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Thread: Consol navigation system

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    Default Consol navigation system

    This is really an extension of my thread about Ferry Command (http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7391),
    which has developed into a query about navigation. Off-board Resmorah has drawn my attention to a German navigation system "Sonne" which was named 'Consol' by the British circa 1942.

    Neither are names with which I'm familiar but according to W F Blanchard at

    http://www.jproc.ca/hyperbolic/consol.html

    it was a system used by both sides simultaneously and was pretty accurate at its maximum range of 1200 miles. I suspect the main British user was Coastal Command, but having read Blanchard's account and another at

    http://www.radarpages.co.uk/mob/navaids/consol/consol1.htm

    I wonder why so little is written about this and that most references refer to GEE and OBOE.

    If it was used by the British which Command used it and when was it introduced.

    Brian

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    Hi Brian
    Take a look at www.radarpages.co.uk/mob/navaids/consol/consol1.htm where there is a description of the system and how it worked.
    It used Medium wave and elements were still in use in the early 60's. It was a very slow system to use but did give reasonable fixes if the time was taken. There were ,post war, transmitters in W France and in Spain(in the grounds of German consulates) and to obtain a fix it was necessary to tune to one and count the number of dots that could heard, do the same with a second station, and then repeat the first and average the 2 numbers. This gave a cross bearing on a suitable Consol Chart(showing the hyperbolic lines of dots) and enabled a fix to be plotted. It was usable by a/c and shipping and I believe was first set up for the guidance of U-Boats.Ferry Command would almost certainly have used it if they had the suitable Consol Charts
    Regards
    Dick

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    Thank you Dick.

    I'm afraid the technicalities of these things are way beyond me, but from the two links it seemed as though it would have been a very good aid for CC aircraft operating far from land. So far as the maps went that shouldn't have been a problem since some were ordered in 1942 - to quote from Blanchard:

    "During WWII, the British captured some Sonne charts and took them to Group Capt Dickie Richardson, who was the navigation officer for Coastal Command at Northwood. Capt Richardson then found a receiver and tuned in getting a good bearing on his location. He then decided that what was good for the Germans would be good for the British. so he ordered the RAF map department to manufacture charts to British specifications. Dickie called the system CONSOL meaning "by the sun" which is described in his book "Man is Not Lost"."

    The Met Squadrons were CC, yet my MAO friend made no mention of Consol.

    Brian

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    Hi Brian,

    It was more a case of the system being hijacked for use rather than a replica of the technology being constructed.

    Coastal Command was contacted by the boffins and asked it they could make use of a navigation system in place covering the Bay of Biscay. After a check on accuracy the answer was a resounding "Yes Please".

    All that it needed was an overprint on existing charts similar to the Loran lattice of today, some nav training and an assurance that Bomber Command would not destroy the German Transmitters.

    Given the name Consol but no ground sets in the UK so little published on it's use and importance.

    Just like Gee and Oboe it had limitations based on the curve of the earth so was only contemplated as a back up to Gee for Bomber Command raids and since all assets were German owned and controlled it could be switched off without notice.

    Regards
    Ross
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    Much obliged Ross; I guess Richardson's "No man is lost" could prove an interesting read.

    Brian

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