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Thread: more than one sortie per night for German crews

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    Default more than one sortie per night for German crews

    Hi All
    My son has come home from school today after a history lesson having been told that German bomber crews would make more than one trip to London in a single night, can anyone advise if this is correct or not.
    It stems from a discussion about the length of time that a raid would take.There seems to be an assumption that because civilians sometimes spent 12 hours in a shelter that that was how long a raid took!I explained that it would have been different groups coming in one after the other essentially several raids in one night so it made sense to stay put in the shelter.
    His teachers explanation was that a crew would return to base re arm and fly straight back to London thus allowing a raid to go on all night! A rolling raid.
    What was the case?

    TIA nick

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    Default The teacher's always right?

    Hi Nick,
    Speaking as a member of the profession, I'd say your lad's teacher is on dodgy ground; what he is saying sounds most unlikely. I think he should be asked to substantiate his claim.....who knows, he could be right!!
    Regards
    Max

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    Default

    Nick,

    One example at least: on the night of 16/17 Apr 41 the Luftwaffe raided London. Page 536 of 'The Bltiz Then and Now' provides a detailed listing of the sorties undertaken by each unit and aircraft type.

    The first sorties arrived over London between 2050 and 0030 (tho one unit spread its arrival over 2155-0327.

    Second sorties were spread over 0002-0418.

    Third sorties (one unit only) 0315-0330.

    Though whether or not the crews who flew the first also flew the second I do not know.

    Errol

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    Max
    I must admit that I felt exactly the same as you but did not wish to shoot him down in flames without at least trying to back up my gut feeling with some other informed opinion!
    To turn a bomber round refuelled rearmed crew rebriefed etc etc would take some hours.Trying to tie them into a bomber stream already on the move would be a nightmare if not impossible one would have thought.
    Maybe the same plane with a new crew prebriefed?
    Its only a short flight from france to London but I would think under combat conditions very tiring.
    Thanks Nick

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    Default

    I wouldn't like to rule out the possibility of Luftwaffe crews flying two sorties in one night. As Nick points out, it is only a short flight from France to London and given the state of our night-time defences at that time, not particularly hazardous.
    Unlike the route to Berlin and back which WAS flown twice in one night by Mosquito crews of the LNSF later in the war.
    Remember too that the German bomber force had been seriously depleted during the daylight campaign against the UK so, in order to maintain the level and weight of attack it may well have been deemed necessary by Luftwaffe High Command to require crews to fly twice in one night.
    I'm not saying it did happen,only that it cannot be ruled out.
    Best wishes to all,
    Bill.

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    Bill,

    "Unlike the route to Berlin and back which WAS flown twice in one night by Mosquito crews of the LNSF later in the war."

    The Mosquito itself may have been flown twice in the one night, but not by the same crew.

    Errol

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    Default

    Nick,

    Your best way of obtaining a definitive answer is to post your query on the '12 O'Clock High' forum, which specialises in Luftwaffe matters. Go to http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/forumdisplay.php?f=8.

    We'd all be interested in what you find out.

    Brian

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    Sorry Errol, I beg to differ. I knew one Mossie nav who did two trips in a night which is why I say two trips by Luftwaffe crews cannot be ruled out.
    Bill.

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    Bill,

    Have you actually sighted a copy of the log book or ORB entry confirming this? Presumably just a 'one off' if it did occur and certainly not the norm?

    From Middlebrook and Everitt's 'Bomber Command War Diaries':

    "The Mosquito...in winter, individual Mosquitoes were sometimes able to make 2 flights to Berlin under the cover of darkenss in the same night, changing crews after the first landing."

    Errol

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    Default

    As suggested I have posted the same question on 12 oclock high and await a response there.
    Personally I would have thought it highly unusual for a bomber crew to have done more than on trip to London a night.
    But Night fighters must have done so in the same way as the daytime crews did Following the bombers over the sea to England and even hunting in the british landing ground circuits.
    [Not loading bombs would have increased their turn around time.]
    This is not backed up by any evidence as yet.
    I did not realize that this was a subject to which there would not be a categorical and immediate answer forthcoming, as is so often the case on this forum.
    An interesting discussion!
    Thanks for all your replies.
    I will post if the 12 oclock boys come up with evidence one way or the other!
    Nick

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