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Thread: Pathfinder Squadrons in Operation 'Tractable' Normandy Battle front 14/08/44

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    Default Pathfinder Squadrons in Operation 'Tractable' Normandy Battle front 14/08/44

    Can anybody tell me which PFF Squadrons were involved in the operation by the Bomber Command 14/08/44 in support of the Allied army drive against Falaise, Normandy?

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    Barnsley -The 8 Group FORM B No.62 for TRACTABLE reads:

    (1) A/P 21A at 1400 HRS - 4/105 + 2/109 + 6/405 +100/4 Group
    (2) A/P 21B at 1418 HRS - 4/105 + 2/109 + 6/635 + 30/1 Group + 60/5 Group
    (3) A/P 22 at 1436 HRS - 3/105 + 3/109 + 2/7 + 2/35 + 2/582 + 60/4 Group + 40/PFF
    (4) A/P 23 at 1454 HRS - 3/105 +3/109 + 6/156 + 100/6 Group
    (5) A/P 28 at 1512 HRS - 3/105 + 3/109 + 6/582 + 120/ 6 Group
    (6) A/P 25 at 1530 HRS - 3/105 + 3/109 + 6/7 + 100/1 Group
    (7) A/P 24 at 1548 HRS - 2/105 + 4/109 + 6/35 + 100/3 Group

    DURATION OF ALL ATTACKS = 8 MINS.
    Cheers
    DW

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    Barnsley

    No. 35 Squadron's ORB shows that 14 aircraft were involved in the operation.

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Thank you both for your replies. Is there any information about where the aiming points were and which Squadron provided the Master Bomber? This operation went badly wrong as you will know.

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    No. 35 Squadron's ORB has a Master Bomber and Deputy Master Bomber listed .... no details on aiming points.

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    The aiming point that became an issue was A/P 28, where some aircraft mistakenly dropped their bombs short of the target on units of the First Canadian Army in a quarry, resulting in many deaths. The Master Bomber and the Deputy Master Bomber on A/P 28 were from 582 Squadron. I just finished an excellent new book by 582 Squadron Rear Gunner W/O Joe Harrison DFC, called "The War Years 1939 - 1945".
    Joe and his crew were on A/P 28 and in his book it describes confusion between the Master and Deputy heard over the radio. When they landed, they were met by Military Police who took their cameras immediately, telling the crew members to remain in their positions in the aircraft and to talk to no one. They were then placed under guard. This also happened to the Master Bomber and Deputy Master Bomber's crews. After an hour of waiting in the aircraft and wondering what was going on, several staff cars came out to the dispersals, collected the three crews and took them to the station HQ. There the crews were astonished to see all of Bomber Command's top brass, except Sir Arthur Harris. 8 Group C.O. Donald Bennett was also there and together they interrogated all the crews involved. I believe they also questioned the two 109 Squadron crews who marked A/P 28 first using Oboe. In the end the Deputy seems to shoulder some of the blame and he and his Bomb Aimer were soon off the Squadron. A number of main force crews were also established to be at fault and action taken was against them.
    This was not the only mistake like this and Sir Arthur Harris wrote a report called "Report On Bombing Our Own Troops During Operation "Tractable":14 August 1944 ". You can download it here:
    http://scholars.wlu.ca/cmh/vol15/iss3/8/
    Last edited by David Wallace; 21st May 2015 at 10:54.

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