RAF Target marking

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wuzak, May 13, 2012.

  1. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2011
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    The RAF pathfinder force was set up to help guide the main force bombers to target as well as mark the target's aiming point(s).

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaX6Ly6JFTc

    The Youtube clip shows that the PFF bombers would drop flares to light up the target, before dropping their target indicators.

    What was the process of marking a target, and then the procedure for the main force bombing?

    Did target markers aim visually, using the light from the flares, or was it almost exclusively Oboe and H2S? I believe that 617 squadron would visually mark targets, initially with Lancasters, then Mosquitos and then Mustangs (Mustangs were better at diving than Mosquitos).

    How well did the master bomber system work? The master bomber helping to correct the aiming, in an attempt to prevent creep back.
  2. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2007
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    I'm too busy/tired to type a good answer, usually in books on BC they explained also the target marking systems. The system developed continually during the war. But there were ground marking and sky marking systems, the latter was used when clouds obscured the target. Yes, from Sept 42 onwards at first the Illuminators dropped flares from which the Visual Markers could identify and mark the aiming point. A second force of Backers Up would then follow and drop incendiaries on the markers, then the Main Force attacked, but system developed much from that later.

    Whatever was the system up to April 45 there were attacks that completely missed the target but as time passed the average accuracy improved and of course the concentration. The master bomber system worked if the master bomber found the target, his radio didn't act up ond Germans didn't succeed to shoot him down. But if the master bomber made a mistake on where the target was, the whole raid easily went astray. In 44 and 45 BC tended to be more accurate in nonvisual bombing than 8th AF, simply because they had more practice in radar bombing.


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