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Thread: Bomber Command - alterntive target in night raid reports

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    Default Bomber Command - alterntive target in night raid reports

    Hi,

    just a question to make sure that I do not interpret wrongly ...

    At the beginning of each night raid report the targets are mentioned, like Leverkusen, Rheinhausen, Duisburg, Minelaying, leaflets. Later there is a part mentioning alternative targets, like "9 aircraft attacked alternative targets in the areas of Cologne, Duisburg Dusseldorf ...".

    In my opionion these were not planned alternative attacks, but dropping bombs on other cities because of wrong identification of the target, so navigation problems or dropping bombs because of an emergency situation etc.

    Do you think that this is correct?

    Thanks for your help.

    Best

    Marcel

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    Default Re: Bomber Command - alterntive target in night raid reports

    Hi Marcel,

    for years 1940-42 when 311 Sq was with the BC there was always a primary and a secondary target stated at the briefing. The secondary target was always closer to the base and used by aircraft unable to attack the primary one, typically some technical defect or aircraft was not climbing enough, etc.

    But I am not sure if this was still in use in 1943-45. I know there were precise time windows when targets have to be attacked and when an aircraft failed to reach the target in time, the crew was returning with the bomb load to the base. Also when they were not requested to attack by the Master Bomber they returned with the bomb load so I would make a conclusion that in those times they were not stated secondary targets.

    But is there a possibility that PFF has marked two areas on the same target one being the primary, the other one secondary (alternative) area?

    I am afraid someone more familiar with the BC operations in 1943-45 has to carry on.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Default Re: Bomber Command - alterntive target in night raid reports

    Hi Pavel,

    thanks for your opinion on this topic.

    Marcel

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    Default Re: Bomber Command - alterntive target in night raid reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel L. View Post
    In my opionion these were not planned alternative attacks, but dropping bombs on other cities because of wrong identification of the target, so navigation problems or dropping bombs because of an emergency situation etc.

    Do you think that this is correct?

    Thanks for your help.

    Best

    Marcel
    This matches my opinion as well. I saw one ORB entry with 419 Squadron where the crew could not see expected flares at the specified time and bombed another target. I shall look for this and post the link.

    There was another incident on the raid to Bochum, November 4,1944, where at least one crew bombed a small town near the return route and loosed their load on a factory producing V-1 rocket parts. This was covered in Ralf Blank’s book, Bitter Ends.

    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...ghlight=Bochum

    Sometimes icing conditions caused bomb release mechanisms to freeze up and whole bomb loads failed to release over the target. Presumably they worked on the problem and jettisoned the bombs over enemy territory.

    Jim
    Last edited by JDCAVE; 13th April 2021 at 15:20.

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    Default Re: Bomber Command - alterntive target in night raid reports

    Yes, Marcel: This is the ORB entry I wished to find. October 6, 1944, Dortmund. 419 Crew, KB.744 "P",

    https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/o...92/865?r=0&s=2

    Abortive Over Enemy Territory. (A.O.E.T.)

    This crew was quite experienced and Anderson eventually was awarded DSO and DFC, so I think they cut him some slack. The coordinates put Anderson close to the towns of Oberaden and Weddinghofen. While it might be considered as an example of an alternate target, I think it was categorized as AOET.

    Jim
    Last edited by JDCAVE; 13th April 2021 at 16:09.

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    Default Re: Bomber Command - alterntive target in night raid reports

    Hi Jim,

    thanks for your thoughts an the link.

    Marcel

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    Default Re: Bomber Command - alterntive target in night raid reports

    Hi Marcel,

    I have on file a minute from DB Ops to ACAS Ops on 15 April 1944 (can't find the TNA reference but it's probably within the BC ORB files). The minute refers to an Air Ministry letter of 29th October 1942 (CS 15803/A.S.P.1), which was still briefed frequently to crews. The policy outlined in the letter was that no alternative targets were to be bombed during raids on targets in occupied territory. However, over Germany, crews 'are at liberty to bomb any alternative targets' if, for whatever reason, they can't bomb the primary target as instructed. Alternative targets are not specified at briefing.

    Form Y Reports on night's operations from station to Group provided details of the number of a/c attacking primary, alternative and 'last resort' targets. I've seen something explaining what 'last resort' means, but I can't find it at the moment. If memory serves, alternative targets were urban areas, 'last resort' targets included such things as concentrations of searchlights. If I find the reference again I'll let you know.

    Richard
    Last edited by Richard; 14th April 2021 at 17:32.

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    Default Re: Bomber Command - alterntive target in night raid reports

    Hi Jim,
    thanks for the details. I willl have a look for Y reports again. I have never heard about "last resort" before, interesting.
    Thanks.
    Marcel

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    Default Re: Bomber Command - alterntive target in night raid reports

    That’s very interesting Richard. I have seen some of the Middleton St George Y reports, but don’t have a full set by any means. The 419 Squadron “Reports Y” from TNA are not the Y reports, but rather are the Combat Reports and Battle Order tables.

    Jim

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