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Thread: 'Illuminators' non PFF Squadrons

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    Default 'Illuminators' non PFF Squadrons

    Hi All,

    This is probably a fairly simple question for you chaps but googling I cannot seem to find an adequate answer.

    Did non Pathfinder Force squadrons assign specific aircraft as 'illuminators'?

    Many thanks in advance,

    Russ

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    hello,

    From April 1944, No. 5 Group became independant of No. 8 Group, and developed its own techniques, in use by Nos 83 et 97 Squadrons (Lancasters) and No. 627 Squadron (Mosquitoes).

    I can't tell specifically about these units, as I would have to dig deep to find hard copies of ORB samples from 97 Squadron, but I know there's a good website about this unit, easy to find through a google search. I seem to recall they have ORB online, either jpgs or text. That may confirm the use of "Illuminators" outside No. 8 (PFF) Group

    Joss

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    97 Squadron Orbs.


    http://www.97squadronassociation.co.uk/flightops.html

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    Thanks Joss and David,

    Thanks very much for your responses.

    Possibly I haven't made myself clear, I do know of 97 and 83 Squadrons PFF history but did other squadrons have a pathfinder element within them. I have several entries in a 70 Squadron log (mid 1943) in which the pilot detailed himself as an 'illuminator' which was part of the pathfinding process but 70 was not as far as I am aware a pathfinder squadron.

    I was curious to know why they were using this term.

    Thanks again,

    Russ

  5. #5
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    Russ,

    As you are aware, I am sure, 70 Sqn were operating in Italy in 1943 as part of 205 Group.

    205 Group was not part of Bomber Command and thus none of its squadrons belonged ‘officially’ to PFF. As far as your question ‘did other squadrons have a pathfinder element’ the answer for Bomber Command, is essentially ‘no’. Some ‘main force’ squadrons offered crews for pathfinder support – which meant flying in the first wave with the Pathfinders, but not illuminating. Before PFF was formed there were some squadrons who experimented with illuminating etc (e.g. 10 Sqn). In 205 Group, I believe that in time, 614 Sqn became the pathfinder element. It may well be possible that before they undertook this role, other units carried out the duty in an ad hoc manner

    Regards

    Mark

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    Thanks Mark,

    I think that answers my question.

    Russ

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    Hi,

    From memory I am sure No.1 Group were used for a period to illuminate & mark, called I think the Special Duties Flight. Taffy Harrison is your man for this.

    Also No.3 group were illuminating targets for main force crews back in 1940/1941 long before the PFF.

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

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    mark_a Guest

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    Steve

    You are quite right. 1 Group did indeed have its own specialist marking unit – 1 Group SDF – which operated briefly in the summer of 1944. Also, as you point out, some squadrons in 1 group operated as illuminators, prior to PFF formation (as I mentioned – 10 Sqn). But I think I am correct in saying that once PFF was formed, there were no squadrons outside of the force (or detached – 83, 97, 627) who provided illumination within Bomber Command – 205 Group are another matter

    Mark

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    Default Illuminators

    6 Group used 419 and 428 Squadrons as PFF for many of the mining ops in early 1944. They set TI's on run up points to many of the mining areas in the Kattegat, to be used as timed run points for other mine layers. Sadly none of the TI's are not shown as part of the bomb load, hence not sure which crews they may nave been.
    Richard

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    Mark,

    No wishing to be pedantic No.1 Groups SDF were operating in 1944 along side the PFF and from memory were achieving very satisfying results up until when they were disbanded, again Taffy (fat-boy) Harrison is probably the leading exponent of the flight.

    Also I think from memory No.614 of 205 Group was a PFF Squadron. ?????

    Lastly, No.3 Group when equipped with G-H “marked” targets for other groups excluding obviously PFF.

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

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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