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Thread: Op Titanic - which Squadrons??

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    Default Op Titanic - which Squadrons??

    Can anybody tell me which Squadrons took part in Operation Titanic - the dropping of dummy paratroopers over France on the night of 5/6 June 1944? I believe that they were dropped from Hudson's, Stirling's and Halifaxes and that possibly 138 (SD) Sqn was involved. I know that two Stirlings from 149 Sqn were lost during this task but don't know the details of the other units involved. Also does anybody know if there were soldiers aboard any of these aircraft dispatching the dummies or was this done by RAF personnel. I know that at least one team of 6 SAS men jumped with them to play sound effects and to make noise on the ground for realism but don't know of any other Army personnel taking part.

    Many thanks

    Daz

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    Default Op titanic

    Hello Daz,

    If you do the following you will find some information

    www.raf38group.org/titanic

    Best regards

    René

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    Hi Daz,

    The following complements Bruno's fine summary of Operation 'Titanic'. :

    More bizarre still were the activities of 22 Stirlings of Nos. 90 and 149 Squadrons and Halifaxes of Nos. 138 and 161 Squadrons. After taking off at short intervals beginning at 22:22 hrs, they carried out Operation 'Titanic' by repeatedly dropping around Yvetot, Malton and Marigny, dummy paratroops filled with fused firecrackers to simulate rifle fire.

    No.3 GROUP SPECIALIZED OPERATIONS.

    No.90 Sqn - 15 Stirling IIIs flew Operation 'Titanic IV' dummy paratroop drops near Marigny:

    BK781-C, EF196-L, EF251-P, EH939-W, EH982-Y, EJ115-K, EJ122-U, LJ477-X, LJ506-V, LJ625-T, LK392-M, LK516-J, LK568-U, LK570-V and LK571-O.

    No.138 Sqn - 8 Halifax Vs flew Operation 'Titanic I' dummy paratroop drops near Yvetot:

    A, D, E, H, L, M, O and R.

    No.149 Sqn - 7 Stirlings flew Operation 'Titanic I and III' dummy paratroop drops:

    EF140-A, EF161-R, EF193-T, EJ109-G, LJ621-M (FTR), LK388-L and LK385-C (FTR).

    No.161 Sqn - 4 Halifaxes flew Operation 'Titanic IV' dummy paratroop drops near Marigny:

    U, W, X and Y.

    NB: Aircraft used are, where known, listed. Some Operations Record Books are incomplete, some entries are without doubt in error. Overall sortie records also differ in detail and totalling. Where possible, all have been checked against other sources.

    See:
    Aircraft For The Many:A Detailed Survey of the RAF's Aircraft in June 1944.
    Bowyer,Michael J F.
    Sparkford:Patrick Stephens Ltd.,1995
    pp.26,30 & 37.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 7th September 2009 at 07:35. Reason: minor correction

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    Col, Rene

    many thanks for your help with this. I'm still confused about the possibility that Army personnel were used to drop the actual dummies from the bomb bays. I think that this is something of a rumour probably reinforced by the film "The Longest Day" where and Army officer is shown trowing rubber dummies out the door of a Dakota.

    thanks again

    Daz

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    Hi Daz

    Today the despatchers on RAF transport aircraft are members of the Army's 47 Air Despatch Regiment, the loadmaster being responsible for the safe loading and distribution but the army for actual despatch.

    I believe this began in WW2

    Malcolm
    Last edited by malcolm_raf; 8th September 2009 at 16:16. Reason: spelling error

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    I have looked at the ORB for 161 Sqdn and only the usual crews are shown..no extra people.

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    Malcolm, Bob

    thank you both for your replies. I have evidence of Army personnel being used to dispatch freight/cargo from Dakota's at Arnhem etc but I have found nothing to substantiate a statement that they were used to dispatch the dummy paratroopers on Titanic. This statement has come from a friend who believes a relative of his was employed in this task, his service record shows that he had completed a parachute course, a commando course and a special service course. There is a seperate reference where he is refered to as being on 'Special Duties', but his cap badge is Royal Artillery. So I think this might be a case of something being lost in the translation or becoming confused with the passage of time.

    Regards

    Daz

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    Can anyone kindly provide the planned/actual time(s) at which the dummy paratroops were dropped during Op Titanic please?

    Brian

    Edit: There was quite a good item on this on the 'One Show' this (6th) evening.
    Last edited by Lyffe; 6th June 2011 at 22:02.

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    Brian,
    Assuming that all squadrons concerned were over their areas at approx same time, one of them, 138sqdn took off between 23.25 and 23.45 on the night of the 5th, and were back at base, all around 02.10am

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    Daz,

    Your reference to Arnhem takes your initial query forward a bit!

    At Arnhem, Dakotas and Stirlings were used in the resupply operations. Typically a Dakota carried four RASC despatchers, as they needed to get the heavy baskets and stuff out the door. A Stirling carried two despatchers as much of the stuff came from out the bomb bay. The despatchers were RASC (worth noting the heavy casualty rate compared with some other units viz a viz numbers employed to numbers lost). They made up the loads at base and then flew with the aircraft .

    As to your friend's relative, one needs to ignore cap badges and concentrate on units in which they served. eg a parachute trained artilleryman might have been part of a Forward Observer Unit dropped in to provide gunfire support and targeting.

    Colin Cummings

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