Italy, but did they ever become real until that night when we staggered back through cloud on three engines and silently prayed that we were on track ? What were the islands of Holland until we passed over them and joyfully put the nose down for home ?

War has made us all place and name conscious, but do we make the most of our opportunities ? Every sortie should add to our knowledge of Eurpoe [sic] and beyond: the shape of the land, its mountains, its rivers and lakes, its cities. Develop a habit of studying the earth over which you fly. Try to memorise your topographical maps. Your knowledge may come in useful if you ever have to walk back. [boxed]

PAGE 7.

[Page break]

OPERATIONS BAD WEATHER INTERVENES

NAZI WAR MACHINE SLOWING DOWN.

The month’s total of sorties (915) shows a very considerable decrease on last month’s record figure of 1507. This was entirely due to circumstances which are always beyond our control – a bad patch of weather from the 7th. to the 22nd. of the month, which limited the number of sorties to 28 of which 8 were recalled before reaching the target. The number of targets attacked during the month is, therefore, not an imposing one, but we are doing our best at the present moment to make up for lost time. In passing it may be of interest to recall our own experience in 1940/41, that the return of large scale bombing after a lull has an even more depressing effect on morale than an unbroken “Blitz”.

[Boxed] INDUSTRIAL TARGETS [/boxed]

Apart from one attack on Berlin, a special small scale operation in Southern France and two nights of Gardening, the month’s targets have all been industrial centres in Western and South Western Germany. Mannheim and Hannover were both attacked twice, Munich and Bochum once each. The percentage of successful attacks (89.1) is again very satisfactory; the percentage of lost aircraft (4.4) rather higher than usual, though it may be noted that four raids alone counted for 77 pre cent of our casualties.

[Boxed] BERLIN [/boxed]

The raid on Berlin on 3/4th. was a good one: the luck of the weather was with us and a providential gap in the clouds enabled a concentrated attack to be carried out. Once again the Western and South Western parts of the city suffered the most, and while the excited and extravagant accounts of neutral reporters must be taken with a large amount of salt, there is no doubt that severe damage, most of it industrial, has been inflicted on the areas of Berlin roughly corresponding to Hammersmith and Wandsworth and a severe shock has been administered to the Berlin morale at the end of the first round of the Battle of Berlin: one of the most important results of this is that a large scale evacuation of the city, which started after the raids on Hamburg, has been considerably speeded up.

The raid on Mannheim on the 6/7th. was carried out in excellent visibility, and a strong attack developed. Photographs taken on the 7th. and 9th. show that severe damage was caused on both sides of the river, and that several important factories were hit. The weather for Munich the next night was not so good, but after a scattered start two good concentration of fires were started and particularly large explosions reported.

[Boxed] A SPECIAL OPERATION [/boxed]

On the night of 16/17th. 5 Group were entrusted with the task of attempting to destroy the viaduct at Antheor near Cannes, which carries one of the main railway lines between France and Italy. At the same time, other aircraft of Bomber Command struck at the marshalling yards at Modane, where the other French-Italian line enters the Mt. Cenis tunnel. It was hoped that by this double blow to impede the flow of reinforcements to the Germans in Italy at a time when they might most desperately be needed. The viaduct was n extremely difficult target and well defended by Nature against air attack, and in spite of the most careful planning and organisation , and the close proximity of some of the bombs, only slight damage was done to the target.

[Boxed] GERMAN WAR PRODUCTION REDUCED [/boxed]

After another lull the month finished up with a series of large scale attacks. Hannover was attacked in great strength on the night of 27/28th. On neither occasion did the full weight of the attack fall on the centre of the city, but two important factories on the outskirts received very severe damage. Mannheim was strongly attacked on the night of 23/24th., the weight of the attack falling on the Southern parts of the city and Bochum on the night 29/30th. got a good hammering. All these attacks were pressed home in the face of very determined opposition, which however, never succeeded in upsetting the pre-conceived plan of attack, in spite of German claims to the contrary, nor in preventing the major part of the bomber force getting through. Already German war production is about 25 per cent below normal as a result of our air attacks, and if the present scale of attack is maintained it will soon drop to a level, below which, so the economists say, the German war machine will no longer be able to function. With every raid that day grows closer and closer.

[Boxed] [Rolls Royce logo] ROLLS ROYCE. (CONTINUED)

[Circled] From Page 1 Col. 1 [/circled]

94 of them more recently took part in the 5 Group daylight raid on the Schneider Works at Le Creuset far into the heart of France, 93 of them returned, 376 Merlin engines, well over half a million reliable horse power. It has also been chosen for use in the Mosquito reconnaissance bomber, which made it bow to the public following on the spectacular daylight raid on Quisling’s Headquarters in Oslo.

It is not, of course, possible to divulge particulars of the numbers of Merlin engines being produced. It is an established fact that during the last War the Derby Rolls-Royce factory was responsible for the output of more aero engine horse power than all the remaining British Manufacturers combined. The same spirit and quality of product is very evident during the present conflict, and the total Merlin Horse power produced so far has already reached the staggering figure of over 54 millions. [/boxed]

[Boxed] GARDENING:-

On 2nd. September, 15 Lancasters planted 90 vegetables off the Frisians. The operation was uneventful but was a useful contribution to the plastering of this area, which is going steadily on, and which, together with the strafing of shipping by Fighter and Coastal Commands is making life a misery for the enemy’s convoys and steadily cutting down his available tonnage.

Gardening has always produced the highest yield of casualties in the Baltic. It is the only way in which we can get at the enemy’s shipping there and also at the U-boats in their training grounds. Most of the German fleet, except those ships in Norway, is also in harbours in the Easter Baltic. On this occasion it was appreciated from previous sighting reports that the Lutzow was due in the area from Norway. As usual, we shall have to wait to hear the results but there is no doubt that the perseverance of the crews in making the long trip and getting mines down in the right spot in the face of considerable opposition caused great alarm and despondency as an immediate effect and the Admiralty expressed great satisfaction at the success of the operation. [/boxed]

FOREWORD by A.O.C. (CONTINUED.)

well-trained and determined crew whose errors on operations may be little greater.

Every crew in this Group must think bombing, talk bombing and practice bombing until it has an error from 10,000 feet of less than 100 yards; and there is no reason why this standard should not be achieved provided:-

1. The Air Bomber takes a personal interest in the sight and ensures that any bombing errors due to faulty adjustments in the mechanism of the sight are immediately put right by the instrument repair staff.

2. Pilot and Navigator work together so that the wind velocity found by GEE fix has a vector error not exceeding 7 miles per hour. They must study and apply the new 5 Group instructions on wind finding by GEE fixes.

3. Pilot and Air Bomber take the aircraft over the target without skid, bearing in mind that at 20,000 feet one degree of skid introduces an error of 100 yards, and there are many pilots who are unable to make small turns without skid.

4. Finally, the Captain exercises supervision over the bombing team and insists that every bombing detail is fully analysed and the causes of errors understood and rectified. That means hard work and enthusiasm.

I repeat that a crew who, with practice bombs, can achieve an error not exceeding 100 yards from 10,000 feet has shown that it takes bombing seriously, and there is no reason why, with normal luck, it should not achieve similar results on operations. Every trip by this crew will contribute to victory.

When the whole Group can put down its bombs with this accuracy the spread of the attack will be no more than the spread of the T.I’s and should be less because the aiming point is the centre of those T.I’s which are visible.

The spread of the incendiary attack must be reduced. I give that as No. 1 problem facing the Group. If it can be solved – as I believe it can – it will represent the biggest single contribution to Victory of which the Group is capable. The first step is to realise that good bombing is the result of good team work un which Pilot, Air Bomber, Navigator and Instrument Repairer all play essential parts. The second that precision bombing means precision work by each member of the team. The third is that there is no time to waste.

B.B.C. VISIT TO 5 GROUP – “AN OUTSTANDING BROADCAST.”

On the night of the 3/4th. September, Mr. Vaughan Thomas and Mr. Reginald Pidsley, both of the B.B.C., made a recording of the raid over the German capital.

How ‘F’ for Font, the Lancaster in which they were flying was attacked by a fighter over Berlin with the result that the gunners of the recording aircraft shot down their opponent, is well known to listeners all over the world.

Within three hours of landing, the B.B.C. men were speeding back to London with their precious discs.

The recordings of the trip were broadcast three times in the English programmes and on innumerable European and Foreign transmissions. It is interesting to note that the Blue Network in the United States cancelled its prog [missing] to have this recording on Sunday, [missing] described as the outstanding [missing] war.

This month [rest of this page corner is missing]

GROUP NEWS. No. 14.

Collection

Citation

“V Group News, September 1943,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed November 18, 2019, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/17102.

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