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Thread: Abbreviation "GCI" Interception

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    Default Abbreviation "GCI" Interception

    I have a case on 14 November 1942 where a 41 Squadron record states, "Not much flying today except for a GCI interception and cannon test by P/O Boyd and Sgt. Clark as Green Section...."

    Can anyone tell me what a GCI interception might be, please? From the context and recent activity (the Squadron was based at Llanbedr) I assume it's practice of some type as opposed to something operational.

    Thanks
    Steve
    Last edited by Steve Brew; 1st February 2008 at 23:24.
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Hi Steve

    GCI was Ground Controlled Interception. This is an excellent description and history:

    http://www.radarpages.co.uk/mob/gci/gci.htm

    hope that helps

    A

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    Dear Steve and others,

    Apologies for hijacking this thread. I have been looking at a possible "friendly fire" incident. One of the features that bothers me is that the "bandit" was identified by GCI and the information fed to the pilot. How reliable was this "bandit" identification and are there any examples of them getting it wrong? In this case it looks as if a Mosquito crew were put onto and shot down another Mosquito crew in mistake for an Me410.

    TIA,

    Howard

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    Hi Amrit

    Thanks for the quick answer.

    Hi Howard

    Not sure if I can help you, but I know that 41 were scrambled several times in Llanbedr, only to find the bogie was friendly. However, they were identified by sight shortly before opening fire, so no-one was fired upon accidentally.

    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Howdie View Post
    Dear Steve and others,

    Apologies for hijacking this thread. I have been looking at a possible "friendly fire" incident. One of the features that bothers me is that the "bandit" was identified by GCI and the information fed to the pilot. How reliable was this "bandit" identification and are there any examples of them getting it wrong? In this case it looks as if a Mosquito crew were put onto and shot down another Mosquito crew in mistake for an Me410.

    TIA,

    Howard
    Howard,

    IFF was notoriously unreliable and the absense of an IFF blip on a radar response did not automatically mean that the aircraft was a hostile. Only very late on did airborne radar give
    IFF indication - this was done by ground equipment and the information passed on to the nightfighter crew by radio.

    As a result of this, nightfighters were expected to close on the target to within visual range and make an identification visually, before opening fire. There are many examples of friendly fire at night and in the heat of the battle visual identification is never going to be 100% certain.

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    Howard,

    Ian and Steve have summed up the process used, but there may be a little more to dig for. When and where was your Mosquito lost?

    Bruce

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    Hi All
    We must not forget that the responses on a radar Display are merely the effect of applying a voltage to the appropriate working part of a Cathode Ray Tube(the presumption is that the voltage comes from an a/c reflection via the radar receiver). They are to this day anonymous and may not even be a return from an a/c if the voltage is generated within the rapidly pulsing circuits of a radar set. With experience the uncertainties can be largely eliminated and in war there is always the knowledge that flying is mostly limited to those who are looking for trouble. There would have been a continuous supply of information to Radar units on the likelihood of Friendly flying to cover such things as training, returning raiding a/c, emergencies and the like but it was not infallible.IFF was primitive but it was brought in to reduce the Friendly Fire possibility by producing, on demand from the ground, an additional spike or blip on the ground picture alongside the radar response from an a/c to reduce the anonymity and, by elimination, highlight the likely enemy.
    Regards
    Dick

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Brew View Post
    Hi Amrit

    Thanks for the quick answer.

    Hi Howard

    Not sure if I can help you, but I know that 41 were scrambled several times in Llanbedr, only to find the bogie was friendly. However, they were identified by sight shortly before opening fire, so no-one was fired upon accidentally.

    Steve
    Dear Steve, Dick, Ian & Bruce,

    Thanks very much for confirming this hunch. That brings up the question of night fighter pilot aircraft-recognition. I will raise that in a separate thread when I am ready, although I am sure the subject must have been raised many times before on these pages.

    I am still 'working on' getting a copy of the pilot's logbook - he was former 41 Squadron (ie before 1939). His widow spent many years trying to find out what happened to them so the question of location is of more than academic interest - just another sad outcome to what was a ghastly business. Do the detailed records of the GCI stations survive? the unit in this instance was Dover.

    Kind regards to all,

    Howard
    Last edited by Howdie; 5th February 2008 at 07:05. Reason: typo

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    Hi Howard
    As far as log books are concerned there is a very high probability that they have been destroyed. A log book was strictly speaking an Official document and not the property of the Aircrew who filled them in, although they were often regarded as the individual's property and I still have mine from postwar service. If the book still exists it may be among the effects of the individual if they were passed to his N-o-K, but in collecting his things together log books may have been taken into Air Ministry storage and retained by them. As indicated on this board ,in it's old form, in the 1950's the Air Ministry decided to rationalise it's records and the large number of retained logbooks were scheduled to be scrapped.They did advertise in newspaper columns around the Commonwealth inviting people to claim their own or a lost relative's, log book but if there was no response the books were burned apart from a representative sample, including books of significant individuals, which were deposited in the Archive of the RAF Museum which was being set up at the time. So unless the books are lying among the effects of your man they are probably gone , your post gives the impression that his widow has never seen them. You might try asking the RAF Museum if they have it in their Archive.
    Regards
    Dick

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    Dear Dick,

    In this instance his widow's daughter has all his flying memorabilia stored in a box and I have been trying to get her to dig the box out for over a year now :-)

    Regards,

    Howard

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