Reconnaissance....

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Lucky13, May 3, 2014.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Just flicking through my two Aufklärer books....surprised to see that Luftwaffe utilised night reconnaissance! Were they the only ones doing so, or?
    With all the different types used for this, which was the better one for the mission, plus....which camera was the best ones at the time, I read that RAF used some German cameras in a few of their PRU Spitfires....

    Spitfire PR 1F - X4712
    Spitfire PR 1C - X4385
    Spitfire PR 1C - X4383
    Spitfire PR 1C - X4493
     
  2. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Night recon was known by both sides, Germans simply had to use it more extensively during later war because its enemieshad air superiority.

    German cameras were better but heavier, partly because better lenses, Germany simply had better lensmakers.

    Juha
     
  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I think there is at least one other thread about the cameras. I believe (but could be wrong) that the British used the recovered camera lenses from a crashed German aircraft on British camera bodies. The cameras or lenses being swapped in and out of a few of those Spitfires (they were not all in service at the same time, one or more suffered a landing or take-off accident?)

    A number of American and British cameras were fitted with lens assemblies made from lens crafted by "amateur" or hobby lens makers, usually as part of an astronomy hobby but not always.

    German cameras were heavier in part because they were simply bigger. They used a much larger piece of "film" for each frame. The British cameras usually used a 5"X5" negative size while the Germans used a 12"x12" ( or close metric equivalent).
     
  4. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #4 nuuumannn, May 4, 2014
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
    Yes indeed. Spitfire PR.IC X4383 was fitted with an F.8 camera in its fuselage that had a Zeiss Likon lens retrieved from a shot down German reconnaissance aircraft that had crashed in 1940. The F.8 was an older design of camera, first built in 1919. This was not all that unusual, even in the Great War, the British 'A' type camera was fitted with a Zeiss Tessar lens; this first saw use with the RFC in 1915.

    The British and Americans worked closely together in photographic reconnaissance, not just sharing cameras and aircraft, but also intel, and this co-operation grew as the war progressed. Aside from the USAAF using Spitfires and Mosquitoes, the RAF TacR Mustangs supplied images of potential 8th AF targets on a frequent basis. The Central Interpretation Unit at Danesfield House, or RAF Medmenham had US and British departments.

    As for night photography, the RFC carried out successful experiements using flash bombs during the Great War and from the end of 1943 onward, the RAF heavies all carried cameras and photo-flash equipment to give an accurate assessment of where they had dropped their loads. The flash bomb was a lethal piece of equipment that could blow the aircraft apart if handled incorrectly. It had a small propeller that was prevented from rotating prematurely by a lanyard, which was retrieved by the wireless operator; it was his duty to remove this before the flash bomb was dropped and at de-brief he was supposed to hand the lanyard in as evidence that the flash bomb was dropped live after the sortie. The flash bomb was released using an electrically controlled box, which timed it to a certain time after the bomb load was dropped, and it also co-ordinated the operation of the camera, which opened for eight seconds simultaneously to the flash bomb going off. During this time, the pilot had to fly the bomber straight and level to get a good picture. This was not popular among bomber crews to begin with, for obvious reasons. Problems with the system, particularly in the fact that the flash bomb illuminated the area being photographed for a very short period, thus producing streaky pictures of fires on the ground, were curtailed by fitting two cameras, with two films and two shutters to enable a second image to be taken. These worked as a Master and Slave system, which carefully worked out exposure time to a minimum to produce clear images. Initially, British F.24 cameras were used, but the American K-24 camera had a faster shutter speed and was subsequently adopted.

    One innovation that was of considerable use to the interpreters was a camera mount fitted to the H2S scanner in the cockpit; this took a picture of what the scanner was projecting onto its screen to give an accurate image of where bombs were dropped. These proved very useful at determining bombing effectiveness.
     
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  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Found the thread; http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/aerial-recon-western-front-38364.html

    Tends to go a bit down hill after the first 7-8 pages but some good links/articles and a few pictures of the cameras in question. Of the 4 spitfires you mention 3 used the same camera lens (German lens was adapted to British camera body) due to forced landings.
     
  6. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Cheers troops....:thumbright:
     
  7. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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  8. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    Didnt the flash bomb illuminate the bomber that just dropped it?
     
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