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Thread: RAF "PERCOLATE" Operations

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    Default RAF "PERCOLATE" Operations

    While researching various aspects of Coastal Command Operations I have come across reference in ORB's to "Percolate" operations but can find very little information about what these were.

    I believe they were some form of combined operation between Wellington and Beaufighter units where the Wellington located surface targets using ASV and then illuminated them with flares to allow Beaufighters to attack. This would be very similar to "Gilbey" operations which were conducted off the Dutch coast and "Ashfield" operations which were essentially the same as "Gilbey" but took place off Norway.

    Any information on "Percolate" and how it differed from Gilbey / Ashfield would be much appreciated.

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    John,

    It's in Danish http://www.luftkrig1939-45.dk/pdf/Marts_1945/Kap_20.pdf

    Percolate and ConeboI clear nights with or without moonlight, it was possible to control the attack aircraft in the form of Beaufighters against enemy motor torpedo boats and expose lights for subsequent attacks by machine guns. A particularly shady Wellington with maximum load of target marking bombs and light bombs was sent to a patrol area across the supposed German sailing route. The attack aircraft were sent to a waiting area within the VHF range of the shadowing Wellington. When ACHQ got enough information from the shadowing plane, they could activate Percolate while sending out information about the enemy force's position, course and speed of multiple radio frequencies. Shadowing Wellington would then: - Receive the order via radio and then call the 'Percolate' attack aircraft on the radio and warn them of the target flight to a position to intercept the motor torpedo boats and after locating the enemy send the first message via W / T by using Group 425 and later repeating it on VHF / RT. Decide where the forces were to meet and lay out a series of six marine markers at the selected position. Marine fields were to be laid in the direction of the enemy course-called Percolate Strike Aircraft via VHF / RT and / or W / T and order them to approach the hostile force followed by the position of the meeting point.-turn on IFF and / or Give Roosters , after which the Wellington had to turn up to the enemy force and shadow it all while sending position messages via VHF / RT. - when two or more 'Percolate Strike Aircraft' were heard send 'Contact' over the WHF rise up to 4,000 feet and send direction and distance of the enemy force's position relative to the meeting point.-throw a Skymarker White Drip to mark the rear of the enemy force and immediately send the hiding word 'Ready' via the VHF, followed three minutes later with the order 'Now' .- about two minutes after dispatching 'Now' throw target marking bombs in a semi-circle with a radius of two to three kilometers on the opposite side of the enemy force as the ten previous draft White Drip. At the moonlight, light bombs are thrown upmoon from the enemy force taking into account wind drift. The attackers in the attack force will: - sign for the 'Percolate' message from the shading Wellington and head towards the meeting point using the IFF / GEE Rooster-at the meeting point circles left around marine fields in command height and send the message 'Contact'. If Percolate Strike aircraft could not find the marine fields, they should send out the hiding word
    'Orbit'. If there were other Beaufighters who were in contact with the fields, they should throw a White Drip and at the same time broadcast the radio signal 'Beaulights' via the VHF Beaufighter, upon receipt of the shadowing Wellington's message of direction and distance to the enemy flying to the position of the enemy force and attack with rockets or machine guns when the artificial moon path was set up. If one of the Beaufighters failed to attack the German motor torpedo boats in the first instance, the crew of the radio should ask for a renewed attack, after which the Wellington plane would again throw a White Drip over the rear of it. enemy force and the whole attack procedure would repeat itself with Mark V Recce Flares.Percolate Wellington brought maximum load of target marking bombs, three Skymarkers White Drip, maximum number of Mark V Recco Flares, and twelve Markers Marine.Percolate Strike aircraft brought maximum number of Skymarkers White Drip on the stations on the wings as well as 20 mm machine guns and possibly rockets
    Regards,

    Dave

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    Dave - that's brilliant !

    This basically confirms my thinking but I can see that Percolate was a bit more elaborate than Gilbey / Ashfield and looks to have involved rather more "command and control" using WT/RT on the part of the Wellington crew. This also confirms that Wellingtons on Percolate missions would have been carrying large quantities of flares which is significant to one of the things I've been looking at.

    Many thanks for your assistance - greatly appreciated.

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    I wish I could read Danish...the material on that link looks excellent...never seen the like before!!!
    Thanks very much
    Steve

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