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Thread: Coastal Command - S.E. Flooding patrol?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dick View Post
    Hi Russ
    They could also have gained a clue if they got their hands on an early H2S set from a crashed Bomber Command a/c, which equipment was always in the centrimetric band.
    Regards
    Dick
    This is exactly what happened. It was known as the Rotterdam equipment, from the place of the crash. My understanding is that this is how they discovered the threat to the U-boats, rather than from analysis of the losses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RussG View Post
    ...His duty here was 'S.I Coastal' (not E) ...Russ
    I have seen 'S.I.' used to describe FAA coastal convoy escort patrols, but do not know what it means. Each time the squadron concerned was ASV equipped, and, for what it is worth, there were no entries for 'S.E.' patrols, leading me to guess that it might be an alternative description, possibly 'Special Instruments'.

    Anyone?


    Bruce

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    Got it! I found the description of ‘flooding’ in ‘Black May: the Epic Story of the Allies’ Defeat of the German U-Boats in May 1943’ by Michael Gannon on pp 100, quoting as his source AIR 41/47 ‘RAF in Maritime War, vol lll, pp 495-7. I do not have copies of this section of RAF in Maritime War, but will look next time I am at Kew.

    In this chapter Gannon is describing the evolution of ASV and Leigh Light use in Biscay operations and says…

    “…AOC–in-C Joubert pressed London hard for 10-cm equipment with which to defeat the German Search Receiver (G.S.R.). But the first squadron to be so equipped did not become operational until the following March [1943]. In the meantime, Coastal [Command] relied on the only expedient available: flooding. In this tactic all the aircraft over the Bay except the L/L Wellingtons, which, it was hoped, might catch a U-boat off guard, were to use their ASV continuously. The expectation was that with the G.S.R. ringing without stop, U-boats would not know when they were being targeted…”

    It is a very good book, well researched and with extensive references.

    Bruce
    Last edited by bruce dennis; 27th May 2009 at 12:57.

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    Excellent Bruce!!

    Thanks very much,

    Russ

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    Russ:
    Operating the ASV radar was a standard task for Coastal Command WOP/AGs. Each crew member - pilots and navigator excepted - rotated between gun positions and the ASV set every one or two hours to help keep them all sharp. That said, there was a designated senior radio operator who would take over the ASV set for critical purposes such as homing onto a surface contact or a beacon in bad weather.
    Regards:
    Robert

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    Quote Originally Posted by robstitt View Post
    Russ:
    Operating the ASV radar was a standard task for Coastal Command WOP/AGs. Each crew member - pilots and navigator excepted - rotated between gun positions and the ASV set every one or two hours to help keep them all sharp. That said, there was a designated senior radio operator who would take over the ASV set for critical purposes such as homing onto a surface contact or a beacon in bad weather.
    Regards:
    Robert
    Being a WOP/AG and, having trained as an ASV operator at Hooton Park, I was posted to the Middle East and did operational flying with 38 Squadron(Coastal Command) in Italy.

    We flew in MK X1V Leigh Light Wellingtons and the 3 WOP/AGs took turns at the wireless,radar and turret and held their positions for the duration of each patrol which was about 7 hours.

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    Jack:
    Interesting feedback. My info comes from 206 and 220 Squadron crew members who flew in Fortresses. Most 220 Squadron captains favoured a one-hour rotation while those in 206 seemed to go for the two-hour approach. The idea was to allow crew members to rest their eyes after squinting at the sea, sky or ASV set and their bodies after sitting in the confines of a turret. In theory one of the eight crew members was on 'rest' for an hour although this could be given over to time on the ASV set if needed.
    Regards:
    Robert

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    Quote Originally Posted by RussG View Post
    ASV etc I have come across but never the term 'flooding'!
    Initially, U-boats could surface at night without fear of attack (as they could not be seen). When Leigh Light Wellingtons with ASV arrived, surprise attacks became possible, until the U-boats acquired Metox ASV detectors which allowed them to "hear" a Wellington approaching. Coastal Command actually believed that the Germans had acquired ASV detectors before they actually did, and so employed the "flooding" technique using a high-flying aircraft with ASV turned on to flood the sky with signals - any U-boats in the area would detect the ASV, assume they were about to be attacked and crash dive. As the U-boats were limited in the number of dive/surface cycles they could do, this was also a valuable technique in reducing the U-boats' effectiveness. Once the U-boats became used to the "flooding" they could decide to remain on the surface even if the detector was active, but then became vulnerable to a real ASV-guided attack which would not be "heard" above the flooding signal. The ASV aircraft also adopted a technique of only having the ASV on for brief periods so they could not be "heard" approaching. Then the RAF moved ahead again with centrimetric ASV and it took the U-boats a while to catch up with Naxos centimetric detectors; the same day that Naxos went into service, the RAF moved from 10cm to 3cm ASV.


    Iain.

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    The Germans certainly did get their hands on an H2S set from a shot-down Bomber Command aircraft - it was known as the Rotterdam equipment from the site of the wreck.

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