Viewing post #660559 by NEILMUIR1

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You are viewing a single post made by NEILMUIR1 in the thread called Smart man!.
May 18, 2011 6:23 AM CST
Name: Neil
London\Kent Border
Dear Lance, i watched an amazing Documentary on TV last night about the Dambusters old vs new. On the 17th of May 1943 a crack squadron of Lancaster bombers took off from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire armed with a secret and untested weapon. There aim was to destroy the three major dams in the German Ruhr and cripple the armament factories that relied upon the water to make weapons. After only 7 weeks training these brave men had to fly 500 miles into Germany at tree height, going underneath electricity pylons and cables at night. Then to attack the dams they had to go through the German guns get the bombers to 60 feet off the water exactly using two spotlights to match together to give them the correct height and drop the bouncing bomb at 450 yards from the dam.
Two of the dams were destroyed and the devastation was immense.
The hardest task was to navigate at that distance at night traveling at 250 mph, 100 feet from the ground. This involved a team effort from the crew.
So to celebrate the amazing achievement of the airmen in 1943, they got seven RAF personnel who had just finished their pilot raining to a point and they had to replicate this famous raid.
These men and women are used to head up displays and jets, GPS and every electronic gadget, on this they got exactly the same as the 1943 aircrew.
Firstly they had to learn how to fly a Lancaster bomber, not an easy task if you are used to have everything done for you. They were given the same manuals as the original crews, no TV or video.
They eat the same as the first crews and were treated to the same discipline. Then they had to learn how to navigate at night 100 feet of the ground, which they found almost impossible as they had to use maps and work everything out using maths and things like trigonometry! Even the flight engineer was perplexed having to read manuals.
As there are only two flying Lancaster's left in the world they could not risk the new crew fly one, and the Germans might get a tad upset at one of them flying into their airspace at 100 feet above the ground. So a simulator was built on a non flying Lancaster, it was totally realistic.
After the seven weeks training they were given a test flight to the targets which the first crews were not. This time the cold in the aircraft the noise, and the gunfire\searchlights from the Germans were included. They failed miserably and crashed it. They all claimed that it was impossible to do without TV guidance and GPS etc. Yet it was done in 1943.
They were given further chances and still failed, so some of the original Dambusters were brought in to help, including an American who was on this famous raid.
At last after a lot more training than the seven weeks, they did get to the dam and after five attempts did release the bomb. It did hit the dam but in the wrong place and it did not breach it.
I think Lance this goes to show that the way the 'originals' were taught by reading books and manuals, did work on this occasion. No electronic gadgets at all, just a map, a ruler. pencil and a watch.
Flying over 1000 miles in the freezing cold and relying just upon maths and teamwork, against a barrage of German guns and fighter planes.
They had dinner with the survivors of this raid, and took their hats off to them! How did you do this they all wanted to know. We had to was the answer they got.
Two of the survivors from 1943 were taken by two of the new airmen up in a jet, there comment was "this is not flying, a computer does this"
Lance before I leave you, to see these new pilots having to read books was truly funny as they are not used to that.

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