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Thread: Operational Tours

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    Default Operational Tours

    Hi all

    Would be grateful if someone could clarify some uncertainty please!

    An operational tour was 30 ops as far as I am aware. If after screening they went to a second tour, how many ops then before complete. If this second posting was with Pathfinder Force how many Ops in this case?

    Finally, I understand that those aircrew from the Dominions - Aus, NZ & Canada - were by agreement with their Govts only required to do an operational tour, followed by a screening tour before returning home. Was that mandatory or could they continue for a second tour if they so wished.

    Any clarification much appreciated

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    For Canadians the rules changed June 21st 1943 when Air Minister Power announced after negotiations with British authorities, that Canadian Aircrew would be entitled to eight weeks home leave (four weeks for travel & four weeks for leave) following the completion their of their first tour of operations and subsequent posting at an OTU as an instructor. They did not have to take it and my father was one who decided not take it, heading off for Pathfinder Training instead. For him the really hard part was telling his mother who was expecting him home for leave with great anticipation. He explained it to her in a letter, saying:
    “ I guess the most important [news] is that I’m going back on operations. Not at once- I’ll be taking a course for some time yet – don’t worry! But I won’t be getting home on leave. This news will hit you rather hard I suppose and I’ve worried about how you would take it. The truth is I could have refused any postings back on ops until I’d got Canadian leave, but I got the chance of this posting right away and it was on to a job that I wanted…and meantime I’d slowly be going crazy hanging around that O.T.U. I was instructing at. Don’t think I got pushed into this – the job I’m on has to be volunteered for.”
    After his first tour on Stirlings he was bored silly being at an OTU and wanted to get his 2nd tour underway as soon as he could.
    Cheers
    Dave Wallace
    Last edited by David Wallace; 6th June 2010 at 21:32.

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    Default Operational Tours in the Middle East

    It should be noted that whereas a first operational tour in Bomber Command was 30, and a second 20, in the Middle East a first tour on night bombers was 250 operational hours, which usually worked out at 37-40 operations, with a second tour of approximately 30 ops. This was fine while the loss rate there was substantially lower than in Bomber Command, but over the late spring and summer of 1944 the loss rate in 205 Group was at times approaching that of Bomber Command. When loss rates in attacking the Romanian oil fields or targets in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Southern Germany could regularly reach 5% - and on one raid, on Feuersbrunn Airfield in Austria, reached 19% - 37-40 ops seemed a target unlikely of attainment. 40 Squadron, for instance, in the period May-June-July 1944, lost 21 aircraft and crews, more than a complete squadron complement.

    David

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    David G - do you happen to know what the rules were in the Far East? Were there any specifically for SD squadrons?

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    I am sorry, but I have no idea about Far East tours. In the SD squadrons it was hours based, but what the hours were, I do not know.

    David

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Gunby View Post
    I am sorry, but I have no idea about Far East tours. In the SD squadrons it was hours based, but what the hours were, I do not know.

    David
    Well, having just totted up the total flying hours of the crew my father flew in with 358 Squadron, it would seem that 250 hours was also valid in the Far East.

    They achieved approximately that number of hours in 20 ops between June and September 1945, of which one was aborted after two hours due to engine failure!

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    Gentlemen,
    I have an RNZAF file on the subject of operational tours, although most of this is concerned with tours under RNZAF control in NZ and the Pacific. However in early 1945 the increasing flow of RNZAF aircrew personnel returning to NZ from the UK, India and the Middle East theatres generally brought up some interesting facts, as concerns were being voiced that the Pacific chaps were now at a disadvantage as compared to the returnees from the northern hemisphere. Basically it seemed to be the understanding at this juncture that RNZAF personnel serving on attachment to the RAF were to complete two operational tours of duty, separated by a period of non-operational duty (as instructor, staff pilot/navigator/WOAG or A/G), or a period of three years instructing before he was eligible for return to New Zealand. On his return he was considered eligible for release from the service as it was considered that he had "discharged his obligations to the RNZAF", but was also perfectly entitled to volunteer for further service in the RNZAF in the Pacific, on operations or as a member of a transport aircraft crew, or as an instructor in NZ.
    I doubt that the suggested "single tour" obligation under the Empire Air Training Scheme ever existed, and the "three-year" or "Two-operational tour" obligation was much more likely, although I believe that when the EATS agreements were signed in December 1939 there was very little if any concept of "operational tours" for aircrew. The latter simply "developed" as the war progressed, although it was always realized that operational aircrew could not remain on full operational duties for ever, as this was well understood from experience in WW1 (air, land and sea) and probably the accumulated knowledge from every military campaign since time immemorial, and every military commander from that time forward soon learned of the existence of "battle fatigue" and "staleness" after too much campaigning. Even watching the current (in NZ!) American series "The Pacific" gives you a pretty good idea of this (in a general sense).
    David D

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    I hasten to add that the file I "have" is actually a photo copy - the original is still with Archives NZ in Wellington, and can be inspected by anybody with an interest in the subject!
    David D

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    My guy who was an Observer (NavB) on 226 had the following stats at the end of his flying career:
    From Log Book:
    Day Night
    Total hours for 226 Squadron 347.40 20.25
    Total Mitchell hours 364.00 21.55
    No of Sorties 92
    No of Operations 83˝
    No of Operational hours 196.50 13.35

    Logbook entry dated 20 Nov 44:
    ‘Certified that two tours of operations have been completed in accordance with “2” Group requirements (Ref. 2G-S8000-P4 dated 24th June 1944.)’
    You may well ask why half an op. Air Sea Rescue flights counted as only half an op. 226 spent some hours flying box searches in the North Sea attempting to locate downed air crews. Hopefully this adds something to a complex subject, to which, I suspect, there is no one answer.
    Regards, Terry

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    My guy who was an Observer (NavB) on 226 had the following stats at the end of his flying career:
    From Log Book:
    Day, Night
    Total hours for 226 Squadron 347.40, 20.25
    Total Mitchell hours 364.00, 21.55
    No of Sorties 92
    No of Operations 83˝
    No of Operational hours 196.50, 13.35

    Logbook entry dated 20 Nov 44:
    ‘Certified that two tours of operations have been completed in accordance with “2” Group requirements (Ref. 2G-S8000-P4 dated 24th June 1944.)’
    You may well ask why half an op. Air Sea Rescue flights counted as only half an op. 226 spent some hours flying box searches in the North Sea attempting to locate downed air crews.
    Hopefully this adds something to a complex subject, to which, I suspect, there is no one answer.
    Regards, Terry

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