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Old 10th February 2006, 18:29
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Re: Operation Aphrodite

Hi Brian,

I Have times and I try to translate you the article; about the charts, I just translate the observation that I write.

Hoping that help you.

Sorry to all for my translation.

Blue Spader

Here small texts on "the SPECIAL OPERATIONS: APHRODITE, ANVIL, BATTY "good reading.

Cdt
Blue spader

BQ-17

June 13, the first V1 bombs are launched towards England, it is a serious threat for the allies, and London.
June 20 the Spaatz General notifies to the General Arnold to launch the anti-V1 project, this last must be led in the USA, by the US Air Force Proving Ground in Florida under the code name "Weary Willie".

Nevertheless, in England USSTAF HQ at the request of 8th AF launches the project development of " flying bombs drone ".

June 22, two B-17s, one "mother" (the plane guides) and one "baby" (loaded with explosives) are prepared and that in 2 days, by the Signal Maintenance Section of Burtonwood (station 590 at 3.5 miles NO of Warrington, Lancashire). They are tested on 24 June. Then leave to Bovingdon (station 112 with 2 miles SO Hemel Hempstead, Hertforshire.)

The plan is proposed to MG James Doolittle on June 26, 1944, under the name of code “PROJECT A or Project Aphrodite”.

The 3rd Bombardment Division, receives the mission to preparing to fly aircrafts all reorganize in the 562 BS, 388 BG based in Honington (station 375 with 2 miles NO of Honington, Suffolk.)

Approximately 25 B-17 (it is envisaged to use a total of 65 BQ-7) mainly F versions are likely being modified, in BQ-17 for the radio controlled flight.
These aircrafts are intended for the sites of V1, submarines bases and all fortifications who resist to the standard bombs.

However, a first 10 War-Weary planes are prepared in Honington by 1st SAD with its 9&40th Air Depot Group (B-17 series F&G), almost all the combat equipment is withdrawn except the navigation table, the VHF and an extinguisher in cabin. Those having "Tokyo tank" are emptied, degassed and sealed. The bomb bay is sealed, the navigator seat is put in place of the co-pilot seat, the AFCE stabilization unit to the bombardment operation and the autopilot C1 remains, in the same place.

In Burtonwood (Base Air Depot 1), two radio operator control systems Azon (Azon contraction of Azimuth only) are installed and connected with the flight controls systems and the autopilot system. A radar altimeter AN/APN-1 is installed to make it possible to maintain a constant altitude. The whole is completed by the installation of reception antennas of which one on ventral position which resembles a very large ball as you find in the American football.

Each B-17 "is emptied" of its military equipment and receive in the place 9 tons of Torpex explosive, the 20 000 lbs (9 tons) of these explosives, was set out in blocks of 55lbs (25kg) and installed between the cockpit, the radio operator section and the bomb bay.
The bomb bay is reinforced by "beams" crossed to support the overweight of Torpex.

A television camera is installed in the cockpit making it possible to see the all the instruments flight of the aircraft, by the operator in the A/C "mother". A second TV camera is placed behind the Plexiglas nose, which allows to operator aboard of the A/C "mother" to guide the "Baby" to its target. The higher part of the A/C fuselage is painted in white (or light colour) to allow a better view since the mother plane by the operator.

On the other hand the Double Azon system differs slightly for each aircraft, because it is set up on the Air bases of the squadron.

B-17 "drone" takes the nickname of "baby" coded BQ-7, while the aircraft which controls the "baby" is called "Mother" coded CQ-4. A Fighter follows this formation; its mission is to shot down the BQ-7 in the event of control loss.
(NB: the choice of the Azon system comes to the fact that this last already exists and that it is one of worst path, waiting for a better remote control system in development in the USA)

The only problem is that needs: one, a pilot and a radio operator engineer to the» baby" take off until an altitude of 2000 feet (609m), and to training on the right way of the target, to arm the detonators (of impact). Once that all these operations completed on the "baby", the crew bail out in parachute, while they are always above England. The pilots and radios engineer all voluntary are recruited for a "secret and dangerous" mission.

In order to allow a fast evacuation by the two men, modification is made on the aircraft, the trap door before access of nose is increased and added one wind deflector, it exists also at least a specimen having a modified cockpit (open sky) as shows it photos of "Gremlin Gus II".

In same time the «mother» plane flies at 20000 feet (6090m). Once that the «mother» plane takes the control of the "baby", it directs it to the target then locks the controls during the crash landing phase. The «mother» plane makes half turn then and returns at his base.

The project is under the supervision of Major Henry J Rand. This last is an expert in Azon techniques; he is previously affected on the weapon Azon Bomb system at Horsham St Faith. It is followed by 3 Azon planes and crews.

"MOTHERS" PLANES

between 31 May & 22 June and from 17 August to 13 September 1944, three B-24s Azon and their crew of the 753BS are detached for the Aphrodite operation. Only the aircrafts will turn over to their original squadron, the crew will remain with the others "Aphrodite" crews.

They make parts of the 10 B-24 J "Azon" modified in the USA and assigned to the 753BS in May 1944, and 9 B-24 H&J are modified in England. They receive an AN/ARW-9, connected to three antennas located at the back of the aircraft; a control unit in the bomber section, a hole is made in the door of the bomb bay.

After the end of the Azon operations, all the B-24 bombers are converted into traditional bomber.

Consolidated B-24J-145-CO Liberator 44-40066 J4 * V "S.O.L." or can be 44-40288 J4 * S "Bad Girl" (?)
Consolidated B-24J-155-CO Liberator 44-40277 J4 * P "Used Miss"
Consolidated B-24J-155-CO Liberator 44-40283 J4 * I "Lassie Come Home" (753BS, 458 BG) crashed at the return of a mission on Hellendorf, January 14, 1945. All except one crew member are killed like two children on the ground.

The two B-17-G "mothers" had used by the Aphrodite project, they are the
Boeing B-17G-65-BO Fortress 43-37637 (c/n 8615) ex-332BS-U/94BG "Rotate U-Uncle" & Boeing B-17G-70-BO Fortress 43-37793 (c/n 8771).

The training

After a specialized training which begins in the greatest secrecy on 1st July, each crew receives a 25 hours training of flight, and about navigation to targets.

All run well during this phase, but the two major problems appear, the BQ-7stability, and second is that during trainings a pilot is always inside the "baby", no drone flight test without pilot are carried out.

7 July, the 10 "babies" and the 4 "mothers" planes (3 B-24 and 1 B-17) and 8 P-47 land at Woodbridge, in north east of London. The LTC James Turner is in command of the Aphrodite unit.

APHRODITE B-17
DOUBLE AZON

10 B-17
Boeing B-17F-27-BO Fortress 41-24639 (c/n 3324) ex-323 BS-W/91st BG "Careful Virgin" transferred to the AFSC for the Aphrodite project. Send to V-1 installation sites in Pas-de-Calais, France but explodes before reaching the target.

Douglas-Long Beach B-17F-60-DL Fortress 42-3440 (c/n 8376) ex-544 BS-B/384 BG "Broadway Pink"

Douglas-Long Beach B-17F-65-DL Fortress 42-3461(c/n 8397) ex-407 BS-S, 92 BG

Douglas-Long Beach B-17F-70-DL Fortress 42-3493 (c/n 8429) ex-325 BS-H, 92 BG

Lockheed/Vega B-17F-45-VE Fortress 42-6080 (c/n 6376) seen at RFC Kingman 19 Feb 1946 (foot-note Ex 803BS (P))

Boeing B-17F-100-BO Fortress 42-30342 (c/n 5456)

Boeing B-17F-110-BO Fortress 42-30595 (c/n 5709) ex-560BS/388BG "OLIN' S 69' ERS" then "Gremlin Gus II"

Boeing B-17G-15-BO Fortress 42-31394 (c/n 6508 )

Douglas-Long Beach B-17G-10-DL Fortress 42-37760 (c/n 8546) ex-532BS-F/381BG-"Avenger"

Lockheed/Vega B-17G-1-VE Fortress 42-39835 (c/n 6578 ) ex-351 BG transferred to 388th BG. Lost on mission Aphrodite August 4, 1944

Foot-note: When in August 44, the program doubles Azon is abort, the aircrafts are withdrawn from service and none will be used for the Castor project. But 8 others receive a system doubles Azon.


On the 10 "babies", 9 receive a Torpex loading; the 10th receives a gasoline jellified loading. Once arrived on the base the planes are hidden under trees. This airfield is useful like an Emergency Airfield for aircrafts in distresses or damaged on return of missions.

A second trouble, little radios frequencies are available, and don’t make it possible to launch more than 2 drones at the same time. Each team will be consists with a task forces with a drone and two "mothers" planes and a fighter.

Once the two drones correctly send to their targets, the "mothers" planes must return to their bases to take again the control of another two drones.

The aircraft charged with jellified gasoline having to be ready for each mission and to be sent on the target which would have been hit by a drone (Torpex).

12 July, an isolate airfield (of all) not yet allotted by 8th AF is found and assigned to the Aphrodite project.
15 July, the unit moves, to Fersfield (station 554, 13 miles SO of Norwich, in the beginning named Winfarthing becomes Fersfield during winter 43-44), 25 miles (40km) of Woodbridge. She is placed under the control of the 388 BG, the 560 BS ground crews arrives in August 44, to provide maintenances missions for the aircrafts and support of the flying personnel. The LTC Roy Forrest takes in charge the base.

What does not prevent the 560 BS (flying echelon) to perform its traditional missions of bombardment with the 388 BG since Knettishall (station 136, 6miles SE of Thetford, Suffolk.)


APHRODITE MISSIONS

The first mission begins on 4 August 1944, it directed to a V-1 site in Pas-de-Calais, France. For these mission two teams "mother&baby" are committed.

The second "baby" takes off, five minutes after the first, while the two "mothers" planes are in the air 45 minutes before and climbs to 20000 feet (6096m).
"Babies" arrive at the meeting point above Orfordness, at 2000 feet (609m), "mothers" drives drones (but in a control zone that not exceeding 50 miles maximum distance tested at the time of the trainings.)

B-24 Azon "mother" is followed by B-17 "mother" of help in the event of failure of the first; a mosquito Recce weather precedes the team, and relays information to another B-17.

At the time of the first mission, the control of the one "babies" the #835 is lost just when the radio operator engineer bail out, the pilot engages the autopilot, but the plane starts to climb, it takes again the BQ-7 control then manually to put on the right level, then engages the autopilot again, the plane still starts to climb. At the third attempt, to position correctly the aircraft, this last start a spin, then is crashed and exploded at Sudbourne close to Orford, killing the pilot whereas it evacuates the plane.

The other "baby" the #342 arrives above the Pas-de-Calais, France, but the bad weather prevents the operator via is nose camera to find the target. But another problem occurs during this time, the drone does not want to go down the ground, at the second run above the target, it seems it was hit by the flak, and crashed at 500 yards of the target, scattering on 3.5 miles (5.60km) in the western north of Gravelines.

When the "mothers" planes return at the base, two others "babies" await them already for a new mission. They meet at the same location point as the first drones.

The 3rd "baby" misses its target by 500yds cause of the low cloud cover above the target. The 4th is directed in end of the afternoon to Mimoyecques, but is crashed before arriving on the target, following an operator error.

6 August two "babies" coded Franklin Yellow with 9 tons of Torpex and Franklin White with 160 incendiary bombs and 830 US gal (3142 litres) of jellified gasoline, take off with 10 minutes difference, under the control of 4 "mothers" who fly at 15000 feet (4572m.), during the trip above the Suffolk until Orfordness. This mission is sent against a V-1 base in France. The crews of the "Babies" evacuate. For an unknown reason the «mother» plane of Franklin Yellow loses the control of the aircraft, in spite of several attempts to take control, the operator loses the aircraft of sight. It is finally localised, turning in circle over the industrial site of Ipswich. A few seconds, after the aircraft crashed in the sea. While Franklin White him also will be crashed at sea close to the French coasts.

After these failures, the MG Doolittle decides to make a stop in the operation, to discover what is wrong with this system. After some, research the doubles Azon control system is blamed and recommends that a new system "Castor" is used.


OPERATIONS ANVIL

In same time, US Navy starts a same program with its USN Special Air Unit N°1 which is also present on Fersfield airfield. US Navy recruits’ volunteers in its Anti Submarine units based at Dukeswell, England.
US Navy wishes to have drone for the Pacific Campaign. This operation received the code "Anvil".

12 August, 17h52 a PB4Y-1 (coded T-11) Ex-VP110 with 2 PV-1 Venturas "mothers" and an escort P-51 are send on Mimoyecques, the PB4Y-1 is piloted by LT Joseph Patrick Kennedy USN son of the USA ambassador in England and older brother of the future president JFK, with is co-pilot LT Wilford J Willy USN.
Arrived at 2000 feet above the Blyth estuary close to Southwold, the crew prepares to bail out, the aircraft disappears in a formidable explosion (24 240lbs of explosive) it is 18h21. On a circle of 4.5 miles none windows is still upright, more than 150 serious damage complaints are declared at the police station. It seems that an electric problem is the cause of the load detonation.

For the whole of this mission a P-38 with a camera takes part, 4 Mustangs of the 55th FS, 20th Fighter Group for protection at low altitude, B17 to film, 2 Mosquitoes of the 25th Bomb Group Photographic Wing for the observation of the mission.

Distribution of the Explosives
front Part: 17 boxes of Torpex 485kg
In the nose: 16 boxes of Torpex 457kg added with 1 MK9 demolition charges
between the flight section and bomb bay: 28 boxes of Torpex 800kg and 1 MK9 demolition charges
forward bomb bay part : 141 boxes of Torpex 4030kg and 2 MK9 demolition charges
Bomb bay: 172 boxes of Torpex 4915kg and 2 MK9 demolition charges


OPERATIONS BATTY

Arrive to England always at Fersfield airfield, and that for complicate all, the Special Detachment of Wright Field, to carry out operational tests with guided bombs (GB-4) by television code name "Batty".

Always in this August, three missions "Batty" are carried out using GB-4, without real success.

Problem of interference, low resolution in the TV equipment, and poor radios equipment, are the fail of the system. The GB-4, 2000lbs (907kg) are flying bombs radios controlled with a TV in the nose. Two of these bombs are carried on racks located under a B-17G 42-40043 (c/n 6786) operated by a crew of the 388BG. It will be always same B-17 which will be used for the three missions.

Two other B-17 however are modified in this same drawing Boeing B-17G-45-BO Fortress 42-97181 (c/n 7654) ex-369BS-B/306BG "Steady Hedy" & Lockheed/Vega B-17G-10-VE Fortress 42-40042 (c/n 6785).

After, three trainings above the military range field in England. The first mission is launched on 13 August. Target the port of Le Havre, in addition of the "#043" a B-17 for observation is present transporting 2 crew members and 5 people of Wright field.
While Col Forrest follows the mission aboard a P-38 Droop Snoot (Lockheed P-38J-15-LO Lightning 43-28490). A Mosquito P.R.XVI "photo" MM370 follows the operation but it approaches too close of the GB-4 after its dropping, when its last explodes, it is hit by unnumbered shrapnel’s. The aircraft is lost. The first bomb falls 1600 yards before the target, the second with 1600 yards beyond on the right of the port.

One week later, another "Batty" mission against the U-boat base of Pallice, without much success, the television in one of the bombs break down, it second start in spin.

The third attempt begins on 26 August, to Ljmuiden, but with 8/10 cloud cover above the target obliges to abort of the mission.

"Batty" missions are then suspended, because the poor equipment available at this time in receiver-transmitter radio.

Other drones operations are launched, the Col Forrest wishes to use drones to sink the Tirpitz based in Norway. Its idea is to use hydrostatic bombs longer than current torpedoes and which must be to carry onto external charge under a B-17.

After some work with the Boeing engineers, the aircraft "Gremlin Gus II" is modified, the superior part is modified, the cockpit is open, and the bombs can be charged on the aircraft. In fact a weight reduction of almost 3 tons.
But at the time of the first tests, the pilots of the "Baby" lose their cover-chiefs, only solution to attach them.. a scarf around the head!

In fact the crews of B-24 "mothers" (called Banana boat) said: pilots of the drones which they strange hat resemble to women carrying Babushkas.

Finally in spite of the serious of the future missions, during a flight training Major Hayes fly near his B-24 "mother", then accelerates, by exceeding B-24, it rises up and give a hello to this last. But the operation against the Tirpitz is cancelled; the RAF takes again this mission.

3 September, second mission "Anvil", to Heligoland, all will occur well except that the operator in the final part of the mission will confuse Heligoland with the island of Düne and sending the B-24 to be crashed there. All the houses in a circle of 800 yard are destroyed.


MISSIONS CASTOR/APHRODITE

The aircrafts are modified; they receive a double Azon system. The systems of radio operators controls arrive in July 44 in England, composed of an AN/ARW-1 which is in connection with the flight control, and an AN/APN-1 radio operator altimeter, plus a TV camera control RC-489 placed in the Plexiglas nose of the aircraft directed forwards. A compass is placed in front of the camera to make it possible to know the direction for the operator.
An AN/TPN-1 Eureka is installed to allow the localization of the aircraft in the event of visual loss.
A smoke-producing equipment with 75gal US (234 litres) of oil is installed under the aircraft, with a dispersion of 1.5gal/min (5.68L/min), it is controlled by remote via a solenoid which activates a radio valve controlled by the operator.

The explosive is the Torpex (explosive British made up with 41,8% of RDX, 40,2% of TNT, aluminium powder 18%)
Packed in boxes of about 6x12x17,5 inches (15.24 X 30.48 X 44.45 cm) with a varying weight net 55 to 55,5lbs (approximately 25kg)
Distributed thus 25 installed behind the cockpit, 100 in the radio operator section and 210 in the bomb bay.

The ignition of the explosive is done manually by the pilot before his evacuation, via a series of fuses and primacord.

A block of 20 B-17 is recovered in order to modify them in "Castor", but only 11 are deployed and operational.

1. Boeing B-17F-90-BO Fortress 42-30180 c/n 5294 (?)
2. Boeing B-17F-100-BO Fortress 42-30363 (foot-note Ex 803BS (P)) c/n 5477
3. Lockheed/Vega B-17G-1-VE Fortress 42-39827 c/n 6570
4. Boeing B-17F-85-BO Fortress 42-30039 (foot-note Ex 803BS (P)) c/n 5153
5. Douglas-LongBeach B-17G-10-DL Fortress 42-37743 (foot-note Ex 803BS (P)) c/n 8529
6. Boeing B-17F-85-BO Fortress 42-30066 (foot-note Ex 803BS (P)) c/n 5180
7. Douglas-LongBeach B-17F-60-DL Fortress 42-3438 c/n 8374
8. Lockheed/Vega B-17G-1-VE Fortress 42-39824 c/n 6567
9. Boeing B-17F-100-BO Fortress B-17 F 42-30353 (foot-note Ex 803BS (P)) c/n 5467
10 Boeing B-17F-90-BO Fortress B-17 F 42-30178 c/n 5292
11 Boeing B-17F-95-BO Fortress B-17 F 42-30237 c/n 5351


The 5 "mothers" planes are them
1. Boeing B-17G-75-BO Fortress 43-37946 c/n 8924
2. Boeing B-17G-75-BO Fortress 43-37953 c/n 8931
3. Boeing B-17G-75-BO Fortress 43-37962 c/n 8940
4. Boeing B-17G-75-BO Fortress 43-38006 c/n 8984
5. Boeing B-17G-80-BO Fortress 43-38081 c/n9059

They receive an AN/ARW-18 control system a SCR-550 TV control installed in the nose operator being in place of the bomber crew, an AN/APN-2 (US version of English Rebecca MKII.)
A BC-756 transmits the signal to a BC925 located in the radio operator section, which also has an signal amplifier to keep away from counter measurements, the whole of the signals are sent by the antennas located at the center of the fuselage close to the radio operator section.

MISSIONS CASTOR

11 September, the first Castor raid (the TV system is almost identical to the Anvil system of US Navy tested on 3 September) mission on Heligoland. Take off occurs well, charged with 18425lbs (8357kg) of Torpex, 1000lbs (454kg) of smoke, with also its 6000lbs (2721kg) of gasoline and 144gal US (545 litres) of oil, the plane reaches a weight of 63 063lbs (28604kg). Only another difference is that radio operator engineer is replaced by a co-pilot.

The whole of the procedures are the same ones as with the system Azon doubles except as for Castor the «mother» plane flies on the same level as the "Baby" and at 1600 and 3200 yards behind. Then while arriving close to the target it moves away from 5.5 to 7.5 miles of the drone.

But when, the pilots evacuate the "Baby" the parachute of the one of the pilots (LT Richard W Lindhal) does not open, he dies before when its static line broke his neck. The aircraft flies to its target but the miss them by 100 yards (a hit of flak seems to be the origin of this error), for others the aircraft would have been shot down by a plane at 350yards of the target.

Following mission Heide/Hemmingstedt, the first aircraft misses its target by 1000 yards, following a problem of reading on the monitor by operator. The second aircraft crashed at sea, following the loss of control by the «mother» plane.

15 October, still a mission against Heligoland, a "Baby" shot down by the flak at 0.25 miles (400m) of the target. The second crashed close to the target and causes large damage.

30 October, the operator does not succeed to find the target because bad weather. This last desperate send the aircraft in direction to Berlin, without knowing what it becomes, it will traverse 325 miles (524km) to finally crashed close to Trollhattan in Sweden!. Another is lost and crashes in North Sea after running out of fuel.

27 October, the HQ of US Strategic AF in Europe concluded that the missions of the BQ-17, against strongly defended targets, have only little success. It decides to now send the BQ-7 onto industrial sites in Germany.

In November, the operations teams "Anvil and Batty" leave the base. The 3rd Division decides to transfer Aphrodite’s on Knettishall airfield for the end from the month.

5 December, the target the marshalling yard of Hanover. But, the bad weather makes that the 1st drone cannot find the target, while arriving on the secondary target Haldorf. It is shot down by the flak, and explodes in the south of the city.
The second, following driving problems, and altitude loses regularly, is laded without exploding when it touches the target, which is confirmed by photo Mosquito. (According to other sources German would have encircled the plane without answer of the crew; Germans would have opened fire creating a terrible explosion!)

1st January 1945, target the electric station of Oldenburg, the two drones miss their targets, the first hit by the flak, crashed behind the village without exploding, the 2nd also hit by the flak crashed and exploded in the western south of Oldenburg.
After all these failures, the Aphrodite operation is abandoned.

But the USSTAF proposes to move the Aphrodite/Castor operational base on the continent, objectives the factories areas in the heart of Germany. British Joint Chiefs of Staff, refuses this proposal with the reason which the areas are too are close to great zone of population.

15 January, under the American pressure, English give their agreement. But 11 days later, they go into turn back. 26 March 1945, President Roosevelt sends a telegram to Winston Churchill.
14 April, Churchill approves the request. But with the Roosevelt death and the fall of III Reich, none mission Castor, will not be launched, and also at this date there are no more B-17 Castor available. Despite all the "mothers" planes crews still remain in stand-by few weeks. 27 April, the Aphrodite/Castor operation is definitively completed.

Missions in summaries

http://img15.imagevenue.com/img.php?loc=loc69&image=321c1_aphro1.jpg


Chart read
Date – Target – Aircraft- Observation- Crew

4/08/44

Lt F H Pool (light wounded during his parachute landing)
SSGT P Enterline (light wounded during his parachute landing)


Lt J W Fisher (KIA)
TSGT Elemet Most


Lt F L Houston
TSGT W D Smith


Lt C A Engel (Seriously wounded during the bail out)
TSGT C A Parsons (light wounded during his parachute landing)


6/08/44
Lt J P Andercheck
TSGT R Healy


Lt J Sollars
TSGT H Graves


12/08/44
Lt J P Keneedy USN & Lt W J Willy USN (KIA)


3/09/44
Lt R Spalding USN


11/09/44
Lt R W Lindhal (KIA)
Lt D E Salles
A/C 384BG 10 june-5 July, after 96BG 6 July 43 „Guzzlers and right side “black hawk“


14/09/44
Lt M P Hardy
Lt E Hadley


LT W G Haller
2Lt C L Shinault


15/09/44
Lt R Betts
Lt M Garvin


Lt W Patton
Lt J W Hinner


30/10/44
Lt G A Barnes
Lt R McCauley

A/C Ex 418BS/100BG & 96BG “Mugwump” writes off 17/08/43 after mission on Regensburg. Modified on Castor drone. Send 30/10/44 on Helgoland losses of control and crashed near Trollhattan in Sweden.


http://img128.imagevenue.com/img.php?loc=loc100&image=42397_aphro2.jpg


Lt W C Gaither
Lt W M dunnuck


5/12/44
Lt T H Barton
Lt F E Bruno


Lt R F Butle
Lt K T Wlaters


1/01/45
2Lt J Stein
Lt E Morris


Capt J Hodson
Lt L Lawing





Foot-note:

the 803BS (P)

Equipped with B17F at the beginning of 44, based at Oulton, this squadron has its aircraft equipped with RCM, only the antennas inform on presence of this equipment on board. More of the 11 B17F will be used on the project Aphrodite (**), after the withdrawal of B17 of the unit between July & August 44 with the arrival of B24 RCM.

Boeing B-17F-90-BO Fortress 42 30177 c/n 5291 "Darlkock F-Freddie" "Charlene 562BS-F/388BG presented at the General Mr. P. Koening by the Eisenhower General. Takes the name of * Bir Hackeim * at different period. Is used after war with "French High Commissioner" for Wahn, Germany, and within the ELA 54 based in Baden Oos. 1955 it is commissioned out, repurchased for the symbolic pound, it is useful within the IGN (national geographic institute) coded F-BGSG. out in 1973.

B-17F-85-BO 42 30039 ** c/n 5153
B-17F-85-BO 42 30066 ** c/n 5180
Each one with 4 then 6 Mandrel and 9 Carpet APT-2 (Jamming Wurzbug 430-700Mcs).

Boeing B-17G-1-BO Fortress 42 31076 c/n6190 (323 BS-L 91st BG, Chief Sly' S Its) Lost 11 Jan 1944. MACR 1919
B-17F-45-VE 42-6080 ** c/n 6376
B-17F-100-BO 42-30353 ** c/n 5467
B-17F-60-DL 42-3438 ** c/n 8374
B-17F-100-BO 42-30363 ** c/n 5477
With 6 Mandrel RC-183 & AN/APT-3 (American development of the English jamming radars Freya, Mammut, Wassermann on 85-135Mcs it consists of a modulator and a power supply on the same aircraft with a power of 2 Watts.)

Boeing B-17F-85-BO Fortress 42-30114 c/n 5228
With Jackal AN/ART 7 (VHF jamming on 27.2-33.4 Mcs, modified on the basis of VHF SCR 522 often called SCR 522 jamming)

Douglas-LongBeach B-17F-75-DL Fortress 42-3518 c/n 8454
With a ELINT (S27 & SCR-587)

B-17G-10-DL 42-37743 ** c/n 8529
With Mandrel and a ELINT

Followed later by 2 B17G at the beginning of June 44 and Lockheed/Vega B-17G-25-VE Fortress 42-97691 c/n 7056 (427th BS/ 303rd BG, emergency landing with Volker, BelgiumNovember 26, 1944. MACR 11193) with Jackal & Rug AN/APQ-2 (jamming on 200-500 Mcs with an exit of 20 Watts)

Sources:
1. Flying Fortress, Edward Jablonski, Doubleday, 1965.
2. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, One Volume, William Green, Doubleday, 1959.
3. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter Mr. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989.
4. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter Mr. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.
5. Boeing B-17E and F Flying Fortress, Charles D. Thompson, Profile Publications, 1966.
6. American Fights Plane, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982.
7. Jane' S Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Military Press, 1989.
8. Operation Aphrodite' S B-17 "Smart Bomb", Edwyn Gray, History Aviation, May 1996.
9. the flying fortress the Boeing B-17 Ernest R McDowell
[/B ]
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  #12  
Old 10th February 2006, 20:09
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: Operation Aphrodite

Wow! Phew! I am most grateful Blue Spader, I didn't expect you to go to all the effort in translating the article. I am overwhelmed by your generosity. Perhaps you will e-mail me with your name to enable me to acknowledge your assistance in my forthcoming book, and also let me have your address to which I can send you a copy in due course.

Cheers
Brian
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  #13  
Old 18th February 2006, 15:53
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: Operation Aphrodite

Hi guys

A PS to the above - perhaps one of you can help:

I have just come across an account relating to one of the BQ-7s named Melancholy Baby (serial not known) that was despatched in September 1944 against Heligoland. The account states that the automatic pilot went haywire and the drone flew erratically across England from Kings Lynn in a north-westerly direction overflying Derby, Spalding, Melton Mowbray, then on to Merseyside over Congleton, Middlewitch, Northwitch and Runcorn (giving Liverpool its first air raid warning for 18 months!) before crossing Eire and out over the Atlantic. All the time it was being followed by RAF fighters and these eventually shot it down into the Atlantic. Apparently even a warning had been flashed to the United States just in case it actually crossed the Pond (according to the account). Any comments please.

Brian

PS: Having studied your lists Blue Spader, I guess the drone could have been 42-39827 on 14 September mission, since it appears to be the only one without a name.

Last edited by Brian; 18th February 2006 at 17:27.
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  #14  
Old 18th February 2006, 23:20
Alex Smart Alex Smart is offline
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Re: Operation Aphrodite

Very Interested...


Un-named were
42-3438
42-3461
42-3493
42-31394
42-39824
42-39827
42-40043
as far as I could find.

Where are details re all these but '827 being named a/c and what were the names ?


'827 was used 14 th Sept Hemmingstedt.



Had searched this "Melancholy Baby" out a while ago. Had several pilots names and crew names too.


Came up with several different solutions, all of which came to nil.

"Melancholy Baby" B17 known a/c served with the 381st BG 44-6950 and 482nd BG serial not found.

Where did you find this story ? was it a 452 (not 482)nd BG report ?

Alex
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  #15  
Old 19th February 2006, 04:43
Martin Gleeson Martin Gleeson is offline
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Re: Operation Aphrodite

Hallo Brian and Alex,

I can assure you that the B-17 which flew across England and Ireland was from the 452nd BG. Attempts were made to intercept it but all failed as far as I know, so it was not lost due to 'friendly fire'. It was apparently named 'Melancholy Baby', serial unknown as yet. It was on a regular bombing mission when it suffered engine trouble and had to be abandoned by its crew.

Regards,

Martin Gleeson.
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  #16  
Old 19th February 2006, 18:13
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: Operation Aphrodite

Wow! What have I started?

Sorry if I misled you Alex, I meant that of the three B-17 drones used in September operations (which is the month mentioned in the unofficial account I have) only 39827 didn't have a name according to Blue Spader's list. The other two were 30180 Black Hawk and 30363 Ruth L III. By a simple process of deduction, my dear Watson (as Sherlock Holmes would have no doubt retorted), I dedued that '827 must be Melancholy Baby!

The account, published in the London Evening News circa 1945, in part reads: "I can now reveal that 'ghost bombers', piloted by radio control and loaded with 11 tons of bombs, were being aimed across the North Sea to crash on the heavily defended German island of Heliogoland. The planes were old Flying Fortesses. One of them caused a scare right across England from the Wash to Liverpool when it got off course and headed west instead of east. Becuase the Germans were in the dark about it when the Flying Fortress Melancholy Baby went the wrong way in September 1944, everybody in the know had to tell a story whuch would not give the secret away.

It went from the King's Lynn area, south of the Wash, in a north-westerly direction to Derby, over Spalding and Melton Mowbray, then to Merseyside, passing over Congleton, Middlewitch, Northwitch and Runcorn, It gave Liverpool its first air raid warning for 18 months and RAF officials, who knew the danger, were appalled to see it circle the city twice before setting off in a westerly direction again, causing an alert in Bangor as it went. Fighters went up to pusue 'baby', which was flying perfectly at more than 250mph, and they were ready to shoot it down into the sea. At one time it looked as if it would outstrip its pursuers, and a warning was flashed to America that the bomber was heading on a course that might carry it right across the Atlantic. But finally RAF fighters caught it and shot it down into the Atlantic."

Now, I know that newspaper reports are not always totally reliable but obviously, in this case, the writer had been briefed.

I rest my case! Over and out!

Brian
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  #17  
Old 19th February 2006, 20:53
shooshoobaby shooshoobaby is offline
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Re: Operation Aphrodite

Brian - several accounts of B - 17s and 24s gliding back to England after being abandoned.
In book Aphrodite that you ordered , there is an account of a B - 17 that
went out of control over Ipswich and circled . They finally were able to gain control and blow it up over the North Sea.
B-17 #239827 assigned to Aphrodite
B - 17 # 46905 " Melancholy Baby " 381st BG , 532 Sq. VE - M
May 24 , 45 returned to U.S. Nov. 9 , 45 Kingman , Az.
Cheers,
Mike
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  #18  
Old 19th February 2006, 21:33
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: Operation Aphrodite

Thanks Mike, but could not '827 have also been called 'Melancholy Baby'? Surely the newpaper reporter wouldn't have made up such a name - he must have been 'in the know'.

Martin - you are complicating matters!!

Cheers
Brian
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  #19  
Old 19th February 2006, 22:06
shooshoobaby shooshoobaby is offline
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Re: Operation Aphrodite

Brian - According to " Heavy Bombers of the Mighty 8th " and " B- 17 Flying Fortress Story " by Freeman #827 was un - named.
34 B-17s assigned to Aphrodite
# 229688 " Little Donna "
# 230595 " Gremlin Gus " , " Olin's 69ers "
# 337685 " Slave's Dream "
Only 3 named
Mike
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  #20  
Old 19th February 2006, 22:13
Alex Smart Alex Smart is offline
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Re: Operation Aphrodite

Hello Martin,

The story that you refer to . Didn't that take place on the 29th September 1944 ?

I think the event here is about a "Castor" B17 that is said to have happened on the mission to Hemmingstedt on the 14th September 1944.

B17G 42-39827 was piloted by Lt. Haller, with 2Lt. Shinalt.

The one you refer too was either piloted by Eccles or Beuchat .
whichever version of events is prefered.

All for now

Alex
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