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Thread: 408 Squadron Halifaxes - Mandrel equipment?

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    Default 408 Squadron Halifaxes - Mandrel equipment?

    Hello all

    Apologies if this is a daft question. I've just come across the following excerpt in the 408 Sqn ORB, for a mission on February 16th, 1943, to l'Orient: 'Mandrel was used as instructed'. Two aircraft, DT675 and DT679 have this note in the ORB, on several dates from February, though not on all the missions flown by these two Halifaxes.

    I'd thought that Mandrel was only used by Squadrons from 100 Group? Or was Mandrel available to 'normal' Squadrons?

    Regards

    Simon

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    Simon

    The 199 ORB records as early as 8 January 1943 that W/Ops were lectured on "Mandrill". This was in the days when the Squadron were in 1 Group and flying Wellingtons. The Squadron, after leaving 3 Group in 1944 and joining 100 Group, were used as a RCM Squadron operating, amongst other electronic wizadry, Mandrel.

    Douglas

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    Hello,

    I can confirm that at this period each bomber squadron had a couple of Mandrel-equiped aircraft. These may be identified by an additional antenna under the nose.

    Best wishes,

    Jérémie

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    Thank you both, Douglas and Jérémie.

    Would Mandrel have needed a specialist operator in the crew? The book 'Aircraft of 100 Group' by Martin Streetly describes the Mandrel as eight electronic sets, racked along the fuselage, operated by a specialist operator provided with a seat and bench between the wing spars. The 408 Sqn ORB gives the normal seven crew for the two 'Mandrel' aircraft though.

    Regards

    Simon

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    Hi Simon - As Jérémie says, Mandrel equipped Main Force squadrons. It was first deployed in Dec '42 (at the same time as Tinsel) - including to 515 Sqn (Defiants), whose role was to screen the enemy coast from Den Helder to Cherbourg. There was also a chain of high-powered Ground Mandrel stations along the south coast.

    The initial scale for Airborne Mandrel was two aircraft per Main force squadron (ie not PFF). The number had to be increased progressively. This was due to the expansion of the Freya frequency band and to a change to Airborne Mandrel to provide automatic switching (2 mins on, 2 mins off) so that individual aircraft couldn't be homed on (could halve the effective capability at any one time).


    515 Sqn's contribution was ineffective by Jul '43 (the a/c couldn't carry enough eqpt to cover the additional Freya frequencies) and Airborne Mandrel discontinued until resurrected for 100 Group.

    By the end of Aug '43, the increasing size of the bomber force, the widening Freya frequency bands and its deployment inland to the GCI boxes meant effective Airborne Mandrel would require 600 a/c to be equipped. However, the maximum number equipped peaked at 200 and fell to 150 by the time it was withdrawn from Main Force in Jul '44.

    Both Mandrel and Tinsel were operated by the existing W/Op.

    HTH,

    Richard
    Last edited by Richard; 21st March 2014 at 18:15.

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    Great, thank you Richard.

    Regards

    Simon

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