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Thread: RAF Loss Cards

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    Default RAF Loss Cards

    Good Afternoon
    Can anyone please enlighten me regarding entries in the "Time of Fixes" and "Location of Fixes" boxes on Loss Cards. What might such entries mean and how were they known by base if the aircraft had crashed?
    Specifically, the Loss Card for Lancaster JB645 (Berlin raid 1 January 1944) contains the following entry in the Time of Fixes Box "0255 H2S u/s"
    This aircraft crashed near Berlin and all the crew were killed. Obviously this means that the H2S system was unserviceable but how would this be known when the Loss Card was completed and what type of fix might have been timed at 0255?
    Incidentally zero hour was 0300 and the primary blind markers due at z - 2, was this relevant?

    Regards
    Roy Wilcock
    Aircrew Remembered

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    Hi Roy,

    if the WOP would request a fix, it might be recorded by the ground station. For example I have seen a log of operational sorties of 311 Sq from 1941 recorded by the base Wireless Operator where all messages from each aircraft has been noticed - fixers, QDMs, etc.
    "0255 H2S u/s" - I would agree that H2S system was unserviceable and message from aircraft with this information has been received at 0255.
    So from my point of view this info has nothing to do with fix - otherwise there will be written position - in plain or coded format.

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by CZ_RAF View Post
    Hi Roy,

    if the WOP would request a fix, it might be recorded by the ground station. For example I have seen a log of operational sorties of 311 Sq from 1941 recorded by the base Wireless Operator where all messages from each aircraft has been noticed - fixers, QDMs, etc.
    "0255 H2S u/s" - I would agree that H2S system was unserviceable and message from aircraft with this information has been received at 0255.
    So from my point of view this info has nothing to do with fix - otherwise there will be written position - in plain or coded format.

    Pavel
    Hi Pavel
    Many thanks for your reply. I have a couple of observations about your suggestions.

    1. I understand from ex bomber aircrew that the radios of the day were not capable of transmitting over such a distance i.e Germany to England.
    2. Radio silence was maintained after take off until nearing England/base on return and within radio range.
    3. What would be the point in letting base know that H2S was u/s when already over target area?

    Sorry for my tardy reply
    Regards
    Roy

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    Roy,
    From what I understand, RAF aircraft radios of the day WERE capable of transmitting and receiving Morse only messages between Germany and the UK. However, as you say, use of this equipment was greatly restricted in the interests of security. It was usually only the (voice) R/T (Radio Telephony) which suffered with VERY short operating range, which the RAF thought was an advantage as they used the R/T sets for routine aerodrome control and circuit work, believing that the Germans had no means of detecting the rather weak signals. Unfortunately for the RAF, the Germans knew quite a lot about radios, and good aerial design, and constructed receiving stations specifically intended to intercept these weak signals, so had a fair idea of when a big raid was being mounted by the RAF. This was only discovered late in the war, if not postwar. If I have got any of these details wrong, I apologize.
    David D

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    Roy (David),
    David is absolutely right. H/F W/T can be used between two adjacent stations (the Ground Wave effect), but it can also be used over very long distances (the Sky Wave effect) whereby the transmitted signal is reflected off an atmospheric ionised layer and – by one (or more) ‘bounces’ – reach well beyond the physical horizon. These various ionised layers have (inter alia) diurnal and annual cycles. In WW2 the forecasting of the best H/F frequencies to use over what distances and at what times was more of an art-form than a science (some are convinced it still is!!). H/F W/T from E Germany (and beyond!) was perfectly feasible – and used.
    VHF R/T was, basically, line-of-sight voice communication. It was in its very early days in WW2. The Germans could hear our RAF circuit ‘chatter’ with good aerials, but we could also hear them at RAF Kingsdown, Kent (and outstations). Much SIGINT was gained, and fluent German speakers were even employed to give the Luftwaffe conflicting/contradictory ‘instructions’! Our ‘expert’ is probably Ian The Radar (if he’s on the circuit). If not, then Bletchley and the RAF 'Y' Service will have the detail.
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Apologies for introducing a meteorological element into the discussion, but for both sides of the conflict met information was equally important to both. With the outbreak of war international met communications were broken, and while the British quickly broke the German code used for met broadcasts (spring of 1940), the Germans were never able to break the British code.

    In this respect German forces were always at a disadvantage, but developed ways to overcome the deficiency. The following extracts are taken from an interview with Dr. Rudolf Benkendorff, Director of the German Met Service at the High Command of the German air Force in 1946 - the interviewers were Allied officers.

    The most important results were supplied by the listening and deciphering service of GAF Signals, which gave very useful indications of the prevalent weather conditions in England from QAM reports or parts of QAM reports picked up in the course of their tactical listening-in. Sometimes forecasts were also picked up i.e. from Ronaldsay or Liverpool.

    The state of the weather in certain districts of England could also be deduced indirectly from the extent and contents of wireless messages involved in training and practice flights in the RAF.

    A considerable number of individual met messages from ground stations to Bombers returning from missions were also picked up.


    This would support David's previous post.

    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyffe View Post
    Apologies for introducing a meteorological element into the discussion, but for both sides of the conflict met information was equally important to both. With the outbreak of war international met communications were broken, and while the British quickly broke the German code used for met broadcasts (spring of 1940), the Germans were never able to break the British code.

    In this respect German forces were always at a disadvantage, but developed ways to overcome the deficiency. The following extracts are taken from an interview with Dr. Rudolf Benkendorff, Director of the German Met Service at the High Command of the German air Force in 1946 - the interviewers were Allied officers.

    The most important results were supplied by the listening and deciphering service of GAF Signals, which gave very useful indications of the prevalent weather conditions in England from QAM reports or parts of QAM reports picked up in the course of their tactical listening-in. Sometimes forecasts were also picked up i.e. from Ronaldsay or Liverpool.

    The state of the weather in certain districts of England could also be deduced indirectly from the extent and contents of wireless messages involved in training and practice flights in the RAF.

    A considerable number of individual met messages from ground stations to Bombers returning from missions were also picked up.


    This would support David's previous post.

    Brian
    Good Morning Gentlemen,
    Many thanks to you all for your most welcome input.

    Accepting that Morse signals were possible I am still left with the conundrum as to why it was
    (a) Deemed necessary to let base know that the H2S was u/s.
    (b) Do so at the time of the bombing run.

    I am also left with the question that if such signals were the norm then surely entries in the "time of fix" box on Loss Cards would be fairly common, which they are not.

    Regards
    Roy

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