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Lancaster website.....

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by Martin Bull, Jan 18, 2003.

  1. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Finally found a website that has a reasonably comprehensive Lancaster history and a very good 'surviving aircraft' section : -

    http://www.lancastermuseum.ca

    Just scroll down to 'The Lancaster Bomber'.

    ( Enthusiastic people, those Canadians ! )

    [ 19. January 2003, 12:30 PM: Message edited by: Martin Bull ]
     
  2. Panzerknacker

    Panzerknacker New Member

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    Gotta love the persistence of those Canadians-and thank the Lord they put that into something as useful as this!!!
     
  3. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Great site Martin !

    A questin for the RAF experten.......I noticed the info on # 8 group/Pathfinders. Was this the only group designated to fly Pathfinder missions or did each Bomber group have it's own pathfinder force ?

    E
     
  4. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    AFAIK ( without looking it all up in my books ) : -

    8 Group were the 'true' ( 'Bennett' ) Pathfinders ( the only ones allowed to wear the coveted Pathfinder badge ).

    But certainly 5 Group increasingly flew their own 'pathfinder' missions using specialized techniques, and of course 617 Squadron as part of 5 Group certainly used different types of marking.

    Eventually, in April 1944, 5 Group's Cochrane persuaded Harris to transfer three of Bennett's squadrons from 8 to 5 for pathfinding duties. These were Nos 83 & 97 ( Lancasters ) and 627 ( Mosquitoes ).

    There had always been great jealousy between the two Group commanders and this transfer led to much bitterness which persists among survivors and partisan authors.

    As to the other Groups such as 1, 3, 4 and 6 I don't believe that they took part in pathfinding but will look it up anyway....

    [ 18. January 2003, 11:35 AM: Message edited by: Martin Bull ]
     
  5. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Great link Martin--thanks! Now I can finally learn something that aint German. :D
     
  6. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Martin, I am still a little confused I guess.....let's take an example of using something like February 23, 1945 over Pforzheim. Would 8th group and another group possibly lead the rest of the RAF bomber formation ? and these pathfinders would be positioned how... ? above and forward or below and forward of the main stream ?...... approximately how high or low in feet if known... ?

    Noticed a little segement via a vet on the web-site mentioning the shooting down of a 262 near Pforzheim which is in the Bayern. This is incorrect as the Me 262's of 10./NJG 11 were based at Burg and were repsonsible for defending the Berlin proper from Mosquito bombers and the lesser threat to them, the Mossie intruder. In reality the only NJG unit to face RAF bombers in the southern portion of Germany this night was NJG 6 which claimed 13 RAF a/c.
     
  7. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Lucky you asked about Pforzheim, Erich - this is actually one I know something about as that was the night that 'Ted' Swales of 582 Squadron ( Lancasters ) earned his posthumous VC.

    1 and 6 Groups provided the Main Force ; with all marking responsibilities being handled by 8 Group PFF.

    Pforzheim was marked by 13 8 Group Mosquitoes using the 'Musical Parramatta' marking technique. Guided to the target by the ground-controlled Oboe system the Mosquitoes dropped their Target Indicators 'blind' from high altitude ( cannot find the exact altitude ; it would have been high to allow for the earth's curvature ).

    8 Group 'Backing Up' Lancasters and Halifaxes then continued to drop Target Indicators on the Mosquito TIs throughout the raid itself from 8,000ft ; as instructed by the Master Bomber ( in this case, Swales ) using VHF radio.

    The Main Force on this particular raid used an unusual approach ; flying below 5,000ft until reaching 07deg00E, then climbing on track to 8,000ft over Pforzheim. It was hoped to fool the nightfighters but was unsuccessful in this aim : 12 bombers were lost out of 367 attacking.

    The Main Force simply had to unload their bombs on 8 Group's TIs as instructed by the Master Bomber. This was a devastating example of Bomber Command 'getting it right' - the results were appalling with 83 percent of Pforzheim's buildings being destroyed and an estimated 17,600 people losing their lives. In it's way this was worse than Dresden as Pforzheim was much smaller.

    Swales' aircraft was 'caught' by a nightfighter but he remained at the controls thus enabling his crew to escape ; the VC being awarded for 'sacrificing his life so that his comrades could live'.

    The 'semi-official' history of 8 Group, 'Pathfinder Force' by Gordon Musgrove ( MacDonald & Janes, 1976 ) is essential reading for information about PFF, including as it does several highly technical appendices.

    Hope this helps !

    [ 19. January 2003, 12:30 PM: Message edited by: Martin Bull ]
     
  8. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    [​IMG]

    From: Beam Bombers - The Secret War of 109 Sqn by Michael Cummings, pg between 118-119

    [ 19. January 2003, 12:49 PM: Message edited by: Stevin Oudshoorn ]
     
  9. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Excellent scan, Stevin...

    Indeed, those are some of the 'backing-up' TIs going down over Pforzheim.

    As an aside to this, Little Staughton remains today as one of the ( accidentally ) best-preserved of all wartime Bomber Command stations.
     
  10. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    You guys are killin me ! ;) more books to find for my research and none of this e-bay searchs and paying 200.00 US for each.....ha !

    God materisl Martin and great timed shot Stevin. You just don't see much during the night war activities in the way of flying machines. Just big explosions usually.

    Back to the basic question again although Martin your text was great. If 8th group lancs were supporting a Hali/Lanc raid and no Mossies involved, and I know this is presumptous, would the PPF be above and ahead or behind or were they all together or split up over/ under the long bomber stream ? I can understand Mossies pre-marking the targets, and maybe it is just that I am trying to picture all of this in my puny brain as a visual/profile. Wish I had a scanner as a profile exists in one of my books on raids over Berlin, and although quite small has some interesting drawin(s) of pathfinders ahead, in the middle and behind the Lanc stream.....if this is indeed correct.... ?
    I am going to make a copy of your text Martin and send it off to Peter Spoden of ex-NJG 6 for his thoughts since he knows about the Pforzheim experience with great bitterness. So I will be quite careful how I introduce the written material.

    E thumbs up guys and keep it comin ! ;) :D
     
  11. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    I guess this is one of the books to have when you want to know about the technical development of the Mossie as a pathfinder. It is a great book. (and...no ebay here! DISCOUNT bookstore! YIHAAAH!)

    Great pic as well. Was amazed to see such a pic and then with two planes in it. Anybody an idea what that second plane is? The one most obvious is a Lanc, but the one above it?
     
  12. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    I will try to 'get my head round' your PFF question, Erich !

    Yes indeed, please be careful with Pforzheim. Although I don't want to go O/T and into the 'ethics of bombing' here this one has exercised my mind ....

    Photos of Edwin Swales show a very good-natured-looking young man with a wide, friendly smile and by all accounts he really was a 'nice guy' as well as a courageous individual. And yet it was partly his skills and dedication to duty which visited such an unimaginable holocaust on this town which had previously been untouched by war.

    I don't know. I guess our generation is fortunate not to have been placed in such a position.

    Please give my kindest regards to Herr Spoden, by the way...
     
  13. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    thanks in advance Martin ! Yes I have had the non-pleasure of speaking to him and several others about the raids and the effects on the German populations......that is another forum I believe. Just interested in the techniques that is all.

    Off to bake Apfel Küchen mit meine Frau ;)

    E back much later with Mercer's report....
     
  14. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    before I go......Stevin, is that a German night fighter.... ? man if that is.... ! whoa what a shot !


    E
     
  15. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    Erich, you mean something like this?

    [​IMG]

    From Bombers Over Berlin by Alan Cooper, pg 208
     
  16. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    I don't know! It doesn't look like a Heavy...but it could be, but further away....

    I am not very good at profiles... :(

    And remember: This is just a still taken from a film!!!

    [ 19. January 2003, 03:46 PM: Message edited by: Stevin Oudshoorn ]
     
  17. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    You're all going to think I'm biased here ( :D )...

    But if it is twin-engined, the very broad tailplane surfaces make it look quite Mosquito-like ?
     
  18. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    Well....I didn't want to bring it up myself... :rolleyes:

    Would be too much of a coincidence...or one might say I wanted to see a mossie...To me it looks single engine though.....

    Nonethesless, something is flying there....can we agree it is a UFO? ;)

    [ 19. January 2003, 03:54 PM: Message edited by: Stevin Oudshoorn ]
     
  19. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Hmmm - if those 'blobs' on the wings are engines, they look a little too far outboard for a Mossie...

    Ooo errr - spooky ! ;)
     
  20. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    If you guys don't mind when I write Peter this next week I will make a copy for a scan to him. It appears to me by the pointed wings it maybe a Ju 88G-6 but then again. It's no Bf 110G-4 that is certain. A Mossie.....maybe but as martin pointed out the engines would be much closer together. A problem here is that the a/c appears to be banking away from......it's intended victim ?

    Stevin, yes that plan looks like the one for the bomber stream.... :D

    E
     

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