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Thread: Are these stories feasible? (Please use discretion; no names, service numbers, etc.)

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    Default Are these stories feasible? (Please use discretion; no names, service numbers, etc.)

    Story 1. A Lancaster pilot told the following story in 1970 (Even though the pilot had a few drinks, the veteran aircrew that were present did not show any signs that they doubted him): On an operational sortie from a base in England to a target in Germany one of the aircrew had grandparents who lived in the target area. On learning of their target, the crew-member had become overwrought with the possibility of their bombs killing his grandparents. So, the pilot hung back near the end of the bomber-stream. When he could see the target, he drifted out of formation to a position downwind from the target. He released the bomb-load off-target then he tilted the Lancaster a few degrees so the camera would take photos from an appropriate angle that included the target area. He said that it was at night, the target was obscured by smoke, and he knew that minimal information would be gathered from the photographs. The pilot said, “There were so many bombers that no one could tell which bombs were from which plane. Our bombs probably landed in a farmer’s field.”

    Story 2. A Lancaster pilot told the following story in 1965 (Details are very sketchy; the story may have been invented by authorities for the purpose of discouraging any faint-hearted aircrew from getting ideas):
    The crew of a Lancaster found a way to prevent an on-board camera from taking pictures after the bombs were released (it is uncertain how, or when, this was accomplished). The crew would take-off on an operational sortie as usual. On route to the target, the aircrew would drop the bomb-load in an inactive out-of-the-way area. With the on-board camera non-functional, no photographs were taken. After the bombs were gone they would then proceed to the target. The camera would be made operational before reaching the target area (it is uncertain how this was accomplished). The pilot would do a relatively low-risk fly-by of the target area while the camera took photographs (it is uncertain how this was accomplished). The crew would return to base having completed their op with minimal risk. However, during one op the aircrew thought they had rendered the camera non-operational but it remained functional. The crew then proceeded to drop the bomb-load in the North Sea. To the crew's dismay, when the bombs were gone the camera went off. On return to base the photos showed the bombs falling into the ocean. The aircrew were arrested and sent to a military jail. As of June 1945 the aircrew were still in jail.

    Story 3. A ground-crew member of a Coastal Command squadron told this story proudly and often, or variations of it, to family members and various others including veterans who say they have no reason to doubt until evidence can be produced to suggest otherwise:
    Late in WW2 the Allies had gained the upper hand in the North Atlantic. The U-boat threat was greatly diminished. Operations where Coastal Command was engaged in active combat became less and less frequent. Long reconnaissance flights became more frequent. Ground-crew in one particular Coastal Command squadron became unabashed in attempts to beg, bribe, or b.s. their way (unauthorised and secretly) aboard any aircraft that was going up on these lower-risk reconnaissance operations. On occasion, a lucky ground-crew member would find a sympathetic aircrew. According to the ground-crew member who told this story, he went up as stowaway on more than one Coastal Command operation. During one of his clandestine ops they attacked a U-boat. Apparently, he was adamant that, although rare, members of Coastal Command ground-crew had gone, unauthorised, on active bombing sorties into Germany.

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    Hi Grouned,
    my opinion:

    Story 1. Yes I think it is feasible, I have seen few photos taken over the target and there is nearly nothing:) Some white smudges or clouds on black background (taking about early 1942) so I thinkg it can be done.

    Story 2. Well... I do not get the point "why"? I am not epert in Lancasters and I do not know how the camera was synchronized with the "bomb away" button but this story seems to me very strange. For eaxmple if they dropped the bombs over ocena and somehow disfunctioned the camera and returned without being ober the target I will understand but I do not see any point in dropping bombs over sea and flying to the target!

    Story 3. Yes it is possible. There was a similar case during the D-Day operations at 311 Sq flying Liberators with CC. One air gunner always choose a crew he want to fly with and hid in its Liberator before operation and he appeared far from the coast when already on operation. At this time the crews were flying only in 8 instead of nine so there was always one waist gun free to man... Some of his colleagues thought that due to him later crew crews rose up to 9:) Anyway the problems started once when Liberator was diverted to another airfield and there was an unauthorised person aboard after landing... Afterwards all captains were ordered to search the Liberator before operation...

    As he publicated this story already in his Czech memories "Vzpomínky nebeského jezdce" I can show up his identity - Sgt Richard Husman, an Air Gunner who can not reach the officer rank due to his boyishness and troubles. Depsite this he became most famous post-war in the 60s when he wrote amazining book "Nebeští jezdci (Riders in the Sky)" under nickname Filip Jánský.

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

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    I'm totally unqualified to comment on the possibilities etc..., but as already pointed out, why dump the bombs and then fly on to the target anyway? I suppose it would make the aircraft more manouverable if required and some crews were known to ditch part of their loads to gain a better performance. Possibly that was the thinking behind it all.

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    Just a thought about story 3 - were CC aircraft used for operations over Germany?

    Brian

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    Story 3. My subject was in Coastal Command No.415 (Swordfish) Sqdn RCAF. I never met him. I am preparing a service profile at the request of his family (I'm doing some preliminary inquiries while waiting for the service papers from Ottawa). People who knew him said he claimed to have gone up on flights unauthorised. In July 1944, No.415 Sqdn was transferred to Bomber Command and outfitted with Halifax bombers.

    Pavel, thanks for the input on unauthorised personnel going up on CC flights. Many ground-crew had washed-out of aircrew by the slimmest of margins but were keen on 'getting their digs in' on Gerry. My subject washed-out of aircrew due to a blue/green colour 'blindness.'

    Brian, I have not found evidence of CC aircraft attacking pre-planned German targets, with the possible exception of a German port, or two, while searching out U-boats. The stories my subject told of ground-crew going up on bombing ops into Germany may have been referring to former CC No.415 Sqdn ground-crew after being transferred to Bomber Command; therefore, at that time they would have been unauthorised Bomber Command ground-crew.

    Recently, while searching for information on this topic I have heard unconfirmed reports of unauthorised personnel going up on ops, being shot down and captured, spending the rest of the war in a German POW camp, and all the while being listed as AWOL from their original Sqdn... but I suppose that's another story.

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    "Brian, I have not found evidence of CC aircraft attacking pre-planned German targets, with the possible exception of a German port, or two, while searching out U-boats."


    It did not happen often but on the 25th June 1942 several Coastal Command aircraft and crews took part in the first 1,000 bomber raid to Bremen .


    Squadron Cat E losses were:


    No.320 Sqn T9435
    No.206 Sqn AM606
    No.206 Sqn AM762 (2 PoW)
    No.311 Sqn Z1090


    Along with the CC line Squadrons No.6 OTU sent 10 Hudsons and No.1 OTU 20 Hudson with one aircraft failing to return.


    Ross
    Last edited by Ross_McNeill; 24th February 2014 at 09:22.
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    After I helped do a service profile on my late father, people contacted me asking if I could do one for their military relative. I am a novice researcher and I don't know many aspects of the military and how it works; consequently, I tell people up-front there will most likely be mistakes and/or omissions in their profile. I have done three profiles so far, am working on a fourth, and do not charge save for expenses.

    Ross, thanks for the input on CC aircraft that were used in combat ops into Germany. I suppose that, at the time, the returning CC aircrew were envied by the CC personnel who did not go on the 1,000 bomber raid, and that having such few CC aircraft involved in active bombing ops into Germany only whetted their appetites for more.

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