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Thread: War Weary bombers..what happened to them

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    Jim M Guest

    Default War Weary bombers..what happened to them

    Looking through some books the other day about Operation Aphrodite, the US effort to use combat-time expired bombers as flying bombs against targets on the continent, I was wondering if the RAF ever did something like that.

    A link from Wikipedia about it - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Aphrodite

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    Don't know about time-expired aircraft being used in that way Jim, but they were certainly passed on to the Operational Training Units - after which they (at least the Halifaxes) sometimes ended up with the meteorological reconnaissance squadrons.

    Brian

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    Hi Jim,

    I can not remember any example when RAF used time-expired aircraft as a "flying bomb".
    In most cases older planes or obsolete types were pull back from operation units and attached to training units like SFTS, OTU, HCU, etc. Even older planes in small amount served for ground instruction when unable to fly.

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

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    I think most of the Met Recce Halifaxes were built as GR types for Coastal Command and diverted into the Met units, rather than being worn hand-me-downs as such. Aircraft that had been in the front-line (possibly more than once after overhauls) and the HCUs would be scrapped or reallocated as maintenance airframes, once considered too far gone for continued flying.

    One comment on terms: I suspect aircraft types actually declared "obsolete" would be scrapped at that point. The term for older types no longer suitable for front-line service but still useful elsewhere was "obsolescent". It must have been a fairly fine point at times.
    Last edited by Graham Boak; 27th August 2008 at 17:28.

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    Thanks Graham for correction You know for me as fo non-native English speaker it is sometime quite difficult to choose the exact word - and this was one of these cases:-)

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

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    I admire anyone who can write in a foreign language, but especially those who do it as well as you do. I don't think there is anyone whose use of language cannot be corrected, at some time, particularly on the more technical terms. I tend to assume that people would like to know the better word, but this is not always true!

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    Thanks for compliment Graham:-)
    I will try to improve my English a little bit more as I would like to write a RAF book in English once:-)

    Pavel

    P.S: Sorry for off-topic posts Jim
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
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    Graham,

    I was a bit sweeping in my statement that the Met Squadrons were equipped with hand-me downs, but I wasn't that far from the truth. I put the question to an Ex-Met Air Observer who has done a considerable amount of research into the the Met Squadrons, and who is currently looking at the histories of the aircraft used.

    The first Halifaxes were mostly Mk Vs, some were new, but others had been used by Bomber Command or the OTUs. The squadrons converted to Mk IIIs during the latter months of 1944; whilst most of these came direct from the factory, there were still a few that arrived via Bomber Command (although not excessively used).

    Brian

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    It is good to find out that such research is ongoing, and I look forward to the eventual publication.

    It was common to send older airframes to units for conversion flying, particularly to units still operationally active on earlier types during conversion. Possibly at least some of the used individual aircraft were in this role rather than operational. I do know of at least one A Mk.IX used postwar by a Met unit - to my knowledge the only Hercules-engined variant in Coastal white camouflage. If your friend comes up with evidence of others I shall be more than interested! Not least because it will mean the modelling of such an aircraft without having to create a twin-.50 rear turret.

    I didn't mean to rule out completely the use of second-hand aircraft in the Met role, but to highlight that many of these aircraft were indeed new from the manufacturer, particularly perhaps in the case of late-production Merlin Halis, which were no longer needed as bombers. Also, the final Mk.VIs were built as Met aircraft

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    Graham,

    If you are after photos try and get a copy of 'Even the birds were walking' by John Kington and Peter Rackliff; it's an account of the met squadrons. In the meantime I've emailed you a photo from my collection. Peter is my contact, and very knowledgeable - he was also a MAO.

    I'm away for a week as of tomorrow, so I can't take it any further at the moment.


    Brian

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