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Thread: Gee (T1335)

  1. #1
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    Default Gee (T1335)

    Can anyone please tell me what was the first front line "Heavy" squadron in Bomber Command to be equipped with Gee.

    TIA
    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    Default Gee

    G'day Steve

    I believe the honour goes to No. 115 'Hong Kong' (B) Squadron.

    The squadron undertook initial Service trials of Gee. A series of four Gee trials were undertaken in total. The first took place over the North Sea and the rest over enemy territory. The first combat operation was carried out on the night of 11/12th of August 1941. Two Gee-equipped Wimpys operated over the Rhur. They found their target (Munchen Gladbach) without having to carry out any search and successfully bombed it using Gee co-ordinates.

    Cheers...Chris

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    Default Gee

    Oops, I did not read the word 'Heavy'.


    R.A.F. Bomber Command began installing Gee boxes in Wimpys and Stirlings circa March 1942. Stirlings from No. 3 Group (along with Wellingtons from the same Group) were given the responsibility of marking the three aiming points during the first 1,000 bomber op that saw much of Cologne bombed on the night of the 30th/31st of May 1942.

    No. 3 Group's No. 7 (B) Squadron and No. 149 'East India' (B) Squadron, both equipped with Stirlings took part in the monumental operation.

    No. 1 Group's contribution was entirely made up of Wimpys of which a number were equipped with Gee and used along side No. 3 Group aircraft to mark the aiming points.

    1,047 aircraft were dispatched, this number being made up as follows:

    No. 1 (B) Group
    156 Wellingtons

    3 (B) Group
    134 Wellingtons
    88 Stirlings
    For a total of 222 aircraft

    No. 44 (B) Group
    131 Halifaxes
    9 Wellingtons
    7 Whitleys
    For a total of 147 aircraft

    No. 5 (B) Group
    73 Lancasters
    46 Manchesters
    34 Hampdens
    For a total of 153 aircraft

    No. 91 (O. T.) Group
    236 Wellingtons
    21 Whitleys
    For a total of 257 aircraft

    No. 92 (O. T.) Group
    63 Wellingtons
    45 Hampdens
    For a total of 108 aircraft

    Flying Training Command
    4 Wellingtons

    So Steve, based on that, it could have been either No. 7 or No. 149 (B) Squadron. Then again they could have both recieved Gee at the same time.

    Cheers...Chris

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    Default

    hello,

    For the Tirpitz raids in April 1942, 6 Halifaxes (including W1047 and W1048) were transferred from No. 102 Squadron (from memory) to No. 35 Squadron, because they had been equiped with Gee on the factory line (or wired for). 6 non-equiped Halifaxes made the other way round. The fact is clearly mentioned in No. 35 Squadron ORB. I seem to remember that other Gee equiped Halifaxes had already found their way to the Squadrons tasked with the attacks on the Tirpitz. I don't have the ORB read at hand (visiting the board during my lunch break), but can have a look tonight. Or perhaps Linzee would have the document ready at hand ?

    Joss

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    Default

    Hello, some info to add to the mix!

    In Tirpitz the Halifax Raids by Nigel Smith he writes:
    "W1048 'S-Sugar' was one of six aircraft ferried by RAF pilots from 102 Squadron on that day (9th April 1942), being exchanged for six 35 Sqdn Halifaxes having 'special modifications' on them. These 'special modifications' were the TR 1335 sets, the new, secret GEE navigational aid. Since the operation over Norway would be beyond the range of the GEE stations it had been decided either to remove the sets from these aircraft or exchange the aircraft themselves for others. In this way no unnecessary GEE sets would be in danger of being captured by the enemy if an aircraft came down on land. They could be put to use in the air over Germany instead."

    In We Act with One Accord by Alan Cooper he writes (relating to the mid February 1942 period for 35 Sqdn):
    "At this time the first Halifax II's arrived with ther 1,390hp engine and a dorsal turret. Also the introduction of GEE...."

    Form 541 from the 35 Sqdn ORB's for February 1942 has a remark "This Squadron was screened during this month from Operations due to special modifications"

    It does not specify that the modifications were the installation of TR 1335 sets but it would appear that this was indeed what the modifications were and indeed I have heard it said by some of the former Squadron members in the past, and the other information provided here seems to back that up.

    I also have a copy of an Ops Order for the attack on Tirpitz that took place at the end of March 1942. From HQ No.4 Group Operation Order No.9 dated 21st March 1942, it clearly states in section 20. "All TR 1335 equipment is to be removed before aircraft proceed to advanced base"

    So in summary it would appear that 35 Squadron were equipped with TR 1335 in February 1942 and that any aircraft taking part in the ops against Tirpitz in Norway in both March & April 1942 had GEE sets removed before they left for their advanced bases in Scotland. The other Halifax Sqdns taking part were 10 and 76 but I'm not sure what their GEE status was at that time as I only went through the 35 Sqdn stuff I had to hand.

    Hope that helps a bit.

    Regards
    Linzee
    Last edited by Linzee; 15th September 2008 at 16:04. Reason: Additional info and silly typos :-)

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    Default

    hello Linzee,

    I'm looking at my copy of No. 35 Squadron ORB, and indeed I was confused by the choice of words and the lack of a coma, as we would have found in French. I quote :
    "Apl 9th. Six Halifax aircraft Mk II's W.1047 W.1048 W.1049 W.1050 W.1051 W.1053 arrived from No. 102 Squadron Topcliffe ferried by R.A.F. pilots, these were exchanged for six of our own aircraft having special modifications on them."

    I was also confused by the fact that when W1047 crashed in October 1942, she had "Gee", according to the loss card. But the set could have been retrofitted later on, especially when No. 35 became a founding member of the Pathfinder Force, in August 1942.

    Back to Steve's original question about "heavies", I think that No. 7 or XV Squadron on Stirlings may have used "Gee" before No. 35 Squadron. Michael J.F. Bowyer in "The Stirling Story" published by Crécy mentions on page 91 "At Rochester on 21 November [1941] the fitting in Stirlings of Gee was fully discussed and N3639 became the first to carry it as Modification 436, with N3681 just off the production line being set aside for Shorts trials."

    Page 95 ; "Bomber Command's basic problem had long been finding even large targets at nigh. Reliance had been places on moonlight but Gee, the new radio aid, was expected to deliver greater accuracy, and to this highly secret equipment Flt Lt 'Ted Jones" of XV Squadron was introduced early in 1942.
    No XV Squadron was one of the first to have Gee. We were shown it by WO Lambert at Alconbury and in strict secrecy. "This is IT", he said. "This is THE GEN". to us it at once became the 'Gen Box', or 'Gee' for short. Detonators were installed inthe aircraft to destroy the secret parts of the equipment to prevent enemy capture, and included was an electric furnace in which one was supposed to destroy the special lattice charts ! The detonators had a nasty habit of somtimes going off accidentally and completely upsetting the poor navigator trying to get a fix."

    That "early 1942" matches with No. 35 Squadron having Gee in around February 1942.

    Perhaps a Stirling specialist could expand on the subject ?

    Joss

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    Default

    Hello everyone,

    Thank you all for your posts & help. I think it safe to say that 218 was not the first "heavy" squadron to be equipped with TR1335 within No.3 Group. The first operation carried out by 218 using TR1335 was March 8th 1942 against the Krupps works at Essen.

    Of interest, on this raid the war artist David Thorton-Smith operated with F/Lt Livingston, does anyone have any details on this artist. ??

    Regards

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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