Confounding the Reich: Operational History of 100 Group (Bomber Support) RAF Hardcover – 19 Feb 1996
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RAF Bomber Command's 100 group was formed in late 1943 to consolidate the various squadrons and units that had been fighting a secret war using electronics and radar counter-measures. This was an attempt to confuse the enemy's intelligence systems and intrude over his airfields and thus reduce the heavy losses by the main force. This is the story of how these top-secret missions were conducted by this specialist force with full details of the airborne equipment used. The activities of the elite bomber and night-fighter crews and their specially equipped aircraft were cloaked in mysterious British code-names such as "Serrate", "Mandrel" and "Airborne Cigar". The meanings of these are explained, as well as the German operations such as "Gisela".
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intelligence, electronic warfare and electronic
countermeasures, this book is a tantalizing beginning.
Unfortunately it is also a frustrating read. The author (who
clearly has an encyclopedia knowledge of the strategy,
tactics and history of the field) veers between offering
unqiue insights sandwiched between mind numbing pages of the
exploits of each and every pilot and mission of the 100 Group.
This book just tried to do too much and failed. Still its
worth buying if you want to understand where the field started.
Other frustations include a glossary that covers only 50% of
the buzzwords used in the book and no bibliography.
Another book which offers a technical view of the development
of airborne and air to ground bombing radar is "Echoes of
War:The Story of H2S Radar" by Bernard Sir Lovell.
Almost as poorly written as this one, but this time from the
technical side, it is a good complement for someone trying
to accumulate data on the field.
The answer is that yes, a group of airplanes did that later in the airwar; most nights or on cloudy days, even attacking Luftwaffe bases. Many different planes were used to carry the bulky jamming equipment, among them Lancasters, Stirlings, B-17s and B-24s. An Engineer, Don Prutton, recalled his missions:
'These operations were of two distinct types. In the first, two or three of our aircraft would accompany the main bomber stream and then circle above the target; the special operators used their transmitters, in particular, Jostle to jam the German radar defences while the Lancasters and Halifaxes unloaded their bombs. Then everyone headed for home. Our friends in 214 Squadron seemed to do more of these target operations than 223 Squadron. My own crew did a small number of these but the majority of our operations were of the second type, the Window [strips of foil] Spoofs. the object of these Window raids was to confuse the enemy as to the intended target. There was a radar screen created by other aircraft patrolling in a line roughly north to south over the North Sea and France. A group of us, perhaps eight aircraft, would emerge through this screen scattering Window to give the impression to the German radar operators that a large bomber force was heading for say, Hamburg. Then, when the Germans were concentrating their night-fighters in that area, the real bomber force would appear through the screen and bomb a totally different target, perhaps Dusseldorf.... ' (p. 106) His missions were supposed to be hush-hush, but routine.
The most dramatic stories concern those flying in Mosquitos, and Bowman had many of these to fill the book. The de Havilland design became a superlative radar-equipped fighter, taking a steady toll of the Nachtjagd.
Appendices list the Squadrons of 100 Group and date of first ops (not their equipment/purpose), as well as lists of the fighter claims made against Luftwaffe planes by the Group's fighter squadrons.
See also: Night Flyer: The Success Story of RAF 100 Group, Mosquitos over the German Night Fighters (Fighter Pilots), Confound and Destroy: 100 Group and the Bomber Support Campaign, A Thousand Shall Fall.
Martin W. Bowman and Tom Cushing
Patrick Stephens, 1996
Hardcover, $39.99, 232 Pages, Photographs, Glossary, Appendices, Maps
World War II brought about dramatic advances in many areas of technology. One of the most important was electronics, which became a little known but bitterly contested battleground between the Allies and the Axis. The term electronic warfare, commonly called EW, originated in these battles for control of the electromagnetic spectrum. The terminology itself is somewhat esoteric and imprecise, and most nations define EW somewhat differently. The American definition centers on those military actions to "detect, deny, analyze, and hinder enemy use" of electronics. Although not limited to radar, the battle for radar superiority was acute, and the Allies' success in exploiting both radar and antiradar technology (then called radar countermeasures, or RCM; now called electronic countermeasures, or ECM) was a critical element in the Allied victory. At the outset of World War II, the Germans and British had roughly comparable radar and electronic capabilities. German naval radar was more advanced, while the British ability to spoof and mislead the Luftwaffe's electronic navigational aids (Knickebein) during the Battle of Britain's "Battle of the Beams" was a key reason for the British victory. Number 100 Group was a special duties group within Royal Air Force Bomber Command. It was formed on 11 November 1943 to consolidate the increasingly complex business of electronic warfare and countermeasures within one organization. The group was responsible for the development, operational trial, and use of electronic warfare and countermeasures equipment. It was based at Royal Air Force stations in East Anglia, chiefly Norfolk. Number 100 Group operated from eight airfields with approximately 260 aircraft, 140 of which were various versions of Mosquito night fighter intruders with the remainder consisting of Halifaxes, Stirlings, Wellingtons, Flying Fortresses and Liberators carrying electronic jamming equipment. The group also operated the Beaufighter for a short time. The bomber squadrons of Number 100 Group utilised various specialist electronic jamming devices to disrupt enemy radio communications and radar. During Number 100 Group's existence over 32 different devices were evaluated and used. Specially equipped Number 100 Group aircraft would fly within the bomber stream. Special equipment used included AIRBORNE CIGAR (ABC) jammer, JOSTLE (jammer), MANDREL (jammer), AIRBORNE GROCER (jammer), PIPERACK (jammer), PERFECTOS (homer), SERRATE (homer), CORONA (spoofer), CARPET (jammer), and LUCERO (homer), and were used against German equipment such as LICHTENSTEIN, FREYA, and WURZBURG radars. CONFOUNDING THE REICH: THE OPERATIONAL HISTORY OF 100 GROUP (BOMBER SUPPORT) RAF reveals for the frst time how this technological war was fought, and in so doing fills a major gapin the published history of the Second World War. The authors describe the evolution of equipment, tactics and the aircraft employed, making much use of previously unpublished material and first-hand accounts of participation in daring raids and in the battle with German night-fighters. Highly recommended and engrossing reading.
Lt. Colonel Robert A. Lynn, Florida Guard
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