V Group News, October 1944


V Group News, October 1944
5 Group News, October 1944


Five Group Newsletter, number 27, October 1944. Includes a foreword by the Air Officer Commanding, and features about operations, gardening, signals, tactics, air bombing, navigation, this month's bouquets, radar navigation, training, second thoughts for pilots, gunnery, oiling up, accidents, aircrew safety, flying control, equipment, engineering, armament, photography, education, an Englishman's home is his Nissen, decorations, war savings and war effort.

In accordance with the conditions stipulated by the donor, this item is available only at the University of Lincoln.



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October 1944 No. 27





[Stamp] Base Copy

101. 9

Copies dist Stn.

[Underlined] 1315 hrs. [/underlined]

Dortmund Ems


M. Gladbach






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Foreword by A O C

October has seen a fine month’s work with many important operations successfully concluded. Several of these took place in difficult conditions, reflecting the improved standard of training which crews have reached before they go on operations.

As this month marks the departure of No.51 Base on its incorporation into the newly formed 7 Group, I would like to congratulate all in the Base on the fine results which they have achieved over the past 20 months. Although they now move to 7 Group they will continue to provide crews for this Group, and since the Stirlings with which they are now equipped, are shortly to be replaced by Lancasters, it will soon be possible to relieve squadrons of much of their training commitments.

While there has been a steady improvement in the efficiency of all members of aircrew there is one matter in which the standards are still deplorably and dangerously low. I refer to the problem of security.

I am certain that if I asked any member of an aircrew whether he would, of his own free will, give information to the enemy he would hotly deny the suggestion. Yet the names of no less than 17 members of 5 Group who are now Prisoners of War, appear on a list lately captured from an enemy Headquarters, which was over-run during the Army’s advance.

The list contains the names of individuals who had passed through the normal interrogation centre, and gives a precis of the information which the interrogating officer gleaned from each; some of it is of considerable value to the enemy. I do not suggest that the information was given with any treasonable intent, but the orders state that nothing may be said at interrogation except NUMBER, RANK AND NAME, and the individuals whose names appear on this list have flagrantly disobeyed these orders.

In the aggregate very great harm has been occasioned to the Allied cause by disclosures which have been made by Prisoners of War. Some were no doubt doing no more than airing their ideas, or repeating what they had heard, hoping, by appearing to give information, to appease the interrogating officer. Unfortunately, when faced with a skilled interrogator there is no “half way house”, either you say nothing and get away with it, or you start to talk and everything you know will be dragged out of you.

There is ample evidence to show that the German Interrogation centre is conducted along the lines specified in the Geneva Convention, and that no undue pressure is brought to bear on any individual who will not talk. If, however, a Prisoner appears to be of the talkative type he will certainly be interrogated at considerable length. Anyone who gives only the details of Number, Rank and Name and thereafter keeps his mouth firmly shut, will not only be respected by the enemy, but is unlikely to be further interrogated.

I suggest that members of aircrew who may have the misfortune to find themselves Prisoners of War, should bear in mind that the Allied

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Underlined] A. O. C’S FOREWORD [/underlined]

Armies are still advancing and that in their progress towards Berlin, they will no doubt capture other lists containing the names of Prisoners and what they have said. They should ponder on the sharp retribution which will overtake those individuals when they again set foot on British soil. But this retribution will not bring to life those of their comrades who have been killed because of their failure to carry out their orders.

Unfortunately, this unworthy giving of information to the enemy has its counterpart in dangerous talk in this country. Before the first attack on the Tirpitz on the 15th September, 1944, all crews taking part had to be briefed some days in advance. They were told that on no account must a word be breathed outside, and there were very good reasons for this special warning.

Yet, within 48 hours loose talk by members of certain crews in front of individuals in no way concerned with the operation, had spread the news to other Units in the Group where it was being freely debated. A number of individuals are about to face the consequences of their folly and I cannot, at present, refer in more detail to this episode. But it shows that there are still those who fail to realise their responsibilities.

A further form of laxity is the carriage of documents in aircraft. We know that diaries containing valuable and secret information have been taken by the Germans off Bomber crews; while the other night an aircraft of this Group which had been detailed to attack Bergen, landed at a diversion airfield where the captain dropped his copy of the complete briefing instructions which he had been given before take-off and which is expressly forbidden to take into the air.

Great harm is being done by this slackness in matters of security. It reflects on the standard of discipline of aircrew, and shows the lack of a proper sense of responsibility. We cannot afford to give information to the enemy, even on matters which may appear trivial; for we are up against a powerful and experienced defence which knows well how to turn information to good account.

I ask aircrew to give this matter of security the serious thought that it deserves, and ensure that they thoroughly understand the orders on the subject and obey them.

[Underlined] PONDER ON THIS. [/underlined]

A crew of No. 61 Squadron interrogated in April, 1944, gave the enemy details of the 5 Group method of attack including our technique of marking, the part played by the Master Bomber, and even such matters as the frequencies used in the control of the operation.

[Underlined] ALSO THIS. [/underlined]

Sgt. D. was extremely well drilled in security. For this reason he would say nothing, especially as the crew had been repeatedly warned against talking by the Intelligence Officer.


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[Drawing] operations

[Underlined] WILHELMSHAVEN – 5TH OCTOBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber:- Wing Commander Simpson.

Operations in October started with a daylight attack by a force of 221 aircraft on the Great Naval base at Wilhelmshaven.

PLAN Although previously attacked by both the R.A.F. and the U.S.A.A.F., no great or widespread damage had been done, and on this occasion, the intention was to devastate the built-up area and suburbs of the town, rather than the dock area. The bomb load was 10 x 1,000 lb H.E. with only a small proportion of incendiaries, a change from our usual 80% incendiary load.

Two aiming lines some 4,000 yards long and running roughly east to west through the town, were allotted to Nos. 53 and 55 Bases, whose aircraft were to be evenly distributed over the whole length of both aiming lines. Nos. 49, 9 and 106 Squadrons were given individual aiming points in the north east sector of the town. No. 54 Base were to place proximity markers on the coast line to the north east, to aid crews in their run-up. Bombing to be direct and visual. Failing visual identification, crews were ordered to bomb on H.2.S., or (for non-H.2.S. aircraft) on bombs dropped by H.2.S. aircraft; or as a last resort, any built up area in Germany.

RESULTS 10/10ths cloud was encountered over the target area, and the Master Bomber ordered crews to bomb on H.2.S. 198 aircraft attacked the primary target area, the remainder bombed last resort targets. Bombing was consequently very scattered, and only minor points of fresh damage are reported.

An H hour of 09.00 hours involved a dark take-off, and forming up was not easy. In spite of this, and of the unfavourable weather conditions, the fighter escort reported that this was one of the easiest operations they have yet had to cover.

[Underlined] BREMEN – 6/7TH OCTOBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber:- Wing Commander Woodroffe.

Bremen, frequently the target for both the R.A.F. and the U.S.A.A.F. had suffered wide-spread damage both to harbour installations and industrial premises, but a large built-up area in the town itself, remained undamaged. A force of 237 aircraft of the Group was despatched on the night of October 6/7th to devastate this area, which was probably the largest the Group has yet had to tackle since it has operated as a separate force. Two aircraft from each Squadron carried H.E. bombs and the remainder a 100% load of 4 lb incendiaries.

PLAN Four areas were selected: two of them heavily built up, on opposite banks of the river, in the centre of the town, and the other two, rather larger but not quite so heavily built up, to the S.E. and S.W. respectively of the two areas lining the river bank.


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[Underlined] OPERATIONS. [/underlined]

The large marshalling yard, some 1,500 yards to the north, was chosen as a convenient marking point. Three Squadrons were allotted to each of the four areas, three of which were divided into sectors, while the fourth was covered by a single track. All crews were ordered to aim at the marking point, delaying release for a detailed number of seconds.

RESULTS The attack took place in clear weather, with slight haze, and the illumination and marking went according to plan. The markers fell in a sector roughly NW – SW some 200 – 300 yards from the selected point. Photographs show that considerable damage has been inflicted in the areas selected for attack, and the devastation of the old town has been extended south eastwards, and is now almost complete. The part of the town on the West bank of the river is also heavily damaged. Nevertheless, an examination of the photographic and incendiary plots show that the concentration aimed at was not achieved, and that a large proportion of the bomb loads fell in areas previously devastated. Moreover, it is obvious that many incendiary loads were dropped short of the aiming point and although a certain amount of damage was caused in the housing estate to the north of it, this area was not included in the sectors selected for attack. Many loads have also fallen to the west, outside the planned sectors. The weather conditions for the attack were most favourable, and the marking was punctual and accurate, and no satisfactory explanation for the wide bombing spread has yet been arrived at. Two obvious possibilities are that:-

(a) the plan of attack is still not being explained to crews in sufficient detail and with sufficient emphasis.

(b) crews are not adhering rigidly to the tracks allotted to them nor carrying out the required delay when dropping their bombs.

Provided we can be satisfied that these conditions are being fulfilled, we can then begin to look elsewhere for causes which result in these incendiary attacks failing to achieve the saturation aimed at.

[Underlined] FLUSHING – OCTOBER 7TH. [/underlined]

The port of Antwerp had been in Allied hands for some time, but the facilities could not yet be used for unloading supplies for the invading armies, since Walcheren Island at the mouth of the Scheldt esturary [sic] was still held by the Germans, and the approaches to the port were under fire from enemy gun batteries.

120 aircraft from Nos. 53 and 55 Bases were therefore detailed to attack two point either side of Flushing, the sea wall on the east and the Dyke to the West, with the intention of flooding the island and forcing the enemy to abandon his gun positions.

PLAN Each Base was allotted an aiming point, and each Squadron within the Base was to attack separately at 10 minute intervals, making individual attacks and bombing in line astern at right angles to the dyke. The bomb load consisted of 14 x 1,000 lb bombs fused half an hour or one hour delay. Two runs were to be made, half the load to be dropped on each run. Crews were to bomb visually, using a Red T.I. dropped near the base of the dyke, as a guide to the run-up. Particular stress was laid on the necessity for reducing line error to a minimum, in view of the nature of the target.

RESULTS The attack was successful. The sea wall on the east side


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[Underlined] OPERATIONS. [/underlined]

of Flushing was broken in several places. The dyke on the west side was breached at one point only, but there were many craters along its crest. A few days later the water had penetrated as far as two miles inland in both areas.

[Underlined] WALCHEREN ISLAND – 11TH OCTOBER. [/underlined]

Breaches were made in the dyke and sea wall during our attack on Flushing, but the process of flooding is slow. A further force was therefore detailed to help the process, this time by attacking the dyke at Veere, on the North East side of the island. No. 55 Base provided 60 aircraft for this attack, while a second force of 113 aircraft of Nos. 53 and 55 Bases was sent to deal with four gun positions in the dock area of Flushing.

PLAN Aircraft were ordered to make individual bombing runs in line astern against the dyke, and once again emphasis was laid on the importance of reducing line error to a minimum. A red T.I. was to be dropped as a guide to visual bombing. On this occasion too, the bomb load consisted of 1,000 lb. bombs with half an hour or one hour delay. No marking was used on the gun positions, and all crews bombed visually. The bombs for this target were fused T.D. 0.025.

RESULTS [Underlined] Veere Dyke. [/underlined] This attack was also successful, and on the following day an area approximately 800 X 250 yards was seen to be flooded. Several breaches were made, one of 200 yards, a second of 100 to 150 yards, three more small breaks and in addition, four more places where the wall was cratered which would probably erode into breaks.

[Underlined] Gun Positions. [/underlined] Although good concentrations were achieved round all four aiming points, many units being destroyed by direct hits and others affected by near misses, some of the casemated positions escaped damage. These guns are almost entirely screened from blast by thick mounds and only direct hits, or very near misses near the gun apertures, are likely to put them out of action.

REMARKS The plan of flooding the Germans out of their positions on Walcheren Island started with the breaching off the sea wall at Westkapelle by other Groups early in the month. This was followed by the successful breaching of the sea wall and dyke at Flushing, and later the Veere Dyke, on the N.E. of the island, by No.5 Group, which completed the flooding of substantially the whole of the low lying areas of the island.

The importance of eliminating line error was stressed on these attacks. Their success shows that this was, in the main, achieved, though too few bomb craters are visible on the photographic cover for an accurate analysis to be made.

[Underlined] BRUNSWICK – 14/15TH OCTOBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber:- Wing Commander Woodroffe.

Brunswick has proved an elusive target for the R.A.F. in the past although it has been attacked on numerous occasions both by the R.A.F. and by the U.S.A.A.F. It was last attacked some two months ago, and on that occasion was the guinea pig for an experiment in blind bombing, entirely on H.2.S. The results were inconclusive, and only scattered incidents of damage were caused, and the guinea pig survived. On the night of the 14/15th October a strong force of 241 aircraft took off to complete the destruction of this important industrial centre.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Underlined] OPERATIONS. [/underlined]

PLAN The plan for this attack followed what has now become our normal procedure on targets of this nature, i.e. a suitable marking point was selected (the main railway terminus) and sectors between 345°T and 080°T measured from the marking point. Bases and Squadrons were to spread their aircraft evenly along tracks in these sectors and appropriate delays for bomb release were ordered. Separate height bands were given to each Base. Illumination and marking in the normal sequence.

RESULTS The attack took place in clear weather and was well controlled by the Master Bomber. Flares were accurately dropped, and the marking went according to plan. Bombing was somewhat scattered early in the attack, with a tendency to creep back towards the markers. This was later corrected, and a good concentration was achieved. A large area in the centre of the town, previously undamaged and containing the majority of administrative buildings and business premises, was devastated. On this occasion, the bomb load included a proportion of H.E., 4,000 lb, 2,000 lb and 1,000 lb H.C. and M.C. bombs, and in addition to the incendiary damage, large areas have been levelled by blast. On the whole, this was a very successful attack. A proportion of the bombing has fallen outside the westerly sector, and although considerable roof damage is visible in the easternmost sector, the destruction is not so concentrated as in the central portion. It appears probable that the displacement may have been caused by the difficulty in assessing the true position of the markers. It has not been possible to plot these on night photographs on account of smoke and fires.

REMARKS (i) Many crews reported having received instructions on R/T to delay H hour by 5 minutes, and giving a different wind. Fortunately, the attack was well under way and no-one was misled. This was at first attributed to attempts by the enemy to disrupt the attack, but was later found to be due to an 8 Group force operating on the same frequency. Action has been taken to prevent a recurrence.

(ii) Many crews reported a number of incendiaries jettisoned on track on the was back from the target. This shows gross thoughtlessness and lack of regard for other aircraft in the stream, particularly having regard to the low level return. This action is absolutely inexcusable, except in an emergency.

[Underlined] WALCHEREN ISLAND – 17TH OCTOBER. [/underlined]

A force of 50 aircraft was detailed to attack the sea wall of Westkapelle, with the intention of extending the existing breach southwards, and inundating German strong points.

PLAN Mosquitoes were to drop Red T.I’s on a given point on the wall south of the existing breach, and crews were to aim their bombs at a position midway between the markers and the edge of the breach. Planned bombing height 5,000 to 6,000 feet. Each aircraft carried a load of 14 x 1,000 lb MC/GP bombs fused half or one hour delay. Two aircraft were detailed to find a bombing wind by means of flame floats and the A.P.I. attachment.

RESULTS Although many sticks straddled the target, most of the bombing appeared to overshoot the narrow strip of land, and fell into the flood water near the village of Westkapelle. One of the A.P.I. attachments was partially unserviceable, resulting in an incorrect bombing wind being used. This resulted in a slight overshoot, and no appreciable extension of the breach was made.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Underlined] OPERATIONS. [/underlined]

[Underlined] NUREMBURG – 19/20TH OCTOBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber:- Wing Commander Woodroffe.

A force of 270 aircraft took off to attack Nuremburg, a target which has escaped lightly in previous raids.

PLAN There were three areas to be attacked, two large and one small. A convenient marking point was selected, and the bombs were to cover the two large areas by means of the delayed release, while the smaller area was to be attacked direct, with a false wind vector set on the bombsight. Sectors were distributed between Bases and Squadrons in the normal way. The marking plan followed the normal sequence and provided for one additional alternative, i.e. Wanganui flares were to be dropped if cloud conditions rendered other methods Impracticable. There were therefore four alternative methods for bombing, the Master Bomber to decide upon the one to be used. Crews were ordered to bomb:-

(i) The red T.I. with delayed release as planned.
(ii) The green T.I. backed up by reds, without the delay.
(iii) The red T.I. direct (in the event of the greens dropped by blind markers being incorrect and the Mosquitoes being able to mark the centre of the town with red T.I’s).
(iv) The Wanganui flares.

RESULTS There was 8 – 10/10ths cloud over the target, but the Master Bomber decided that the red and green T.I’s would be visible through the cloud, and did not order Wanganui. The Mosquitoes were therefore ordered to back up with their red T.I’s, the greens dropped by the blind markers, and the main force ordered to bomb them direct. It was impossible to assess the markers accurately, and night photographs show no ground detail. Although there were reports of the glow of fires through the clouds, it is probable that the attack was scattered. Unfortunately, Nuremburg appears to have escaped once more.

[Underlined] FLUSHING – 23RD OCTOBER. [/underlined]

Three gun positions in the harbour at Flushing, not previously attacked by this Group, were the targets for 112 aircraft of 53 and 55 Bases.

PLAN Each aircraft carried a bomb load of 14 X 1,000 lb bombs, fused .025 secs, planned bombing height 6/7,000 feet, minimum 4,000 feet. Aircraft to identify targets and aim visually.

RESULTS Visibility in the target area was poor with 10/10ths cloud, base 4,000 – 5,000 feet, with rain. Most crews had to make several orbits before they could identify the targets and obtain a good run up. Many crews reported being practically over the top of their targets before being able to identify their aiming point. Although many sticks straddled the targets, many more are reported to have overshot. Photographs show at least 70 craters in the area of the gun positions.

[Underlined] BERGEN – 28/29th OCTOBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber:- Wing Commander Woodroffe.

With the loss of France, the Germans also lost their U-boat bases on the Atlantic coast, and since then, they are known to have been


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[Underlined] OPERATIONS [/underlined]

operating from Norway. Reconnaissance showed that strenuous efforts were being made to complete U-boat pens at Bergen, and these were the target for 244 aircraft on October 28/29th.

PLAN Green T.I’s and flares were to be dropped in the target area, and by the aid of these the Mosquito markers were to mark the marking point with T.I. red. The Master Bomber was then to assess the accuracy of the markers, and to broadcast to the main force a false bombing vector to bring the bombs onto the aiming point. Six aircraft of the Flare Force acted as wind-finders. In view of the small size of the target, all crews were warned against loose bombing, to avoid endangering the lives and property of the Norwegians, and were ordered on no account to bomb unless they had a steady run-up on to the red T.I’s.

RESULTS 10/10ths cloud in layers from 5,000 feet to 10,000 feet was encountered over the target, with haze and poor visibility below. Flares were dropped punctually in the target area, but markers found it difficult to locate the marking point. Eventually marker No.4 dropped his red T.I’s and assessed them as within 50 yards of the marking point. The Master Bomber called the force down to bomb from between 5,000 and 8,000 feet with the wind vector as planned, provided they could get a clear run. Only 45 aircraft attacked the red T.I’s. The remainder were unable to see them or were unable to make an accurate bombing run, and did not attack, according to briefed instructions.

The attack inflicted considerable damage on the pens.

[Underlined] WALCHEREN ISLAND – 30TH OCTOBER. [/underlined]

Master Bombers:- S/Ldr. Oakley and F/Lt. de Vigne.

[Underlined] Target [/underlined] – Four gun positions in the vicinity of Flushing and Westkapelle.

PLAN No.54 Base Mosquitoes were to mark the exact aiming points with low bursting red T.I’s, the attacks to be controlled by a Master Bomber, also provided by No.54 Base. Six aircraft of No.55 Base were to find winds for each force. These were sent back to Group, and a bombing wind corrected for the bombsight, transmitted to both forces.

RESULTS {underlined] Flushing [/underlined] - Weather 7-10/10ths strato cu. base 4,000 feet.

[Underlined] Western Aiming Point [/underlined] – Bombing was carried out according to Master Bomber’s instructions. Believed that a fair concentration was achieved.

[Underlined] Northern Aiming Point [/underlined] – Crews had difficulty in identifying the target as it was almost entirely submerged, and markers extinguished as they fell. Those who attacked bombed visually aiming at the tops of the casements, which were above the water, with unobserved results.

[Underlined] Westkapelle [/underlined] – Weather 4/10ths – 7/10ths strato cu. Clear below.

[Underlined] Northern Aiming Point [/underlined] – Marking and bombing reported as accurate – No results observed.

[Underlined] Southern Aiming Point [/underlined] – Marking assessed as accurate, but the main force had difficulty in seeing the T.I’s, which were partly buried in the sand dunes. As a result, there was a tendency to overshoot.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Underlined] OPERATIONS. [/underlined]

[Underlined] SPECIAL OPERATIONS BY NOS. 617 AND 9 SQUADRONS. [/underlined]

[Underlined] KEMBS BARRAGE – 7TH OCTOBER. [/underlined]

The Kembs Barrage, which lies 6 1/2 miles below Basle, governs the flow of the Rhine between the Swiss town and Strasbourg. Apart from its navigational importance to barge traffic between Strasbourg and the upper reaches of the river, the Barrage was a weapon in the hands of the enemy which they could have used to impede the operations of our land forces in the south eastern sector of France. The sudden release of a large volume of water from the barrage and the breaching of the river banks below it would result in the flooding of large areas. The Barrage is 180 metres wide, and consists of five bays, each of 30 m. span separated by piers 5 m. thick. Each bay is closed by metal sluices, operated electrically, on a principle similar to that of sash windows.

PLAN 7 aircraft, carrying Tallboys, fused T.D. 0.025 were to bomb from high level (8,000 feet or below cloud base, minimum 5,000 feet), and six aircraft with Tallboys fused 1/2 hour delay, from low level (500 to 800 feet, 500 feet minimum). The force was to be covered by three squadrons of Mustangs, one of which was detailed to deal with light gun positions near the target. The high force was to bomb first and the low force was timed to go in after the smoke from the high force bombs had cleared.

RESULTS Weather was clear at the target, with good visibility, and the attack was carried out as planned. The defences proved to be more formidable than had been shown on recent photographs, and intense light flak was experienced, mainly coming from the eastern bank of the river. Of the high force, several aircraft experienced bomb release trouble, and as a result there were several overshoots. Two bombs were dropped as much as 600 yards west owing to hang-ups. Of the low force bombs, one fell immediately beyond the barrage, and there were two overshoots of 40/50 yards. One bomb fell close to the westernmost sluice gate, and demolished it. Visual reconnaissance later the same day, reported that the water level 2 1/2 miles up stream from the target had fallen 11 feet 4 inches and that many barges were stranded. Later, photographs showed that the iron superstructure above the first and second pillars on the west side had been completely destroyed, together with the sluice gate.

[Underlined] THE SORPE DAM – 15TH OCTOBER. [/underlined]

Railway communications between northern and central Germany and the Ruhr have become increasingly important to the enemy since the successful attack by 5 Group on the Dortmund Ems canal. These lines not only supply the Ruhr industrial area itself, but are also the life-lines to the enemy’s main front facing our forces advancing on the Ruhr. The destruction of the Sorpe dam would result in the flooding of a considerable area, including the Neheim-Schwerte railway, one of the three main lines serving the Ruhr from the east, and would thus add to the enemy’s communications and supply problems. It was therefore decided that the Dam should be attacked by 18 aircraft of No.9 Squadron, all carrying Tallboy bombs. No immediate results were expected, owing to the peculiar nature of the Dam’s construction, but it was hoped that direct hits from Tallboys would unbalance the retaining wall of the dam, resulting in gradual erosion, finally enabling the water to break through.


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[Underlined] OPERATIONS. [/underlined]

PLAN 18 aircraft, carrying Tallboys, six fused 1/2 hour delay and 12 fused 11 seconds delay, were to attack the Dam from 14/15,000 feet. The attack was to be made at right angles to the face of the Dam, to obtain maximum penetration. Winds were to be found by six aircraft, using visual pinpoint and A.P.I. These were then to be averaged and a bombing wind transmitted by the force leader. Fighter cover was provided by seven squadrons of Mustangs. When 20 miles short of the target, the force was to divide into two formations, the first composed of the 12 aircraft carrying 11 second delay bombs and the second formation, of the 6 aircraft carrying the half hour delay bombs. Aircraft were to bomb in line astern, each aircraft to position itself 100 feet below and 200 yards astern of the aircraft in front. Bombs were to be aimed at the shore of the compensating lake below the dam face, and a false height setting applied to the bombsight, so that the bombs should strike a point 50 yards short of the crest of the dam. It was appreciated that the water level in the lake was somewhat low to be certain of success, but it was nevertheless considered that there was a reasonable chance of destroying the dam.

RESULTS 16 aircraft dropped their Tallboys. Two were unfortunate enough to be “jostled” during their run up, and were unable to bomb. The force flew over 10/10ths cloud to within a short distance of the target, but were lucky to find a clear gap over the target itself. Navigation winds had to be used, as visual pinpointing was impossible. Several direct hits were registered on the crest of the dam, one fair and square on the road running about 50 yards below the crest, and several on the dam face at its western extremity. In addition to these, several bombs slightly overshot the crest and fell in the water, and should have done their fair share of damage. There appears to have been a slight vector error, which resulted in the M.P.I. of the bombs (those visible on P.R.U. cover), being displaced some 200 yards 330 degrees from the aiming point. Although the dam was not breached, the enemy has been forced to lower the level of the dam to reduce the pressure on the water side. If the water had been a little higher the dam would undoubtedly have gone.

[Underlined] TIRPITZ – 29/30TH OCTOBER. [/underlined]

Since the last attack on September 15th the Tirpitz had been moved from Alten Fiord, to an anchorage off the small island of Haak, 4 miles West of Tromso, and some 200 miles nearer to the British Isles than her previous berth.

Possibly this move was prompted by the Germans’ fear of the ship falling into the hands of the Russians, who were rapidly over-running the Petsamo area, or possibly because they wished to get her back by stages to a German base, where major repairs and a refit could be carried out.

It was decided that, by increasing the all-up weight for take-off, and with the addition of an extra fuel load, an attack from bases in the British Isles was practicable. To achieve this, Merlin 24 engines, giving + 18 boost for take off, were installed in all Nos. 617 and 9 Squadrons’ aircraft. This involved the changing of 120 engines, and was a magnificent feat carried out in a few days. One Wellington long range tank and one Mosquito drop tank were added, giving a total fuel load of 2406 gallons. The round trip totalled 2,252 track miles.

All aircraft carried Tallboy bombs. The take off presented no difficulties, and aircraft flew at 2,000 feet to within a short distance

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Underlined] OPERATIONS. [/underlined]

of the Norwegian coast, where a rapid climb was made to negotiate the high ground. A rendezvous point was chosen within a convenient distance of the target, and here both squadrons formed up, to attack the target in two separate forces, having made a rapid climb to bombing height. All went well as far as this point.

During the approach to the target, which lay along a fiord, all bomb-aimers obtained a good view of the battleship, which was lying in the briefed position. Unfortunately, at the crucial stage of the bombing run, cloud was encountered, caused doubtless by a wind coming in off the sea and striking the high ground surrounding the Tirpitz’s anchorage. The majority of crews were able to release their bombs, some after several runs, but four aircraft were unable to obtain a satisfactory run, and returned with their bombs.

There was without doubt, one very near miss, but up to the present there is no evidence, photographic or otherwise, to show that the battleship was hit.

Once again, these two squadrons were cheated of their prey, and this time by a trick of the weather which was wholly unexpected, and certainly undeserved.

With the exception of one 617 Squadron aircraft, which was hit over the target, and forced to land in Sweden, all aircraft returned safely with a reasonable safety margin of petrol, to advanced bases.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Drawing] gardening

All Group Gardeners returned to battle in excellent strength this month, and successfully planted 316 vegetables in 60 sorties, bringing our share to 39% of the Command total of 808.

The plantings were all made by H.2.S. and mostly confined to the Kattegat area, and continued the good work of dislocating the enemy’s shipping routes, by dropping over carefully chosen pinpoints and channel intersections through which the shipping is known to pass. Despite the long distances involved, with frequent icing conditions over target areas, and Bases often unfit for return, it is very satisfying to note that the high standard of efficiency and determination is being maintained by the Captains and their crews, and that the average load per aircraft has been kept to the maximum of six vegetables.

One of our largest operations for some months occurred on the 24th October, when twenty-five Gardeners set course to the Eastward and planted 149 vegetables. 10 loads were supplied by No.106 Squadron and 4, 4, 4, and 3 by Nos. 57, 630, 44 and 207 Squadrons respectively. The results of this lay were very promising, and as the crews sighted some twenty ships on this occasion within the vicinity, it is earnestly hoped that they did not all reach port safely.

To round off the month’s activities Nos.619 and 106 Squadrons had the honour to add to the ‘History of Mining’ by planting in a new and important Garden on the 28th October. It is early to anticipate results but as the enemy is bound to use this hitherto virgin piece of water, it will be interesting to see how he fares.

In the light of past experience, all Gardeners must now remain on their toes for the coming winter months are bound to offer excellent opportunities to strike hard at the enemy’s shipping organisation in every possible position, and to rapidly assist in his ultimate downfall.

A total summary of the value of this mode of warfare is unfortunately on the Top Secret list at this stage of the war, and is therefore unable to be disclosed. But when it is realised that the total sorties this year have already reached 14,457, as against 5,313 in 1943, some estimation can immediately be made on its degree of vital importance and effect. The area in which this offensive can be conducted has now diminished to a corner of Europe. But inside the limits of this area is contained an enemy who is feverishly pressing hard to retain his command of that sea, and so move his troops, stores, equipment and trade from Scandinavia to Germany. By the terms of the Russian-Finnish Armistice Germany has been denied the use of enormous tonnage in shipping. This means that their Merchant Fleet, Minesweepers and other craft already busily employed, will be forced to double their work to make good the


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[Underlined] GARDENING. [/underlined]

requirements of a nation at war. Added to this distressing state of affairs, the enemy is now hurriedly building prefabricated U-Boats, and fitting them with every device possible in order to risk another strike at our forces. But each U-Boat is useless if she has not been ‘worked up’ by a highly trained crew for weeks, in a [underlined] safe [/underlined] area for practicing her ‘Torpedo Attacks’ and ‘Diving Trials’, or is unable to be completed at her building yard for the lack of some equipment that was to have arrived by sea transport and has been [underlined] sunk en route. [/underlined]

Whoever shall be so bold as to venture forth from this area for attack on our trade, will undoubtedly meet a hot reception from the Allied Navies and Coastal Command, but in the meantime let us delay, and if possible, prevent this, by the strong and penetrating effects of our Gardening effort.

[Underlined] SUMMARY OF SORTIES. [/underlined]

[Table of Sorties Carried Out by Squadron]

[Underlined] GROUP VISITORS. [/underlined]

On the 2nd October, Rear Admiral J.H. Edelsten, C.B.E., Royal Navy, The Assistant Chief to the Naval Staff (U-Boats and Trade), paid a short visit to R.A.F. Station, Woodhall, to thank the Bombing and Gardening Squadrons for their excellent work and co-operation with the Royal Navy during the past months.

Rear Admiral Edelsten gave a short address stating the vital importance of this work, and strongly congratulated the Captains and crews who had taken part. He said that the results of the precision bombing had been most effective and successful towards the war effort as a whole, in assisting to force the U-Boats to retire to more distant bases, and that minelayers were performing a vitally important task in a thoroughly efficient and successful manner. Aerial mining is denying the safe passage of enemy shipping in their own waters, which for the time being were out of reach of His Majesty’s Ships.

Accompanying Rear Admiral Edelsten, were Rear Admiral E.D.B. McCarthy, D.S.O., Royal Navy, The Assistant Chief to the Naval Staff (Home Station), and Captain F.A. Slocum, O.B.E., Royal Navy, Deputy Director Operations Division (Intelligence).

“v” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Drawing] signals

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

[Underlined] W/T CONTROLLERS’ TEST. [/underlined]

One of the outstanding features in the Wireless Operators (Air) domain last month was the enthusiasm shown by squadrons in carrying out the W/T Controllers’ test. During the month 67 operators carried out the tests laid down in 5G. S.I. No.13, and out of that number 65 passed as suitable for W/T Link duties. It is hoped that this enthusiasm will continue, and all Wireless Operators (Air) will eventually pass this test of their ability in accurate tuning and operating of their W/T equipment under “target-area” conditions. The operators who passed the test during October were drawn from the squadrons shown in the following table:-

[Table of Numbers of W/Ops. (Air) Passing Test by Base and Squadron]

Now that the names of all W/T Link Wireless Operators are forwarded to Group Headquarters prior to each operation, it is possible to know exactly who are our first class men, and note how they perform in the crucial test of operating over the target area.

Next month it is hoped to publish the names of all Wireless Operators who have carried out Link duties during the month.

[Underlined] GROUP W/T EXERCISE. [/underlined]

During the month, this part of the Wireless Operators (Air) training was curtailed to some extent by daylight operations, but some good exercises were carried out. The introduction of an 18 and 20 w.p.m. test was well received, and still further changes in this training are impending. It is proposed that squadrons be divided

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Underlined] SIGNALS. [/underlined]

into four sections, and each section participate once per week. An alteration to the time of the exercise is also proposed.

[Underlined] TRAINING ROOMS. [/underlined]

With the coming winter months, and the possible decrease in the number of operational and training flights, Signals Leaders must ensure that their training rooms are properly equipped and in good preparation for the extra ground training which will be necessary. All morse keys, headsets and equipment, should be checked over to ensure that full benefit can be derived from their use. Liaison between Signals Leaders and visits to neighbouring squadron training rooms should be encouraged.

[Underlined] EARLY WARNING DEVICES. [/underlined]

The curtailment in the use of early warning devices did leave the Wireless Operator (Air) with more time on his hands during an operational flight, and on many occasions the W/Op. did his watching from the astrodome when not required on the W/T equipment. It is hoped that in the near future these early warning devices will again become available, and with this in view training has continued at Conversion Units. Operators on the squadrons who may have let this training lapse should take steps to bring themselves up to the highest state of efficiency in manipulation and interpretation of these devices.

[Underlined] STOP PRESS. [/underlined]

We extend a hearty welcome to four new Signals Leaders – F/O Cheshire, who has taken over Signals Leaders duties on 227 Squadron, F/O Chapman, 463 Squadron, F/O Tyler, 50 Squadron, and F/O Smith, 189 Squadron. We also take this opportunity of saying au revoir to F/Lt. Howarth, 50 Squadron and F/O Bulmer, 463 Squadron, who have now taken up other duties. We wish them every success in their new sphere.

[Underlined] SIGNALS’ WORKSHOPS. [/underlined]

The aim of all Base and Station Signals Officers must be to make their workshops into well laid out, comfortable, well lighted and warm laboratories. It is appreciated, that, with the type of accommodation available, this will not be an easy task, but it is certainly not an insurmountable one. Furthermore, this “pepping up” of workshops must take place before the full rigour of winter is upon us.

Every one must agree that mechanics will be far happier and therefore produce far more efficient work if their workshops are comfortable. In addition, workshops in which such delicate equipment as the T.R.5043 is being serviced, must be clean, tidy and warm, if the highest standard of serviceability is to be achieved.

[Underlined] SIGNALS FAILURES. [/underlined]

It is pleasing to record that throughout the past month not one operational sortie was cancelled, and only one aircraft returned early, as the result of a signals defect. The reason for this one early return is attributed to a flight engineer, who, in an attempt to repair a mid upper hydraulic leak, disconnected the intercom. wiring, allowing it to short circuit, thus rendering the whole intercommunication system unserviceable. Under classification ‘C’ (aircraft completing

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Underlined] SIGNALS. [/underlined]

mission) the failures were as follows:- W/T – 6; H/F. R/T – 9; V.H.F. R/T – 21; and intercom. – 9.

Of the V.H.F. defects, 50% were attributable to broken whip aerials. We are doing all in our power to overcome this breakage of aerials. The official view is that 20° backward rate could cure the trouble, but unfortunately to obtain this necessitates lowering part of the aerial beneath the aircraft skin, with the result that very severe interference is then caused to V.H.F. by the aircraft’s own H.2.S. equipment. We are endeavouring to obtain fighter type V.H.F. aerials – at least for the flare force and marking aircraft. Meanwhile, the application of de-icing paste and ensuring that the aerial is screwed right home, with no part of the aerial thread showing above the Rubber Lord mounting are the best palliatives. The necessity for units to report these defects in accordance with A.M.O. A.869/43 is again emphasised.

There were two servicing failures during the month. In both cases the T.R. 5043 receivers were off tune. Signals Officers must do all in their power to eliminate this criminal type of defect.

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

The month of October saw the quick and successful changeover from T.R.1143’s to T.R.5043’s in all operational aircraft of the Group. Apart from one dynamotor overheating and one selector mechanism being jammed, there have been no serious defects. This state of affairs is very promising. It is stressed, however, that G.P.O. keystops No.2 must be fitted on all controllers’ electric type 5003, and that when fitted there must be no “play” whatsoever in the T/R/REM switch – the tolerance of a few thousandths of an inch may result in the equipment going over to transmit. In this connection, all concerned are reminded that the type 170 switch in the transmitter H.T. lead is sealed in the “off” position prior to operational take-off.

Pilots are talking enthusiastically about the wonderfully clear, but sometimes too loud R/T now obtained. The audio pre-set control in the T.R.5043 should be set back to give comfortable volume, but it is appreciated that that will not cater for every taste. Rest assured, however, we are still trying hard to get a pilot’s manual volume control.

The efficiency of our new V.H.F. R/T equipment was well described recently by a main force flight commander who said how comforting it was when still miles away from the target to hear and recognise the calm voice of W/Cdr. Woodroffe talking to his markers and flare force, and to realise several minutes before the attack that the target had already been correctly located and marked.

[Underlined] SIGNALS HITS THE HEADLINES. [/underlined]

On the 1 o’clock news on Sunday, 29th October, the B.B.C. announced that the Tirpitz had been hit by a 12,000 lb bomb. This announcement was made approximately 3 hours before the aircraft which made the attack were due to return, and was based solely on two short W/T messages transmitted soon after the attack by a 9 Squadron aircraft, while that aircraft was still well over 1000 miles away from base.

These W/T messages were two of quite a number transmitted at ranges of up to and over 1000 miles, on this target.

This is an outstanding example of the ability of the present day Wireless Operator in long range daylight W/T communication. It is

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Underlined] SIGNALS. [/underlined]

all the more remarkable considering that the frequency in use was in the 8 mc/s band, and required spot on tuning to ensure any measure of success.

[Underlined] SIGNALS SECURITY. [/underlined]

There is a custom, now hoary with age, of prefixing ALL Bomber Code messages with the month and day of the code used in encyphering. This means that all Bomber Code messages are prefaced by a four-figure group, and the figures are NOT part of the encyphered text. This system has been explained slowly and laboriously to all users of the code, but for all that, a simple two group message, such as “2329 XY” was recently pronounced “unbreakable” by an officer who should have known better. Had the message been transmitted simply as “XY” he would have known it at once, and robbed himself of his present glory of the “Highly Derogatory Order of the Irremovable Digit”.

[Underlined] FLIGHT PLANNING. [/underlined]

The F.P.C. has now been in use for well over twelve months, and has proved to be a very reliable and efficient arrangement, which has contributed largely to the Group’s success. Despite its obvious efficiency, there are certain faults which cannot be eradicated without the complete isolation of all the circuits involved – a formidable task (involving 169 miles of cable for main circuits, and 185 miles for reserve circuits between Group and Bases alone), which cannot be contemplated. These faults mainly comprise overhearing teleprinter chatter and induced “ringing” tones, all of which are familiar to listeners.

There is another type of fault, which is not due to equipment, but which is traceable to users of the network. This can be stated briefly as a tendency to forget that the loudspeaker was designed to cater for an audience of two or three in a small room, and to speak too fast as though taking part in an ordinary telephone conversation. This speed, allied with the extraneous noises explained above, tends to mystify rather than enlighten the listener in a large room. Slower and more carefully enunciated speech, pitched somewhat higher than normal, but without shouting, will be found to produce more satisfactory results.

One last word. The conference is not secret for the reason, already given, that the conference circuits run in multi-pair G.P.O. cables, where mutual overhearing was always liable to occur. For this reason mention of the target by name, or of turning points with reference to altitude and longitude should always be avoided. Lest this warning should result in too obscure future plannings, it should be added that civilian conversations which are frequently overheard on conferences are amplified at this Headquarters, whereas civilians who overhear part of the conference do not receive an amplified version.

[Underlined] RADAR. [/underlined]

Although operations completed by the Group during October were considerably fewer than in the preceding few months, there was no let up in the work being done by the Radar Sections.

With the opening of two stations at Fulbeck and Balderton, the transfer of the Base to Syerston and 49 Squadron to Fulbeck, there was plenty of work to be done. In addition to all this, two new squadrons have now been formed and moved to the new stations. The most critical problem arising out of the formation of these squadrons has

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1933 [sic].

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[Underlined] SIGNALS. [/underlined]

been the furnishing of Radar Mechanics, and up to this date is still causing considerable inconvenience. In order to lighten the burden on those few already there, several mechanics were withdrawn from other Bases and posted to 56 Base. In the past few days, however, a number of mechanics have been posted into 56 Base from Radio Schools, and this should alleviate the situation somewhat. It is hoped that the remaining deficiency will gradually improve and will eventually be eliminated.

[Underlined] H.2.S. MARK III. [/underlined]

The success of the trials and experiments on H.2S. [sic] Mark III is proceeding with a vengeance at Coningsby. To relieve the strain on those mechanics doing the valuable work, action has been taken to attach temporarily a number of H.2.S. II mechanics from 53 Base Stations.

In pursuance of this experiment, a new type of scanner was procured from T.R.E. Air Tests were made immediately, and results, to say the least, were encouraging. Arrangements have now been made to have several of these scanners produced, and the first should be available about the second week of November. In the meantime, further tests are being made with the existing scanners in an endeavour to raise their efficiency. Several different ideas have been investigated, the latest of which shows considerable promise.

[Underlined] H.2.S. MARK II. [/underlined]

The restrictions on the use of H.2.S. remained in force during October, and this was the prime reason for the decision to remove the equipment from 53 Base Squadrons. It was felt that the time being spent by personnel in servicing the equipment there would be more valuably spent if they were transferred to 54 and 56 Bases, where acute shortages in strength existed. Simultaneously it was decided to halt the fitting of H.2.S. in 227 Squadron, and to remove what had already been installed.

[Underlined] LORAN. [/underlined]

Right on the heels of the decision to withdraw H.2.S. from 53 Base, came the policy to equip 53 Base and some of the 54 Base Squadrons with Loran. This policy has since been altered to include all 5 Group Squadrons. Fitting is now going ahead, and it is hoped to see the whole Group equipped by the 1st December, and also to have a large number of radar and navigation personnel trained on the equipment. It is stressed, however, that the Bomber Command school cannot hope to train more than a nucleus of mechanics between now and December, and for this reason Radar Officers should ensure that the knowledge of those attending the course at Bomber Command is imparted to the remainder of their respective sections. To facilitate easier servicing of Loran, photostatic copies of circuit diagrams, which can be placed on the walls above benches will be made in the near future.

[Underlined] GEE MARK II. [/underlined]

Much to our regret, although it was forecast in September’s Summary, the supply position of Gee had gradually deteriorated, and even now there is no indication of it improving in the near future. Every possible effort is being made to obtain components which will enable sets, which at present cannot be used, to be made serviceable. This number has fortunately been greatly reduced during the last month. In view of this acute shortage of equipment, it becomes increasingly essential that all cases of component breakdowns are brought to the notice of Sigs.7 at Air Ministry, vide A.M.O. A.869/43. A reminder

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Underlined] SIGNALS. [/underlined]

is also given that if no reply has been received from Air Ministry within a month dating from the originating of the report, there is no need to hold the unit or component for investigation. Secondly, if operational requirements demand that the unit be used before the month has elapsed, a record to this effect should be kept.

[Underlined] GEE SERVICEABILITY. [/underlined]

As mentioned at the outset of the Summary of October’s activities, the number of sorties undertaken by 5 Group were fewer than for the preceding months. Gee was reported ‘bang on’ for 96.8% of the sorties, despite the most unsatisfactory supply position, and accordingly all due credit must be given to the radar mechanics who made this possible.

[Underlined] H.2.S. SERVICEABILITY. [/underlined]

For the very limited number of occasions on which H2S II was used an increased serviceability of .7% over September was obtained, to bring it up to 91.4%. The time is fast approaching when scanners will require careful attention with regard to lubrication and heating. Radar Officers should ensure that the modification has been completed in all aircraft, to eliminate the danger of freezing up, which gave us so much bother last winter. It is again stressed that A.M.O. A. 869/43 action is to be taken on all occasions when components break down.

H.2.S. III suffered a slight set-back in serviceability for October, and out of the 85 sorties completed, 10 developed difficulties, giving a percentage of 88.2 serviceable.

[Underlined] FISHPOND. [/underlined]

Fishpond maintained approximately the same degree of serviceability for September and October, being 90.7 and 90.8 per cent respectively.

[Underlined] SALVETE ET VALETE. [/underlined]

The 1st of November marked the loss to the Group of our old Radar I, S/Ldr. Tom Branson. He had been with the Group for over two years, and all will agree that it was to a large degree due to his guidance and whole-hearted support that Radar is playing such a successful part in the operations conducted by the Group. We wish him the greatest success in his new work, and at the same time, extend to S/Ldr. Perrin a most hearty welcome.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Drawing] tactics

This month has produced the unusual phenomena of heavy raids well into Germany with negligible losses from fighters. This has been due to the very short warning that the German defences now get of the approach of a raid, and a skilful combination of Window spoofs, the Mandrel screen and other countermeasures.

We have won the first round, but the Hun is bound to stage a come-back. With the lengthening nights and deeper penetrations his job will become easier. He has a highly developed Radar system, and it is now known that, in addition to the H.E.219, considerable numbers of the M.E.110 and J.U.88 are fitted with two upward firing 20 m.m. cannon.



These fighters attempt to formate some distance below the bomber’s tail, and rake it. With the loss of early warning devices, the only answer to this form of attack is a regular banking search and an ability to see the fighter during the search. The first is useless without the second. Gunners must realise that to see a fighter underneath on a dark winter’s night is a very different proposition from d=seeing a fighter coming in level astern on a clear starlit night. The importance of efficient night vision and, therefore, night-vision training, cannot be over emphasised.

With regard to combat manoeuvres, the corkscrew is still the most effective provided the fighter is seen in time. On a dark night, however, crews must be prepared for sudden unseen attacks, to which the only answer is the diving turn. Captains must ensure that they have some form of emergency signal from their gunners and that they can act on it immediately. This does not mean violent mishandling of the controls. On pilot of this Group put up an ‘black’ this month by returning to base with a large number of rivets missing from the wings of his aircraft. He was lucky to get back at all. Two doses of such handling and even a Lancaster would have succumbed.


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[Underlined] TACTICS. [/underlined]

Two last points:-

(i) The Hun has started to use jet-propelled aircraft at night. They are very easily seen, and can only be considered a threat on bright nights. Gunners should remember, however, that due to the very high speed of these aircraft, combat manoeuvres should be started at increased range.

(ii) “Stepping Down” out of a target does not mean 20°of flap and everything closed. It is a series of dives at high speed with normal boost and revs, the idea being to get down quickly and also to leave the target quickly. Some figures for the guidance of crews are being produced for distribution.


“Detailed – 15 Took off – 9:
E.R’s – Nil: Missing – Nil”
[Underlined] Cancelled – 6 [/underlined]

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Drawing] air bombing

The night attacks on German targets undertaken by the Group were again planned to destroy sectors of towns and cities that had to a large extent, escaped major damage during previous attacks. However, incendiary plots show that quite a large proportion of the bomb loads did not fall on the section of the target area they were intended for. There were quite a number of early releases causing the “creep-back” it is so important to avoid, and aircraft not adhering to the briefed [underlined] TRACKS, [/underlined] scattered thousands of incendiaries on areas which had been burned out during previous raids. Cross-trail has been practically eliminated by the use of the wind conversion factors for various T.V’s, and additional time delay.

Now that the chances of a cloud-covered target are greater than during the summer months, the Air Bomber must be prepared for a sudden change of tactics a matter of minutes before the commencement of the bombing run. If he is not sure of the “Wanganui” procedure, and cannot make the necessary alterations to the bombsight in a short space of time, the opportunity for an accurate attack will be lost.

The Group has reached a very high standard of practice bombing and if German targets are attacked with this same degree of accuracy, every bomb will fall where it hurts the Hun most.

[Underlined] THE LORD CAMROSE TROPHY. [/underlined]

The Air Officer Commanding visited R.A.F. Station, Skellingthorpe, to present the Lord Camrose Trophy to No.50 Squadron who have won the competition for the second consecutive period of three months, with an average crew error of 148 yards at 20,000 feet, for all high level practice bombing during that period.

The A.O.C. congratulated the Squadron upon their success which had only been achieved by the close co-operation between all members of the bombing team and the high standard of bombsight serviceability provided by the Instrument Section.

The fact that practice bombing results provide an indication of a Squadron’s efficiency and accuracy on operations was also stressed.

In conclusion, No.50 Squadron were warned that other squadrons in the Group were making a great effort to defeat them during the next three months and it will need an even greater effort on their part to retain the trophy.

W/Cdr. Frogley, O.C., No.50 Squadron, thanked the A.O.C. and assured him that the Squadron were determined not the lose the trophy, despite increasing opposition.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Underlined] AIR BOMBING. [/underlined]

[Underlined] OCTOBER’S OUTSTANDING CREW ERRORS. [/underlined]

The qualification for inclusion on this list is now 75 yards at 20,000 ft. instead of 80 yards.


9 F/O Davis Sgt. Harrison Sgt. Ward 55 yards
F/O Tweddle P/O Singer P/O Shields 73 yards

44 F/O Lewis F/Sgt. King F/Sgt. Shearman 70 yards

49 F/Lt. Le Marquand Sgt. Boyce F/O Ransome 44 yards
F/O Rowley F/O Barlow P/O Deutscher 62 yards

50 F/Lt. Enoch F/Sgt. Hugh F/O George 73 yards

61 F/O Swales Sgt. Taylor F/O Saunders 56 yards

106 F/O Bowell F/Sgt. Plumb Sgt. Peterson 74 yards

207 F/O Dougal F/Sgt. Scowen Sgt. Stewart 70 yards

617 F/O Martin F/Sgt. Day P/O Jackson 58 & 58 yards
F/O Flatman F/O Kelly P/O McKie 62 yards

630 F/O Waterfall Sgt. Dixon Sgt. Kindler 68 yards

1654 C.U. F/Lt. Dagnon Sgt. Watson F/O Mayer 72 yards
F/Sgt. Eggins Sgt. Grady F/Sgt. Cahill 51 yards
F/O Gilmour F/O Burrington Sgt. Steadman 56 yards

No.617 Squadron report the following outstanding Mk.III Low Level exercise.

F/O Ross P/O Tilby F/O O’Brien
8 bombs – 400 feet – Average Error 9 yards.

[Underlined] PRACTICE BOMBING. [/underlined]

This month’s figures show a decrease in the number of bombs dropped within the Group, due to the limitations imposed by unfavourable weather conditions. The errors however, have decreased considerably and much of the credit must go to the navigators, the majority of whom now realise that the prime factor in an exercise is the obtaining of an accurate wind velocity.

The outstanding result of the month is that achieved by No. 61 Squadron. After a temporary fall from grace last month, they have, during October, dropped 522 bombs for an average crew error of 131 yards. An excellent start in the first round of the Lord Camrose Trophy competition.

Nos.9 and 50 Squadrons can also be congratulated on obtaining crew errors of 135 yards and 138 yards respectively.

The Conversion Units appear in this Summary for the last time, but it is hoped that we shall be able to publish their figures as a matter of interest to the Squadrons who will eventually receive crews trained in No.75 Base.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Underlined] AIR BOMBING. [/underlined]

[Underlined] PRACTICE BOMBING. [/underlined]

The following article has been contributed by S/Ldr. Wonham, D.F.M., Bombing Leader, 55 Base, and outlines a practical method of obtaining maximum benefit from the limited opportunities for practice bombing available during the winter months.

[Underlined] BOMBING TRAINING. [/underlined]

With the coming of the winter weather, practice bombing on operational squadrons will be more and more difficult to organise, and the somewhat haphazard method of laying on the maximum number of exercises which has served during the summer months is going to prove very inadequate now that early take-offs and low cloud will limit the opportunities for high level practice bombing. It is felt that a definite system should be aimed at by Flight and Squadron Commanders.

The advantage of a regular and systematic method had amply proved itself in all manner of training from the creating of a rugby team to the organisation of the crew of a battleship. On first thought it would appear that the many difficulties entailed by practice bombing training in a squadron make it impossible to use one system, but a method is necessary, and if squadrons try to adhere to a form of training on the lines of that suggested, it would be found that in a few months errors would be reduced to an even lower level than at present believed possible with the Mk.XIV Bombsight.

Firstly let us consider as average squadron with 30 crews as a permanent strength, and an intake of about 10 crews per month. On the first of any given month the categories of the crews will probably be:-

CAT. A+ Nil
CAT. A 5
CAT. B 18
CAT. C 6
CAT. D 1

The 10 new arrivals would have a bombing standard on Stirlings of:-

CAT. A+ Nil
CAT. A 2
CAT. B 6
CAT. C 1

In actual fact when bombing from Lancaster aircraft at first, these categories fall considerably, and it is usual that a crew on its first exercise on the squadron gets an error of about 240 yards. Experience has shown that on an average, with careful analysis and instruction, this error improves to 200x on the second exercise, and 160x on the third. Consider, therefore, the average new crew as in Cat. C on arrival and a potential B after the first three exercises.

In the same way we may consider the Squadron Crews (as apart from the new arrivals) who are Category C., as potential A’s and B’s after 2 exercises, and the Category D crews as potential B’s after 3 exercises.

The target, therefore, for a Squadron Commander should be to give during the month:-

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Underlined] AIR BOMBING. [/underlined]

10 New Crews 3 exercises each – 30
6 Cat. C. Crews 2 exercises each – 12
1 Cat.D. Crew 3 exercises – 3

[Underlined] TOTAL – 45 [/underlined]

This appears to be quite a large programme to complete during a winter month, and as the Category A and B crews already on the squadron also need some bombing practice, the total number of exercises completed by the squadron would be in the region of 60 to 70.

If this is to be accomplished it means taking advantage of every opportunity provided by the weather and operational needs. Base Bombing Leaders must endeavour to avoid over-crowding on the range at their disposal, and crews can assist by being on the range at the times detailed.

[Underlined] DO YOU KNOW YOUR SWITCH DRILL? [/underlined]

An aircraft returned from an abortive sortie with a full bomb-load of H.E., and it was decided that a few of the bombs would have to be jettisoned in order to get down to the safe all-up weight for landing. On reaching the jettison area, the Air Bomber put the fusing switches to “SAFE”, turned the drum-switch to “SINGLE AND SALVO”, selected the appropriate bomb stations, then pushed the jettison bars over.

[Underlined] ITEMS OF INTEREST. [/underlined]

[Underlined] 1661 Conversion Unit (F/Lt. Price) [/underlined] now have an excellent ‘mock-up’ of the Lancaster bombing panel including the camera. Several unusual and effective ideas are incorporated and thanks are due to F/Lt. Buckley, Station Electrical Officer, for providing this excellent aid to instruction.

[Underlined] 1654 Conversion Unit (F/Lt. Kennedy) [/underlined] report that No.95 Course completed 30 High Level practice bombing exercises with an average crew error 138 yards at 20,000 feet. This is an excellent result and as nine of the Captains are Australians, Waddington should produce some A+ category crews very shortly.

F/O Mason (Pilot) and F/O Barker (Air Bomber) completed a very good exercise despite the absence of wind finding aids. Their aircraft had no A.P.I. and Gee was found to be u/s, so a three-drift wind of 286 degrees 24 m.p.h. was found, and six bombs were dropped using this wind. The resulting errors were:-

Crew 111 yards
Vector 85 yards
Basic 82 yards at 20,000 feet.

Another three-drift wind, 280 degrees 30 m.p.h. was found, and a further six bombs were dropped with even better results.

Crew error 61 yards
Vector error 42 yards
Basic error 46 yards

Both winds were checked by the 90° method and the results of the exercise are a tribute to the accuracy of both the Pilot and the Air Bomber.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Underlined] AIR BOMBING. [/underlined]

[Underlined] 1660 Conversion Unit (F/Lt. Wake) [/underlined] report an example of perseverance on the part of F/O Howard and crew who were detailed to drop 12 practice bombs in indifferent weather conditions. The exercise took four hours to complete and two ‘A’ category results were obtained.

[Underlined] 207 Squadron (F/Lt. Linnett) [/underlined] issue all Air Bombers with a height correction card to allow for the difference between the T.V. of the practice bomb, and the minimum it is possible to set on the bombsight. This has helped to bring the average crew error down from 238 yards to 160 yards.

[Underlined] East Kirkby (F/Lt. Hanniball & F/Lt. Foulkes) [/underlined] are endeavouring to equip a Station Training Room where Air Bombers will have all the available training equipment concentrated in one place.

[Underlined] SQUADRON BOMBING COMPETITION. [/underlined]

[Underlined] Squadron Average Error [/underlined]

1st 207 53 yards
2nd 83 54 yards
3rd 630 63 yards
4th 57 65 yards
5th 97 69 yards
6th 44 72 yards
7th 9 73 yards
8th 49 79 yards
9th 463 88 yards
10th 61 92 yards
11th 619 93 yards
12th 106 98 yards
13th 50 103 yards
14th 467 118 yards

No. 227 Squadron completed 5 exercises with an average error of 162 yards.

No.207 Squadron are the winners of the Inter-Squadron Competition with an exceptionally good average for eight exercises, only just beating 83 Squadron. The results obtained by both these Squadrons are highly commendable.

No.55 Base have staged a revival during the past few months and four of their squadrons are included in the first six, a careful study of these pages will provide a few of the reasons for their success.


[Underlined] Con. Unit Average Error [/underlined]

1st 1660 C.U. 60 yards
2nd 1654 C.U. 65 yards
3rd 1661 C.U. 75 yards
4th 5 L.F.S. 145 yards

No.1660 Conversion Unit have done well during the month, and competition between the three Conversion Units remains very keen, but No.5 L.F.S. cannot do enough bombing to compete with them and consequently are once again at the bottom of the list.


[Page break]

[Underlined] AIR BOMBING. [/underlined]

[Underlined] “BIGCHIEF” COMPETITION. [/underlined]

The only entry for this month comes from 55 Base:-

G/Capt. Harris (Spilsby) – 136 yards.

[Underlined] “LEADER” COMPETITION. [/underlined]

F/Lt. Campbell (9 Sqdn) – 92 yards.
F/Lt. Foulkes (630 Sqdn) – 120 yards.

There should be more than two entries for the Leader’s competition, and a 100% entry is expected for November.

[Underlined] CREW CATEGORIES [/underlined]

[Table of Crew Categories by Base]

ӿ Excluding Nos.617 and 627 Squadrons.
X Plus 14 not categorised.

A+ 85 yards or less
A 140 yards or less
B 210 yards or less
C 280 yards or less
D Over 280 yards

The number of A+ category crews is a record for the Group. All crews in this category demonstrate their ability to maintain a consistently high standard of bombing and it should be given the widest publicity within the squadron.

The crew bombing category is not applied to an individual, but to the combination of Pilot, Navigator and Air Bomber and it should be every Captain’s duty to discover [underlined] WHY [/underlined] his team is in C or D category.

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

[Underlined] F/Lt. Price (1661 C.U.) [/underlined] has returned to operational duties as Bombing Leader with No.50 Squadron, and has been replaced at Winthorpe by F/Lt. Falgate (50 Sqdn.).

[Underlined] F/O Kennedy (49 Sqdn.) [/underlined] is Bombing Leader with No.227 Squadron.

[Underlined] F/Lt. Lewis (92 Group) [/underlined] has been appointed Bombing Leader at No.189 Squadron for a second tour of operations.

[Underlined] F/Lt. Woods (617 Sqdn.) [/underlined has completed his tour and been replaced by F/O Rumgay.

[underlined] F/Lt. Gibson (A.C.S.) [/underlined] returns to No.49 Squadron for a second tour of operations.


[Page break]

[Underlined] AIR BOMBING [/underlined]

[Underlined] HIGH LEVEL BOMBING PRACTICE [/underlined]

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

No.617 Squadron also dropped 209 T.I’s with an average error of 58 yards.
No.627 Squadron dropped 308 bombs and 280 T.I’s with average errors of 60 yards and 151 yards respectively.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Underlined] AIR BOMBING [/underlined]

[Underlined] RESULTS OF COURSES. [/underlined]

F/O Manos 50 Sqdn ‘B’
F/O Palmer 57 Sqdn ‘B’
F/O Krinke 619 Sqdn ‘B’
F/O Woollam 44 Sqdn ‘B’
F/O Goodwin 467 Sqdn ‘D’

F/O ALEY, 1654 Conversion Unit, obtained 1st place and an ‘A’ category on No. 94 Course.

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

The following are the figures from the Bombing Ranges for the month of October, 1944.

[Table of Bombs and T.I’s Dropped by Range]

[Underlined] TOTAL 7626 [/underlined]

“v” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Drawing] navigation

[Underlined] SUMMARY OF NAVIGATION. [/underlined]

Less than half the attacks this month have been on Germany, the majority being on short range targets at the battlefront. An interesting operation was carried out on Bergen at the end of the month, which gave some navigators their first experience of navigation on the Northern Gee Chain, undisturbed by the enemy’s defences jamming. Nos. 9 and 617 Squadrons attacked the “Tirpitz” again in Northern Waters, making a round flight of 2400 miles. (This operation will be dealt with in another paragraph).

The standard of navigation achieved throughout the month has been good – BUT NOT EXCEPTIONAL. It has been said that one must either progress or retrogress, but never stand still. At the moment the Navigation Union of this Group is standing still, inasmuch that our standard is not improving. We have reached a standard of concentration which is good but not yet good enough. It must be our aim to improve this standard to guarantee a concentration, at any time, covering an area of not more than 50 miles in length and 10 miles in width – and we are a long way from this as yet.

Take the raid on Nuremburg, 19/20th October, 1944, as an example. The concentration plot for this raid one hour after bombing showed that the spread, in length, was 100 miles, and in width, 42 miles. No less than 43 aircraft were out of the “tram lines”, and this only 80 minutes after bombing! What are the causes of such a spread? The following are suggested:-

(i) [Underlined] Track Keeping. [/underlined]

(a) Navigators do not find an accurate w/v at the target on which they can set course on the return journey.

(b) Navigators do not obtain D.R. check positions, by use of A.P.I. and target w/v, every 10 or 15 minutes on the return journey when out of Gee range.

(c) In consequence of (b) G/S and E.T.A. checks are not obtained regularly when out of Gee range, consequently turning points are under and over-shot.

(ii) [Underlined] Timing. [/underlined]

(a) Corner are cut to make up or gain a little time.

(b) Captains [underlined] do not [/underlined] fly at the agreed speeds and [underlined] do not [/underlined] take any notice of navigators’ warnings of being early at turning points.

(c) Navigators “sit back” and do not inform the pilot that they are running ahead of time. (It has been noted that very few aircraft are behind concentration times on the return journey).


[Page break]

[Underlined] NAVIGATION. [/underlined]

Of all the above suggested cases, it is known (ii) (b) is the most important and is the chief cause of the spread. Pilots are entirely at fault here, but navigation is primarily YOUR responsibility, so make sure that YOUR pilot sees this paragraph. If he doesn’t believe it, tell him to go and see your Station Navigation Officer and he will put him right. Also see that your pilot is shown every concentration diagram sent from Group, or better still, show it to him yourself. Get him navigation conscious, he is the captain of the aircraft and as such must realise his responsibilities.

Station Navigation Officers have already discussed this matter and have given their suggestions for combatting these failings. These are being attended to but meantime it is requested that all Station Navigation Officers, working in conjunction with Analysis Officers, give this problem their undivided attention. Discussions, with not only navigators but also pilots, should be arranged frequently until we have achieved our aim.

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

We still have only five of these attachments in the Group – all there are in the Command! No.9 Squadron have two of these and have put them to good use on operation and training flights. In some instances they have obtained amazingly low vector errors. It is doubtful whether the large vector errors, which have been occasionally obtained, are attributable to the crews concerned, because it is known that one of the instruments does not always function correctly.

The remaining three attachments are installed in Mosquito aircraft of No.627 Squadron for trial purposes. To date 24 exercises have been completed and the results fully justify our demand for a large supply of these instruments. Approximately 100 w/v’s were obtained on these trials and were compared with smoke puffs and Balloon Sonde winds. This comparison showed that an A.P.I. attachment w/v had an average vector error of only 2.64 m.p.h. These results are excellent, and there is no reason why they cannot be repeated on operations. As soon as we have more of these instruments available, and are able to equip the Mosquito Squadron completely, we shall have solved our target windfinding problems. Everything is being done to obtain these extra attachments.

It is interesting to compare the above results with those achieved by (i) Lancasters fitted with A.P.I. attachment, (ii) Lancaster fitted only with A.P.I. To date 25 practice and operational flights have been undertaken by Lancaster attachment aircraft and their average vector error, computed as for Mosquitoes, was 1.75 m.p.h. The average practice bombing vector error for main force squadrons, using only the A.P.I. was 4.75 m.p.h. for the month of September, and 4.3 m.p.h. for the month of October.

The difference between the Mosquito and Lancaster attachment errors is probably explained by the fact that in a Lancaster aircraft the job is done by two men as against the Mosquito’s one, also the Lancaster navigator can work in comfort, bright light and in a spacious compartment. All these lead to greater accuracy in work.


All analysis officers are now installed and have settled down to their arduous task. Already they are achieving some good results. There has been a noticeable improvement in the general standard of wind finding, log and chart work and computations. An improvement on the

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Underlined] NAVIGATION. [/underlined]

general standard so soon after appointing these officers was unexpected and augers well for the future.

The number of ‘A’ and ‘A+’ Navigators in the Group has increased from 101 in September to 142 in October; and the number of ‘C’ and ‘D’ Navigators has decreased from 61 in September to 33 in October. This is good, but the number of ‘C’ and ‘D’ Category Navigators is still far too high. Station and Squadron Navigation Officers must do everything in their power to reduce this figure of 33 to nil.

The standard of navigation set by this Headquarters in the Categorisation Test, which is the basis of all analyses, is high. Analysis Officers must maintain this standard and must be strict in their marking. Only by adopting this attitude will you ensure that your analyses reflect a true picture of the general standard of navigation in your particular squadron. The predominating weaknesses of each navigator, so obvious from the analysis of his log and chart, must be passed on to the Station Navigation Officer immediately and definitely within 36 hours of completing an operation. He will do the rest. The information must be passed [underlined] quickly [/underlined] however, to ensure that the navigator in question can have his faults pointed out to him before he operates again.

One final word to Analysis Officers. You have much work to do which will keep you well occupied, but even so you should make a special point of liaising with your opposite numbers in other squadrons, preferably in another Base. Much can be learnt from the liaison visit, and you are bound to pick up one or two ideas better than your own.

[Underlined] SECOND ATTACK ON THE “TIRPITZ”. [/underlined]

The battleship “Tirpitz” was attacked a second time by aircraft of No.9 and 617 Squadrons. Navigators of the two squadrons were therefore given another chance to show their skill – and once again they came up to expectations.

The operation was carried out as a “night gaggle”, all aircraft burning lights until within 50 miles of enemy territory. Weather was poor over the first part of the trip, which was carried out at a height of 1,000 feet. This low altitude combined with the very heavy static in the cloud, restricted the Gee range to 62N 01E in most cases, although some fixes were obtained as far as 63N. After Gee coverage, cloud made the use of Astro very difficult, and the remainder of the route over the sea was mainly on DR. Due to a change of wind landfall was made some 15 miles south of track, but the moonlight made it possible to pinpoint very accurately, and no further navigational troubles were experienced from then until the target was reached.

The return trip was uneventful, accurate navigation was made almost impossible because of the lack of aids. From the target aircraft had to fly for a total of 3 1/2 hours on D.R. Navigation before they came into Gee range once again. Loop homing facilities were made available and good use was made of them. Gee re-appeared at approximately 62° north, and from then on it was all plain sailing.

The average duration of this trip was 13 hours, and the navigators have every reason to feel satisfied with their contribution to this operation.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1844.

[Page break]

[Underlined] NAVIGATION. [/underlined]

[Drawing] THIS MONTH’S Bouquets [Drawing]

It has been decided that the names of the eight navigators who submit the best work for the month shall appear in this Summary. The following navigators have been picked out for their consistent accurate and methodical work. This includes good track keeping and timing, constant wind velocity checks, and checking of E.T.A’s, and log and chart work of a very high order.

F/Sgt. Ward – 467 Squadron.
F/O. Markham – 463 Squadron.
Sgt. Berry – 106 Squadron.
Sgt. Burns – 106 Squadron.
F/Lt. Lengston – 630 Squadron.
F/Sgt. Latus – 619 Squadron.
F/O. Bailey – 49 Squadron.
F/Sgt. Searle – 227 Squadron.


This month has seen little change in the training programme, with the exception that still greater stress has been laid on the importance of timing. Its importance is being stressed at every “verse end”; no doubt squadrons will appreciate this when the present lot of trainees are posted to them.

Every effort has been made to get crews up to standard in their Radar training. This has been most difficult because of the weather and a sudden “torrent” of aircraft unserviceability. However, crews are receiving plenty of valuable ground training and manipulation exercises on the trainers. It is hoped that this extra ground training will partially compensate the loss of a little air training.

The Conversion Units are carrying out experiments on practice bombing wind finding, using Gee co-ordinated as a datum point. The vector errors will be compared with those obtained using a visual datum point and a Mk.XIV Sighting Head. If these experiments prove successful, then, with the introduction of the new Continental Gee chains, it may be possible to use such a method on operations when cloud prevents the using of a visual datum point. The results are eagerly awaited.

[Underlined] PRACTICE BOMBING VECTOR ERRORS. [/underlined]

The average vector error obtained by all squadrons and conversion units this month is as shown below:-

Average error of Squadrons – 4.3 m.p.h.
Average error of Conversion Units – 5.5 m.p.h.

These figures show an improvement for the squadrons of .4 m.p.h., but

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Underlined] NAVIGATION. [/underlined]

a deterioration for the conversion units of .5 m.p.h. The over-all average is still below 5 m.p.h., let us now go all out for reducing it below the 4 m.p.h. mark.

[Ranked Table of Average Vector Errors by Squadrons and Conversion Units]

For the fifth month in succession Nos. 9 and 50 Squadrons hold the first two places. There is no doubt that this excellent performance on the part of these two squadrons is due entirely to their hard work and great keenness. There is a noticeable improvement in the errors obtained by the three squadrons of No.54 Base. This is good, but we are confident that they can do much better. We hope to see them at the top of the list next month.

[Underlined] UNION NEWS. [/underlined]

F/Lt. Williams, DFC, DFM – No.463 Squadron Navigation Leader – posted to No.1661 Con. Unit as Navigation Leader.

S/Ldr. Walker, DFC & Bar – Station Navigation Officer, Woodhall repatriated to Canada.

S/Ldr. Crowe, DFC – Station Navigation Officer, Metheringham to be Base Navigation Officer, Coningsby.

F/Lt. Martin – No.630 Squadron Navigation Officer to be Station Navigation Officer, Metheringham.

F/Lt. Hewitt – No.630 Squadron, to be Squadron Navigation Officer.

F/Lt. Ayles, DFC, DFM – Navigation Leader, Aircrew School, to be Station Navigation Officer, Balderton.

F/O. Swinyard, DFC – Aircrew School, to be Navigation Leader.

F/Lt. Kilbey, DFM – No.1660 Con. Unit Navigation Leader, to be Squadron Navigation Officer, No.227 Squadron.

F/Lt. Ingram, DFC – No.1660 Con. Unit to be Navigation Leader.

F/O. Booth, DFC – No.1660 Con. Unit to be No.189 Squadron Navigation Officer.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Drawing] radar nav:

[Underlined] GEE [/underlined]

Once again much greater use has been made of this efficient little aid than of its bigger brother H.2.S.

Ranges on the primary Gee chains have been much similar to those experienced during September, but areas of intensive jamming noted in Northern Holland, along the Frisians and in the Ruhr and Frankfurt areas.

Opportunity has again been afforded for operators to use the north-eastern and northern chains. Both chains gave excellent cover, with the northern chain giving target fixes. The only “moan” being that the chart coverage of the north-eastern chain is insufficient, leaving a blank area at its northern limits before the northern chain comes in.

After much trouble with the siting of Stations, preparation of lattice charts and their distribution, the Ruhr and Rheims chains have at last come into being. So far the Rheims chain has proved quite satisfactory with little or no interference. However teething troubles are still being experienced with the Ruhr chain, mainly due to the fact that two of the stations are light mobiles. When these have been changed far better reception and coverage should be obtained, and charts are to be produced covering the North Sea, and Straits of Dover, thus cutting out the changeover of the R.F. Units over the Continent. Until this is done the eastern chain transmission on the R.F.27 is to continue.

Although little or no jamming has yet been experienced on the two new chains, it does not mean to say that the Hun will not devote his time to them. Operators are therefore reminded that much time can usefully be spent reading through jamming on the trainer. You may need this experience some day.

With the positioning of Gee stations nearer and nearer the Reich and probably on Reich territory, the possibility of Gee bombing again comes to the forefront. Every opportunity must therefore be made of practicing your Gee bombing. Homing to your airfield control tower is quite satisfactory, why not do it after every flight? (Don’t forget to keep above circuit height however).

A word about Gee homing with the advent of winter and possibilities of low cloud or drissle [sic] on return. The facilities afforded by Gee in order to reach your airfield are too numerous to outline here. You have your homing lattice lines and instructions regarding losing height. These have been provided for your safety – use them intelligently and avoid the repetition of many unfortunate accidents which occurred last winter.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Underlined] RADAR NAV. [/underlined]

[Underlined] LORAN. [/underlined]

Yet another navigational aid has made its debut this month in the form of Loran (Long Range Navigation). Whilst not so simple to operate as its older brother Gee it has one distinct advantage – its range. As Loran does not afford adequate homing facilities it has been fitted to aircraft in addition to and not in place of Gee, giving the navigator one more “baby” to care for. Let us see that we bring it through the teething stages without much trouble and use it as intelligently as Gee has been used in the past.

To help to counteract the teething trouble it might be as well to enumerate here the main difficulties which will be experienced with Loran by most operators during training.

(i) Difficulty in identifying the pulses, particularly the sky waves.
Ground waves are steady in amplitude.
Sky waves frequently vary in amplitude and are constantly changing their general shape. This is known as SPLITTING and usually the trailing or right edge only is affected. This is not particularly serious in the taking of readings.

(ii) DANGEROUS SPLITTING of the sky waves, causing the leading or left edge of the pulses to collapse and appear ragged. This does not persist for more than two or three minutes and operators should therefore wait until the normal pulse shape reappears before attempting to take any readings.

(iii) Interference from outside sources. Navigators are warned that Loran may be affected by many wireless transmissions, but patience must be exercised when this occurs. Wait until the interferences stop before attempting to take a reading. This interference is in no way to be confused with jamming, which is hardly likely to occur at the present time.

(iv) Blinking of the pulses, i.e. signals moving from side to side at regular intervals of about 1 second. This denoted the slave station is experiencing trouble in receiving the Master Station’s transmissions. Readings are not to be taken when blinking is on.

Training in Loran is to be undertaken by operational navigators trained by B.D.U. These instructors will be withdrawn from squadrons, trained at B.D.U. and returned on completion of the course. Each squadron should have at least one per flight in the very near future.

With the present operational commitments it is hardly possible that much time will be allowed for air training and the majority of training will have to be carried out on the ground.

Unfortunately air training over this country does not allow operators much chance to use the S.S. Loran chain and training flights over the Continent have therefore been organised. It is hardly likely that time will allow many of these flights to be made. Many navigators may therefore have to train whilst on operational sorties. With the

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Underlined] RADAR NAV. [/underlined]

difficulties that are experienced with Loran, this method of training may not appear too satisfactory, but every navigator can, by devoting a proportion of his time in the operation of Loran on each sortie, attain a good standard of efficiency.

Air Bombers too are to acquaint themselves with this new aid and give as much help to the navigators as they possibly can.

Very little is known about the reception of Loran over the Continent, and we are relying on every individual operator using this equipment to bring back as much information as possible. From this information better facilities may be provided in the future. It is up to each and every one of you to see that this duty is carried out.

[Underlined] H.2.S. [/underlined]

Very little can be said of the performance of H2S Mark II on operations during the month due to the severe restrictions which have been placed upon its use.

However several gardening sorties have been undertaken with the use of H2S Mark II and results have shown no decrease in the efficiency of its operators.

It must necessarily follow that under present restrictions, the training of operators will take much longer than before. In addition, little opportunity is given to operators to study the appearance of European territory on the P.P.I.

To make up for this time lost, it is all the more necessary for even greater use to be made of flying time over this country and of synthetic training.

No N.F.T. or bombing exercises should be carried out without using the equipment either for practice blind bombing or navigational purposes. Every minute spent over this country making yourself familiar with the equipment may mean the saving of valuable time over the Continent, particularly if you have the full manipulation drill at your finger tips.

It has been noted that since the restrictions have been placed on the use of H2S Mark II, considerable lack of faith in the equipment has been expressed by many operators. This it is believed has been due to the various tales which have invariably spread amongst aircrew.

To counteract this lack of faith a report has been issued to all squadrons detailing the reasons for the restrictions and if operators spend a little time in reading the report it will do a lot to dispel these rumours. In addition they will feel more determined to obtain the maximum out of H2S on the various occasions it can be used.

The performance of H2S Mark II has been of its usual high order, 83 and 97 Squadrons again having carried out several successful attacks during the month.

Experiments have been going ahead to design a perfect scanner to eliminate the serious gap which has been occurring in the picture at 6 miles. This has been achieved and with equipment fitted with the new scanner it should be possible to bomb direct on the response with greater accuracy and less difficulty than with the present indicator. Good work 54 Base!

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Underlined] RADAR NAV. [/underlined]

P.P.I. Photography has been carried out on all operations during the month and several good photographs have been obtained by Nos. 83 and 97 Squadrons. Whilst the present camera leaves much to be desired, operators must remember that it is the only check on the target area if cloud conditions prevail; every effort must be made therefore to obtain successful photographs.

If the photograph is not taken at bomb release, enter on your Interrogation form the number of seconds it was taken before or after release and you will be plotted correctly.

The excuse that both set operator and plotter are busy when in the target areas cannot be accepted. This is an operational photograph and it must be taken.

Experiments are being made by this Headquarters and at Headquarters, Bomber Command, to simplify the manipulation of the present camera and also to improve the quality of photographs obtained. It is realised that if sufficiently good photographs can be obtained, navigational and target approach strip maps can be produced for the benefit of all concerned. It is therefore up to every individual operator to see that these photographs are forthcoming.

106 Squadron are progressing favourably in the training of crews for the P.F.F. Squadrons. It is realised that H2S Mark II, whilst it gives a good idea of the basic principles of H2S, does not provide the facilities of the 184 Indicator and Mark III H2S. Despite this, every effort is being made by 106 Squadron to see that crews are fully aware of the basic principles of all H2S equipment before they arrive at 83 and 97 Squadrons, leaving only the finer points and intensive blind bombing training to be carried out by those squadrons.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Drawing] training

[Underlined] 51 BASE’S LAST MONTH. [/underlined]

This month was the last in which 51 Base was part and parcel of No.5 Group. On the 3rd November the three Heavy Conversion Units became No.75 Base under the administration of the newly formed No. 7 Heavy Conversion Unit Group. No.75 Base will, however, retain a direct affiliation with No.5 Group, and except in special circumstances will provide crews for No. 5 L.F.S. and No.5 Group Squadrons in the usual way. No.5 L.F.S. will remain within No.5 Group until Heavy Conversion Units are re-armed with Lancasters instead of Stirlings.

During their period in No.5 Group, 51 Base has produced 2,000 crews for Squadrons and has used Manchester-Lancaster, Halifax-Lancaster and Stirling-Lancaster combinations for four-engined conversion. The training organisation not only covered all the basic features of operational training but also embraced latest instruction in the rapidly developing Radar devices. Despite its many problems caused by using such a variety of aircraft types, the Base met all its Squadron commitments and, this last summer during the months July – September, produced 70 crews in excess of Bomber Command’s estimate. The formation of the two new Squadrons, Nos. 189 and 227, therefore presented no crew difficulties. The accident rate during this peak period of training also continued to improve steadily.

The pinch of the approaching winter was reflected in the hours flown during October and the Base logged just over 7,000 hours compared with 8,000 hours the previous month. The average hours per crew, however, were according to the syllabi and a total of 133 crews were posted from No.5 L.F.S. to Squadrons – one in excess of the estimate for the month. No.5 L.F.S. from now on is training on the winter rate, and investments have been made to produce 115 crews in November and 100 crews in December.

[Underlined] SQUADRON TRAINING. [/underlined]

Squadrons completed 4,500 hours day operational training and 1,500 hours night operational training during the month – 1,000 hours more than in September. The organisation for training new crews and for 10/20 sortie checks has been summarised in the Headquarters Air Staff Instructional Training/24 dated 26th October. This instruction includes a revised syllabus for initial crew training and a list of the duties and responsibilities of the Squadron Training Instructors. The last of the Squadron Training Instructors took up their duties during the month and particular attention to the details contained in the Instruction is essential to ensure the smooth operation of the squadron training scheme.

Of 133 new crews posted to squadrons, 113 completed initial crew training and were passed fit to operate. The average flying time for initial training by new crews in main force squadrons was 16 hours, which excludes No.49 Squadron on A.G.L.T. training. The syllabus in Air Staff Instruction Trg/24, Appendix ‘A’ lays down 11 hours 15 minutes,

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Underlined] TRAINING. [/underlined]

and every effort is to be made to keep close to this figure unless individual crews reveal deficiencies which require more flying. All Bases reported that the standard of crews from 5 L.F.S. was satisfactory.

The 10/20 sortie checks are not being regularly carried out. During recent weeks a total of 76 outstanding checks have been accumulated. A total of 32 were completed during the month – 30% - a sorry figure. 53 Base has 27 checks outstanding, 55 Base 38, and 56 Base 10. This aspect of squadron training requires immediate attention and Squadron and Flight Commanders are to assist the squadron instructors in clearing the 76 checks without delay. [Underlined] These checks are COMPULSORY. [/underlined]

[Underlined] FIGHTER AFFILIATION – 1690 B.D.T. FLIGHT. [/underlined]

No. 1690 B.D.T. Flight exercised 2116 gunners during 929 details. The Flight did 785 hours flying which included day and night affiliation, A.G.L.T. training and a small amount of drogue towing for the R.A.F. Regiment. Pilots average 33 hours flying, the Hurricanes 38 hours, Spitfires 27 hours, and the Martinets 14 hours. These figures were slightly less than last month, but taking into account the weather, the Flight operated more intensively during fit periods.

October 17th was a record day for the Flight. It carried out affiliations with 103 crews including 17 night details, thereby exercising 240 gunners in 24 hours. Night affiliation again showed an increase for the third successive month and a total of 94 details, in which 200 gunners were exercised, was carried out. In addition to this squadron crews had other sources for night affiliation.

The opportunity still exists for more and more night affiliation as nights grow darker and longer as the Group is nowhere near the ideal of giving all crews two affiliation exercises in a month. The Flight also assisted 51 Base by providing 10 night details.

[Underlined] LINK TRAINER TIMES [/underlined]

There was another increase in Squadron times this month by pilots (49 hours) and Flight Engineers (150 hours). This is largely due to the good work put in by 54 and 55 Bases in increasing their total hours to 316 and 377 hours respectively.

56 Base has not been able to get off the mark properly owing to the shortage of Link trainers. However, congratulations are due to 49 Squadron whose pilots reached the 50/60 mark set in last month’s summary.

53 Base with a total of only 240 hours will have to put in some time this month to catch up with the leaders. Their pilots’ times in particular are very low at 61 hours.

All pilots should now have had some experience of the Artificial Horizon toppling device. This should help to improve their appreciation of the turn and bank indicator.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Underlined] TRAINING [/underlined]

[Table of Training by Base and Squadron]

GRAND TOTALS: Pilots…1367 hours. Flight Engineers…1127





Good Luck and Many Thanks!

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 28. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

second thoughts for pilots

[Underlined] “WINTER’S TALE”. [/underlined]

The best place for “Second Thoughts” is in the Flight Office before you go near your aircraft. It is not much good having them when you are bogged off the perimeter track in a foot of Lincolnshire mud with six other aircraft from your own Flight queuing up behind – five minutes to go to “last time of take-off” on a raw winter night and the tractor has broken down. It is warmer by the Flight Officer fire anyway, and you have three good books to read – 5 Group Aircraft Drills, 5 Group Air Staff Instructions and Pilots and Flight Engineers Notes, (that little blue book which looks brand new because it has been in the cupboard for the last six months).

You’ve never some winter operations before; but thousands have and there is nothing new to learn. It is a matter of remembering what you’ve been told. Check your personal clothing (you get cold in the feet and finger tips first so pay plenty of attention to your boots and your gloves). See that your crew are kitted according to scale, especially the Rear Gunner, and see that your oxygen masks and helmets are tested on the rigs in the cloakroom before you go to dispersal.

[Underlined] “BEFORE YOU LEAP”. [/underlined]

That hour before take off which you spend with your aircraft in dispersal is not a dreary one because you have got plenty to do. During the winter it is not always possible to do an N.F.T. and therefore a thorough check is more essential than ever. All the points to note are covered in the Check Lists provided at the Crew Stations in every aircraft. Take a special note of the condition of the dispersal surface when you tumble out of the crew bus. Don’t allow a dispersal to accumulate dirty oil, its [sic] slippery enough at the best of times and worse still in winter. Inspect the chocks closely to make sure there is no danger of them slipping during the run up, especially if there has been “freeze” beforehand and there is frost or ice about.

Don’t roar out of dispersal in a hurry with the Flight Engineer still busily stowing “Window”. Switch on the landing light, have the Flight Engineer manning the Aldis light, and follow the marshalling airman. Check your brakes as you move out of dispersal. Taxy slowly and take the corners easily. As you taxy round check your Gyro and Artificial Horizon to ensure that they are operating (you’ve already checked the suction on both Pesco pumps before you left dispersal), and see your Pitot head heater is ON.

[Underlined] “THE TEMPEST”. [/underlined]

You have got all the Met. information you need, and it is not much good having “Second Thoughts” about something you have forgotten if you are off the ground. If you have been warned of isolated Cu.Nims. up to 24,000 feet, keep clear of them. You know the icing level, and you know your critical temperatures for icing – between 0°Cent. and -8°

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Underlined] SECOND THOUGHTS FOR PILOTS. [/underlined]

Cent. for airframe icing, and between 0° Cent. and -30° Cent. for carburettor icing. There are of course extremes to both temperatures at which you can get icing, but it is not serious if you stick to the Flight Plan and know the symptoms.

Airframe icing is obvious. You can see it and sometimes hear it cracking off the airscrews and beating against the fuselage. If this occurs, climb out of the temperature layer, keep your flying controls free by moving them slightly all the time, and if you get the perspex icing up, use the de-icing spray to clear it. Carburettor icing makes the boost drop or surge. Fly in hot air for ten minutes and then return to cold air. Repeat this procedure whenever icing occurs and remember that hot air increases tour petrol consumption by 16%.

[Underlined] “THROUGH THE OVERCAST”. [/underlined]

Home strictly to your lattice lines and observe any special instructions you have received about where you break cloud on the return from the target. Do a proper controlled descent through cloud, 20° of flap, 400 feet a minute, and don’t be over anxious for sight of the ground. Check Q.F.E. and Q.F.F. When you clear the cloud base stay on your instruments until you are in level flight. Order your crew to keep a lookout, otherwise you may, at a low altitude, forget your lateral level because you are pre-occupied in trying to read beacons or see the ground. If you break cloud at the right point on your lattice line, there will be no danger of striking high ground. Incidentally, [underlined] never [/underlined] break cloud until you have fixed your position. You should know by now the instructions contained in 5 Group Air Staff Instruction, Trg./14, Safety Measures to Prevent Aircraft Flying into High Ground.

On the circuit give the precise order “Circuit lookout” to your crew as you prepare for the Quick Landing Scheme. This is most important in winter when cloud base might well be below 1,000 feet. Do not amble in with the intention of “Getting down this time” if conditions are difficult for landing. There is no shame in an overshoot and do not be satisfied until you are sitting comfortably in the Green of the Glide Path Indicator with your approach speed right and all your drills completed. Keep your speed down to 120 on the initial approach and get it down to 105 – 110 across the boundary. It is pointless to throw away valuable distance on the runway, especially as the brakes may be less effective than normal, because the runway is wet or freezing. “Second Thoughts” in the overshoot area are usually pretty cheerless.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Drawing] gunnery

[Underlined] “DECLINE AND FALL OF THE G.A.F.” [/underlined]

[Underlined] PROBABLY DESTROYED [/underlined]

6.10.44 “V” – 630 Sqdn. – JU.88 c.
15.10.44 “X” – 630 Sqdn. – JU.88

[Underlined] DAMAGED [/underlined]

6.10.44 “G” – 207 Sqdn. – FW.190 c.
11.10.44 “Y” – 9 Sqdn. – FW.190

Claims annotated ‘c’ have been confirmed by Headquarters, Bomber Command.

The number of combats during the month’s operations shows a big decrease on last month’s figures. The total stands at 44 combats and of these two enemy aircraft are claimed as probably destroyed and two as damaged.

The majority of the attacks emanated from astern and above, due, no doubt, to the good conditions of visibility prevailing at the time. Now that it has been confirmed from P. of W. interrogation that upward firing guns are being fitted to the majority of the long range night fighter, attacks from astern and below must again be reckoned with, and good all-round search organised, with particular attention to the dark part of the sky.

With a night fighter breaking away below the bomber, make doubly sure that the Hun is not lying in wait below you, before giving orders to the pilot to resume course. One or two people have had very unpleasant surprises, by resuming course too soon and receiving a raking attack from below.

[Underlined] “Beware the Jetties” [/underlined] At the time of going to press no sightings of the jet propelled aircraft have been reported at night, but no doubt that has yet to come. Be prepared for their excessive closing speed when giving the order to corkscrew. The jet should be distinguishable on dark nights and the con-trail on light nights.

An account of the interesting exploits of 619/”W” on the night 4/5th is given below.

“Aircraft “W” of 619 Squadron was returning at 10,000 ft. heading 273T returning from Gardening on the night 4/5th October, and had reached position 5605N 0807E when the Rear Gunner sighted a JU.88 on the starboard quarter level silhouetted against the lighter part of the sky. At that time the bomber was flying in clear visibility with 10/10ths cloud below, tops 2000 ft. and thin stratus above 15,000 ft. The JU.88 attacked from the starboard quarter on a curve of pursuit and the bomber commenced a corkscrew when the fighter

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Underlined] GUNNERY. [/underlined]

reached 600 yards. The corkscrew took the bomber into cloud and the fighter was lost to view. On reappearing from cloud the F/E sighted a JU.88 below camouflaged white and Rear Gunner ordered banking search, the fighter imitated all the bomber’s manoeuvres, preventing the guns from being brought to bear. As the bomber resumed course another JU.88 attacked from Port beam with heavy calibre armament. The attack came from the dark part of the sky and was not seen by the Mid Upper Gunner. The first indication of the attack was when the bomber was hit. The strikes caused a fire amidships which exploded the ammunition in the rear turret tanks in the fuselage and disabled all the hydraulic and intercommunication system. The Mid Upper immediately vacated his turret and attacked the fire with extinguishers. The Rear Gunner saw the attacking JU.88 break away starboard quarter up and fired a long burst using manual rotation and operating one gun manually by the rear sear.

By this time the aircraft was on fire from cockpit to Elsan and the Mid Upper gunner was unable to control it on his own. The Rear Gunner, seeing the Mid Upper Gunner’s flying kit ablaze came to his assistance and with the aid of the Air Bomber, stripped him of his burning harness and placed it in the Elsan. The flames were spreading through the bomb bay and had burnt a hole in the bottom of the fuselage.

By using fire extinguishers, personal clothing and various other means, the fire was extinguished, but approximately 5 minutes later it flared up again at the rear of the ammunition tanks on the starboard side. This was extinguished by the Rear and Mid Upper Gunners.

The Rear Gunner then went into the Mid Upper turret and the Mid Upper Gunner went forward owing to lack of flying clothing which had been burnt.

The aircraft was crash-landed and on landing it was found that the Mid Upper Gunner had received extensive burns on hands and face and was suffering from shock, and the Navigator was burnet on his right hand.

It is considered that both gunners put up an exceptionally fine show in extraordinary circumstances as the hole burnt in the aircraft made any movement extremely hazardous.”

[Underlined] “ODD GOINGS ON”. [/underlined]

A Rear Gunner got repeated number one stoppages on all four guns. This continued through much “cocking and firing” until he suddenly remembered he hadn’t put the “Fire and Safe” units to “Fire”. Having completed this small operation the guns functioned perfectly.

A Gunnery Leader took a crew on drogue firing. He put the Air Bomber into the mid upper and told him to fire one gun only. During the exercise the Gunnery Leader got the impression that both mid upper guns were firing and on mentioning this to the Air Bomber, received the reply “Well, I’m only pressing one trigger!”.

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

F/O Roberts 5 L.F.S. Cat. ‘B’.
P/O Danahar 44 Sqdn. Cat. ‘C’.

“v” GROUP NEWS. NO.27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Underlined] GUNNERY. [/underlined]

[Underlined] AIR TRAINING. [/underlined]

[Underlined] FIGHTER AFFILIATION. [/underlined]

[Underlined] ORDER OF MERIT [/underlined]

[Table of Fighter Affiliation Exercises by Squadron and Conversion Unit]

[Underlined] TOTAL OF AFFILIATION EXERCISES FOR OCTOBER:- 2190. [/underlined]


[Page break]

[Underlined] GUNNERY. [/underlined]

[Underlined] TABLES. [/underlined]

Though the total of affiliation exercises is below that of last month, the Squadrons’ totals are better, which is a very good sign. The night affiliation exercises with Hurricanes and Mosquitoes show an increase on last month, but whilst credit is due in this respect, it is hoped that next month’s total will be the equivalent to one night affiliation exercises per crew throughout the Group. Successful trials have been carried out by No.54 Base using infra-red film and instructions are being issued by this Headquarters in the near future.

Bomber Command have now approved the modifications to incorporate the hydraulically operated winch for self-towed drogue in the Lancaster, and this Headquarters’ letter 5G/3204/2/1/Eng. dated 25th October, 1944, refers. It is anticipated therefore, that next month that very barren column headed “AIR TO AIR” will blossom forth with digits.

Base Gunnery Leaders are warned that in all probability two extra Mark 1C Gyros will be allotted to each Squadron in the near future. It is suggested therefore, that they take immediate steps to have the necessary parts for the rig made in workshops and wired in a similar manner to their existing assemblies, so that there will be the minimum amount of delay when these Gyros arrive.

Up to date there have been two cases of frostbite in the Group due chiefly to the metal parts of the mask and helmet not being covered. This covering is very liable to have been torn and neglected during the summer months, so that now the cold weather is upon us, Gunnery Leaders would do well to check all helmets and masks immediately to see that they are in 100% fit condition.


[Page break]

[Drawing] oiling up [Drawing]

The perfect Air Gunner climbed out of his aircraft, and turned to the Armourer. “Those guns are good enough” he said, and his Captain and his crew heard and felt happy as they knew by “good enough” the perfect Gunner meant “very good indeed”. Two other Gunners, who were by no means perfect, also heard and remarked to themselves “Old Smithy must have been born with a gun in his hand, think of all the trouble you and I have had with that turret, yet Smithy goes up a couple of times, and everything is bang on. Either he’s just plumb lucky, or he’s got a gift that way. Yes, I think he takes to it naturally”. So saying, the speaker and his friend cautiously made their way towards the Mess, cautiously, in case their Gunnery Leader or Captain should catch sight of them, and acting on experience promptly put them on some sort of training. “After all” they used to argue “Why should we have to bind at aircraft Recce etc., just like any sprogs – we are almost the original operational types, we know the answers”.

“Hope the old skipper is in a better mood this evening, Bill, he seemed to be quite shirty with me after that Daylight yesterday. Called me a bloody fool and told me to pull my finger out. Me of all people. Me! Why I told him he was lucky to have two Gunners like us in his aircraft, but even that didn’t seem to cheer him up. After all, as I said, anyone might have mistaken those Thunderbolts for 190’s, and after all, he only did two corkscrews. I suppose he’ll be binding next about that turret, just because old Smithy gets airborne and it happens to work. Things always seem to work with Smithy”. The speaker pulled his chair a little nearer to the fire.

In the meantime, the perfect Air Gunner and the Armourer had finished cleaning the guns and were packing up. “It always seems to be the same when you take over someone else’s aircraft, doesn’t it”, said the perfect Gunner. “However, they begin to look a bit more like guns now, don’t they, and I don’t think we’ve much more to worry about, goodnight, and many thanks”.

The not-so-perfect Gunners, were still sitting by the fire in the Mess. “Hulloo, here comes old Smithy – Hi Smithy, how did you manage to make those ropey guns go this afternoon?”

“Well, as a matter of fact, we only gave the turret a good D.I., and all the guns a thorough cleaning, and everything went like clockwork. There’s nothing much wrong with those guns”.

As one not-so-perfect Gunner said to the other “Old Smithy may be lucky, but he’s a secretive sort of bloke, keeps things to himself you know – just cleaned the guns and they worked my foot – why they’ll be saying we don’t know our job next – you and me!”

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Drawing] accidents

Throughout the year this Group has steadily climbed the Bomber Command accident ladder until in September we reached the top with a rate of 7.9 aircraft damaged for every 10,000 hours flown. This goal was achieved with 23 aircraft damaged and was largely due to a drop in the number of crashes during non-operational flying. 51 Base therefore, can feel they have pulled their weight in the struggle for accident reduction, especially as October figures again stand comparison with the squadrons.

Unfortunately it is unlikely that we will remain in that exalted position at the top of the ladder. There is every indication that the rate for October will have increased, particularly as the total number of aircraft damaged rose to 31: 10 were totally destroyed, 7 were Cat.B., and 14 were Cat.AC; in addition there were 6 Cat.A(R), but these will not count against us. The [underlined] avoidable [/underlined] accidents against which every drive is concentrated, rose in proportion. October’s figures read:-

[List of Avoidable Accidents by Squadrons, Conversion Units and Other Flights]

[Underlined] GRAND TOTAL – 25 Avoidable Accidents. [/underlined]

It may be argued that the number of avoidable accidents during October is merely an indication of the seasonal rise in accidents as a whole. This is probably true, but the danger lies in passing this rise off as inevitable. It is up to pilots to combat the additional difficulties of winter flying by such means as more concentration on instrument flying, increased care when taxying, and a demand for full support and co-operation from their crews. With regard to taxying, you will note that accidents in this class continue to hold a notorious position in the Summary. Read and digest the notes on taxying given under another heading in this News. A typical example from the month’s records will emphasise

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Underlined] ACCIDENTS. [/underlined]

the inexcusability of such accidents. Can you find any mitigating circumstances in this one:-

(i) In broad daylight a pilot was following another aircraft round the perimeter to take off point. The leading pilot stopped, naturally, at the taxy post to do his pre-flight checks. He was immediately struck from behind by the following aircraft, the pilot of which simply states that “he did not know the other aircraft had stopped until too late”.

[Underlined] EMERGENCY AIR. [/underlined]

A “new” accident occurred in October, and details are given here so that a pitfall may be avoided. Briefly, a Lancaster pilot had to use the “emergency air” to lower his undercarriage on landing. He left the lever in the [underlined] “up” [/underlined] position, made a perfect landing and taxied to dispersal. A few hours later the undercarriage collapsed. Now, wheels can be lowered by emergency air with the lever in [underlined] any [/underlined] position, but take another look at Pilot’s Notes (Latest) and there read that the lever should be fully [underlined] down. [/underlined] Now you know!

The other accidents do not provide any special features.

51 Base now passes from 5 Group to 7 Group. The accident rate on Stirlings has been steadily reduced since January, and reflects creditably on the way Stirling problems have been tackled. At the risk of repetition, this is best shown by October’s “avoidable” figures. For the first time 51 Base total is less than the total for the squadrons. In 1654 Conversion Unit only one aircraft was damaged during the whole of the month, and even this was only damaged to a slight extent, namely Cat.A(R). A commendable effort.

[Table of Avoidable Accidents by Squadron with Star Award]


[Page break]

[Drawing] aircrew safety

There was only one known ditching throughout the Group during October – “R” of No.467 Squadron ditched 50 miles North of Terschelling on 5th October. First the port outer engine failed at 1500 ft. followed by the port inner at 900 ft. on the outward flight to the target. The Pilot incorrectly thought that he could not jettison his particular load below 2,000 ft. and turned for home, at the same time firing a red Verey cartridge to let the concentration know that he was in trouble. The port inner engine failed at 900 ft. and not until this happened was the Wireless Operator ordered to institute W/T S.O.S. procedure. These signals were transmitted at 200 ft. and naturally were not received.

Fuel jettisoning action was taken, but the jettison cocks were not closed again the the [sic] aircraft ditched with a full bomb load and little or no buoyancy from the fuel tanks. It ditched successfully but sank in 1 1/2 minutes. The Flight Engineer did not brace his back on the rest bed and the shock threw him upwards and forwards. His head splintered the bulkhead door but he was not injured, and the inrush of cold water brought him round from his temporary stunning. (Hard heads are necessary for an awkward situation!).

All members of the crew reached the dinghy without difficulty and although the mast was broken it was repaired and erected. A sail was made from silk escape maps and with a North Easterly wind the dinghy sailed about 27 miles towards the English Coast before it was located by air.

An airborne lifeboat was dropped and the crew, transferred successfully, started the engines and set course for home. The mast was slipped without releasing the whip aerial and before this was noticed, the sea had freshened, making it impossible to rectify the mistake. As the covering aircraft lost contact with them on three occasions this mistake might easily have had more serious consequences.

The crew was finally rescued by a Naval launch after 36 hours in their dinghy and almost as long in the lifeboat.

This ditching should prove a lesson to those disbelievers in transmitting “Emergency” messaged on the failure of one engine.

Though the Rear Gunner of another aircraft saw the distress cartridge being fired, no sighting report was transmitted, nor, due to a misunderstanding, was any notice taken of the report at Interrogation. W/T silence does [underlined] not [/underlined] apply to aircraft in distress or sightings of aircraft in distress unless specifically ordered at briefing.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Underlined] AIRCREW SAFETY. [/underlined]

What have now become common errors were again made by this crew:-

(i) The dinghy radio was released from its stowage prior to ditching and was lost on impact.

(ii) Mae Wests were not inflated until after impact.

Two interesting new Air Diagrams have been issued:-

Flying Control and A.S.R. Services – A.D. 3970, Issued June, 1944.

Air Sea Rescue Services – A.D.3971, Issued June, 1944.

The Lancaster Static line parachute drill has been amended. The new diagram is numbered 3011A issued May, 1944. Note those helping the wounded man should wear their parachutes – just in case.

[Drawing] THIS




Have YOU drawn YOUR seat type parachute?


[Page break]

[Drawing] flying control

[Underlined] Flying Control Competition [/underlined] – The second quarterly Flying Control Competition has now ended and the award goes to METHERINGHAM. It is only fair to Skellingthorpe to say that they have not fallen behind but have been surpassed. Sections have, in many cases, taken serious steps to bring up to scratch the surrounds of Watch Offices. The tidiness of the grass surrounds, the layout of the car park, all raise or lower the value of Control in the eyes of visitors.

The heavy winter months ahead with their problems of snow, ice and water, will demand from every Flying Control Section the maximum serviceability of portable equipment. Night Flying Equipment should be thoroughly examined to bring it up to 100% efficiency. All lamps and accs. should be tested and necessary replacements made. Never let the responsibility for a “bogging” or a taxying accident be laid on your shoulders because equipment was unserviceable or inadequate for emergencies.

[Underlined] V.H.F. Landing Trials [/underlined] – Waddington are carrying out VHF/RT trials for Command, more particularly on the control side. The policy is a “long term” one, attempting to meet future requirements of all Commands, and future layouts of Watch Offices. Preliminary trials will probably occupy a month, after which “visitors will be admitted”.

[Underlined] Rangefinder Attachment [/underlined] – Details of a ranging instrument for the Airfield Controller have been issued to stations, to ensure that at night the A.F.C. knows whether an aircraft is inside or outside the 2000 yards safety line. The adaption consists of the insertion in the inner ring sight of a metal “thimble” in which is cut an aperture of .1225 inches, equivalent to the wing span of a four-engined bomber at 200 yards.

[Underlined] Circuit Marking [/underlined] – Trials are to be carried out at Metheringham to mark the “upwind” and “downwind” positions on the circuit. It has not been possible to instal [sic] permanent lighting which will cater for marking the circuit points when each runway is in use. A compromise has been effected, however, to concentrate on the main runway. The “ball-up” point and the “cross-wind” position are at present marked with the identification letters of the airfield, and it is proposed to mark the “upwind” and “downwind” positions by means of a bar of three lights across the outer circuit.

Bases will be informed when this installation is complete at Metheringham, and Flying Control Officers should fly over there at night to inspect and report on the efficiency of this system of marking.

In saying goodbye to 51 Base on their translation to 7 Group, one must express our best wishes for their continued good work in their new “orbit”. All three stations have recently made vast improvements in their airfield conditions. Control work at Conversion Units is much heavier than on operational units and the zeal of Control Officers at those stations to bring control conditions into line with operational stations, is to be commended.


[Page break]

[Underlined] FLYING CONTROL. [/underlined]

Landing times for October refer in the main to daylight times and an improvement has again been shown over the previous month’s average. The new form of monthly return of landings to meet the requirements of Headquarters, Bomber Command, will be used to compile future returns for these records. The return should be compiled day by day and not left to the end of the month.

[Table of Landing Times by Station]

[Underlined] AVERAGE FOR THE GROUP 1.59 MINUTES PER AIRCRAFT. [/underlined]

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Drawing] equipment

[Underlined] COAL AND COKE. [/underlined]

The fuel situation this winter is going to be very difficult [sic] This is due, of course, to the fact that we will be supplying most of the liberated countries, until they can produce their own fuel.

Equipment Officers should therefore make their stations more fuel conscious, and try to save every pound of coal and coke they can.

[Underlined] RETURN OF EQUIPMENT TO U.E.D. AND R.E.D. (A.M.O. A.736/43). [/underlined]

Many letters have been written upon the necessity of following the instructions laid down in A,M.O. A.736/43.

Headquarters, Bomber Command, have now dealt us a bitter blow. A list has been sent to this Headquarters, showing all stations who have not carried out the instructions, and practically every station in the Group is named.

This is a bad state of affairs, and we hope in future stations in this Group will do much better and make certain equipment is returned to the right place.

[Underlined] RADIATORS. [/underlined]

The radiator pool at Coningsby is working satisfactorily, and since it has been going, the flow of radiators to the squadrons has been better, though, of course, we could do with a lot more.

We now hear from Command that this system may be stopped, and the normal demand procedure put in its place. This matter is being dealt with between Command and Air Ministry, and we can only hope that the present system is retained.

[Underlined] DEMANDS. [/underlined]

Units should take more care making out their equipment demands; cases have been reported where, either the unit serial number or the nearest railway station has been omitted. A further point is that stations are not using the rubber stamp in the Consignee’s Block.

Equipment Officers must scrutinise their demands, before signing them, and see that the demand is made out correctly. If the section has not got the rubber stamp then it should be demanded from the Orderly Room at once.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Drawing] engineering

[Underlined] GENERAL. [/underlined]

During October, 56 Base formed, and two new squadrons were built up. With the formation of 56 Base much hard work has been entailed in the organising of Base sections once more, but these are coming along very nicely and will soon be up to the desired standard. Balderton and Fulbeck, which are sub-stations to 56 Base, provide a heavy task in themselves to bring them up to the standard of airfields which were vacated by 5 Group. It is “self-help” with a vengeance. However, even in the short time that the airfields have been occupied by 5 Group units, the improvement is most noticeable.

An interesting feature of the month is the manner in which Bases have helped each other with acceptance chekes [sic] modifications and engine changes where necessary. Acceptance checks for the new squadrons were split evenly through the Bases.

Good reports are being received as a result of pilots and flight engineers of the Test Crews at Bases attending the Test Pilots’ Course at A.V. Roe’s. All Base Major Servicing Sections are enthusiastic about the testing of their aircraft and consider that greatly improved handling is given to aircraft passing out of B.M.S.S. as a result of the excellent reports submitted after these test flights.

[Underlined] GROUND EQUIPMENT. [/underlined]

Since starting the drive on improving the condition and maintenance of ground equipment and the general cleanliness of hangars and dispersals, a big improvement has been noticed throughout the Group. The cleanliness of hangars is far more important than some C.T.O’s realise. However busy a servicing section is, it can always find time to keep the hangar and its surrounds clean and tidy if the will to do so is present. The mechanical sweepers which have been issued throughout the Group have proved an asset in keeping the hangar floors swept, but we still have the odd C.T.O. who allows his maintenance hangar to get into a filthy, oily state, and complains that pressure of work is the cause. Pressure of work is never the cause of this state of affairs as it is usually due to lack of interest in this aspect of maintenance over a long period. Once a hangar and its surrounds have been made to look clean, neat and tidy, this state can be maintained by just a small amount of work daily. It is again repeated that if a Servicing Wing looks neat, well organised and tidy, it invariably is also efficient.

[Underlined] OPERATIONAL FAILURES. [/underlined]

Engineer faults which prevented the successful completion of operational sorties totalled 1%. This is a slight increase over the previous month, but is still a general improvement. Only one of these defects could be attributed to faulty maintenance; unfortunately


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[Underlined] ENGINEERING. [/underlined]

this maintenance defect occurred in a squadron which would otherwise have had a clear sheet. 54 Base gets the “Big Hand” this month, with only two engineer operational failures. The following squadrons are to be congratulated on having no engineer operational failures during October:- 9, 50, 83, 227, 617 and 627 Squadrons. This is a very good start indeed for the first month 227 Squadron appeared as an operational squadron.

[Underlined] 51 BASE. [/underlined]

With the passing of 51 Base, complete with Wigsley, Swinderby and Winthorpe and maintenance staffs, go many engineer officers and maintenance personnel who have worked hard for 5 Group for a very long period. The type of work which they have been carrying out has been arduous and we are very reluctant to see them pass to another Group; to the newly formed No.7 Group such officers and maintenance personnel who have worked so loyally for 5 Group will be a great asset.

[Underlined] TRAINING UNIT SERVICEABILITY. [/underlined]

[Table of Aircraft Serviceability for Conversion Units]

[Underlined] FLIGHT ENGINEERS. [/underlined]

[Underlined] ENGINE HANDLING. [/underlined]

Much controversy has taken place since Air Ministry has cleared Merlin 22’s, 24’s, 28’s and 38’s at +7 lbs. boost for cruising. It is thought by so many pilots that this extra 3 lbs. boost is something for nothing, that petrol consumption at 2650 r.p.m. and + 7 lbs. boost will be the same as 2650 r.p.m. and 4 lbs. boost; this is not the case. This is what has taken place – before the modification was incorporated, the S.U. Carburettor richened when the boost was increased above + 4 lbs. and the Stromberg Carburettors richened with boost above + 3 1/2 lbs. With Mod.582 both these carburettors will now be progressively weak throughout their range up to + 7 lbs. boost.

In all cases for economical flying it is necessary to fly at a given optimum R.A.S. This optimum R.A.S. is governed by the all-up weight of the aircraft, so crews should always attempt to obtain the I.A.S. for which they are briefed.

Boost of + 7 lbs will only be obtained up to rated altitude, this will be approximately 9,000 ft. in ‘M’ gear and 17,000 ft. in ‘S’ gear. Therefore if an I.A.S. of 170 m.p.h. is required at 8,000 ft.,


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[Underlined] FLIGHT ENGINEERS. [/underlined]

to fly economically the boost would be increased to + 5 or 6 lbs, but the revs must be reduced below 2650; the only advantage in this case is, the throttles would be fully open. If, however, the revs were left at 2650 using + 5 or 6 lbs. boost petrol consumption would increase. A case in point – a Lancaster in this Group was fitted with flowmeters; at 10,000 ft. using 2650 + 4 the R.A.S. obtained was 200 m.p.h. and petrol consumption 228 galls/hr. The same aircraft when using 2650 + 6 at the same altitude obtained an R.A.S. of 215 m.p.h., but the petrol consumption increased to 271.2 galls/Hr. As can be seen, for the extra 15 m.p.h. the consumption was out of all proportion.

The advantage of + 7 lbs. boost will be found in the climb. When climbing at 2650 + 4 with a fully laden aircraft, the R.A.S. should be 157 m.p.h.; if this speed cannot be maintained or the aircraft becomes “heavy” to handle, the boost can be increased over the + 4 lbs. setting to obtain the optimum R.A.S. of 157 m.p.h.

If the general rule of high boost and low revs together with the optimum R.A.S. is carried out on all flights, the petrol consumption will always be good.

[Underlined] WINTER FLYING. [/underlined]

To overcome many of the “snags” of winter flying due to the inexperience of crews, a list of the most important points are set out for the guidance of Flight Engineer Leaders who must instruct and advise all Flight Engineers in their section.

1. Special care and instruction on the use of oxygen, care and maintenance of masks, and the use of the extra 12 ft. oxygen tube carried in all aircraft.

2. Have each Flight Engineer work the Dead Man’s release of the rear turret.

3. Make certain each Flight Engineer knows how to use the hot and cold air valve, and under what conditions this should be used.

4. Use of de-icing fluid for windscreens – how to operate the pump. Advise each Flight Engineer to have a can of de-icing fluid in his aircraft for use inside the cabin. [Underlined] Danger [/underlined] – this fluid is inflammable.

5. Check clothing. Warm but not bulky, electrically heated waistcoat and socks are a great advantage.

6. Care to be taken when running up – see that chocks cannot slip.

7. Check “storm window” for freedom.

8. Pulsometer pumps must be switched “ON” at 17,000 ft.

9. All Flight Engineers to know 5 Group Drill No.12 “Oxygen and Anti-Frostbite Drill”.

10. Flight Engineers to inspect the de-icing paste on the leading edge of the control surfaces; care must be taken that this is evenly applied.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Drawing] armament

On the 25th October a meeting of Base Armament Officers was held at Headquarters, No.5 Group, when a very lengthy discussion took place covering almost all the points affecting armament work and organisation. Every effort is being made to provide more man power, more supervision and more equipment, but all armament personnel should bear in mind the vital need for careful planning and organisation of work to eliminate unnecessary handling of stores. In this connection, a tidy and well planned bomb store will always be able to handle a greater tonnage of bombs for less man hours of work (i.e. a reasonable number of days off for everybody), than a bomb store which is allowed to become disorganised and congested, thus entailing handling stores two or three times.

To run a bomb store in this ideal way calls for clear thinking and planning by the Officer i/c and an appreciation of the work and handling schemes in use by N.C.O’s.

The new heavy transporter referred to in our last issue has at last made its appearance but unfortunately only in very small quantities. Reports from the station fortunate enough to receive the first issue show that this piece of equipment is a great time and labour saver, and in addition, ensures that the tail units of 4 lb. incendiaries carried in S.B.C’s are not damaged when loaded on to bomb trolleys.

One station, not content to sit back and wait for the arrival of these items, has produced its own transporter. The transporter has been constructed from a portion of the M.7 cluster mechanism suitably modified with two small angle brackets to slip under the drop bar of the S.B.C. This transporter has been in issue for some time and has proved entirely satisfactory and easy to handle. Details of this modification are being forwarded to Units, and Armament Officers should take the opportunity of constructing as many of these transporters as possible for use prior to the introduction of the improved type heavy transporter.

No doubt many of you can think of more and possibly better methods of simplifying the handling and transportation of clusters and S.B.C’s, so get your heads together and see what you can produce. To a great extent this problem will have to be solved by ourselves, so don’t be content to sit back and wait for someone else to find the answer. You are the people who know what is required and are in the best position for finding the solution.

[Underlined] REPORTING OF DEFECTS. [/underlined]

Many instances have occurred during the past months of Armament Officers failing to carry out the correct procedure for the reporting of defects of ammunition, explosives and their components or ancilliary equipments.

The correct procedure is laid down fully in A.P. 2608A, Appendix 12, and it is suggested that a few minutes spent with this very valuable publication would benefit the majority of Armament Officers.

[Underlined] THIS MONTH’S “BOOBS”! [/underlined]

On two occasions this month Bomb Aimers omitted to select the isolation switch with the result that the photoflash was not released and no photographs obtained.

Two full bomb loads were returned to base, one due to the Bomb Aimer setting the distributor drum switch half way between “Distributor” and “Single and Salvo”, and the other due to the failure of the Bomb Aimer to ensure that his Master switch was wired in the “ON” position.

“v” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Underlined] ARMAMENT FAILURES TABLE. [/underlined]

[Table of Armament Failures by Squadron]


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[Drawing] photography

The total number of operational sorties for the month of October was below previous months’ figures and details of the photographic results are shown in the analysis.

[Underlined] Technical Failures [/underlined] were not high, but it is an undeniable fact that many of those which did occur could have been avoided – Photographers, Instrument Repairers and Electricians responsible for the maintenance and testing, and Photographers who process the films should make a special effort to reduce the number of failures which occur through insufficient maintenance testing and processing.

A percentage of failures also occurs because the Bomb Release Key Switch sometimes releases the bombs but does not make a positive contact to operate the camera. Headquarters, Bomber Command, have stated that a new type of key has been designed and will be issued in due course; until the new key is fitted bomb aimers must remember to depress the key fully.

[Underlined] American K.24 Camera [/underlined] is now rapidly taking the place of the F.24; despite certain criticisms there can be no doubt that the camera will give good results, provided that a few minor details are attended to. Owing to the unbalanced weight, mainly due to the motor position, this camera is not to be stood upright on the lens cone, but is to be laid on its side; furthermore, the camera should not be lifted by the motor, otherwise there is every possibility that the motor gear will become mis-aligned. Air Ministry have been asked to provide muffs which will fit the K.24, but it is not known when these muffs will become available. However, owing to the rubber film roller, brittle film should not prove very troublesome since the main cause of torn film in the F.24 camera is the measuring roller needles.

[Underlined] Composite colour [/underlined] is now in standard use, and it is hoped to increase its use but, before doing so, Photographic N.C.O’s should ensure that all photographers are trained in making up and processing the film. It is necessary to stress once again the importance of temperature and time; failure to bear this in mind will produce out of colour balance results, A different type of colour film, called the “Ansco” has been tested by No.56 Base , but the results were inferior to those produced by Kodacolour.

[Underlined] H.2.S. Photography. [/underlined] The number of cameras now available for this type of photography has materially increased, but there is much to be done before it can be claimed that the results produced are as good as they should be. The best H.2.S. Photographic results can only be obtained by correct set operation and good quality processing and printing. It has been reported that Photographers are not sufficiently informed on the working of H.2.S. to get the best out of the results. Therefore, it is hoped that the Radar/Nav. officer will arrange demonstrations in due course.


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[Underlined] ANALYSIS OF PHOTOGRAPHY. [/underlined]

[Table of Photographic Analysis by Squadron]

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Education [Drawing]

During October, many airmen began study, which it is hoped will be continued during the winter months. The suggested programmes and facilities drawn up by Station Education Officers were widely circulated on most stations and the response on the whole has been satisfactory. The most popular demand has been for classes at the local Technical Institutes – indeed, the Lincoln Technical College was quite unable to cope for a time with the numbers of students who wished to attend. Most of the requirements appear to have been catered for now, however. It should be stressed that the college authorities have taken considerable trouble to accommodate R.A.F. personnel and we in our turn must attend as regularly as possible to make the work they have put in worth while.

Organised study is difficult in view of the uncertain hours of duty. One solution to this problem is the correspondence course method, which does give the chance of doing the work at the student’s own convenience. A full list of courses cannot be enumerated here, but there are roughly 500, and they cater for almost all the professions as well as individual subjects. The cost is only 10/-. Your Education Officer will show you what is available.

About 700 people have enrolled for correspondence courses in this Group during the past few months, and some stations have over 100 airmen attending local evening institutes each week. These are the people who are looking to the future, and there must be many hundreds more in the Group who would benefit from something of this kind. After all, its [sic] your future, so it is up to you to prepare for your return to civilian life.

Do you ever visit your Station News Room? If you do you will realise the tremendous amount of work put in to keep it fresh and up to date, and usually the Education Officer is doing the job himself. He would welcome any suggestions and ideas for improving the room, and any practical help towards putting the ideas into practice. About half a dozen airmen who are interested, can make a great difference to the freshness and appeal of the News Room.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Drawings] IS HIS NISSEN

Due to the long hours of blackout, bad weather and general deterioration of living and working conditions, all of which affect the health of personnel, operational efficiency may be reduced during the winter unless strenuous efforts are made by all concerned to offset its effects.

If initiative is used NOW to plan essential precautions, this Group can be fully prepared to operate during the winter months at an even higher pressure and even more efficiently than during the last few months.

Instructions to all Base and Station Commanders have already been issued by the Air Officer Commanding, summarising instructions which have already been issued. Indication will only be given in this article of those additional jobs we may be called upon to do which are not of a routine nature, and which merely involve the use of average common-sense.

There is an old saying that “An Englishman’s Home is his Castle”. However, the true sense of this saying is, unfortunately, not fully established during war-time, as the majority of our lives is being spent in Nissen huts or, for the more fortunate (?), in rooms shared with many others, who have various ideas of conditions in which one should eat and sleep.

A balance, therefore, has to be made and the foundation for our “War Castles” should be waterproof rooms, clean approaches to living quarters, well-prepared food, hot water supply, good entertainment and ample warm clothing, together with the sensible use of camp amenities which are provided for all and not for any one individual.

In the first years of war, ample labour and material were available for ensuring that the above conditions were met, but due to the withdrawal of labour and material to priority work in the South of England, each and every one of us will be called upon to perform duties which, hitherto, have been implemented by “Specialists”. Take, for instance, that leaking roof. It’s all very well saying that it’s about time Works and Buildings repaired it; the fact is that Works and Buildings have not the labour to meet all the requirements of daily maintenance on a present-day Bomber Station. Therefore, instead of sitting back and waiting for somebody else to do the work, we shall have to do it ourselves. Material, and technical supervision will be provided and we shall have to initiate our own repairs in our “spare time”.

If we were back in our own homes, we wouldn’t need to be told to implement maintenance or to redecorate rooms which have become shabby. We would take off our coats after our day’s work and do all within our power to make it as comfortable as possible.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Underlined] “AN ENGLISHMAN’S HOME IS HIS NISSEN”. [/underlined]

Similarly, in peace-time, when we called at the local for “one for the road” and, due to bad navigation we encroached on the muddy part of the front garden, we wouldn’t dream of entering the house without wiping our feet or scraping the mud off. This should be kept well in mind when returning from the N.A.A.F.I., or the Mess back to our quarters, or to the places where we work.

In this respect, mud can be one of the chief factors of lowering the morale during the winter. Mud is usually introduced on to the concrete roads on stations, primarily by mechanical transport being driven off perimeter tracks and from concrete roads on to the airfield, and by certain types who will insist on taking “short cuts”. This practice must be stopped; by so doing, we shall also improve the appearance of our airfields.

In regard to clothing, facilities exist for the exchange of worn clothing which would not provide proper warmth during the winter months and would, therefore, result in health conditions which seriously affect the manpower question during this particular time of the year.

Personnel working in exposed conditions are entitled to draw protective clothing consisting of a variety of items which may be obtained on request. In Civvy Street the wise man ensures that his clothing is in a constant state of good repair and although the responsibility is usually shelved on to our mothers or wives, in war-time it is up to each individual to fend for himself.

With a little bit of research “someone” can always be found to do the necessary darning, and to execute the necessary repairs if the individual has not the maternal instinct.

To deal with all the troubles would involve writing at some length and it is again repeated that average commonsense [sic] must be used. If the powers-that-be are to be believed, this is going to be the last winter of the European War. Everyone should make a supreme effort to ensure that our living and working conditions are such that our operational efficiency is not affected, and that all precautions are introduced in time to meet the trouble which they are intended to cure.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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[Drawing] decorations

The following IMMEDIATE awards were approved during the month:-

[Underlined 9 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 50 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 207 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 463 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 467 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 617 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 619 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 627 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 630 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 54 BASE [/underlined]


The following NON-IMMEDIATE awards were approved during the month:-

[Underlined] 9 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 44 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 50 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 57 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 61 SQUADRON [/underlined]


“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

[Page break]

[Underlined] 61 SQUADRON (CONTD) [/underlined]


[Underlined] 83 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 97 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 106 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 207 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 463 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 467 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 617 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 619 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 627 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 630 SQUADRON [/underlined]



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[Drawing] war savings

(a) Approximate savings in pence per head.

(b) Approximate percentage of personnel saving.

(c) Total savings for the month.

[Table of Savings by Station]

TOTAL:- [Underlined] £3,635. 7. 6. [/underlined]

[Boxed] [Underlined] “V” GROUP CREST [/underlined]

Many designs for a Group Crest have been received at this Headquarters and have had continued close scrutiny and study. Due to the high standard of work produced it has not, as yet, been possible to select the winning crest, but it is hoped to do so in the near future. [/boxed]

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 27. OCTOBER, 1944.

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war effort

[Table of Aircraft, Sorties and Flying Hours by Squadron]

ӿ New Squadron – formed 7th October, 1944.

Squadrons are place in the above table in order of “Successful sorties per average aircraft on charge”. In view of their special duties Nos. 9, 49, 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.

All Lancaster Squadrons are above establishment and therefore flying hours are calculated on an establishment of 20.

[Page break]

[Boxed] The cover of this month’s News has been designed by S/Ldr. N. Mould, D.F.C., of Headquarters, No. 56 Base. All personnel with artistic tendencies are requested to submit designs for covers of future issues. So far only very few have been received, and it is hoped that during the coming month the editor will receive an increasing flow of specimen designs. [/boxed]

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[Blank Page]

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[Blank Page]

October 1944 Secret No. 27





Dortmund Ems


M. Gladbach






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October 1944 No. 27





[Stamp] Base Copy

101. 9

Copies dist Stn.

[Underlined] 1325 hrs. [/underlined]

Dortmund Ems


M. Gladbach








“V Group News, October 1944
,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 16, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/18506.

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