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Thread: Bomber Command - Early Returns

  1. #1
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    Default Bomber Command - Early Returns

    Some crews took off to bomb enemy targets but had to turn back due to various things going unserviceable, engines failing, gun turrets going u/s, wireless &/or intercom failures, crew falling ill, etc.

    Sometimes it may say in the ORB "awarded operation" meaning that it would be allowed to count towards completion of the crews' tour.

    Was there a policy to award the sortie after a certain number of hours had been flown ? or if the bomber had crossed the enemy coast ? or if the return was due to a failed engine or turret u/s but not to award if ???????

    Please can somebody advise ?

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    Nobody ? I'm pleased I'm not the only one.

    I guess the answer is to ask a veteran, I will do so and report back as soon as I have an answer.

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    I did some research on this topic while tabulating my Uncle’s ops last half of 1943 (51 sqdn Halifax Mk II). Almost 1/4 of their ops resulted in an early return due to a bevy of mechanical issues or icing. I spoke to two 51 pilots. One (last half of 43) said it never happened under any circumstance – something like “why in the hell would it!” The other (first half of 43) vaguely remembers if a certain point was crossed, beyond enemy coast – raids to Germany, it counted but like I say this was vague. Don’t know how a crew would prove it?

    In my Uncle’s case none counted (5 early returns – longest 3 hrs flying). Alieneyes once told me if the master bomber called off a raid in progress it counted.

    I have read some crews would be forced to return early however bomb a target of opportunity and be awarded the op – not sure I believe it. Maybe the WC has some latitude in these cases. Did the policy change over time?

    Cheers
    Rodger
    In remembrance of the crew of Halifax HR732
    51 Squadron Snaith - All LWT Leipzig 4 December 1943

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    From the research that I have conducted including interviews with veterans it all depended on where the aircraft was when it turned back. If it was NOET Not Over Enemy Territory then it didnt count.

    HTH
    Daz

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    [QUOTE=PeteS;89968]Some crews took off to bomb enemy targets but had to turn back due to various things going unserviceable, engines failing, gun turrets going u/s, wireless &/or intercom failures, crew falling ill, etc.

    I am no where near my treasured books, but I would recommend the book:

    The Right of the Line
    by
    John Terraine.

    IIRC ops were awarded as "ONE OP",
    one third of an op, or two thirds of
    an op.

    After the raid on Mailly le Camp this all changed.

    Robert

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