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Thread: 1409 (Met) Flight - PAMPA ops March 1944

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    Default 1409 (Met) Flight - PAMPA ops March 1944

    Hi folks I hope you can help.

    I'm looking for any information on 8 Group's 1409 (Met) Flight's Mosquito flying (Photorecce And Meteorological Photography Aircraft) PAMPA ops from Wyton in March 1944. The flew unarmed long range operations as required by Bomber Command.

    I am research the raid on Frankfurt am Main on 22nd March 1944.
    The decision on the target was made during the 09:00 Bomber Command morning conference. The target choice and route to it was almost entirely determined by the weather conditions as collected at 18:00 the previous day.

    The weather advice given at the meeting was based on the 0100 GMT Synoptic chart on the morning of 22 March. The chart showed a slow-moving anticyclone just west of the UK and a weakening northerly flow over western Germany. There would be cloud over eastern Germany and over the Dutch coast. Western Germany would have scattered cloud, but sufficiently clear for visual marking supported by sky markers if required.

    It is highly likely that the weather conditions over the continent, used to make these decisions, were gathered by the unarmed Mosquito of 1409 (Met) Flight on the afternoon of 21st March 1944. In support of the operation they may well have flown in the morning or early afternoon of 22nd March too.

    It would be a tremendous help if anyone has any information on these Mossy ops.

    Many thanks
    Robert

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    Robert,

    I'm not sure why you've you've written that "the target choice and route was almost entirely determined by the weather conditions collected the previous day" (I assume you mean by 1409 Met Flight.)

    That would have been 24 hours (give or take) before the raid departed and weather changes a devil of a lot in a couple of hours, let alone 24. In respect of weather a target was selected on the basis of advice given by the Command Met Officer at the C-in-C's 0900 briefing - the met chart used at the briefing was almost certainly that for 0100 GMT.

    The sequence of events was that after the target AND route were decided during and immediately following the C-inC's briefing a later (midday) meteorological conference was conducted by the Command and Group Met Officers; this identified any changes to the earlier forecast or confirmed everything was going to plan.

    A PAMPA sortie was then dispatched to check that the weather along the route was much as forecast - only the selected route and target were checked, never an alternative. The whole object of the exercise was to get the information back to Bomber Command asap. On a few occasions an additional PAMPA sortie flew about 30 minutes ahead of a bomber force providing frequent reports to the Master Bomber.

    On rare occasions 1409 Met Flight might fly four or five sorties within a 24 hour period to provide a general survey of a broad area which included the target, but the target was never selected on the bases of PAMPA flights alone - and certainly not those flown 24 hours before the event.

    1409 Met Flight ORB is AIR 29/867

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 3rd June 2011 at 21:10.

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    Thanks for posting so quickly Lyffe,

    I know you understand this area well so please bear with me as I'm getting up to speed.
    I can see where I went wrong, however, my main purpose of the post is to develop the timeline for planning the raid. Hence my interest in what 1409 Met Flights were carried out in the 24 hours before the night time raid.

    From the 3 examples I have, I can see that the Daily Weather Reports have 4 pages:
    Page 1 Weather observations from around the UK taken at: 13:00 and 18:00 GMT the previous day.
    Page 2 A weather chart for the British Isles with a pre-printed time of "7h"
    Page 3 A weather chart of the Northern Hemisphere with a pre-printed label of "Morning of _____ 1944."
    Page 4 Weather observations from around the UK taken at: 01:00, 07:00 GMT on the day of issue.

    So the weather report for the C-in-C's 0900 briefing was based on the latest weather report i.e. the previous days

    How up to date was the weather data used in the midday meteorological conference?

    As soon as possible after the midday meteorological conference a PAMPA flight was despatched to check the weather along the route to the next target. It's time back must allow enough time for vital updates to make the final met briefing to crews. 16:30 to 18:00?

    If an alternative route was not flown, how did the Allies disguise which was the route and target?

    Many thanks
    Robert

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    Robert,

    (1) I'm not sure where your problem lies; you say you have a 6-hourly sequence of observations from 1300 GMT on 21st to 0700 GMT on 22nd March, so the latest observation is not 1800 GMT on 21st, but 0700 GMT on 22nd March.

    The 0700 GMT (0800 BST) chart would not have been available for the C-in-C's briefing at 0900 BST on 22nd, since it would still have been in the course of preparation (plotting and analysis), hence my earlier comment about the latest main chart available being that for 0100 GMT. In practice charts were analysed every three hours, but the intermediate charts (0400, 1000 GMT etc) had relatively small amounts of data plotted - that's not to say they weren't used, but the forecast chart for 1800 GMT was based on the 0100 GMT data.

    (2) Although, so far as I can gather from the ORBs I have at my disposal, a raid (target unknown) was planned for the previous night (20/21 March) it was cancelled soon after squadron briefings. It may be that a PAMPA sortie was flown on the afternoon of the 20th, but that would have been for that night's operation not to select a target for the following day.

    (3) For an example of PAMPA operations, and to give some idea of the timings, it's perhaps easiest to refer to Middlebook's "The Nuremberg Raid: 30-31 March 1944". Following the 0900 BST briefing on the 30th, a PAMPA sortie was sent over the North Sea to inspect the route for a diversionary mining force. Whilst it was still in the air Dr Spence, the Command Met Officer, requested a second PAMPA to check on the main force route to Nuremberg. Quoting from the book:

    "The (PAMPA) navigator at Wyton jotted down details of the route to be taken and the specific weather features to be investigated and, at 1220, their Mosquito was airborne and heading for the Dutch coast. The routes of these flights had to be discreetly planned so as not to disclose the proposed targets to the Germans who could of course plot the whole flight by radar. The Mosquito crossed into Germany near Osnabrück and then flew a wide circular route around the Ruhr and out again to the south over Belgium. The crew found the weather .......................... .

    As they turned for home at the limit of their flight they looked carefully in the direction of Nuremberg 100 miles away to the southeast. They could just see large banks of what they took to be stratocumulus and some thinner cloud higher up. Other than this, there was no high cloud.

    At 1525 the Mosquito landed at Wyton having flown 950 miles in just over three hours. The navigator ran straight to the telephone at Flying Control and described what he had found on the shared line to Bomber Command and all the group headquarters."

    As a result Spence provided a revised forecast at 1640, which all concerned thought would result in the operation being cancelled - Harris thought differently.

    I don't have the briefing times for the squadrons but the planned departure was between 2115-2215 (I assume BST).

    (4) A 1200 BST met conference would have been based on the 0700 GMT (0800 BST) chart, which would have been plotted and analysed around 1000-1100 BST, although the forecasters would have been able to refer to the incomplete 1000 GMT (1100 BST) chart.

    (5) However, what must be remembered is that the target was selected at the 0900 BST C-in-C briefing and was verey unlikely to have been changed thereafter due to all the other considerations involved (route selection/fuel uptake/timings/bomb-load etc).

    (6) The charts you have are not working charts, but rather sanitised charts prepared after the event which form part of a daily series extending from 1860 until 1980 for the public at large. Although they continued to be prepared throughout the war they were classified as 'SECRET' never made available to the general public at the time.

    Brian

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    Robert.

    I have only a few sentences about a Pampa on March 22 from
    a book--PILOT A Tale Of High Adventure
    by Joe Patient DFC.

    He states:
    A pre-dawn Pamps was ordered for the US Army Air Corps (sic)
    on 22 March. The log book for the 4 hour op reads:

    Mosquito XVI 'C' Pampa 25 Op No 29. Kapellen-Meyenburg-
    Stadskanaal-Antwerp. Search lights and fighters very active. USA 9

    My bet is that this won't help one little bit, but it cost nothing to pass it on!

    Better Luck

    Robert
    PS I will keep an eye open though..........................

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    Default 1409 Pampa Flight

    Dear Robert

    My father Nigel was in Pampa (Recco Flight 1409) and I have his complete log book. I also have some written information in the depth of a memoir I have written about Nigel and I would be willing to send you this. I am also in touch with Robert Dale, still allive in Canade. Please email me at marcus@bicknell.com

    Regards

    Marcus Bicknell

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Lapes View Post
    Hi folks I hope you can help.

    I'm looking for any information on 8 Group's 1409 (Met) Flight's Mosquito flying (Photorecce And Meteorological Photography Aircraft) PAMPA ops from Wyton in March 1944. The flew unarmed long range operations as required by Bomber Command.

    I am research the raid on Frankfurt am Main on 22nd March 1944.
    The decision on the target was made during the 09:00 Bomber Command morning conference. The target choice and route to it was almost entirely determined by the weather conditions as collected at 18:00 the previous day.

    The weather advice given at the meeting was based on the 0100 GMT Synoptic chart on the morning of 22 March. The chart showed a slow-moving anticyclone just west of the UK and a weakening northerly flow over western Germany. There would be cloud over eastern Germany and over the Dutch coast. Western Germany would have scattered cloud, but sufficiently clear for visual marking supported by sky markers if required.

    It is highly likely that the weather conditions over the continent, used to make these decisions, were gathered by the unarmed Mosquito of 1409 (Met) Flight on the afternoon of 21st March 1944. In support of the operation they may well have flown in the morning or early afternoon of 22nd March too.

    It would be a tremendous help if anyone has any information on these Mossy ops.

    Many thanks
    Robert

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