V Group News, January 1944

Title

V Group News, January 1944
5 Group News, January 1945

Description

Five Group Newsletter, number 18, January 1944. Includes a foreword by the Air Officer Commanding, and features about training, signals, gunnery, accidents, bombing, decorations, photography, engineering, armament, navigation, flying control, tactics, sports and operations.

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

1944-01

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

16 printed sheets

Language

Type

Identifier

MStephensonS1833673-160205-22 jan 44

Temporal Coverage

Transcription

[Underlined] 53 Base Commander [/underlined]

V GROUP NEWS V

JANUARY 1944 * [deleted] CONFIDENTIAL [/deleted] [indecipherable] * NUMBER 18

FOREWORD by A.O.C.

The final battle of Germany has now been joined. The enemy has been forced to concentrate two-thirds of his whole fighter strength for the protection of his citied, thus providing a classis example of the way in which air superiority, contrary to popular opinion, is won as much by the bomber as by the fighter. Crews should know that the superiority which the Russian Air Force enjoys on the Eastern Front, with all that this means to Russian military operations, is largely their doing; and the same is true of the Italian theatre.

This massing of the German fighter strength in an attempt to stop our attacks and those of the U.S.S.A.F.E. calls for serious thought on our part. In the long run the effect of the combined R.A.F. and American attacks will reduce the German fighter production so that they will be unable to support their present first line units, and the force will slowly diminish, but this is not a result which can be expected immediately, and much hard fighting lays ahead.

Bomber attacks are planned to reach the target having encountered as little opposition as possible. This is achieved by taking advantage of weather which will keep fighters on the ground, or involve them in great hazards if they take off; by careful routeing; by feint attacks; and by the full use of the radio offensive which prevents orders reaching the German pilots. In spite of this planning, scheming and foxing, a proportion of fighters are bound to get into the bomber stream. It is then that the tactics of the individual crews win or lose the battle.

There are two broad alternatives. On the one hand it may be considered that the sole duty of a crew is to reach the target and bomb it. Therefore, it is said it is imprudent to become involved in any fighting, and a crew should do its best to avoid combat and only open fire if directly attacked, and then only after failing to shake off the fighter by manoeuvre. On the other hand, while accepting that it is the object of the bomber to reach the target, refusal to engage in combat, while possibly safeguarding the individual, may by no means be the best for the force as a whole.

The German night fighter pilot must pray fervently that crews will adopt the first policy, for then he can cruise in the bomber stream unconcerned, except to find and stalk an unsuspecting prey. He will not be shot at by a bomber, which he has failed to see below him or to one side, and he can devote his whole attention to manoeuvring for the final shot. In other words he has a job almost free from the hazards of war, and as a result he will grow fat, and gain in skill and experience, and, therefore, in his ability to do us harm.

Now consider the other policy – to shoot at every German aircraft within range. About that policy I will say this. Firstly, that it is in general the duty of every combatant officer and man of any of His Majesty’s Forces to attempt by every means in their power, to destroy such of the King’s enemies as come within range. Secondly, that execution of this duty will aid the security of the bomber force as a whole, and, therefore, of the individual crew.

The matter is not, however, entirely straightforward, and there are two situations which have to be considered. Firstly, one in which a crew sees an enemy fighter not in a position to attack them but attacking, or about to attack, another bomber. They should be prepared to go in and shoot it down. At the foot of this foreword will be found some selected combats in which crews have acted in this way. They acted rightly, and deserve the congratulations of all in the Group, for they saved the lives of other crews, and rid us of pests who, if not destroyed, will quickly become adept at the art of killing at night.

The second situation is more complicated. A crew know, from their early warning device, that a fighter is nosing after them, and will soon be in a position to attack. Should they continue on their course until it is within range, and then attempt to shoot it down? Emphatically no – because the fighter in these circumstances has certain advantages which will give him temporarily the upper hand. The crew should carry out the standard corkscrew, remembering that this is designed to give the Gunners a standard deflection shot, known to them but not to the fighter pilot. Hence the importance of keeping to the exact standard speeds, rates of turn, loss and gain in height etc., set out in 5 Group Tactical Notes. Any other manoeuvre executed in the heat of action will provide the Gunners with deflection shots which, with present equipment, they have no means of calculating, but which the fighter pilot will find no more, and probably less, difficult to assess than the corkscrew.

Thus, while the standard corkscrew can be used as a manoeuvre for disengaging from enemy fighters, it is also a manoeuvre – and in fact the only manoeuvre – which we can employ and at the same time shoot accurately. Different speeds or rates of turn, or any skid or slip, may cause the Gunner to miss by 40 feet or more. In particular, too high a speed on the downward legs will lessen the rate of turn and, therefore, provide an easier shot for the fighter.

The policy outlined above was first set out in June, 1943. Over the following four months the Group shot down 58 fighters, but recently the numbers have been less, because I believe some crews are in doubt as to the correct action to take.

There is one final point; there must be no firing at an aircraft unless it is identified beyond any reasonable doubt. There have been instances in the past of Lancasters firing on other Lancasters, and there can be no justification for this.

To sum up, every crew in the Group should know that weather – routes – spoof targets and all other devices at the disposal of Bomber Command – are used to out-manoeuvre the German Fighter Force. It can only be out-fought if every crew in the Group is ready to “FORCE HIS WAY IN AND FIGHT HIS WAY OUT”. By that means we shall reduce the power of the German fighter to do us harm, to our own lasting advantage.

Need I add that the Air Gunners are playing a more and more vital part in the success of the bomber offensive. It is their quickness of eye and hand which determines success or disaster – but they are gravely handicapped if the pilot does not keep to the standard corkscrew, and may be caught unawares if the Wireless Operator relaxes his watch on his Monica or Fishpond tube. Such, then, is the team on which we rely to defeat the enemy fighters.

[Underlined] 23/24th August, 1943. J/207. [/underlined] Twin-engined enemy aircraft attacking another aircraft at 800 yards range. Rear gunner opened fore at 700 yards. Enemy aircraft broke in two and hit the ground in flames. Claimed as destroyed.

[Underlined] 22/23rd November, 1943. P/619. [/underlined] Rear gunner saw ME109 attacking another Lancaster. Lancaster “P” turned starboard and Rear Gunner opened fire at 200 yards range and scored hits. ME.109 reversed and dived violently to port, emitting flames. Enemy aircraft disappeared in the cloud, after which an explosion was seen. ME.109 claimed as destroyed.

[Underlined] 26/27th November, 1943. Z/44. [/underlined] Rear gunner sighted ME.210 flying to attack another Lancaster ahead. Lancaster Z corkscrewed and both gunners opened fire at 800 y ards [sic] range. Enemy aircraft followed the corkscrew and fired a burst which went well above [sic] Both gunners kept firing short burst, registering hits. Enemy aircraft seen to disintegrate by another crew, and ME.210 claimed as destroyed.

[Underlined] 16/17th December, 1943. A/44. [/underlined] ME.109 sighted 600 yards range parallel, following another Lancaster. ME.109 opened fire on another Lancaster who did not return fire. Both gunners opened fire and scored hits. ME.109 burst into flames and disintegrated. Claimed as destroyed.

[Underlined] 30/31st January,1944.U/44. [/underlined] Over target area Rear Gunner sights ME.210 800 yards down attacking another Lancaster. Lancaster U was corkscrewing on a Monica IIIA indication. Rear Gunner opened fire and strikes were observed. Enemy aircraft dived away with port engine on fire. Last seen entering cloud in flames. Claimed as destroyed.

[Page break]

PHOTOGRAPHY

The number of photographs with plottable ground detail obtained during January, was 73; these were almost entirely due to the conditions prevailing during the Stettin raid. For the remaining raids, the presence of heavy cloud caused the majority of technical successful exposures to be placed into the Target Conditions category.

Failures for the month were 58, which represents 5.4%. These failures can be reduced considerably if the personnel concerned will make the necessary effort, and it is suggested that still more co-operation is needed between the Bombing Leaders, Electrical, Armament and Photographic personnel in tracing the causes and ensuring that failures are not repeated. The first step in film fault analysis is to decide the ‘bombing frame’; failure to do this correctly will normally cause the investigation to be abortive and a complete waste of time.

There is reason to think that insufficient care is being exercised when setting the fusing time on the Type 35 Control. It is of the utmost importance that the fuse setting and the Type 35 Control are identical. Squadron photographers must realise that the setting is extremely critical, and even a small misadjustment of the Control Setting Knob will normally be sufficient to cause the flash illumination to be misplaced, and may therefore be considered a ‘pick-up’, resulting in a theoretical failure.

A new method of Night Photography is being tried out by Nos. 44 and 49 Squadrons. This is the use of Kodacolour film on frames Nos. 3 and 4 and H.S. night film on the remaining frames. The object of this composite Colour and Black and White is to photograph any T.I’s and Sky Markers in colour and at the same time to procure ground detail on Frame 5 by the illumination provided by the photo flash if conditions permit. The Photographic Section, R.A.F., Scampton, have undertaken to make up and process the films, and with full co-operation of the Station Workshops, have produced some very fine work.

It is too early to forecast whether this new method will generally be adopted. Much depends on the value of interpretation, supply of Kodacolour and technical equipment, but so far results are very promising.

[Table of Photographic analysis results by Squadron]

[Table of Photographic failure analysis results by Squadron]

A.S.R. (CONTINUED)

(Continued from back page Col. 1)

follows :-

(i) 256 aircrew lost their lives when other members of their crews were saved, which gives a strong indication of incorrect dinghy drill being carried out.

(ii) 23 lost their lives after having been sighted in dinghies – weather and lack of knowledge of searching procedure were the main causes for this.

(iii) 663 are known to have come down in the sea but no S.O.S. signal was transmitted making search almost impossible.

(iv) 280 disappeared over the sea without word or trace.

The above figures show that aircrews generally have a very sad lack of knowledge of what to do in the event of an emergency over the sea, both as regards W/T procedure and dinghy drills. A tremendous amount of money has been spent building up the Air Sea Rescue Service, and in providing safety equipment for aircrews, all of which can work satisfactorily with the full co-operation of the aircrews for whose benefit they have been designed.

When you bale out over enemy territory, your future welfare depends on your own initiative [underlined] after [/underlined] you have come to earth, but the reverse holds good in baling out over the sea or ditching. Emergency incidents over the sea depend for their success on full crew co-operation and knowledge of W/T procedure and dinghy drills – all of which must be gained [underlined] before [/underlined] the incident occurs.

One hour a week spent on the study of search procedure, emergency and S.O.S. W/T procedure, and dinghy drills, is sufficient to ensure that you will never be caught unprepared in case of emergency over the sea.

[Underlined] HELP A.S.R. TO HELP YOU [/underlined]

OPERATIONS

It would perhaps not be inopportune in the first month of the New Year, to reflect on one of the most valuable technical inovations introduced this time last year, and which is to-day largely instrumental in waging the Battle of Berlin with unabated vigour. It was just a year ago that blind bombing was first on trial and an analysis of its success or otherwise was anxiously awaited. This month, with the aid of this technique, we were enabled to conduct seven raids on Berlin, and one each on Brunswick and Magdeburg. Stettin alone, to its everlasting regret, was cloud free. 1341 sorties were flown, of which 89% were successful in attacking the primary. Increased fighter activity and the long range at which targets were attacked perhaps accounted for the rather higher loss rate of 4.6%.

At the beginning of this month, Hitler declared “The Winter may be difficult. Its blows, however, cannot hit us harder than last year”. The month was not out before this illusion was shattered by a sustained series of attacks on the Nazi capital, bringing the tonnage dropped since the beginning of the Battle of Berlin, to over 24,500 tons. One is perhaps best able to appreciate the magnitude of this figure when it is borne in mind that 50,000 tons would “Hamburgise” Berlin. The latest reconnaissance to secure photographic evidence of the raids up to and including 2/3rd January, was made on 4th January, but only poor quality photographs of parts of the city (excluding in particular the centre) were obtained. These however revealed important industrial damage in the Johannisthal district to the South East, with severe damage to several less important business and residential areas. It is interesting to note that in a statement issued by Transocean on 7th January, it was estimated that the damage sustained up to that date would take some 7 1/2 years to rebuild.

Little is yet known of the remaining 4 major attacks of the month against the Reich capital on 20/21st, 27/28th, 28/29th and 30/31st, except that reports suggest they were concentrated. Ground information points to the significant fact that with the possible exception of the North Eastern outer suburbs of the city, not a district in the capital has escaped. Impressive as this picture is , it really affords no index to the scale of administrative dislocation which must be a most acute problem for the Nazis; added to which the paralysis of the focus of German was industry and transport, together with the ever increasing influence of the raids on that intangible factor, morale, would also appear to promote a depressing effect on the Hun’s capacity to wage war.

The attack on Stettin on 5/6th January, provided adequate material for our reports. The blanket of cloud, which for some time past has shrouded the continent, was absent at the target, enabling the snow outlined town to be clearly identified. The resultant attack was well concentrated, and P.R.U. cover indicates severe damage in the Southern half of the town centre, extending into the West and East basins of the dock area. Ten buildings of the large military barracks to the South of the town have been gutted, and fairly heavy damage was sustained by business and residential property. The same night a

(Continued on page 4, col. 1)

5 Group News. No. 18. January, 1944. Page 2.

[Page break]

ACCIDENTS

ACCIDENT RATE INCREASES

Halfway through January, it was apparent that the excellent accident figure for December was not to be repeated, and the number of avoidable accidents, of all kinds, by the end of the month was nearly doubled – 18 against 10.

This month’s total is made up as follows: Ground collisions – 9; Overshoots on landing – 3; Heavy landings – 1; Swings on take-off – 1; Other errors of judgement – 3.

In spite of all that has been done and written about “ground collisions” there has been no decrease whatsoever in these avoidable accidents. This month there were again 9, and they follow much the same patter as those of December, with this difference:-

Two aircraft were damaged in dispersal while being run up by ground crew, through chocks slipping on greasy surfaces. In both instances the aircraft swung round and collided with obstacles.

It has been a long time since an accident of this type occurred in the Group. The remedy is obvious. Ground crews must examine all chocks for serviceability, keep dispersals well sanded, and, above all, never start to run up engines until the dispersal is clear of obstructions. It is the old, old story of a little foresight paying a big dividend.

During this month a taxying incident occurred in which a major contributory factor was the failure of a captain of aircraft and of ground crew to notify Flying Control quickly that a Lancaster was obstructing the perimeter track. The aircraft had become bogged in soft ground just off the track at night, and was struck by another Lancaster taxying, without an aldis lamp, and at excessive speed.

Flying Control, had they known, could have taken immediate steps to have the aircraft marked as an obstruction, and could have warned other captains of its position.

This accident adds emphasis to the warning in last Month’s News that ground crew should make every effort to let pilots know of obstructions. The captain of this particular Lancaster showed bad captaincy in not notifying Flying Control, and also in leaving his aircraft in charge of ground crew when he knew it was in a dangerous position.

Needless to say, the pilot of the moving aircraft had his log book endorsed in “RED”.

The 3 “overshoots on landing” this month bring out the usual pilot error – too fast an approach in bad visibility and failure to go round again. If the various factors of height, speed, cockpit drill etc., are not correct, it is no use “hoping you’ll stop in time”. It might be all right nine times out of ten, but the tenth means another Lancaster in a heap at the end of the runway.

One crash occurred again this month on a 3-engined overshoot. The pilot was an experienced captain with many Lancaster hours to his credit, yet he [underlined] failed to keep in trim for 3 engined flying [/underlined] on his approach. When the engines were opened up to full power, the inevitable swing caught him unawares. Result was a bad crash with fatal consequences.

Drills and instructions are not issued by this Headquarters just to be read and forgotten, so if there are any you are not sure about, now is the time to brush up your knowledge. [Underlined] You [/underlined] will reap the benefit.

Conversion Units had a bad time this month. The total of nine “avoidables” exceeds the total of all the Squadrons put together. Winthorpe had four. 1660, 1654 and 5 L.F.S. had one each. 1485 Flight had two taxying accidents.

SECOND THOUGHTS FOR PILOTS

FRESHMEN

1. Remember the lowest fuel consumption is not obtained when you are flying at the lowest possible speed. With the increased angle of attack of the wings at a low speed, you get increased drag and consequently require a greater power output. Neither maximum endurance nor maximum range will be obtained by flying as slowly as you can, so don’t “waffle” around the sky hanging on to your props. If you are getting short of petrol and have got a long way to go, try 2000 revs + 3 boost. That will give you a healthy airspeed, economical petrol consumption and excellent range.

2. You know why you can expect climbing difficulties on warm nights? The air is thinner at a given aeronoid height and so increases the true air speed at which the aircraft must be flown and the power required to fly it. The thinner air also reduces the charge drawn in to the engine and so reduces the power available.

3. Don’t sheer off track because you see pinpoints of flak dead ahead. It may be anything up to 100 miles away and as you get closer you will find that your route will probably bypass the flak area. Flak which explodes with a large orange coloured flash is within 15 mls and is quite harmless. It is only when you can hear or feel it that it is within 250 feet and getting dangerous. If you SMELL it, well get cracking.

[Cartoon]

4. Always take a note at Briefing of the times of the other waves in the attack in case you strike trouble on the way and cannot make good your T.O.T. Aim to make good the T.O.T. of another wave. It is safer to be bombing with bags of company.

5. Give your Navigator as good a platform for his Astro shots as you give your Air Bomber for his bombing run. Hand over to “George” if your instrument flying is not 100% and let the Navigator know the moment you consider the aircraft is as stable as it is likely to be.

6. If you use Caffein tablets it is a good plan to take one as you leave the English Coast outward bound. That will see you to the target. Take another when you are clear of the defences to see you home. Never take any just before take-off. Once upon a time there was a mid-upper gunner who took four tablets 10 minutes before take-off. The “Op” was scrubbed. The gunner wasn’t seen for 24 hours after he eventually went to sleep about noon the next day. Then he was posted !

VETERANS

1. Don’t get out of touch with existing orders. You have read them once, but only by constantly referring to the Flight Order books can you be sure that you have got them buttoned up. Just one example – never take off rudder bias on the approach for a 3-engined landing. You can easily control any tendency to swing after landing, but if you have to overshoot on 3 engines, the bias is the only thing that will enable you to control the immediate swing towards the dead engine at full power. If the swing is not controlled the result is fatal.

2. Another word on overshoots. You can still overshoot even though you are in the green of the G.P.I. and the airspeed is O.K. This circumstance may arise if your initial approach has been too low and you have used the extra engine to get back into the Green. Don’t forget once you have made good the undershoot throttle back again and get your angle of descent right.

3. Don’t attempt to raise flaps after landing when you have “pulled the bottle”, because there is a danger of bursting the header tank. If in an emergency you have to raise flaps in the air after pulling the bottle, do so slowly and in stages.

4. If you have to jettison fuel, close the valve while there is still 75 to 100 gallons in each tank. It is a precaution against fire, because the last 30 gallons of jettisonable fuel runs out slowly and splashes over the airframe. Never jettison if you are going to do a wheels up landing when there is any likelihood of fire.

5. Never take off flap during an approach if you suddenly decide you don’t want flap in a very high wind. The lowering of the flap increases the lift coefficient of a wing and any reduction of the flap angle during an approach may result in the stalling speed being increased above the approach speed.

6. Get together regularly with the other members of your crew behind a hangar or in the crew room and exchange ideas on your recent trips. There’s bound to be a few points in crew routine that need patching up. Don’t wait until there is a party in the Sergeants’ Mess before you find out that the crew have a thing or two on their minds.

5 Group News. No. 18. January, 1944. Page 3.

[Page break]

SIGNALS

WIND MESSAGES

Bomber Command Signals Staff Instructions commence with an “Order of the Day” by the C.-in-C. which says that :- “The tradition of the Signals Service is that the safety of aircraft overrides every other consideration and every other interest…The Signals Service aspires never to lose an aircraft”.

Since this message was originated, many and varied aids have been introduced falling within the purview of the Signals Service which attain towards the achievement of this objective.

It is generally agreed that losses in the main bomber force may be considerably reduced if a high degree of concentration of aircraft during the route to and from the target, and at the target itself, can be effected.

Radar/Navigation aids fitted to many aircraft now make it possible to determine with a high degree of accuracy, the velocity and direction of winds at the height and in the area of the main force. The means of communicating this to the Meteorological staffs on the ground, and of passing to every aircraft on the force the assessment of accurate winds on their route, is the responsibility of the Signals Service.

This method has been in use since towards the end of the Old Year, and, from the signals aspect, has been successful. The method used has been for wind-finding aircraft to transmit their winds to the Base D/F Station, and the ground staff to transmit the wind assessment to the main force on Group operational frequency.

The transmissions by Wind Finders to Bases gives an increase on the number of channels, with a better spread over of the volume of traffic at any one time. To ensure that every message which can possibly be received, is received, an additional watch is maintained at each Base on a normal receiver, and a watch, on each frequency in use, at Group Headquarters. The watch at Group Headquarters serves two purposes. Firstly, it enables received winds to be in the Meteorological Officers’ hands in the minimum time, and secondly, provides an additional check on the Base D/F frequencies. Any Wind Finding aircraft unable to establish satisfactory communication on its Base frequency, reverts to the Group operational frequency, and by these means we have been successful in receiving almost 100% of wind finding messages transmitted. There have been two occasions when conditions on the 3 to 4 m/c band made communication rather difficult, and in order to provide an additional channel should this re-occur, an allotment of a frequency in the 7 m/c band has been obtained. The results of this frequency on similar occasions, should they arise, are awaited with interest.

The reception of the wind assessments by the main force has been good, but could be improved. Generally, the number of messages missed has been in the region of 2.5% of the total which should have been received.

The loop aerial has proved a reliable selectivity device, and it should always be tried when other efforts to get rid of jamming fail.

GEE

The introduction of new equipment leaves Radar Sections less time for standard Gee maintenance. It is gratifying to note that, in spite of this, the serviceability remains high. There are however, numerous unnecessary faults, which render the equipment difficult to use, or completely unserviceable. Great care should be taken to prevent slipshod D.I’s, and faults such as leads off etc. Many Squadrons are still reporting divider trouble, indicating that the necessary modification has not been completed. If this is due to a shortage of equipment, ask the Equipment Officer to expedite.

AURAL MONICA

Aural Monica is slowly disappearing. Many crews would, however, like to keep Monica, even though they now have Fishpond. It is, unfortunately, impossible for the Radar Sections to maintain both installations in all aircraft.

VISUAL MONICA

This installation remains a most effective and valuable Radar aid. Serviceability is high in comparison with other equipment, but to be a first class warning device, 100 per cent serviceability is required. Switch motors have caused nearly one third of Visual Monica failures, but it is hoped that this trouble will soon be cleared, since the correct type of grease has now been found. Next month should show a large increase in serviceability. Unfortunately, there is no more equipment available, so squadrons must ensure that no sets remain unserviceable, or are destroyed, through careless maintenance. Many crews already owe much to Visual Monica. Don’t let the lack of serviceability spoil a first class device.

H 2 S

The fitting of H 2 S is greatly retarded by the shortage of scanners. It is impossible to fit all H 2 S aircraft in the existing squadrons, and so there is little likliehood [sic] of fitting new H 2 S squadrons for some time. Last month’s problem, freezing scanners, appears to have been corrected by use of anti-freeze oil and repositioning of the scanner heater. A new snag is now appearing in the slowing down of the repeater motors. Radar Sections should contact Instrument people for information regarding the correct type of oil to use on the motor bearings. A new pulse transformer has been designed and trials are being conducted. It is hoped that a large percentage of the very numerous H 2 S failures will now be prevented.

FISHPOND

Fishpond fitting still continues slowly, hampered by the connector shortage. Trained crews are getting very good results, but it is necessary to emphasise that Wireless Operators should spend considerable time on the Fishpond trainer. A few extra minutes learning to use the set correctly may well save many an unpleasant trip.

MONICA AND FISHPOND TRAINING

Now that all available sets have been fitted, a drive has started to eliminate preventable failures. Aircraft are being deprived of the protection of a tail warning device during entire sorties, simply because one plug is loose, or a fuse blown. We must make full use of every available set and to do this, Operators must be given a greater insight into the workings thereof. Fault finding tables – with sketches of what the CRT shows for various faults – are being prepared.

Various synthetic training schemes have been evolved, including a series of cards showing typical “blip” pictures with the appropriate patter printed underneath. A similar set of cards without the patter is used to test the Operator’s reactions.

An epidiascope is being used by one Squadron, and lifelike “blips” are introduced up and down the time base, and shown on the screen for brief intervals.

Which squadron will produce the best synthetic training device?

Signals and Radar officers – are you getting that occasional flight? (See A.M.O. A.1323/43). You should all have flown with Monica or Fishpond by now. Don’t forget to enter your trips in the old log book.

WIRELESS OPERATORS (AIR)

[Underlined] (CAPTAINS OF AIRCRAFT MAY ALSO LOOK) [/underlined]

The article on wind finding from the signals aspect, which heads this Section of the News, should be read and digested by all Wireless Operators.

The Group W/T Exercise has improved this month, but Section I are definitely superior to Section II, and should any Operators of Section II doubt the truth of this statement they may like to do a little eavesdropping. After all, the ether is free.

This month’s three star effort for air operating was the performance by Wireless Operator Sgt. Barnes Moss of No.61 Squadron (formerly of 1661 Con. Unit and 16 O.T.U.), on the night of 5/6th January. The aircraft “J”Jig was severely damaged over the target, the port outer engine being rendered unserviceable, resulting in a loss of the Gee facilities. Sgt. Barnes Moss rose to the occasion and managed 12 fixes, 1 bearing and 1 message, keeping a good log, and also receiving the odd Group broadcast at the same time. It would appear that this Wireless Operator set about his job with calm determination, and was partly responsible for the safe return of his aircraft to this country, and in doing so proved a credit to his Squadron, captain and crew.

(continued on Page 12, Col.1)

(Continued from Page 2, Col.3)

small force of our aircraft successfully laid mines.

Although for the moment we are without precise information as to the result of the raids on Brunswick on 14/15th, and against Magdeburg and Berlin on 21/22nd, preliminary reports show promise of impressive returns. These attacks will contribute to the nomadic population of the Reich, and provide a tinge of irony to the announcement in a Frankfurt paper that “Evacuees are not gypsies but Germans”.

Thus ends the first month of our “decisive year, boasting a new record tonnage dropped on Germany itself – a portent of the scale of future operations.

5 Group News. No. 18. January, 1944. Page 4.

[Page break]

AIR BOMBING

It was at the beginning of May, 1943, that the initial drive on greater accuracy in practice bombing was commenced throughout the Group. Very good co-operation by the Squadrons within the Group led to most intensified training, so much so that in the months of May, June, July and August a grand total of 23,310 bombs were dropped. This total almost equalled the number of bombs that were dropped in the preceding [underlined] 4 years. [/underlined] However, one fact emerged, namely the average error was remaining at approximately the same figure, and that this figure, 220 yards, was still much too high.

September heralded the introduction of bombing analysis. F/Lt. Cooper, an expert analyst was attached to us from No. 25 Group and travelled from Squadron to Squadron to implement the Group’s very scanty knowledge of assessment of bombing. Thus, slowly we learned the way bombing errors are split into certain definite categories. The first major item which was tackled was the bombsight maintenance, which had contributed no small portion of bombing errors; and by the end of November, errors directly attributable to bombsight defects were almost eliminated.

We next learned that the main error, called Crew Error, had two components. The error caused by the failings of Pilot and Air Bomber, and the Vector Error, that is the error due to the use of faulty wind velocities.

The Pilot and Air Bomber’s error was tackled with considerable vigour until, by the end of December we were really getting down to very small proportions. 106 Squadron for instance, dropped 182 bombs from High Level during December for an average Pilot/Air Bomber error of 78 yards, an astonishingly good achievement. 619 Squadron with 101 yards, 467 with 115 yards and 50 and 463 Squadrons with 116 and 117 yards respectively were close behind.

However, and now we come to the major bombing problem, our Crew Errors were still too large because our average Vector Errors were much too high.

November/December and January has shown the gradual appreciation of this Vector Error problem, and in the Squadrons where bombing is accepted as the be-all and end-all of 5 Group (and their number is ever-increasing) the problem is a matter of real concern. The Group’s average Vector Error for November was 169 yards at 10,000 feet, in in December 162 yards, and these figures convert to roughly 13 m.p.h. A good Vector Error is considered to be 5 m.p.h. (that is 60 yards at 10,000 feet) and it is to this figure Crews must make their way.

When this is achieved, and it will come only with the greatest flying care by the pilots and the most accurate plotting, timing and computing by the Navigators, then a crew will be able to take up 6 bombs, drop them in a close group of less than 50 yards radius with the Mean Point of Impact less than 70 yards from the target. Then, and not until then, can we call ourselves BOMBER CREWS.

[Underlined] FOOTNOTE. [/underlined] 619 Squadron (F/Lt.Walmsley) submits the following “Stop Press” news on the Vector Error problem.

(continued in next column)

“ F/O. Ingleby, a Navigator of 619 Squadron has spent a great deal of time on trying to find out why such large Vector Errors occur. He back-plotted a navigator’s bombing wind, [underlined] to a much larger scale, [/underlined] and discovered that a 15 seconds error in timing over 6-7 minutes gave a Vector Error of 10 m.p.h., that is 130 yards at 10,000 feet. “

The wind found, in the words of the Navigator, brought us from Nottingham to Base on E.T.A. “

Agreed that such a wind would, because an error up to 300-400 yards in track and 1/2 to 1 second in time is almost unnoticeable, but it is such small and apparently insignificant Navigation Errors that cause displacement of bombs from the target to distances up to 200 to 250 yards away.

COMPETITION BOMBING

A much better show was put up by the Squadrons this month in the Competition, the results of which are as follows:-

Pilot & Air Bombers Navigators

1st 106 Sqdn – 58 yds 1st 630 Sqdn – 87 yds
2nd 619 Sqdn – 82 yds 2nd 106 Sqdn - 124 yds
3rd 630 Sqdn – 92 yds 3rd 619 Sqdn – 183 yds
4th 57 Sqdn – 118 yds 4th 57 Sqdn – 264 yds

Further entries with less than [underlined] 8 [/underlined] qualifying exercises.

5th 50 Sqdn – 74 yds 5th 467 Sqdn -110 yds
6th 463 Sqdn -129 yds 6th 50 Sqdn – 119 yds
7th 61 Sqdn -145 yds 7th 61 Sqdn -163 yds
8th 467 Sqdn -158 yds 8th 463 Sqdn -165 yds
9th 207 Sqdn -165 yds 9th 44 Sqdn -176 yds
10th 44 Sqdn -221 yds 10th 207 Sqdn -220 yds

No entries were submitted by 9 & 49 Sqdns. Next month we want a TOTAL all-out effort!

[Table of High Level Bombing Training by Squadron showing Error Rates]

[Underlined] OUTSTANDING BOMBING DURING JANUARY [/underlined]

Squadron Pilot Air Bomber Navigator Crew Error at 10,000 ft.

[Underlined] 9 W/Cdr. Porter [/underlined] F/O. Prior P/O. Gall 66 yds
[Underlined] 50 F/O. Robinson [/underlined] F/O. Lavery Sgt. Sanderson 84 yds
[Underlined] P/O. Dobbyn [/underlined] Sgt. Jackson F/O. Horner 66 yds
61 P/O. Wallis Sgt. Pardoe F/Sgt. Tozer 67 yds
F/O. Fitch F/O. Lyons. F/O. Jennings 86 yds
106 F/O. Latham F/O. Martins F/L. Williamson 89 yds
P/O. Lee F/Sgt. Hoyland F/Sgt. McKie 81 yds
P/O. Gibbs F/O. Cramp F/Sgt. Appleyard 75 yds
F/Sgt. Rosser Sgt. Goss F/Sgt. White 61 yds
F/O. Lee F/O Beven F/O. Langrish 95 & 72 yds
P/O. Pezaro Sgt. Greenwood Sgt. Wade 63 yds
[Underlined] 463 P/O. Saunders [/underlined] Sgt. Govett Sgt. Falconer 84 yds
[Underlined] F/Sgt. James [/underlined] F/Sgt. Bowes F/O. Pettitt 92 yds
630 W/Cdr. Rollinson F/Sgt. Rosser F/L. Ehrman 88 yds
1654 C.U. F/Sgt. Page F/O. Braithwaite F/Sgt. Fair 99 yds
F/Sgt. Perry Sgt. Duncombe Sgt. Hather 84 yds
Sgt. Paterson Sgt. Hall Sgt. Rice 90 yds
1661 C.U. F/Sgt. Falsted F/Sgt. Hancock Sgt. O’Connor 95 yds

617 Squadron obtained 11 exercises with less than 100 yards average error, and the following :

S/Ldr. Suggitt F/O. Davidson W/O. Gordon 30 yds

[Table of Additional Bombing Training by Squadron, including bombs dropped, error, A.M.B.T. hours, infra-red exercises, traces and T. & D. runs & indirect attacks]

5 Group News. No. 18 January, 1944. Page 5.

[Page break]

AIR BOMBING (CON)

“GEN” FROM THE SQUADRONS

[Underlined] 61 Squadron’s [/UNDERLINED] (F/Lt. McDonald) bombing figures for December failed to include the month’s best week of bombing because the return affecting that week was mislaid. 15 exercises were carried out, 77 bombs being dropped for an average Crew Error at 10,000 feet, of 177 yards. Vector Error averaged 126 yards and Pilot’s and Air Bomber’s error was 129 yards.

Congratulations to the Bombing Staff off [underlined] No. 5 LANCASTER FINISHING SCHOOL, R. A. F. [/underlined] Syerston, who, under the guidance of W/O. Linnett, constructed an excellent small instructional display of ‘Paramatta’ and ‘Wanganui’ attacks showing the danger of incendiaries “creep-back”.

Group Captain Evans-Evans, R.A.F. Coningsby, has pointed out that [underlined] 619 Squadron [/underlined] (F/L Walmsley) in the first two weeks of January AIMED 36 day and 54 night Practice Bombs and not one of these 90 bombs were “aimed” below 8,000 feet.

To quote the Station Commander – “a real effort on all crews’ part to bomb as near operational height as possible.”

[Underlined] 5 L.F.S., R.A.F. Syerston [/underlined] (F/Lt.Wonham.) reports the most creditable attainment of 12,300 feet average height for all practice bombing during January. This is what we want !!!

[Underlined] 467 Squadron [/underlined] (F/Lt. McCarthy) reports yet a further “Mod” to the Bomb Aimer’s compartment.

To quote :-

“The stationary lights do not supply illumination to points where they are needed, i.e. the lamp on the bombing instrument panel does not afford enough light to read the pre-selector box and no light is in position to check camera leads. A “wander” light has been installed above the selector box and will supply any part of the nose for any job including map reading”.

5 Group will seek permission to make this modification general as soon as possible.

Thank you, 467 !!!

It is pointed out that [underlined] 49 Squadron [/underlined] are doing a considerable amount of bombing training which does not appear in the normal returns.

This training is in the form of blind bombing using H2S, which is achieving considerable success.

[Underlined] 617 Squadron [/underlined] (F/Lt. Hay) reports that average bombing error for December was 90 yards – on one [underlined] operation [/underlined] during January the Squadron’s average error was 94 yards from 12,000 feet. Enough said !!!

In column 2 will be found an article by F/Lt. Hay on the “617” bombing team, as promised in the December issue.

“GEN” FROM WAINFLEET

Despite 8 days and 15 nights unfit for bombing training, Wainfleet plotted [underlined] 2398 [/underlined] bombs dropped by 363 aircraft during the month. All Squadrons used the range for night training, special mention being made of 617, 106, 207 and 619 Squadrons who aimed 155, 60, 51 and 50 bombs respectively.

[Boxed] LATE ENTRY FROM 49 SQUADRON FOR COMPETITION

Bombing Error – 156 yards

Navigator’s Error – 124 yards [/boxed]

THE SECRET OF 617 SQUADRON’S HIGH STANDARD OF PRACTICE BOMBING.

The S.A.B.S. – Pilot/Navigator/Air Bomber Team.

The excellent results gained by crews of 617 Squadron using the SABS have only been achieved by the fullest, most practical use of the “Bombing team”. Before any bombs are dropped some four hours training on the specially adapted A.M.B.T. are carried out by the Pilot and Air Bomber to give manipulation practice to the latter, and to familiarise the pilot with the B.D.I. (Bombing Direction Indicator). The Navigator is trained to carry out compution of true height and airspeed, and settings for a given course of attack with the instruments and computers at his disposal. Some 2 - 4 hours are then spent in the air doing “dummy runs”, firstly on objects “on track”, and then choosing targets and “turning on”, and finally on to targets and setting up sight in accordance with settings computed from known navigational data. The sight is only accurate when correct height above target is set. Thus the pilot must fly at the indicated height he states he will be at, the Navigator must correctly compute this to the true height above target, and the Air Bomber set this accurately.

True height is dependent upon :-

(i) [Underlined] Sea Level Pressure at Target. [/underlined] This is gained by setting aerodrome height for practice bombing or, operationally, from Form 2330. It is the Q.F.F. which is set.

(ii) [Underlined] Indicated Height above Sea Level. [/underlined] All 617 Squadron altimeters have been accurately calibrated for every 1000’ for 140 and 180 m.p.h. I.A.S. and from the appropriate card the Navigator allows for this error, which may be up to 300’

(iii) [Underlined] Temperature. [/underlined] “Thermometer, Air, Direct Reading, Mk.I”, now fitted, does not give an accurate reading for temperature of the outside air, as (a) the stem is heated by cabin temperature, and (b) the outside air bearing against the bulb is under pressure varying with airspeed. Both factors tend to give a “warmer” reading than true. Again the Navigator computes from a special computer to get an accurate air temperature.

With these factors and the use of an ICAN computer, true height (c) can be computed. True height above target will need a deduction of target height above sea level, and there will be a further allowance (addition) to be made where stick bombing is being used.

When the pilot advises IAS with aircraft trimmed and bomb doors open, the Navigator computes a T.A.S. which is used against a Trail scale for the appropriate bomb number. Errors of + or – 5 m.p.h. make negligible ground errors. Most errors in range can be traced to (1) flying at other than the indicated height stated by the pilot, (2) incorrect compution of height and/or T.A.S., by the navigator, or (3) by incorrect settings or bad manipulation, by the Air Bomber.

The sight will automatically correct for Drift and Ground Speed if switched on with the target in the graticule, and held there by proper manipulation of the sight by the Air Bomber, and by the pilot following the direction of his B D. I., until such time as the point of release is attained. Those who remember the A.B.S., and who used it to its utmost efficiency, realise that the length of run could be considerably decreased if settings were applied before the run. As the heading of attack is generally known, the navigator just prior to the run, can pass a drift and G/S setting to the Air Bomber. So, after practice, the Air Bomber need only wind his sighting head back for a 25 second run, whereas 40 -50 seconds may be required without these settings.

Let us listen to a typical 617 Squadron bombing run :-

Pilot. “Turning on to a heading of 250°”

Nav. “250° - drift 4° port, G/Setting 17”

A/B acknowledges, directs pilot on and calls “Run stated”, at the appropriate moment. After 30 seconds of concentration, but silence, by Pilot and Air Bomber, we hear :-

A/B. “ Bombs gone, good run here, drift 3° port, G/S 16.5 “, and after time of fall “ Bomb plotted, 10 yards overshoot “.

Pilot. “Sorry, my fault, I was 120 ft. high!!

When results are received from the Range, the team assembles about the plotting table to further sort out factors causing any errors.

BOMBING LEADERS’ CORNER

A hearty welcome to F/Lt. Lowry ex 3 Group who has arrived in this Group to become Bombing Leader to 44 Squadron, R.A.F., Dunholme Lodge.

F/O. Jacombs (463 Squadron) was 1st and F/O. Abbot (106 Squadron) was 3rd, both with “A” Categories on No. 74 Bombing Leaders’ Course. This is a particularly good show on the part of these two Officers. F/O. Jones (49 Squadron) obtained a “B” category on the same Course, being 15th.

[Cartoon of two WAAFs] Dot and Dark – the immaculate W.A.A.F’s – “… and don’t you suggest he made the first Begin Approach…”]

5 Group News. No. 18. January, 1944. Page 6.

[Page break]

NAVIGATION

Concentration, track keeping, and Navigation generally improved during the month. This was largely due to the efficiency of the selected wind finders and to the working of the Wind Finding Scheme as a whole. The selected wind finders’ results have been carefully analysed and it is now possible for the Met. Section at Group Headquarters to place certain degrees of reliability on the information which is passed back from individual crews. Special mention is made here of F/Lt. Townsend – Pilot, and F/O. Haxby, Navigator, of No.57 Squadron who have proved to be most reliable as wind finders; they have consistently sent back accurate wind information which was used as a basis for future winds transmitted to all 5 Group aircraft. It is hoped that all crews selected for this special duty will reach a 100% reliability standard, and send back wind information which will not only be of great value to non-wind finding crews in the Group but to many other crews in the Command.

It has been suggested in some quarters that transmitting winds from aircraft over enemy territory renders the aircraft more susceptible to Freya and Wurtzburg plotting, and therefore to greater danger from vectored fighters, flak and searchlights. As far as the losses in this Group show, there is absolutely no foundation in fact for this belief, so that crews need have no qualms about using the W/T transmitter. They should regard their transmissions as a valuable means of helping all the other aircraft to keep to the planned route.

It was particularly emphasised in the December Monthly News that all Navigators must continue to find winds whenever possible and to check accuracy of their wind finding with broadcast winds. Many crews are not doing this, but are content to use all broadcast winds without checking their accuracy. This practice is a dangerous one, and can easily lead a crew into trouble. Assume that the Navigator has rechecked his calculations and is satisfied that the course and airspeeds flown are those for which he is calculating. The winds found by this Navigator are the only ones on which a revised wind could be based should the aircraft get into difficulties as a result of using the broadcast wind. It is imperative, therefore that all Navigators check, and re-check, the wind velocity whenever a good air position and fix are obtained simultaneously. Your ability to find accurate wind velocities may mean that you will be selected as a Group wind finder, and that in consequence, the main force concentration and track keeping will be directly affected by your efficiency.

5 GROUP SPOOF ATTACK 21/22ND JANUARY

Reference must be made here to the Spoof Attack carried out by 22 aircraft of this Group on BERLIN. Theirs was not considered a desirable mission, and the success of the attack makes the job they did all the more noteworthy. It seems that this small attack drew off the enemy fighters from the stream of the main force aircraft which attacked Brunswick at the same time, and the combats recorded on the two routes bear this out.

The return from this raid was flown over 10/10ths cloud almost the whole way. Route Markers were dropped by our own aircraft along this route and winds were broadcast by 57 “C” for the assistance of the rest of the force. Only one aircraft failed to return from this attack, which emphasises the general quality of the Navigation and the careful pre-flight planning employed.

A.P.I.

Supplies of A.P.I’s and A.M.U’s have now been received in the Group and they will be sufficient to equip all H 2 S aircraft. Any surplus A. P. I’s will be distributed to the non-H 2 S Squadrons. This method of distribution was decided on so that the maximum assistance in windfinding would be available in certain Squadrons. Their help will be to the benefit of all non-H 2 S squadrons.

Fitting is going on as rapidly as possible in all squadrons.

M/F FIXES

In the past many Navigators have considered that to request a fix from the W/Op means an admission of defeat in their job as a Navigator. If the security of the aircraft is in danger and the Navigator is temporarily uncertain of his position when returning from operations, then he should not hesitate to obtain a fix.

This of course must only be resorted to in emergency, otherwise aircraft which urgently require W/T assistance are unable to receive from the M/F Station until it has dealt with the first aircraft. Recently a fix was requested from Heston, (Section D) by an aircraft returning from the South from operations. This was not obtained, although a position line was given instead. (The significance of this was not appreciated by the Navigator). If a line bearing is received in reply to a request for a fix, it normally means that the aircraft is in transit with the base line of the M/F Stations. This Navigator should have requested another fix about 15 minutes later from the same M/F Station, or better still should have asked the W/Op to change over to Section N.

STRAIGHT FROM THE O R S’s MOUTH

A system of Raid Assessment has now been in operation in 5 Group since May, 1943. The system has progressed, and ways and means to improve it are considered daily. The objects of the system are (i) to try to discover [underlined] quickly [/underlined] what went right or what went wrong with each attack, and (ii) to consider over a period what lessons can be learnt. In this way, it is hoped, future attacks may be conducted with greater precision and reduced casualties.

Each Station has a copy of the teleprinted O.R.S. (R) form – the information on this form, the additional data on raid reports and the details of combats, will enable Stations to draw their own conclusions. Finally, the Group Raid Assessment Report, the statistical Chart and track keeping diagram, furnish as complete a picture of each attack as is possible at the moment.

The consideration of the salient features of each assessment means that the plans for each subsequent attack can be more carefully prepared. Aerial warfare has now become a highly scientific affair, and as with all scientific ventures, rapid future progress depends on intelligent deductions from a fund of accurate and ‘up to date’ facts.

Aircrew will, therefore, realise that the navigational and other ‘gen’ which is collected from them at interrogation is not just another ‘bind’. This ‘gen’ is of the greatest importance, and must be given with the utmost accuracy which the conditions under which it is obtained permit.

GEE

Range on Gee increased on the raids towards the end of the month, particularly on the Berlin operation of January 30/31st when fixes were obtained of XF frequencies up to 8 E, with position lines still further. If this excellent reception continues, there should be a marked improvement in concentration and timing. With regard to position lines, these may be the means of keeping within the 10 mile band of concentration, particularly if the track runs parallel to the Gee lines, and Navigators should endeavour to make the utmost use of Position Lines wherever possible.

From reports sent in after each operation it appears that some navigators are relying solely upon the XF frequencies on the RF unit 25 and not attempting to use the RF unit 24. When reception fades on the unit 25 navigators should insert the Unit 24, and at least endeavour to find out whether reception is better on this or not.

Whilst the usual technical failures still occur due to deterioration of components, serviceability on the whole has been good, but unfortunately the odd manipulation fault crops up now and again, and every effort must be made by navigators, (particularly those on H2S Squadrons) to remain proficient in the operation of the set, and in the correction of simple faults. (See the Navigation Quiz).

With the introduction of miniature lattice charts, errors in the plotting and transferring of fixed should be reduced to the minimum. However, these charts do not cover certain areas and navigators must carry the large charts for those areas until miniatures are published.

It is hoped that a North Eastern chain will be available within a month, to cover the present blank areas of the Western North Sea.

[Boxed] [Underlined] UNION NEWS [/underlined]

S/Ldr. J.H. Evans, D.F.C. – H.Q. No.5 Group to 49 Sqdn. as Flt. Commander.
S/Ldr. J. Vivian, D.S.O., D.F.C. – No. 57 Sqdn. to H.Q. No. 5 Group as Group Navigation Officer.
F/Lt. R.H. Schofield, (H2S Instructor) – H.Q. No. 5 Group to Fiskerton. (Stn.Navigation Officer)
F/O. W.T. Haxby, D.F.C. – 57 Sqdn.to H.Q. 5 Group (Radar Nav.)
F/Lt. P.F. Bailey. – 1661 C.U. to 619 Sqdn. (Squadron Navigation Offr)
F/Lt. P.M. Materkeyn – 93 Group to 44 Sqdn. (Squadron Navigation Offr)
F/Lt. B. Asson, D.F.C. – 44 Sqdn (Sqdn Navigation Offr) to 10 O.T.U.
F/Lt. M.J. Baud. – 207 Sqdn (Sqdn Navigation Offr) to SPILSBY (Stn. Navigation Offr.)
F/Lt. W.M. Burnside, DFC. – No 5 LFS. (Sqdn Navigation Offr.) to BARDNEY (Stn. Navigation Offr.)
F/O. Parker. 44 Sqdn. to 207 Sqdn. (Squadron Navigation Offr)
F/O. R.O. Beattie. 207 Sqdn. to 5 L.F.S. SYERSTON [/boxed]

5 Group News. No. 18. January, 1944. Page 7.

[Page break]

Navigation (Cont.)

H 2 S

Training on H 2 S has progressed satisfactorily during the month, but once again bad weather and cloud have prevented much blind bombing, and until this training is given, crews cannot be considered fully trained.

Serviceability during this month has been quite up to standard considering the difficulties of replacement and our main worry at the present time is failure due to bad manipulation. Failures such as these can only be overcome by constant practice both in the air and on the ground. Ground training is essential, and with Ground trainers now installed at 1660 and 1661 Con. Units, and 49 57 and 630 Squadrons, there should be less reason for manipulation failures in the future.

Intelligent use was made of the H 2 S in operations this month, and many operators are finding it a great help in avoiding defended areas. Navigational fixes are being obtained up to 40 and 50 miles by some operators, but still 17% of the fixes are wrongly taken or plotted. With the advent of broadcast W/Vs there is even greater need for accuracy in D.R. and the navigator must work in close co-operation with the Air Bomber if they wish to make the most of H 2 S.

A few simple rules such as the following should result in greater accuracy in navigation with H 2 S :-

(i) Pre-flight planning must be looked upon by the Navigator and Air Bomber as an essential part of the operation, and they must work in close conjunction with each other. The Navigator should point out to the Air Bomber all features from which fixes are likely to be required, and their Flight Plan E.T.A’s. The Air Bomber must draw in the tracks on a Mercator Plotting Chart, clearly ring all recommended H 2 S landmarks and mark in their Flight Plan E.T.A’s.

(ii) This close co-operation must be maintained in flight, and the Navigator must inform the Air Bomber from time to time of the aircraft’s D.R. position and alterations in E.T.A’s, which he must mark on his chart. The Air Bomber must be allowed time to take a fix and the Navigator must cross check all fixes used. To save time and unnecessary chatter over the inter-com. the Air Bomber could be taking fixes and entering them on a log form giving time, place, bearing and distance, or, the Bomb Aimer can make a track crawl on a chart of his own, so that the Navigator will be able to choose any suitable fix at any time.

Remember, it is the reliability of fixes that matters, not the quantity.

The reliability of H 2 S is dependent upon the accuracy of the D.R. Navigation, and conversely without frequent reliable fixes the D.R. becomes increasingly inaccurate. The H 2 S must, therefore, be used to increase the accuracy of the D.R. navigation.

GARDENING

On 5/6th January, 49 Squadron provided 6 aircraft fitted with special equipment, to plant vegetables in the approaches of SWINEMUNDE. This force was detached from the main stream (bound for STETTIN) close to the gardens, and re-joined shortly after planting. This operation was the first of its kind to be carried out entirely with special equipment, and one of the first from high altitude (12,000 feet). Five out of six aircraft planted successfully on a timed run from the pinpoint. The sixth was unable to pinpoint due to failure of special equipment and descended to the lowest permissible height as briefed; being still unable to pinpoint visually, due to cloud, the vegetables were correctly jettisoned in a previously ordered position. The importance of the sea routes here is their use for supplying the Russian front – and by the look of things on the Leningrad front – for repatriation purposes. There is every indication that the vegetables went into the right “hole”, but definite information on the results is hard to come by from such distant places.

The raising of the maximum height for dropping mines to 15,000 ft., has made gardening possible, with reasonable safety, in many areas hitherto immune, and where the presence of mines will present an even worse problem to the enemy than hitherto.

The Bombing Development Unit has carried out trials which prove conclusively that, contrary to expectation, the mine has an extremely consistent flight, and figures for drift due to wind have also been found.

Allowances for Forward Travel and drift due to wind can, therefore, easily be made.

The Command planted 1100 vegetables during the month – 3 Group were responsible for 833. Gardens visited were many and varied, the most densely sown being those off the ELBE, WESER, and EMS; KIEL BAY; the FRANCH COAST U-BOAT BASES.

-“Where angels fear to tread”

In seemly and imposing state, th’elect of God conferred,
The operations staff did hang upon their spoken word.
Save which, the room all silent was, and deathly as the tomb,
(Though sound of trotting horsed permeated through the room)

Tranquility [sic]was shattered as a vulgar voice did rant
“Connect me please with Swinderby, for Swinderby I pant”
The Lords of all creation ceased. A frozen silence fell;
The D.S.O. was seized, and cast into a dungeon cell.

And there without a trial doth the poor wretch meditate,
The sins of other people, for whose crimes he’ll meet his fate.
Let those who keep the watches now resolve they never will
Repeat th’offence, the cure for which is published in the drill.

ANON. CIRCA. 1944.

LINK TRAINER

[Table showing Link Trainer use by Squadron]

ASTRO COMPASS

The astro compass is a precision instrument for checking courses against any heavenly body. In this Command, however, it is rarely used, and even then only for sights on the Pole star.

The Astro compass in its present form is a precision and somewhat complicated instrument, and it is suggested that a much simpler instrument should serve the purpose equally well. This Headquarters is experimenting with a very simplified Astro Compass, and as soon as it is ready for trials, Squadrons will be informed and asked to give their criticisms.

The DR and P4 Compasses should be checked approximately every 15 minutes, and also after every major alteration of course. If these two compasses agree within 2 degrees, then it is not considered essential to check them by use of the Astro Compass. If however, they do not agree within these limits an immediate check should be made of the D.R. Repeaters and the Master Unit. If the compasses still disagree, then a check should be made to ascertain which is correct.

NAVIGATIONAL QUIZ

1. What is the safety height over :-
(a) North Yorkshire.
(b) S.W. England.
(c) Lincolnshire.
(d) West Scotland.

2. What M/F Sections would you use if you were approaching Cornwall (a) from the Wexford region, (b) from the Cherbourg region?

3. Which is the shortest distance from Berlin – Lincoln or Leningrad?

4. Assume your aircraft is engaged on a dinghy search. The W/Op receives an S.O.S. on 500 K/Cs. What immediate action should be taken by the Navigator.

5. If none of the 6 pin sockets on the V C P give a proper picture on the screen, two separate actions can be taken by the navigator. What are they? (N.B. The V.C.P. light is on all the time.)

6. What is the recommended method of search to be used when engaged on dinghy search?

Group News. No. 18. January, 1944. Page 8.

[Page break]

GUNNERY

TRAINING ON SQUADRONS

Checks carried out recently reveal that the standard of knowledge on tactics and the corkscrew among Air Gunners is well below the high standard required. It would appear that insufficient time is being allocated to “vetting” air gunners on arrival, and ensuring that their knowledge is retained by constant practice and instruction. It is a simple matter to get the gunners together and hold a quiz on these subjects; naturally some will be on leave, others flying or sick, but if this is carried out regularly all the gunners will receive checks.

This check can be carried out whenever gunners have a few minutes to spare and requires no equipment. All that is required is to ensure that every gunner on every Squadron knows automatically the sequence of the corkscrew manoeuvre, the correct deflection and how to give a clear picture to the remainder of the crew of what is going on during an attack. Squadron Gunnery Leaders recently attended a two day course at R.A.E. Farnborough. This was primarily concerned with the function of ice in oxygen equipment, and should have been passed on to the gunners. It included quite a few valuable tips on the care of this equipment and how to keep it working in severe icing conditions.

FIGHTING CONTROL EXERCISE

An excellent scheme for carrying out the Fighting Control exercise at night on the ground is contained in the February issue of “TEE EMM”. It will be found on page 274; it requires little equipment and can be carried out on the aerodrome, and also gives good practice in night vision training.

10 DAY SIGHTING COURSE AT NO.1 A.A.S. MANBY

This course has recently been started with the object of providing expert sighting instructions, with particular emphasis on the assessment of Gyro films.

During the first few courses it was found that adjustments to the syllabus had to be made, and now the course has settled down to what might be termed an advanced sighting course; the subject is covered more thoroughly even than the C.G.S. course, and any prospective candidate should ensure that he has a thorough knowledge of the G2 notes, as a lack of preliminary knowledge has caused the downfall of several air gunners who have attended the course.

The vacancies on this course are very few, and only gunners who are keen on sighting and have already proved their worth as instructors, should be submitted.

FLYING CLOTHING FOR AIR GUNNERS

During the two-day course which the Gunnery Leaders attended at Farnborough, a discussion was held with the officers responsible for the design and production of clothing and oxygen equipment, and most interesting “gen” was obtained. Here are a few of the new items to be produced :-

New type Oxygen Mask (H) which is much smaller, lighter in weight, causes less obstruction to downward vision and houses a much smaller microphone.

(Continued in column 3)

This Month’s Bag

[Cartoon]

TOTAL NUMBER OF COMBATS – 155

[Underlined] DESTROYED [/underlined]

[Underlined] Sqdn A/C Date Type of E/A [/underlined]

49 K 2/3.1.44. ME.110
61 J 2/3.1.44. ME.210
207 D 5/6.1.44. JU. 88
49 U 5/6.1.44. ME.109
49 K 14/15.1.44. TE/EA
[Underlined] 463 N 14/15.1.44. FW.190 [/underlined]
[Underlined] 9 W 21/22.1.44. JU.88 [/underlined]
207 K 27/28.1.44. FW.190
[Underlined] 463 T 28/29.1.44. FW.190 [/underlined]
[Underlined] 467 T 30/31.1.44. ME.110 [/underlined]
44 U 30/31.1.44. ME.210
[Underlined] 50 X 30/31.1.44. TE/EA [/underlined]

[Underlined] DAMAGED [/underlined]

[Underlined] 463 O 1/2.1.44. JU. 88 [/underlined]
[Underlined] 463 L 1/2.1.44. JU. 88 [/underlined]
106 V 1/2.1.44. JU. 88
44 A 2/3.1.44. JU. 88
[Underlined] 50 T 2/3.1.44. JU. 88 [/underlined]
[Underlined] 463 R 2/3.1.44. JU. 88 [/underlined]
[Underlined] 463 M 2/3.1.44. JU. 88 [/underlined]
106 G 2/3.1.44. JU. 88
49 K 2/3.1.44. Unidentified
[Underlined] 50 T 2/3.1.44. FW.190 [/underlined]
49 H 2/3.1.44. JU. 88
49 P 2/3.1.44. JU. 88
[Underlined] 467 C 5/6.1.44. ME.210 [/underlined]
106 V 5/6.1.44. FW.190
[Underlined] 463 R 5/6.1.44. JU. 88 [/underlined]
[Underlined] 463 J 14/15.1.44. ME.110 [/underlined]
[Underlined] 463 F 14/15.1.44. ME.210 [/underlined]
49 M 14/15/.1.44. JU. 88
630 Z 14/15.1.44. JU. 88
44 L 14/15.1.44. ME.110
207 M 14/15.1.44. JU. 88
207 N 14/15.1.44. FW.190
49 H 14/15.1.44. JU. 88
[Underlined] 9 T 21/22.1.44. JU. 88 [/underlined]
207 G 21/22.1.44. JU. 88
44 J 21/22.1.44. ME.109
207 K 21/22.1.44. ME.210
207 K 21/22.1.44. JU. 88
44 K 21/22.1.44. ME.109
57 O 27/28.1.44. JU. 88
[Underlined] 50 M 27/28.1.44. JU. 88 [/underlined]
207 K 27/28.1.44. FW.190
49 J 28/29.1.44. TE/EA
106 G 28/29.1.44. JU. 88
[Underlined] 50 B 28/29.1.44. JU. 88 [/underlined]
49 J 30/31.1.44. ME.110

DAMAGED (Continued)

[Underlined] Sqdn A/C Date Type of E/A [/underlined]

[Underlined] 50 L 30/31.1.44.JU.88 [/underlined]
[Underlined] 463 D 30/31.1.44. JU.88 [/underlined]
207 P 30/31.1.44. ME.109
630 P 30/31.1.44. T/E
57 G 30/31.1.44. DO.217

All except G/106 28/29th and G/57 30/31st have been confirmed by Command.

OMITTED FROM LAST MONTH’S BAG

DESTROYED

[Underlined] Sqdn A/C Date Type of E/A [/underlined]

44 Z 16/17.12.43. T/E E/A
(confirmed by Command)

The type “E” heated lining is to have more heating elements in the knees and seat, heated gloves are to have extra heating elements, and the high wattage socks to have the heating slightly reduced.

A new glove with all the heating elements in the back to give better grip and a more positive control over the equipment when handled with the gloves on, is on the way.

A silk glove, which has had the finger tips dipped in Latex to give a coating of rubber and enable even small articles to be picked up with ease, has been experimented with.

A flap has been attached to the neck of the flying helmet in order to exclude draught; this flap is made to go inside the flying suit and form a seal around the neck, which keeps the draught out and the heat in.

With the introduction of the new oxygen mask and microphone, the inter-com lead is taken round the back of the helmet, this making for more freedom of movement.

Production on the Taylor Suit has ceased but as there is still a large number in service, the new suit will not be seen for some time.

STANDARD FREE GUNNERY TRAINER

The first of these trainers to appear in the Group is being erected at Fiskerton and by the time this “News” reaches the Squadrons, it should be in working order. The trainer provides for deflection practice and range estimation, aircraft recognition, zone sightings and also produces tracer simulation. The trainer will shortly be adapted to take the Mark II Gyro Sight as 49 Squadron have been fortunate enough to be selected for the installation of this sight. The sight is similar to the one now in use as an assessor in the Group, but has a range component which enables the range to be fed into the sight by means of foot pedals operated by the gunner. It is a reflector sight with much improved dimming controls on the graticules; in short, all the gunner has to do is to make settings on the sight for height and airspeed, place the moving graticule on the target, estimate the range, and he cannot miss.

Considerable practice is required in the manipulation of this sight, and the free gunnery trainer has been installed for that purpose.

(Continued on page 13, col.1)

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.18. JANUARY, 1944. PAGE 9.

[Page break]

ARMAMENT

GUNS AND TURRETS

Guns freezing, combined with sluggish turrets, due to the extreme cold conditions experienced on operational sorties, sets a problem which is, at present, being tackled in several ways.

[Underlined] GUNS. [/underlined] The exclusion of moisture from the moving portions will, it is considered, be ensured by the fitting of gun ejection slot seals which have been issued to all units in the Group.

There is little point in fitting ejection seals if guns are being tested or cocked after being fully loaded for operations, as the ejection seal will be broken. After the seal is broken, moist air entering the ejection slot is sure to freeze under certain conditions, and a cure for this cannot be found by the application of Anti-Freeze oils.

[Underlined] TURRETS. [/underlined] From reports received, turrets appear to give various troubles, when subjected to extreme cold. Various hydraulic media are being tried to overcome these troubles, but it is the Air Gunner who can tell the Armament Staff what actually happened.

First hand information from Air Gunners to their Gunnery Leaders or Armament Officers is of vital assistance in the investigation of all suspected freezing troubles. The Air Gunner is the man who experiences the trouble, and he is the only one who can give the required information on the actual failure and the conditions prevailing at the time. A remark made, and later entered on a combat report such as “Guns would not fire during combat”, does not help in any way.

An Armament representative is always present at Interrogation, and any information passed to him there and then will greatly assist the investigation to be carried out at once. This information will surely help to diagnose the cause of the trouble.

See to it, gunners, that you give full details of all troubles experienced with either guns or turrets, to your Gunnery Leader or Armament Officer. They cannot get a story from anyone but you. IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU TELL THE ARMAMENT OFFICER. He cannot reproduce what you experienced under the same conditions.

PHOTOGRAPHIC FAILURE

A small percentage of photographic failures have, on investigation, been attributed to Armament causes. It was hoped that with the introduction of the Mk.111 fuse those failures, however small in number, would disappear. A very careful analysis of the film gives indication that a certain discrepancy exists between the timing of the camera control and the E.111 Fuse. The importance of setting this clockwork fuse correctly cannot be too strongly emphasised, and all Armament Officers can help stamp out this type of failure if they ensure that all fuses M.111 are set correctly.
NEAR ENOUGH IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH
Liaison between Armament and Photographic Sections is essential. Try it and see – who knows, it might reduce the number of failures all round, and so produce vitally important plottable pictures of the target area.

SMALL BOMB CONTAINERS

The preparation of the ever-faithful S.B C. has been, and still is, the immediate concern of all Armament Sections. To prepare the bomb load and bomb up aircraft for an operation is, with the S.B.C’s now available, a matter for organisation. Difficulty can, however, be experienced on the second day when these S.B.C’s have to be filled in the limited time available.

The introduction of Conveyor Rollers has undoubtedly relieved this arduous task, but there is still room for improvement. These rollers can be put to untold uses, and with this in mind, numerous schemes are at present undergoing trials, which will, if applied in the correct manner, enable bomb loads to be prepared for the second sortie in quick time.

Full details of these schemes will be distributed to all Units in the near future. When the new equipment is received it should be subjected to a fair trial according to storage conditions available.

BOMBING RANGES

The lighting of Targets at Wainfleet Bombing Range is causing grave concern, owing to the ingress of salt water into the electric light fittings. Every effort is being made to keep the targets serviceable for night use, but after high tides, faults appear which may, therefore, make it necessary on occasions to declare certain targets unserviceable.

Representatives have been made to obtain an improved type of electric light fitting. In the event of it becoming necessary, improvised lighting has been arranged at EPPERSTONE Range.

FENTON BOMBING RANGE

A further Bombing Range, to be known as Fenton, has been allotted to the Group, making five ranges in all. Work has already commenced on this range, and when complete it is to be administered by R.A.F. Station, WIGSLEY.

FLYING CONTROL

In the table below will be seen two average landing times. The first is calculated by dividing the total period occupied by landing, from first to last aircraft, by the number of aircraft landed. This does not take into account any allowance for the time when the circuit was empty. The adjusted time shows the nett period, that is with allowances made for spasmodic return of aircraft, and the final average is the average time per aircraft based on this adjusted time.

From these two averages can be seen that whereas most Stations have got accustomed to the circuit drill of the landing scheme, there is still scope for improvement in the arrival of aircraft at the airfield.

However, the averages of 3.49 and 2.66 indicate that all Stations have really got down to the problem of landing aircraft quickly, and from reports to hand, it is encouraging to note that the scheme has met with the full approval of the aircrew. Some Stations who, at present, house only one Squadron, are not giving the results they might; this would seem to be an indication that on account of the limited number of

(continued on page 12, Col. 3)

JANUARY LANDING TIMES

[Table showing the Number of aircraft, Time, Average, Adjusted Time and Average by Station]

FAILURES TABLE

[Table of Gun Turret Failures and Bombing Failures by Squadron]

A = MANIPULATION B = MAINTENANCE C = ICING D = TECHNICAL E = ELECTRICAL F = OBSCURE

5 Group News. No. 18. January, 1944. Page 10.

[Page break]

SPORTS

[Cartoons]

FOOTBALL – THE MATZ CUP

The first round of this annual knock-out is now complete, except for one match, Strubby v Scampton. In the Preliminary Round, Waddington held Scampton to “2 all”, but lost the replay. Without being too partisan, may we wish good luck to the Strubby “giant killers”.

PRELIMINARY ROUND

WADDINGTON 2 SCAMPTON 2

WADDINGTON 0 SCAMPTON 2
(re-play)

ROUND ONE

WINTHORPE 1 SYERSTON 0

WIGSLEY 0 SWINDERBY 11

BARDNEY 0 METHERINGHAM 10

DUNHOLME 2 FISKERTON 0

WOODHALL SPA 1 CONINGSBY 3

SPILSBY 2 EAST KIRKBY 3

SKELLINGTHORPE 3 H.Q. 5 GROUP 1

Scampton are again holding second place in the Lincoln League, Division 1, having won 7 out of 9 games. They were runners up in the League last year, and winners of the Matz Trophy – a fine record.

Dunholme had a busy soccer month, winning four out of five games, in addition to their Matz Cup game with Fiskerton.

Syerston, like Scampton, are all out for the Newark and District League championship. They have, to date, won six out of seven games. Intersection competition produced 12 matches during the month.

Skellingthorpe and Bardney have been busy with both inter-section games and weekly Station matches.

Metheringham lost only one out of four station games, and in inter-section matches, Squadron Armoury won all their games decisively.

Coningsby soccer has been notable for a duel between 619 and 61 Squadrons. Each Squadron has won one game each and the decider should be a real blood match.

Swinderby Station team won four out of five games, losing to O.C.T.U. Newark. Judging from their Matz Cup score, they have some big guns in the forward line.

Winthorpe had four Station games, and were unlucky to win only one, but although losing 5 – 2 to Syerston, they pulled off the Matz Cup game. There was much inter-section activity.

Wigsley were unlucky to have two Station games cancelled. Of the remaining two, they won one and lost one. The R.A.F. Regiment had several games in the inter-section matches.

RUGGER

LANCASTER SEVEN-A-SIDE COMPETITION

It has unfortunately proved impossible to complete the squadrons knock-out phase of this competition by January 31st. To date, only 9 Squadron have completed their finals, F/Lt. Hadland’s crew beating P/O. Glover’s crew in the final by 11 – 3. Nineteen teams took part in the competition. Within 53 Base alone, 61 matches have been played and the competition has become increasingly popular as it has progressed. All squadrons are urged to play off their matches as early as possible, so that the date for the Inter-Unit competition can be re-arranged. There will be some magnificent rugger in the final games, so get cracking squadrons, so we can arrange the big play off.

Syerston Rugger side is now considerably stronger than its early season form, and won three out of four games during the month.

Metheringham played two games, beating Bardney, and losing to 7 K.O.S.B.

Coningsby beat the 9th Field Regt. R.E.D., and the S. Staffs. Regiment in no uncertain manner.

Swinderby suffered their second defeat of the season against R.C.A.F. Digby, losing 6 – 0. Several Canadian Football mannerisms crept into the game, such as the referee putting the ball into the scrum, players “blocking” their opponents, and an occasional forward throw. All of which served to fox the Swinderby team.

Winthorpe lost to Syerston, but beat both 93 M. U. and Newark R. F. C. The Winthorpe pitch has, unfortunately, been “put to the plough”, necessitating all away matches.

HOCKEY

Swinderby can put out a very strong team, and only failed to win one game, which they drew with O.C.T.U. Newark, 4 – 4.

Syerston played 7 games in all, including two mixed and two all W.A.A.F. games, winning six of them.

Coningsby played four Station games, of which they won one.

Scampton, Metheringham, Winthorpe and Wigsley, all had Station matches. Metheringham hope to have their new hockey pitch ready in a few days.

H.Q.5 Group played its first match (mixed) against Syerston on February 6th, losing 2 – 1 a very promising start for a team that has only a half-sized pitch to practice on, until permission is obtained to fell a few trees.

It is hoped to promote a Group mixed Hockey knock-out in the very near future.

CROSS-COUNTRY

Wigsley, Skellingthorpe, Dunholme Lodge and Coningsby have all had successful runs during the month. 619 Squadron took over a hundred bodies about four miles from the camp by coach and released them. S/Ldr. Churcher was first man home. Feeling fit and frisky after their first gamble, 619 now challenge all cross country teams to battle.

SWIMMING

The stations around Lincoln make good use of the baths, and it should be possible to promote an interesting gala.

FISHING

Syerston has a thriving Anglers’ Club with facilities in the River Trent and in the lake at Flintham Hall. The club boasts over 40 “line shooters”. Other Stations please note. (What about a Strubby Wild Fowlers’ Society?)

MINOR GAMES

A most popular game at Bardney is Skittle Ball, played daily inside or outside the Maintenance Hangar at Tea Van time. A P. T. I. arrives with the van, and the fun begins. 20 – 40 men take part, and it is a most enjoyable and stimulating way of spending break.

It is regretted that some Station Sports summaries are not to hand for inclusion in the News, and it is requested that all Stations will despatch their summaries to reach H.Q. within two days of the end of the month.

TRAINING

STIRLING TRAINED CREWS GOING TO SQUADRONS

The first of the Stirling trained Conversion Unit crews went to Squadrons by way of 5 L. F. S. during the month, and the new training policy is now in full swing. A total of 35 crews were posted to Squadrons from 51 Base in January. 45 crews went from Conversion Units to No.5 L.F.S.

The weather was fairly good, and had no great adverse effect on flying, but many unfamiliar technical snags with the Stirling had to be overcome. Serviceability was affected by the carrying out of Acceptance Checks, but these have now been nearly completed, and improved serviceability is expected during the coming month.

Three fatal accidents, involving Stirling aircraft at night, are at present under investigation. Two occurred during Bullseye Exercises, and one during local night flying.

The standard of crews coming from O.T.U’s was maintained. High Level bombing training was very much improved throughout 51 Base, and heights up to 20,000 feet were recorded on night details. H 2 S training suffered owing to an initial shortage of instructors. The aircraft position earlier in the month was also acute, and H 2 S aircraft were being employed on normal training commitments.

The majority of the Squadron crews attached to No. 5 L.F.S. for a short refresher course during the month, completed the syllabus despite some restrictions by weather, and much valuable information was obtained from this mid-tour check.

5 Group News. No. 18 January, 1944. Page 11.

[Page break]

SIGNALS (CONTD)

There are, however, a few entries on the other side of this month’s balance sheet, such as the two Wireless Operators who, on the night 27/28th January, when briefed to use M/F D/F Section “N” on return from operations, obtained LINE BEARINGS from Hull and Heston. The question arises, what were the Captains and Navigators doing to allow the Wireless Operators to be so dim? Then there is the Wireless Operator who, when sending an early return message, spelt the word STARBD in Bomber Code, when there exists a code group for the word. When questioned, he admitted that he “was in a bit of a spin”. One cannot help but wonder what would have happened to any of these Wireless Operators AND THEIR CREWS (Captains please note), had they been in the position in which Sgt. Barnes Moss found himself, and confronted with a big job to do. Consider then, and note well, ye who do wear the badge of Sparks, that when trouble cometh, it doth not come after friendlie warning, but is swift and sudden, and never forget – it might be YOU.

Now let us consider the question of the Wireless Operator being in the astrodome over the target area. It is difficult to see any advantage that captains gain by having him there. In fact, if they take care to study a few facts, they will see that placing the Wireless Operator in the astrodome only gives a false sense of security and endangers [underlined] OTHERS. [/underlined]

Firstly, the Wireless Operator has very little night vision, having been employed during the three hours previous in gazing at a cathode ray tube or magic eye. Just ask yourselves how you feel when emerging from a cinema into the night –“Hell, I can’t see a thing”. Secondly, and even more important, is the fact that if your Wireless Operator is off Tinsel, one of your own aircraft may be shot down by an enemy night fighter free to operate because you have cleared the obstacle out of his path. Thirdly, the majority, but not all, of the Wireless Operators in astrodome incidents, come from squadrons fitted with Monica III, where the operator would see a fighter so much plainer on the CRT than in the flesh, in spite of all the blips made by friendly aircraft. Captains who make a habit of doing this are invited to reconsider their views in the light of the above remarks.

MOVEMENTS FOR JANUARY

F/Lt. Andrews, No.467 Squadron, has completed No.4 Signals Leaders Course, and is to be congratulated on being the first Signals Leader in this Group to obtain an “A” categorisation.

F/O. Rademeyer has taken the post of Signals Leader with No. 44 Squadron, F/Lt. Barrett having completed his operational tour.

P/O’s. Worthington, Thomas and Freeman should now be installed, and working to full pressure as Fishpond Instructors at East Kirkby, Fiskerton and Metheringham respectively, and Squadrons are invited to make full use of their services.

The visits to O.T.U. by Signals Leaders are in full swing, and squadrons should benefit from the move at a later date.

Now, here is an open invitation for any Signals Leader, Deputy Signals Leader or Wireless Operator (Air) to visit the W/T cabin at this Headquarters on an operational night. The only thing you need to do to take advantage of this offer, is to give a few hours notice on the telephone (extension 54).

TACTICS

EFFECT OF WINDOW AND COUNTERMEASURES

The enemy G. C. I. system continues to be subdued by Window. To retain maximum effect, however, there must be no slacking off in the rates of dropping. The times and rates of dropping laid down for each operation must be rigidly adhered to, and Window dropping must never be regarded as just another ‘bind’. These rates have been carefully calculated, and the individual who is “too lazy” or “forgets” is jeopardising not only his own safety, but that of the whole force. The Window dropper’s slogan must be “Not too much, not too little…..”

It is interesting to study the development of the enemy’s reaction to Window, and the results of our countermeasures over the past few months. That the highly mobile fighter force controlled by HF and V.H.F./RT, organised after the initial success of Window, could be a serious menace, was soon appreciated by the planning staff, who set to work to devise new tactics. As this fighter force was being directed to target areas being attacked, the first essential was to delude the enemy as to the areas to be attacked. Spoof attacks by Mosquitoes and small forces of “heavies” were attempted, and the main force was routed to within 20-30 miles of defended areas before turning to attack another target. These spoof attacks and feints have undoubtedly drawn a number of fighters away from the main targets. A more recent attempt at delusion was to move the whole force by ordering all aircraft to alter course simultaneously at a predetermined time, so as to displace the main stream suddenly. The unprecedented manoeuvre undoubtedly upset the enemy controllers’ calculations.

Not the least important of our countermeasures are the radio jamming devices. These are many and varied, and have produced very marked results. Special Tinsel is rated highly amongst the successful jamming devices, thus Wireless Operators must comply with Tinselling instructions on all occasions. Information on the work of the Radio Countermeasures Group must obviously be guarded, but a report on the results achieved by Ground Cigar, Ground Grocer, Corona and other H.F. and VHF. countermeasure schemes, is set out in a paper BC/S.31009/Sigs., dated 3rd February, 1944, “Radio Countermeasures in Bomber Command”. Aircrew should read this report, which is available in all Intelligence libraries. The extract quoted below is typical of the confusion that arises, and shows the measure of success achieved. In fact, jamming has been so complete as to force the enemy to use his National Broadcast wavelengths to get orders through to his fighters. This new step should present no difficulty to our Countermeasure Experts, who are continually a step ahead of the enemy in radio jamming.

[Underlined] “Corona (HF) [/underlined]

This countermeasure continues to annoy the enemy Controllers and harass their pilots, and on occasion has been known to lead to unprintable ruderies being addressed to the efficient young W.A.A.F. officer who frequently plays the controller’s part for us. However, one of the methods of judging the success of Corona is by noting the enemy controller’s reaction to it over the air, and it is considered an unsuccessful night if we do not succeed in drawing at least one crack which is worth recording in the line book.”

TAIL WARMING DEVICES

With the advent of Monica IIIA and Fishpond, the duties of Wireless Operator have been still further extended. It is unfortunate that the sole attention of a crew member cannot be diverted to these devices, but for the moment the Wireless Operator has under his control something which, when properly used, can have immeasurable success against enemy fighters. A high degree of training in the manipulation of the set and interpretation of the P.P.I. and cathode tubes, is called for, and a drive must be made for the Wireless Operators to have as much air practice as possible with the sets.

MONICA IIIA

Several squadrons have now had experience with Monica IIIA, and have proved that for the set to be of any value at all, certain factors are essential. A detailed knowledge by the Wireless Operator of the suppression and gain settings to give well defined blips which can be followed in to a minimum of 250 yards range, a standard reporting patter by the Wireless Operator, and a knowledge of the interpretation of blips by pilots and gunners so that there is perfect crew co-operation whenever an enemy blip is sighted. The exact procedure for using Monica IIIA is set out in an instruction which is available in all Signals Leaders’ Offices. Gunners, pilots and Wireless Operators should be given an opportunity of reading this instruction.

FISHPOND

57 Squadron, from an investigation into Fishpond results, estimate that out of 80 Fishpond sorties, 9 combats have been avoided by utilising the early warning given by Fishpond. Their knowledge and experience will shortly be made available to other Fishpond Squadrons in the form of a tactics instruction. To get a good P.P.I. picture, liaison between Wireless Operator and H 2 S operator is essential, as is also a knowledge by the Wireless Operator of H 2 S manipulation and P.P.I. settings. Captains must remember that Fishpond does not record fighters attacking from above, and should therefore see that their gunners never relax the normal crew search procedure.

[Underlined] Continued from page 10, col.1) [/underlined]

aircraft no great need for quick landing is felt. Those Stations should remember that a second Squadron is always liable to be posted in at very short notice when, under these conditions, the average landing time of two minutes per aircraft, for between 30 and 40 aircraft, would be a godsend.

The Landing Board, originally designed by R.A.F. Station, Skellingthorpe, has been improved on by many Stations in the Group. It is gratifying to note that new suggestions and modifications are continually being submitted. They are a big help, let’s have more of them.

No. 5 Group News. No. 18. January, 1944. Page 12.

[Page break]

HONOURS & AWARDS

[Drawing]

HEADQUARTERS NO. 5 GROUP

A/Cdre. H.V. SATTERLY, D.F.C. C.B.E.

HEADQUARTERS NO. 53 BASE

A/Cdre. A. HESKETH, O.B.E., D.F.C. C.B.E.

R.A.F. STATION, SCAMPTON

F/O. C.F. GIBSON. M.B.E.

The following immediate awards have been approved during the month.

9 SQUADRON

P/O. J. GLOVER. D.F.C.

44 SQUADRON

S/Ldr. A. LYNCH, D.F.C. Bar to D.F.C.
F/Sgt. K.L. HOWARD. D.F.M.
F/O. E. MERCER. D.F.C.
P/O. A. WRIGHT. D.F.C.
P/O. V.D. PURVIS. D.F.C.

49 SQUADRON

S/Ldr. J.G.DAY. D.S.O.
Sgt. A.E. KEELING. D.F.M.

57 SQUADRON

A/F/Lt. G.H. LAING. D.F.C.
F/O. W.T. HAXBY. D.F.C.

61 SQUADRON

F/O. J.W. EINARSON, D.F.M. D.F.C.
W/Cdr. R.M. STIDOLPH. D.F.C.

467 SQUADRON

P/O. D.C. HARVEY. D.F.C.

619 SQUADRON

F/O. N.E. WESTERGAARD. D.F.C.
F/Sgt. A.E. BROOKES. D.F.M.
F/Lt. A.H. TOMLIN, D.F.C. Bar to D.F.C.

The following Non-Immediate awards were approved during the month.

9 SQUADRON

F/Lt. C.J. BRAIN, D.F.C. Bar to D.F.C.

9 SQUADRON (Contd.)

P/O. R.W. CORKHILL. D.F.C.

44 SQUADRON

P/O. R.L. ASH. D.F.C.
F/O. C.R. SAVAGE. D.F.C.
F/Lt. B. ASSON. D.F.C.
Sgt. L. UNWIN. D.F.M.
F/Lt. D.A. BARRETT. D.F.C.

50 SQUADRON

A/S/L/ W.F. PARKS, D.F.C. Bar to D.F.C.
Sgt. J.E. HEATH D.F.M.
F/Sgt. J.W. THOMPSON. D.F.M.
F/Sgt. J.R. POLLOCK. D.F.M.

57 SQUADRON

P/O. J.B. JOSLING. D.F.C.
P/O. S.G. TOWNSEND. D.F.C.
P/O. A.R. KNOWLES. D.F.C.
F/O. R. McROBBIE. D.F.C.
P/O. R.J. GOOCH. D.F.C.
P/O. J.A. KIMBER. D.F.C.
P/O. E.J. HOWES. D.F.C.
P/O. F. NORTHCLIFFE. D.F.C.
F/Sgt. J.B. HUGHES. D.F.M.
P/O. W.H. SIDDONS. D.F.C.
Sgt. D.J. GRIFFITH. D.F.M.

61 SQUADRON

A/S/L. E.A. BENJAMIN, D.F.C. Bar to D.F.C.
F/Sgt. A.F. EMERSON. D.F.M.

106 SQUADRON

W/Cdr. R.E. BAXTER. D.F.C.

207 SQUADRON

Sgt. T. GEDLING. D.F.M.
F/O. J.E.F. MITCHELL. D.F.C.
P/O. J. KIRKWOOD. D.F.C.
W/O. H.F. CONELLY. D.F.C.
F/Sgt. J.C. METCALFE. D.F.M.

619 SQUADRON

P/O. T.A. PEATFIELD. D.F.C.
F/Lt. A.H. TOMLIN. D.F.C.
F/Sgt. J. SIMKIN. D.F.M.
F/Sgt. J.T. PAGE. D.F.M.

[Page break]

AIRCREW VOLUNTEERS

[Tables of Aircrew Volunteers by Base and Station]

(a) New Volunteers
(b) Accepted by A.C.S.B.
(c) Posted for training
(d) Awaiting interview by A.C.S.B.

[Total] 25 18 5 26

WAR SAVINGS

[Table of War Savings by Base and Station]

(a) Pence saved per head of strength
(b) %age of personnel contributing.
(c) Total amount saved. £. s. d.

H.Q. (UNIT) 5 GROUP 51.4 10.0 95. 7. 6.

£2935.2.0.

[Page break]

GUNNERY (CONTD)

(Continued from page 9, col.3)

Now 49 Air Gunners, this is the biggest thing that has hit gunnery in 25 years, and it is up to you to take every opportunity of make for 100% proficiency in the use of this new equipment. Great things will be expected from you, losses should go down and E/A destroyed go up; so go to it, and make the life of the Hun fighter short and sweet!

CENTRAL GUNNERY SCHOOL RESULTS

No. 72 COURSE

[Underlined] 1660 Con. Unit. Category. Exam. Results. [/underlined]

P/O. Gross “B” 90.4%

Results of No. 73 Course not yet to hand.

SQUADRON AND FLIGHT GUNNERY LEADERS

Below is a list of Squadron and Flight Gunnery Leaders at present in Squadrons and Conversion Units.

44 Squadron F/Lt. McCurdy
F/O. Neison

49 Squadron F/Lt. Cork
F/O. Hamilton

463 Squadron F/Lt. Moorhead
F/O. Kirkpatrick

467 Squadron F/Lt. Nordon-Hare

9 Squadron F/Lt. Armstrong

50 Squadron F/Lt. Gray
P/O. Beale

619 Squadron F/Lt. Howard
P/O. Hammond

61 Squadron F/Lt. Breakey

617 Squadron F/Lt. Rodger
F/O. Buckley
F/O. Chandler

106 Squadron F/Lt. Sullivan

630 Squadron F/Lt. Stead

57 Squadron F/Lt. Taylor
F/O. Ward

207 Squadron F/O. Moore
F/O. Harper

1485 Gunnery Flight S/Ldr. Undery
F/Lt. Leonard
F/O. Mills

1660 Con.Unit F/Lt. Clark
P/O. Gross

1661 Con.Unit F/Lt. Gray

1654 Con.Unit F/Lt. Hoad
F/O. Simister

No. 5 L.F.S. F/Lt. Cass
P/O. Black

Aircrew School SCAMPTON F/Lt. Patten

FLIGHT ENGINEERS

On taking an analysis of a large number of flight engineers logs a considerable discrepancy has been noticed between the fuel consumption of different aircraft. This discrepancy is not due to the varying consumptions inherent in the engines of any particular aircraft. In most cases where an aircraft has had a high fuel consumption on a specific operation, the subsequent operation with a different crew proves that this aircraft has a low consumption. This all points to manipulation.

There are many cases where far too high revs are used at too low a boost and it is apparent that many flight engineers are not paying sufficient attention to the boost and revs required for the most economical conditions.

It is not economical above full throttle height and boost below E.C.B. to reduce I.A.S. by throttle manipulation. I.A.S. should be controlled on propellor speed only, and if you are at an altitude where the ‘S’ blower is in operation, by controlling I.A.S. on the throttles you are merely strangling your engine. To quote one instance, an extract from one flight engineer’s log shows that 2850 r.p.m. was used at + 2 lbs boost at 15,000 feet in ‘S’ gear. This is an obvious case of engine strangling, and had the throttles been open to + 4 boost E.C.B. to take full advantage of the engine power available at that altitude, then the r.p.m. could have been cut down to maintain the required I.A.S. with the resultant decrease in fuel consumption. The consumption in the particular case quoted averaged 66 gallons per hour per engine which speaks for itself. Flight Engineer Leaders must bring home by means of lectures to their flight engineers instances such as this. Such manipulation may cost you an aircraft and maybe the crew, and it cannot be too strongly emphasised that the fuel consumption of a Lancaster is in the hands of the flight engineer, and where the flight engineer knows that incorrect revs and boost are being used for any specific condition, then he should advise the pilot accordingly; if this advice is ignored, the cause of the high fuel consumption should be reported on return. Many more instances such as that quoted have been found, and space does not allow to quote them all. Efforts are being made at this Headquarters to find other reasons for high consumption in each case, but so far high consumptions have been caused solely by incorrect engine manipulation.

EARLY RETURNS

In The case of an oil pressure gauge failure which causes quite a few early returns, this can be diagnosed quite easily. If the oil pressure drops off suddenly, and coolant and oil temperatures remain normal, the oil temperature should be watched closely, and if this remains normal, together with the coolant temperature the gauge is definitely suspect. Flight engineers should watch this sort of thing and advise the pilot accordingly.

Many early returns are caused by so called generator failure, and the following notes will be of interest to all flight engineers, and should go a long way to preventing unnecessary early returns due to this fault. These notes will be circulated separately to flight engineers.

1. [Underlined] The Voltmeter [/underlined] is the most important of the three instruments on the main control panel. In flight it normally indicates between 27 – 29 volts.

2. The Ammeters merely indicate how the generators are sharing the load, and as long as they both give a positive reading, even though unbalanced, the circuit is O.K. (i.e. +55 and +5). If the degree of unbalance is above 15 amps this matter must be reported to the Electrical Officer.

3. If one of the ammeters shows a negative reading, i.e. a discharge”, then before switching off one of the generators, reference must be made to the voltmeter. If the voltmeter reads 29 volts or under, switch off the generator giving the negative reading. If the voltmeter is above 29 volts, switch off the generator giving the positive reading.

4. If the voltmeter is above 29 volts the accumulators are being overcharged. In this case switch off the generator showing the higher current. If the voltmeter still indicates over 29 volts switch off the other generator and all non-essential loads to conserve the accumulators. The pressure head heater [underlined] must [/underlined] remain ‘ON’. After a short time, say 5 minutes, [underlined] one [/underlined] generator, preferably the one giving the lower reading, may be switched ‘ON’ again, but a careful check must be kept on the voltmeter. Both generators must [underlined] not [/underlined] be switched ‘ON’ again after they have been switched ‘OFF’.

5. [Underlined] Never [/underlined] disconnect the cables from the accumulator in flight, otherwise it may cause an explosion. If the accumulators become overheated and are gassing excessively, turn the “Ground-Flight” switch to “Ground”.

[Underlined] (Continued from back page, col.3) [/underlined]

from service sources does not appear to fulfil our requirements. Coningsby has produced a most useful piece of apparatus, and details of it will be circulated to other Bases and Stations. It will be to the advantage of Electrical Officers of other Units if they pay a personal visit to Coningsby to see this test rig for themselves. Further, it is suggested that visits to other Stations will enable the best ideas to be incorporated in all instrument and electrical sections. So far as is known, the many excellent schemes which have been produced by local initiative have not been patented.

In the last month the incidence of oxygen failure has increased, but in many cases no technical fault has been found. This indicates that more “gen” in the use of oxygen must be passed on by Electrical Officers to members of aircrew. The introduction of the microphone heater and the Mk.I jet has produced very favourable results, and steps have been taken to obtain further supplies of heaters for the use of all gunners.

[Underlined] CONVERSION UNIT SERVICEABILITY
STIRLING AIRCRAFT [/underlined]

[Table showing the serviceability of aircraft by Conversion Unit and Lancaster aircraft]

5 Group News. No. 18. January, 1944. Page 13.

[Page break]

AIR SEA RESCUE

Look after your ‘K’ type dinghies, you may find them very useful one day – F/Sgt. Groves of 50 Squadron did, on the night 29/30th December. The aircraft of which he was rear gunner had been damaged on operations. The pilot could not close the bomb doors, and due to lack of petrol the captain of the aircraft, while still over the sea, was forced to decide whether to ditch the aircraft or to bale out his crew. The captain eventually had to give the order to bale out using ‘K’ dinghies, having first sent out an S.O.S. and received fixes.

F/Sgt. Grove was the first out of the aircraft and the only one saved. The indications are that at least one other member of the crew was prepared to abandon the aircraft but no more was seen or heard of the crew or the aircraft after F/Sgt. Groves had left. F/Sgt. Groves suffered considerably from exposure while in his ‘K’ dinghy, but has since recovered.

It is possible to ditch an aircraft with open bomb doors, and it has been successfully accomplished on more than one occasion. In any case the doors are liable to collapse on impact with the water, and where this has happened, crews have managed to clear the aircraft without too much trouble. While no blame is attached to the pilot of this particular aircraft, this fact should be borne in mind, and pilots should resort to the ‘K’ type dinghy only as a last resort – e.g. should the aircraft be on fire, or in danger of breaking up in the air.

Successful ditchings, in seemingly impossible sea and weather conditions have shown that, provided you have practiced your emergency procedure and dinghy drills you should have no worry in making the decision to ditch. The days are over when a successful ditching was something to be marvelled at. To-day they are a common occurrence, and experience has shown that ignorance and stupidity are to blame in almost every case of failure.

A summary of Air Sea Rescue incidents for the six month ending 31st December, 1943, show that of a total of 3271 aircrew involved, 1,078 were rescued and brought back to England; most of the remainder fared as

(continued on page 2, col 2)

ENGINEERING

The operational effort for January was very high considering the bad weather periods which were encountered during the month. The squadrons were all down in aircraft strength, but in spite of this a high total was achieved; this, of course, was only possible by many squadrons operating 100% each night. With the man power shortage it requires very hard work and long hours to maintain this effort, and now that squadrons are almost up to full strength on the new establishment, the load will be even heavier. Due, however, to the efforts of the ground crews, February should see the biggest effort ever put out from this Group.

No.54 Base, Coningsby, which formed on 1st January, 1944, is already making itself felt as a formidable and efficient formation. There is still much to do to bring the various sections up to the peak of perfection, but as these were started on sound lines, there is no doubt of their ultimate efficiency.

All operational bases and R. & I. sections have been kept extremely busy on acceptance checks recently, and as a result certain other work has had to be left. This is only a passing phase, and it is hoped that once the squadrons are up to full strength, the task will be easier by dealing with the normal replacements. The many high speed enemy action repairs which have been carried out in time to get aircraft ready for ops on the second night, including many power plant changes, which are carried out immediately the aircraft lands during the night, are so numerous that it is difficult to single out individuals for praise; it all points to the splendid morale and staying powers of the ground crews.

There are many early returns and cancellations which could be avoided and Engineer Officers must keep on with the drive to eliminate these entirely, as far as is humanly possible; they are responsible for the non-delivery of a very large tonnage of bombs when calculated over a month.

The number of failures of exhaust studs has been considerably reduced where 3.5% Nickel steel studs have been fitted, and results so far are very pleasing. When further experience has been gained it is hoped to go over to this kind of stud completely.

The introduction of the 30 lbs pressure type relief valve on the header tank in place of the thermostatic valve is gradually taking place throughout the Group, and a marked improvement is noticed by the smaller number of failures due to engines being “cooked”.

WEIGHT SHEET SUMMARIES

A new weight sheet summary as applicable to 5 Group has been issued to all Bases. Stations and Squadrons, and the use of this with the bomb load chart which accompanied it should dispel any further doubts as to what can and what cannot be carried at an all-up weight of 65,000 lbs.

CONVERSION UNITS AND NO.5 L.F.S.

The Conversion Units commenced a Stirling programme early in the month, and although the results of the first month’s work were good and called for a colossal amount of work, it is anticipated that with certain improvements, the February figures will be much higher. Great credit is due to the C.T.O’s and men under them, who have tackled this task and overcome their setbacks in an admirable manner. The programme which has been set for No. 5 L. F. S. calls for good organisation and planning on the technical side, and so far the job has been done well.

FLIGHT ENGINEER LEADER

A very necessary addition to the Group Headquarters staff is the establishment of a Flight Engineer Leader. This post has been filled by F/Lt. Gottwaltz, and Base Engineers and C. T. O.’s are requested to afford him every facility to assist in attempting to solve the carrying fuel consumption problem. A column elsewhere in this News has been allocated to Flight Engineers.

ELECTRICAL AND INSTRUMENTS

It is most important the Command Modification No. 57 is completed on all aircraft fitted with A.P.I. and A.M.U. at the earliest opportunity, to eliminate errors due to inefficient cooling.

The test rig for the instruments issued

(continued on page 13, col.3 )

WAR EFFORT

[Table containing details by Squadron of averages and numbers of sorties, tonnage dropped, operational hours and losses as well as ratings]

ORDER OF MERIT IN THE FOREGOING TABLE IS BASED ON THE TONS OF BOMBS DROPPED PER AVERAGE AIRCRAFT ON CHARGE

5 Group News. No. 18 January, 1944.

Collection

Citation

“V Group News, January 1944,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 8, 2019, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/17248.

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