V Group News, March 1944

Title

V Group News, March 1944
5 Group News, March 1944

Description

Five Group Newsletter, number 20, March 1944. Includes a foreword by the Air Officer Commanding, and features about processes of navigation, signals/radar, photography, gardening, Gee, flying control, H2S, decorations, tactics, flight engineers, war savings, aircrew volunteers, air bombing, air sea rescue, gunnery, second thoughts for pilots, public relations, link trainer, equipment, training absence, sports, navigation, accidents, organisation, engineering, armament, accidents, operations and war effort.

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

1944-03

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

17 printed sheets

Language

Type

Identifier

MStephensonS1833673-160205-24

Temporal Coverage

Transcription

Base Commander.

Base Int: [Stamp]

MARCH * 1944* CONFIDENTIAL * NO * 20

V GROUP NEWS V

FOREWORD by A.O.C.

March proved a record month for 5 Group, with a total of 1720 aircraft despatched, and a bomb load of 7200 tons. The month also showed a lower figure for early returns at 4.01%, and a missing rate well below the average for the past six months.

Outstanding during the month were the series of attacks on small targets, by individual Bases. These were well undertaken and caused much damage to the French aircraft industry, which is engaged on sub-contracting and repair work for the G.A.F. – work which is of increasing importance as the major factories in Germany are obliterated by the U.S. .A.F.

These attacks call for exact marking, accurate bombing and good signals communications. Much training is still necessary before every operation runs smoothly and can be undertaken with equal success on dark nights, by the aid of flares instead of the moon. That such attacks are possible is shown by the success achieved by No. 617 Squadron, who in this respect are acting as pioneers and gaining invaluable experience of a type of attack which is of growing importance.

The success which this Squadron has achieved was rewarded by a special visit from General Carl Spaatz, Commanding the United States Strategic Air Forces, and General Doolittle, Commanding the 8th Bomber Force, who came to see for themselves the methods which are employed.

Further evidence of the wide interest which is being taken in these attacks can be found in the Air Intelligence Summary of the United States Strategic Forces in Europe, for the week ending April 2nd.

An article headed “R.A.F. Precision Attacks by Night”, after describing the results of many of the recent attacks, including those undertaken by all squadrons in this Group, continues as follows:-

“Relatively small formations of Lancasters, manned by experienced and carefully trained crews, are responsible for the success of these missions, an outstanding feature of which has been the economy of force used to produce the desired result. Expert navigation followed by pin point marking of the target by a single aircraft at low level, has permitted visual bombing with a precision comparable to the best results obtained in daylight.”

This praise, coming from the United States Air Force, is indeed welcome, for we recognise the magnificent results which they are achieving by day. If we think that precision bombing by night is not only possible, but in some respects easier than precision bombing by day, as well as being more economical, it is up to us to undertake the training and to give the thought necessary to prove that our conviction is right by the only valid method – that of results. I hope that during April we shall have an opportunity of gaining further experience and providing further proof of what can be done.

With so much activity in front of the Group a heavier load than ever will be placed on the Training Base. It is going to be hard work for everyone, but it is only through their efforts that we have been able to carry out these damaging attacks. I congratulate all ranks in the Base on having achieved the full planned output of crews throughout the winter months, in spite of great difficulties of weather and an unexpected change in the type of aircraft used for conversion training. The requirements from now on are for the maximum number of crews who can be trained with the available resources.

[Page break]

PROGRESS OF NAVIGATION

For the first two years of the war, the policy of operational navigation was controlled by individual Station and Squadron Commanders. Routeing, timing, heights to fly and recommendations of the best Navigational aids then available were decided locally.

As the Command effort increased, and the enemy night defences grew stronger, it became necessary to route aircraft in concentration; thus, routeing was taken over by Bomber Command. The concentration achieved was still poor, however. There were several contributory factors:-

(i) Lack of Navigational aids which would enable all aircraft to establish their positions when over enemy territory.

(ii) Inaccurate flying of courses by Pilots due to weaving, evasive action, etc.

(iii) Inaccuracies in calculations and computations by navigators.

(iv) Due to the combination of (i), (ii), and (iii) above, the inability of the Navigator to determine the correct wind velocities.

A concentrated drive was then made to remove these shortcomings. Gee, and later H.2.S. was introduced to enable Navigators to determine their position over enemy territory. The introduction of the A.P.I. which maintains an accurate air plot, gave the Navigator a method of recording inaccuracies of the aircraft and of the pilot which would normally pass unnoticed. Weaving was forbidden. More attention during the Navigator’s training, was given to computations and the elimination of careless mathematical errors.

H 2 S and the A.P.I., however, were not available to the entire force, and the average Navigator was still unable to determine correct wind velocities. An analysis of many raids proved that a certain number of experienced Navigators, with the required aids, could find accurate winds, and it was decided to let the whole force benefit by the experience and capabilities of these crews. The scheme was pioneered by this Group on several occasions, and the results were very successful. It was then adopted by Bomber Command for general use. The procedure is as follows

15/25 crews from each Group flying in aircraft equipped with H 2 S and A.P.I. are detailed as “wind finders”. The Navigators of these aircraft obtain wind velocity checks as often as possible, and transmit to Base all wind velocities found.

Before the operation, the Senior Met. Officer at Group prepares a chart illustrating the route, the meridian code and the estimated position of aircraft at broadcast times. Attached to this chart is a list of the wind finding aircraft. As each wind is received, it is entered in the column allotted to the particular aircraft.

The wind signals from aircraft are intercepted at Group Headquarters by the Signals Section, who keep a monitoring watch on all Base frequencies. From the time of breaking enemy R.D.F. cover, signals runners are constantly employed delivering wind messages to the Met. Office.

There is a hook up between all Group Met. Sections within the Command, and winds received from the entire force are collated. The Met. Officer sits with one eye on his chart and one eye on the clock, and five minutes before the next broadcast is due, a forecast wind is issued, and, if necessary, a corrected past wind.

As the raid progresses, and the chart fills up, so the look of satisfaction grows on the Senior Met. Officer’s face. Sometimes there are blanks when aircraft cannot obtain a wind velocity check, due to u/s equipment, or because aircraft have returned early. At other times a wind velocity obtained is not transmitted by the aircraft until long after it has left the area to which the wind velocity applies. In both instances, this gives the Met. Staff so much less information on which to base their corrections and forecasts. There have been instances when they have had no more than two or three wind velocities over a detailed area, and even then there have been large discrepancies. A good example is the Berlin raid of 24/25 March, 1944, when only 9 wind velocities were received, homeward bound, from the target to the enemy coast – 2 1/4 hours flying! In such circumstances it may be exceedingly difficult to give you accurate forecast winds. Crews now realise how important it is to obtain as many wind velocity checks as possible, and pass them to Base immediately. Even if the wind velocity obtained differs considerably from the forecast on the Form 2330, then providing you are confident of the fix used, send back the w/v you have found. If you have “boobed”, then the Met. Staff can, and will, see this, and no harm will be done. There will be no “strips” for the crew concerned. If, however, you obtain a w/v and [underlined] DO NOT [/underlined] send it back, then you are withholding vital information which may affect the safety of the whole Bomber Force, including your own.

The Group Met. Staff have had considerable experience of this scheme, and they are getting to know the various windfinders. One often hears a remark in the Met. Office “Old Snooks is flying in “F”57 tonight, we shall get some reliable winds from him” – and they do!! They know that each wind “Old Snooks” sends back will be reliable, and his messages are greatly treasured.

A Navigator is employed in the Met. Office whose duty it was in the past, to present to the Air Staff the effect of the corrected w/v’s on track and time keeping, and whether aircraft would arrive at the target early or late. All went well until the attack on Leipzig on the night of 19/20th February, when it was obvious from application of the broadcast winds that aircraft would arrive at the target 10 – 15 minutes early. We all know the result – 79 aircraft lost.

The obvious way to tackle this problem was to adjust the zero hour, and since we were obtaining from aircraft reliable information of true winds over enemy territory, a scheme was devised whereby the zero hour could be amended if necessary. The Duty Navigator in the Command Met. Office ascertains from application of the corrected w/v’s, whether the aircraft will arrive at the target early on time, or late, and consequently whether the zero hour needs amending. All H 2 S wind finders in this Group transmit the times at which they pass two datum points on the route. It is obvious, however, that both calculations will be valueless unless all aircraft [underlined] do [/underlined] leave the concentration point [underlined] exactly [/underlined] on time, and fly at the speeds laid down at the Flight Planning Conference. It must also be obvious to the reader, that unless wind information and times at the datum points are sent back by aircraft immediately, then there will be neither sufficient information on which to base an amendment to the zero hour, nor time in which to take necessary action.

Accurate time keeping, good concentration and correct timing of the attack, in short the success of the operation, depend on every wind finder knowing and doing his job. It’s up to you.

WHERE TO LOOK

A.O.C’s Foreword. Page 1
Aircrew Volunteers. 6
Air Bombing. 7
Air Sea Rescue. 8
Absence. 11
Accidents. 14
Armament. 15
Bombing, Air. 7
Decorations. 6
Engineering. 14
Equipment. 11
Flying Control. 5
Flight Engineers. 6
Gardening. 4
Gee. 5
Gunnery. 9
H 2 S. Page 5
Link Trainer Times. 10
Navigation, Progress of. 2
Navigation. 13
Organisation. 14
Operations. 16
Progress of Navigation. 2
Photography. 4
Public Relations. 10
Signals/Radar. 3
Second Thoughts for Pilots 10
Sports. 12
Tactics. 6
Training. 11
War Effort. 16
War Savings. 6

5 Group News. No. 20. March, 1944. Page 2.

[Page break]

SIGNALS/RADAR

March was not the best of months from the Aircrew Signals point of view, and it is to be hoped that Signals Leaders will make every endeavour to effect an improvement in the coming month.

You may not have any connection with the following examples but is that because you know all the answers, or is it that you have not been caught out.

There was once a Wireless Operator (Air) who after 14 operational sorties, used the spelling table of CD0250 for the following – REQUEST Q.F.E. – a total of 5 Groups where 1 Group would have covered the situation. Five minutes instruction per day would prevent any unnecessary waste of ether time.

Once upon a time (in March) a Wireless Operator (Air) gave out the wrong Bomber Code, which all the simpletons in his section accepted without a murmur. It is said at this Headquarters that all the murmuring came from the Duty Signals Officer – I wouldn’t know. In days gone by (March again), a Wireless Operator (Air) did not know where to find the fuse of his Visual Monica equipment, and the aircraft had no Early Warning Device – a congratulatory message from the Luftwaffe is expected any day. Talking of Early Warning Devices, the writer knows of two Operators (no names, no Grade 1) who did not know how to cope with simple fault finding.

Now we can do better than this, and it is suggested that every Signals Leader has a daily session with all the Wireless Operators, just ten minutes every morning will pay handsome dividends.

[Underlined] EARLY WARNING DEVICES [/underlined]

The new system of reporting the performance of Early Warning Devices by pro-forma is working very well, thanks to the co-operation of all concerned. This is going to save a lot of time and unnecessary telephone calls, which ultimately will help the war effort. Since the last News, a new instruction on the use of I.F.F. when circling dinghies or crashed aircraft, has been brought into force, 5G/S.4403/50/Sigs, of 23rd March, refers.

On Flight Planning for Thursday, 30th March, the Air Officer Commanding outlined the danger to the Bomber Force caused by selfish captains trying to but [sic] a little extra security for themselves at the expense of their fellow captains, when they order their Wireless Operators into the Astro-dome. It is hoped that this point has now gone right home, and that there will be nor further occurrence of this practice.

Just one more item that requires the attention of all Airborne Signals types. The constant back tuning that goes on during every operation, and the passing back of wind messages during the normal transmission times. When you read the first part of these notes again, as it is hoped you will, add a reminder about back tuning and listening out, to your daily session.

[Underlined] GOOD SHOWS [/underlined]

Two good points stand out for the month; they are both from No.57 Squadron.

P/O. Bracker, on the night of 24/25th did some quick thinking to get his R1155 working and receive the broadcasts.

On the same night, Sgt. Robinson saw on his Fishpond screen, two aircraft close together. He reported this, and gunners reports a combat taking place. The aircraft joined in the fight, drew the enemy aircraft’s fire and eventually shot it down.

This is an excellent example of the intelligent use of Fishpond – a good show by the W/Op and his crew.

[Underlined] STOP PRESS [/underlined]

Congratulations to F/Lt. Stevens, Signals Leader of No.57 Squadron, on obtaining an “A” category on No.5 Signals Leader’s Course.

[Underlined] SIGNALS MAINTENANCE [/underlined]

The percentage of Signals failures for March is considerably lower than for February, being less than 50% of the February figures. No Signals failure was responsible for a cancelled sortie, but out of the total of 24 failures reported, four were the reason for, or a contributory cause of, early returns.

The very small percentage contribution to early returns for March 0.235% against 1.30% for February is a welcome indication of a general drive to eliminate the possibility of Signals contribution in any way to a cancelled or abandoned sortie.

This does not mean that failure reports generally show a decrease. On the contrary, the conscientious reporting of any type of failure whatsoever, irrespective of whether it affects the success of the sortie or not, or even appears on the raid report, is essential.

A perusal of the details of failures for March, shows that one Squadron reported ten failures, none of which caused an early return; but they do provide the information required to enable action to be taken to institute modifications which will, in time, make failures almost impossible. The more attention which is paid to reporting failures the sooner will the improvements be incorporated.

We do not wish to take part in any competition between Groups for the lowest number of reported failures, but we must show the lowest percentage contributing to cancellations and early returns.

[Underlined] COUNTERMEASURE MANDREL [/underlined]

The fitting of Mandrel is proceeding satisfactorily. The great hold-up has been due to so many new aircraft arriving with the downward vision blister, thus denying us our original aerial position. However, Bomber Command have now authorised the removal of these blisters and, as a result, the aerial returns to its original position.

We still manage to fly a high proportion of the Command Mandrel effort.

[Underlined] SIGNALS SECURITY [/underlined]

During the month there occurred an outstanding example of loss of security on an operation through injudicious use of R/T. Take-off was 18.13, the route was northerly, and W/T silence was not to be broken until approximately 20.45. At 19.09 an early return called up his station, stating that his instruments were u/s, and requesting permission to land after jettisoning petrol. On being told to stand by, the E.R. stated that although he was aware that boomerang procedure was to jettison the cookie, he didn’t want to fly around much longer, and suggested jettisoning the petrol and landing with cookie. The ground station then requested details as to what was wrong with the aircraft instruments. After replying, the aircraft requested instructions again, and was told to jettison incendiaries safe, and pancake. This instruction was repeated, the aircraft carried out the instructions and returned, making a final reference to his cookie as a warning to ground crews. The entire conversation lasted 23 minutes, by which time any doubts the enemy might have had of the hostile intentions of the force plotted by his long range Radar must have been completely dispersed. “It is to be assumed” say Bomber Command, “that every time a word is spoken, it is heard by the enemy”. So, on this particular night, we gave him one hour’s prior notice of the attack and that is a luxury we can’t afford.

After many representations, the British Joint Communications Board have now conceded that for INTER RAF WORKING ONLY, J – Johnny may be used in lieu of J-Jig. For combined and joint working, J-Jig must still be used. This latter point is important. The probability of joint and combined working is imminent, and strict observance of the alphabet and standard procedure will play an important part in ensuring the smooth working of our forces.

[Underlined] GEE [/underlined]

The serviceability of Gee remains high, and shows a slight improvement over February. A total of 1201 Gee sorties were flown during the month, and in 96.7% of them the equipment was completely serviceable. It is hoped that a further increase can be shown next month.

Three new Radar Workshops have been completed during the month. All squadrons now possess their own building, which should help considerably to increase serviceability.

[Underlined] H 2 S [/underlined]

H 2 S serviceability improved slightly during last month, but it is still far from satisfactory; the percentage serviceable to the target and back was 76%.

The new Filament Transformers, which have now flown up to 50 sorties, give every indication of being the solution to the main causes of unserviceability; unfortunately, production difficulties will cause considerable delay in a changeover programme. The arrival of a drier season should prevent a further source of unserviceability that has been caused by dampness. It is felt that a considerable percentage on non-reproduceable faults were due to such dampness.

Manipulation failures due to lack of experience with the equipment, still assume too high a percentage, and every effort must be made to eliminate them. A new switch procedure has been drawn up and put into force which, if strictly adhered to, should result in greater serviceability.

The repositioning of the Scanner Heater

(Continued on page 4, col.3)

5 Group News. No. 20. March, 1944. Page 3.

[Page break]

PHOTOGRAPHY

Failures from all causes totalled 109, equalling 6.9%; this represents a decrease of 1.4% on the month of February. These technical failures remain persistently at 6-7% and there is no doubt that many of them can be avoided with more careful inspection and maintenance.

Instructions have been issued by Eng/Elect Branch to modify all Lancaster aircraft camera circuits; this is a return to bomb door operation of the camera. Briefly this circuit is wired through the Mk. XIV bombsight panel, and incorporates a relay which safeguards the camera from premature operation through deliberate or accidental movement of the pilot’s bomb door selector arm, provided that the bombsight graticule is not switched on. Once the bombsight graticule has been switched on, the circuit from the selector arm is “live”. Therefore, when the bomb doors are selected open, the camera winds over one frame; when the Air Bomber releases the bombs, the normal camera cycle commences. During the period that the Type 35 Control motor is running, the pilot’s selector arm circuit to the camera is “dead”, and should the doors be closed before the camera cycle is completed, the frame sequence remains uninterrupted.

An effort has been made to produce an ideal circuit, and the modification now being introduced is as near to the ideal as possible; for instance, switching on the graticule late i.e. after the bomb doors have been opened, would result in the loss of the first frame, and would bring the bombing frame into position at No.6 instead of No.7. This will be bad enough with ordinary H.S. night film, but with composite colour in use, the probable loss of ground detail on the bombing frame would be serious.

The introduction of this circuit does not mean that technical failures in Type 35 Controls and camera gear boxes are overcome. Careful inspection, testing and thorough maintenance, are the only cures. It is evident from failure reports that insufficient care is being taken to ensure that camera equipment issued from the Equipment Section is entirely satisfactory before installing it into operational aircraft.

ANALYSIS OF RESULTS BY SQUADRONS

[Table of Photographic Analysis by Squadrons]

GARDENING

The Command planted 1,472 vegetables this month, 76% being distributed off the East Frisians, in Keil Bay and the Fehmarn Belt and off the French U-boat bases; the remainder in the Channel, off Holland and on the Spanish Iron Ore Routes. 3 Group planted over half the total 6 Group nearly 400 and 4 Group nearly 300.

This is the third month of intensive high altitude gardening and reports of results now coming in are proof of its success. So far this year the casualty rate due to Bomber Command’s mining is 5 ships sunk or damaged per week, but latest reports show that this has now increased to a rate of [underlined] 1.4 ships per day. [/underlined]

The most encouraging report has come to hand from a source now in this country, who, up until recently, has been obliged to sail the German North Sea Convoy Routes, and who had to “swim for it” at least once. “Minephobia” is so acute that whenever minelaying is even suspected, all traffic is stopped for 24 hrs. The crews of mine sweepers after a six months “tour”, now get three months leave, most of which is spent in hospitals specialising in the cure of neurosis.

Now that the various methods of high altitude mining have had fair operational trial, it is possible to lay down standard rules, and various orders lately issued will be consolidated. A point which stands out from the last three months work, is that the success of high altitude mining outside Gee range has been dependent on H 2 S aircraft being available either to mark for those not so fitted, or, in restricted gardens, to do the laying.

Undoubtedly the ideal method is a D.R. run from a visual pinpoint using the Mark XIV bombsight and aided by H 2 S, but weather conditions which will permit visual pinpointing unaided by markers are the exception rather than the rule.

Commander R. A. McDonald, Royal Navy, of H.M.S. Vernon, explained to aircrews of 49, 57, 630, 207, and 106 Squadrons some of the pleasant little surprises that our mines spring on the enemy’s shipping and mine sweepers (and the devices which prevent them from being sprung on our own Armament staffs). He was unfortunately prevented from visiting other Squadrons, by operations.

SIGNALS (CONT.)

(Continued from page 3, col. 3)

has been practically completed, and during the last month no scanners have frozen where this modification has been incorporated. Bomber Command is also issuing a modification covering heating of Scanner Motors, and repositioning of the Scanner Heater Switch.

[Boxed] FISHPOND [/boxed]

This device also showed an improvement during the month, but here too a great deal of work remains to be done. The serviceability percentage for March was 78%.

W/Ops and Navigators still lack the training and co-ordination required to derive the full benefit from this Warning Device. It is to their own advantage to become fully proficient in its operation. A shortened maximum range has been experimented with, and those Operators who have used it express complete satisfaction. Bomber Command have been requested to approve this modification for general installation.

[Boxed] VISUAL MONICA [/boxed]

Serviceability continues to improve, and last month reached 89.5%. It is felt, however, that this figure may still be improved.

The amount of work spent on the Switch Motors has paid great dividends, and the old theory that the Motor was to blame has been refuted. In this connection, the changeover plugs for the aerial leads have proved very valuable on the few occasions when Switch Motors have stopped.

The introduction of Mark IV A.I. as a Tail Warning Device has made available from 54 Base further supplies of Visual Monica, with which it has been possible to almost completely equip the Group with Visual Tail Warning Devices, and thus eliminate Aural Monica.

[Boxed] A.I. [/boxed]

The new addition to Bomber aircraft has now seen considerable operational work, and shows the qualities of a fine Tail Warning Device. Serviceability was 78% for the two weeks it has been in operation. This will, without doubt, be raised week by week as personnel become fully conversant with the equipment.

Operators find the equipment easy to use, due to previous experience in Visual Monica, and are very enthusiastic. The elevation part has worked very satisfactorily in No. 617 Squadron, and a general installation programme is now in hand for the other A.I. squadrons.

[Underlined] SPORTS (Contd. From page 12, col. 3) [/underlined]

[Underlined] FUTURE EVENTS [/underlined]

RUGBY – No. 1 Air Landing Brigade is of the opinion that its Brigade Rugger side can put paid to a 5 Group representative team. The challenge is being joyfully taken up; the result should be a first class game.

CRICKET – It has, unfortunately, been impossible to obtain transport for a ‘straight’ Group Cricket League. The next best thing, a Group Cricket Knock-out, is being run. Full details will be forwarded to all stations. It [sic] the meantime, stations are advised to look up friendlies as usual.

5 Group News. No. 20. March, 1944. Page 4.

[Page break]

GEE

Ranges obtained on Gee this month were average on all major operations. Many Navigators however, obtained quite remarkable fixes on special operations, and in a number of cases over the targets. Single position lines from strong signals were intelligently used, and in a few cases Gee was used by Navigators as a means of homing to the special targets.

The mere fact that signals begin to fade into the jamming appears to act as a deterrent to many navigators who forget that jamming can occur in certain local areas on the continent. Once through a local jamming area fixes may again be obtained and under no circumstances should a Navigator neglect to check the Gee Indicator to see if this is so. If a local jamming area is encountered report it at interrogation for the benefit of others.

“Coding” does not appear to have caused any serious trouble and is reported to be phased and timed accurately. However, now that further instructions have been issued, navigators and wireless operators are warned to take greater care in reading the indicator to prevent serious mistakes being made. If you are uncertain of the present day instructions check up at your section now.

Don’t forget that the Southern and South-Eastern Chains are now on a new frequency. This recent changeover should solve the problem of break through pulses which have been reported recently.

The new North Eastern Chain is now operating daily for test purposes and reports on transmissions are requested. Navigators and Wireless Operators, this chain has been provided for your benefit, let us have these reports; in doing so you are helping the technicians to provide a better facility for yourselves. It is hoped that charts to cover this chain will be issued this month.

One word about descent through cloud and the correct homing procedure to Base. Air Staff Instructions lay down the procedure to be adopted for descent through cloud and homing to Base on Gee and these instructions must be followed. Navigators should ensure that the captain follows the correct procedure. Descent through cloud must be made between the correct lattice lines and along the correct homing lattice line applicable to base. Remember – individual lattice lines have been chosen for each airfield to prevent the risk of collision, and these are to be used like railway tracks. Follow the Green Indicator to safety.

H 2 S

H 2 S training on Squadrons this month was confined mainly to the Bombing Competition, and although a considerable number of aircraft were detailed, few obtained photographs owing to unsatisfactory target conditions. Of the results received to date, the majority are within one mile of the aiming point, reflecting great credit on the crews taking part. It is hoped to publish a summary of results in the next issue of the “News”.

Training at Conversion Units is improving and many crews are now completing 10 – 15 hours air training, which should prove of considerable benefit to the squadrons.

Full use is being made of the ground trainers both as navigational and bombing aids. Emphasis must be placed on the use of H 2 S as a navigational aid, particularly in the early stages of training, and trainer cross countries should be carried out with this point in mind. Navigators and Air Bombers must aim at a high standard of efficiency in both the taking and plotting of fixes, particularly as the whole of the Bomber Force depends on this aid for accurate broadcast winds.

An investigation has been carried out this month into all manipulation failures since the beginning of the year, and it is noted that they occur during the first 20 hours of air training and are mainly due to incorrect tuning. To overcome this, Aircraft Drill No.14 was issued setting out the correct H 2 S switching, tuning and re-tuning sequences and operators are to follow this procedure at all times. It is of no practical use to switch the set on, tune and leave it whilst Gee is in range, then commence trying to identify responses when out of Gee coverage, without re-tuning. Tuning varies with the height and time the set is on, so recheck frequently.

Bomber Command intend issuing in the near future a list of faults which can be remedied in the air. However, it is pointed out at this stage, operators are still failing to check fuses when the equipment goes unserviceable. This fault is the easiest which can be remedied in the air and failure to do this is inexcusable.

As always, practice makes perfect, and to overcome manipulation failures, operators should endeavour to spend considerable time tuning and re-tuning the bench set, following the procedure laid down in the drill. This applies to trained and untrained crews alike.

H 2 S and Fishpond are inter-dependent; consequently a manipulation failure on H 2 S leaves a crew without an essential warning device. This point alone easily outweighs all other arguments which may be brought up regarding manipulation failures. H 2 S operators and Wireless Operators must therefore realise that by spending a little time in training to keep efficient on both H 2 S and Fishpond, they are contributing to the safety of their aircraft and crew.

FLYING CONTROL

33 AIRCRAFT LANDED IN 45 MINS:

March has seen a further improvement in landing times, the average for the Group for the month being 2.13 minutes per aircraft. There is still, however, room for improvement in Single-squadron Stations, and Skellingthorpe has shown that the Landing Scheme can produce a high landing rate with small numbers of aircraft; on the night 18/19th March they landed fifteen aircraft in 25 minutes; the fact that a station only has one squadron to land is no excuse for poor landing times. If all single squadron stations follow Skellingthorpe’s example, then we can look forward to an overall Group average of well below the two minute mark.

Some excellent performances have been put up by Stations in this Group during the past month. Below are some figures which are the result of good flying discipline and good airmanship. They are not “peak period” figures, but are taken over the total period.

[Table of selected Aircraft recovery times by Station]

A conference was held at this Headquarters early in the month to review the landing scheme, and improve where necessary. One point raised was the difficulty in persuading pilots to adhere to the airspeeds laid down for return from the last concentration point. If you are one of the unfortunate ones, and are allotted one of the lower airspeeds, make up your mind to stick to it, for it does eliminate that tedious and highly dangerous orbiting of the airfield on return. There are many aircraft using a small piece of sky, and although we are not often troubled with intruders yet, one Hun fighter operating around 5 Group could do a deal of damage. If you rush back, you will certainly have to waste time before landing, so why not waste it peacefully over the sea, rather than be told to go for a short cross country in a congested area.

On reviewing diversions over the past six month it is obvious that standard R/T and control drills are lacking. As the result of a conference held at Headquarters Bomber Command, a standard method of control and R/T procedure has been agreed and will be issued shortly. It is to be used when aircraft are diverted away from Base and the 5 Group Quick Landing Scheme consequently not in operation. It is important that pilots have this procedure at their fingertips. Diversions are never a pleasant end to an operational sortie, but if you can get down at your diversion airfield with the minimum trouble, it makes the task an easier one for all concerned.

FOG DISPERSAL

The fog dispersal apparatus at Fiskerton was responsible for the landing of 14 aircraft during the month. The total number of aircraft landed to date, using this installation is 48. On the 17th March, when five aircraft landed, visibility before lighting up was only 200 yards, with fog estimated to be 800 feet thick. In sixteen minutes visibility on the runway had improved from 15 – 2,000 yards. Again on the 24th, 5 Group aircraft were able to use Fiskerton, and visibility was increased from 100 yards to 1500 yards in 12 minutes. Fog Dispersal is there for your use and your safety. Landing Notes have been issued to all Units and pilots must ensure that they are fully conversant with the use of the Fog Dispersal Installation. We will shortly have another installation serviceable at Metheringham, and perhaps the day

(Continued on page 8, col. 3)

MARCH LANDING TIMES

[Table of March Landing Times by Station]

5 Group News. No. 20. March, 1944. Page 5.

[Page break]

DECORATIONS

The following immediate awards were approved during the month.

[Underlined] 9 SQUADRON [/underlined]

A/F/L/ W.D. ERVINE D.F.C.
A/W/Cdr E.L. PORTER, D.F.C. Bar TO D.F.C.

[Underlined] 44 SQUADRON [/underlined]

F/Lt F.H. PHILLIPS. D.F.C.
P/O H.N. DAVIES D.F.C.
A/F/L I. RADEMEYER D.F.C.

[Underlined] 49 SQUADRON [/underlined]

F/O W.B. HEALEY D.F.C.

[Underlined] 50 SQUADRON [/underlined]

A/S/L/ L.A.J. McLEOD D.F.C.
R/O T.H. BLACKHAM D.F.C.

[Underlined] 57 SQUADRON [/underlined]

SGT J. BRADFORD D.F.M.
F/SGT D. LIGHTFOOT D.F.M.
A/F/L C.J. SPRIGGS D.F.C.
A/F/L W.M. WALTON D.F.C.
P/O S.F. ATCHESON D.F.C.
A/S/L M.I. BOYLE D.F.C.

[Underlined] 61 SQUADRON [/underlined]

A/S/L E.H. MOSS D.F.C.
F/Lt B.C. FITCH D.F.C.
F/O T.D. HALLIWELL D.F.C.
SGT A.E. HARRIS D.F.M.

[Underlined] 463 SQUADRON [/underlined]

F/O V.H. TRIMBLEE D.F.C.
SGT G.R. PRICE D.F.M.

[Underlined] 617 SQUADRON [/underlined]

A/F/L/ I. WHITTAKER, DFC. Bar to D.F.C.
A/S/L H.B. MARTIN, DSO, DFC & Bar. Bar to D.S.O.
F/O L.W. CURTISS, D.F.C. Bar TO D.F.C.
F/O T.D. SIMPSON D.F.C.
F/O B.T. FOXLEE D.F.C.

[Underlined] 619 SQUADRON [/underlined]

P/O K. ROBERTS D.F.C.
F/SGT G.C. KING D.F.M.
F/SGT D. SCHOFIELD D.F.M.
F/SGT G.E. HEXTER D.F.M.

[Underlined] 630 SQUADRON [/underlined]

A/F/L J.C.W. WELLER D.F.C.
SGT R. PARLE D.F.M.

WAR SAVINGS

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

[Table of War Savings by Station]

TOTAL SAVED £7299.2.0.

TACTICS

The ill effects of weaving in the bomber stream have been recorded by an experienced Flak Liaison Officer, and his opinions are set out in 5G/1/41/Air, sent to Stations on the 27th March, 1944. All crews should read this letter.

Since the introduction of early warning devices, more attention than ever must be paid to flying straight and level unless attacked. In this connection there is a point about weaving which is perhaps not fully appreciated. A weaving aircraft is continually closing range on other aircraft in the stream and is likely to confuse Monica and Fishpond operators, who may interpret the resultant blip as an enemy fighter closing in to attack. The consequencies [sic] may then be serious, particularly on a dark night, when gunners have been known to mistake four engines for two. In these days when all crews are conscious of some collision risk, the sighting of an aircraft crossing their line of flight is, to say the least, upsetting, and in any event, is unfair to gunners who can ill afford to waste time in identifying friendly bombers which behave in a suspicious manner.

Further, the straight and level policy is enforced to enable crews more easily to keep to the track laid down. The dangers of straying from track and the concentration are known to all. All the old hands at the game have realised that weaving is out of date and leads to trouble, and are now following the straight and narrow. Why not you?

[Underlined] COMBATS [/underlined]

Two points of interest have been sorted out from an investigation into combats for March. They are:-

(i) Enemy fighters rarely fire more than one burst during each attack.

(ii) Period between opening fire and breaking away is a matter of seconds.

It is clear that many enemy fighters are opening fire at about the same time as they are identified by gunners or before a defensive manoeuvre is started. Night fighters as a rule depend on surprise and accuracy of their first burst, and if this fails, there is no doubt that the advantage passes to the gunners. The main problems are therefore:-

(i) To see the fighter and recognise it before it opens fire, and

(ii) to convey the information to the pilot immediately.

Problem (i) can only be met by energetic use of early warning devices, constant recognition practice and efficient night vision by gunners.

Problem (ii) can be solved if gunners report sightings immediately to the pilot, using the standard reporting code. A second’s delay in identifying the attacker before reporting it may mean the difference between eventually shooting it down, or your sustaining damage before you have that opportunity. Remember that a defensive manoeuvre, although designed to give gunners a known deflection, is also intended to evade the fighter’s fire; therefore, in view of the apparent short duration of combats, if an aircraft is flying suspiciously, gunners should not wait to identify it before ordering a corkscrew, particularly if the suspected aircraft is within firing range.

Flight Engineers

The most important job of the Flight Engineer is to help in getting his aircraft to the target and back, in the most efficient manner possible. But there us another side of his job that must not be forgotten; it is of the greatest importance. He must assist in keeping his machine up to the best standard of serviceability.

He can only do this id he is a keen, conscientious worker. He must pay every attention to the smallest detail in his aircraft, both when he is flying and on the ground; he should be with the ground crew whenever he can while they carry out their daily inspection.

He is the “Flying Spanner”, but firstly he should be the engineer on the ground, and know that the aircraft is tuned up to the last ounce. How can he know this if he only visits his dispersal about one hour before he goes on “Ops”?

Delay has occurred many times in the rectification of defects through an aircraft landing away from the parent station; this must be altered. It must be impressed upon Flight Engineers that it is their responsibility to report to the C.T.O. of that Station any defects or trouble which have developed during flight, and which may prevent them returning to their Base at the earliest moment. It is no good to be interrogated, have a meal and go to bed forgetting to report to the C.T.O. until the next day. The report must be given in person to the Engineering Officer on duty that night; he should also be told if petrol and oil is required, and the approximate time the aircraft will take off.

In the past, aircraft have been delayed through wrong information being passed on, and so it is essential that the Flight Engineer reports all known defects to the C.T.O. Confusion and incorrect information is caused by too many inexperienced people handling the message.

Aircrew Volunteers

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

[Table of Aircrew Volunteers by Station]

5 Group News. No. 20. March, 1944. Page 6.

[Page break]

AIR BOMBING

[Underlined] THE MONTH’S BOMBING [/underlined]

March was a varied month for the Bomb Aimers in the Group, the highlight from the bombing point of view being the precision attacks by Bases on special targets deep into France.

On the whole bombing was accurate, severe damage being done by Nos. 52, 53 and 54 Bases. It is apparent therefore, that our continuous practice has not been wasted. However, no one who studies the stick craters on the P.R.U. photographs can possibly feel complacent. Many crews missed!!!

The question immediately raised by these misses is whether or not the bombsight was serviceable. It is an intricate bombsight, but anyone who doubts its capabilities should study the long list of bombing errors less than 150 yards at 20,000 feet, given on this page. It must be serviceable, though, and it can only be proven serviceable though use. Therefore you must, at every opportunity, carry out practice bombing with your sight. Whenever you fly, carry out the established N.F.T. checks – report any failings you discover in the bombsight to the Instrument Section, and when you get crew errors of 100 yds or less, thank the instrument section who have helped to make it possible.

Finally, treat all practice bombing as precision bombing – the Air Bombers in 106 Squadron have reason to be proud. In teamwork with their pilots, they won the Squadron Bombing Competition against all-comers in the Group for 3 successive months, and were runners up in March. There is a great gap between the top and bottom errors in the Competition – there should not be! It should be a neck-and-neck struggle with only a few yards separating the Squadrons in the Group.

Are [underlined] YOU [/underlined] bombing your best for your Squadron?

[Underlined] GEN FROM THE SQUADRONS [/underlined]

[Underlined] 9 Squadron [/underlined] (F/Lt Bell, D.F.C.) reports the construction and issue to all Air Bombers of a hook as per diagram.

[Diagram]

This device is used for manual release of any H.E. hang-ups, and is of a length that ensures the linkage can be raised. Further, it can be used on No. 13 Station to make certain the “Cookie” has actually left the aircraft, a visual check from the nose being impeded by the incendiary containers.

[Underlined] 44 Squadron [/underlined] (F/Lt Lowry) has had the illumination bulbs in the Mark XIV Bombsight Computor [sic] painted red to counteract the glare. This ensures minimum effect on Night Vision.

[Underlined] 1654 Con. Unit [/underlined] (F/Lt Morgan) has completed the installation of the complete Mark XIV Bombsight in the A.M.B.T.

[Underlined] 1660 Con. Unit [/underlined] (F/Lt Brewer, D.F.C.) have nearly completed installation of A.M.B.T. Mk. XIV, several clever modifications being introduced. Excellent co-operation has been provided by the Armament and Electrical Officer and their staffs.

HIGH LEVEL BOMBING TRAINING (ALL ERRORS IN YARDS, CONVERTED TO 20,000 FEET)

[Table of Bombing Training and Errors by Squadron and Conversion Units, with averages]

THE BEST CREW EXERCISES DURING MARCH

Squadron or Con. Unit Pilot Air Bomber Navigator Error at 20,000 feet.

44 P/O Levy Sgt Peck F/O Fox 82 & 130 yds
P/O Hobbs F/S Scott F/S Fenwick 144 yds
F/L Dorehill F/S Deacon F/S Wright 116 yds
W/O Barton F/S Barnes F/O Sparrow 125 yds
F/L Wiggin F/O Marshall F/O Maury 112 yds

50 P/O Lundy F/O Bignell F/S Jordan 125 & 145 yds
Sgt MacFarlin Sgt Ball Sgt Elliott 108 yds
57 F/L Munday F/O Evans P/O West 120 yds
106 P/O Rossel Sgt Goss F/S White 140 yds
F/O Clement F/O Gautschi F/O Wilkinson 82 & 120 yds
463 F/S Page F/O Braithwaite W/O Fair 84 yds
619 W/Cdr Jeudwine Sgt Booth Sgt Gosling 79 yds
S/L Whamond F/O Kennedy F/O Marshall 135 yds
F/L McGilvray F/O Baker F/O Drake 140 yds
F/L Moore F/O Butler F/O Wood 123 yds
F/S Schofield F/S Hexter F/S Withinshaw 147 yds
630 F/L Roberts Sgt Davies Sgt Jeffreys 140 yds
W/Cdr Deas F/O Barker Sgt Wright 120 (twice) and 143 yds
S/L Calvert F/S Hogg F/S Beaudoin 148 yds
P/O Hill Sgt Allen F/S Stancer 120 yds
1654 S/L Bloom-Jones F/O Foulkes F/L Martin 148 yds
F/O Murray F/O Towers F/S Keeble 144 yds
F/S Ayres Sgt Charteris Sgt Airey 114 yds
P/O Spencer Sgt. Gordge Agt Hugh-Games 122 yds
1661 S/L Jones F/O Seibal F/O West 140 yds
5 LFS F/S Horne Sgt Johnson F/S Shipley 88 yds
Sgt Patterson Sgt Hall Sgt Rice 121 yds

Special mention is made of W/Cdr Deas and crew, 630 Squadron, who achieved Crew Errors less than 150 yards on [underlined] three [/underlined] exercises this month.

617 Squadron obtained a total of 26 exercises in the “Less than 150 yards” category the best three being:-

[Underlined] PILOT AIR BOMBER ERROR [/underlined]

F/O Kell F/O Morieson 47 yards
F/L Cooper F/O Harden 68 yards
F/O Willsher F/S Everitt 75 yards

5 Group News. No. 20. March, 1944. Page 7.

[Page break]

AIR BOMBING (CONT.)

SQUADRON BOMBING COMPETITION

In a month where 9 Squadrons qualified in the Competition it fell to 44 Squadron to wrest the leadership from 106 Squadron who headed the table for the three months December, January and February. 44 Squadron have set a very high standard and are to be congratulated on rising from the 6th position to the top of the table.

57 Squadron have shown notable improvement in rising to 5th place, which they share with 207 Squadron.

It is expected that April will bring maximum qualification by all Squadrons in the Group and a really close struggle for the top position.

[Underlined] PILOTS AND AIR BOMBERS NAVIGATORS [/underlined]

[Underlined] ALL ERRORS CONVERTED TO 20,000 FEET [/underlined]

1st 44 Squadron – 85 yards 1st 630 Squadron – 120 yards
2nd 106 Squadron – 98 yards 57 Squadron – 120 yards
3rd 619 Squadron – 108 yards 3rd 619 Squadron – 134 yards
4th 630 Squadron – 119 yards 4th 44 Squadron – 138 yards
5th 207 Squadron – 141 yards 5th 207 Squadron – 154 yards
57 Squadron - 141 yards 6th 467 Squadron – 181 yards
7th 463 Squadron – 169 yards 7th 463 Squadron – 197 yards
9 Squadron – 169 yards 8th 9 Squadron – 223 yards
9th 467 Squadron – 196 yards 9th 106 Squadron – 253 yards

The following Squadrons failed to enter the necessary 8 qualifying exercises:-

10th 61 Squadron – 132 yards (5 exercises) 10th 61 Squadron – 143 yards
11th 50 Squadron – 90 yards (4 exercises) 11th 50 Squadron – 123 yards
12th 49 Squadron – 89 yards (1 exercise) 12th 49 Squadron – 92 yards

ADDITION BOMBING TRAINER

[Table of Trainer Activity by Squadron]

[Underlined] BIGCHIEF COMPETITION [/underlined]

Two entries were received this month:

W/Cdr Porter 112 yards (Errors include bombsight error)
G/Cpt Pleasance 289 yards (Error of 98 yards)

[Underlined] LEADER COMPETITION [/underlined]

F/Lt Walmsley – 122 yards

How about some competition, Bombing Leaders?

[Underlined] AIR BOMBERS’ QUIZ [/underlined]

1. What is the theory of Wanganui technique and what are the correct bombsight settings?

2. If the Bomb Doors were open, but the Bomb Release Test could not be extracted from the positive Fusing Device, what check would you make before manually releasing?

3. Where is the type “H” Jettison Button and when do you need to use it?

4. Why do you set [underlined] indicated [/underlined] Wind Speed on the Mk. XIV Computor. [sic]

[Underlined] BOMBING LEADERS’ CORNER [/underlined]

F/Lt Allan has left Scampton and is passing through the Conversion Units in order to return to operations for his 2nd tour. Good Luck!

F/Lt Gibson has become tour-expired and moved to Scampton to superintend the Bombing Section of the Aircrew School.

F/O Abbott has moved from 106 Squadron to 49 Squadron. We now expect to see [underlined] 49 [/underlined] Squadron top of the Bombing Competition!!

F/O Toogood (106 Squadron), tour-expired has moved to 92 Group for Bombing Leader’s duties.

P/O Duck who obtained 14th position with “B” pass on 77 Bombing Leaders’ Course has moved from 619 to 617 Squadron.

F/O Falgate (463 Squadron) and P/O Hulland D.F.M., (1654 Con. Unit) were 8th and 12th respectively on No.78 Bombing Leaders’ Course, with “B” passes.

AIR SEA RESCUE

For two months now there has been no ditching in this Group, which shows a deal of consideration for the Air Sea Rescue Officers in the Group, but at the same time it is wondered whether crews generally have increased their knowledge to an equivalent extent – have you got all your A.S.R. gen and equipment buttoned up?

In addition to giving swimming instruction P.F.O’s are now lending a hand with dinghy instruction in the South Park Girls’ School Swimming Baths. Now that summer is almost here, this should be a real attraction, and every effort must be made for regular attendance. As a further attraction some stations have periods during the early evening so that, with the co-operation of the M.T. Sections, an evening out in Lincoln should be enjoyed by all – after the instruction is over.

[Cartoon] EMP.

It is hoped that “Q” type dinghies (which will replace the “J” type fairly soon) will shortly be available on the scale of one per Squadron for instructional purposes. This dinghy is quite a complicated bit of work, and crews should take every opportunity of getting in sailing practice on local stretches of water (remembering that the depth of water must be at least 4 feet, owing to the depth of keel). Some good fun should be had these long summer evenings – when you can afford time off from obliterating the Hun.

[Underlined] HINT TO USERS [/underlined]

The floating torch has a nasty habit of lighting at awkward moments – why not pad the torch pocket in Mae Wests and Buoyancy suits with some light-damping material, so that the light will not shine through? Whatever happens, don’t go flying over the sea without your floating torch.

[Underlined] FLYING CONTROL (Contd. From page 5, col. 3) [/underlined]

is not far off when an operation will be planned and will depend solely on Fog Dispersal Installations for landing of aircraft.

There will be, therefore, three Fog Dispersal airfields situated in a comparatively small area, LUDFORD MAGNA in 1 Group, FISKERTON and METHERINGHAM. The identification of these airfields as night presents a problem, for you if you mistake another airfield for your own and are listening on your local airfield frequency, there is no means of contacting you by R/T. It is essential therefore, that darky frequency is used for all R/T control at Fog Dispersal airfields.

5 Group News. No. 20. March, 1944. Page 8.

[Page break]

GUNNERY

[Underlined] STANDARD FREE GUNNERY TRAINER [/underlined]

The trainer at Fiskerton is now equipped for training with the Mark IIC Gyro Gunsight, and training of the squadron gunners is going ahead under the supervision of F/O Johnson-Biggs, ex 619 Squadron, P/O Collingwood, ex 50 Squadron, and Sgt Kennedy of 49 Squadron. The trainer is housed in a spacious blister type building equipped with a large screen on which the target aircraft is projected, together with the fixed and moving graticules which are a feature of the new sight. An F.N. 16 turret is used for manipulation, and this is fitted with all the controls of the gunsight. Very realistic conditions can be reproduced, although until a trainer is produced which will introduce conditions like the Link Trainer with its “Bumps” attachment, the gunner is still operating from a rock steady platform which does not give a true indication of his ability to hold a target in the sight. A demonstration stand is housed in the same building which has a complete Gyro Gunsight with all controls and fittings. This is used for introducing gunners to the sight during initial instruction, and enables one gunner to operate the sight on the stand whilst another gunner is operating the turret on the trainer. A new type of film is available for use with the trainer; this gives a light coloured aircraft on the screen with a dark background, differing from the film in general use for aircraft recognition training on the Jurby trainer, which project a dark aircraft on a light background.

[Underlined] FUTURE INSTALLATIONS [/underlined]

[Underlined] Swinderby [/underlined] is the next station to have the trainer installed. This will be housed in the standard spotlight trainer building, which at present is being modified by removing the steelwork situated on the front of the screen. All the equipment is available and installation should commence within the next two weeks.

[Underlined] Winthorpe [/underlined] have received part of the equipment and the construction of the building has been commenced.

[Underlined] G.2. GUNNERY NOTES [/underlined]

On the 6th January, 1944, a letter (BC/S.24636/Trg.) was issued from H.Q.B.C. stating that the G.2 Notes were available in large quantities, and intimating that they could be demanded on the following scale.

[Underlined] Instructors’ Notes. [/underlined] 1 copy per instructor or Gunnery Leader not already holding one.

[Underlined] Students’ Notes. [/underlined] 1 copy per Air Gunner not already holding one. This would appear to be a straightforward matter, but certain Units within the Group are still without these very important notes for a variety of reasons; units who demanded the notes as instructed received their demands promptly, but any unit who has not received these notes may obtain single copies by contacting the G.G.O. As these notes form the basis for all instructions on sighting in the Command, it is of paramount importance that all Gunnery Leaders instructors and gunners be familiar with their contents. It has been discovered that gunners attending the Specialist Sighting Course and Air Gunner Instructors’ Course at Manby have been handicapped by a lack of preliminary knowledge of sighting due to the failure of Units to obtain the notes when the instruction was first issued.

(Continued on page 10, col. 3)

[Cartoon] WFW

THIS MONTH’S BAG

DESTROYED

49 Sqdn “D” 15/16 March, 1944. JU88 c
619 Sqdn “J” 15/16 March, 1944. JU88 c
617 Sqdn “H” 15/16 March, 1944. JU88 c
617 Sqdn “H” 15/16 March, 1944. JU88 c
630 Sqdn “L” 18/19 March, 1944. ME109 c
61 Sqdn “K” 22/23 March, 1944. S/E c
57 Sqdn “R” 24/25 March, 1944. ME109
106 Sqdn “N” 30/31 March, 1944. ME109

PROBABLY DESTROYED

619 Sqdn “T” 24/25 March, 1944. JU88 c
630 Sqdn “S” 24/25/ March, 1944. ME109 c
463 Sqdn “Q” 30/31 March, 1944. JU88 c

DAMAGED

207 Sqdn “G” 1/2 March, 1944. T/E c
467 Sqdn “F” 1/2 March, 1944. FW190 c
61 Sqdn “W” 15/16 March, 1944. FW190 c
619 Sqdn “P” 15/16 March, 1944. JU88 c
207 Sqdn “J” 15/16 March, 1944. ME109 c
50 Sqdn “M” 18/19 March. 1944. ME109 c
467 Sqdn “J” 18/19 March, 1944. ME110 c
207 Sqdn “O” 18/19 March, 1944. JU88 c
630 Sqdn “D” 22/23 March, 1944. JU88 c
467 Sqdn “Q” 22/23 March, 1944. ME109
50 Sqdn “U” 24/25 March, 1944. JU88 c
49 Sqdn “K” 24/25 March, 1944. JU88 c
44 Sqdn “J” 24/25 March, 1944. S/E c
57 Sqdn “H” 24/25 March, 1944. ME109 c
57 Sqdn “M” 26/27 March, 1944. JU88
463 Sqdn “G” 26/27 March, 1944. JU88
44 Sqdn “U” 30/31 March, 1944. JU88
57 Sqdn “B” 30/31 March, 1944. JU88
50 Sqdn “Z” 30/31 March, 1944. ME109 c

Claims annotated “c” have been confirmed by Command. Other claims have not been confirmed owing to late rendition of combat reports.

It is intended to publish in the “News” a table showing the amount of air training carried out by Units each month. This will chiefly consist of Fighter Affiliation exercises and air firing, and provision is made for tabulating the Fighter Affiliation under three headings, i.e. “Camera & Gyro”, “Camera only” and “Without Camera”. This table is standard throughout the Command.

To ensure that a standard method is used throughout, a fighter combat exercise is to be considered as a “Combat” between a fighter and one air gunner in a bomber aircraft. Thus, if both Mid-Upper and Tail turrets are in use two exercises would be carried out. In future monthly training returns are to state the number of exercises as defined above. It is hoped that future tables published will include attacks by fighters on “Bullseye” exercises.

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

[Underlined] Course No. 75 [/underlined]

F/O Spilsbury – 5 LFS – 82% - Cat. “A”

Sgt Boardman – 49 Sqdn – 77.2% - Cat. “C”

Gunnery Leaders are reminded that they are invited to attend the Assessment Committee held at the conclusion of each course, and Gunnery Leaders who have gunners taking the course should make an effort to attend this board and obtain first hand information of their pupil’s efforts.

Gunnery Leaders desirous of visiting the C.G.S. for this purpose are to contact the G.G.O. who will make the necessary arrangements.

[Underlined] AIR TRAINING – MARCH [/underlined]

[Table of Gunnery Exercises by Squadron]

5 Group News. No. 20. March, 1944. Page 9.

[Page break]

SECOND THOUGHT FOR PILOTS

[Underlined] VETERANS [/underlined]

Stick rigidly to your lattice lines when homing to your airfield. There was a regrettable accident during the month when a pilot in the Group arrived at the airfield on the wrong side of the circuit and crashed when he was forced to dive to avoid an aircraft on the circuit. The lattice lines are your “right of way“ in the sky.

Don’t get careless about your flaps, and remember the Lancaster flaps provide maximum lift from 25° to the fully up position. From the 25° stage to the fully down position, lift is decreasing and drag is increasing. So, remember, take your flap off in two stages and exercise great care in taking off the last 25°. Trim as you do it.

If you make a “sighting” and you are orbiting a ditched aircraft or a dinghy, switch your I.F.F. on to “distress”. Do not change height while orbiting otherwise your plot will fade and you may give the impression that you have ditched. This new Signals Instruction is to enable R.D.F. to plot you, and thus double check your position, and the position of the sighting.

Don’t get off hand about reporting defects after flight. Record any defect on Form 700. Let the ground crew or Flight Commander and the N.C.O. know. Keep them all in the picture, the Security Officer won’t jump on you for that.

By the way, when did you and your crew last go through the bombing up procedure with the Armament types? There might be a day when you have to do your own bombing up.

[Underlined] FRESHMEN [/underlined]

If you are unlucky and get fire in the air, do not dive your aircraft in the hope of putting the flames out. It will make them spread more, making it difficult to abandon aircraft, and will produce structural strain, causing a more rapid break up as the fire develops. The “gen” for fire in the air is in the 5 Group Aircraft Drills.

You can now land from West to East as well as from East to West at Woodbridge. The landing is from East to West at all times except when you see smoke generators burning at each end of the main runway. So watch for the smoke, and then land towards the sea.

Inspect S.D. 158 periodically. It is a secret document, and therefore you won’t find it lying around the Flight office; Ops/Flying Control will oblige. Note the instruction to burn resin lights above 8,000 feet at night.

Pay the closest attention to the latest “gen” about the moveable T.O.T. and remember the importance of sticking to the air speed laid down. 5 m.p.h. either side of the specified air speed it not good enough.

Have you dropped any practice bombs yet? It is the duty of every pilot to try his hand at bombing. Team up with another pilot in your flight, and see who gets the best result.

Public Relations

[Underlined] SIX STATIONS ON THE AIR [/underlined]

No.5 Group entered the radio world in earnest during March, no fewer than six stations being visited by B.B.C. recording units.

Though the resulting broadcasts did not hit the high lights in home programmes, they were given many times, and in many languages, all over the world. They reminded our overseas troops that the R.A.F. is still doing big business!!

First, a five day visit was paid to Skellingthorpe by F/Lt W Caverhill, of the broadcasting branch at Air Ministry, accompanied by B.B.C. engineers. They prepared scripts and made records of 18 R.A.F. and W.A.A.F. personnel, who gave short talks to be included in the B.B.C’s overseas programme “Radio News Reel”.

Bardney was visited on the night of March 18/19th by a B.B.C. recording unit, and more than a doz en [sic] records were made of the station’s contribution towards the night’s attack on Frankfurt. This picture of R.A.F. life was broadcast in both short and long versions on the General Forces programme, as well as overseas.

The success of the Bardney broadcasts prompted the B.B.C. to make a return visit to record the operation against Berlin, on the night of March 24/25th. This time, the famous commentators, Mr. Robert Dunnett and Mr. Stewart MacPherson, brought a recording unit to Coningsby. On the way, the unit stopped at Metheringham as the aircraft were taking off and filled one disc with an interesting description of the scene.

At Coningsby a number of members of ground crews and station personnel came to the microphone and described their work. Further recordings were made in the Operations Room.

Owing to weather changes, the party beat a hasty retreat from Coningsby and went to

(Continued on page 11col.1)

Negotium Perambulans In Tenebris

The Meteorological Gremlin has spectacles and grey hair,
And his mysterious lair
Is very jealously guarded;
And must be regarded
With suitable awe, by all except
The few adept.
It is chiefly a nocturnal beast, and is often found
Prowling and prowling
(Like a host of Midian)
Searching for a datum or perhaps a meridian.
In this it is frequently assisted by a tiny female mammal whose chemical formula is PA2AOC,
Whose small scurrying figure you will often see
Bearing winds to the Gremlin. It is easy to please
With an airy zephyr, or a balmy breeze
Which it consumes with avidity, and that is why
It is able to prophesy!!

ANON (Circa, 1944)

Link Trainer

[Table of Link Trainer Sessions by Squadron]

[Underlined] GUNNERY (Continued from page 9 col 1) [/underlined]

[Underlined] SPECIALIST SIGHTING COURSE AT MANBY [/underlined]

The object of this course, which lasts for 10 days, is the training of sighting instructors and instructors capable of assessing cine gyro films. Originally only Conversion Unit or Gunnery Flight personnel could attend but this restriction has recently been removed, and all Units may now nominate gunners for this course; they must show an aptitude for sighting and must have passed well in this subject on a Gunnery Leaders’ Course or Air Gunner Instructors’ course. One vacancy only is allotted to the Group per month.

[Underlined] THOSE SQUADRON GYROS [/underlined]

The Gyro Assessors held by squadrons have in some instances been leading a very quiet life tucked away nicely in the Armoury or on a shelf in a cupboard. Numerous reasons are put forward for not using the Gyro during Fighter Affiliation exercises; for instance, aircraft not modified, not enough notice given to Gunnery sections, Photo. Section unable to process film, etc., etc. None of these reasons is really serious , and all can be easily overcome by a little more co-operation from the sections concerned. Modification on the aircraft is simple, consisting of enlarging the port inner gun port in the rear turret, and can be done in half-an-hour. It is not, repeat not, necessary to blank off the servo motor, and the gyro assembly can be installed in half an hour at the most. All the electrical gear is mounted on the gyro rig and after the rig has been fitted to the gun cradle only three things remain to be done:-

(i) Connect electrical cable to supply in turret.

(ii) Connect rear sear release pipe to gyro rig.

(iii) Harmonize gun sight to camera.

All Photo. Sections CAN process the film, and there is no shortage of magazines in the Group. At 51 Base, a Corporal Armourer is available to give assistance on gyro assessors. This N.C.O. has constructed all the Gyro Assessors in use in the Group, and the present compact and efficient rig is his product. Units requiring his services should contact 51 Base Armament Officer. The Gyro Assessors are not to be left in aircraft which are engaged on night flying as two assessors have already been lost through aircraft with gyros fitted, crashing on night flying.

5 Group News. No. 20. March, 1944. Page 10.

[Page break]

EQUIPMENT

[Underlined] M.T. SPARES [/underlined]

Concern Is being caused by the unserviceability of M.T. vehicles in general, and every effort should be made by Equipment Officers to review establishments and ensure that demands are raised regularly to keep stocks of the generally used items up to maximum. It is impracticable and uneconomical to hold stocks of the many parts which not only vary with the make of vehicles but also with the diverse models of each make of vehicle, which again vary according to the year of manufacture. Therefore all M.T. Officers must anticipate requirements for inspection overhauls and other contingencies where certain parts are known to be badly worn and will need replacement in the near future. [Underlined] At least two weeks’ [/underlined] notice of these requirements should be given to the Equipment Officer, and Forms 674 should not only state for what purpose the spares are required, but the approximate date the replacement is required; the chassis and engine number of the vehicle MUST in all cases be quoted. Demands will then be raised in accordance with A.M.O. A.481/43.

[Underlined] A.E.C. TANKER FUEL HOSES [/underlined] (Stores Ref 4K/2009) have for some considerable time been in very short supply, and the chief cause for this is the difficulty in the manufacture of sufficient protective coverings. Bomber Command have now agreed to accept these hoses without this covering and as a result it is anticipated that the supply position will improve considerably within the next two months. In the meantime, arrangements should be made, wherever possible, for the repair of these hoses by the manufacturer, under Station local purchase powers.

It is understood that Messrs. Zwicky of Slough (telephone: Slough 23776) are prepared to sell these hoses to the Service, but stations are only to resort to local purchase in extreme cases, where operational efficiency is directly affected and supplies cannot be obtained through Service channels.

A meeting of Base and Station Equipment Officers was held at this Headquarters during the month, when points of mutual interest were discussed, with a view to giving even better service than in the past, to all and sundry.

Before closing the meeting, the A.O.C. spoke highly of the service given by the Equipment Branch. This, naturally, was most gratifying, for sometimes we feel that quite a lot of people look upon us as mere “dogsbodies”, and give no thought to the time, patience and methods (sometimes very unorthodox) adopted in an endeavour to produce the goods.

(Continued from page10, col. 2)

Fiskerton, where the return of aircraft was described, and aircrew were interviewed.

Dunholme received a short visit of the Hon. Herman Hodge, of the Colonial Office, and a B.B.C. recording unit, on 21st March.

Press visitors during the month included representatives of “The Star”, Sheffield, to the Sheffield Squadron at Fiskkerton, on March 15th, and Mrs K. Wilson of the “Sydney Morning Herald”, to Waddington on 31st March.

TRAINING

The Stirling is becoming slowly but surely a nicely house-trained creature. It can be taken out for long or short trips with few difficulties that delay training and rend the tempers of Lancaster loving instructors. The lurid language of February, which produced a glow like unto many batteries of sodiums, is scarcely remembered. Perhaps ‘tis Spring and everything is set for an ideal world.

The L.F.S. at Syerston achieved great success with 93 crews passed out to Squadrons and the H.C.U’s were in no way overshadowed, for they passed on 98 crews for Lancaster training. The outlook for April is therefore fairly good, and squadrons may look forward with confidence to a reasonably early increase in crews, weather permitting.

It is a matter of real regret that accidents have marred an otherwise good month, and may have dragged 5 Group to the bottom of the ladder. A promise has however, been extracted from all and sundry, that 5 Group shall move to the top in April and there will be no avoidable accidents in 51 Base. The heavy snow fall, and the resultant snow banks were chiefly responsible- or perhaps it was the determination to get on with flying and crew output, despite the snow banks.

The April programme is optimistic indeed. There is a measure of quiet confidence about, and if results come up to expectation a new high standard will have been set for Conversion Bases. The results will be seen in better trained and more experienced crews, and we hope the squadrons will not be reluctant to pay the Units a visit and express their appreciation.

Fighter Affiliation Training is now being carried out in Units with detachments of 1690 Flight (1485 regenerated) and an improvement in Gunnery standards is expected.

Synthetic Fishpond training has been introduced, and is likely to be adopted generally.

Recent changes include Group Captain Vintras to command Wigsley; Wing Commander Baxter (106) to Chief Instructor, Swinderby; Wing Commander Jennings (207) to Wing Commander Training, 51 Base; Wing Commander MacFarlane (51 Base) to Chief Instructor Wigsley, and Wing Commander Hallows (5 Group) to Chief Instructor, Winthorpe.

Squadron Leader Osborne (1660) is training Lancaster instructors at Syerston, and also Wing Commanders “Ops” from operational Bases. Squadron Leader Shields and Flight Lieutenant Wyness (1654) are training Stirling instructors at Swinderby. Both “Academies [sic] are doing well.

ABSENCE

ENEMY AGENTS – ABSENTEES

During the coming months, the Allied Forces are likely to be called upon for a maximum effort on land, sea and air, to defeat the enemy.

No. 5 Group will certainly be expected to take its full part in this effort, and there can be no doubt that at heart every man and woman serving in the Group would agree that he or she was going to do it. In spite of all these good intentions there are still far too many absentees, aircrew and ground staff alike. Not long absences, just a few hours or a few days, but absences just the same, at a time when the manpower position simply cannot afford absentees. There isn’t a Tom there now to do Dick’s work while he slips off to see the Dog-races, and there isn’t a Joan there to drive that van while Mary goes off to her sister’s wedding.

[Cartoon] WFW

ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE

Of course those two extra days at home in the garden with the wife were well worth two days pay, and even a bit of C.C. as well, and that special party was well worth a day’s pay and a rep., but that isn’t the point. It’s to have days at home in the garden and special parties that we are fighting this war. There might very well not be a garden or wife at all if the Germans laid down the orders for us, and we should certainly not be the ones to enjoy any parties that were arranged.

There is this special point for aircrews to remember too. You work together as a team and your captain has to have complete confidence in each one of his crew or he cannot give his best to his job. If you have let him down by going absent once or twice during training is he going to have that confidence and is he going to feel quite certain that you’re not absent(minded) in that rear turret? It might make all the difference!

If you’re absent on the ground, you’re quite likely to be absent in the air; it’s all a matter of self-discipline, and that’s the same in each case.

In this war, no-one in the services can be a neutral; if you don’t do a day’s work for the Allies, you are doing a day’s work for the Axis, and at the end of the war your Form 121 will show just how many days you put in fighting [underlined] for [/underlined] Hitler. If you put it that way, that day’s absence doesn’t look so good, so cut it out and [underlined] don’t be an enemy agent. [/underlined]

5 Group News. No. 20. March, 1944. Page 11.

[Page break]

[Cartoon] SPORTS [Cartoon]

[Underlined] THE MATZ CUP [/underlined]

The semi final between Coningsby and Scampton was a tremendous affair. From the kick off, Scampton’s attack went all out, and Coningsby’s defence is to be congratulated on the way they held them. Coningsby’s attack improved, and the game swung from goal to goal. Ten minutes before half time, Coningsby centre headed a goal from a corner kick. After the break, Scampton forced the pace and equalised after ten minutes with a shot that gave the Coningsby goalie no chance. Both sides were all out in an endeavour to snatch the lead. Coningsby left wing repeatedly broke away and centred, but nobody could connect. By three quarters time both teams were slackening as a result of the terrific pace; both defences, and especially the goalies, were coping brilliantly. A draw seemed inevitable. Then came the turning point; Coningsby attacked, their left half was well up the field, and instead of the usual pass to the wing he made ground, then shot hard and true for the top corner. The last 15 minutes of the game saw repeated Coningsby attacks, and five minutes from time they got a third goal. It was a magnificent game, and Coningsby are to be congratulated on entering the final via such a tremendous obstacle in the powerful Scampton team.

Round two produced a hard fought duel between Winthorpe and Metheringham. Two draws were played, 1-1 and 3-3 after extra time in each game. In the third game Winthorpe won 4 – 1, and are now due to play Skellingthorpe at Swinderby in the semi final.

[Underlined] THE LANCASTER SEVEN-A-SIDE RUGGER COMPETITION [/underlined]

This competition has been a failure as a Group competition, but has been an immense success in 53 Base where 86 teams in all have taken part. Very few casualties have resulted in the large number of games played, the most serious being a broken collar bone, which is undoubtedly more than could be claimed for a Soccer competition boasting a equivalent number of entrants. The event must now be considered a 53 Base monopoly, since in spite of many appeals from this Headquarters, no other squadrons have got cracking. The inter unit play off will be at Waddington within the next few days (to be signalled to all stations) and it is hoped that Stations will provide transport for as many of their aircrew personnel as possible to witness the play off.

[Underlined] THE WINES RUGGER TROPHY [/underlined]

Round two of the competition saw Winthorpe beat Scampton 14 – 11 in a hard fought game. Dunholme beat Swinderby 8 – 0, so these two teams pass to the semi final. Round two games still undecided are – Waddington v Metheringham/Woodhall and East Kirkby v Fiskerton. It is hoped those Stations will complete the events within the next few days.

[Underlined] 5 GROUP MIXED HOCKEY TROPHY [/underlined]

Swinderby are now in the semi final, and the outstanding matches are – Waddington v Metheringham. Syerston v Scampton and East Kirkby v 5 Group. These three games should be decided within the next week.

[Underlined] FOOTBALL [/underlined]

SCAMPTON played six station matches with the very fine result of 4 wins. Their only loss was with Coningsby in the Matz semi-final. They beat A.V. Roe 5 – 4 in the 3rd round of the Lincoln Amateur Cup, and drew 0 - 0 with R.A.F. Wickenby in the semi-final of the Amateur Cup.

DUNHOLME had a busy but rather unsuccessful month. They lost their 3rd round Matz Cup game 2 – 3 to Coningsby, and their 3rd round in the Amateur Cup by the same score to R.A.F. Wickenby.

CONINGSBY – The highlight of the Coningsby month, indeed to quote 54 Base excellent “GEN” – of the season, was their MATZ Cup victory over Scampton. Intersection league games were fewer than usual owing to the bad weather. 619 v 617 and 106 v 61 are also games due this month in the Base Commander’s “All Sports” Trophy.

METHERINGHAM – The duel with Winthorpe in the 2nd round of the Matz Cup was most notable. Weather caused cancellations of no fewer than 10 games, but five inter-section games were completed.

BARDNEY played 4 station matches, playing the 1st Border Regt. twice (1 win 3 – 2, 1 draw 1 – 1), beating Metheringham 3 – 2 and losing to Coningsby by the same margin. 5 inter-section games were completed.

EAST KIRKBY Station XI played 4 games, and won all four, beating Kirkby and Spilsby R.A.F.R. teams and two Field-Craft Airborne Units. In the seven inter-section events, 630 – B Flight were most successful.

SPILSBY had seven games during the month. Their R.A.F.R. Squadron beat East Kirkby R.A.F.R. Squadron 7 – 2, and the local Suffolks 9 – 3, losing 4 – 2 to Kirkby and 3 – 2 to R.A.F. Skegness.

H.Q. 5 GROUP – The Group side are still only able to play away fixtures. In March they had three games, losing to a Scampton team 2 – 3, to Skellingthorpe 0 – 4, and holding their old opponents 93 M.U. to a 2 – 2 draw.

[Underlined] RUGBY [/underlined]

SCAMPTON had only the two games completed due to cancellations by opponents. They lost to Hemswell 0 – 3 and to Winthorpe 11 – 14 in round two of the Wines Cup.

DUNHOLME have a really strong side led by F/L Waterhouse. They overwhelmed Bardney 33 – 0 in round 1 of the Wines Cup, and have since beaten Swinderby 8 – 0 in round two.

METHERINGHAM list 0 – 27 to Waddington, and were unlucky to have six games postponed, their opponents including Digby, Bardney and Coningsby.

BARDNEY had only one station game, in which they were unlucky to meet Dunholme on top of their form in the Wines Cup, and suffer a 33 – 0 defeat.

EAST KIRKBY had three games, a 630 Squadron A and B practice game, and a 57 Squadron A and B practice, followed by a station A and B trial. In spite of this preparation they were unlucky enough to forego their Wines Cup round one as Wigsley could not raise a side. They are now waiting to play Fiskerton in the second round.

HOCKEY

SCAMPTON had four games of mixed hockey, beating Spilsby 6 – 1 in round one of the Group competition, and Foldingsworth 5 – 0. They lost 2 – 3 to 368 Searchlight Battery and 1 – 5 to Rose Bros. In the second round of the cup they have now to play Syerston.

DUNHOLME had only one mixed hockey game, v Scampton in the Group competition, which they lost 1 – 4.

METHERINGHAM played a 2 – 2 draw with Waddington on their new aerodrome pitch. They are now due to play Waddington again in the Group contest.

BARDNEY neat Dunholme 4 – 1 in the Group contest, and later registered a 4 – 1 win against Waddington. They were finally knocked out of the trophy by Swinderby (5 – 1).

EADT KIRKBY had four games, three inter-station and one (a 1- 1 draw) with Spilsby G.S. They are now waiting to meet 5 Group at home in the contest.

SPILSBY played Scampton in the Group trophy, but were defeated 6 – 1.

[Underlined] ICE HOCKEY [/underlined]

54 Base boast a Canadian Cougars’ team that is certainly 100% full blooded, judging from the “GEN” account of their 5 – 4 victory over Digby Dynamites.

[Underlined] SOFT BALL [/underlined]

F/Lt. Rodgers (Gunnery Leader 617) now has a Woodhall Soft Ball team that challenges all comers. Roll up, roll up, and have your money ready!!

(Continued on page 4, col. 3)

[Cartoon] WFW

Dot and Dash, the immaculate WAAFs.

“…OPERATIONS? I’VE ‘AD ‘EM!”

5 Group News. No. 20. March, 1044. Page 12.

[Page break]

NAVIGATION

Navigation generally has been of a high order this month. There is still room for considerable improvement however. A good many of the Navigators’ Charts still look very bare. Although all aircraft are equipped with Air Position Indicators, a few Navigators still do not “keep an air plot”, in that they do not plot their Air Position regularly and obtain a D.R. position. This is most important and must be done. A standard Navigational procedure to be adopted when using broadcast w/v’s, has been laid down (see Air Staff Instruction Nav/14). We are constantly striving for concentration, and for obvious reasons the concentration should be on the planned track, it is therefore imperative that you constantly obtain your D.R. position by intelligent use of the broadcast w/v’s. If the D.R. position obtained places the aircraft off track, then alter course immediately and regain track.

The A.P.I. has been modified, and the error in this instrument is now very small. If the windfinders obtain accurate fixes on their H 2 S, the resultant w/v should be almost perfect. Navigators should, therefore, have every confidence in the broadcast w/v’s and make the fullest possible use of them.

Whilst track keeping is very important, it must be remembered that timing is equally important. This does not seem to be fully appreciated, and a few Navigators still persist om leaving the concentration point with “a few minutes in hand”. Other aircraft inadvertently leave the concentration point a few minutes late (possibly due to late take-off, etc.) with the result that the stream of aircraft is very much longer than it should be, and the chance of success by the German night fighter is increased. If it is calculated that the aircraft will arrive at the concentration point early, then dog-legs [underlined] must [/underlined] be carried out before reaching this position. All Navigation Officers are to check the time at the concentration point of each aircraft, and they must insist that no aircraft leaves this position with any time in hand.

[Underlined] AIR POSITION INDICATORS [/underlined]

All aircraft of the Group are now equipped with the A.P.I. fully modified. Several tests have been carried out to ascertain the accuracy of this instrument now it has been modified, and the results have shown that the error is now very small, and of the order of 3 or 4 m.p.h. We must, therefore, make every use of this valuable instrument. It is considered by a few Navigators that errors arise when resetting the A.P.I. Mechanically this is not so, and any errors are due to incorrect setting by the Navigator. If the A.P.I. is reset every 30 minutes, as it should be, then the amount to be subtracted or added to the counters should not be great, and would not generally be more that 30-35 minutes of latitude or longitude. For ease and simplicity, the A.P.I. should not be reset until the latitude or longitude counters are showing an even number of minutes, e.g. 10, 20, 30, etc. It should then be a simple matter to add or subtract say 25 minutes of latitude or longitude.

It is advocated by a small section of the “Union” that the A.P.I. should be reset as little as possible, e.g. at the last Gee fix, the target, and first Gee fix, etc., but this method has several disadvantages. It will become cumbersome after a long period of D.R. e.g. the Berlin raid 24/25 March, 1944, when the wind vector from target to Enemy Coast was approx. 230 miles long. There is as great a risk of error in plotting this vector as in resetting the A.P.I. Another disadvantage is that the Air Position may run off the chart in use. This would necessitate carrying several charts.

The Air Position Indicator is a valuable instrument if correctly used. Navigators are urged to experiment with the A.P.I. in the various methods of use, and discuss with their Station Navigation Officers.

[Underlined] BROADCAST W/V’S [/underlined]

March was a mixed month for broadcast w/v’s. The wind finding and resultant track keeping was good, with the exception of Berlin and Nuremburg. The last two mentioned raids have been investigated, and the results are worthy of special comment.

[Underlined] Berlin. [/underlined] Average forecast w/v from Base to Target at 20,000 feet was 350/60. Average w/v transmitted was 350/90. Average true w/v was approximately 350/105. It will be noted that the winds transmitted by Aircraft were, on average, 15 m.p.h. under strength. A large percentage of windfinders obtained the accurate w/v, but only a few transmitted it. The remainder either did not send it, or, not believing there could be such a large error in the forecast w/v’s, “watered it down” and sent that. This procedure is very dangerous. Navigators must send back all w/v’s they obtain, providing they are confident the fixes used are accurate.

Another feature of the Berlin raid was the delay in aircraft sending back w/v’s. All the difficulties experienced by aircrew are fully appreciated, but every effort must be made to get the w/v’s back to Base as soon as possible.

[Underlined] Nuremburg. [/underlined] The investigation into this raid has not yet been completed, but the one outstanding feature is that the wind direction at and above 20,000 feet backed by 15° - 20° and this was a contributory factor to the Northerly trend on the return journey.

[Underlined] LIAISON VISITS [/underlined

Only a few liaison visits have been completed during the month. It is very difficult for operational Station and Squadron Navigational Officers to visit the Con. Units or Scampton Aircrew School, but every effort should be made. Make a note of all the deficiencies of Navigators, your suggestions, criticisms etc., then go and discuss them with the Con. Unit or Scampton. More good can be done by paying one liaison visit than by writing a hundred letters. Con. Unit, L.F.S. and Scampton Instructors must also pay regular visits to Squadrons.

[Underlined] LOG AND CHART KEEPING [/underlined]

During the month, one Navigator from each Squadron was detailed to experiment with Log and Chart work. Each was asked to work almost entirely on the Chart, making only a very few log entries. This method has proved very popular. Full reports are not yet to hand, but an analysis of all reports will be sent to Stations and Squadrons in due course.

1. If the D.R. Compass topples, and the repeater rotates, what action would you take to maintain the line of flight marker on the H 2 S correctly orientated?

2. What action would you take to tune in the ground returns and set up the height marker on the H 2 S equipment if the trace on the height tube were missing?

3. You are using broadcast wind velocities, and the Bomb Aimer gives you a pinpoint which is “off track”. What two actions would you take?

4. You have received an amendment to the zero hour, but, having applied the correction, observe that you still have several minutes in hand. How and where would you lose this time?

5. In which countries are the following towns: Strasbourg, Aix-le Chappelle, Flensburg, Ghent, Pilsen, Charlattenburg?

6. Which is the shorter distance – Stuttgart to ROME or Stuttgart to LONDON?

[Underlined] ANSWERS TO LAST MONTH’S QUIZ [/underlined]

1. (a) Passes to W/Optr. On paper (1) Course, (2) Height, (3) I.A.S., (4) present position, (5) estimated time of ditching, (6) reason for ditching. ( )
(b) Obtain a Gee fix and pass to W/Op., on paper, the Gee co-ordinates and time of fix.

[Underlined] NOTE: [/underlined] Few crews carry out correct procedure, which is – the emergency procedure when ditching is considered unavoidable, S.O.S. procedure when ditching is imminent within 15 minutes.

2. 30°

3. If B strobe is missing. Line up signals in usual manner, and take “C” reading. Then reverse signals so that B signal is on the C trace, strobe the signal and take the reading remembering to subtract 30. If “C” strobe is missing, reverse above procedure and add 30 to the “C” pulse reading.

4. (a) It means that you are heading for high ground.
(b) Turn on reciprocal course and obtain a check on your position. If no reliable aids are available in the aircraft, the Navigator should request W/Op. to obtain an M/F D/F fix.

Lines to those who went on leave on April 4th.

For you the birds tra-la do sing!
For me the heavens do glower and rain!
For you buds burst like anything!
My buds ‘gainst blight do strive in vain!
The reason’s simple why I grieve,’
And why my downtrod soul doth pine;
For you continue with your leave,
But I’ve just heard that I’ve had mine!!

ANON (Circa 1944)

5 Group News. No. 20. March, 1944. Page 13.

[Page break]

ACCIDENTS

[Underlined] ANOTHER BAD MONTH [/underlined]

The [underlined] Avoidable [/underlined] Accident Summary for March again makes bad reading – Squadrons had 9 and Training Base had 33. These figures speak for themselves, and they use pretty strong language. As a result of these accidents, 4 aircraft were CAT “E”, 6 were CAT “B”, 20 were CAT AC” and 12 were CAT “A”. Bear in mind these were only avoidable accidents. Technical failures are not included in this list. Details are as follows:-

Ground collisions (including taxying) – 15; overshoot landing – 3; crashes on 3-engined overshoots – 3; swings on take off – 5; swings landing – 4; errors of judgement landing – 5; heavy landings – 3; maintenance – 2; taking off – 1; other errors of judgement – 1: Total [underlined] 42 [/underlined].

The snow period at the beginning of the month was directly responsible for 14 of these accidents, all within 51 Base. Had there been no hard snow banks, no damage would have been done to these aircraft. The hazard had to be accepted, and no action was on these “snow” accidents. Under this heading there were 5 taxying, 7 swinging and 2 landing. This however, still leaves 19 avoidable accidents in 51 Base, in the usual categories, and 9 in squadrons – total 28, as under:-

[Underlined] Squadrons [/underlined] – Ground collisions – 3; overshoot landing – 2; maintenance errors – 2; other errors of judgement – 2.

[Underlined] 51 Base [/underlined] Ground collisions – 7; swings – 2; overshoot landing 1; heavy landings – 2; other landing errors – 4; crashes on 3 engined overshoots – 3.

Collisions on the ground (10) still account for more damaged aircraft than any other category. There were two more M.T. collisions this month, both due to careless driving by ground personnel, in spite of the recent drive to eliminate these costly entirely inexcusable accidents. One aircraft was damaged during compass swinging at a squadron, and two more were damaged on dispersal. In the others, only a very slight degree of carelessness was shown by aircrew. They were more unfortunate than anything else. Apart from the M.T. collisions, there has not been an instance this month of down right careless taxying, which is a step in the right direction.

The swings were by inexperienced pilots, both of whom took the correct action after the swing developed. This action avoided serious damage. One of the heavy landings was made in difficult wind conditions, the other only accentuated damage which had been started as a result of previous heavy landings; both pilots were under training.

Three aircraft crashed on 3 engined overshoots – two Stirlings and one Lancaster. It is hoped that the revised technique of dealing with three engined landings at Conversion Units will minimise these three engined accidents. The overshoot landing at Training Base was also made on three engines. The pilot hesitated between landing and going round again, decided on one, then changed his mind; he finished up in the overshoot area. Overshoots on the squadrons were made under extremely difficult circumstances. One was made on two engines, and in the other, visibility was practically nil.

(Continued on page 15, col. 3)

ORGANISATION

[Underlined] (MAY BE READ BY AIRCREW TYPES) [/underlined]

When the so-called “brained types” of the Royal Air Force are binding round the fireplace in the mess, they sometimes utter the most amazing theories on how the war can be won on a date earlier than that already forecast by Lindoe. But no one tries to make a note of what is said by these Fuehrers, except, maybe, to insert a few rude remarks in the local “Line Book”.

When, however, an observation is made that is clever and helpful, quotations are extracted and issued to the world at large. Such an extract is made in Section 1 of A.P.837 – “Principles of Administration”.

An extract from the Manual says “A good organisation requires competent management to produce satisfactory results”. In the Royal Air Force, this management of the [underlined] ORGANISATION [/underlined] is called Administration; it is the system whereby, in principle and in executive detail, the Service carries out its function ….TO OPERATE EFFICIENTLY….!!!... and to work efficiently, co-operation is essential. (Co-operation, by the way, is something to which every member of a Service contributes).

Another famous quotation by Socrates, was to the effect that “A disorderly mob is no more an army than a “pranged” aircraft a fighting machine”. The bits and pieces must be [underlined] organised. [/underlined]

So, therefore, let’s have a look at organisation in action-theory is not sufficient, it must be applied.

With apologies to Tee Emm. here are a few “Do’s and Don’t s”.

[Underlined] DO [/underlined] see that Orders issued are brief, complete and unambiguous. [Underlined] DON’T [/underlined] lay yourself open to being misunderstood. [Underlined] DON’T [/underlined] forget that in your planning, you must always ask yourself who has to be consulted before you reach a decision, and who has to be informed of your decision.

[Underlined] DO [/underlined] grasp the scope of the task, and foresee what it demands, with thoroughness and imagination. [Underlined] DO [/underlined] see with what other tasks run by other Sections, you must interlock. [Underlined] DO [/underlined] co-ordinate with your equals and underlings. [Underlined] DON’T [/underlined] plan until you are absolutely clear what is to be done. [Underlined] DON’T [/underlined] jump at the first solution. [Underlined] DO [/underlined] consider all the advantages and disadvantages of each solution. [Underlined] DON’T [/underlined] go off at half-cock.

[Underlined] DO [/underlined] remember that in war, speed is nearly everything.

[Underlined] DON’T [/underlined] forget that ceaseless driving force and ceaseless supervision are essential.

[Underlined] DO [/underlined] check and check again.

[Underlined] DON’T [/underlined] forget, whatever your job, your ability to organise is every bit as important to the Service as a whole, whether you are throwing an aircraft about the sky, or writing Railway Warrants.

ENGINEERING

Early returns for the month of March were about average, and cancellations were much reduced. Cancellations for March were 0.98%, a considerable improvement on the 3.47% recorded for February. Early Returns for March were 4.01% for all causes, again, an improvement on February’s figures which were 6.5%.

Serviceability was generally good, the main causes of unserviceability being:-

1. Aircraft on acceptance checks.
2. Aircraft on minor inspection.
3. Aircraft landing away from base due to diversion.

The number of sorties flown by this Group is again a record, but still greater numbers will be expected during the coming months.

The maintenance statistics staff are still at Waddington and very soon experiments will proceed with a 75 hour maintenance cycle, using the revised maintenance schedule.

Much unnecessary engine running is taking place on the ground, and the method of some of the running is harsh and detrimental to the engine. C.T.O’s must ensure that all N.C.O’s and men who “run up” engines are qualified to do so, and that they have passed the necessary test.

Many cases have been noticed where on a ground run a mag drop has been experienced, and the fitter at the controls has run the engine up three or four times “hoping! It may clear. This is a waste of time, imposes heavy loads on the engine, and proves the man in the cockpit does not know his job.

Another point about ground running is that much damage is done on a ground test by inspection panels and turret covers not being secure, and being damaged by the slipstream. C.T.O’s must have a drive on this, and when they see it happening, check the man at the controls and the N.C.O. i/c aircraft.

[Underlined] RENDITION OF FORMS 765C [/underlined]

The remarks on Form 765C by the specialist officers are in many cases too brief and are of no assistance to this Headquarters in attempting to establish a cause, or make recommendations to prevent a recurrence of the trouble which led to the forced landing or failure. This is liable to indicate, in the case of engine trouble, that the cause is not investigated thoroughly at the Station. As it is known that the cause is always investigated it is small trouble to insert more details in the paragraph provided in the 765C for Specialist’s remarks, and it will save a large amount of correspondence and telephone calls between Group and Stations. If a full technical report is to follow after rendition of the 765C then of course this should be stated in the appropriate paragraph.

[Underlined] TRAINING UNIT SERVICEABILITY [/underlined]

[Tables of Serviceability of Stirling and Lancaster aircraft by Unit]

5 Group News. No. 20. March, 1944. Page 14.

[Page break]

ARMAMENT

This has been a month of records, and on one occasion a period of sweat, toil, and almost tears.

To create a record with the existing power available, whether it be sprinting, car racing or bombing up, it is necessary to exclude wasted energy. As man power cannot be increased and new armament records must be realised, it is essential that this strive for maximum efficiency be closely investigated.

Wasted energy in the bombing up phase of operations is too often attributed to shortage of equipment, bomb trollies, small bomb containers, Whitlocks, Hampden twins, liners; even spanners. It is admitted that there is a shortage of some of these items; all the more reason why the few available should be kept serviceable; further, if failures and faults occur, an expedient system of repair must be instituted. A flat tyre on a bomb trolley, a few popped rivets on a small bomb container, small faults, easily remedied, but if allowed to accumulate they may easily cause a bottleneck in the repair section and eventually a complete breakdown.

A large percentage of the necessary repairs are caused by mishandling. Bombing up parties must not be allowed to model on the popular conception of a dockyard stevedore.

A release slip that fails is a bomb returned, and a stupendous effort is wasted, especially as it is necessary to cart the weapon back to the bomb dump. Do not therefore allow speed to interfere with the quality of workmanship.

Short cuts and new devices of local manufacture, such as tools and loading platforms save time, and time saved is man hours of effort that can be directed to raising the standard of workmanship, and thus increasing the tonnage dropped on the enemy.

New records will be set, so prepare now for every eventuality.

Load the [underlined] GOODS [/underlined] so that our colleagues the aircrew may deliver them.

[Underlined] WARNING TO WANTONS [/underlined]

A rumour is rife that by trial, a certain Group discovered that if the centre station release mechanism is plugged to the rear turret electric heating system, and the gunner turns on his heated clothing, the following incidents occur:-

(a) A large bomb goes through the bomb doors.

(b) The rear gunner is practically electrocuted.

(c) Pandemonium reigns in the aircraft.

(The Group and Unit concerned prefer to remain anonymous.)

[Underlined] FIREWORKS [/underlined]

To alleviate the somewhat chaotic state brought about by the increase in the use of target markers and indicators, and the need for an improved system of supply, it has been decided to form a pyrotechnical park at Woodhall. It is intended that this park should hold a quantity sufficient to supply any Station at short notice, and that any technical information regarding these new and unheralded devices will be available from that source.

[Underlined] TRANSPORT [/underlined]

A word of appreciation is directed to the transport sections, who undertook many nocturnal journeys to ensure prompt deliveries of bombs in readiness for operations.

[Underlined] FAILURES [/underlined]

This month a total of 2 cancellations and 7 Early Returns were attributed to Armament. Although this represents a decided improvement on last month’s figures, it is still too high. The total of 9 abortive sorties were due to:-

(i) 3 Gunners’ “boobs”.
(ii) 1 aircraft returned early as a result of a sticky Palmer Firing Valve, the result of a tight gland nut on the valve spindle.
(iii) 1 aircraft was not bombed up in time for take-off and consequently cancelled.
(iv) 4 aircraft returned with unserviceable tail turrets due to defects in technical equipment, i.e.

(a) A broken ball bearing resulted in a seized vane oil motor.
(b) Spline shaft of the E.D.P. sheared.
(c) Pressure pipe union at the Engine Driven Pump fractured during flight – exit the last old type flex pipe in the Group.
(d) Collapsed gun ram washer.

From this analysis it can be seen that at least 5 out of 9 abortive sorties could, and should, have been avoided. After deducting the three gunners’ “boobs” and 4 failures due to defective equipment, Armament can say with satisfaction, that they were responsible for only two abortive sorties out of a total of 1720 sorties flown. (.116%) – Good show!! A record number of sorties flown, a record tonnage dropped on the Hun and an all-time low of abortive sorties.

There is, however, grave cause for alarm regarding small bomb container compartment hang-ups. Although a greater tonnage than ever before was dropped, so also was a greater tonnage returned to the bomb store, and unfortunately over 50% of the failures were caused by carelessness. Of 102 S.B.C. hang-ups there were 60 maintenance failures directly attributed to severed and trapped leads.

These maintenance failures cannot be accepted, and it is obvious that the present system of supervision during bombing up needs overhaul.

FAILURES TABLE

[Table of failures by Squadron]

A = MANIPULATION B = MAINTENANCE C = ICING D = TECHNICAL E = ELECTRICAL F = OBSCURE + = H 2 S Squadron

ACCIDENTS

(Continued from page 14, col.1)

The other landing accidents occurred in 51 Base. They consisted of collapsing of Stirling under-carriages after touch-down. These have not yet been fully investigated.

The remaining “error of judgement” occurred in a squadron. The aircraft crashed in the circuit at dusk. The reason for this crash is still obscure, and has only been included because investigation at this stage does not suggest technical failure of any kind.

A fatal accident took place this month in the Waddington circuit. A Lancaster collided in mid-air with a 1 Group aircraft on its way home to base. Responsibility for the accident has not yet been allocated, but it brings home once again the necessity for keeping a thorough look-out at all times. The pilot of an aircraft is naturally preoccupied in the circuit with his cockpit drill etc., and it is up to the crew, especially the gunners to keep up a search all round. The natural tendency to look inside the circuit at the flarepath must be resisted.

5 Group News. No. 20. March, 1944. Page 15.

[Page break]

OPERATIONS

The opening months of the year have each [missing word] noteworthy contributions to the Bomber Offensive, and this month has proved no exception. Not only have we established a new sortie peak of 1720, but our achievements also include the distinction of being the first Group in the field to drop over 1000 tons in one night on a single target. The high percentage of successes (89.7%) was maintained despite the set-back of two abortive operations, and losses remained a constant 3.37%.

The principal role of the Group, outside the main force “blitz” targets, has been the continuation of the offensive, commenced last month, against Germany’s aircraft production – an essential prelude to the establishment of a Second Front. This offensive has been rewarded by no mean success.

The attack on 2/3rd March against ALBERT resulted in the total destruction of the aero-engine factory of Cle Mecanique d’Albert, with the aircraft factory of S.N.C.A. du Nord more than half destroyed – an impressive result.

MARIGNANE, singled out for attack on the 9/10th, also sustained extremely severe damage, particularly to the assembly shop, heat treatment shop, offices, flight hangar, components’ store, garages, workshops and other buildings in the factory area.

The following night (namely the 10/11th), an ambitious programme was conducted against aircraft factories at CHATEAUROUX, CLERMOND FERRAND and OSSUN, and the Needle Bearing Factory at LA RICAMARIE. Interpretation of P.R.U. photographs provides evidence of the high measure of success which attended these missions. Thirteen buildings comprising the larger part of the workshops of S.N.C.A. du Sud-Ouest Chateauroux, have been destroyed or severely damaged, including the main assembly store, transformer house and other key buildings. The aircraft repair factory at CLERMOND FERRAND has received major damage throughout, including two large multi-bay buildings, compounding plant and power station – the latter now being observed to be inactive – OSSUN Factory airfield bears its scars in the form of severe damage to the two larger factory buildings and other ancillary buildings. The devastation at LA RICAMARIE is particularly acute. The eastern two thirds of the plant has suffered heavily, and every building, with one exception, has been either damaged or destroyed.

Three persistent attacks against the Sigma Aero Engine Works, LYONS, on 23/24th, 25/26th and again on 29/30th, terminated in sixteen out of the 22 buildings comprising the Factory receiving varying degrees of damage, in addition to which a neighbouring hutted encampment has been virtually destroyed.

A further two nights out of the month were devoted with great profit to the firing of Hun powder magazines. The results were impressive indeed, and upheld the high hopes of the crews. BERGERAC on 18/19th took the count in the first round. The east end of the plant is almost completely demolished, while the nitration houses and acid recovery plant are severely damaged, with evidence of severe blast throughout the Factory. ANGOULEME, attacked on 20/21st, was still burning the day following the raid, and severe damage throughout the target area, particularly to the nitro-cellulose plant, can be seen.

We, as a Group, also played a small, but nevertheless noteworthy part in the attack against the enemy’s communications supplying his Channel Ports. AULNOYE was selected as our target, and the ensuing attack on 25/26th resulted in the central portion of one of the carriage and wagon repair shop being damaged. Rather more than twenty direct hits have been secured on the tracks – and the locomotive shed to the south is half destroyed.

An outstandingly successful attack was made on 16/17th against the CLERMOND FERRAND MICHELIN PLANT – not a building of which escaped. Severe damage is displayed throughout the entire area.

Seven major attacks were undertaken during the month. STUTTGART was our first objective on 1/2nd and again on 15/16th. The heaviest concentration of damage from these attacks is seen to the North West and North East of the town centre, where many factories of high priority are situated. Throughout the town, scattered incidents to business and residential property are apparent.

FRANKFURT on 18/19th and 22/23rd, was spectacular, not only by reason of the success of the attack, but because the Group seized the unique opportunity of unloading bombs exceeding 1000 tons of H.E. and incendiaries on the target. Some 12 hours after the second attack, columns of smoke were rising to 15,000 feet, and drifting southwards for at least 200 miles – a grave spectacle for dwellers in the South of the Reich. The principal damage is concentrated in the city centre, stretching a scarred arm northwards between the railway station and east harbour.

No month would be complete without an attack on the “Big City”. Limited cover only was available the day following the raid on 24/25th, but from the provisional report (which omits reference to the centre and the east), the potential results can be contemplated with some optimism. At the time of photography, fires were still burning.

For some months, rebuilding in ESSEN has been stealthily proceeding, and the night of 26/27th was selected as a favourable opportunity to disrupt this activity. PR.U. photographs are of poor quality, but fresh damage can be identified in many parts of the town, and in the workshops of Krupps. A full report is awaited.

The final bout of the month witnessed a bitter struggle with the enemy’s fighter defences throughout the deep penetration to NURNBERG on 30/31st, involving our heaviest loss so far recorded. Our aircraft, however, put up a spirited defence, shooting down a number of the enemy. The losses were not a small price to pay, even for a successful attack on this extremely important war production centre, but the casualties can perhaps be placed in their proper perspective, and to some extent minimised, when viewing the Battle of Germany as a whole. It is difficult to place any assessment on the raid owing to cloud conditions, and P.R.U. cover has not yet been obtained.

To speculate on the value of our contribution towards the opening of the Second Front is obviously vain, but there can be no doubt that the month’s activity has left its mark clearly impressed on the Reich.

WAR EFFORT

[Table of statistics on aircraft, sorties, bombing and training by Squadron]

ORDER OF MERIT in this table is now based on the number of SUCCESSFUL sorties completed, per average aircraft on charge, i.e. Total number of sorties minus Early Returns and Missing, divided by Average A/C on charge. No 617 Squadron, in view of their special task, are shown separately.

5 Group News. No. 20. March, 1944.

Collection

Citation

“V Group News, March 1944
,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed October 16, 2019, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/17564.

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