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Discussion in 'Technical' started by bob44, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    Lets say P51s flying from Leiston to Berlin. How did they navigate to where they where supposed to be and back to England?
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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  3. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    Must have been more than DRing?
     
  4. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Follow the bombers???

    check points, they had to pass over/near other cities/rivers/lakes a pre-determined times. If the cloud cover is too bad to see the ground the Dead reckoning gets increasingly iffy
     
  5. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    What you're describing is call called "pilotage" and many times its used in conjunction with dead reckoning. During WW2, DR was basically all you had unless your aircraft was equipped with a DF unit. With a needle equipped DF unit you could possibly triangulate a position providing you had locations of the transmitting radio stations.

    Celestial navigation was used in larger aircraft that were equipped with a sextant, and of course you had radar.
     
  6. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    I think there must have been some radio usage involved.
     
  7. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    No, it was pretty much just DR. DF radios cost weight, which is better spent in fuel or ammunition.

    Dead reckoning can be pretty accurate, especially if you are using intermediate waypoints where you can recalculate groundspeed and drift.

    For return to base, they used ground radar if the weather was bad.
     
  8. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    Perhaps a combination of DR, pilotage, radio, radar.
     
  9. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    I'm curious, why did you dismiss Dead Reckoning? It can deliver pretty accurate results.
     
  10. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    Not dismissing DR.
    I have read that radio was used a lot for civil/military aircraft navigation in that time.
    And Iam not sure about what a fighter escort/sweep into Germany would use.
     
  11. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    You can't use a lot of radio navigation aids in a war zone like you could in the USA, or Canada. The same aids that could guide your aircraft home would also be used by the enemy to bomb and intrude on your airfields.
     
  12. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #12 FLYBOYJ, Oct 18, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2012
    True - back then most if not all radio communication was done on low and mid frequencies. All you need to know is the location of a transmitting AM radio station and DF equipment and you can navigate "to from." At the same time, LF radio nav aids are not that accurate and are easily affected by weather conditions.

    Here's a little info on this...

    ADF History
     
  13. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I agree with all the above. No doubt Bill can verify, but, in general, escort fighters (or any other fighter formation, or pair, for example) would have an 'Outbound' course and 'Inbound' course given at briefing, with an emergency return course also being provided.
    For example, the 'Inbound' course might be specific, with a way-point at, say, Gravelines, then a course for landfall at a specific point on the south or east coast of England, this point being the expected entry location, allowing AA and ADGB to be aware of 'friendly' aircraft. The 'emergency' course would be a heading to get the formation (or more likely an individual) directly back to the British Isles, on the straightest, most direct heading to allow landfall. From a point in Germany, this course would be something like 300 degrees magnetic, which, given enough fuel, should allow a pilot to at least find England.
    Aerial navigation was still in it's infancy during WW2, and the requirements of military aviation at that time, saw the development of many aids, the basis of which are still in use today. However, those aids, at that time, were few and, as has been stated, could not be used for operational purposes, as they would also aid the enemy.
    A look at the cockpit of virtually any single seat fighter of the period will show that the navigation aids consisted mainly of a compass, and gyro directional indicator - multi-seat, multi-engine aircraft dis, of course, have further instrumentation, but still relied chiefly on DR navigation, with minimal help from ground station equipment, or airborne equipment such as H2S.
     
  14. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    Ok. Several good points.
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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  16. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    Not strictly true, but leave that for now.
    The chances of P-51s being sent to Berlin, alone, is a bit unlikely, since they would either be acting as escorts for the bombers heading to Berlin, or given the job of intercepting them, on the way home, and, again, acting as escort.
    In the first instance, they'd have a pretty good idea when their fuel level would dictate a return home, so they'd have been given a course home, preferably at ground level, with the freedom to attack targets of opportunity as they went.
    For the interception, they'd have been given a course to steer, and the returning bomber force was usually spread over several miles, so not too difficult to find, and then it was a simple (??) case of staying with them.
    If they got involved in a fight, they did have another option, and that was I.F.F. Head somewhere between north and west, and call for assistance, and they'd be told to switch the set on, which immediately showed the radar operators where they were, and they could be given a course for home.
    One pilot did say that all they had to do was look for the biggest, blackest cloud, and they knew England would be under it, but I think he came from Florida, Texas or Arizona.
     
  17. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Providing the aircraft was equipped with IFF - yes. Even when vectored, you still have to plot a course, determine any wind correction angle and make calculations for airspeed and fuel consumption - DR. Vectors work fine providing you could be accurately identified and you can fly the course given, and "of course" have the remaining fuel to do so.
     
  18. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    And, sometimes they just headed in the general direction of England and landed at the first airfield they came across. Its a pretty big island, and not easy to miss over the sort of distances we're talking about.

    In the Pacific, they had a basic DF set at the base. The pilot would give a ten-count, and the controller would give a course to steer. Aparently, it was OK, if the weather was good, but in bad weather, when everyone wanted a heading to steer, it could turn to chaos.
     
  19. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    "DF STEER"
     
  20. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    In a book on Duxford "Duxford and the Big Wings 1940-45," by Martin Bowman, 2nd. Lt. Dick Hewitt states that, at the end of 1943, his P-47 was fitted with IFF. By then, the IFF Mk.III was in use, and (on RAF aircraft, at least,) the only visible sign was a bar aerial, usually under the wing or fuselage, about 12" long.
     
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