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  • Roadkiller
    replied
    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

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  • michammer
    replied
    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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  • michammer
    replied
    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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  • Gooner
    replied
    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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  • Nick the Noodle
    replied
    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.

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  • lcm1
    replied
    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.
    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!!

    Leave a comment:


  • The Purist
    replied
    Well,...to my mind it would have been easier for the Germans to force Tunisia in January 42 while the Brits were downsizing 8th Army due to requirements in Asia. Both Tinis and Bizerte are better ports than Tripoli and both are further away from Malta. It may have been easier for Rommel to retreat to Tunisia and rebuild the axis army there for a continued campaign in Africa in 1942. Considering the problems with British armour doctrine (or rather a lack of one), Rommel could still have handed 8th Army some serious set backs.

    Only later on in 42, when 8th Army could have been reinforced as it was, together with the arrival of US troops through Moroccan and Algerian ports would Africa be policed up. Perhaps by the period Nov 42 - Jan 43. An invasion of France in 43 would still be avoided, imo,...the allied forces were still too weak over all and any lodgement on the continent could simply be labelled as the world's largest POW cage.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Originally posted by The Purist View Post
    Carl,

    Considering that a successful Crusader would have seen the DAK destroyed in Dec 41 it is unlikely tank or trucks could have been tranferred to the Moscow front (or for the Stalingrad campaign). I would wager that instead of three German divisions in Libya in early 42 the Germans would have to commit a dozen or more to Sicily Italy and Greece to cover potential allied landings.
    Oh yes, quite! I had my dates mixed. Silly me.

    Originally posted by The Purist View Post
    Perhaps the Germans and Italians would move against Tunisia prior to Tripoli falling and thus delay being forced out of Africa until later in 42 (??)
    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. How that might affect any plans and politicing for Gymnast or Torch is interesting... I wonder if this makes Gymnast any more practical?

    Leave a comment:


  • michammer
    replied
    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
    One in the RAF fought until the war was over, or they were dead, wounded or captured. Hence the outrageous losses.
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Purist
    replied
    Carl,

    Considering that a successful Crusader would have seen the DAK destroyed in Dec 41 it is unlikely tank or trucks could have been tranferred to the Moscow front (or for the Stalingrad campaign). I would wager that instead of three German divisions in Libya in early 42 the Germans would have to commit a dozen or more to Sicily Italy and Greece to cover potential allied landings.

    Perhaps the Germans and Italians would move against Tunisia prior to Tripoli falling and thus delay being forced out of Africa until later in 42 (??)

    Leave a comment:


  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
    A British victory is also a Nazi gain? Intriguing.
    Aside from the armored corps consider all the extra trucks and fuel that can be used in Barbarosa instead. Were I the German commander at the gates of Moscow I might prefer to see several thousand trucks with fuel and artillery ammo show up, instead of another tank divsion or two.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    On the down side many British tactics & techniques are not fully redeveloped. Without the combat subsequent to Crusader the artillery arm does have a combat test of their 1940-41 changes, ditto for the various improvements the RAF command in Egypt implimented. so, any British army looking for a fight in Crete or Sicilly will not be quite as good as the 8th Army of the latter half of 1942.

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  • Nick the Noodle
    replied
    A British victory is also a Nazi gain? Intriguing.

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  • Gooner
    replied
    German gain is the equivalent of a whole Panzer Korps and probably half a Flieger Korps in time for Fall Blau.


    Britain has some pretty interesting options open for '42; they got a powerful 4 aircraft carrier fleet together for Pedestal so could go either for a landing in the Dodecanese or counter-attack in the far east. Operation Husky at the time of Operation Torch.

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  • Nick the Noodle
    replied
    Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
    Let's not forget that Harris was following the principles laid down by Douhet as to the objective and effects of area bombing. Let's not also forget that the USAAF believed that it could 'precision bomb' from height because of the Norden bomb site when, in reality, it could not. Both strategies were predicated on false assumptions and those that formulated them did ignore, to a certain extent, evidence (not 'proof') that showed that this was the case. In the end the strategic bombing campaign was an important factor in the defeat of Nazi Germany and both air forces contributed greatly.
    All true. But using evil practises to defeat an evil regieme can never be the way forward. The capability of area bombing to do what Bomber Harris wanted was not developed until it was making no difference. The one big impact of the bombing campaign was not the actual damage it caused, but the resources it took away from the Eastern Front. And the destruction of Nazi airpower over Germany, when Mustangs by day and Mossies by night started hunting rather than just sheperding. Also Harris did not care about the aircrew lives. At least US pilots had a statistical chance of surviving a tour. One in the RAF fought until the war was over, or they were dead, wounded or captured. Hence the outrageous losses.

    Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
    Well, in the highly unlikely event of 'Crusader' actually achieving that I can't see an invasion of Sicily being mounted by the British/Commonwealth forces. For starters they don't have the landing craft or the kind of air and sea superiority that the Allies enjoyed in July 1943. Then, with the Japanese rampaging through South-East Asia it would be likely that any assets that might have been used to invade Sicily would be transferred out to try and hold Burma and protect Australia. Another consideration would be the position of the Vichy regime. Would 8th Army, logistics permitting, be deployed to put pressure on them or even invade as had happened in Syria? Or, with North Africa secured, would one of Churchill's crackpot schemes to open a front in the Balkans been taken up? To be honest though, even if Italy were ko'd in early 1942 I can't see it making a vast difference to the war as a whole. It might have stymied 'Case Blue' forcing the Germans to adopt a more pragmatic approach on the Eastern Front but that means no Stalingrad and, in this scenario, no 'Tunis disaster' either.
    As to the original thread, can't fault your reasoning above.

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