|Hi Mike! Gen. Anderson's 9th
bomber command obtained Pff (Oboe) equipment in March of 1944. This was a pathfinder
technique, an employed device of the radar family. Two signals were sent out from
the home station and intersected at the target. The first of the two signals was constant
the bomber crew flew its path on the course indicated by instruments. The path was
curved, not straight. The home station plotted the progress on a screen and at the point
of bomb release shot out the intersecting signal, the bombardier would release his bombs.
General Anderson formed a squadron to engage in nothing but Pathfinding work. There was
not a table of organization for it "so we couldn't put the squadron in for a
Presidential citation." Pilots learned to fly oboes' signals and their average
accuracy was plus or minus 400 ft. In one thirty day period in the autumn of 1944
the mediums attacked 92 targets by instruments, when the weather cleared, seventy five of
the ninety two were photographed and determined the seventy one had been hit. It was
assumed on that basis of the ninety-two targets, eighty-six had been hit. In the closing
days of the war oboe was supplemented with a better pathfinder device called
"Shoran'. It was sturdier, did not get out of calibration when moved and was more
mobile and more accurate. When using Shoran the accuracy was as low as plus or minus 200
feet. It was given to the Invaders. This info. was obtained from the Book "Flak
Bait" by Devon Francis (asso. editor of Popular Science Magazine.) copyrighted
,1948 by Gordon Carrol, Published by Sloan -Duell & Pierce, New York. pages
Personally I flew in numerous missions, as bombardier, that were lead by Pff ships. Never observed their results or accuracy. Some of these missions were aborted because of pff malfunctions. The thought of flying straight and level for so great a time without some sort of evasive action and cloud coverage doesn't appeal to me. Well, Mike, hope this helps somewhat. Good to hear from you.
PS-the book Flak Bait just happens to mention C.H. and myself in it. Take care, W.B.
Hi Mike! Pathfinders (pff) planes are planes that were used during solid cloud coverage when visual bombing was not practical or possible. It was intended for a pathfinder to lead a group of 17 planes or so over the target and when they released their bombs the rest of the group would salvo their bombs on this visual cue. As a rule a couple of window ships would fly ahead of them and release trails of aluminum strips in the air that would filter down and give confusing readings to the enemies radar that directed their anti-aircraft defenses. As previously mentioned, these pff ships were guided by their installations of oboe receivers on a curved course, the pilot would follow, to the target release point when the home station would "Zap" a signal to them to release their bombs. You're certainly welcome to drop by for a visit, it's always a pleasure to talk to you. I look forward to seeing you.
These pathfinder planes were used during the battle of the Bulge to bomb defended villages such as Harperscheid, Hallenthal, Blumenthal, Olaf, and Heran which were almost within shouting distance of the U.S. First Army troops. We had one with us on our mission to Mayen RR Bridge and they were so far off course they relinquished their lead to our leaders. The weather had cleared somewhat and I was able to synchronize on and obtain a direct on the bridge span. Of course there were many other targets assigned to this Squadron of Oboe equipped planes and they obtained good results. Let me know if I can be of any further help.
Thank you Warren Butterfield for making B26.COM a great web site!