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Thread: Mont Fleury Coastal Battery, Normandy

  1. #21
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    Allan I have sent a couple of pages by email - routes with fighter encounters plus the information for Longues. I will check for more, the raid report is around 15 pages.
    I have found a few ORBs online that document the attack at St. Pierre du Mont and I imagine there are others online that cover the other targets. 463/467 Sqns. http://www.467463raafsquadrons.com/L02Pgs/orbsTimeLine.htm
    97 Sqn.
    http://www.97squadronassociation.co.uk/flightops.html
    Makes for interesting reading, both are great sites.
    Dave

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    Thanks Allan for the suggestion. The class is going to nearby Arromanches museum but I have already been told they are on a tight schedule (and under firm control, since they are only 15 yrs old) and so can't fit in more than that and the trip to Beny-sur-Mers.

    I am doing research on a number of other students from their school who served with the RCAF and will post some queries in due course, so I may take you up on that offer shortly.

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    Default Information from David / reply to dfuller

    Hi David and Dfuller

    David - Many thanks for the information - I have already responded with some information on Longues and a query as the map shows it near to Rouen and not to the north of Bayeux and west of Arromanche.

    dfuller52 - Thanks for your information - please drop me an e-mail and I will send you the promised pictures of the memorials at Longues and Bazenville because of their Canadian connection.

    In the meantime, can I heartily recommend the superb website of Dave Clark, it also has the memorials at Bazenville, and a location ALG map - Dave is your side of the pond and has excellent personal knowledge of the area, and has written two excellent books to boot.

    http://www3.sympatico.ca/angels_eight/

    cheers

    Allan
    Allan Hillman

  4. #24
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    The battery was actually at Longues-sur-Mers. Here's a link with a video walking tour of the site. Other locations by the name Longues, appear well inland. But, sorry, this is getting a bit off topic since we started at Mont Fleury and have now moved west.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&ie=UTF8&cd=2&geocode=FaHK8AIdG1H1_w &t=h&g=14400+Longues-sur-Mer,+Calvados,+Basse-Normandie,+France&layer=x&ll=49.354986,-0.700207&spn=0.055796,0.091152&z=13
    Last edited by dfuller52; 27th November 2008 at 15:22. Reason: incorrect reference
    David

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    Default Aircraft & Casualty Summary - June 5/6 1944

    Aircraft Summary June 5/6 1944

    Type Dispatched Attacked Bombs dropped (in tons) Incendiaries
    Lancaster 666 632 3554.2 67 TIs –236 Flares
    Halifax III 384 357 1569.9
    Halifax 28 17 80.8
    Mosquito (Oboe) 50 38 152 TIs
    Mosquito 39 39 45.8 24 TIs
    Missing 6

    Countermeasures and special protective patrol – 106 sent, 96 attacked, 3 missing
    Serrate – 27 sent, 25 attacked
    Intruder – 25 sent, 23 attacked
    2 missing

    Totals: 1329 Dispatched, 1238 attacked, 11 Missing

    Casualties
    Group Type Sqn. Target
    1 Lancaster 101 Diversionary Op
    3 Stirling 149 Diversionary Op
    3 Stirling 149 Diversionary Op
    4 Halifax III 578 Mont Fleury
    4 Halifax III 76 Mont Fleury
    5 Lancaster 97 St. Pierre du Mont
    5 Lancaster 97 St. Pierre du Mont
    5 Lancaster 50 St. Pierre du Mont
    8 Lancaster 582 Longues
    100 Mosquito 515 Intruder Ops
    100 Mosquito 515 Intruder Ops

    There is also a notation of a 4 Group Halifax III of 426 Squadron dispatched to Houlgate - Exploded in air near Bircham Newton - All crew killed.
    Last edited by David Wallace; 27th November 2008 at 15:42.

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    Default Grandfather bombed maisy battery

    Hello

    I have recently been tracing my late grandfathers life in 640 squadron in 4 group. His diary says he bombed the maisy battery on the 5th/6th June. I have recently requested 640 squadron operational history from national acrhives. If anyoen has any further history that would be good to see.

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    Default Intrigued

    Reading through the various posts my cycnical meteorological mind wondered how the PPF markers managed to mark the (small) targets so accurately. There are references to 'on the target' and within 140 and 160 yards - although others were further away. However, the marking was done from various levels between 18000 and 30000 ft so such accuracy seems remarkable given the NW'ly wind at 30000 ft was of the order of 100 knots (possibly more) and 50-60 knots at 18000 ft (met records) especially through 8-10/10 cloud.

    Aircraft dropping troops and gliders on TONGA recorded WNW winds of 20-25 knots at 1500-2000 ft over Normandy and many paratroops drifted some way east of their DZs (Shannons and Wright's 'One night in June').

    If that was the case at low level how come the greater accuracy from 30000 ft?

    Intrigued

  8. #28
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    Hi Brian
    Each Oboe Mosquito doing it's target run down the Oboe beam was being tracked by two ground stations who were plotting their position on their way down the beam and signaled back to the crew the time to reach the target. They knew each aircraft's position within a couple of yards and knew exactly when and where the crew hit the release button. The Oboe crews were given the distance that their TIs or bombs had been from the aiming point (which had been recorded by the Oboe ground stations) when they landed and they were very competitve about their drops with the other crews. Most Oboe operations were done at altitudes between 28,000' & 34,000' - 18,000' was unusually low as we saw on D-Day but the other thing about D-Day is that at each target the 5 Oboe runs were being done similtaniously. While there were only 5 Oboe Mosquitos on each target, they required 10 ground stations, each with over a dozen personnel involved. The Oboe release points were calculated and took into consideration the winds, time of bomb fall and many other variables.
    If we look at St Pierre du Mont, I found the accuracy information in AVIA 7/2492. HS-R which marked from 30,000 ft was probably right in the centre of the Oboe beam when they released and the Navigator (my father in this case) hit the bomb release button pretty close to bang on (he got a signal in his headphones that went dit-dit -dit-daww and then he hit the button). Their green TI was plotted to hit 70 yards from the aiming point while their reds were 170 off. Oboe controllers would call off the run if they felt the markers were going to be off the target by much. This coastal battery was quite small - about 500 yards wide and 200 yards deep so accuracy was very important and Oboe provided that. This was blind bombing with neither the Pilot or Navigator looking outside the cockpit and cloud did not afftect their accuracy. In the overall scheme of things 70 yards was not a bad result for an Oboe crew, under 50 yards was good and 100 or over they wouldn't be terribly happy with. They had to stay in the beam which was about 20 yards wide and get the speed right. If they had a tailwind and were going to be early on target the Navigator would tell the Pilot to do a 1 or 2 minute turn and the Pilot would leave the beam on an instrument turn and rejoin the beam a minute or two later. Oboe worked well and enjoyed a high priority with Bomber Command as a result. In the case of St. Pierre du Mont (Pointe du Hoc) they managed to obliterate the target since the marking and resulting bombing were very accurate.
    Cheers
    Dave

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    Thank you David. What I still can't quite understand is how allowance is made for changes in wind speed and direction between 30000 ft and the target, since the only wind available at the time of release will be that at the aeroplane's altitude. Working from winds over southern England on the evening of 5 June I estimate the winds as follows:

    30000 ft - 330 110 knots
    25000 ft - 330 85
    20000 ft - 310 55
    15000 ft - 300 35
    10000 ft - 290 30
    50000 ft - 290 25
    20000 ft - 290 20-25

    Given the difference in speed and direction at 30000 ft and that at lower levels I still think it remarkable to be able to score a bull's eye.

    Showing my ignorance how were the OBOE stations able to track the fall of the TIs (which is what's implied)?

    Still intrigued

    Brian

  10. #30
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    Hi Brian
    I don't pretend to have an extensive knowledege on how everything worked on Oboe & Pathfinder ops, certainly one of the main factors was the estimated winds which were being updated as more current information came in from a number of sources. The Pathfinder ORBs I have read, particularily when using Master Bomber technique, often include wind updates during the op that were broadcast to the main force. Certain aircraft in the main force were designated as wind finders and transmitted their findings back to England.There were also Met. flights going out for the sole purpose of determining wind and weather condition changes from that of the estimated ones. On the night of June 5/6 you would have also had reports coming back from before midnight detailing actual winds experienced from the main force Lancs and Hailfaxes at their operating height as well as Pathfinder Mosquitos at higher altitudes from each target. If you look at St. Pierre du Mont, it was the 9th target attacked that night and 5 hours after the first attack began, so they would already have a fair amount of updated weather information coming in, given there was about 800 sorties flown before that attack began. Lots could and often did go wrong on this type of op. The ground stations could lay down the Oboe beams in the wrong place, which is why I suspect they used 5 channels and 5 sets of ground stations (creating 5 beams) for each of the attacks that night. There were Oboe equipment failures that could happen in the ground stations and on the aircraft, the equipment used vacuum tubes in an high altitude, high vibration environment and often failed. On June 5/6 12 of the 50 Oboe Mosquitos reported PD failures which meant they could not get a lock on their transponder with the ground station and went home with their target indicators still on board, that was quite typical a failure rate. Also one prime factor as you say was the winds over the target which if they got wrong could throw the accuracy off. My understanding is their calculated release point took into consideration their speed (they were given a speed over the ground to use on the run), their height which was also predetermined (since the time of bomb fall was critical and based on altitude) and the winds that were present at the time. They updated their wind information and moved the beams and release point to compensate for the wind. Part of this was science, part was guess work and much of it was based on getting updated wind information as things unfolded. I believe when they plotted where the target indicators fell it was calculated based on the actual height, speed, position in the Oboe beam, exact time of release, time of bomb fall and of course winds - actual when they could get them and estimated when that was all that was available. In the case of St. Pierre du Mont their calculations were right. You had 3 Oboe markers lay down target indicators very accurately, through thick cloud on a very small target. The main force which was hampered by thick cloud and experiencing icing at 10,000', had to descend to 8,500' to see the target indicators but bombed accurately and destroyed the target. Two of the five Oboe markers had equipment failures and went home early. All of the 12 target indicators that were dropped landed on the target and these were backed up by TIs dropped by Mosquitos from 627 Squadron. Other than the significance of the night and the number of Oboe channels used, it was a pretty standard Oboe operation. All of the 10 targets of June 5/6th were attacked successfully using Oboe as the primary marking method, in spite of the thick cloud and strong winds, both of which were significant considerations in the planning of those attacks. They certainly didn't always get it right - but they did that night.
    Cheers
    Dave
    Last edited by David Wallace; 9th October 2011 at 03:12.

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