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Thread: terminology

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    Default terminology

    I have been reading The Bomber Command Diaries and have a couple of questions, what is meant by
    R.VC.M. Sorties and
    G-H Raid.
    There is no glossary to explain the terms used.
    and what is meant by terms 'sortie' and 'raid'..what other terms are used for 'missions'
    Thanks
    Paul

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    Hi Paul,

    RCM - Radio Counter Measures.
    G-H - Gee H (a derivative of the Gee navigation system used as a bombing aid)
    http://www.radarpages.co.uk/mob/navaids/geeh/geeh1.htm

    Regards
    Ross
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
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    In today's military a sortie is a single take off and landing by one aircraft, a raid is the name for a complete operation, which could include multiple sorties.

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    Hi Bill,

    I think sortie just covers the take-off part, no? Those that that were FTR and didn't land were then deducted from the number of sorties to determine the loss rate. Probably obvious to say but I thought it worth noting just in case.
    David

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    Is not a 'raid' an attack on a specific target by bombers?

    Brian

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    As used in WW2 a sortie was an attack by a single aircraft on an enemy target. The word sortie comes from the French sortir, meaning, go out. Therefore it does not require a return to wherever one went out from.
    A raid is, and was, an incursion into someone else's territory with hostile intent and was not exclusive to bomber aircraft, e.g hit-and-run raid by fighters or fighter bombers, recconaisance raid by nosey parker aircraft etc.
    These terms were also applied to army and navy actions of similar nature.

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    Although "sortie" is normally thought of as operational in nature, I do not think that it is true that a non-operational flight cannot be listed as a sortie, but this is a mere quibble on my part. The statement that if an aircraft is lost on operations, that this means the flight of this aircraft is not included in the total on which is calculated the loss rate does not seem at all correct to me. I am pretty well 100% certain that ALL flights that took off on operations would be counted towards the total, then those that fail to return are used to calculate the loss rate as a percentage. Otherwise the whole caculation would be nonsense. Also operations do not have to intrude into enemy territory to count as operational. Most of Coastal Command's sorties would have to be classified as "non-operational" under this criterion, as they were effectivley operating in "no-man's land" once they enter airspace (over the sea) that will also be contested by the enemy. As a large portion of the Battle of Britain was fought in British air space, this would also make it difficult to say that the intercepting RAF aircraft were not operational, although I allow that these intercepting flights were not "Raids", but they weere certainly "Operations". So what counts as operational (in hind-sight, as in case of British unarmed aircraft on ferrying, training or communications flights attacked in British airspace and not expecting to meet the enemy) is that of an aircraft that takes off with intent to harm the enemy in some way, including unarmed PR aircraft, whether they encounter any enemy defences or not, and regardless of whether the chances of actually achieving anything towards that end are slight. In other words they must meet the criteria of taking off to accomplish an operational aim, which is why they appear in an "Operation Record Book" (Form 540) and have a section devoted to describing the operation, with details included such as DCO or DNCO (Duty carried out, or not carried out), whereas non-op flights do not require such entries, andonly appear in "Flight authorisastion books" (if you are lucky!) Anf that ends my rant for the day!
    David D

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    Hi David,

    I think you may have misconstrued my comment. What I meant to say was, as you have said, each plane leaving counted as one sortie, including those a/c that were later marked FTR (Bill's definition overstated the point by adding in the return). I perhaps shouldn't have said subtract, it's more a case of dividing.

    FTR divided by sorties x 100 = loss rate.

    Now, the question is, were the aborts included or no? I would guess not, so the total sorties would be a/c sent minus early returns.
    Last edited by dfuller52; 8th February 2010 at 01:36.
    David

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    Default Sorties etc

    Hi chaps

    One that I've never quite been sure about: when does an early return become an aborted op? I'm sure it will have been defined somewhere so that crews will have known whether their flight counted as an 'op' (and thus towards their required tour tally) or not. But also for the purposes of the relevant RAF number-crunchers and statisticians.

    Typical examples off the top of my head for a 'normal' BC raid might be:
    - Oxygen failure discovered soon after take-off. Maybe a/c still over England or soon after crossing the English coast.
    - Mechanical failure (gun turret malfunction) somewhere over the North Sea.
    - Engine failure or multiple technical problems over enemy / occupied territory before target reached.

    Ian
    Last edited by ianh; 8th February 2010 at 10:53.

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    Ian

    I have always believed that for the trip to count as an operation the aircraft had to fly over enemy territory. A lot of early returns are marked as NOET - Not Over Enemy Territory. Where on the map the line (FEBA - Forward Edge of the Battle Area) in Army terms was drawn would depend on the date. I would guess that for Bombing operations one had to cross the enemy coast or have reached coastal waters if it was a mining operation, for it to count.

    I'm sure somebody will know the definitive answer.

    Regards

    Daz

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