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Thread: More on Chemnitz, 5/6-March-1945

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    Default More on Chemnitz, 5/6-March-1945

    I apologize for another post on this operation but the more I research it, the more questions come up. This concerns conflicting historical documents on the tactics for the return flight by the force generally and by 6-Group, in particular. KB.778 of 428 Squadron crashed in the Ardennes "Mountains" in the vicinity of Baraque Fraiture. The only details I currently have are from the Form 1180 "Accident Report Cards".

    http://lancasterbombersinfo.ipage.co...ch/prt1/1.html

    For ease of search, I have posted screen captures here:

    http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries...-Loss-Card-p-1

    http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries...-Loss-Card-p-2

    On page 2: The pilot was found at fault: “A/C 29 miles N of track but Nav. appeared to know position as he warned pilot A/C over high ground and told him to climb. A/C would not gain height. Pilot did not follow tactics as laid down, (illegible) below cloud, where as briefed to fly 4,000’ above cloud. Pilot’s preparation for flight was very careless Pilot L.C."

    However. Those were not the tactics I have found that were a) presented in the Form "B" for the operation by 6-Group, or b) recorded in the flight plan that was logged for the return trip by dad's navigator. Also the 419 Squadron ORB records Dad's concern about icing over the French Coast noting that coming out from French Coast, the briefed heights were too low for the icing conditions. F/O Peter Tulk reported that the force should have returned over England at 8,000’ and F/L Fred Dawson stated that the icing at the French coast was too high for briefing heights. S/L Dave Hunter offered the sarcastic and damming inditement that “…route and tactics good if Met had been right…”

    So, what were the briefed heights? The Form "B" records "...A rich mixture climb at 160 IAS to 9000 to 11000 ft, level out and cruise at 190 IAS to 0600E on Track. At this position increase speeds to 220 IAS letting down at 500 ft per min. To 3,500-5,500 ft. Level out and cruise at 190 IAS to 5000N 0200E. AT this position increase to 220 IAS and let down 500 ft per min to 2-4,000 ft.

    I don't see anything anywhere that speaks to flying at 4,000 ft above cloud.
    The 6-Group Flight plan:

    http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries...-B-flight-plan

    The Flight plan recorded in F/O Seales Log:

    http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries...z-5-March-1945

    However, 1-Group's flight plan indicates higher heights than those in either of the two documents above:

    http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries...-B-flight-plan

    So, I'm at a loss. The 419 Squadron ORB record the concerns the returning pilots had with the flight plan. Dad completely ignored the plan: at 2337 they are at 0600E Seale records they are at 9,500' and shortly thereafter he records they are climbing out of clouds and at 15,000' and which he maintains all the way to Base.

    The only possibility is that pilots were told to climb above icing, regardless of the plan. However, that is more of a practice than a "briefed tactic."

    Sigh! I guess I will never know.

    Jim

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    Default Re: More on Chemnitz, 5/6-March-1945

    This is the 4-Group flight plan...different than the 6-Group flight plan.

    http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries...-B-flight-plan

    BTW: I'm interested if anyone can discern the illegible word in the Form 1180 above.

    Jim

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    Default Re: More on Chemnitz, 5/6-March-1945

    Jim,

    I think the word is "descended".

    The Form 765 is in the service file of navigator Ashdown. W/Op Snell says Nav asked Pilot to climb at they were over high ground "but aircraft would not gain height and the next thing we crashed".

    Navigation Leader F/Lt H. Wilson stated "the aircraft was 29 miles North of track. Height of Land was 2110 ft. Tactics called for a 3500 - 5500 height band. Apparently icing conditions forced the aircraft lower than safety height, hence aircraft flew into high ground"

    Regards,

    Dave

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    Default Re: More on Chemnitz, 5/6-March-1945

    Thanks Dave. That might be the correct word. So your “tactics” match what I have 6-Group and Seale’s flight plan. As mentioned, the 419 Sqn pilots were critical of this height as being too low and Seale’s log records dad flew from 0600E much higher than specified in “tactics”.

    By my count, as many as 10 6-Group a/c were lost on this operation, in which icing was either the root cause or a contributory factor.

    Jim

    Jim

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    Default Re: More on Chemnitz, 5/6-March-1945

    Note that the Loss Card, misidentifies the pilot as "Mytrak". His correct name is "Mytruk". The link below to the photos of the Loss Card refer to "Mytrak"

    Jim

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