V Group News, July 1944


V Group News, July 1944
5 Group News, July 1944


Five Group Newsletter, number 24, July 1944. Includes a foreword by the Air Officer Commanding, and features about second thoughts for pilots, gardening, war effort, signals, armament, war savings, navigation, radar navigation, navigation training, engineering, training, decorations, a visit to Normandy, accidents, equipment, air sea rescue, recent good shows, aircrew volunteers, air bombing, the Lord Camrose bombing trophy, photography, link trainer, gunnery, operations, flying control, sports, and tactics,

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9 Wadd.
10 Skell.
6 Bard.

JULY 1944 [deleted] SECRET [/deleted] [Stamp] NO.24


Within the past few months the German defence of occupied Europe by day has greatly weakened and in consequence new methods of attack have become feasible. Day fighters are unable to challenge our great superiority and night fighters have not so far been risked in daylight combat. Recently therefore an increasing proportion of attacks have been by day, and since these provide some novel problems, I would like aircrew to know the reasons behind our present tactics, and the developments which we hope to see.

Apart from enemy defences there is one difficulty which is at present inherent in daylight operations to a greater extent than in night operations, and that is smoke. By night markers can usually be seen through considerable clouds of smoke, but by day their brilliance is insufficient, and those crews who bomb towards the end of an attack will seldom be able to see the aiming point. It may therefore, be necessary to order crews to offset the bombsight, or overshoot from a clearly defined aiming point outside the target area. These are however palliatives and the solution for targets where cratering is required us the half-hour delay fuse which will enable the whole attack to be completed before the bombs start to explode. These fuses will shortly be available in quantity.

Another difficulty is cloud which by day is more prevalent than by night, especially the cumulus type which can so easily mar the bombing run by shrouding the target at a critical moment. For daylight attacks therefore, except where the sky is clear, I should expect a higher proportion of crews to have to bring their bombs back, because it is essential that they should not be released aimlessly over occupied territory. I hope all crews are now aware of the importance of this instruction and will never allow their natural wish to release their bombs to override their judgement on this point.

As regards the tactics to be adopted on daylight attacks there are, broadly speaking, two alternatives. The first is to adopt a close formation built up of Flights, Squadrons and Bases, with aircraft flying in tight Vics so as to provide supporting fire against fighters. The second method is to employ our normal night technique and to fly in an organised mass in which aircraft are evenly spaced in height and throughout the length of the stream.

The first alternative calls for considerable training and although it increases fire power such formations are difficult to manoeuvre and more vulnerable to flak. Heavy flak is more accurate by day than at night only to the extent that the operators of the various predictor instruments can pick out individual aircraft or formations, against which the fire of the batteries can be directed. If aircraft are flying in a close formation there is generally no difficulty in ranging instruments upon it and very accurate fire results. If however aircraft are flying in loose mass it is almost impossible to ensure that all the various “Predictor” teams will select the same aircraft and, in general, fire will be no more accurate than by night, that is to say, it will only be directed into the general mass of aircraft. This is an important point because it has been found by experience that large and tightly packed formations must fly at heights above 26,000’ to ensure reasonable immunity from flak, and such heights are beyond the present capabilities of the Lancaster.

The next point is protection against fighters. So far we have not come up against enemy fighter opposition when our own fighter escort has been present, but the danger is always present if the column loses cohesion, as was shown on the occasion of the attack against the Bois-de-Cassan, when the force became split up after flying through thunder cloud. Our fighters, numerous as they are, cannot protect a column or [sic] more than a certain length, and any aircraft which are outside the area of fighter cover must expect to be attacked. On the way to the target and on the return the column should be as short as possible, but should open out on approaching the target so as to enable crews to take a steady bombing run without having to worry unduly about other aircraft or falling bombs. This opening out will normally be achieved by providing a turn before and after the target so that Bases can spread out by making a wide turn and close in by cutting the corner, on the way through the target.

A daylight operation calls for a high measure of control and good flight discipline. Control will in future be by TR.1196 within the Squadron and Base formations and by V.H.F. to the Group as a whole when passing through the Target area. The “shepherd” in a Lightning or a Mosquito will continue to keep a watchful eye on any who may stray away from the protection of the mass and hand them over to the fighter escort.

Conditions in which daylight operations take place will change as the war develops, and crews must be prepared for evolution od the tactics employed. The tactics will, however, always aim at providing conditions in which every crew can attack the target with the utmost confidence and with all the accuracy of which the bombsight is capable.

July was a month of hard work but also a month of notable progress in the War. Over the past three years the weight of bombs dropped by this Group has gone up as follows:

May, June, July, 1942. – 2,780 toms
May, June, July, 1943. – 11,505 tons
May, June, July, 1944. – 31,107 tons.

This increased tonnage is a tribute to the steadily growing efficiency of all ranks throughout the Group and to the improvements which have been made in the reliability of aircraft and equipment. It is a magnificent effort to achieve such a tremendous aadvance [sic] in the striking power of the Group in so short a time, and the peak has not yet been reached, as August will certainly show.

During July, No. 51 Base raised their total figures once more and passed out 150 trained crews. No. 5 L.F.S. completed a second month is succession with no flying accidents and I again congratulate them on a fine achievement.

[Page break]


[Underlined] FRESHMEN [/underlined]

How much affiliation have you done? The facilities are now available in the Group and you should take every opportunity of crossing swords with the Hurricanes of 1690 B.D.T. Flight. A point about “rolling in the corkscrew”. Don’t “roll” on your ailerons alone. Use rudder firmly in conjunction with the ailerons and you will roll smoothly during a manoeuvre, Be precise in your air speeds and amount of bank. The Base Training pilots have picked up this point when giving you a final check over before going on operations. There is one good corkscrew and must be flown accurately. Your gunners should get the chance they deserve.

Instrument flying needs constant practice. You’ve got dark nights and long trips to come so don’t let your instrument flying get rusty because you are doing some “daylights”. The points to remember about instrument flying are:-

(i) Trim your aircraft carefully.
(ii) Trust your instruments.
(iii) Fly smoothly.

Take care in taxying when you are being marshalled by ground crew. Let the airman sit in the pilot’s seat in dispersal sometime and show him how limited is your field of vision when anyone is standing too close to the nose of the aircraft.

Don’t follow a “curve of approach” on your bombing run. Insist that your Navigator gives you the drift in degrees as the correct turning point for the run in to the target. If the target markers are not dead ahead when you first see them, correct immediately by means of an “S” turn so that the aircraft’s nose points at the markers along the predetermined track, then turn the aircraft port or starboard for the number of degrees of drift given by the Navigator. The aircraft should then be tracking towards the markers. The motto is “Bomb on the correct heading with the graticule intersection of the bombsight astride the aiming point”.

[Underlined] VETERANS [/underlined]

Your gunners are now to have categories. It is up to yourself to get A-plus category. Half the job depends on you. If your corkscrew is accurate and your gunners apply the right deflection, your Cine-Gyro film will be a good one and so will the category. Get all the practice you can with the Hurricanes of 1690 B.D.T. Flight.

Though priority for squadron practices belongs to Gunnery, you must keep your bombing category up as well. Some pilots are still doing flat turns. Avoid them like the plague. The Lancaster will [underlined] NOT [/underlined] flat turn but merely swings itself in the direction of the intended turn and then flies crab wise to its track in much the same direction as before. While the nose swinging the pilot has the illusion of turning for the following reasons:-

(i) The nose of the aircraft moves round the horizon.
(ii) The directional gyro revolves.
(iii) The turn indictor shows rates of turn

Have you given your Flight Engineers any experience in handling the controls? Flight Engineers are now officially recognised as the pilot’s mate in Lancasters, and as a result are getting some elementary training before joining the Group. This Headquarters has laid down that they must do regular Link Exercises, and, at the Captain’s discretion, be given 15 minutes at the controls during non-operational flights of more than an hour’s duration. There’s a drill issued by this Headquarters for changing seats in the air. Have you read it? It’s Drill No.10 of the 5 Groups Aircraft Drills.

There’s another drill which you may have overlooked now that the warmer nights are here. Drill No.12 – Oxygen and Anti-Frostbite Drill – which makes Captains responsible for inspecting air gunners in their crew once a week with the gunners fully dressed in operational flying kit. When did you last check your gunners?


Three Gardening operations were carried out this month by 5 Group; two in the Kattegat and one in a certain heavily defended and very restricted harbour. In the former area we were dependent upon cloud cover, which in the case of 55 Base’s effort let us down, but gave 44 Squadron its chance a few days later. The last operation was carried out by 57 and 630 Squadrons in the face of intense opposition. In all cases gardening was done on H 2 S and some good P.P.I. photographs were obtained. Two aircraft were missing.

The Command total this month was 708 vegetables, the majority of which were again directed against the U-boat bases. The interference which these pests have been able to cause to our invasion forces has been negligible and we have evidence that gardening has played a big part in producing this happy state of affairs.

Mr. Wood, of the Ministry of Economic Warfare, gave a most interesting lecture on the economic dislocation caused by our strategic gardening. He was able to give his lecture to 5 Group Air Staff, the Aircrew School and 44, 57, 630 and 207 Squadrons.

Vegetable stocks are now on the increase again and this probably presages some more planting before the Autumn harvest.


[Table of War Effort showing Sorties with Star Awards by Squadron]

Squadrons are placed in the above table in order of “successful sorties per average aircraft on charge”. In view of their special duties Nos. 83, 97, 617 and 627 Squadrons are shown separately. In cases where a crew has flown in an aircraft of another squadron, the sortie is divided between the two Squadrons.

ERRATUM The one avoidable accident for 61 Squadron shown in the June issue occurred in May. The error is regretted, but it will not affect the next award of the Silver Lancaster Trophy which is based on the months July/September.

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24. JULY, 1944.

[Page break]

[Underlined] SIGNALS (GENERAL) [/underlined]

The meaning of this heading may not be completely clear to Signals and Radar Officers. At a recent Command Conference recommendations were formulated regarding future establishments at Stations, Bases and Groups. It was considered that Officers who held the rank of S/Ldr. and above should be known as Signals (General) and should be qualified in both the Communications and Radar aspects of Signals. If this scheme is approved, only Officers thus qualified will be eligible for promotion to the higher ranks. Base Signals Officer are to afford Radar Officers every opportunity to absorb the communications side now. It is suggested that a good way of starting this is to bring Radar Officers on to the Duty Signals Officers Roster. At the same time Signals Officers must take more than a passive interest in Radar matters.

An experiment is being conducted within No. 53 Base to see how far it is possible to merge the duties of Wireless and Radar Mechanics. Miracles are not expected of this scheme, but it is felt that greater co-operation between the two trades will result in a saving of labour, test equipment and tools.

[Underlined] COMMUNICATIONS (OPERATIONS) [/underlined]

The success of the present type of controlled operation depends more and more on the efficiency of communications channels. Although all aircraft in the Group are now fitted with V.H.F., there must be no relaxation in the drive to perfect the W/T system of control since the latter must always be on standby in cases of VHF unserviceability or interference, or in cases where VHF cannot fulfil the requirement. The success achieved on our communications channels is due in no small measure to the hard work of the Wireless Mechanic. The C.S.O. would like to take this opportunity of congratulating all Signals Servicing personnel on having completed the third successive month with no failures due to faulty maintenance.

[Underlined] W/T FAILURES [/underlined]

Of the 2,856 sorties flown during the month of July, there were 36 W/T failure reports. The percentage shows a slight increase over the figure for June. The maintenance staffs have again come out on top with no servicing failures; as in previous months, equipment and component defects have been the cause of 75% of the total snags. There were three manipulation failures – one could have been avoided if the crew concerned had religiously tested their helmets prior to take off. Not a single aircraft throughout the month failed to take off on its mission as a result of signals equipment being at fault. There were, however, 3 early returns – one was due to the above mentioned manipulation fault.

From the equipment aspect the R1155 output valve (V8) again proved to be the most troublesome. Units must submit Defect Reports for these valves and so assist this Headquarters in hastening a remedy.

[Underlined] V.H.F. [/underlined]

All operational aircraft in the Group are now fitted with either TR.1143 or TR. 1143A The fitting programme proceeded particularly well and ended ahead of schedule. With the increased number of sorties and the consequent increase in work, the maintenance personnel have excelled themselves.

During the most recent operations, the interference that was being experienced on V.H.F. has decreased considerably, and there is every indication that this is due to the V.H.F. frequencies being used. R.A.E. Farnborough have evolved a series pulse transmission limiter, which, when fitted to the V.H.F. receiver, is claimed to supress all Radar pulse interferences. This modification is being tried at Coningsby, but since its introduction no interference has been apparent. A more detailed account of this device may be available for the next issue of the V Group News.

[Underlined] MANDREL [/underlined]

Mandrel has now been removed from all aircraft of the Group. This countermeasure is still being effectively operated by other means, and the equipment released from our aircraft is to be put to good use elsewhere. The Group Countermeasure Party is to remain in existence to assist with the maintenance of Carpet II in the Pathfinder Squadrons and, later on, will play a part in the installation and servicing of Boozer.

[Underlined] RADAR [/underlined]

Very extensive operations were carried out during July with the pace being stepped up considerably. Generally speaking Radar serviceability remained on the same footing as for June, although a few ups and downs were experienced on the various types of equipment.

[Underlined] GEE [/underlined]

The way was again shown by Gee with a percentage serviceability of 97.24 for a total of 2643 completed sorties. This was a slight decrease from the previous months [sic] record figure of 97.77. Although we had expected to see the serviceability increase instead of decrease, a period of approximately ten days in which we were unable to obtain replacements put a considerable strain on servicing. It is hoped that we shall not have to go through this again.

[Underlined] MONICA [/underlined]

By completing 478 out of a total of 501 sorties without any difficulty whatever, Monica V took over second position on the serviceability chart for July. This figure gives a percentage serviceability of 95.41, which is an increase of 1.52 per cent on June. The Squadrons who are using this equipment are to be congratulated for their progress in the standard of their servicing, and now let us look forward to August for a corresponding increase over July’s figures.

Monica IIIA fell to third position but we feel certain that despite the great difficulty in obtaining replacements, which are now almost non-existent, the 93.79 per cent serviceability obtained for 805 completed sorties, will be brought up during August and return this Tail Warning Device to its proper place.

By putting in a great number of late hours, and hard work, an excellent replacement has been developed during the past four weeks for Monica IIIA and Monica V. The two equipments which are in good supply, namely Monica I. Transmitters and Receivers and Fishpond indicators, have been combined to give us a further type of Visual Monica. The service trials and operational use of the first set have proved most satisfactory, and now by local production it is hoped to create a source of replacements for the present devices of which we are so sorely in need.

[Underlined] REPEATER INDICATOR [/underlined]

This secondary warning indicator, which we told you about in last months [sic] News has now reached the production stage and by the end of August we should see a large number of them in operational use. Production has had to be handled locally by the Base Workshops who are now turning out the boxes; when produced these will be delivered to No. 53 Base for final completion and testing.

[Underlined] H 2 S [/underlined]

This past month brought back several high level bombing operations, and with it a slight decrease in the percentage serviceability of H2S Mk. II. Of the 1298 sorties completed, 90.16 per cent were free of all difficulties. This is a drop of 1.6 per cent below June. Replacement of the high voltage condensers is now taking place on the production line but so far none have been received in the Group for retrospective fitting to units already held by Squadrons. Judging from the considerable number of cases of flashing, this remains one of the greatest sources of break-down. It is strongly emphasised that all causes of breakdown must be conscientiously reported in accordance with A.M.O. A. 869/43, as this is the only method by which these difficulties can be brought to light and dealt with effectively.

H 2 S Mk. III shows a slight improvement during July. A total of 6 difficulties was experienced out of 95 completed sorties, which gives a percentage serviceability of 93.69. Servicing conditions on 83 and 97 Squadrons are made rather more difficult because of the two types of H 2 S equipment and this calls for a high degree of organisation on the part of the Radar Branch. When the complete changeover to Mk. III has taken place conditions should ease quite considerably.

[Underlined] FISHPOND [/underlined]

The number of completed sorties with Fishpond carried out during the past month was 1260 of which 90.24 per cent gave very satisfactory results. The difficulties experienced were largely due, as was to be expected, to the unserviceability of H 2 S. With the higher degree of training now being carried out the benefit derived from this equipment has been increased to very large extent.

The intensity of operations will be still greater during the coming month, and this in turn will call for every effort on the part of Radar Sections. We have seen a very gratifying increase in the efficiency of all types of equipment during the past six months, and now we look forward to August to bring the efficiency even closer to the degree we all know possible.

(Continued on Page 4 Column 1)

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24.. JULY, 1944. PAGE 3.

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[Underlined] WIRELESS OPERATORS (AIR) [/underlined]

July brought no outstanding performance in aircrew signals but Operators did quite well in their reception of Controllers and Wind Broadcast messages, sometimes under difficult conditions due to static interference. This augers well for future operations, and with constant practice at the morse buzzer a higher standard can yet be reached.

A scheme will soon be in operation for the further classification of Wireless Operators in this Group, and tests will be set each operator to assess his eligibility for classification in the Grades laid down. The scheme will be an amplification of the tests laid down in 5 Group Signals Instruction No. 13.


The standard of W/T operating by all Controller Wireless Operators during the past month was very good and 83 and 97 Squadrons are to be congratulated on their practice efforts which effected this improvement. Now the writer would like to see other Squadrons following their example and have their Wireless Operators carry out the tests laid down in 5 Group Signals Instruction No. 13. I know they can do it, so come along and have their names inscribed in the register of “Wireless Operator Controller”.

[Underlined] V.H.F. MANIPULATION [/underlined]

All aircraft in the Group are now fitted with TR.1143. How many Wireless Operators (Air) have been along to their W/T Maintenance Sections to find out how it works? What are the crystal frequencies? How many times is this frequency multiplied, and how? What are the power supplies? Where are the fuses? It is your duty to know all these answers and advise your Captain on its proper functioning.

[Underlined] W/T EXERCISE [/underlined]

The Group W/T Exercise has, like the Curate’s Egg, been good and bad in parts. Some very good exercises have taken place, particularly one exercise when sixty-two messages were transmitted and received correctly in one and a quarter hours operating, There is still the tendency of some Operators, however, to revert to the old idea of the “Survival of the Slickest”. Now this is definitely not good operating, and this tendency, once it is developed in an Operator, may lead to dire trouble both for himself and some other unfortunate Operator who happens to be in the air at the same time.

[Underlined] EARLY WARNING DEVICES [/underlined]

The majority of attacks were again reported over the target while the Wireless Operator was on W/T watch. The new instruction whereby the Wireless Operator does not log the Controllers instructions provided his Captain is satisfied with the serviceability of his V.H.F., should enable him to concentrate more on his E.W.D. in this vulnerable area.

[Underlined] CALLSIGNS [/underlined]

July saw the abolition of Squadron Callsigns within Bomber Command. This step, whatever prompted it, is desirable in that it is a simplification. Now the one R/T S.A.C.S. can be used at Base or elsewhere, on V.H.F. or H.F. on Darky or ‘L.F.C.’. the whole thing becomes a ‘Piece of Cake’. But one precaution must still be observed. On pre-operational flights to advanced bases, or during Squadron moves, an S.A.C.S. must be obtained from the station of destination. Should the terminus station not have an S.A.C.S. available then this Headquarters can supply, and this use of the appropriate callsign provides a simple little countermeasure designed to fox the enemy listening service.


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

[Table of War Savings by Station]

TOTAL SAVED £21,504 0 10


The attention of Armament Officers has been fully occupied in dealing with operational bomb loads and changes of loads. The excellent way in which Armament staffs have worked has enabled the Group bombing effort to be maintained at a very high level. Considerable attention has been paid to the care in handling and loading bombs, thus avoiding damage to tail units, but some tails have been damaged due to various causes. Most of these tail units are repairable, but this takes time which could well be employed on other work. It is hoped that during August the number of tail units damaged will be reduced considerably.

BOMB DUMPS have been, to a considerable extent, reorganised and improved. It is well known that all bomb dumps are grossly overloaded and it is only by the careful planning and maintenance of tidy conditions that a reasonable degree of safety can be guaranteed; by far the biggest factor is careful planning and unloading stores in the right place, thus avoiding double handling and general loss of efficiency due to unnecessary work.

CO-OPERATION WITH BOMBING LEADERS has led to many excellent results. One particular case is quoted where the Station Armament Officer prepares a pro-forma whenever he suspects that an armament failure is due to manipulation. A Senior Air Bomber is appointed by the Bombing Leader to visit the Station Armoury daily and collect any forms relating to the past 24 hours work. The Air Bomber then interviews the crews concerned investigating all the details of the failure, reports this to the Bombing Leader, and if a difference of opinion exists, the Bombing Leader contacts the Armament Officer with all the facts available and the matter is settled amicably. This liaison is making a very considerable decrease in the number of failures due to manipulation recorded in the Squadron concerned. “No copyright is claimed – please copy”.

BOMB TROLLEYS. Care and maintenance of these items will always pay in the long run, and grossly overloaded trolleys, apart from being an unsafe practice, will lead to rapid wear or failure of the trolley itself.

(Continued in column 2)

Continued from column 3

Trolley maintenance must, therefore, be kept up, and more particularly so during the present period when trolleys are being used so frequently. A modification will shortly be introduced to render the type “D” trolleys more useful in dealing with the transport of 1000 lb and 500 lb bombs. Detailed information will be circulated immediately.


[Table of Armament Failures by Squadron]


5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24. JULY, 1944. PAGE 4.

[Page break]


This month has seen a return to medium range targets, and Navigators have had opportunity to put to the test their skill and efficiency. Broadcast W/V’s have been used on 3 occasions with varying degrees of accuracy.

Track keeping and timing was good, with one or two exceptions. On almost every operation there are 2 or 3 aircraft between 10 and 30 miles off track. In the majority of instances this is attributable to u/s Compasses or instruments but there are several examples of bad navigation. Track keeping and timing are vital to the success of any operation and everything must therefore be done to achieve concentration. There were no early returns through Navigational failures this month. This is as it should be. Every effort is to be made by Station and Squadron Navigation Officers to see that no early returns are caused through Navigational errors, such as incorrect fixing and computations, or through u/s Compasses. The vast majority of Navigational early returns are attributable to alleged D.R. Compass failures. If the D.R. Compass is suspected carry out the correct drill for synchronisation and checking. If the fault is still not remedied then press on immediately using the P4 compass. Check true course with the Astro Compass regularly, using the quick method of sighting on Polaris. But DON’T, on any account, turn back with a u/s D.R. Compass.


The use of broadcast w/v’s on the three Stuttgart raids proved very useful practice. As stated above, they brought to light many mistakes and deficiencies, the most important of which are as follows:-

(a) Insufficient w/v’s found and transmitted. Difficulty is sometimes experienced by the W/Op when transmitting the winds to Base. This is being remedied by the Signals Section. Navigators MUST now do their share and find w/v’s regularly.

(b) Winds are often found over too large an area. The ideal windfinding period is 15 to 20 minutes. Winds applying for a period of 40 minutes or more are almost useless.

(c) Wind messages incorrectly coded.

Very few of the Navigators who were the “windfinders” of last winter are still operating, and therefore, it was expected that “teething troubles” would be experienced It is the responsibility of Base, Station and Squadron Navigation Officers to eliminate these various mistakes and errors. Do all windfinders appreciate the importance of their task? It must be made quite clear to them that non-H2S crews rely entirely on the broadcast w/v’s when out of Gee range. Serious consequences may be the result of poor or indifferent windfinding. The accuracy of bombing is also directly affected by the found winds since the broadcast bombing winds are forecast from those transmitted by aircraft.

The standard and accuracy of winds found by the detailed crews has, so far, been very good. If we eliminate points (a), (b) and (c) above, we shall achieve accuracy. So go to it, all of you, and let us see that you can do!

[Underlined] NAVIGATIONAL TECHNIQUE [/underlined]

It is difficult to arrive at a perfect navigational technique, e.g. how often to obtain a w/v check, E.T.A. check, etc. Many methods have been adopted and others experimented with, but the perfect technique has not yet been found. One school of thought argues that a Navigator should “work his fingers to the bone” and obtain maximum w/v and E.T.A. checks. Another school argues that this is a waste of time and unnecessary. The ideal is surely in between, i.e. regular, but not too regular fixes, w/v and E.T.A. checks, and a maximum amount of time available for checking of all computations. Skellingthorpe are working on these lines as an experiment. Their procedure is as follows:- Obtain a w/v and E.T.A. check every 20 minutes and a check fix every 10 minutes. All Navigators can easily cope with this amount of work and, what is more important, they have plenty of time in which to check and re-check all computations. The charts turned in by the Skellingthorpe Navigators using this system are good. The charts are not cluttered with a multitude of fixes and wind arrows and their work is very accurate. All Squadrons and Stations are urged to experiment with this or any similar method, and note whether greater accuracy is achieved. Whatever method if adopted, it must allow the Navigator time in which to plot the wind vector accurately. It must also allow him sufficient time in which to re-check all his computations and calculations.

[Underlined] ANALYSIS OF FOUND WINDS [/underlined]

The O. R. S. Section at H.Q. 5 Group have analysed the target winds found by all Navigators on the following three raids:-

KIEL 23/34 July, 1944.
POMMEREVAL 24/25 June, 1944.
REVIGNY 18/19 July, 1944.

The intention was to find the consistency of Navigator’s found winds and to compare the mean found wind with the forecast w/v. The analysis showed that the winds found by Navigators were very consistent and gave a probable vector error of 7 m.p.h; with the exception of Revigny where it was just under 10 m.p.h. This is good, but there were several “wide” wind velocities; some were almost reciprocals, obviously caused by incorrect resetting of the A.P.I. or by inaccurate plotting. On the Revigny attack the w/v was light and variable and consequently a large spread was experienced, 2/3rds of the wind velocities were in the Westerly section and 1/3rd in the Easterly section.

If the wind speed is only say 8 m.p.h. then 15 minutes wind is represented by a vector 2 miles in length. Any slight inaccuracy in either the Gee or H2S fix will make a very considerable change in wind velocity. The greatest possible care must therefore be taken when obtaining a gee or H2S fix for finding a wind velocity, and more particularly when the wind speed is very light.

From the three attacks analysed the mean found wind differed from the Met., forecast w/v by the following amount:-

(i) KIEL Vector difference of 17 mph.
(ii) POMMEREVAL Vector difference of 8 mph.
(iii) REVIGNY Vector difference of 8 mph.

Base and Station Navigation Officers can themselves very easily analyse all winds found over a certain area by plotting them on a large scale plotting rose. It does not take more than 10 to 15 minutes to plot all the winds for one Station. The mean average w/v can then be seen at a glance and from this it is possible to pick out the “wides”. This should be repeated for 2 or 3 areas of the same operation. The inaccurate windfinders will stand out. It is then possible to trace the causes of these “wide” w/v’s. Was the inaccurate w/v obtained immediately after resetting the A. P. I. or vectoring? If so, there is the answer. Was it caused by inaccurate transferring of Gee fixes? Did the Navigator measure the w/v vector correctly or otherwise? All S.N.O.’s are to report their findings to Group as soon as possible.

[Underlined] UNION NEWS [/underlined]

F/Lt Anderson, D.F.C. No. 1654 C.U. to be Nav. Leader.

S/Ldr Schofield SNO. Fiskerton posted to P.F.F.

F/Lt Kelly, D.F.C. No. 617 Sqdn. to be Station Nav. Officer, Fiskerton.

F/Lt Edwards, D.F.C. No.44 Sqdn to be Navigation Officer.

F/Lt Lascelles, D.F.C. No. 1654 C.U. to be Nav. Officer 50 Sqdn.

S/Ldr Stevens, D.F.C. Navigation Officer 97 Squadron missing on operations.

S/Ldr Galienne, D.F.C. Navigation Officer 83 Sqdn. posted to No. 8 Group – tour expired.

S/Ldr Blair, D.S.O., D.F.C. No.83 Squadron to be Sqdn. Nav. Officer.

F/Lt Martin, D.F.C. No.630 Squadron to be Sqdn. Nav. Officer.

F/Lt De Friend, D.F.M. H.Q. No.5 Group to be Squadron Nav. Officer No.57 Squadron.

[Underlined] A.P.I. WINDFINDING ATTACHMENT [/underlined]

This is a new instrument, designed to enable navigators to find a very accurate w/v over a short period of time. The instrument gives a reading to the nearest hundredth of a nautical mile and is very simple to use. The w/v is found by the closed ground circuit method, i.e. pass over a datum point, complete an orbit of 3 – 5 minutes duration and again pass over the datum point at the same height and on the same heading.

Numerous tests have been carried out by R.A.E. Farnborough and the average vector error of 63 winds found, checked by smoke puff w/v’s, was 3 m.p.h! Nos. 9 and 467

(Continued on page 6, col. 2)

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24. JULY, 1944. PAGE 5.

[Page break]


[Underlined] GEE [/underlined]

Gee ranges during the month have been considerably better than of late, probably due to the introduction of the 27 units into Squadrons. However, it is still noted that some Squadrons are capable of obtaining Gee to far greater advantages than others. This is mainly due to the attention paid by these Squadrons to the importance of constant training in reading signals through jamming or grass. Squadrons not so successful may well keep this in mind.

Serious consideration is now being paid to the probability of bombing on Gee, particularly when weather conditions in Northern France prevent a visual attack. The success of such an attack depends upon each individual Navigator taking part. Every effort must be made by each Navigator to develop the technique required in this type of blind bombing and to familiarise himself with the setting up and manipulation of the Gee Indicator. No Navigator should be satisfied until at least 75% of the Gee practice bombing runs he makes are within a quarter of a mile of the Aiming Point. Don’t waste your opportunities, the Watch Office on your airfield is as good a target as any, and every return to base in daylight should be turned into a Gee practice bombing run. Station Navigation Officers are to watch this point.

This month has brought us news of yet another Gee chain – the Channel chain, intended to give more accurate facilities over the Pas de Calais and Paris areas. Locking tests are being carried out and its facilities will be available on the RF.27 Unit in a short time. Lattice Maps are now available, and Stations should see that they have sufficient quantity of stock before the chain is made available. These Lattice Maps are 500:000 topographical maps overprinted with lattice lines. It is appreciated that, although the maps are not ideal from a Bomber Command standpoint, the demands of A.E.F. and T.A.F. had to be met and a compromise reached. A word of warning – the C lattice lines on the Channel Chain Series Maps are coloured BLUE. This is due to the green colouring of the map which prevents Green lattice lines being overprinted.

[Underlined] H 2 S [/underlined]

With the longer range targets now being attacked, H 2 S is once again coming to the forefront. Although Gee continues to give abnormal ranges, it still remains for the H 2 S Navigators to provide the majority of broadcast winds. Stress is therefore to be made in all stages of training on the navigational use of H2S, and its importance in windfinding.

With the numerous short range targets that have been recently attacked, considerable slackening off in the use of H2S has been noted. This was particularly evident in the raid on STUTTGART on July 28/29th, when the average number of H2S fixes taken by each by each operator on two Squadrons in the Group amounted to four. It is apparent that H2S operators on these two Squadrons, quite content with going round on Gee on short range targets, thought the same method could be applied in the case of a long range target and just didn’t make use of H2S to the full extent. H2S is the best Navigational aid produced, and it is a sheer waste of man hours in servicing if operators are not using it to best advantage. In addition operators on H2S Squadrons must remember that the non H 2 S Squadrons are dependent on them for broadcast winds when out of Gee range. Drastic action may have to be taken against operators who continue to regard H2S as a mere plaything and don’t use it to advantage.

Whilst emphasis is to be placed on the Navigational use of H2S, blind bombing is not entirely to be disregarded. An H2S Blind Bombing Competition is being held monthly and all Squadrons have been asked to participate. By means of this competition, a keen spirit of rivalry should be developed amongst the Squadrons and Bases, and some idea of the Group average error in blind bombing obtained. 54 Base have been carrying out trials during the month on blind marking by Wanganui flares, the idea being to lay an initial line of Wanganui flares downwind across the target and assess it for line. If correct, the backers-up line up visually on the initial line and release blind for H2S for range only. These trials have proved that by this method the concentration of Wanganui flares across the target can be kept within a band 1/2 a mile wide. This is a great improvement on the methods used in the past.

467 Squadron are now being equipped with H 2 S and it will be interesting to note the capabilities of the Australian crews on this equipment. Although training progress is slow due to heavy operational commitments, the Squadron does not lack enthusiasm for the equipment, and it may be well for the other Squadrons to look to their laurels.


The total hours flown on navigational exercises during July were probably higher than ever before. In one night’s flying 218 hours were clocked by 52 aircraft on cross countries (including bombing). Several Command Diversions have been carried out, which have proved excellent training, especially in the use of Gee as the routes have been near enough to the continent to encounter jamming. Unfortunately they do not provide good H 2 S or searchlight training.

Considerable difficulty has been experienced by some pupil Navigators when using the Swinderby 6 minute system. The system was designed to assist the pupil in achieving speed and accuracy of work. This has been achieved in the main, but unfortunately a few pupils have become thoroughly confused and have not used fixes, wind velocities obtained, etc., in an intelligent manner. The 6 minute system is now not being used by any Navigator until he reaches the final stage of his Conversion Unit training. This is an experiment and we are now waiting to see if an improvement in the general standard of Navigation results.

Almost all aircraft in the Base are now fitted with API’s. Very little trouble has been experienced with these instruments and navigators arriving at Squadrons should now be 100% conversant with the use of them. If they are not, let us know immediately and action will be taken.

The Base is now training 75% of the input on H2S. The air training has had to be reduced for each crew, but every H2S crew passing out should have sufficient training to enable them to fly with the equipment immediately they reach the Squadrons – so relieving the Squadron Radar-Navs. of the basic ground training.

The “drive” on accurate windfinding, particularly for practice bombing still continues. The average vector error attributed to wind finding is the same as last month’s figure, i.e. 8 miles per hour. Every effort is being made to reduce this figure and our target for next month is a mean vector error of 5 m.p.h.

[Underlined] NAVIGATION (Continued from page 5.) [/underlined]

Squadrons have also tested the accuracy and efficiency of the instrument. All the crews concerned obtained equally good results.

It is unfortunate that the instrument can only be used effectively by completing a ground circuit, it cannot therefore be used for obtaining normal Navigational winds. We shall, however, be able to find a very accurate bombing w/v in the target area. A quota of A.P.I. attachments have been demanded and will be fitted to as many aircraft as possible.

[Underlined] PRACTICE BOMBING WINDs [/underlined]

The average vector error obtained by all Squadrons and Conversion Units this month is as shown in the adjoining table.

Average Errors: Squadrons – 7.5
Con. Units – 8.0

The Con. Unit figure is the same as last month’s, but the Squadrons average error has increased by 1/2 m.p.h. There is a very noticeable improvement in No. 57 Squadron, who have reduced last month’s error by 3 1/2 m.p.h.

[Table of Average Vector Error by Squadron and Conversion Unit]

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24. JULY, 1944. PAGE 6

[Page break]


[Underlined] GENERAL [/underlined]

Again a large number of sorties has been carried out, and this has called for big efforts to maintain the normal high standard of serviceability. Enemy action damage forms quite the greatest cause of unserviceability, and C.T.O’s are to review carefully each aircraft which appears to be a CAT. AC. If it is at all possible the repair must be carried out by the unit, if normal maintenance commitments permit, as otherwise larger numbers of aircraft will be stacked up on the CAT. AC. repair list, the Contractors (C.R.O) will become overburdened and long delays will take place before the aircraft is back in service. The striking force will then be reduced accordingly, as replacements for the CAT. AC. awaiting repairs will not be available in sufficient numbers. Base Engineer Officers and Chief Technical Officers must watch this trend and take the action which will give the highest serviceability.

[Underlined] DEFECTS [/underlined]

Cancellations and Early Returns which were due to matters concerning the Engineering Branch reduced the Group effort by 1.29%. Whilst the majority of these were due to defects which will be covered by modification action in the course of time, at least five should not have occurred and could have been prevented by more efficient servicing. The responsibility for three rests with the electricians and two with the fitters. The total Group summary of defects will be passed to Stations separately. No.50 Squadron is the only Squadron which went right through the month without a single operational failure due to Engineering, and is given a “big hand”.

The failure of the pipe oil relief valve to dual drive should be entirely eliminated with the fitment of the rubber connections in accordance with Headquarters, Bomber Command modification Merlin/2.

[Underlined] MAINTENANCE EQUIPMENT [/underlined]

Many improvements are being effected in the design of ground equipment and ideas which have emanated from stations in this Group have been accepted for general application. For instance, the Wheel Transporter designed by R.A.F. Station, Fiskerton, has been accepted and in the near future should be issued to all stations. This device enables one man to transport a wheel fairly easily over short distances, and the transporter being also the carriage whereby the wheel is offered up into position on the aircraft, this gives a large saving in man power.

A Power Plant Transporter will be available in limited supply within the next few weeks and will enable two power plants to be moved at a time, the loading and unloading being comparatively simple and not requiring a crane. Adaptors will also be issued in due course to enable wheels or propellors to be moved on this same chassis. This item of equipment covers a long felt need in transporting the items mentioned, and was devised originally by 51 Base, Swinderby.

It is pleasing to see Bases taking the initiative in the manufacture of such items as Sand Blasting Machines so that an up to date sparking plug bay can be organised at each Base. Sufficient of the modern torque load tests are now available at each Base sparking plug bay, and when each is fully equipped with the items required to clean sparking plugs in an up to date manner, a great saving in personnel will be possible as the cleaning, gapping and testing of 1,000 plugs a day is a reasonable proposition with this modern equipment.

[Underlined] TRAINING UNIT SERVICEABILITY [/underlined]

[Table of Stirling and Lancaster Aircraft Serviceability]


The following IMMEDIATE awards have been approved during the month:-

[Underlined] 9 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 49 SQUADRON [/underlined]

F/O G.P. LACE, D.F.M. D.F.C.

[Underlined] 61 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 97 SQUADRON [/underlined]

A/F/L G.F. BAKER, D.F.C. Bar to D.F.C.

[Underlined] 463 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 467 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 617 SQUADRON [/underlined}

F/O N.R. ROSS, D.F.C. D.S.O.

[Underlined] 619 SQUADRON [/underlined]



The intensity of operations in July was well-matched by the strenuous efforts of 51 Base to provide a maximum number of crews for Squadrons. The total of 150 crews trained and over 9,000 hours flown provided the highest figures in the history of the Base. [Underlined] The target for August is as many crews as Instructors, aircraft and weather can produce. [/underlined]

Gunnery was well to the fore. The training in Early Warning Devices was intensified and fighter affiliation was given a high priority. The Stirling Conversion Units returned a record figure of exactly 1,000 Gyro exercises during their affiliation. The categorisation of Gunners was introduced towards the end of the month and 51 Base in future will pass all gunners to Squadrons with a category which will be an invaluable guide to Base and Squadron Gunnery Leaders.

The categorisation of gunners follows closely on the bombing categorisation which has already proved its worth. Incidentally, 1660 Conversion Unit set a new record within the Base by returning an average error of less than 200 yards for all crews bombing in June. Proposals are in hand for the categorisation of the remaining members of the crew.

Instructors pressed on steadily with navigation and H2S training and 75% of all crews are now being trained to use H2S. The importance of accurate navigation is not being overlooked because crews commencing training now will be starting in Squadrons as the longer nights and the longer trips come along.

The standard of instructors is receiving special attention and the early formation of the Bomber Command Instructors School which 5 Group has campaigned for over a long period will give new Instructors a greater opportunity to get into their stride quickly and on the right lines. Until the school is in full operation, Flight Commanders can help new instructors tremendously by flying with them when they are giving dual, and passing on advice from their greater experience after the flight is over.

[Underlined] NEW CREWS IN SQUADRONS [/underlined]

The policy of giving new crews a short period of supervised training in Squadrons to “put on the final polish” before they operate has proved successful. During the month the Instructors attached to Bases completed the training of 134 new crews and carried out thirty-one 10 and 20 sortie checks.

The corkscrew received considerable attention in the Squadron training and 51 Base welcomed constructive criticism and suggestions to ensure uniformity on instruction. In the light of tests carried out by the instructors in the operational Bases, 51 Base is making a special point of checking the speed and angles of bank in the corkscrew and emphasising the importance of the bomber making good a mean track during fighter affiliation. One or two crews have been finishing up almost on a reciprocal after being engaged by a fighter.


To make night affiliation with Hurricanes easier the fighters of 1690 B.D.T. Flight which had been detached to Operational Bases were centralised as Scampton under S/Ldr. Munro, D.S.O., D.F.C., formerly of 617 Squadron. The fighter pilots put in some intensive night

(Continued on page 9, col. 2)

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24. JULY, 1944. PAGE 7

[Page break]


There are few of us who can accept the speed of air travel as a commonplace thing. To be at one minute in Group Headquarters, studying the detailed maps of the aiming points in the late afternoon, and then to be having supper with the noise of the Normandy guns rumbling in the distance, gave one a feeling which, to say the least, was uncanny.

We picked up our Dakota at Northolt and crossed the French coast just East of the Cherbourg Peninsula. Flying along parallel to the coast it was evident that the task of unloading was still priority job No.1. Many landing strips were passed – I believe there are about 15 in all – looking very neat and tidy from the air. They are mostly single runway strips made from the rich brown earth which has been levelled and rolled, and provide a very good surface.

We landed on a strip North-West of Caen, and were transported to the Headquarters of the 2nd Army. The camp was quite small, being situated in a field, and relying on tents for its main accommodation. The Messes were semi-dugouts, but nevertheless quite comfortable. The dinner was excellent and was finished off by some very good Camembert cheese, made in Normandy.

The organisation of the staff of the Headquarters was very similar to a Bomber Group staff. The bulk of the planning was done by the Chief of Staff, who had to advise his various specialist officers, e.g. Plans, Intelligence, Artillery, Equipment, Engineering, C.S.O., etc. The nerve centre of Headquarters is the Operations Room, which consisted of four caravans in a square, the centre of which was covered over, thus forming a central room with four control rooms. Contact with forward troops and armour is maintained by R/T and W/T and all communications of progress or otherwise, terminate in this Operations Room, where a complete state of the advance is maintained.

We had a talk by the Intelligence and Operations Officers, who put us in the picture as to the disposition of our own and the enemy troops, and finally by the Chief of Staff, who detailed to us the plan of attack and what we were out to achieve. The main object of the bombardment, which was to take place early the next day, was to pulverise the positions South-East and East of Caen that our armour could move through with ease, and thus enable the bulk of our weight to cross the River Orne, and join the general advance Southwards. A great factor in the success of this operation was the absence of German Air Force activity. Through lack of space East of the Orne the bulk of our troops and armour had been drawn on the Western Banks with the vehicles right up to the actual Bridges, ready to move over as soon as the force on the Eastern side of the river had vacated their ground by moving South. Had the enemy reconnaissance spotted these columns, then no doubt the success of our attack would have been seriously impaired.

On the way to our tents we saw a lot of ant-aircraft activity in the form of tracer, star shells and heavy flak, and in addition there was a perpetual rumble of heavy guns operating on the front South-West of Caen.

We were called at 03.30 hours, and after breakfast set out in cars for a hill position to the North-West of the iron foundry at Colombelles, which was one of the 5 Group aiming points. The weather looked favourable, there were only very local patches of fog, and there was a clear sky. The journey was started in darkness, which was rather frightening as there was a vast amount of traffic on the roads, and only the very minimum of lighting was allowed. Dawn broke and the weather was still holding as we passed through village after village on route to our view point. The villages varied considerably, some having sustained only minor damage, whilst others had been virtually flattened. The stench in some of these ruins was appalling and was due to the dead animals and human beings buried in the ruins, and which we had not yet had time to extricate.

Eventually we drove into a wood, and parked the cars, and walked up through a village, past a ruined chateau, to our vantage point, where we could see the factory quite clearly. As we were arriving the artillery, which was some 1,000 yards behind us, started attending to the German anti-aircraft positions. To our unaccustomed ears the din was terrific, although an A.A. Officer, who was with us, said that was merely a softening up process and that the really heavy barrage would not start until H Hour, which was 07.45.

Our photographic Mosquito formed the vanguard of the mass of Heavies, which we could hear approaching. Then came a red T.I., from an invisible Mosquito, and shortly afterwards a yellow T.I., dropped by the P.F.F. Master Bomber, fell across the aiming point. The hum of Merlins had now developed into a roar, and the Lancasters came in an absolute horde. You could see the bombs leaving the aircraft and we saw the first four sticks fall straight across the factory. It was a grand sight to see the red flashes of light sweeping one after the other throughout the length of the aiming point, but unfortunately that was just about the last glimpse we had of any ground detail, for columns of smoke and dust arose and blocked out everything.

The newspapers have already described the bombardment and I cannot improve on their eloquence. The Heavies were in a continuous stream for some 20 minutes, and the noise, and particularly the feel of the blast, was out of all proportion to what one had anticipated. Then came the Mediums, Marauders and Bostons, dropping fragmentation and other non-cratering bombs over the central area, over which our troops and armour would advance, and then the American Heavies, in silver formations against a clear blue sky. Typhoon dive bombers were also in the fun; you could see them wheeling in the sunlight at about 8,000’ before they turned into their headlong dive and disappeared in the mushroom of smoke. So widespread was the dust and smoke that even where we were we all looked as if we had just come out of a flour mill.

At 07.45, which was the H Hour for the advance, the artillery opened up at full blast. We were directly between them and their objective, and there was a perpetual scream of shells going over our heads.

We watched the bombing for about three hours and then walked back to have a look at the chateau behind us. This had been a fine old residence, but had been severely damaged. It had been vacated at very short notice and contained some fine old furniture, in the way of old oak armchairs and long settles. However, all furniture, crockery, children’s toys, books and papers had been blasted about the rooms, which were sometimes two feet deep in debris. One odd thing which I saw just outside the chateau was a lock of human hair tied with a piece of pink ribbon. One wondered what story lay behind it.

We then walked back to the village and had a look at the gun positions. The guns were literally everywhere, and the crews were heaving shells in, pulling the string, and heaving in the next one, as fast as they could go. At close range you felt the blast hit you in the eyes and then heard a sharp report.

We then drove down the coast and on the way passed guns firing away incessantly. One would drive along a road and find a dozen or so lined up against the hedge and shooting over your heads, and yet it is odd how human beings, and even animals can accustom themselves to this din. What children there were didn’t seem to mind the noise, and in one field with approximately a dozen guns in it, there were four horses grazing quite unconcerned.

At the coast we looked around a German coastal concrete blockhouse, which was underground for the most part, and was very well equipped with central heating, air conditioning and periscope.

We then drove along to Arramanches, where we saw a conversion from a seaside resort to a busy port. Two concrete moles, each approximately a mile in length, had been towed across, piece by piece, and sunk into position to form an outer protection to the port. Inside these moles was the main dock consisting of a large concrete and iron structure, some 500 yards long and 50 yards wide. This had massive superstructures, cranes and derricks, and was handling cargoes from the large vessels which lay alongside. This quay was situated about 1/2 mile from the shore and parallel to it, and was connected to each end by large pontoon slipways, over which was a constant stream of heavy traffic to and from the ships. The whole installation had been towed over from this country, piece by piece, and assembled.

We had a quick snack at the dockside and then went down to Bayeaux [sic], a fine town which had received no damage at all, and which our forces had taken on the evening of D Day. Food was plentiful here, the shops being well stocked with bread, cheese and farm butter.

We returned from Bayeaux [sic] to the Headquarters of the 2nd Army, where we arrived about 5 o’clock. Roads everywhere were full of troops and amour on the move. The roads were dusty and tanks threw up vast clouds of dust which temporarily reduced visibility to nil. On arrival at the Headquarters we went straight to the Operations Room and learned that as far as could be ascertained, the

(Continued on page 9, col. 3)

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24. JULY, 1844. PAGE 8

[Page break]


During July 37 aircraft were damaged to an extent which rendered them unserviceable for more than 48 hours. 11 were the result of accidents known to be avoidable. Some of the others are classified as obscure at the moment, as investigations are incomplete, but will be recategorized later in the month.

Of the avoidable accidents 4 occurred in Squadron aircraft and consisted of 3 CAT AC. and 1 CAT E. 6 were damaged in 51 Base – 2 CAT AC., 3 CAT E. and 1 CAT B., and 1 was a CAT AC. Hurricane of 1690 Flight.

Classifications are as follows:-

Taxying – 3
Overshoots landing – 2
Swings landing – 2
Swings taking off – 1
Other taking off errors – 1
Miscellaneous – 2

Excluding those accidents at present unclassified, there were two fewer “avoidables” in July than in June, and, what is more, the past two months have produced a far smaller of this type of accident than the average for March to May. Keep it up and we will reach the top of the Bomber Command ladder and remain there.

Here is a selection of the month’s avoidables:-

[Underlined] TAXYING. [/underlined] A Lancaster was taxying down a runway where another was stationary (compass swinging) in broad daylight. The pilot made the old mistake of assuming he could get past. He didn’t – until his wing smashed the nose of the other aircraft.

A Stirling was returning to dispersal. The pilot reports he was unable to throttle back his port outer engine. He ran off the track and hit an oil bowser.

[Underlined] OVERSHOOTING. [/underlined] At night a Mosquito overshot a 1400 yards runway in good visibility. It entered the overshoot area and as then taxied back through a wire fence. No taxying light was used. This speaks for itself.

A Stirling pupil on his first solo was caught out in bad weather and after trying various airfields finally found one where he attempted to land. He overshot mainly because of poor visibility.

A Stirling on 3 engines was deliberately swung when the pilot saw he was going to overshoot. Deliberate swinging is now forbidden, and all pilots are to take note. The aircraft must be kept straight. There is far less risk of serious damage when the overshoot area is used. A swing almost invariably results in broken undercarriage legs.

[Underlined] SWINGS. [/underlined] A Lancaster rudder pedal slipped when the pilot was levelling off for a landing. The result was a violent swing which broke the undercarriage. All Lancasters are now being modified to prevent rudder pedals slipping out of the ratchet at critical moments.

In bad visibility a Stirling on 3 engines made an approach to the wrong runway. At 200’ he realised his mistake and went round again with difficulty. The aircraft was diverted to another airfield where it approached at an angle to the runway. A heavy landing was made and the aircraft swung and crashed. Cloud base was down to 600’ – visibility 3 miles – accident still under investigation.

[Underlined] OTHERS. [/underlined] A Stirling had just taken off when violent juddering was experienced. The pilot throttled back and landed in the overshoot area – CAT E. – nothing has been found wrong technically. Instructors should warn pupils before going solo of the common causes of juddering on take off. This is the second accident of this nature in 6 weeks.

A Verey pistol was accidentally fired off in an aircraft. It did quite a bit of damage. The full facts are not yet known but it is evident someone was careless.

A Lancaster pilot jettisoned his bombs too low and sustained damage to his aircraft. He landed safely at base.

[Underlined] SILVER LANCASTER COMPETITION [/underlined]

July begins the second leg of the Silver Lancaster Competition. So far, the Units stand as follows (it must, however, be remembered that this list is subject to revision when the full facts of all accidents for July are known): 49, 50, 57, 106, 61, 619, 207, 467, 463, 97, 83 – all [underlined] NIL; [/underlined] 9, 44, 617, 627 – 1 avoidable accident each; 1660 – 5; 1661 – Nil; 1654 – 3; L.F.S. – Nil; 1690 Flt. – 1.

[Underlined] CATEGORISATION OF DAMAGE – FORMS 765(C) [/underlined]

The first of July saw the new aircraft damage category – A (R) - come into force. Many units have completely ignored the order which was an amendment to A.M.O. A. 1348/43. All Units are reminded that aircraft under this category are not counted against them in the Bomber Command accident ladder, so it is definitely to their advantage, and to the Group as a whole, that the Forms 765 (c) should be correctly made out. Aircraft affected are those which have had a replacement of a major component (e.g. engine, propellor, rudder), as a result of an accident, [underlined] in 48 hours. [/underlined]

[Underlined] TRAINING (Contd. From page 7, col.3) [/underlined]

training and logged over 30 hours night flying in a week, so that they are now ready to tackle any crew the Squadrons like to put up. Full details of the organisation and procedure have been issued and Squadrons are urged to take advantage of this first class facility. From now on the policy must be NIGHT AFFILIATION IS ON EVERY NIGHT.

Operational crews had little opportunity for further Squadron PRACTICES because of operations. Some useful work was done, however, in between sorties. Incidentally Flight Commanders should note that the term PRACTICE is to be used instead of TRAINING for non-operational exercises done by Operational crews. This Command ruling makes the distinction between operational crews who are fully trained and who are “practising” to improve their standards, and new crews under training who have still got something to learn.


[Underlined] RETURN OF EQUIPMENT BY UNITS TO M.Us & R.E.Ds. [/underlined]

Complaints have been received from No. 40 Group that Units are not carrying out instructions in returning serviceable and repairable equipment to M.Us and R.E.Ds.

The attention of Equipment Officers is again drawn to A.M.O. A. 736/43 as amended by A.M.Os. A.1132/43 and A.210/44, also to Bomber Command Equipment Staff Instruction No. 35. These A.M.Os and Instructions give full details on the returning of serviceable and repairable equipment, and must be complied with.

The following points are specially important and every Equipment Officer must make certain that these are carried out:-

(a) Except for Quartz Crystals, [underlined] all [/underlined] Cat.C. equipment in Section 10 must be returned to No. 3 R.E.D.
(b) Items for which there are special transit cases, must be packed in these cases.
(c) Items in 1A and E should be returned to G.E.Ds.
(d) Cat. A. items are to be packed and vouched separately from other unit returns.
(e) Separate vouchers for each Vocab. Section.
(f) [Underlined] ALL [/underlined] equipment must be labelled.
(g) Cases addressed to particular sites should only contain equipment for those sites.

Every Equipment Officer should make certain that his staff knows and carried out all the instructions on the return of equipment, since equipment turning up at the wrong M.U. causes great delay to that M.U’s work.

[Underlined] PLATFORMS, AIRCRAFT INSPECTION [/underlined]

Attention is drawn to A.M.O. N. 714/44 dealing with the introduction of a new type of Inspection platform for Lancaster aircraft.

[Underlined] A VISIT TO NORMANDY [/underlined]

(Continued from page 8, column 3)

battle was going well. Our advances were better than originally hoped for, and the Army were extremely pleased with the bombing. Little resistance had been met in the area North-East and East of Caen, but considering the attention given by our aircraft and artillery this fact is not surprising.

Unfortunately we were not allowed to go and see results of the bombing even though our forces had moved through the positions, so we returned again to our landing strip, after making our farewells and thanks to the officers who had extended their hospitality to us, and looked after us so well. The Dakota awaited us and we took off again for Northolt, leaving behind us the battle area, which was still shrouded in dust and smoke.

The main thing which struck me throughout the visit was the atmosphere of efficiency which dominated everywhere. The running of the camp, traffic control, organisation of salvage and supply dumps, gave one the impression that everyone had a job to do, knew what that job was, and was wasting no time in getting on with it.

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24. JULY, 1944. PAGE 9

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During July three aircraft of the Group are known to have come down in the sea. “H” of 630 Squadron hit the sea when returning from operations at a low altitude, there were two survivors. A Mosquito of 627 Squadron ditched off Cherbourg – the full story of this is not yet available as the crew is still in Normandy. “C” of 207 Squadron crashed into the sea whilst jettisoning bombs.

There were several unusual aspects of the ditching of “H” of 630 Squadron which are the subject of a formal investigation. At the time of the impact the aircraft was flying at 200 – 210 m.p.h. and the crew were not at their usual stations because of an intercomm failure. The Navigator and Air Bomber were sitting up at the Navigator’s table and the Wireless Operator was forward without Mae West or parachute trying to rectify the intercomm failure.

Fortunately the sea was calm and the Pilot, Air Bomber, Wireless Operator and Navigator got out. The fuselage broke in half and the Rear Gunner, whose turret was on the beam, succeeded in leaving after he had gone under a few feet. The Rear Gunner did not contact the other survivors until an hour after impact.

On leaving the fuselage, the Navigator made the Wireless Operator get into the dinghy first; when the Navigator followed the dinghy sank below the surface. As the Wireless Operator had no Mae West the Navigator left him to get what support he could from the dinghy and rejoined the others holding on to the aircraft.

After approximately 30 minutes the fuselage sank, and the Navigator calling to the others to follow him, swam across to the dinghy which had drifted some distance away. The Pilot and Air Bomber never reached the dinghy and the Navigator set out to look for them but was forced to give up when overtaken by cramp. These two were not seen again.

By chance the Navigator found the “Makers” Pack and knowing it contained the signal pistol and cartridges he tried to open it. The Rear Gunner appeared making his way to support the Wireless Operator, who was in a bad way. After a two hour struggle, the Navigator succeeded in extracting the pistol and cartridges and 40 minutes after firing the first signal a Naval trawler picked up the Rear Gunner and Navigator, who had been 3 1/2 hours in the water. The Wireless Operator, in spite of the Rear Gunner’s efforts, had succumbed.


[Table of Safety Drill Competition Results by Base and Squadron]

[Underlined] Note: [/underlined]

In June a total of 390 aircrew were rescued from the sea against 240 (47.2%) in May. Unfortunately the precise number of unsuccessful incidents is not known and so the percentage of aircrew saved cannot be expressed. In addition 243 non-flying personnel were saved – 218 in the Channel area. Air Sea Rescue aircraft flew 1,176 sorties in the Channel Area alone!


Whilst on a daylight operation, an aircraft of 106 Squadron flown by F/Sgt. Netherwood was severely damaged by flak. He was forced to feather both port engines. The port wing and tyre were damaged and hydraulics rendered unserviceable, but in spite of this, F/Sgt. Netherwood carried out his bombing run successfully, completed his attack and, showing great skill, flew his damaged aircraft back to Base where he made an emergency landing without further damage to his aircraft or injury to his crew.

F/O McCracken of 49 Squadron was returning from a night operation when his aircraft was attacked by an enemy fighter. The trimming tabs. A.S.I., intercomm., R/T, hydraulics and D.R. Compass were rendered unserviceable. Fires were started in the two inner engines and in the bomb-bay and the Navigator and two Gunners were wounded. The fires were extinguished, and in spite of the damage to his aircraft, F/O. McCracken flew back to this country and carried out a successful landing at an emergency airfield.

An aircraft of 61 Squadron, piloted by F/O Aukland, collided with another Lancaster over the target. Both port engines and the port main plane were severely damaged. Showing fine airmanship P/O Aukland flew the aircraft back to this country where he made a successful emergency landing.

Another pilot in 61 Squadron P/O Hallett, carried out a successful landing in difficult conditions. He aircraft had been heavily engaged by enemy defences and the Rear Gunner was wounded, the port tyre punctures and hydraulics rendered unserviceable. In spite of this damage, P/O Hallett carried out a good landing without flaps or brake pressure.


(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.24. JULY, 1944. PAGE 10

[Page break]


[Underlined] “A MISS IS AS GOOD AS A MILE” [/underlined]

There has been an increase in the number of attacks carried out against Flying Bomb sites, stores and rocket sites. To bombing crews, these targets present a difficult problem. They are extremely well camouflaged, small and heavily fortified and further, suffer negligibly from blast damage. In consequence, a stick of bombs that fails to make a direct hit is of no value. The “misses” on marshalling yard bottlenecks may do damage to railway tracks, wagon sheds and rolling stock. Misses on aerodrome hangars may crater runways, damage dispersed aircraft and spread chaos in the ‘communal site’. Misses against Flying Bomb installations, however, merely make holes which can be filled in.

It is, therefore, essential that all crews make the most accurate attacks within their power, and realise that a miss will have no value at all – there can be no ‘fluke’ damage.

Owing to repeated operations and poor weather, there is but limited opportunity for bombing practice at the bombing ranges, so every advantage must be taken of the exercises completed.

A detailed analysis must follow each practice to eliminate all faults both human and mechanical.

Air Bombers must examine their bombsights in accordance with 5 Group Aircraft Drills, (Drill No. 9, Appendix “C”) at every opportunity and further ensure that the operational procedure as detailed in Drill No.3 is carried out conscientiously.

If all this is done, it will naturally follow that the sticks of bombs aimed at these enemy installations will be more accurate.

They are not impregnable but they are impervious to near misses.

Direct hits are being obtained only by A+ or A crews. There are far too few of this category at the Group’s disposal. A determined effort must be made by every crew to strive for this category from the initial exercise attempted in 51 Base. Every crew that fails to obtain an “A” exercise at any practice must, in conjunction with the Bombing Leader, discover the reason why.



A+ Crews – 85 yds or less
A Crews – 140 yds or less
B Crews – 210 yds or less
C Crews – 280 yds or less
D Crews – Over 280 yds.

[Underlined] RESULTS [/underlined]

[Table of Crew Categories by Base]

Congratulations to F/Lt. MATHESON and crew 49 Squadron, on obtaining the first A+ category with the Mark XIV Bombsight!

[Underlined] HIGH LEVEL BOMBING PRACTICE [/underlined]

[Table of High Level Bombing Practice Results by Squadron and Conversion Unit]

[Underlined] JULY’S OUTSTANDING CREW ERRORS [/underlined]

Apologies are due to 1661 Conversion Units, R.A.F. Station, WINTHORPE. In last month’s NEWS 2 excellent crew errors of 1661 Conversion Unit were credited to 1654 Conversion Unit. This was indeed unfortunate as the error of 53 yards obtained by F/Sgt McKechnie and crew was a Unit Record. Once again only Crew Errors below 80 yards can be recorded.

Squadron or Con. Unit Pilot Air Bomber Navigator Error at 20,000 feet (in yards)

44 F/O Cartwright F/O Beaton F/O Olson 69
F/O Freestone F/O Woollam Sgt Gage 68
49 F/O Russell Sgt Reid Sgt Millar 79
F/L Matheson F/O Mathews Sgt Launder 60, 59 & 75
106 F/L Taylor P/O Power F/S Watson 39
83 F/O Meggeson P/O Franklin F/O Wicker 47, 72 & 57
97 F/O Edwards F/O Barker F/L Burt 57 & 66
83 F/O Kelly Sgt Burleigh F/O Irwin 79
463 P/O Garden F/S Murrell W/O Turner 79
1654 F/S Wilson Sgt Stuart F/O Howarth 74 & 76
F/O Hughes Sgt Buxton Sgt Dunckerly 72
Sgt McGregor Sgt Bache Sgt Chadwick 62
1660 F/S Herbert F/O Cleary Sgt Maxwell 78
Sgt Hart Sgt Bell Sgt Green 53
F/O Joplin F/S Hibberd Sgt Fish 45
F/S Harper F/S Williams Sgt Cooper 71
1661 F/S Hayler Sgt Hearn P/O Winterburn 69
F/O Judge F/S Gore P/O Cook 71

Congratulations are extended to F/O MEGGESON and crew (83 Squadron) and F/Lt. MATHESON and crew (49 Squadron) for each obtaining 3 outstanding crew errors using the S.A.B.S. and Mark XIV Bombsight respectively.

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24. JULY, 1944. PAGE 11

[Page break]


[Underlined] “GEN” FROM THE SQUADRONS [/underlined]

Congratulations to 1660 C.U. Swinderby, the [underlined] FIRST [/underlined] Conversion Unit to achieve the average crew error for a month of less than 200 yards.

[Underlined] 627 Squadron [/underlined] report an outstanding dive-bombing exercise by F/Lt BARTLEY – releasing at 500 ft.- his average error was 5 1/2 yards.

[Underlined] 54 Base. [/underlined] W/Cdr. JEUDWINE, carrying out an initial exercise in a Lightning aircraft, dive bombing, averaged 9 1/2 yds. for 6 bombs.

[Underlined] 44 & 619 Squadrons (R.A.F. Stn. DUNHOLME) [/underlined] Station Armament Officer has sectioned one of each type of fuse in use and these are displayed in the Bombing Offices.

[Underlined] 1661 C.U. (F/LT PRICE). [/underlined] P/O HARROP and crew obtained direct hits on Flashlight Bullseye target at Bristol on night of 29/30th July.

[Underlined] “GEN” FROM THE BOMBING RANGES [/underlined]

[Underlined] WAINFLEET BOMBING RANGE. [/underlined] 4407 bombs aimed by 923 aircraft.

[Underlined] EPPERSTONE BOMBING RANGE. [/underlined] 1666 bombs aimed by 285 aircraft.

[Underlined] OWTHORPE BOMBING RANGE. [/underlined] 1535 bombs aimed by 287 aircraft.

[Underlined] BOMBING LEADERS CORNER [/underlined]

[Underlined] F/O CAMPBELL, D.F.C. [/underlined] (Aircrew School – R.A.F. Station Scampton) has moved to No. 9 Squadron as Bombing Leader, for his 2nd tour.

[Underlined] F/L NUGENT [/underlined] becomes Bombing Leader to 61 Squadron.

[Underlined] F/LT McDONALD, [/underlined] tour expired, has moved to H.Q. No. 6 Group.

[Underlined] F/LT BILLINGTON [/underlined] (207 Squadron) has moved to 54 Base.

[Underlined] P/O LINNETT [/underlined] becomes Bombing Leader to 207 Squadron.

[Underlined] F/LT ASTBURY [/underlined] (617 Squadron) is tour expired and has moved to H.Q.54 Base to supervise S.A.B.S. training.

F/O FOULKES (630 Squadron) has succeeded F/Lt Farara as Bombing Leader.

[Underlined] BOMBING LEADERS’ COURSES [/underlined]

[Underlined] F/O NUGENT [/underlined] was 5th on No. 85 Course with “B” Category.

[Underlined] F/O NAWELL [/underlined] (463 Sqdn.) and [underlined] F/O FOULKES [/underlined] (630 Squadron) were 2nd and 11th respectively on No. 86 Course with “B” Categories.

[Underlined] F/O McMASTER [/underlined] (1654 C.U.) was 12th with “B” Category on No. 87 Course.

[Underlined] THE BOMBING COMPETITION [/underlined]

Maximum entries were obtained in the Competition this month; the results are below. 52 Base are to be congratulated on obtaining the first 3 places in the Squadron Competition.

[Underlined] SQUADRON COMPETITION [/underlined]

1st 49 Squadron 61 yards
2nd 44 Squadron 65 yards
3rd 619 Squadron 66 yards
4th 9 Squadron 71 yards
5th 207 Squadron 72 yards
6th 97 Squadron 88 yards
7th 83 Squadron 90 yards
8th 630 Squadron 94 yards
9th 50 Squadron 99 yards
10th 463 Squadron 101 yards
11th 106 Squadron 103 yards
12th 57 Squadron 109 yards
13th 61 Squadron 119 yards
14th 467 Squadron 128 yards

[Underlined] CONVERSION UNIT COMPETITION [/underlined]

1st 1661 Con. Unit 56 yards
2nd 1660 Con. Unit 67 yards
3rd 1654 Con. Unit 76 yards
4th 5 L.F.S. 151 yards

Congratulations 1661 Con. Unit!!!!

[Underlined] BOMBING LADDER [/underlined]

617 and 627 Squadrons maintain a bombing “ladder”; top positions this month are as follows:-

[Underlined] 617 Squadron 627 Squadron [/underlined]


[Underlined] BIGCHIEF COMPETITION [/underlined]

1st A/CDR. POPE (H.Q. No.52 Base) 114 yards

2nd G/CAPT. WEIR (R.A.F. Stn. Fiskerton) 116 yards

[Underlined] ?? BOMBING QUIZ ?? [/underlined]

1. What check must you make if bomb firing switch cannot be removed from stowage, with bomb doors open?

2. What is the difference between “George” pressure and Pescopump suction as applied to the Mk. XIV Bombsight?

3. What bombing errors would you expect is the suction was low at the Mark XIV Sighting Head?

4. What Mk. XIV settings are necessary for a “Wanganui” attack?




A silver model of a 12,000 lb. bomb has been presented to the Group by Lord Camrose. The A.O.C. has decided to award this trophy to the Squadron with the most accurate High Level bombing results, calculated on the results obtained with the Mk. XIV Bombsight between the 1st January and 30th June, 1944.

No. 50 Squadron, R.A.F. Station, Skellingthorpe, have achieved the best average error over this period and the A.O.C. will present them with the trophy as soon as possible.

The bombing trophy will be held for a period of 3 months and the next award will be announced on the results obtained between 1st July and 30th September, 1944.

The final figures for the first 6 months of the year are as follows:-

[Table of Average Crew Error by Squadron]

That line [drawing]

will cost you
a donation
to the

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24. JULY, 1944. PAGE 12.

[Page break]


Though failures for the month of July show no overall increase on the month of June, actually photographic failures increased almost 100%. On the whole this was caused by the tape join on composite colour film failing to pass round the guide roller on the ‘receive side’ of the magazine, and condensation of moisture which deposits itself inside the lens front component, on the rear lens surface, or under the glass register plate during certain conditions of temperature and humidity.

The former of these two failures should be relatively easy to overcome. A thorough testing of all film magazines under power using a composite film should reveal those which will cause film stoppage. A film magazine has been sectioned and it was found that the metal of the outside casing increases in thickness towards the closed end leaving insufficient clearance for the thickness of two films and the tape. The cure for this is to request the C.T.O. to arrange for the clearance to be increased by ‘routing’ out some of the metal.

Moisture condensation has been one of the most persistent causes of photographic failures during both night and day operations, unfortunately a cure has not yet been found for cameras installed in Lancaster aircraft. Trials are being carried out, however, and much can be done by efficient maintenance. Particular care must be taken to avoid the dampness in camera muffs when these are in use.

It is evident that many defective camera units are being exchanged without N.C.O.’s reporting the defect. There is no hope of any remedial action unless failures are reported in the proper manner. Form 1022 action may appear to be a useless waste of paper, but if used intelligently and completed with all the essential information, Air Ministry will take all appropriate action to rectify manufacturing and design defects. This is particularly important because the F.24 camera is now being replaced by the American version, the K.24.

It is again necessary to remind all photographers of the importance of producing photographic results with the utmost speed, without sacrificing photographic efficiency. Photographic N.C.O.’s are to re-examine their internal organisation with the object of producing better results in less time. Where section personnel are overstaffed, this must be regarded as a temporary state, personnel surpluses are bound to be absorbed at short notice, and no replacements will be available. The volume of photographic work being produced in photographic sections has increased enormously and no operational section should complain of lack of work or variety, but the peak has not yet been reached. Increased efforts on the part of all photographic personnel will be necessary as the photographic equipment used during operations increases.


[Table showing Photography Statistics - Night and Day, showing Attempts and Failures by Squadron]


[Table of Link Trainer Sessions by Squadron]

For the second month is succession there was an increase in Link Trainer Times throughout the Group, but there is still room for improvement. Special attention is again drawn to the 5 Group Link Trainer Syllabus with emphasis on those exercises with the artificial horizon and directional Gyro blanked off. Pilots should also take advantage of the Corkscrew Exercise to polish up their corkscrew procedure for the present drive on gunnery.

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24. JULY, 1944. PAGE 13

[Page break]


[Underlined] CATEGORISATION OF AIR GUNNERS [/underlined]

Instructions have now been issued to Squadrons and Units to categorise all Air Gunners immediately. Gunners arriving from O. T. U. ‘s are to be categorised at Aircrew Training School and will be re-categorised at Conversion Units before proceeding to a Squadron. Squadron Gunnery Leaders will, in the future, know the capabilities of new arrivals from their categories and will be able to concentrate immediately on training the backward gunners to a higher standard and improved category. Gunners holding the higher categories will be tested and reassessed after 10 and 20 sorties, but those with the lower categories will be required to have a test every two weeks until they have graduated to a higher category. Base Gunnery Leaders are responsible for the categorisation of Gunners in Squadrons within their respective Bases, and a big improvement in the standard of Gunnery throughout the Group is anticipated.

[Underlined] OPERATIONS – COMBATS [/underlined]

As was to be expected, the Hun reacted to our continuous raids in France and the Low Countries by bringing down his night fighter Squadrons from Germany. This has resulted in increased numbers of combats on those operations where he has been successful in intercepting the stream. The large number of 57 combats tool place on the night 28/29th July, when Stuttgart was attacked. Visibility was good above 10/10ths cloud and the Group claimed 13 destroyed and 1 damaged. Other good nights were 4/5th with 36 combats, 6 enemy aircraft being claimed destroyed and 3 damaged, and 18/19th when 4 enemy aircraft were claimed destroyed. A total of 27 enemy aircraft were claimed as destroyed during the month, which is over 10% of the combats. This is a big improvement on previous months and to keep it up, at the expense of Hun Night Fighter’s morale gunners must be 100% efficient in all departments and use their sights correctly during combats.

Successes have been achieved by those gunners who have used their equipment to the full and who are also alert and efficient in their search procedure. Particular mention should be made of F/O McIntosh and P/O Sutherland of 207 Squadron, who have followed up their achievement of last month of 3 enemy aircraft destroyed in one night, with a further 2 enemy aircraft claimed destroyed during July. With the Mark IIIN sight now installed in turrets, gunners must get used to watching tracer and target through the sight, and this can only be achieved by practice. Hose piping with tracer has very rarely, if ever, been successful and will never be effective. Casualties among the enemy night fighter personnel must affect their efficiency and morale, and if we can be sure that each combat will result in a destroyed or damaged Hun, this end will be attained. “The few” do it regularly each month, so it is up to the remainder to follow their excellent example.

[Underlined] GUNNERY LEADERS’ MOVEMENTS [/underlined]

61 Squadron – F/Lt Glover

50 Squadron – F/Lt Mills

5 L. F. S. – F/Lt Crawford


[Underlined] DESTROYED [/underlined]

Sqdn A/C letter Date Type of E/A.

97 “L” 4/5 July ME.41o [sic] (c)
61 “Y” 4/5 July JU. 88 (c)
617 “A” 4/5 July JU. 88 (c)
207 “F” 4/5 July ME.109 (c)
9 “L” 4/5 July ME.210 (c)
630 “T” 4/5 July DO.217 (c)
57 “E” 6/7 July ME.210 (c)
83 “D” 7/8 July S/E (c)
207 “M” 12/13 July ME.109 (c)
61 “N” 18/19 July U/I (c)
57 “B” 18/19 July ME.109 (c)
630 “N” 19 July U/I (c)
106 “Z” 20/21 July T/E
44 “Q” 24/25 July S/E
83 “L” 24/25 July JU. 88
50 “R” 25 July ME.109 (c)
207 “L” 26/27 July ME.410
9 “W” 28/29 July ME.110 (c)
49 “P” 28 July FW.190 (c)
49 “U” 28 July JU. 88 (c)
207 “M” 28/29 July JU. 88 (c)
207 “K” 28/29 July JU. 88 JU. 88 ME.109
619 “X” 28/29 July JU. 88
463 “H” 28/29 July ME.410
463 “D” 28/29 July ME.109
207 “U” 28/29 July JU. 88 1 Flying Bomb

[Underlined] PROBABLY DESTROYED [/underlined]

9 “N” 4/5 July ME.110 (c)
57 “R” 12/13 July JU. 88 (c)
44 “F” 14/15 July ME.109 (c)
57 “O” 18/19 July JU. 88 (c)
61 “N” 18/19 July JU. 88 (c)

[Underlined] DAMAGED [/underlined]

630 “V” 4/5 July JU. 88 (c)
630 “Y” 4/5 July JU. 88 (c)
630 “Q” 4/5 July JU. 88 (c)
9 “Z” 7/8 July JU. 88
467 “C” 7 July ME.210 (c)
463 “A” 25 July ME.109
207 “Z” 25/26 July ME.410 (c)
49 “F” 28 July JU. 88 (c)
106 “C” 28/29 July JU. 88 (c)
207 “X” 28/29 July JU. 88 (c)

Claims annotated (c) have been confirmed by Headquarters, Bomber Command.

[Underlined] SUMMARY OF COMBATS [/underlined]

No. of Combats 207
E/A Destroyed 28
E/A Probably Destroyed 5
E/A Damaged 10


[Table of Fighter Affiliation Exercises by Squadron]


[Underlined] ODD JOTTINGS [/underlined]

Flash trainers are now installed at each Station and training is going ahead. Emphasis should be laid on the training for quickening of mental reaction rather than a further means of teaching aircraft recognition. Instructions for the use of the Flash Trainer have been issued by Bomber Command and these must be adhered to.

Skeet ranges have been erected now on the majority of Stations and training should commence immediately in liaison with the P.F.O.

A ‘back-type’ parachute is now on trial in the Group. Reports as to it’s [sic] suitability are awaited and will be made known in due course.

F/Lt. Jones, Sighting Adviser to Bomber Command, visited Swinderby and lectured on the “Pictorial Strip” Method of Assessing Cine-Gyro films. Instructions will be issued in the near future.

Squadron Gunnery Leaders should refer to A.M.O. N.978/43 and demand necessary number of Spectacles Mk.VIII Anti-glare for their Squadron gunners. These spectacles should be worn at times when glare conditions exist. The stores section and reference numbers are:-

22C/961 Medium A.
22C/962 Large A.

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24. JULY, 1944. PAGE 14

[Page break]


[Underlined] ST. LEU D’ESSERENT 4/5TH JULY [/underlined]

[Underlined] Master Bomber: W/Cdr. Cheshire [/underlined]

The first operation of the month was an attack on the flying bomb storage depot at St. Leu D’Esserent, North East of Paris, on the West bank of the river Oise. 229 aircraft from the Group were detailed.

MARKING The target was identified by the Marker Force, but the markers fell mainly in a direction North East to South East of the aiming point.

RESULTS An accurate concentration of bombs fell round the markers, but photographic cover from P.R.U. showed that the M.P.I. of this concentration was some 400 yards slightly north east of the aiming point, and on the eastern side of the river. Heavy damage was done to the railway yards adjoining. No. 617 Squadron took part in the operation and were allocated a separate aiming point.

CONTROL Several “snags” occurred in the control of this operation:-

(i) The Master Bomber experienced trouble with his VHF set, and he was unable to pass instructions either to No. 617 Squadron or to the main force, W/T links or flare force.

(ii) the Deputy Controller, hearing no instructions from the Master Bomber, issued orders for the 617 Squadron attack, but failed to establish contact with the W/T link aircraft of the main force.

(iii) W/T link No. 1 was damaged by a fighter and had to return to Base. He passed the message “Returning to base” to W/T link II; this was sent in plain language and resulted in a few aircraft of the main force returning to base. The message he should have sent should merely have been “take over”; this could not have caused any mis-understanding. W/T Link II then took over control of the attack, and no further difficulties were experienced.

[Underlined] ST. LEU D’ESSERENT 7/8th JULY [/underlined]

[Underlined] Master Bomber W/Cdr. Porter [/underlined]

225 Aircraft from the Group were detailed to make a second attack on this target which was to be marked by Oboe aircraft of P.F.F. and by No. 54 Base.

MARKING The marking was opened by Oboe, the second marker falling on the marking point. The flare force then came in, dropping their flares accurately over the target area. In the light of these, the marking point was identified by a 54 Base marker, who dropped 2 red spot fires which were assessed by the marker leader as 100 yards South of the Aiming Point. Night photographs show them to have been 247° - 185 yards. The Marker Leader then called upon the remaining Mosquitos to back up and drop their markers 100 yards North of the red spot fires. The Master Bomber then called in the main force to bomb, and an accurate concentration of bombs was reported to have developed round the markers, which were further backed up by Red T.I.’s.

RESULTS P.R.U. photographs show that the Northern Central, and Southern tunnel entrances were severely hit, and that considerable damage was done to the railway supplying the site, and also to the main railway lines. At least one aircrew bombed before the time ordered for the main force to attack, and before the Master Bomber gave the order to attack. This endangered the Mosquito Aircraft and prevented full backing up being carried out. It cannot be too strongly emphasised that the success of a controlled attack upon small targets depends on rigid adherence by all crews to the Standing Instructions laid down, and to compliance with instructions issued by the Master Bomber or his deputy.

CONTROL W/T was very good. VHF R/T suffered interference, through a fault in the intercommunications system in the Master Bomber’s aircraft.

[Underlined] CULMONT/CHALINDREY 13/14TH JULY [/underlined]

[Underlined] Master Bomber: W/Cdr. Porter [/underlined]

157 aircraft were detailed to attack the railway junction and repair depot. The attack took place in conditions of no cloud and good visibility. There were two aiming point, Eastern and Western, and the attack on each was scheduled to open simultaneously. One marking point was chosen, bombing to be carried out by the vector method.

MARKING Flare illumination was punctual and accurate. Owing to a fault in the Master Bomber’s No.1 V.H.F. set, the deputy controller temporarily took over the direction of the attack. The latter gave orders for the attack on the Western aiming point to commence, and this went ahead according to plan. Some six minutes later, the Master Bomber had changed to his alternative V.H.F. set, and took charge of the attack on the Eastern aiming point. This was then completed without further breakdown of the communications.

RESULTS Windfinding was good on this operation, and the correct vector was passed for both the East and West aiming point. P.R.U. photographs reveal a very heavy concentration of craters all over the area od the locomotive sheds, and many locomotives were damaged. The lines are obliterated by craters in this area. The rail junctions east of the sheds is severed in many places. The construction of lines at the South end of the target and all other lines leading to the South West have been cut in many places.

CONTROL W/T control was excellent on both aiming points. VHF R/T very good, after the Master Bomber had changed to his stand-by set.

[Underlined] VILLENEUVE ST. GEORGES (RAILWAY YARDS) 14/15TH JULY [/underlined]

[Underlined] Master Bomber: W/Cdr. Jeudwine [/underlined]

118 aircraft from all Bases were detailed to attack the Railway marshalling Yards South of Paris, the marking to be carried out by Oboe aircraft of the P.F.F. and by 54 Base.

The weather was clear at first, but thin cloud drifted over during the attack, giving 5/10ths cover at about 7,000 feet at the time of the attack.

MARKING The Oboe markers were placed in the marshalling yards, one to the N.W. of the aiming point and two to the East. The first flares lit up the aiming point and Mosquitos dropped two red spot fires. Some bombs were dropped on the red spot fires but the Master Bomber considered that more marking was required, and ordered bombing to cease. More flares were called for, and by their aid Mosquito backers-up dropped two more red spot fires and a green T. I. The Master Bomber added one 1,000 lb red and one green T. I., and having assessed the marking as accurate gave the order to bomb the concentration of red and green markers. Towards the end of the attack, there was a slight spread towards the northern end of the marshalling yards.

CONTROL W/T communication on this raid was entirely satisfactory. A small percentage of aircraft complained of interference on V.H.F.

RESULTS P.R.U. cover shows that the main weight of the attack fell on the extreme Eastern edge of the sorting sidings, spreading across the fields to the East, but heavy damage was caused to tracks and rolling stock in these sidings, and the Eastern through lines Paris – Dijon were cut.


[Underlined] Master Bomber: W/Cdr. Porter [/underlined]

109 aircraft from all Bases were ordered to attack the railway junction and locomotive depot at Nevers. The flare and marker forces were provided by No. 54 Base.

MARKING Flares were dropped over the target area on time, and a 1,000 lb green T.I. was dropped in the correct position as a datum point. A hold up in the marking occurred in the early stages, as the marker leader inadvertently released his two red spot fires in the early part of his dive and they fell some 500 yards short, and North of the aiming point. These were subsequently cancelled by a yellow T.I. The aiming point was re-marked with two more red spot fires, which were assessed as having fallen along the axis of the railway lines. The main forces were ordered by the Master Bomber to bomb the red spot fires. Bombing developed, and the concentration, in the estimation of the Master Bomber, was some 150 yards West of the target. He therefore sent out a vector to bring the remaining bombs back to the aiming point.

CONTROL Control on both W/T and VHF R/T was satisfactory. Wind-finding was good, and the vector issued by the Master Bomber correct.

RESULTS P. R. U. photographs show a very heavy concentration of craters from the junction right through the marshalling yards to their southern extremity by the main station. This concentration is so intense at a centre about 450 yards south of the junction, that all lines and rolling stock have been obliterated. The road bridge over the yard has been damaged but

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24. JULY, 1944 PAGE 15

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not severed and the workshops to the East side of the yard have been severely damaged. On this occasion, the Group carried a load of 100% delayed action bombs. 25% of the bombs were fused L.D. 6 – 144 hours, and the remainder 1/2 hour or 1 hour delay. To enable the Master Bomber, and the crews themselves, to have some indication where the sticks were dropping, all aircraft carried one tail trace attachment in their load.

[Underlined] CAEN – DAY 18TH JULY [/underlined]

[Underlined] Master Bomber: P.F.F. and 54 Base (W/Cdr. Jeudwine) [/underlined]

203 aircraft from the Group were detailed to attack special targets in the Caen area, in direct support of our troops in Normandy. The attack was designed to eliminate certain enemy strong points and concentrations of armour, to enable tour troops to occupy the Suburbs of Caen and the East bank of the Orne and to make a break through into the open country South east of the town. Aircraft from other Bomber Command Groups also took part in this operation, and some 5,000 tons of bombs were dropped. Two areas were allotted to No. 5 Group.

MARKING Marking was carried out by Oboe aircraft of P.F.F. and the attack was controlled by a Master Bomber also supplied by the P.F.F. The markers were accurately placed, and the attack on both areas was carried out according to plan.

CONTROL The directions of the Master Bomber were clearly heard by all crews.

RESULTS Eye witnesses on the ground testify to the accuracy of the bombing, and no reports have been received of any bombs having been dropped in the sectors occupied by our own troops. All crews will know of General Montgomery’s acknowledgement of the success of this attack, which enabled the Allied Forces to attain their immediate objectives.

[Underlined] REVIGNY (MARSHALLING YARDS) 18/19TH JULY [/underlined]

[Underlined] Master Bomber: W/Cdr. Jeudwine [/underlined]

116 aircraft from the Group were detailed to attack the Marshalling Yards at Revigny, the marking to be carried out by No.54 Base.

MARKING One 1,000 lb Red T.I. was dropped by the marker leader, which was assessed as 50 yards 050° from the aiming point. Night photographs show this assessment to have been correct. The Master Bomber then gave the order for the Main Force to bomb the Red T.I. In the early stages of bombing a very large explosion occurred some 300 yards from the aiming point, followed by fires and smoke which obscured the Red T.I. The Master Bomber gave the order for the fires to be attacked, but during an orbit he once again saw the Red T.I. burning on the ground, countermanded his second order and issued further instructions to continue bombing the T.I. No further instructions were issued until the “Cease bombing” signal was given.

An examination of the bomb craters shown in P.R.U. photographs, gives the approximate mean point of impact of the bombs as 350 yards 100° from the aiming point. The wind velocity broadcast for the use of the main force was 120° 17 m.p.h., whereas an analysis of all winds found shows the average to have been 240° 05 m.p.h. Two facts are clear:-

(a) The marker stated to be on the railway attracted practically no bombs.

(b) The wind was very light and variable, but was not strong enough to displace the M.P.I. by some 350 yards.

A study of all the raid reports indicates that the majority of crews bombed on a red marker; in many cases this was reported to be faint. A few crews also mention the presence of a green T.I. none of which were in fact dropped, and some reported having bombed fires, on the Master Bomber’s instructions. The experienced crews of No. 627 Squadron reported a terrific explosion which was corroborated by most of the main force crews. In addition there are reports of aircraft seen burning in the vicinity of the red marker.

RESULTS P.R.U. photographs show a building about 200 yards South East of the aiming point, which not only received a hit or hits, but also appears to have blown up and to have been damaged by fire. It is highly probable that this attracted the attention, and was probably the aiming point of some bomb aimers. It seems fairly clear from the plot examined that the majority of crews did in fact bomb something which was about 200 yards South East of the aiming point and this would account for some of the vector error. Only a few sticks of bombs have actually straddled the railway lines themselves.

CONTROL W/T Control was excellent; VHF R/T satisfactory.


[Master Bomber: S/Ldr Owen [/underlined]

The chalk cliffs and caves at Thiverny, North of Paris, known to be a site for the storage of flying bombs, were the target for 106 aircraft of the Group in the evening of July 19th. The main marking was to be carried out by Oboe aircraft of the P.F.F. backed up if necessary by markers of 54 Base.

MARKING The initial Oboe marking was late and a 54 Base marker dropped 4 red T.I’s. These, however, fell some 500 yards short and the Master Bomber gave orders for these to be attacked, with a 500 yards overshoot. Some Yellow Oboe T.I’s were then dropped and fell on the aiming point, and the Master Bomber immediately gave orders for these to be attacked. The bombing was somewhat scattered, and did not approach the standard achieved during our night attacks on tactical targets.

RESULTS P.R.U. cover, nevertheless, shows the target area liberally plastered with bomb craters, and considerable damage was also caused to the railway yards adjoining, and supplying the storage site. There is, however, no subsidence of earth into the caves, and the entrances are not blocked, though the main road to Creil is blocked by craters.

This was the second large-scale daylight attack within two days, but it involved a much deeper penetration into enemy occupied territory than the daylight attack on the Caen area.

The necessity for maintaining as compact a formation as possible was stressed at briefing, and this was in fact achieved on the route to the target. However, late marking caused aircraft to orbit, and thus split up the formation on the return route.

A general directive on tactics to be employed by a night bomber force when employed on daylight operations has been received from H.Q.B.C. and passed to Bases, but these may have to be modified in the light of experience.

Bases have been asked to submit comments, proposals and suggestions on daylight tactics to this Headquarters and any points which may call for immediate action will be dealt with during the Flight Planning for any particular operation.

CONTROL W/T control satisfactory. Master Bomber’s VHF was technically serviceable, but suffered from much interference. He gave instructions to change to the alternative channel but only part of the main force received the order.

[Underlined] COURTRAI (MARSHALLING YARDS) 20/21st JULY [/underlined]

[Underlined] Master Bomber: W/Cdr Porter [/underlined]

The marshalling yards at Courtrai were the target for 198 aircraft of the Group on the night of July 20/21st., and the attack took place in good weather, no cloud, slight haze but visibility generally good.

MARKING The marking was to be carried out by Oboe aircraft of P.F.F. and by markers of No. 54 Base.

The first Oboe was dropped accurately. Flares followed; these were close to the town of Courtrai, but nevertheless the target was identified and the aiming point marked with a green T.I. assessed at 100 yards 230° by the Marker Leader, and confirmed by the Master Bomber. Actual positions could not be plotted from night photographs. Mosquitos were ordered to back up, and further Green T.I’s. were dropped, and these covered the length of the Marshalling Yards. The Master Bomber then ordered bombing on the Green T.I.’s. A large explosion occurred shortly afterwards and smoke resulting from this tended to obscure the markers. The Master Bomber at this stage ordered bombing to cease, to enable backers-up to drop further markers; more Green T.I’s were accurately placed, and bombing was resumed, until the Master Bomber gave the “Cease bombing” signal.

CONTROL W/T control excellent. V.H.F. generally satisfactory, but about 15% of main force complained of excessively loud VHF signals which interfered with their intercommunication. Action has been taken to eliminate trouble from this source.

RESULTS P.R.U. cover shows that very severe damage was done to the marshalling yards on this attack. Locomotive and repair shops were partially destroyed, also much rolling stock and over at least half of the target areas, the configuration of the tracks has been obliterated.

[Underlined] KIEL – 23/24th JULY [/underlined]

Kiel was the target for 100 Lancasters of the Group while six aircraft were detailed to

(Continued on page 17, col. 1)

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24. JULY, 1944. PAGE 16

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[Underlined] QUARTERLY COMPETITION. [/underlined]

Congratulations to Skellingthorpe who have been selected as being the most efficient station in the Group from the Flying Control aspect. During the quarter’s survey of flying control for this competition features of interest have been noted at several station. Below are examples of initiative shown.

[Underlined] Syerston. [/underlined]

An indicator panel which is electrically operated from the control panel has been installed. The insertion of the aircraft pin causes a light to show on the indicator panel in the aircraft’s position.

[Underlined] East Kirkby and Coningsby. [/underlined]

An illuminated indicator panel showing wind direction, runway in use, perimeter track and dispersals, has been installed in the Control Room.

[Underlined] Bardney. [/underlined]

A very thorough job has been made of the daylight letters at this station by building them in shallow concrete.

[Underlined] Spilsby. [/underlined]

Experiments are being carried out at this station with the Stud ‘B’ control transferred to the roof of the Watch Office. From this vantage point the control officer commands a view of the entire circuit and by marrying R/T and visual information of the position of aircraft on the circuit the control officer can assist in aircraft spacing.

General initiative has been shown on all stations and the effort put in by flying control staffs in internal decoration is to be commended. Inter-station visits can help considerably. So get to know your neighbour’s gadgets and if they are any use to you adapt them to your purpose.

[Underlined] QUICK LANDING. [/underlined]

The Group average is well under the 2 minute mark, though there is a slight increase on the average landing time for June. There are still some stations who are unable to maintain a constant high landing rate and who feel that because they are single squadron stations they cannot expect to attain the figures compatible with those of two squadron stations. Yet all these single squadron stations during the month do put up good figures on one or two nights. With good discipline the landing drill will give low landing times always, and the reason for these discrepancies can only be bad drill either in the air or on the ground.

Some station in the Group find a stop watch very helpful in obtaining even spacing in the circuit. A position (for example “flaps”) is selected and the intervals between aircraft are timed by means of the stop watch. The intervals should be approximately 1 minute, and should this spacing not be maintained then the flying control officer should instruct the aircraft either to delay or close up for the appropriate number of seconds.

One final word about the role of the flying control officer on Stud ‘B’ whose duty it is to assist the aircraft in their spacing around the circuit. Overshoots waste time, are unnecessary and must be reduced to the absolute minimum, and an active “Stud ‘B’ Officer” can do much to achieve this.

[Underlined] JULY LANDING TIMES [/underlined]

[Table of Landing times by Station]

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[Blank page]

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lay mines in Kiel Bay. This was a return to a long range strategic target which took the enemy by surprise. 10/10th strato. cu. cloud covered the target and rendered the searchlights ineffective.

MARKING Crews bombed either Wanganui sky Markers or Red and Green T.I’s which could be seen through the cloud. Marking was carried out by the P.F.F.

RESULTS Results of bombing were not observed but crews reported the glow of fires seen through the cloud, in the target area. Night photographs taken with the bombing show no ground detail, and complete P.R.U. cover has not been obtained hence no assessment of the success of the raid can yet be made.

[Underlined] STUTTGART AND DONGES (24/25th JULY) [/underlined]

[Underlined] Donges Master Bomber: W/Cdr Woodroffe. [/underlined]

Two strategic targets were allocated to this Group for the night of 24/25th July, first the town of Stuttgart, a centre of precision engineering, and second, oil installations and storage tanks at Donges, near St. Nazaire.

100 aircraft took part in the Stuttgart attack. The weather over the target was 9 – 10/10ths cloud, and crews bombed either on Wanganui sky markers or the glow of fires seen through the clouds, as ordered by the Master Bomber who was controlling the attack. Weather conditions made observations of bombing results impossible, and night photographs show no ground detail.

104 aircraft from all Bases were detailed for the attack on Donges, which took place in favourable weather conditions of no cloud but slight haze.

MARKING The target was marked by Oboe aircraft of P.F.F. and by marker aircraft of No. 54 Base. The Oboe markers went down on time, and were assessed as 200 yards from the Aiming Points. A 54 Base Mosquito dropped his Green T.I. in a position which was assessed as 200 yards 120° from the aiming point. Actual position from night photographs 150 yards 152°. The Master Bomber then ordered the remaining Mosquitos to back up the Green T.I. overshooting by 200 yards.

RESULTS Crews reported that a good concentration of bombs fell round the markers, and P.R.U. photographs show that a great deal of damage was done to installations and many oil tanks were totally destroyed. The oil jetty received two direct hits on the railway lines supplying the site.

CONTROL W/T Control was excellent, and VHF R/T best results so far obtained.

[Underlined] ST. CYR (EVENING 25th July) [/underlined]

The military depot and port at St. Cyr was the target for 97 Lancasters of No. 53 Base plus 106 Squadron, in daylight on July 25th. The attack took place below 10/10ths cloud at 12,000 feet in good visibility.

MARKING The target was accurately marked throughout the attack by Oboe markers of the P.F.F., although the majority of bomb aimers were able to identify their individual aiming points and bombed visually.

Full fighter cover was provided throughout the attack. Very few enemy fighters were seen but accurate heavy flak was met with in the target area and as many as 49 aircraft were hit, which represents 52.1% of the total force. One aircraft only is missing from this operation.

RESULTS Crews’ reports were most enthusiastic about the results of this raid, and P.R.U. photographs show that very considerable damage was done, and a heavy concentration of bomb craters covers the whole target area.

CONTROL W/T and VHF R/T both good.

[Underlined] STUTTGART – 25/26th JULY [/underlined]

Stuttgart was raided for the second night in succession, and on this occasion 84 Lancs of 52 and 55 Bases took part. The target was to be marked by the P.F.F., with whom 13 aircraft of No. 97 Squadron operated. Weather conditions over the target were reported as hazy and several layers of thin cloud between 16/22,000 feet.

MARKING The marking was a combination of sky markers and T.I’s, though the majority of crews bombed the ground markers which were seen through the cloud. The marking was reported as somewhat scattered, though in the later stages of the attack crews reported a large fire area, which could still be seen from 30 miles away on the homeward route.

RESULTS Insufficient ground detail appears on the night photographs to enable markers to be plotted, or the accuracy of the attack to be assessed, but crews generally are of the opinion that the attack was more successful than the previous one.

[Underlined] GIVORS – 26/27th JULY [/underlined]

[Underlined] Master Bombers: Northern A/P – W/Cdr Porter
Southern A/P – W/C Woodroffe [/underlined]

The marshalling yards at Givors, a few miles South of Lyons, were the target for 178 aircraft from the Group on this night.

There were two aiming points, the North and South, and the attack on each was under a separate Master Bomber. Marking to be carried out by No. 54 Base. Weather conditions both en route and over the target were most unfavourable, and much cumulus and cu.nimb. cloud, with rain and thunderstorms was encountered. The Mosquito markers experienced serious icing and difficulty with their equipment, and had to return to base.

MARKING The Master Bombers received the winds transmitted by selected windfinding crews according to plan. The Master Bomber (Northern aiming point) was unable to identify his target in the light of the flares dropped by the flare force, and dropped a Wanganui marker on a time and distance run from Lyons; he followed this up by dropping his own reserve flares, but was still unable to locate the target.

The Southern aiming point Master Bomber had succeeded in locating his target, and dropped two Green T.I’s which he assessed as accurately placed, so he ordered the main force to attack them. Actual positions of markers plotted from night photographs from the Southern Aiming Point :- (i) 1,350 yards 007°. (ii) 1,360 yards - 024°. (iii) 2000 yards - 034°. They were soon obscured, so the Master Bomber stopped the bombing while he dropped four more Green T.I’s and having assessed them ordered the main force to start bombing again on a heading of 345°, undershooting by 5 seconds. At this point the Northern Aiming Point Master Bomber, still unable to identify his target, ordered his force to bomb the Green T.I’s with similar instructions.

RESULTS P. R. U. photographs show that in spite of the most unfavourable weather conditions some damage was caused in both targets. Both round houses in the Marshalling Yards have been damaged, and there are about seventeen hits affecting the tracks between the yards and the railway junction.

CONTROL VHF R/T and W/T control were both very good, in spite of unusually heavy static interference.

[Underlined] STUTTGART – 28/29th JULY [/underlined]

Stuttgart was attacked for the third time within a week on the night of July 28/29th. 176 aircraft from the Group took part in this attack. Well broken cloud was met over the channel en route, and this increased to 9/10 strato cumulus, with tops about 8,000 feet over the target; visibility was good.

MARKING P.F.F. marking consisted of Green T.I’s and sky markers. The majority of crews bombed the Green T.I’s which could be clearly seen through the thin layer of cloud. Owing to cloud cover the accuracy of the markers and the success of the attack could not be assessed. Defences were reported to have been much stronger than on the two previous raids, but once again no trouble was experienced from searchlights. Many fires, the glow of which could be seen through the cloud, were left burning, and these could be seen 50 miles away on the return journey.

RESULTS P.R.U. cover now shows that about 300 acres in the centre of the city have been devastated in these three raids, and very considerable damage has also been caused in the Eastern part of the city.

[Underlined] CAHAGNES (NORMANDY) DAY 30th JULY [/underlined]

106 aircraft from the Group were assigned a special task in support of military operations in Normandy, the attack to take place at 08.00 hours.

Weather en route was 8 – 10/10th strato. cu. tops 4/5,000 feet, which broke to little or none over the channel, but re-formed a few miles North of the French Coast. At the target there was 9 – 10/10ths cloud, tops 5,000 feet and base 2,000 feet. These conditions rendered precision bombing impossible, and orders were given for the force to return to base.

[Underlined] JOIGNY LAROCHE, RILLY LA MONTAGNE DAY 31st JULY [/underlined]

[Underlined] Master Bomber:- W/Cdr Porter [/underlined]

The Marshalling Yards at Joigny Laroche and the railway tunnel at Rilly La Montagne near Rheims, were the target for two striking

(Continued on page 18, col.1)

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24. JULY, 1944. PAGE 17

[Page break]

forces provided by the Group in daylight on 31st July.

Each force was sub-divided into two. One half of the Rilly force to attack the Northern entrance to the tunnel and the railway lines, and the other half the Southern entrance and lines. In the same way the Southern force were split up, half to attack the marshalling yards and half to attack the engine roundhouses.

RESULTS The weather at both targets was clear, with slight haze. At Rilly all crews identified both aiming points visually although a P.F.F. marker was dropped half way between the two tunnel entrances as a marking point. Attacks on both aiming points were reported to be accurate and P.R.U. photographs show damage at both ends of the tunnel, and hits on the railway lines.

At Joigny all crews identified the canal, river, and triangular bridge and railway junction and were able to pick out their respective aiming points. Here again, good bombing concentrations were reported, and substantial damage was caused. This is confirmed by P.R.U. photographs.

CONTROL W/T control on both targets was satisfactory, but VHF control on the Rilly attack was seriously interfered with at one stage by a main force aircraft whose V.H.F. set remained on “transmit”, owing to a technical defect; a great deal of unnecessary chatter was heard by all other main force aircraft, but fortunately the offender changed frequency before the target was reached. VHF control on Joigny Laroche was satisfactory. In order to prevent the control of an attack being jeopardised in future, by aircraft VHF sets being left on “transmit” either through carelessness or through some technical defect, orders have been given for the “transmit” crystals in all main force aircraft to be removed pending the introduction of a modification whereby the transmit crystal can be isolated.


[Underlined] Master Bomber:- W/Cdr Porter [/underlined]

This target, an installation believed to be connected with the enemy’s long range rocket projectile, was attacked in daylight by 17 aircraft of No. 617 Squadron in good weather conditions.

MARKING The Master Bomber marked the target with 2 Red Spot Fires, one of which was a direct hit on the aiming point, the second dropping immediately to the West. Fourteen aircraft attacked: two crews brought their bombs back, because they were unable to identify the aiming point, and one crew did not drop their bomb as the bombsight became unserviceable.

RESULTS P.R.U. photographs taken after the arrack, later in the day, show 11 craters within 250 yards of the aiming point, including one direct hit and two near misses.

CONTROL Control of this attack by VHF, and W/T was satisfactory.

(Continued on page 19, col. 3)

It is proposed in future to give some details in the V Group News about 5 Group precision bombing patterns. After each attack the P.R.U. cover is examined by O.R.S., 5 Group, who construct a crater plot, which in conjunction with the marker plot prepared from night photographs shows the success of the attack.

Bombs dropped can be divided into two classes:-

(a) those which are aimed at the markers or aiming point.
(b) those which are loose, i.e. ought never to have been dropped.

The purpose of the O.R.S. analysis is to determine:-

(i) The proportion of loose bombs.
(ii) The spread of the aimed bombs around the M. P. I., that is to discover the size of the 5 Group bombing pattern.
(iii) The distance of the Marker chosen as the point of aim from the target to be destroyed, and the distance of the mean point of impact of the bomb pattern from the marker.

The results of these three calculations determine the success of the attack, and permit the Air Staff to calculate the number of bombs which must in future be despatched to destroy a given target.

For the purpose of the V Group Monthly News the results of these three calculations for each attack will be shown as follows:-

(i) Percentage of loose bombs.
(ii) Estimate of the radius of the circle containing half the bombs.
(iii) The distance of the M.P.I. of the aimed bombs from the aiming point. That is made up of two components, the error with which the point of aim us indicated, and the systematic error of aiming by the bomb aimers.

It is not always possible to provide such a complete picture for each attack; because sometimes clouds spoil the P.R.U. cover or make the plotting of markers impossible. On some occasions it is not practicable even to separate with accuracy the 5 Group bomb craters on the P.R.U. cover, from those produced by previous attacks of other Groups or Commands. It is, therefore, proposed to issue each month a table giving the results of those attacks which have so far been analysed. The table appended gives some of the results for April, May, June and July respectively. It has been impossible to include all the results for each month in the present table; but as additional calculations are made fresh results will be issued in subsequent monthly summaries.

[Table of Bombing Pattern Results by Date]

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24. JULY, 1944. PAGE 18

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[Cartoon] SPORTS [Cartoon]

[Underlined] CRICKET [/underlined]

[Underlined] Group Cricket Trophy. [/underlined] July saw the last of the trophy. Syerston and Woodhall, the two section winners, met at Coningsby on a gloriously sunny afternoon. Woodhall batted first and had the best of the wicket, which began to crumble a little later in the game. Warburton opened the Syerston attack and was turning the ball amazingly on so dry a wicket. He bowled throughout the Woodhall innings, and returned the splendid analysis of 7 for 26. Woodhall produced some lively batting, but lost one or two cheap wickets in the opening stages. Stanford hit a brisk 34, which gave them a much needed fillip, and the tail wagged with great vigour, Vaughan hitting a very timely 27 not out. The Woodhall innings produced the respectable total of 123. Warburton opened the Syerston innings, and with only a few runs on the board, Woodhall missed a golden opportunity of running him out. His partner pushed a ball to mid-off and called a single, not counting on the snappy pick-up and throw-in that Stanford produced. Warburton ran his hardest, but had the wicket keeper held the return he would have been yards out. After his escape Warburton batted right through the Syerston innings making 45 not out, a splendid contribution to his side’s total of 87. Tuxford got 4 Syerston wickets for 25 in the dour Woodhall attack. In the absence of the Base Commander, G/Capt. Philpott had the pleasure of presenting Woodhall, his own team, with the Trophy, a very handsome silver bowl. F/O Denning, Coningsby P.F.O., is to be congratulated on his arrangements for the game which had to be completed in rather less than an hour; he has just cause to be proud in seeing another Group Trophy brought home to roost alongside the Matz Cup.

[Underlined] H.Q. 5 GROUP. [/underlined] The Group side managed four games during the month. On the 2nd against 93 M.U. they suffered a 158 – 25 reverse, being well and truly dampened by a rain storm that persisted throughout their innings. For the M.U. Kinder scored 44 and took 7 wickets. On the 18th, Group avenged their defeat by a 83 – 68 win over the M.U. Wigsley defeated the Group side at Morton Hall, scoring 110 for 6 against 31 for 10. F/L Pearcey, for Wigsley, scored 40 and took 5 Group wickets. The last of the month’s games was with Newark Town at Newark. Group fielded their strongest side and won by 152 – 75. Sprawson hit 41 and Todd 37, but the outstanding performance was by S/L Unwin who took 9 wickets for 36, eight of them clean bowled, a welcome return to his old form.

[Underlined] DUNHOLME LODGE [/underlined] played 6 games returning the following outstanding results:-

v Welton Home Guard at Dunholme Welton 27 – 10 Dunholme 99 – 10

v De Aston School at Dunholme De Aston 35 – 10 Dunholme 88 – 10

v No. 7 I.T.C. at Lincoln I.T.C. 135 – 10 Dunholme 163 – 6

v Wickenby at Dunholme Wickenby 32 – 10 Dunholme 108 – 9

v Hemswell at Hemswell Hemswell 165 – 5 Dunholme 85 – 9

v Waddington at Waddington Waddington 72 – 10 Dunholme 81 – 10

The best individual performance was by F/S. Wallin, who hit 85 not out, against Lincoln I.T.C.

The Station Cricket Knock-Out is in full swing, S. H. Q. Sgts. having reached the 2nd round, while 44 Squadron Air Crew Officers beat 44 Squadron Aircrew Sgts. by 2 runs to qualify for the 2nd round.

[Underlined] METHERINGHAM [/underlined] put up a strong fight against Woodhall in the semi-final of the Group Trophy, scoring 67 – 10 against Woodhall’s 73 – 6. At one period, Metheringham had high hopes of winning as Stanford (Woodhall’s Aussie Star) was run out for five, but the Woodhall batting proved too good in the long run.

Two inter-station games were played, Bardney being beaten by 98 – 3 to 44 – 10. The side failed at East Kirkby, scoring 39 against Kirkby’s 90 for 9.

Inter-Squadron and inter-section games produced six matches, in all a busy cricket month.

[Underlined] GENERAL [/underlined]

Any Squadron that ‘fancies its chance’ at Soft Ball is invited to ring Dunholme Lodge and make a date.

The approach of the Winter Sports season is already felt and, taking the ‘pessimistic’ view that even after Berlin some of us will still be in the Mob, negotiations are in progress to obtain official blessing for sufficient transport to run a Soccer League. As soon as a firm basis is reached, a meeting of all P.F.O.’s will be called and arrangements and fixture dates agreed. But irrespective of the establishment of a League, the Matz Soccer Cup, Wines Rugger Cup and 5 Group Hockey Trophy will be fought for, and the dates and arrangements for these Tourneys can best be served by a Group representative gathering.


[Underlined] WIZERNES – DAY – 17th JULY [/underlined]

[Underlined] Master Bomber:- W/Cdr Tait. [/underlined]

17 Lancasters of No.617 Squadron, of which 16 took off, were detailed to attack the constructional works, believed to be connected with the enemy’s long range rocket projectiles. 1 Mustang and 1 Mosquito were to mark the aiming point.

MARKING The Red T.I’s of both the Mustang and Mosquito fell in the same place, approximately 100 yards N.E. of the concrete dome. The 12,000 lb bombs were dropped from heights varying between 16,600 and 18,600 feet.

RESULTS There were no direct hits on the dome, but P.R.U. photographs show two large craters in the quarry some 30 – 50 yards from the entrance which caused a minor landslide. Three bombs were seen to fall within 70 yards North West of the Aiming Point, and a further four within 50 yards to the South East. Later crews were unable to identify the Aiming Point visually, owing to haze and smoke from the earlier bombs, and aimed their bombs on its estimated position.

CONTROL W/T control on this operation was good, but considerable interference was experienced on VHF believed to be due to enemy jamming.

[Underlined] WIZERNES 20/21st JULY [/underlined]

[Underlined] Master Bomber:- W/Cdr Porter [/underlined]

15 Lancasters and 3 Mosquitos were detailed to attack the rocket site at Wizernes. The target was covered with 8 – 10/10ths low stratus, and the operation was abandoned.

[Underlined] WATTEN – DAY – 25th JULY [/underlined]

[Underlined] Master Bomber:- W/Cdr Woodroffe [/underlined]

Constructional works at Watten, believed to be connected with the enemy’s intended use of long range rocket projectiles, were the target for 16 Lancasters of No. 617 Squadron in daylight on July 25th. The target was to be marked by 1 Mosquito and 1 Mustang.

MARKING Weather in the target area was clear with excellent visibility, and in these conditions the Master Bomber considered that marking was unnecessary and the majority of aircraft bombed on the first run up.

RESULTS A detailed interpretation of the photographic cover of this raid has not yet been received, but three probable hits are shown within the complex. One has removed a portion of the concrete from the roof of the large building on the North side. The others are just North East of the main building and just North of the North East corner. The access facilities on the Eastern side appear to be completely destroyed.

CONTROL No communications difficulties were experienced, either on VHF R/T or W/T.

There are points arising from these attacks which merit special attention. These may be enumerated as follows:-

(a) Minor troubles with V.H.F. sets. These are inherent when aircraft are equipped with new apparatus, and crews are unfamiliar with its operation. Snags

(Continued in col. 2)

are being eliminated one by one, and it is hoped that during August they will be entirely eliminated. Several crews have been guilty of leaving their sets on transmit. Not only has this seriously interfered with the control of the operation, but it has also revealed much unnecessary crew chatter. The remedy for this has been to remove the “transmit” crystals from all main force aircraft.

(ii) [sic] Some crews have been guilty of bombing before H Hour, or before orders to commence have been received from the Master Bomber. Not only does this disobedience of orders display bad crew discipline, but, what is more serious, it endangers the marker aircraft flying at a lower level, and on occasion has prevented successful backing up by the marker force.

(iii) T.I. markers must be released from a height which will allow them to cascade; if they are dropped too low, they will break up when they hit the ground or ricochet for some considerable distance. The minimum should be 700 – 800 feet.

(iv) Bombing by the vector method. This has proved to be very successful, and our attacks carried out by this method at night have proved to be rather more accurate than the direct method.

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24. JULY, 1944. PAGE 19

[Page break]


[Underlined] NEW FIELDS [/underlined]

Four phases of our bomber offensive have been applied this month, as follows:-

(i) Heavy night attacks on Germany (three Command attacks on Stuttgart and one on Kiel).

(ii) Heavy short range day attacks (combined attack on Caen, 18th July).

(iii) Daylight precision attacks by the Group force.

(iv) Night precision attacks by the Group force.

Opportunities have therefore been provided for studying:-

(i) Enemy night fighter reaction to the resumption of heavy night raids on German cities.

(ii) Enemy day fighter reaction to large and small forces operating over and beyond the battle zone.

(iii) The virtues of day bombing (visually and on markers) compared with normal night precision attacks.

(iv) The best disposition of aircraft (opposed to strict formation flying) for heavy bomber attacks by day.

The night attacks on Germany brought into use a new and extensive countermeasure scheme, designed to outwit the skilful deployment of enemy night fighter defences in Germany. Details of this scheme must remain secret for the time being, but the careful routeing of Bullseyes has been one of the foremost elements of the plan and has frequently delayed the interception of our bombers. On the Kiel attack, the fighters were kept almost completely at bay, which resulted in an exceptionally low loss rate.

Stuttgart, after three heavy attacks, has suffered extensive damage, mainly from fire. It is interesting to note that the last attack (the most successful) depended largely on blind (Wanganui) marking. As a result of new Pathfinder equipment, we hope crews will not have to face tough German fighter opposition in the coming months without the reward of good marking and more successful blind attacks.

It is particularly important that all crews should revise their knowledge of enemy defences and concentrate on achieving perfectly executed combat manoeuvres. Crews who have completed their first sorties on lightly defended occupied targets, must learn the art of getting out of searchlight cones, and, most important, must be on the top line with gunnery, night vision and the technique of interpreting and applying the correct tactics to Monica and Fishpond. With a firm knowledge of what defences to expect and what to do if you are a victim of fighters, flak or searchlights, you can achieve bombing accurately on defended targets equal to that on some of the recent attacks in France.

The heavy attack at dawn on Caen gave us the first opportunity of studying the appearance of a close concentration of 1,000 aircraft. From observations on the trip, it was estimated that the collision and bomb damage risks were exceptionally high, but analysis shows that there were no collisions and only one aircraft in this Group was damaged by falling bombs, and yet all aircraft made a good bombing run and there were no loose sticks outside the target area. One fact was clearly confirmed, however – that any aircraft at night or in the daytime which manoeuvres unnecessarily in the stream is endangering not only its own crew but the rest of the force.

More daylight operations towards the end of the month and at the beginning of August have introduced new problems – the best disposition of aircraft to prevent too much congestion at the target and to provide an effective defence against fighters and flak. It must not be forgotten that a formidable fighter force is still available to the Hun, and although it has not been seen so far in daylight, our forces must be so disposed to be ready to meet heavy fighter opposition.

Daylight concentration requires even more accurate flying than at night. Leaders of each element must keep their speeds and heights accurately. They must appreciate that following aircraft cannot execute tight turns and sudden increases or decreases in speed. Similarly, all aircraft must keep behind the Leaders as briefed, to ensure that the correct distribution of aircraft is achieved at the target.

On the whole, these operations have shown that our heavy bomber force can now be adapted for night and day strategic and tactical bombing with a good measure of success. Even the weather has been beaten by the skilful efforts of the Master Bomber and determination of the crews. The attack at DONGES (Night 24/25th July) was accompanied by thick Cu.Nb. cloud en route which forced some of the Mosquito markers to turn back. In spite of low cloud, lightning, rain and poor visibility at the target, a successful attack was delivered and a large oil storage depot destroyed.

[Underlined] BRIEFING ORDERS [/underlined]

Many instances have been recorded recently of crews failing to follow the Flight Plan. One example is the report of a number of experienced crews who kept low on the return from Wesseling (21/22nd June) as ordered, who observed aircraft being attacked at heights up to 12,000 ft. A great many considerations go into planning these days, and this incident shows that people with their own ideas on how to get to the target and back come up against the very thing that the plan is designed to avoid.

A gross breach of flight discipline was recently reported, when the Group was ordered to keep below 5000 feet for the first leg out to sea. British Radar plotted some of our aircraft at 8-10,000 feet. This, of course, is just inviting the Hun fighters to come out to meet you, and even a few aircraft doing this sort of thing will nullify the effect of the whole countermeasure and spoofing plan.

[Underlined] COMBATS [/underlined]

An examination of this month’s combat reports shows again that you can be attacked and get away with it if you do the right thing. A crew of 9 Squadron was attacked and followed continuously for an hour by an A. I. fighter. The first indication was on Boozer, and the development of the attacks was recorded on Monica. The aircraft was corkscrewing practically the whole time. By keeping to the correct drill this crew outwitted a very persistent and probably experienced night fighter pilot.

A large number of combats are still first made known by the appearance of tracer. A good search and a constant vigil on Monica and Fishpond is the only answer to this at the moment. One of the main faults has been misuse of early warning devices. Several crews have obtained contacts at 2,000 yards and yet have taken no action until the fighter has been seen by gunners at ranges from 500 to 250 yards. The fighter has thus been able to close in with a steady aim and damage the aircraft by opening fire before a corkscrew was commenced, or at the moment of starting it. Early warning devices have been fitted to ensure early action (i.e. corkscrew at 750 yards and do not wait for a visual). People who do the right thing may still be fired at, but the fighter is put off and the tracer passes over the fuselage instead of through it.

At least two captains have reported that after persistent attacks from enemy fighters they dived their aircraft away from the fighter in a manner to indicate that their aircraft was out of control. The foundation for these ideas is completely discounted by the experience of fighter pilots. The enemy is rarely deceived, and nothing is more dangerous than to manoeuvre in this way. The fighter is only too pleased to find an opportunity of diving after the bomber, completing his work and claiming a confirmed victory. Flames coming from an engine prompted one of the pilots to dive away. Diving to put out a fire is fatal, as more heat is generated in the engine and the added draught will assist the flames to spread. In addition, an already weakened structure will possibly be strained to breaking point in the dive. Decisions are difficult to make in a tight corner, but tactical manoeuvres have been thought out purposely for the best defence, and continued practice in corkscrew and the correct patter will prevent panic in these awkward moments.

[Underlined] BLACK MAGIC [/underlined]

We know the Hun is clever but, believe it or not, the following extracts are from combat reports of experienced crews:-

“We were attacked by an enemy aircraft which had been shot down.”

“The enemy aircraft was seen to go into a [underlined] swallow [/underlined] dive.”

“The rear gunner continued firing after the rear turret had been feathered.”

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.24. JULY, 1944.



“V Group News, July 1944,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 16, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/18105.

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