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Thread: Bombing Ranges

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    Default Bombing Ranges

    By way of an introduction, my name is Peter and I am a member of the Airfield Research Group (ARG). I am currently researching Bombing and Gunnery Ranges in the UK from 1930 to 1960(ish) with a view to publishing a small book on the subject via the ARG.
    I have currently identified over 500 locations, the exact location and layout of many still elude me. Frequent visits to TNA and excellent help from the RAF Museum have given me a lot of information.
    ORB's are the one area that I haven't covered and this is probably a good source of range information but scattered over the hundreds of ORBs of both stations and units and this would obviously take many months (years?) to cover fully. If anyone has any information they have gleaned from ORBs regarding bombing and gunnery ranges I would be very interested, firstly to confirm exisitng information and secondly to supply new information. They key elements are dates used and by whom but target information and even the name used in the ORB could help clear up incorect names.
    I would also try to help with any questions about the subject but as I have only been researching for 18 months I still have a lot to learn.

    Peter

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    Welcome Peter!
    I am glad we have new member with good background /I saw already your answers to my posts/ and interesting theme.
    Unfortunately I will be no able to help you much, I know only not so detailed information about ranges used by 311 Squadron - if I remember well for example Langham, in Solway, Lough Neagh...

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Peter, Hi,
    Are you just concerned with physical bombing ranges - i.e. places where a lump of iron (either filled with concrete or bang-powder) was dropped from an a/c and, hopefully, hit the centre of the target area on the Range?
    Or do you want to include Radar Bombing targets - i.e. precise locations where the V-Force a/c would "press the tit" and a mobile ground radar 'fixed' the a/c in 3 dimensions. From this, and the known physical trajectory of the weapon, it could be determined whether or not the target had received its 'Bucket Of Sunshine'!!
    I remember that the North-West corner of Barnsley railway station came in for fairly regular 'nuking'!! Some might say 'and well deserved'!!!
    PM, or email, me and I might be able to add some NPC* scuttlebutt about targets in the Training Areas (but post-WW2).
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    * = Nefarious Purposes Committee
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    I am mainly looking at physical locations but I am steering towards later developments that caused the physical targets to be reduced in number.

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    Hi Peter

    I live about three miles from the range at Cowden, which I used to visit regularly when in use as a member of the local ATC squadron, about six miles away is the WW2 bombing range at North Frodingham and just up the coast is Skipsea which was used by the APC at Catfoss before WW2.

    Malcolm

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    109 Squadron's ORB has many references to crews using the bombing range at Otmoor for practicing Oboe runs from Nov. 43 (where my copy of the ORB begins) through 1944. I suspect that 105 Squadron used the same range but there is no references I could find to that in their ORB.
    Cheers
    Dave Wallace

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    Malcolm,

    The early APCs seem to be the first post WW1 attempt at providing an organised range structure so Skipsea was at the forefront.
    According to my notes Cowden was opened post war for RAF joint use (tank range in WW2) and was to replace Skipsea. Cowdens has suffered from severe coastal erosion some most of the post war range buildings have gone.
    One aspect of Cowden I have yet to sort out is Aldbrough. Aldbrough is shown on a list of ranges in 1946 (and marked a Yorkshire and not a Suffolk typo) and I have assumed it was absorbed into the Cowden range post war but have no proof or location for WW2 Aldrough.
    North Frodingham I have marked at TA099511 based on a converted WW2 Cassini grid reference. I assume this was the target area but have no information on the location of the two quadrant towers and direction arrow.

    Peter

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Wallace View Post
    109 Squadron's ORB has many references to crews using the bombing range at Otmoor for practicing Oboe runs from Nov. 43 (where my copy of the ORB begins) through 1944. I suspect that 105 Squadron used the same range but there is no references I could find to that in their ORB.
    Cheers
    Dave Wallace
    Dave,

    Thanks for Oboe reference, I haven't come across ranges used for Oboe practice. My limited look at ORBs revealed little of any use on ranges, merely making reference to time spent on ranges either bombing or air firing and no mention of where. I gather that some ORBs are better than others but I need a reason other than ranges to go through one :)

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    Peter

    The range at Cowden is still being cleared and most of the building are still there, I think some early quad towers were lost to coastal erosion. I wasn't aware of a range at Aldbrough (about two miles further south from Cowden) but I can make some enquiries as my grandmother originated from the village, but many of the building from WW2 have long disappeared into the North Sea.

    There is at least one tower left at North Frodingham as it is visible from the road between Brandesburton and Frodingham, I'll try to determine a location for you at some point (I start the Easter holidays on Friday and will give me an excuse to go out there with the dog)

    Malcolm

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    Malcolm,

    Many thanks, you have just added another extant quadrant shelter to my list. You couldn't take a photo of it by any chance?
    I will now have to fire up Google Earth and Old-Maps.

    Peter

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