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  • #31
    Originally posted by michammer View Post
    The RAF had a tour system which, for Bomber Command, meant a tour of 30 ops followed by a rest and then a second tour of 20 ops. After this the only way they could fly more ops with BC was to volunteer - with the PFF or 617 Sqn.

    In his book The Nurmeberg Raid Martin Middlebrook uses loss statistics to figure out how many survived the full cycle with Bomber Command. He figures that in a group of 100 aircrew who came together at an OTU, 24 would survive the full cycle unharmed.

    So to say they "...fought until the war was over, or they were dead, wounded or captured" is a bit of a stretch.

    However, you are correct - losses were horrendous.
    Should have checked this first. I was quoting from telly, should know better. Apparantly you needed 120 points to complete your 1st tour, 3 were gained for a mission to France, 4 for Germany according to one vet. I suppose since most missions were to Germany, 30 is usually recorded as the required amount.
    How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
    Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
      Hmm... the politics of Vichy France. Its not likely a Axis army forced back against Tripoli or worse could afford to respect Vichy nuetrality. Hitler would be 'forced' to take Tunisia into protective custody to prevent Perfidious Albion from violating aformentioned nuetrality.
      I think the 200,000 or so troops and several hundred combat aircraft in Vichy North Africa may cause retreating Axis troops to respect them!

      Hard to call whether they'd be allowed in, Axis troops only entered Tunisia in '42 after the Allies had attacked Vichy first.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
        Should have checked this first. I was quoting from telly, should know better. Apparantly you needed 120 points to complete your 1st tour, 3 were gained for a mission to France, 4 for Germany according to one vet. I suppose since most missions were to Germany, 30 is usually recorded as the required amount.
        From what I have read, an op to Germany was considered as 1 Op; an op to a French "soft" target was considered a third of an op. However, when the losses on these "soft" targets increased, BC changed to awarding a full op on these targets.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
          Another thing that happened was the closer they got to the end of their 'tour' the more wragged there nerves became "Will I make it" etc: some of them having complete breakdowns and the worst thing I think was they were stripped of there ranks and there papers were stamped L.M.F. 'Lack of moral fibre' a polite but cruel way of calling them cowards!!
          A very cruel way, especially as they were stripped of their wings and rank in front of the whole unit, kicked off the station immediately so their Lack of Moral Fibre didn't catch on, and made to do very menial tasks.

          However, were they cowards? The people making the rules declaring these men LMF for not flying had, probably, never seen any action at all. They certainly had not flown on ops over Germany.

          Here you have guys who have just completed their 16th Op on Germany and have nursed their damaged aircraft home. While they are in debriefing, the crash crews are cutting the mangled body of their rear gunner out of his damaged turret, and they decide "enough is enough". Are they cowards, or are they just suffering from what today would be called PTSD?

          Instead of branding them LMF, maybe they should have been given a rest for a short time before being put back on ops. Then if they refuse to fly they get branded LMF.

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          • #35
            Freeman Dyson (yes, for you science geeks THE Freeman Dyson of the transform and sphere fame) was a scientist working with the Operational Research Section of Bomber Command during the war. He has the following to say on surviving a tour and LMF:

            "Crew experience and surviving a tour

            "I was engaged in a statistical study to find out whether there was any correlation between the experience of a crew and their chance of being shot down. The belief of the Command,… was that a crew's chance of surviving a mission increased with experience…It had been true in the early years of the war that experienced crews survived better. Before I arrived at Bomber Command, the ORS had made a study which confirmed the official doctrine of survival through experience. The results of that study had been warmly accepted by everybody."

            "Unfortunately, when I repeated the study…,I found that things had changed. My conclusion was unambiguous: the decrease of loss rate with experience which existed in 1942 had ceased to exist in 1944. In the ORS we had a theory to explain why experience no longer saved bombers. We now know the theory was correct. The theory was called "Upward-Firing Guns." The normal tour of duty for a crew in a regular squadron was thirty missions. The loss rate during the middle years of the war averaged about four percent. This meant that a crewman had three chances in ten of completing a normal tour. The pathfinders crews signed on for a double tour of sixty missions. They had about one chance in eleven of completing the double tour."



            Lack of Moral Fibre (LMF)

            "There was no easy way out for the boys who cracked. The rules of the Command were designed to ensure that crewmen should consider transfer a fate worse than death. When a boy was transferred for mental reasons, the cause of transfer was officially recorded as "Lack of Moral Fibre." He was, in effect, officially declared to be a coward and thereafter assigned to menial and humiliating duties. In spite of the public disgrace and dishonour that they had to endure, the number who cracked was not small. At Command headquarters, we knew that the number transferred out of squadrons before the end of their tour was roughly equal to the number completing the full tour. We were not allowed to know how many of those transferred were mental cases."

            http://www.429sqn.ca/bcors.htm
            Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

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