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Thread: Combat Reports... Duplication?

  1. #1
    Alan434 Guest

    Default Combat Reports... Duplication?

    Hello,
    The U.K. Gov. has digitized many of thier "Combat Reports" and provided a search engine, which I found to be a trial & error to find individuals. So then a search by squadron found all combat reports in their database pertaining to 434 squadron.
    However I believe that a number of combat reports are not in thier database as I have different combat reports not listed, indicated by date.
    Is this an oversite?

    There is also a $7 (Canadian) fee per document, if they have duplicated the document twice (2 air-gunners) for the same combat report you may waste $7 for a copy of same report.
    Has anyone found this out the hard way, paying twice for same report?
    Or
    Could it be 2 separate enemy engagements on the same date? (which is possible)
    Here is the link..
    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/ww2aircombat.asp
    Just curious.
    Alan

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    Alan
    The incidents in the combat reports I have downloaded are searchable by the names of the two gunners (on 4 engine heavies) since they were usually both interviewed regarding that combat. I would suspect that most duplications when searching for combats for a crew on a given day are for the same incident but they also could have had more than one combat in a few cases.
    I found that my searches were most sucessfull by putting in only the name of a gunner and nothing else.
    Dave Wallace

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    Default Duplicates

    Hi Alan,

    all names on a combat report have been databased by TNA in the searchable catalogue, including (on at least one occasion) the name of an intelligence officer!

    This has and is leading to multiple returns in the catalogue for the same combat reports, where an aircraft consisted of more than one crew member. TNA is aware of this problem and has stated that they are looking for a solution to the issue.

    Just over a month back, I ordered a large number of reports through the digitial service. Upon downloading, I found that fully half of the reports were duplicates, including one instance where I had five copies of the same report!

    I immediately contacted TNA, and they very promptly responded and also quickly arranged a refund of the cost of the duplicate reports. At the time, TNA responded, "We have recently discovered the problem of our online index being misleading and making it possible for duplicate combat reports to be purchased. We are currently investigating this further in order to resolve the problem."

    Therefore, if you have been "stung" by this deficiency with the catalogue and ordering system, I strongly suggest that you contact TNA with the details, as I have found that they will issue a refund for duplicates.

    I haven't looked at the combat report ordering system since February, so I don't know if any progress has been made on resolving the problem.

    If it is still the same then there is simply no way to be sure of duplicate search results without knowing in advance (a) all members of the same crew, or (b) the total number of claims made by a particular squadron on a particular date.

    Cheers

    Rod

    PS - if you're in Canada and looking for combat reports for the RCAF 6 Group squadrons, you would be better served in obtaining copies of the reports from 'closer to home'. The scope of heavy bomber combat reports existant at TNA is woefully inadequate because the collections are very incomplete. Not only are practically all heavy bomber squadron combat reports for the last few months of the war missing, but, in any cases, the Pro Forma reports are also missing. The Pro Forma reports relate to combats and incidents that did not neccessarily result in a claim.

    It appears that duplicates of all the combat reports for RCAF 6 Group Squadrons are held in Canada, either at the National Archives, or the or DHH, Ottawa (off-hand, I can't remember which) - so these collections are far more comprehensive than those at TNA. I would suggest that you have a look at Richard Koval's wonderful 6 Group website:

    http://www.rcaf.com/6group/Operations.html

    http://www.rcaf.com/6group/Combatreports.html (only a sample posted online at the moment)

    Richard has (to my knowledge) copies of all the combat reports, and he has used these in his summaries.
    Last edited by RodM; 29th March 2008 at 02:20. Reason: added additional info

  4. #4
    Alan434 Guest

    Default

    Rod, Dave,
    Thanks for the information. I have not been stung yet with combat reports. I recently digitized 3 rolls of microfilm and now have numerous combat reports. So I thought I would start cross referencing with the U.K. site with thier limited database through their search engine.
    They have approx. 67 reports for 434, I went through them and believe there is close to a dozen duplicates. Too figure this out I copied and pasted the names/dates from U.K. site then began cross referencing with ORB's/combat reports from digitized microfilm in my possesion, yet another process of elimination... on going.
    I have spoke to Richard in past and received some combat reports, yet to go through. Here is what I have so far...

    Go to this link... http://rcaf434squadron.squarespace.com/combat-reportsclaims/

    the ones with Tiff file #'s are complete and in my posession (half of 1944, majority of 1945) Majority of 1943 are from U.K. site, therefore I cannot assign a file Tiff/Jpg# until I have a copy.
    As we all know this can be an expensive venture, I'm just getting down to the nitty gritty before I hand over $$$ so I am curious about aquisition in the future.
    Alan

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    Another problem is that at least Polish names have several typing errors, so search by name is impossible.
    First time I see Pro Forma reports, were such ever filed by fighter pilots?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski View Post
    Another problem is that at least Polish names have several typing errors, so search by name is impossible.
    First time I see Pro Forma reports, were such ever filed by fighter pilots?
    Hi franek,

    the pro formas within Bomber Command were used to provide details of 'combats' (i.e. where either bomber or enemy fighter opened fire) from at least 1942 onwards, and also later 'attacks' (where there was an encounter but no combat). This was irrespective of whether a claim was made. Along with the Form "Y's", whcih were collated and filtered up to BCHQ, all combats, attacks, and sightings relating to enemy aircraft were reported. The data was used by the Operational Research Section to improve RAF defensive tactics and training, and also included as a part of overall intelligence gathering - analysing German defences and tactics.

    For RCAF and (in a couple of cases) RAAF squadrons. almost complete collections of combat reports survive in the repective mother countries. Sadly, this is not true of the collections at Kew.

    The Form "Y's", sent by each Group to BCHQ, are a fantastic document, providing details of major happenings as reported by returning Bomber Command crews. It is a shame that like most of the Pro Formas, mosy of the Form "Y's" weren't transferred to TNA, Kew.

    I don't know if such a system was used by other RAF Commands.

    Cheers

    Rod

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