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Thread: Dusseldorf raid 11 Jun 1943 - Pathfinders drop their flares in a bunch

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    Default Dusseldorf raid 11 Jun 1943 - Pathfinders drop their flares in a bunch

    According to an entry I have for this particular raid, there was a problem with one of the PFF Mosquitos that dropped a large number of flares accidentally and all in the wrong spot. Can anyone tell me more about this, what PFF unit, crew it was and how it could happen that a load of flares is dropped all at once?
    David

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    David,

    No response so I'll jump in. It would have been one of 12 109 Squadron Oboe-equipped Mosquitos. The salvo of all the markers was presumably finger trouble, the 109 Squadron O.R.B. may provide more information.

    Source MOSQUITO (Sharp & Bowyer)

    Ian

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    David

    From J Allwyn Phillips book "Valley of the Shadow of Death" it is recorded that "Shortly after the raid commenced, an Oboe equipped Mosquito accidentally dropped its load of target markers 14 miles NE of the main aimimg point and for a short time in the raid, many main force bombers dropped their bomb loads on these markers". Martin Middlebrook's & Chris Everitt's "The Bomber Command War Diaries" uses the word "inadvertently" instead of accidentally. Either way and as Ian indicated, it would appear to have been human rather than mechanical error. No Mosquito Squadron identified in either publication for this date other than the number of Mosquitos taking part which both record as 13.

    Douglas

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    Thanks Douglas and Ian, that's a help. I will consult the ORBs when I can afford it, unless someone has them to hand.
    David

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    My copy of the 109 ORB starts in Oct./43 so I don't have that information at hand. It would have been a 109 Squadron aircraft as the other Oboe Squadron, 105, did not go to Wuppertal on June 11 and that was when they were converting over to Oboe duties.
    As far as the load of flares being dropped at once, that was the way they released on Oboe ops, whether they had bombs or target indicators on board. Each Oboe Mosquito only made one trip down the Oboe beam so the entire load was always released at once. The only exception I have seen to that is one operation where each aircraft made two attacks and did two Oboe runs into the target but that was very rare.
    The length of an Oboe run was 10 minutes, usually about 50 miles. The load dropped 14 miles off the target would have been dropped about 3 minutes early. Usually at that time the Navigator would still be calculating his time left to the target as that was critical for them. He worked on a wooden chart board across his knees and it was very cramped. My guess is the release button was accidentally hit early as they still had 1/3 of the run to complete and the Navigator was quite busy at that time to make sure they arrive within right timing. If they were early he would sometimetime tell the pilot to leave the beam in a one minute turn where they would circle off the beam and rejoin it in the same place to kill time, then continue down the beam.
    Dave Wallace

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    Thanks Dave, that's an excellent description - and totally changes the emphasis in the notation. The mistake was not in dropping the entire load, just dropping it too early.
    David

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