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Thread: 8-Group Met. Recce flight to Dessau, March 7-8, 1945

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    Default 8-Group Met. Recce flight to Dessau, March 7-8, 1945

    I am researching my father’s operation to Dessau, March 7-8, 1945. The “Appreciation of the Raid Report” for this operation indicates there was a 8-Group Met. Recce flight to Dessau, that night, however the radio interferences prevented the Master Bomber from “receiving the Met” [communication].

    Lyffe: as the resident expert, are you aware of any records from this flight? My father’s logbook indicates he was “Coned Magdeburg” he recalls it being a very frightening experience. The “Appreciation of the Raid Report” comfirms the searchlights coming at Magdeburg, but this city was off the route. We’re winds such that aircraft were blown of course?

    https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?m...4460670845&z=8

    Jim

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    I'm afraid you are opening up a can of worms, Jim, and the best I can do is throw in some thoughts for you. For anyone else who knows more about these things, I am more than happy to be corrected.

    1. My understanding is that met reconnaissance flights took place before a raid, the intention being to update a forecast before the bomber stream departed from the UK. How do the times of your father's flight compare with those of the raid proper?

    2. I believe there would have been a stiff wind from the NNW at about 18000 ft, but without actual values I cannot say how strong. Did the raid report give any indication that the bombers themselves were blown off-course?

    3. My understanding is that met reconnaissance flights did not fly to the target since, if they were flown in advance of a raid, the defences would be ready for the raid.

    4. My understanding is that at this stage of the war selected aircraft at the head of a bomber stream were nominated as wind finders; their task was to transmit found winds for predetermined legs, back to HQ Bomber Command for comparison with forecast winds. Significant differences prompted the broadcast of revised winds for the remainder of an operation - i.e forecast winds were continuously updated. These were the winds navigators were required to use to ensure the stream reached the target at the planned time, rather than in a haphazard fashion which would be the case if every navigator used the winds he had calculated - one navigator's winds could be considerably different to another's.

    I'd hate to say more than that without seeing all the evidence - but please, anyone, correct me if I'm in error.

    Brian

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    From the “Appreciation of Raid” report from 6-Group:

    “T.O.T. 2158-2230. 10/17700 ft.

    220/243 Lancasters of 1 Group, 116/124 Lancasters of 3 Group, 78/82 Lancasters of 6 Group, 66/1 (Not sure what 66/1 means? Likely this is in error.) Lancasters and 6/6 Mosquitoes of 8 Group attacked the target over 8/10 to 10/10 cloud. A film unit Mosquito of 5 Group and a met recce. Mosquito of 8 Group also completed their missions although interferences prevented the M.B. from receiving the met. broadcast...

    Defences: Moderate flak, barrage form bursting 10/12000 ft. over target. Accurate predicted H.F. and a concentration of S/L’s coning Brunswick/Magdeburg areas...”

    Brian, et al. Your suggestion on wind strength and direction (NNW) would result in them being blown south-east of the route and that might explain why they ended up over Magdeburg on their outward trip to the target. Dad’s aircraft bombed 2 minutes after the raid commenced at 2200 hrs, at 14000’, so he wasn’t late reaching the target. The bombing photo and ORB confirm the track was “due south” (183 degrees T) during the bombing run.

    I got the sense from the Appreciation of the Raid” report that there was supposed to have been communication between the M.B. and the recce. Mosquito during the raid. Perhaps I misinterpreted that.

    Jim

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    The Master Bomber was S/L P.R. Mellor of 635 Squadron who reported "We called the Recco. Mosquito at 21.44 hrs. but received no reply. We contacted the D.M.B. at 21.45 but he had received no message from the Mosquito at 21.46." The Deputy Master Bomber, F/L G.A. Thorne confirms this in his comments as well. Mellor also stated after calling in Illuminators and Blind Markers. "We repeated this at 21.52 hrs. and M/F to check their transmitters as two a/c were broadcasting and we suspected our transmissions were being jammed."
    Cheers

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    Very useful David. Was this information available in the 635 ORB or some other source?

    Jim

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    It was indeed in the 635 ORB Jim.

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