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Stumpyhussar
12-23-2006, 01:55 PM
Just been reading a facinating article in the Aeroplane magazine about a B17 that was on a raid into Germany and was hit by AA fire. The aircraft is shown after it landed with all it's front glass end blown away by an 88 mm shell, you can even see the crease in the chin turret where it glanced off before exploding. Spookily the only thing thats left is the bomb aimers rotating chair and he was one of the ones killed.

The article says that he was a 'toggler' and not a true bomb aimer. This is explained briefly by the fact that these chaps used to watch for the master bombers bombs to drop then they would press their own release switch so the whole group would deliver the load at the same time.

I didn't realise that the 8th Air Force dropped their bombs like this, does anyone know when this started in Europe?

Gen. Sandworm
12-23-2006, 02:14 PM
Just been reading a facinating article in the Aeroplane magazine about a B17 that was on a raid into Germany and was hit by AA fire. The aircraft is shown after it landed with all it's front glass end blown away by an 88 mm shell, you can even see the crease in the chin turret where it glanced off before exploding. Spookily the only thing thats left is the bomb aimers rotating chair and he was one of the ones killed.

The article says that he was a 'toggler' and not a true bomb aimer. This is explained briefly by the fact that these chaps used to watch for the master bombers bombs to drop then they would press their own release switch so the whole group would deliver the load at the same time.

I didn't realise that the 8th Air Force dropped their bombs like this, does anyone know when this started in Europe?

Im not 100% sure but I think it was this way almost thru out the war. Noteably for those at great heights. Hence the nickname of "carpet bombing" There are many factors that could throw off the bombs target. This way the chances of hitting the target were increased. This is type of targeting was shown in the movie "Memphis Belle"

VonWeyer
12-23-2006, 02:41 PM
Spot on General.

1000ydstare
12-26-2006, 10:56 AM
There were specially trained "bomb aimers" who would be breifed up in detail on a point to push the button. As they started to drop their bombs then others in the formation would also begin. The idea being (as Gen. Sandworm says) to carpet the area, with a fair degree of margin of error, and hit the target.

I think the aimers, as opposed to "togglers", had to gain an accuracy of an American Baseball park, ie their bomb would fall inside a ballpark diameter if it was aimed in the middle. This later coining the phrase "in the ballpark" or "in the right ball park", etc.

(as an aside the term "the whole nine yards" refers to the nine yards of belted ammunition carried for each gun in USAF aircraft.)

Other specialist aircrew would include the "marshellers" not too sure on their actual name. THey would fly brightly (NTM sometimes gaudily) painted aircraft in order to marshal the huge USAF bomber fleets in to the correct patterns before sending them on their way.

If anyone can remember their actual name please post it. They have appeared in Take Off magazine too.
The RAF used Pathfinders in a slightly different way. Elite/picked crews would mark the target with iluminates for others to bomb with iron bombs.
see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pathfinder_(RAF)