V Group News, January 1945


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


Five Group Newsletter, number 30, January 1945. Includes a foreword by the Air Officer Commanding, and articles on famous last words, operations, navigation, this month's bouquets, radar navigation, tactics, air bombing, signals, gardening, training, second thoughts for pilots, accidents, gunnery, armament, flying control, aircrew safety, engineering, photography, decorations, war effort, equipment, a letter from a dead city, war savings,

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



Temporal Coverage




59 printed sheets


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[Boxed] In our last issue Air Marshal Sir R.A. Cochrane, K.B.E., C.B., A.F.C., bade farewell to the Group after two years of command. As many know, Air Marshal Cochrane left us to take up the appointment of Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Transport Command. We wish him every success in his new sphere.

It is unfortunate that his successor, Air Vice Marshal Constantine, C.B.E., D.S.O., is unable to write a Foreword this month. At the time of going to press he is suffering from a bad bout of influenza, and we wish him a speedy recovery. Air Vice Marshal Constantine has come to us from Headquarters, Bomber Command, so we are by no means strangers. In welcoming his to the Group we assure him of our close co-operation and support for the future. [/boxed]

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Famous Last Words

[Drawing] Navigator: “Pilot, you are below the safety height for this area”

Pilot: “To hell with that, I’m not going to fly in cloud” [Drawing]

These actually were the last words that this pilot ever spoke. Immediately afterwards, the aircraft struck a hillside, six of the crew being killed. The seventh member, although badly injured, survived to tell the tale. Here is his account.

“It was on the attack on Heilbronn on the night 4/5th December, 1944. The attack was successful and after bombing we set course for position ‘D’ descending in steps as briefed. Just South of Strasbourg the Navigator told the Captain that we were below safety height and the Captain replied that he wanted to get out of cloud. This was the last speech over the intercom., and I have no idea of the height of the aircraft. Immediately after this remark the aircraft hit a hillside. I was thrown out of my turret and landed under the mid-upper turret. I eventually regained consciousness, not knowing how long I had been there or where I was. After calling out the names of the other members of the crew for 15 minutes I decided to sit in the aircraft until daylight owing to inclement weather. Daylight arrived with a heavy fall of snow, but it did allow me to find my boot which I had lost, and with great difficulty, owing to my right arm and left hand being broken, put my boot on and jump out of the aircraft. The aircraft was broken in half, the break being behind the wings. The mid-upper gunner was dead in his turret and the others were 15 – 20 yards from the aircraft. After convincing myself that all were dead I set course SW by the aid of my compass.”

Here is a perfect example of the gross disobedience and stupidity of the Captain being responsible for the death of himself and five other members of the crew. It has happened hundreds of times before and will happen as many times in future, unless YOU guard against it.

The flight plan is issued for your safety. It is the best efforts of the planning staffs to safeguard you from your twon [sic] main hazards – the enemy and the weather.


“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

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[Drawing] operations

[Underlined] DORTMUND EMS CANAL – 1st JANUARY. [/underlined]

The stretch of canal at LADBERGEN, newly repaired, was once again attacked, this time in daylight. Force employed – 102 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos.

[Underlined] PLAN [/underlined] Two Mosquitos of No.54 Base were to mark the aiming point with Red T.I. cascading at 5,000 feet, burning for 12 minutes at H – 4. The leading Lancasters of No.54 Base were also to drop Red T.I. on the aiming point.

[Underlined] AIMING [/underlined] (a) Using the T.I’s as a guide to identification, crews were to aim the centre bomb of the stick at the Western branch of the canal. Care was to be exercised not to overshoot, as the Western branch was the primary objective.

(b) Normal gaggle formation was to be maintained until the Bomb Aimer could see the target. During the bombing run, aircraft on the flanks would automatically converge towards the centre. Immediately after bomb release, flank aircraft were to resume normal gaggle formation. Bombing heights 9,000 – 12,000 feet. Bomb load 14 x 1000lb MC/G.P.

[Underlined] RESULTS [/underlined] The weather at the target was clear, with good visibility, and crews identified the target visually. Once again the bombing was very concentrated, but results could not be assessed on the spot, as a large proportion of delay-action bombs was used. Owing to the frequency with which this target has been attacked, and the vast number of bomb craters, it is impossible accurately to estimate the degree of concentration, but it is apparent that as good a concentration was achieved on this daylight attack as on any of the night attacks.

The Western arm of the canal was breached once more, over a considerable distance, and there is much flooding both to the East and West of the canal.

[Underlined] MITTELAND CANAL – 1/2nd JANUARY [/underlined]

Master Bomber – Wing Commander Smith

Aerial reconnaissance showed that the Germans were making frantic efforts to put this canal back into commission. When repairs were about complete, it was decided to make a further attack on the stretch of the canal at GRAVENHORST, to deny the enemy this important artery of communications. The attack was carried out at night. Force employed – 152 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos.

[Underlined] PLAN [/underlined] Target to be marked blind by Lancasters with T.I. Green. Flares to be dropped in target area, in the light of which the aiming point was to be marked by Mosquitos with Red T.I. Crews to aim centre bomb of stick at the M.P.I. of the Red T.I. or as directed by the Master Bomber. Bombing heights 9,000 – 12,000 feet.


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[Underlined] OPERATIONS [/underlined]

[Underlined] RESULTS [/underlined] Weather clear, with good visibility. The blind marking and illumination went according to plan, and a very good concentration of Red T.I. was dropped 150 yards from the aiming point. Once again a very large proportion of delay-action 1,000lb MC/G.P. bombs was used. The attack was an outstanding success, and a tremendous concentration was achieved on and around the aiming point. The canal and its embankments have almost been obliterated, in fact to such an extent that their course in places can hardly be distinguished. Many barges have been destroyed or left stranded. Both this canal and the stretch of the Dortmund Ems canal at LADBERGEN, attacked during the afternoon, are still 100% unserviceable four weeks after the attack.

[Underlined] ROYAN – 4/5th JANUARY [/underlined]

Master Bomber – Wing Commander Smith

A surprise attack was made against the German garrison at Royan, on the French West coast at the mouth of the Gironde. The 5 Group raid was later followed by an attack by No.1 Group.

[Underlined] PLAN [/underlined] A suitable marking point was selected, and the target was divided into seven sectors. One or two Squadrons were allotted to each sector. Bases were to spread their aircraft evenly over the allotted sectors and height bands. Bombing was to be carried out by means of a timed overshoot of the markers. Bombing heights 6,000 – 10,000 feet. Marking and illumination sequence as normal. Bomb load 1 x 4,000lb + max. 500lb MC/G.P.

[Underlined] RESULTS [/underlined] Weather: no cloud, but some ground haze. After some preliminary delay and difficulty with the marking, the Mosquitos succeeded in dropping 2 Red T.I’s 100 yards 220 degrees, and a third Red T.I. 180 yards 190 degrees from the marking point. The main force was then called in to bomb with overshoots as planned, and a good sector attack developed, in spite of some aircraft having to make more than one bombing run.

It is not possible to distinguish on the P.R.U. cover, the 5 Group from the 1 Group attack which followed soon after, but damage is well spread throughout the town, and is severe.

[Underlined] REMARKS [/underlined] The planned T.O.T. was 10 minutes, but investigation reveals that about 80% of all aircraft bombed over a T.O.T. of 5 minutes. This caused a high concentration of aircraft and was chiefly due to the unforeseen and unavoidable hitch in the preliminary marking. The result was that many of the earlier aircraft had to go round again, and some were seen flying on reciprocal courses to the planned bombing headings. The consequent risk of collision may largely have accounted for our loss of six aircraft, as the defences were practically negligible.

[Underlined] HOUFFALIZE – 5/6th JANUARY [/underlined]

Houffalize was an enemy strong point in the Ardennes salient. The aim of this attack was to destroy enemy troops, armour and supplies concentrated in and around the village. Force employed – 131 Lancasters.

[Underlined] PLAN [/underlined] Oboe Mosquitos of No.8 Group were to mark the target with Red T.I. These T.I’s were to be backed up by four Lancasters of No.54 Base dropping Green T.I’s. The main force were to aim the centre bomb of the stick at the Red T.I’s. or failing this, at the M.P.I. of all the Green T.I’s. Bombing heights 9,000 – 12,000 feet. Bomb load 1 x 4,000lb H.C. + max. 500 lb MC/G.P. Crews were warned of the proximity of allied forces, and strict instructions were given that bombs were not to be dropped unless the T.I. Red and/or Green were positively identified.


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[Underlined] OPERATIONS [/underlined]

[Underlined] RESULTS [/underlined] Weather 8/10ths thin cloud inlayers 4,000/10,000 feet, with good visibility. A good concentration of Red and Green T.I’s was put down on the target, and the Master Bomber ordered the main force to bomb direct as planned. The majority were able to do so, but some 30 aircraft were unable to obtain satisfactory bombing runs on account of the cloud conditions and quite rightly brought their bombs back. Reconnaissance, and later the capture of the village, proved that it was virtually destroyed.

[Underlined] MUNICH – 7/8th JANUARY [/underlined]

Master Bomber – Squadron Leader Stubbs.

Two attacks were made on Munich this night, the first one by 216 aircraft of No.5 Group, and the second by some 370 aircraft of Nos. 1, 6 and 8 Groups.

[Underlined] PLAN [/underlined] Blind markers were to drop T.I. Red on the marking point; these were to be followed by a small number of flares. The accuracy of the Greens was to be assessed by Mosquitos of No.54 Base. This assessment was then to be passed to the Master Bomber, who was to order the backers up to drop Red T.I. in relation to this assessment. The Master Bomber was then to select the most accurate markers, on which to issue his bombing orders. Blind marking with high bursting T.I’s was to be used as an emergency.

Main force crews were to aim the centre bomb of the stick at the most accurate T.I. with delay as ordered. Bombing heights 17,250 – 20,000 feet. Bomb load 1 x 4,000lb + max. 4lb incendiary clusters.

[Underlined] RESULTS [/underlined] Weather: broken medium cloud in early stages of attack. Later clear, with moderate visibility. The Lancasters dropped several Red T.I’s accurately in the target area; Mosquitos then went in dropping Green T.I’s. The most accurate one, some 200 yards North of the marking point, was then backed up on the Master Bomber’s instructions, and the main force ordered to bomb the centre of the Green T.I’s with overshoot as ordered. Crew reports indicate a heavy and successful sector attack, but no photographic cover has yet been obtained to confirm this.

[Underlined] POLITZ – 13/14th JANUARY [/underlined]

Master Bomber: Squadron Leader Benjamin

This was No.5 Group’s second attack on this first priority oil target, and it was confidently expected that, given favourable conditions, amends would be made for the attack which went astray on December 21/22nd, 1944.

[Underlined] PLAN [/underlined] Blind marking, flare illumination and Mosquito visual marking in normal sequence. Skymarking was provided for, should cloud conditions preclude visual marking. A suitable marking point was selected, and crews were to aim the centre bomb of the stick at the markers as directed by the Master Bomber, using a false wind vector to bring the bombs on to the aiming point. Bombing heights 15,500 feet to 17,750 feet. Bomb load 1 x 4,000lb H.C. + max. 500lb G.P.

The Master Bomber was to transmit a false wind vector to the main force at H – 5. The vector was to be calculated on a forecast bombing wind, which would be either confirmed or corrected at H-15 on W/T from 5 Group Headquarters. A vector wind, to be set on the bombsight, was issued to crews before take-off. This was based on forecast winds, and was to be used if the vector bombing wind transmitted by the Master Bomber was not received.


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[Underlined] OPERATIONS [/underlined]

[Underlined] RESULTS [/underlined] Weather: there was no cloud in the target area, but a smoke screen was in operation. In addition, the snow covered ground made visual identification of the marking point difficult. Proximity T.I. Green were dropped punctually near the target, and flares followed. Several Red T.I. were dropped wide by the Mosquitos, but subsequent ones were more accurate, one 50 yards and 155 degrees and a second 300 yards 290 degrees from the marking points (plotted from night photographs). The accurate markers were backed up, and the main force was ordered to bomb as planned.

Crews reported a good concentration, but an investigation of the winds used for bombing indicated that the attack once again miscarried. A serious mistake was made in the calculation of the false vector, and the wind thus used resulted in the displacement of the M.P.I. of the bombs some 1,000 yards S.E. of the aiming point. This is borne out by plots of strike photographs. The vector wind issued by the Master Bomber was transmitted several minutes late. A fair proportion of crew, those who bombed in the first waves, used the vector wind set on the bombsight before take-off. There is therefore a prospect that a proportion of the weight of the attack fell on the target, but while no P.R.U. cover has yet been obtained, there is sufficient evidence from night photographs and analysis of the winds used, to indicate that this attack may prove to be a disappointing failure.

[Underlined] REMARKS [/underlined] Success against this type of target, now amongst the most heavily defended in Germany, depends to a large extent on initial surprise. The losses incurred on this attack were 2 Lancasters, or 0.9% of the total force, but this low loss rate cannot be expected to continue, if the target has to be revisited several times before success is achieved.

[Underlined] LEUNA – 14/15th JANUARY [/underlined]

Master Bomber: Squadron Leader Stubbs

A force of 219 aircraft was despatched to attack the priority one synthetic oil plant at LEUNA, near Merseburg.

[Underlined] PLAN [/underlined] It was anticipated that the target would be covered by a thin layer of cloud, and therefore, in addition to the normal illumination and blind marking procedure, arrangements were made for high-bursting Red T.I’s to be dropped blind over the selected marking point, during the T.O.T. If cloud conditions permitted, Mosquitos were to mark the marking point with T.I. Green. The Master Bomber was to instruct the main force at which markers they were to aim.

The main force were to aim the centre bomb of the stick at the markers selected by the Master Bomber, delaying release for 12 seconds, attacking on a common heading of 120°.

Bombing Heights 15,500 – 17,750 feet. Bomb load 1 x 4000lb H.C. + maximum 500lb MC/G.P. (10% long delay).

[Underlined] RESULTS [/underlined] Weather at target: 10/10ths thin stratus at about 1,000 feet. Hazy; poor visibility. Blind markers and flares went down on time, and in the light of the latter the Mosquito markers were able to identify the target area through the thin cloud. The first Green T.I., assessed as 250 yards N.W. of the marking points (and plotted 300 yards 282°) was backed up, and the Master Bomber instructed the main force to aim at the resulting concentration, delaying release for 14 seconds.

Crew reports of the attack were enthusiastic. P.R.U. photographs so far obtained only cover the Northern portion of the plant, but they reveal that this section has been heavily hit, and almost all important installations damaged. On the date of photography (21.1.45) there were no signs of productive activity, and economic experts estimate


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[Underlined] OPERATIONS [/underlined]

that production will be restricted to about 25% for one to two months.

[Underlined] REMARKS [/underlined] It must be borne in mind that this target was attacked later in the night by other Groups in the Command. They, however, encountered worse weather in the target area, and obtained no night photographs with ground detail.

[Underlined] BRUX – 16/17th JANUARY [/underlined]

Master Bomber: Squadron Leader Benjamin

The synthetic oil plant at BRUX was the third oil target to be attacked by the Group within a week. Force employed – 230 aircraft.

[Underlined] PLAN [/underlined] The target was to be marked by blind markers with T.I. Green, followed by flare illumination. If cloud conditions permitted, a selected marking point was then to be marked visually by Mosquitos with Red T.I. The Master Bomber was then, if possible, to assess the markers, and instruct the main force at which group of T.I’s they should aim. T.I. Green bursting above the cloud, were to be dropped over the target as a last resort by the Blind Markers. The main force were to aim their bombs as ordered by the Master Bomber, on a heading of 118°, delaying release by 13 seconds. Bombing heights 14,000 – 16,750 feet. Bomb load 1 x 4,000lb H.C. + maximum MC/G.P. (10% long delay).

[Underlined] RESULTS [/underlined] Weather 10/10ths strato cu; tops 3,000 feet. Two Mosquito visual markers flew below cloud and were able to identify the oil plant; they dropped their Red T.I’s but these were almost invisible from above the cloud. The Master Bomber therefore decided on sky marking, and told the Flare Forces to retain their flares. A good concentration of green skymarkers was dropped, and the Master Bomber ordered the main force to bomb direct either the Red T.I’s if visible or the glow of fires.

No bombing results were seen, and no indication of the accuracy of the attack could be obtained from night photographs owing to cloud. Photographic cover since obtained is partly cloud obscured, but shows very heavy fresh damage, especially to the Power Station, Cooling Tower, organic sulphur remover plant and pump houses. It is also possible that the most important Winkler Generator (Priority I) has been considerably damaged.

Despite the difficult marking conditions the results of this attack may be considered highly satisfactory.

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

[Underlined] BERGEN – 12th JANUARY [/underlined]

Sixteen Lancasters from each of 617 and 9 Squadrons took off to attack the U-boat pens, a floating dock and shipping at Bergen.

[Underlined] PLAN [/underlined] Three aircraft of No.617 Squadron were each to select a ship (in known positions) with Tallboy fused .5 seconds. Three more No.617 Squadron aircraft were to attack a floating dock, in which was a submarine. The remaining 617 aircraft and all No.9 Squadron aircraft were to attack the pens with Tallboy fused 11 seconds delay. No.617 Squadron (using the S.A.B.S.) were to aim direct, and No.9 Squadron (using the Mark XIV) were to select a suitable aiming point off the target and calculate a false wind vector to shift the bombs onto the target. The Squadrons were to be escorted by Mustangs.

[Underlined] RESULTS [/underlined] Weather clear: good visibility.

[Underlined] No.617 Squadron. [/underlined] Two of the three aircraft detailed to


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[Underlined] OPERATIONS [/underlined]

bomb shipping attacked. The aircraft detailed to attack the floating dock found it visible only from directly overhead; it could not be seen from sufficient distance away for a satisfactory bombing run to be made, so these aircraft also attacked shipping. Of the ten aircraft whose target was the Pens, only three attacked: four did not bomb because smoke from previous bombs obscured the target, the remainder experienced other troubles.

[Underlined] No.9 Squadron. [/underlined] Fourteen aircraft attacked the primary target. One aircraft was unable to identify the selected aiming point owing to smoke, and one aircraft is missing.

No.617 Squadron claim one ship sunk; three ships received near misses. A good concentration of Tallboys was put down on the Pens, and the attack is reported as the best yet made on them. Pens No.2 and 3 were both hit, and photos show two (possibly three) direct hits.

[Underlined] REMARKS [/underlined] Several snags arose during this operation. No.617 Squadron, using the S.A.B.S. must be able to see the aiming point clearly. On this occasion, several aircraft could not bomb, in spite of making several orbits, as the target was obscured by smoke from earlier bombs. No.9 Squadron were more lucky, and their offset aiming point remained visible during nearly the whole of the attack.


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[Drawing] navigation

[Underlined] STANDARD OF NAVIGATION FOR JANUARY. [/underlined]

Navigation during January (when the majority of targets were long range) was the highest standard for any month. This shows that Navigation, which has stood still for so long, is now moving again, and in the right direction. This is good – let us keep it moving, and in the same direction.

An analysis has been made of the width and length of the Bomber stream during January. To deal first with track-keeping. The average width of the streams going to the target was 25 miles; on the return journey, it was 25 1/2 miles. (The former figure does not include supporters, who normally take a different route). The maximum permissible width of the stream is 10 miles, therefore we still have a long way to go. However, considering that the majority of operations were against long range targets and that on a number of occasions the true wind velocity differed vastly from that forecast, these results are satisfactory.

Now to deal with timing. The average length of the stream going to the target was 50 miles, permissible length being 36 miles. On the return journey it was 64 miles, permissible length being 37 miles. It will be noted that the standard of timing going to the target is very good, particularly considering the deep penetrations and the varying winds encountered. On the return journey, however, the standard of timing is NOT good. Crews are STILL racing back to liberated territory. It is easier to maintain accurate timing on the return journey because Navigators know the true wind velocities and can therefore make allowances. But in a number of instances they do not make the necessary allowance, and consequently concentration suffers. It is a well known fact that aircraft who lag behind the main stream are easy prey for enemy fighters, also those who stick their necks out ahead of the mainstream give the enemy that little bit of extra warning which is so vital to him. Captains and Navigators have been told this time and again, but a few tend to completely ignore all warnings.

In the last three years Navigation has progressed beyond expectation; immense strides have been made in windfinding, track keeping, the air plot, navigational aids and navigation technique. All these improvements should have resulted in perfect timing, but they haven’t – yet! Navigators, you must do everything in your power to remove this deficiency, because only when our timing is as good as all other items of Navigation can we say that we are doing a 100% job.

At this stage it is well to recall the aim we set ourselves 3 months ago. That is, a concentration of no greater dimensions than 50 miles X 20 miles. Well, we have almost achieved that. When we do in fact achieve it, then we shall set ourselves a new goal, until finally we reach perfection. DON’T say this cannot be done, we set ourselves what was thought to be an impossible goal in practice bombing wind finding – and we achieved it. On this same reasoning there is no reason why we should not obtain perfect track keeping and timing – but remember, this depends entirely on YOU.

Read this entire paragraph through again, then set yourselves a goal – and, finally make sure you achieve it.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

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[Underlined] NAVIGATION. [/underlined]

Station and Squadron Navigation officers must ensure that all new crews are made aware of the great importance of accurate track keeping and timing. These officers must see that all new crews know the goal we have set ourselves and that they must help us to achieve it.

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

The average vector error obtained by Squadrons this month is 4 m.p.h. exactly, the same as last month. We are STILL not getting any nearer our goal of 3 m.p.h. This goal can and must be obtained if we are to play our full part in the bombing team. Let us then get on with the job and achieve our goal immediately.

[Table of Ranked Average Vector Error by Squadron]

It is good to see that No.56 Base have made a big improvement in their Vector Errors and are now in the top half of the list. No. 55 Base, with the exception of one Squadron, have slipped very badly, and are now in the bottom half of the table. This is not their usual place of residence; it is to be hoped that they do not intend staying there.

An excellent example of consistently accurate windfinding was given by F/O Chorney, Navigator, No.9 Squadron. He recently arrived on the Squadron from Conversion Unit and completed, with his crew, three high level bombing exercises in the first few days on the Squadron. The Vector Errors, converted to 20,000 feet were as follows:-

First Exercise – 14 yards or 2/3 m.p.h.

Second Exercise – 16 yards or 4/5 m.p.h.

Third Exercise – 6 yards or 3/10 m.p.h.

This is really first class windfinding, and it enabled the Bomb Aimer to obtain some perfect bombing results. No. 9 Squadron are always leading the Group in bombing vector errors. What about some other Squadron making a really determined effort to oust them from their position of honour?

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

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[Drawing] THIS MONTH’S Bouquets [Drawing]

The names of the eight Navigators, two from each Base, who submitted the best work this month are set out below. They have been chosen for their consistently accurate and methodical work, which includes good track keeping and timing, constant wind velocity and E.T.A. checks and log and chart work of a very high order.

1. W/O Murray – No.50 Squadron
2. F/O Harris – No.463 Squadron
3. F/O Pilkington – No.227 Squadron
4. F/O Hassall – No. 49 Squadron
5. F/L Williamson – No.619 Squadron
6. F/S Baker – No.630 Squadron
7. F/L Hatch – No. 97 Squadron
8. F/L Westphal – No. 83 Squadron

[Underlined] MET. INFORMATION. [/underlined]

It has been the practice in this Group for nearly 3 years to get the Station Met. Officer on each Station to give a brief review of the Met. situation to Navigators every morning. Everyone has agreed that this has been most useful to Navigators, particularly the wind distribution information. Two Squadrons in the Group have improved on this system, and it is now the responsibility of each Navigator in turn to obtain from the Met. Officer the “story” for the night, and then give the information, more fully, to the Navigators. This system has a double benefit. It necessitates each individual Navigator taking a keen interest in Met., thereby considerably improving his knowledge; also it provides Navigators with valuable practice in lecturing, practice which almost everyone needs. In each Squadron the Navigation Officer is present, and he is the judge on the effectiveness of the lecture and the ability of the lecturer.

This new system has provoked great competition throughout the two Squadrons and its adoption by other Squadrons is strongly recommended. All Navigation Officers are urged to give this system a trial.

All Navigators are provided with a Form 2330 before take-off, and are asked to make observations of the weather and fill in the back of the form. This is a big task for anyone because it necessitates spending a considerable amount of time away from Navigation – time which can be ill afforded. However, it is vital that the Met. Staff obtain an accurate picture of the weather encountered on route and at the target. If they do not receive this information, then it is obvious that their future forecasting will suffer.

Here is a difficult problem which has to be solved. No. 55 Base appear to have the answer. Each Navigator is given a specific

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

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[Underlined] NAVIGATION. [/underlined]

area in which to make accurate observations of the weather and it is necessary for him to give information only for this area. Consequently each Navigator need only concentrate on this item for a few moments of the operation, and naturally he is therefore more determined to do that amount of work thoroughly. The result is that Navigators need only spend two minutes at the most observing the weather, while on the other hand the Met. Officer is assured much valuable and accurate information. The Met. Officers of No.55 Base are very pleased with the reports they have received under this new scheme; they consider they are more complete and accurate than those received under the old scheme.

All Bases are urged to give this method a trial.

[Underlined] SELF ANALYSIS CHART. [/underlined]

Here is the third and final Self Analysis Chart for you to complete. If you missed the first two for any reason look them up immediately and answer those questions too.

(i) Do you know how Gee coding is indicated on the main time base and how to apply the corrections?

(ii) On entering the aircraft do you always note the ‘A’ error of the D.R. compass?

(iii) Do you check through your Navigation Order Book regularly to ensure that you are conversant with all orders?

(iv) Do you know how to adjust the presets on the Loran receiver, and do you know what faults are attributable to wrongly adjusted presets.

(v) Do you always remember to switch on your ‘Z’ equipment before take off?

(vi) Do you always carry out your preflight test in accordance with Appendix ‘B’ of Aircraft Drill No.9.

(vii) Do you know the three standard methods for windfinding and issue of bombing winds, which were issued recently?

(viii) Do you always remember to alter your V.S.C. when you pass the central position of two isogonals; and do you check regularly that the variation has been set in the right direction? (Don’t laugh at the second half of this question, to date some 20 instances have occurred of Navigators straying badly from concentration, and one actually returning early, as a result of setting the variation the wrong way).

(ix) Do you always make sure that you fully understand the procedure for bombing windfinding and issue of bombing winds, for each operation? (This question is most important, lack of knowledge of the procedure by a large number of crews on a recent operation, had a disastrous effect on the bombing accuracy).

If you have answered all the questions truthfully you will now be able to categorise yourself. The system of marking is in the November Summary.

Did you make note of all the points on which you lost marks, and did you rectify those mistakes immediately?

[Underlined] NOTE: [/underlined] Question (v) of last month’s Summary was incorrectly worded, it should read as follows:- “Do you know the position on the return journey of an operation from which you are allowed to relax the Group timing. Do you know why you are allowed to relax Group timing from this position and why this position was chosen”.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

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[Underlined] NAVIGATION. [/underlined]

[Underlined] NAVIGATION ORDER BOOKS. [/underlined]

All navigation order books have been standardised during the month, and by the time this Summary reaches Squadrons all new order books should be completed.

This is the first time we have had standardisation in order books. Now that we have brought them up to date we must keep them so. Squadron Navigation Officers must see that all documents marked for inclusion in the Order Book are inserted immediately.

You will find a great deal of valuable information in this book. The rigid adherence to all these orders is a necessity and is vital to the safety of the aircraft. Don’t rush through the enclosures, read them carefully and make a note of all items of major importance. Let you [sic] motto be to “read, mark, learn and digest”.

Make a habit of going through the order book once a week, thus keeping yourself up to date.

[Underlined] UNION NEWS. [/underlined]

F/Lt. Beattie, D.F.C. Nav. Leader No.5 L.F.S. posted to Transport Command.

F/Lt. Bowes, D.F.C. No.5 L.F.S. to be Nav. Leader.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Drawing] radar nav:

[Underlined] H 2 S [/underlined]

In view of the nature of the targets attacked by this Group during the month, and to prevent early warning of the approach of a bomber stream, H2S Mark II was not used on any of the bombing operations.

It has also been necessary to cut down the use of H2S Mark III to the absolute minimum that will allow accurate approach and target marking.

Many operators have expressed strong opinions regarding these restrictions, and the view is held that H2S is redundant, or that the efficiency of crews is decreasing. Don’t be misled by these opinions but judge by results. One can bring up many arguments for and against the current policy, but few set operators will fail to agree that the whole success of many of Five Group’s attacks has been solely sue to the element of surprise. Radar silence has helped considerably to bring this about. Another factor partly due to Radar silence has been the very low loss rate suffered by the Group.

[Underlined] H2S Mark II [/underlined]

A number of Gardening operations have been carried out by Squadrons equipped with H2S Mark II during the month, and the standard attained by the crews indicated that individual operators are still maintaining their efficiency on the set, despite the difficulties in obtaining sufficient training.

P.P.I. photographs indicate that good approaches have been made and excellent lays obtained. In this connection Station Radar Navigation Officers are to be congratulated on the conscientious manner in which they are plotting the photographs of the release points. All the plots are checked at this Headquarters, and so far, only one has been found to be incorrect.

H2S mining is, and will continue, to play a great part in the strangling of the enemy’s shipping lanes and to ensure that not one single mine is laid outside these channels it is intended to develop mining teams in each of the five Squadrons of No.55 Base in the very near future. Crews will, therefore, be tested on their ability with H2S on arrival on these Squadrons, and the best will be selected to receive highly concentrated training in all aspects of mining with H2S.

These teams will be given the best possible equipment available to the main force, and every effort will be made to keep it in a high state of serviceability.

Preceeding [sic] crews have set a high standard in H2S mining in the Group, but it is hoped with the development of these mining teams an even higher standard will be reached. It is therefore up to each and everyone concerned wo make this scheme a practical success.


[Page break]

[Underlined] RADAR NAVIGATION. [/underlined]

[Underlined] H 2 S Mark III [/underlined]

Despite the restrictions on the use of H2S Mark III which have been necessary, and the low serviceability, there has been some excellent blind marking during the month. The majority of the targets were small, but fortunately gave compact responses useful for blind bombing. One target in particular – BRUX - was a completely new H2S target for No.54 Base, with little or no landmarks in the vicinity to check. This in no way deterred the marker and flare force, and they were able to find and mark it with their usual precision.

The new Mark IIIE equipment has been tried successfully on operations during the month. The mark, which gives a far better definition than previous marks, and has the added advantage of sector scan, is expected to be used increasingly during the next few months, and we are confidently expecting even more accurate target marking with it in the near future.

[Underlined] H2S Photography [/underlined]

A new Air Staff Instruction relating to H2S photography has been issued recently, and all set operators should be now aware of its contents. If you are not, ask your Station Radar/Nav. for a copy and study it carefully.

It can hardly be said that the P.P.I. photographs taken during the month were of a high standard, and it is evident that set operators are not carrying out the correct photographic procedure. It is appreciated that the Bantam Camera is only makeshift equipment until the Automatic Camera arrives, but excellent results have been obtained by those operators sufficiently keen to find out where they released their T.I’s, flares, bombs or mines. P.P.I. photographs are the only means of ascertaining where the attack developed if 10/10 cloud prevailed and therefore they are as much an operational photograph as the ordinary F24 bomb release photograph. Unfortunately many crews fail to realise this, and the photographs now being received look as if they have just been taken haphazardly in the target area.

One photograph taken anywhere in the target area is insufficient for plotting purposes, and operators must see that they carry out the provisions of A.S.I. Nav.17 to the letter – i.e. one photograph on the run-up 10-15 miles away from the target, and another within 30 seconds of the T.I., flare, bomb or mine release. Unless you take these two photographs and they are plottable, the whole film will be classed as a MANIPULATION failure and questions will be asked.

The majority of P.P.I. photographic failures during the month have been due to:-

(i) Insufficient gain.
(ii) Insufficient exposure.
(iii) Failure to wind the film over (two exposures on one negative).
(iv) Failure to set shutter.
(v) Too large 10 mile zero.

In taking P.P.I. photographs remember maximum contrast is necessary so that towns may be distinguished among the ground returns, and the illumination must be sufficient to register on the film. A complete revolution of the scan must also be given for the exposure as the afterglow is too faint to produce an image, and the


[Page break]

[Underlined] RADAR NAVIGATION [/underlined]

photograph is formed gradually as the scan revolves.

H2S Training

To enable crews to obtain more training in the use of H2S Mark II it has been decided to allow the equipment to be used on the return route from all operations from a position of longitude determined by this Headquarters. Station Radar/Navigation Officers are to ensure that every advantage is taken of this facility.

[Underlined] GEE [/underlined]

The Continental Gee Chains continued to give good service during January, with the majority of operators obtaining coverage on both chains to 1000E.

There were, nevertheless, many conflicting reports on jamming experienced on these chains, but many navigators expressed the opinion that the enemy was transmitting a complete set of locked spurious pulses. To ascertain if this was so it has been decided that on the Squadrons holding H2S cameras one navigator is to take photographs of the Gee tube on future operations. R.A.F. Station, Fulbeck, have carried out ground tests to decide the best exposure, and it has been found that with the green filter removed, gain normal and brilliance high, 1/25 second is sufficient. Until this evidence is forthcoming no move can be made to counteract the menace.

There is one point, however, that navigators should remember. By reference to your D.R. position, you have a sound idea of the lattice values to give a fix, and is these values are set up on the Gee Indicator there should be no difficulty in defeating locked spurious pulses jamming.

With the successful elimination of the salient in the West the “C” slave of the Cologne Chain has been returned to its original position, and the Ruhr Chain is once again transmitting. Cologne Chain Fixing Charts are therefore being withdrawn, and the Ruhr Chain Charts re-issued. In addition the maintenance periods have been re-adjusted, and the Ruhr and Rheims Chain now give 24 hours service.

The Northern Chain was again used most successfully and gave excellent coverage to 1300E, but unfortunately there is evidence of errors in the fixes given by this Chain. The Radar Navigational Aids Control were approached with information on the approximate inaccuracies and their conclusions indicate that the errors experienced are more likely to be due to natural causes than in the Transmitting Stations.

For instance at 5600N 0600E an error of ± .02 in reading on the North Eastern Chains gives a maximum error in fix of approximately 6 nautical miles. The same reading tolerance on the Northern Chain in the same area gives a maximum error in fix of approximately 17 nautical miles.

It might be argued on mathematical grounds that such errors should be evenly distributed about the true track, but the evidence of test flights etc., seems to indicate that under any given conditions most navigators will have a definite bias on one side or the other, and that this bias is influenced far more by local conditions than by the individual.

On this case the average error of all fixes was approximately 126°/10 nautical miles and it would appear the local conditions influencing the bias were:-

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Underlined] RADAR NAVIGATION [/underlined]

(i) Weak “A” pulse on the Northern Chain and navigators would thus set a low reading when lining up the leading edges of the pulses. The amount of this error depends on the difference in amplitude of the signals.

(ii) A wind change to Westerly giving a starboard drift.

In view of the above it is therefore considered unlikely that errors exist in the Northern Chain.

Navigators may do well to ponder over the above facts, which indicate the necessity for reading off co-ordinates accurately to ensure that no discrepancies arise when changing over from one Gee chain to another.

Work is still progressing on the damaged Eastern Chain Tower, and corrections to be made to the B, C and D readings on this chain will continue to be issued when the route taken by aircraft is in an area where considerable fixing errors are likely to be encountered.

[Underlined] LORAN [/underlined]

Loran has proved by far the most useful Radar navigational aid during the month, excellent coverage having been obtained on all operations.

It is gratifying to note that since the introduction of this aid, increasing use if being made of the navigational facilities it affords, and navigators are quite confident as to its accuracy. With more and more reliance being placed on Loran it is anticipated that in future routeing will be more carefully considered so as to simplify fixing and if possible to run along lattice lines.

It is noted from operational reports that it is not always possible to check Loran fixes against Gee or H2S. Should any Navigation Analysis Officer note any discrepancies in Loran fixes which it is thought may be due to errors in ground stations, information will be welcome at this Headquarters. It may be possible to correct the ground stations for such an error, provided information is forthcoming.

The following are comments on the major operations carried out during the month:-

[Underlined] MUNICH – 7/8th January, 1945. [/underlined]

Both R4 and R5 signal strength was good and maximum coverage obtained was approximately from 03.00E to the target. It is however, noted that operators are still not making maximum use of the equipment as the spread between first fixes is in the region of 8 degrees. This may be due to some navigators placing more reliance on Gee fixes. It is emphasised that operators must use Loran to its maximum coverage, particularly as training flights are not possible over this country, and Gee must only be used as a check. Sky waves can be tricky, and the more experience one has in fixing with them, the simpler the identification becomes. Jamming in this area was practically negligible and splitting of signals did not present any serious difficulties to the operators. The only jamming reported appeared to be due to static or W/T transmissions and only resulted in an increase of grass or waving of the traces.

[Underlined] PILITZ – 13/14th January, 1945. [/underlined]

The Rate 5 signal strength again restricted coverage on


[Page break]

[Underlined] RADAR NAVIGATION [/underlined]

this operation, although most operators managed to obtain fixes outside the theoretical limits of the S.S. Chain. A plot of first fixes on this operation is much more concentrated than before. This indicates that where Gee coverage is likely to be erratic, operators are resorting to Loran and trying to obtain full use of the facilities it affords. Rate 5 signals presented difficulties throughout the route due to fluctuations in strength, but spitting and jamming was practically non-existent. Routeing along R4 lattice lines where possible in this area would no doubt be helpful.

[Underlined] LEUNA – 14/15th January, 1945, and
BRUX 16/17th January, 1945. [/underlined]

Both R4 and R5 signal strength was good, and coverage was obtained to the target. Once again navigators expressed their preference for Gee, the first fixes plotted in the majority of cases being at the limits of Gee coverage. Set operators can do a lot to remove this prejudice by obtaining accurate Loran position lines and urging the navigator to use them in preference to Gee. It is appreciated that Gee position lines are obtained simultaneously and are simpler to plot, but with the increased attention the enemy is paying to the Continental Gee Chains, more interest shown in Loran may result in dividends.

Intermittent splitting was reported by the majority of crews, but in no way did this interfere with the fixing. A number of operators reported jamming at approximately 10E. This appeared to consist of spurious pulses or sine waves, but did not last long enough to cause any serious difficulties.

The policy adopted by this Group of instructing Loran operators to correct dividers in the air is having excellent results, and practically 75% of all alignment troubles are being cleared up during flight. Much of the success of this is due to the Loran Instructors and Radar Officers on the Squadrons and it is hoped that before long operators will be 100% efficient. To assist in this a simple fault finding table is being issued to all operators shortly.

All Loran operators will be interested to hear that steps are being taken to extend S.S. Loran coverage North for 250 miles. This will considerably simplify training over this country, and will mean that S.S. Loran can be used on night operations from Bases. It will only then be necessary to use Gee for homing and other duties requiring accurate and easy fixing.

The [sic] provide this S.S. coverage one of the Homing Chain stations has had to be closed down, and position lines only can now be obtained from this chain.

The question of serviceability checks on Loran has been discussed recently, and it has been decided that the navigator shall carry out the pre-flight tests. This in no way relieves the Air Bomber of his responsibilities in regard to Loran, and a good Air Bomber will always be present when the navigator carries out the tests. Squadron Loran Instructors must therefore ensure that both navigators and Ait Bombers are capable of carrying out the pre-flight tests.

Tests have been carried out with a fixed aerial and loading unit on the last five operations. These tests have proved quite successful and the signal strength has been equally as good as with a trailing aerial. Air Ministry have been approached for permission to manufacture the Loading Units and it is anticipated the whole of the Group will be equipped shortly. The provision of such a fixed aerial will considerably simplify the use of Loran and enable operators to fix


[Page break]

[Underlined] RADAR NAVIGATION [/underlined]

in the target area.

One further word in regard to Loran Training – Air Bombers, in view of the fact that they are the set operators, must be given equal if not more instruction than the navigators, and the Squadron Navigation and Bombing Leaders must co-operate fully in this connection.

[Underlined] Loran in Mosquitos [/underlined]

Better results are now being obtained by the Mosquito navigators. Difficulties due to an inefficient aerial system have been overcome, and Loran has been used successfully for tracking into the target.


[Page break]

[Drawing] tactics

The main interest this month from the tactical point of view was the attack on Bergen by Nos.9 and 617 Squadrons, when several aircraft were intercepted by enemy fighters when withdrawing from the target area. An escort of Mustangs accompanied the force, but was unable to come to their assistance; this was due mainly to the aircraft being dispersed over a considerable area after orbitting [sic] the target. The enemy fighters, however, did not have everything their own way. One Lancaster was attacked continuously for 16 minutes by no less than five fighters, but got away with only moderate damage, while another survived three attacks without sustaining any damage whatsoever. All crews would do well to note the points brought out by this attack.

(i) A fighter escort cannot protect stragglers or widely dispersed aircraft.

(ii) A resolute crew, well trained in gunnery and combat manoeuvres, can give a very good account of itself, even when singled out for concerted attack.

(iii) The corkscrew is a very effective combat manoeuvre in daylight as well as night.

The golden rule, however, is still DO NOT STRAGGLE. Combat manoeuvres are unnecessary and dangerous if aircraft are in gaggle.

Our night tactics of evasion and rapid loss of height from the target are still keeping our losses to fighters very low, but the last attack on Karlsruhe showed once again that if the fighters do contact the bomber stream either en route or over the target they are just as deadly as ever. Crews should, if possible, increase their vigilance near the target as the enemy, particularly since the successful jamming of his A.I. by Window and other means, is making every effort at target interception, where a concentration of aircraft is assured.

A small number of combats is still being reported with jet-propelled aircraft. Reports generally are inconclusive, but although it seems unlikely that the enemy is using jet-propelled fighters at night in any numbers, it is possible that some form of rocket or liquid jet projectile is being used. Crews should pay close attention to such phenomena and report in particular if a suspected jet fighter makes any attempt to follow the aircraft, or carry out a definite attack.

[Underlined] WISHFUL THINKING [/underlined]

A captain of aircraft was heard to remark that he had heard upward firing cannon in German night fighters were no longer being used as they interfered with the master unit for the compass. He has since been reported missing.


[Page break]

[Drawing] air bombing

The past month has not provided many opportunities for crews to display their bombing skill either on the Ranges or on Germany, but it is hoped that the slack periods have been used to full advantage and that new and inexperienced crews now have a full understanding of what is expected of them in the target area.

There are still too many examples of bomb loads being scattered over considerable distances from the target for no apparent reason, and the manipulation failures that still happen from time to time are difficult to understand in view of the fact that the Air Bomber has plenty of time to check and double check every switch on his panel on the way to the target. Be prepared for any swift change in the tactics to be employed over the target, and if the change involves any alterations to bombsight settings, make sure that they are done accurately.

The importance of accurate “flying for bombing” has often been stressed, and if any doubts still exist among Pilots the following example should help to dispel them.

F/O McDonnell and crew, No.9 Squadron, have completed three bombing exercises since their arrival from No.5 L.F.S. and obtained the following results:-

[Table of Errors on Exercises]

Errors in yards converted to 20,000 ft.

These results show a fine understanding between the members of the bombing team, F/O McDonnell (P), F/O Fricker (A/B), and F/O Chorney (Nav.) which is all the more remarkable as F/O Fricker did not join the crew until the end of L.F.S. training. The errors speak for themselves and require no comment, but the fact that F/O McDonnell was a Staff Pilot at a Bombing and Gunnery School before coming to No.5 Group should provide food for thought.

Good results, operational or training, are obtainable only if every member of the bombing team realises the importance of his own contribution to the combined effort, and it is the Captain’s duty to ensure that his crew make every effort to obtain results similar to those mentioned above.

[Underlined] BOMBING LEADERS. [/underlined]

F/O Jones has been appointed Bombing Leader of No.44 Squadron in place of F/Lt. Lowry, now tour-expired.

F/Lt. Foulkes has moved to No.617 Squadron and F/Lt. Arkieson has taken over the Bombing Leader’s duties at No.630 Squadron.

F/Lt. Wake, ex No.106 Squadron and No.1660 H.C.U. has been appointed Bombing Leader of No.61 Squadron in place of F/Lt. Nugent.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Underlined] AIR BOMBING. [/underlined]

[Underlined] BOMBING ANALYSIS. [/underlined]

No.9 Squadron, Bardney, have carried their Bombing Analysis a step further than the majority of Squadrons in the Group, and there is no doubt that their methods are producing results.

Each crew has its own file which contains all the practice bombing results, including the Forms 3073 and signals giving the quadrant readings. In addition, a sheet of tracing paper with the graticule cross in the centre, is kept in the file and all bombs dropped by the crew are re-aligned on a common heading and transferred to the tracing paper. Therefore, when a crew has completed five exercises, there are approximately 30 bombs shown on their sheet and as they are all re-aligned on to a common heading it is easy to detect any tendency of the Air Bomber to sight slightly off the target.

These sheets do indicate that some Air Bombers consistently sight to one side of the target and steps can then be taken to eradicate this tendency.

Bombs dropped with a proven instrument error are marked in a different colour and can then be ignored when assessing the Air Bomber’s accuracy of sighting.

[Underlined] LEADER COMPETITION. [/underlined]

The following results have been received, all from No.56 Base.

S/Ldr. Walmsley, DFC – 119 yards
120 yards
150 yards (A.S.I. error)

F/Lt. Lewis (189 Sqdn.) – 123 yards

F/Lt. Gibson, DFC (49 Sqdn.) – 125 yards

No.56 Base would welcome a little competition from Bombing Leaders in other Bases.

[Underlined] BIG CHIEF COMETITION. [/underlined]

W/Cdr. Milward (No.619 Sqdn.) 61 yards.

An excellent exercise, which has seldom been beaten by any entrant in this competition.

[Underlined] QUIZ. [/underlined]

1. Which is the sighting angle flexible drive, the top or the bottom one?

2. In what respects does the normal 30 lb. I.B. differ from that used in the ‘J’ type cluster?

3. How is the heating device in No.13 bomb station controlled?

4. What are the Air Bomber’s duties in an aircraft joining the circuit after an operational flight?

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Underlined] AIR BOMBING. [/underlined]

[Underlined] THE MONTH’S BEST EXERCISES. [/underlined]


9 F/O McDonnell F/O Fricker F/O Chorney 75, 63, 34
44 F/O Coventry F/S Gibson Sgt Ayre 39
57 F/O Pauline Sgt Cartwright Sgt Hole 47
61 F/O Cain F/S Lewis F/O Williams 75
F/O Crocombe F/S Devine F/O Reeves 78
227 F/O Osborne F/S Rochman F/S Kydd 74
617 F/O Flatman F/O Kelly F/O Mackie 72
F/L Lancey F/S Perry W/O Robin 80
619 F/O De Marco F/S Johnston F/S Sharman 65
F/O Davis F/S Page F/S Cook 66

[Underlined] SQUADRON BOMBING COMPETITION [/underlined]

[Table of Squadron Bombing Competition Results]

No.83 Squadron head the January competition with a clear lead over the remainder of the Squadrons, six of whom failed to qualify.

No.61 Squadron have shown a great improvement over last month, when they failed to qualify. It would not be unexpected if they finish at the head of the table next month.

[Underlined] CATEGORISATION OF CREWS [/underlined]

[Table of Crew Categories by Base]

For the month of January No.55 Base were credited with 52 ‘C’ categories, the correct number was 23.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Underlined] AIR BOMBING. [/underlined]

[Underlined] HIGH LEVEL BOMBING PRACTICE. [/underlined]

[Table of High Level Bombing Practice by Squadron]

No.627 Squadron:- 134 bombs with an average error of 77 yards, and 70 T.I’s with an average error of 139 yards.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Drawing] signals

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

The W/T control of operations during January maintained the high standard which is now characteristic of our W/T Controllers’ Operators. A pleasing feature of this operating is the accuracy of tuning and timing now being obtained by all Link aircraft. These are very important points, and this accuracy is now even more important than ever, as the time of opening W/T watch has been curtailed, thus allowing a much shorter time for the Main Force aircraft to be properly tuned to the Link aircraft. This should present no great problem to Wireless Operators, but it will require constant practice and training to maintain the standard now expected.

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

During January, 48 Wireless Operators (Air) took part in the W/T Controllers’ Test, as laid down in 5G. S.S.I. No.13, and out of this number 32 passed as fit for control duties. The percentage of failures (33 1/3) is a measure of the severity of the test. The failures can be classified under two headings, viz. inaccuracy in tuning, and incorrect procedure. The first of these faults can be eliminated by practice tuning in the Squadron W/T Training Room, and the second by more thorough scrutiny of Air Staff Instructions, Part VI, Sigs/1, Page 7, para.10. Signals Leaders please note!

[Underlined] CATEGORISATION. [/underlined]

Categorisation of all Wireless Operators (Air) in the Group is being carried out enthusiastically by all Squadrons. The results at the end of January are as follows:-

[Table of Wireless Operator (Air) Categorisations by Squadron]

To ensure that this categorisation is being carried out in accordance with the instructions laid down in 5 Group letter 5G/S.14466/Sigs. dated

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Underlined] SIGNALS. [/underlined]

5th December, 1944, the Group Signals Leader, when visiting Squadrons, will check some of the Wireless Operators as to their eligibility for their category.

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

The Group W/T Exercise during January was, like the curate’s egg, good and bad in parts. The frequency (5220 kc/s) is not very suitable, being rather overcrowded, and efforts are being made to obtain another one for this exercise. The geographical position of some squadron installations, in relation to this Headquarters, makes reception of each other’s signals very difficult, but this is, perhaps, within limits, quite useful in training operators to work under difficult conditions. After each exercise a signal is now being despatched to each Base and Squadron concerned, giving a summary of the exercise.

[Underlined] APOLOGY. [/underlined]

In last month’s summary, in our appreciation of the work done by Radio Schools, O.T.U’s and Conversion Units in producing the type of Wireless Operator we require, we inadvertently left out the (O) A.F.U’s and 5 L.F.S. As continuity is essential throughout all training, the work done by these units is obviously on a par with the others. We regret this omission and assure these units that their work is just as much appreciated.

[Underlined] SIGNALS FAILURES. [/underlined]

The signals failures percentage, against the 1,572 sorties flown during January, was 3.684. This shows an increase of 0.501 against the figure for December. Approximately 75% of the defects are attributed to faulty equipment and are, presumably, unavoidable. There was one servicing failure and one due to manipulation. Despite this increase in failures, not one sortie was cancelled as the result of a signals defect. There were three early returns, all of which were caused by faulty equipment. One revelation worthy of note is that there was only one T.R.1196 failure throughout the month – never has T.R.1196 serviceability been so high.

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

The V.H.F. R/T serviceability shows a decrease against the figures for December. Of the 33 T.R.5043 defects, eight were due to broken whip aerials. Six of these aerials had been repositioned in accordance with B.C.S.P. No.10 (R.T.I.M. No.833), but owing to our inability to obtain the correct rubber grummets and paxolin plates, unsatisfactory substitutes had to be used. A very careful watch must be kept on existing non-standard V.H.F. aerial fittings. Meanwhile, further efforts are being made to obtain the correct items.

[Underlined] RADAR. [/underlined]

[Underlined] AMALGAMATION. [/underlined]

A considerable amount of attention was focussed this month on the problem of amalgamation of the Communications and Radar Maintenance Branches. Following a conference with No.56 Base representatives, a visit was paid to Linton-on-Ouse in No.6 Group, where a scheme is working with great success, and much useful information was gained. With this as a basis, an experiment was commenced in No.56 Base, from which some measure of success is expected.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Underlined] SIGNALS. [/underlined]

(W.A.A.F.) IN RADAR. [/underlined]

Following up a suggestion by Mr. Wardley-Smith, of T.R.E., a scheme was put into effect in No.49 Squadron, Fulbeck, whereby ten Wireless Operators (W.A.A.F.) were attached to A.G.L.T. Daily Servicing Parties, and the R. & I. Section, No.49 Squadron, were warned that after one month’s training, six Radar Mechanics would be withdrawn from the squadron. A T.R.E. P.D.S. member has been attached to Fulbeck to observe the experiment, which is progressing favourably.

In view of the increasing employment of Wireless Operators in Radar duties, a series of courses was commenced at Bardney for their benefit. The duration of the course is a fortnight, and will cover Radar principles, Loran and Gee. Relevant films will be shown and practical work given. Although no startling results are expected, it is hoped to stimulate interest, and provide for any further knowledge.

[Underlined] LORAN [/underlined]

A most welcome chapter in the Loran story occurred last month, when Air Ministry decontrolled the supply of the equipment. This permitted immediate action to renew the rapidly dwindling stocks of spares and to silence the cynics who were saying that no sooner is an installation proved than the equipment goes off the market.

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

As a result of the shortage of Radar personnel, the decision was made last October to curtail the fitting of H.2S. in No.53 Base, and concentrate personnel thrown up, into No.54 Base, with the object of obtaining the best from the H.2.S. available. Since that date, efforts have been made to legalise the position of these Radar mechanics. On January 19th official approval was given with the birth of the No.5 Group Special Radar Development Party, vacancies for which were given up by No.53 Base. Much good work has been done already by the party in their unofficial capacity, and continued and increasing success will be expected in the future, now that it is legalised.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Drawing] gardening

The Group Gardeners operated on two nights this month, visiting the Eastern Gardens, and planted the small but effective total of 143 vegetables.

Bad weather limited the Command output to 668 vegetables, which is well below the present monthly lift, and clearly demonstrated the importance of taking every available opportunity to plant in good weather, so that the enemy’s minesweeping force may be employed to its maximum capacity and never allowed to relax for one moment.


No. 1 Group – 235

No. 5 Group – 143

No. 4 Group – 137

No. 6 Group – 119

No. 3 Group – 34

[Underlined] GREAT STRENGTH RETURNS THE PENNY. [/underlined]

After months of hard work, and heavy Gardening operations, combined with the menacing effects of our Group’s bombing visits to the Oslo Fjord areas, interesting news is now coming to hand of some of the disturbing results achieved.

The main trooping ports in Oslo Fjord were closed on various occasions and the enemy has had to bring less suitable ports into use, and employ extra shipping in the effort to carry out his programme of transporting troops from Norway to Denmark. The Harbour Master of this district has been working overtime to compete with his difficulties in keeping an ‘Open Port’, and has bitterly complained that 12 mines exploded without warning between the 8th and 25th October, 1944.

A new transport the “DARES”, estimated at 7,000 tons, has joined the Oslo – Aarhus run, but she is reported to have returned to Aarhus on 2nd January with damage to her engines caused by mine. The “DONAU”, 9035 tons, also employed on this run, was sunk by sabotage in Oslo Fjord on 16th January, and the 6,360 tons “ULANGA” was last reported in floating dock as a result of bomb damage received during the bombing attack on shipping on New Year’s Eve.

Two more large transports, the “WINRICH VON KNIPRODE” (10,123 tons) and the “MAR DEL PLATA” (7,340 tons) have also been damaged by collision and marine risk, and so the enemy’s valuable fleet of twelve large transports has, for the time being, been reduced to seven.

The attack with bombs on 28/29th December also reduced the available shipping by sinking the “NORDVARD”, when 70 Germans were lost, damaging the “ANGAMOS”, an ex-Danish fruitship, and breaking the back of

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Underlined] GARDENING. [/underlined]

an oil lighter, the “SAONE”, now reported aground off the port of HORTEN. Three more ships were also sunk off MOSS.


“ROALNDSECK”, 1,845 tons, was damaged by an explosion on 17th January, after loading horses and material for Oslo; her cargo was unloaded subsequently and she was expected to dock for repairs.

The German vessel “GOTENHAFEN” was damaged by a mine prior to 27th November, 1944, and returned to Hamburg to discharge.

A minesweeper was sunk by a magnetic mine near Arundal, Norway, on 3rd January, 1945.

A German Auxiliary, believed minelayer, was mined and sunk 4 miles North of Rosnaes Light, at the Northern entrance to the Great Belt, on 5th January, 1945.

The Danish “FREDERICKSHAVN” 1,480 tons, damaged by a mine off Halls on 19th November, 1945.

The Norwegian S.S. “KONG TRYGVE”, 1,141 tons, mined at Moen and towed to Copenhagen.

The German “MARTHA HALM”, 984 tons, mined near Aarhus (probably November, 1944).

Norwegian “MARVEL”, 1,566 tons, slightly damaged by a mine off Kullen on 17th October, 1944.

“DORIANA” Danish Schooner, mined and sunk in Femersund late November, 1944.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Drawing] training


It was a month of snow, hail, fog and ice, but despite this the amount of training by Squadrons showed an increase on the December figures.

Squadrons did 3245 hours training – 2868 hours by day and 377 hours by night – giving an average od 180 hours per Squadron compared with 122 hours in December.

Some of the Squadrons occupying the lowest place in the training lists in December improved their position very much – in particular No.44 Squadron which recorded a total above the Squadron average.

The lowest Lancaster Squadrons were No.227 Squadron (99 hours), No.9 Squadron (124 hours), No.189 Squadron (140 hours) and No.57 Squadron (141 hours). Thus for the second consecutive month Nos. 227 and 189 Squadrons were behind in their training. No.9 Squadron is also showing low figures and for the last two months has done scarcely any air gunnery training. Fighter affiliation can always be included on bombing exercises.

No.627 Mosquito Squadron is lowest of all with 56 hours, but when its aircraft situation improves the training hours are expected to jump.

[Underlined] CATEGORISATION OF PILOTS [/underlined]

There are now 273 pilots in the Group holding categories, leaving 142 yet to be categorised. The remaining pilots on Group strength are those not liable for categorisation because they have done more than 20 sorties in the main force and over 30 in No.54 Base Squadrons.

During the month 171 categories were given to pilots on New Crew and 10/20 Sortie Checks. No.54 Base showed good progress and are making up leeway rapidly now the Base has facilities for categorisation. This Base has also introduced Categorisation into No.627 Mosquito Squadron. The following table shows the state of Categorisation in the Group:-

[Underlined] RECORD OF CATEGORISATION [/underlined]

[Table of Pilot Categorisation by Base]

Total Categorised in January = [underlined] 171 [/underlined]
Total Categorised in Group = [underlined] 273 [/underlined]


[Page break]

[Underlined] TRAINING [/underlined]

[Underlined] NOTE: [/underlined] The “percentage categorised” is based on recorded pilot strength on 31st January. This includes pilots not liable for categorisation.

[Underlined] ERRATA: [/underlined] Apologies to No.55 Base for an error which incorrectly put the Base “well behind in categorisation” in last month’s summary.

[Underlined] NO.5 L. F. S. REPORT [/underlined]

No.5 L.F.S. produced 49 crews for Squadrons at an average of 15 hours per crew, and its aircraft flew 840 hours. The crew total was the lowest in the Unit’s history because of the weather, and accommodation at Syerston is now at its maximum.

There are still approximately 160 crews to be trained by the L.F.S. before it disappears, and its last days are going to be strenuous. It is estimated by 1st April, 1945, the Staff will be able to say “D.C.O.” and pack their bags.

[Underlined] NO. 1690 B.D.T. FLIGHT [/underlined]

There were 13 days during the month unfit for fighter affiliation – about the same as December – but fighter affiliation results were mush better. The Flight did 398 details, of which 332 were by day and 66 by night. The night details included 21 for No.75 Base.

The total hours for the Flight were 354 and the average hours per aircraft was 25. Pilots averaged 24 hours for the month.

The fine affiliation record which has been established by No.1690 B.D.T. Flight is still being marred by accidents. There were three again last month in the Flight, two the month before, and three the month before that.

[Underlined] INSTRUMENT FLYING AND LINK [/underlined]

There was a further improvement in Link times. The average Squadron time has gone up from 78 hours in December to 101 hours in January but Nos. 9, 463, 97 and 617 Squadrons are still lagging behind.

[Table of Link Times by Base and Unit]

GRAND TOTAL (Including 5 LFS and 1690) = 2173:

+ Marks the Squadrons where times are TOO LOW.
˨ 1690 B.D.T.F. and No.5 L.F.S. excluded from Base average.


[Page break]

second thoughts for pilots

[Underlined] “GEORGE” MARK VIII [/underlined]

The Auto Pilot Mark VIII is the latest and best type of “George”. One of our S.D. Squadrons has used it for 90% of all its operational flying time in recent months. Points to note:-

(i) Trim your aircraft BEFORE putting “George” in.
(ii) If “George flies one wing low, trim out with rudder bias.
(iii) Keep the trim indicator on the air pressure gauge central by adjusting the elevator trim.
(iv) When reporting unserviceability, give full information including behaviour of aircraft, air pressure and outside air temperature. Whenever possible take the mechanic up on an air test.
(v) Exercise “George” at every opportunity. The more it is used the better it is.
(vi) Read Pilots Noted General A.P.2095, Part IIIG – Auto Pilot, Mark VIII.

[Underlined] FIRST AID [/underlined]

Investigations into emergency landings at Woodbridge show that first aid in the air can do a lot to help the recovery of injured aircrew. Remember:-

(i) Keep the patient comfortable, warm and on oxygen.
(ii) Always use the First Aid dressing. Know when and how to apply a tourniquet.
(iii) One Ampoule of morphia is sufficient for a person in pain.
(iv) Do not remove flying clothing unless it is absolutely necessary to allow the wound to be dressed. Flying clothing provides warmth and a certain amount of splinting.
(v) The M.O. has a lot of useful tips. Talk to him.




IS LIKE THIS – [underlined] NOT [/underlined] LIKE THIS!



[Page break]

[Drawing] accidents

The first month of the year produced a “score” of 28 aircraft damaged in the Group. 11 were totally destroyed, 1 was Cat. ‘B’, 8 were Cat. ‘AC’ and 7 were Cat. ‘A’. Of the total, 14 were the result of technical failures, collisions on operations, or high winds, while one was unavoidably damaged when it hit birds in flight. 5 accidents are still “obscure”, leaving 8 accidents classed as definitely avoidable.

This shows a welcome drop in the “avoidable” rate, and even allowing for some of the “obscure” accidents eventually being classified accurately, the total is still well below the previous monthly average. This is a big step in the right direction at the beginning of the year. Here are the details:-

[Underlined] Squadrons. [/underlined]

[List of Avoidable Accident Type Numbers]

[Underlined] TAXYING ETC. [/underlined]

These accidents maintain their notorious position. Never a month but brings its depressing tale of careless taxying and M.T. collisions, and although, as a rule, severe damage is not sustained, these incidents are never excusable. Log Books are endorsed in “red” for careless taxying every month, and we can only repeat once again that it is folly and gross disobedience of orders to taxy at night without searching thoroughly ahead with taxying light or Aldis lamp.

[Underlined] HIGH GROUND ACCIDENTS. [/underlined]

A Lancaster proceeded on a short navigation cross country recently. The pilot was briefed to set course over base at 4,000 feet. The aircraft left a base in this Group to fly due West for some 60 miles and back again. It must have been apparent to the pilot and navigator that the safety height near the end of the outward leg was much higher than at base, yet this crew descended through cloud and hit a hill in level flight, with all the engines under power. The hill was some 1,700 feet high. There were no survivors.

In spite of all that has been done to stamp out this “suicidal” descent through cloud, these incidents still occur, and by no means as seldom as is generally realised. All pilots and navigators take heed.

Another accident this month points almost the same moral. The results of the investigation are not yet forward, but it would appear that a Lancaster returning from an operation flew low in bad visibility, and hit a wireless mast. The pilot may have simply been trying to break cloud without checking his safety height, or he may have misread his altimeter, but in any case there is every indication that this was another completely avoidable fatal accident. Although the truth will

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Underlined] ACCIDENTS. [/underlined]

never be completely known, the circumstances of this crash provide a warning to all. [Underlined] Do not [/underlined] come down to low heights in bad visibility to see the ground. Height spells safety every time, and good instrument flying clinches it.

[Underlined] STAR AWARDS. [/underlined]

The table below shows the avoidable accident position this month. This is, as usual, subject to revision when all accidents have been thoroughly investigated.

[Table of Avoidable Accidents by Unit with Star Award]

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Drawing] gunnery

Enemy fighter activity was comparatively slight during the month of January, 1945, and a total of only 38 combats took place over this period. Of these, 3 enemy aircraft are claimed destroyed, one of these being reported as a jet aircraft, and 5 are claimed as damaged.

Of the 38 combats, 9 were reported following the daylight operation on Bergen when Lancasters of Nos.617 and 9 Squadrons were repeatedly attacked by F.W.190’s. Crews from these Squadrons claimed 4 F.W.190’s damaged, and these have been confirmed by Headquarters, Bomber Command. During these encounters the Hun made full use of the sun, and it is wondered how many Gunners went prepared, armed with spectacles, anti-glare. Each gunner is entitled to draw one pair of these spectacles on his clothing card, and it is hoped that Squadron Gunnery Leaders will check that Gunners are fully equipped.

[Underlined] DESTROYED [/underlined]

14/15.1.45 “W” 189 Sqdn – ME.109
14/15.1.45 “M” 467 Sqdn – 1 Jet aircraft.
16/17.1.45 “D” 630 Sqdn – JU. 88

[Underlined] DAMAGED [/underlined]

12.1.45 “U” 617 Sqdn – FW.190
12.1.45 “W” 617 Sqdn – FW.190
12.1.45 “S” 9 Sqdn – FW.190
12.1.45 “J” 9 Sqdn - FW.190
13/14.1.45 “M” 61 Sqdn – JU. 88

[Underlined] GUNNERY AIR TRAINING [/underlined]

The Order of Merit is based on the following system of marking:-

Night Affiliation (Camera and Infra-Red Film) 10 points.
Night Affiliation (Without Camera) 8 points.
Day Affiliation (Camera and Gyro) 5 points
Day Affiliation (Camera only) 3 points
Day Affiliation (Without Camera) 1 point.

[Table of Air Training Scores Ranked by Squadron]

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Underlined] GUNNERY [/underlined]

No.467 Squadron are to be congratulated on going to the top of the ladder, and also for completing 32 Night Affiliation exercises. Certain squadrons are still making scant use of their Gyro Assemblies, and it is hoped that next month’s returns will show an improvement in this respect.

[Underlined] SUMMARY OF AIR TRAINING EXERCISES [/underlined]

[Table of Affiliation Exercises by Squadron]

[Underlined] Total number of Affiliation exercises for January = 878 [/underlined]

In spite of 14 days of inclement weather which prohibited all flying, the total of Affiliation exercises shows a very creditable increase on the December total. Night Affiliation exercises are increasing steadily, and Infra-Red films are being taken more frequently. Self-towed drogue exercises have been completed by certain Squadrons, and it is hoped that next month Squadrons will use every endeavour to get the maximum number of crews carrying out this exercise. This is the one exercise where the gunner has the opportunity of firing his guns at a target whilst carrying out combat manoeuvres.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Drawing] armament

[Underlined] INCENDIARY STOREHOUSES. [/underlined]

Covered storage for cluster projectiles containing 4 lb incendiary bombs has now been provided at all stations and the layouts should be in full working order.

Present stocks of clusters are low, but stations must be prepared to receive larger quantities which will test the efficiency of the organisation and layout of these stores. Full information is contained in the following letters and signal:-

5G/402/17/Org. dated 3.11.44.
5G/621/14/Armt. dated 3.1.45.
5G/621/14/Armt. dated 21.1.45.
Signal R.911 dated 27.1.45.
5G/621/14/Armt. dated 4. 2.45.

Particular attention is drawn to the need for careful handling of uncased cluster projectiles in order to avoid damage to either the cluster tail or the tails of the 4 lb. bombs.

[Underlined] DEFECT REPORTS. [/underlined]

We are well aware that preparing six copies of a defect report in accordance with A.P. 2608A and B.C.A.S.I’s causes a certain amount of inconvenience but unless these reports are submitted on every occasion, complete information on any one subject is not available. Instances have occurred where the ingenuity of Armament personnel has produced excellent modifications, but when forwarded to higher authority the reason for the modification is not understood because no defect reports have been rendered. Although “pen pushing” is not popular amongst Armament Technical personnel, it is, as you will see, necessary.

[Underlined] S.B.C’s. [/underlined]

Our old friend the S.B.C. is still called upon to perform its duty in delivering showers of 4 lb incendiary bombs upon our enemies. If reliable functioning of this equipment is to be ensured, the various tests and inspections laid down must be carried out conscientiously, more particularly so if S.B.C’s have not been used recently.

[Underlined] MAN-POWER. [/underlined]

The foregoing remarks will undoubtedly raise the question of lack of man-power. This deficiency is well known and aircrew cadets have been posted to units to assist armament personnel. These cadets are strong, healthy and intelligent and after elementary training, if armament personnel issue clear and concise instructions, they are quite capable of dealing with many of the jobs requiring unskilled and semi-skilled labour, thus relieving trained armament personnel to perform the more intricate technical duties.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Underlined] ARMAMENT FAILURES TABLE [/underlined]

[Table of Armament Failures by Squadron]


[Page break]

[Drawing] flying control

[Underlined] LANDING TIMES FOR JANUARY, 1945. [/underlined]

[Table of Landing Times by Base and Station]

During the recent heavy snowstorms and frost, the fall on occasions reached five inches. Snow plans have been revised and were put into operation early, with a consequent higher degree of serviceability. Methods employed varied considerably because of local conditions and the amount of manpower available. The three methods generally used were “sand and salt”, ploughing and rolling. Sand and salt proved excellent under conditions of small falls, rolling where the fall was medium but a heavy fall required ploughing. Salting brought with it difficulties of drainage clearance and ordinary mechanical brushing was not always equal to the task. Similarly, the “Snowgo” was not of great assistance in conditions where the fall of snow was fine and a strong wind prevailed, but was of use following ploughing.

Except in the morning following the heaviest fall, stations maintained a high degree of serviceability. All stations were able to keep their runways serviceable and in only a few cases was there not a subsidiary runway available by the afternoon following overnight fall. In one or two cases lighting difficulties followed on the thaw, but were tackled promptly and except in one case were remedied at an early stage. The position was complicated by the high wind causing damage to outer circuit and funnel lighting.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Underlined] FLYING CONTROL. [/underlined]

The P.W.D. has developed a new form of lighting, evolved from the F.I.D.O. installation. The apparatus is portable and is intended to assist aircraft in lining-up on the approach under conditions of poor visibility. Petrol from a 40-gallon drum is pumped manually through a 50-yards feed pipe into a pre-heater at the end of a 20-feet burner line which is pegged into the ground. The intense flame far exceeds the sodium burners in brilliancy and penetration. Following successful trials by 2nd T.A.F., various lay-outs are being tested at Balderton. When the most successful form has been found, a demonstration will be arranged.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Drawing] aircrew safety

[Underlined] DITCHINGS. [/underlined]

One known ditching occurred this month and another possible one was reported at the same time and in the same area. An aircraft, believed of 617 Squadron was seen to ditch on the 12th approximately 15 miles off the Norwegian coast. The ditching was seen by a number of crews and was well covered by prompt sighting reports. A Warwick standing by for just such an eventuality was quickly in position, and in making a dummy run saw the crew on the wing of the aircraft with no dinghy visible. As the airborne lifeboat was dropped, the aircraft sank. One man was seen to board the lifeboat and all but two of the others were seen to be making their way towards it. A Lindholme dinghy was then dropped to the two stationary members after which the Warwick, owing to the presence of enemy fighters had to withdraw.

In a position just North of the above ditching, an aircraft which was seen to be on fire over the target was believed to have ditched. A further lifeboat was dropped in darkness over the believed position.

In spite of intensive searches for these lifeboats and survivors from other incidents, nothing was found and it is believed that the survivors were found and picked up by the enemy.

[Underlined] HEAD INJURIES. [/underlined]

A medical report from the Emergency Landing Runways states:- “The majority of eye and face injuries are caused by perspex fragments, the eyes and upper head being involved more than the head below the eyes”. Most injuries have been caused by enemy action and the carrying of goggles (to be used whenever possible) by all crew members cannot be too strongly emphasised.

[Underlined] FIRST AID. [/underlined]

The above report also states “First Aid has, on the whole improved, but is still not up to the standard of the Americans. It was felt that poor First Aid was chiefly due to night condition, but that this is not the case has been proved by recent R.A.F. daylight raids. There is still the occasional casualty who has bled to death from a limb arterial wound and which could have been prevented by a properly placed tourniquet”.

Aircrew Safety Officers should institute a drive to improve the standard of First Aid.

[Underlined] THREE GOLDEN RULES. [/underlined]

When in doubt of your ability to:-

(i) Reach an airfield – initiate Emergency and Distress messages.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Underlined] AIRCREW SAFETY. [/underlined]

(ii) Fly the aircraft – order your crew to “Put on parachutes”.

(iii) Land safely – order your crew to “Crash Landing Stations”.

A little time spent in studying for your own safety will afford you more time to study for your enjoyment.

[Underlined] THE DIVIDENDS. [/underlined]

Air Ministry report that 2161 aircrew (923 R.A.F. and 1238 Americans) were rescued in Home Waters during 1944 making a total, since the War began, of 5,467.

During last December 41 aircrew were rescued – this represents 19.3% of the aircrew involved in known ditchings.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Drawing] engineering

[Underlined] SERVICEABILITY. [/underlined]

January produced only 1572 sorties; weather conditions were the retarding factor. The peack [sic] serviceability reached during January was 95.8% of Lancasters on charge: the balance of unserviceable aircraft was made up of aircraft undergoing Major Inspection and aircraft undergoing modification for special commitments. It was singularly fortunate that during this bad weather spell quite a number of aircraft became due, or almost due, for Major Inspection.

[Underlined] ENGINE FAILURES [/underlined]

[Underlined] FLAME TRAPS. [/underlined]

Much progress has been made with the methods of cleaning flame traps, and it is hoped that now local instructions have been given to C.T.O’s to remove flame traps at 150 or 225 hours according to the time available, and also to change the flame traps at any time they are suspected of being choked, that another source of engine failure has been eliminated. Under a scheme evolved by Messrs. Rolls Royce, these flame traps can be cleaned quite successfully in under half an hour. 53 Base are experimenting with their own washing bath and if successful this scheme will be introduced into each Base Major Servicing Section to cater for flame traps throughout the Base.

[Underlined] COOLING DUCTS. [/underlined]

Unfortunately, much unserviceability is being caused by the failure of the one-piece cooling duct and many hours are consumed in changing them after few flying hours. Command are controlling the supply of replacements but the situation is becoming serious owing to the extremely short life of this type of duct.

[Underlined] FAILURE OF NO.2 FUEL TANK. [/underlined]

The work entailed in changing No.2 tank is fully realised. The frequency with which these tanks spring a leak does not decrease, and many high speed tank changes have taken place to get the aircraft off on Ops to time. Although Mod.1179 was introduced with a view to reducing the number of No.2 tank failures, insufficient of these modified tanks have been received in the Service to make themselves felt.; as a result of enquiries, it seems pretty certain that many modified tanks are now coming through. No instance is known of a tank failing subsequent to the incorporation of Mod.1179.

[Underlined] CONTROL OF M.T. [/underlined]

In view of A.M.O. A.30/45, the complete responsibility of the maintenance organisation of Mechanical Transport now rests with the Engineer Branch. Due to a number of reasons which are well known to many, immediate improvements cannot be expected, nor will the position be eased without hard work and perfect co-operation. The broad policy has already been defined by Bomber Command Engineer Staff, and early in February it is anticipated that this Group will be in a position to request the attendance of the Command Engineer Officer to discuss the proposals for placing the M.T. maintenance on a sound footing. Man power is the obvious problem, and even with an increase in maintenance establishment the actual bodies will not be available for some time, if at all.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Underlined] ENGINEERING. [/underlined]

This control of transport maintenance is an added responsibility to the already hard pressed C.T.O., but it was the natural course of events that this transfer of responsibility should take place as the first major consideration of the C.T.O. is the serviceability of aircraft, and with an inefficient mechanical transport section, the serviceability suffers considerably. C.T.O’s, in their own interests, must endeavour to give as much thought as possible to this transport problem without detracting from their personal interest in the operational efficiency of the aircraft.

[Underlined] FLIGHT ENGINEERS [/underlined]

[Underlined] FUEL GAUGES [/underlined]

A demonstration to prove the accuracy of petrol gauges was laid on at Coningsby on the 25th January, but unfortunately the weather intervened and it was agreed that it would be unsafe to carry out these trials; it was most disappointing as it was hoped that the accuracy or otherwise of these gauges would be proved once and for all. The demonstration will be laid on again at some future date, but in the meantime Flight Engineers can do much to help to prove the statement that these petrol gauges are sufficiently accurate to be relied upon. In the new Flight Engineer’s log (B.C. Form 10) on page 3 under the heading “Flowmeter Reading” four columns will be found; all Flight Engineers, in future, must record in these columns petrol gauge readings throughout the trip, paying particular attention to the reading just before landing and then checking the reading again when the aircraft is parked in dispersal. Care must be taken to read the gauge in the tail down position for this check. With the information gained from Flight Engineer’s Logs, and the results of the demonstration, it will be decided if gauge reading should replace dips to ascertain the fuel remaining in an aircraft after a trip.

[Underlined] PETROL CONSUMPTION. [/underlined]

Petrol consumption throughout the Group has shown a marked improvement over the past twelve months, but occasions still arise in squadrons where two or three aircraft use 210 gallons per hour when all other aircraft use an average of 180 gallons per hour. The Flight Engineer Leader must investigate these cases thoroughly. Points to note are air speeds, revs and boost used and A.S.I. in climb and descent. He must check the last six trips of these aircraft; if he finds high consumption in all cases he must report it to the C.T.O. If, however, he comes to the conclusion that it is the pilot and flight engineer to blame, he must report this to the Commanding Officer of the squadron who will undoubtedly see that the erring pilot and flight engineer receive instructions on engine handling.

[Underlined] FRESH RECRUITS. [/underlined]

When a new Flight Engineer reports to a squadron be must be thoroughly examined by the Flight Engineer Leader to ascertain if he is quite capable of carrying out his duties. Questions should be selected from the 5 Group Lancaster Quiz. If it is found that he is weak in any subject, instruction must be given him without delay. If convenient, the Flight Engineer Leader or his deputy should fly with him on his first N.F.T. or cross-country, to check him on aircraft drills and the way in which he handles throttles, rev levers and his fuel tank manipulation in the air. Any faults must be remedied before he becomes operational.

[Underlined] TRAINING UNIT SERVICEABILITY. [/underlined]

[Table of 5 L.F.S. Aircraft Serviceability]

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Drawing] photography

During the month of January, 54.6% of the night attempts produced successful ground detail photographs, a good figure for this time of the year, and an increase of 8% upon the previous month.

Examination of the table shown on the following page will reveal an improvement in the failures recorded, 5.62% as compared with December, 1944, 9.2% and November, 1944, 12.4%. It should, however, be clearly remembered that discarding the “bomb-door operation” of the F.24 camera is probably one of the causes for this reduction.

The descriptive list still contains many failures which should never occur, and it is hoped that the efforts of all concerned will result in a steady monthly decrease of all technical failures.

Photographers are again reminded that inability to trace the real cause generally results in a failure being classed as “obscure – photographic”. Therefore every effort must be made to root out the causes and to effect cures for future operations.

Now that all units except Nos. 83, 97 and 627 Squadrons are using 100% composite film, it will demand all the skill of the photographers and full supervision of the N.C.O’s to ensure that the attention to detail in making up the composite films, and their final processing is carried out in accordance with B.C. Composite Film Instructions. There is no room for slap dash work when working with colour film. Extreme care in making up the film, correct preparation of solutions, and exact time and temperature during processing are essential. Photographers are reminded that this branch of R.A.F. Photography was introduced by photographers of this Group, and the standards set must be maintained by all Bases.

H. 2. S. photography and the equipment, is not yet receiving the attention that is necessary. This branch of photography is as important as the normal F.24 photography, and Senior N.C.O’s are to see to it that all their staff are skilled in producing the best results in the shortest possible time. The local manufacture of perspex trays and fixed vertical enlargers should do much to solve dark-room problems.

It is not enough to produce good photographs, unless they are available for the Air Staff in the shortest possible time, and in this respect the S.I.O’s and Photographic N.C.O’s should remember that A.C.I.U. waits for all films to arrive before commencing their analysis. This is being delayed unnecessarily because some films are not reaching this Headquarters until five and six days after the raid, and in some cases failure films are as much as 14 days overdue. All films, whether ground detail, target conditions, or technical failures, must reach this Headquarters within the time limits prescribed in B.C.Ph.I’s.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Underlined] PHOTOGRAPHY [/underlined]

[Underlined] ANALYSIS – NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY – JANUARY, 1945. [/underlined]

[Table of Night Photography Results Ranked by Squadron]

This photographic inter-squadron ladder is produced on the number of failures (excluding those due to Target Conditions –“T.C.”) incurred during the past month, as a percentage of the number of attempts.

NOTE + (Armt. I = Armt. [underlined] Technical [/underlined] Failures.
(Armt.II = No flash illumination – presumed flash failures.

Owing to the limited number of Day operational sorties during the month of January, 1945, a ladder will not be compiled.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Drawing] decorations

Supplement No.36866 to London Gazette dated 29th December, 1944.

The KING has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following promotion in, and appointments to, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire:-

To be Additional Knight Commander of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order:-

Air Vice Marshal The Honourable Ralph Alexander Cochrane, C.B., C.B.E., A.F.C., Royal Air Force.

To be Additional Officer of the Military Division of the Military Division [sic] of the said Most Excellent Order:-

Wing Commander Walter Edward Dunn (35210), Royal Air Force.

To be Additional Members of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order:-

Acting Squadron Leader Edwin Maurice Undery (79198) R.A.F.V.R.
Acting Flight Lieutenant Henry Rutter Locke (101687) R.A.F.V.R.

The KING has been graciously please to approve the award of the British Empire Medal (Military Division) to the undermentioned:-

560272 Flight Sergeant Frank Haines, Royal Air Force.

The following IMMEDIATE award were approved during the month:-

[Underlined] 54 BASE [/underlined]


[Underlined] 61 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 83 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 467 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 227 SQUADRON [/underlined]


“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Underlined] DECORATIONS [/underlined]

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

[Underlined] 9 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 44 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 49 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 50 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 57 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 61 SQUADRON [/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]


“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Underlined] 467 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 617 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 619 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 627 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 630 SQUADRON [/underlined]



[Page break]

war effort

[Table of Aircraft, Sorties and Results Ranked by Squadron]

[Underlined] NOTES: [/underlined] Squadrons are placed 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. Squadrons above establishment are calculated on an establishment of 20.

[Page break]

[Drawing] equipment

[Underlined] COLD WEATHER. [/underlined]

The whole country has recently had one of the coldest spells in human memory; in fact in Lincolnshire we thought it much colder. At any rate Equipment Officers managed to keep their stations fairly warm. In view of the strictness of the regulations on rationing of coal and coke they are to be congratulated.

Equipment Officers should look to their fuel stocks; there may be another cold spell.

[Underlined] THEFT. [/underlined]

Equipment Officers should check every now and again the registered mail book. A case has come to light where an N.C.O. Equipment Assistant made it his job to collect the registered mail and also by some means managed to get the blue I.V’s given to him. Thus by destroying certain of the blues he was able to get away with quite a number of watches.

So carry out surprise checks on the registered mail.

[Underlined] CONFERENCE. [/underlined]

The Group Equipment Officers’ Conference was held this month at Bomber Command. Many points of interest were discussed and the minutes which have been received at this Headquarters will be passed to Base Equipment Officers in due course.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]


We publish below a letter written from Brunswick to a German Soldier on 17th November, 1944. The names and address shown are entirely fictitious, but the letter itself is authentic.

Beckenwerker Strasse 157


Nov 17

My Dear Karl,

I would have replied to your last letter earlier but in consequence of the great raid on Braunschweig we were without light or water for a long time and we are still without gas. Braunschweig was completely reduced to dust and ashes by a heavy night raid on the 15th. October. We were very lucky – the Forchaus is still standing quite undamaged. The Kraft Durch Freude Hall and factory bay and a hostel were destroyed. It is said that Braunschweig is the most severely damaged town, apart from Darmstadt. Gauleiter Lauterbacher called Braunschweig “the dead city”. Its innumerable citizens were charred or burned in their cellars, there are even yet any number of missing. The numbers of dead runs to about a thousand. All the same the victims are few when considering the destruction. We are at present completely cut off from the world; as our station is destroyed, as well as the signal box and the installations, no trains are arriving here.

We are weary of the war and hope it will end soon. God keep you.


Reference is made to the attack by aircraft of this Group on the night of 14/15th October, 1944, which was dealt with in detail and photographs published in the November issue of the NEWS.

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

[Page break]

[Drawing] war savings

[Table of War Savings by Station]


A – Approximate number of pence per head.
B – Approximate percentage of personnel saving.
C – Total savings.

[Page break]

[Underlined] DISTRIBUTION LIST. [/underlined]

[Underlined] EXTERNAL. [/underlined]

No. 53 Base … 28
No. 54 Base … 28
No. 55 Base … 24
No. 56 Base … 20
No. 75 Base (“For Attention Base Intelligence Officer”) … 4
Headquarters, Bomber Command … 6
Headquarters, Bombe Command – Eng. Staff … 1
Dr. B.G. Dickens, O.R.S., H.Q. B.C. … 1
Headquarters, Flying Training Command … 1
H.Q., P.F.F., Wyton … 1
P.N.Z.A.F. Headquarters, Strand, W.C. (vis H.Q. B.C.) … 1
R.A.A.F. Overseas Headquarters, Kodak House, 63 Kingsway, W.C.2 …2
Air Ministry, T.O.I. … 1
Air Ministry (D.D.T. Nav.) … 2
W/Cdr. Nairn M.A.P., Map Room, 6123, Thames House, Millbank, S.W. 1
A/Cdr. H.L. Patch, C.B.E., Air Ministry (D.Arm.R.), King Charles Street, Whitehall … 1
G/Capt. C. Dann, O.B.E., M.A.P., Millbank … 1
Air Chief Marshal Sir E.R. Ludlow-Hewitt, K.C.B., C.B.E., C.M.G., D.S.O., M.C., A.D.C., 136, Richmond Hill, Richmond, Surrey. … 1
Air Marshal The Hon. Sir R.A. Cochrane, K.B.E., C.B., A.F.C., A.O.C.-in-C., Transport Command … 1
Air Vice Marshal Coryton, C.B., M.V.O., D.F.C., A.O.C. 3rd Tactical Air Force, South East Asia … 1
Air Commodore H.V. Satterly, C.B.E., D.F.C., Headquarters, No.54 Base 1
S/Ldr. D.A. Green, D.S.O., D.F.C., Bomber Command Tactical School, Finningley … 1
Headquarters, No.92 Group … 6
Headquarters, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 21, 23, 25, 54, 91, Groups 1
Headquarters, No.29 Group … 12
Nos. 11, 14, 16, 18 O.T.U’s … 1
No. 16 O.T.U. (Intelligence Section) … 2
S.I.O., No.27 O.T.U., Lichfield … 1
S.I.O., No.29 O.T.U., Bruntingthorpe … 1
T.A.D.U., Cardington … 1
Director of Studies, Advanced Armament Course, Fort Halstead, Nr. Sevenoaks, Kent … 1
R.A.F. Station, Jurby … 1
R.A.F. Station, Manby … 1
R.A.F. Station, Silverstone … 2
N.C.O. i/c Bombing Range, Wainfleet … 1
No. 93 M.U. … 1
R.A.F. Staff College … 1
Polish Air Force Staff College, Beach Hotel, Weston-Super-Mare 1
Empire Air Navigation School, Shawbury … 2
No.25 Group, School of Air Sea Rescue … 1
92 Group Navigation & Signals Instructors’ School, Little Horwood, Nr. Bletchley, Bucks … 1
Aircrew School, Balderton … 2
Bomber Command Instructors’ School, Finningley … 2

[Underlined] INTERNAL. [/underlined]

A.O.C. … 1
S.O.A. …1
OPS. 1 … 1
S.MET.O. … 1
C.S.O. … 2
O.R.S. … 1
G.T.I. … 1
G.F.C.O. … 1
P.R.O. … 1
FILE … 1

“V” GROUP NEWS. NO. 30. JANUARY, 1945.

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[Blank Page]

[Page break]


9 Wadd.
10 Skell.
6 Bdy.
2 Minuted.



“V Group News, January 1945,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed November 29, 2023, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/18667.

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