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Finn

Wellington Flare Load

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Noting the bomb load of the second a/c: 

 

http://www.156squadron.com/display_missionhdr.asp?MissionId=164

 

has a load of 12 x 3 flares which indicates 12 sets of 3 flares grouped together, would they be strapped together or on some sort of rack? The SBC normally held 4 flares and Cluster Projectiles didn't show up until later in the war, and carried more flares. I did see this pic of 4 on a rack about to be loaded into a Wellington:

 

world-war-ii-6th-december-1944-ground-cr

 

just wondering how the 3 were grouped together.

 

Jari

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On 3/12/2019 at 4:22 AM, Finn said:

Noting the bomb load of the second a/c: 

 

http://www.156squadron.com/display_missionhdr.asp?MissionId=164

 

has a load of 12 x 3 flares which indicates 12 sets of 3 flares grouped together, would they be strapped together or on some sort of rack? The SBC normally held 4 flares and Cluster Projectiles didn't show up until later in the war, and carried more flares. I did see this pic of 4 on a rack about to be loaded into a Wellington:

 

world-war-ii-6th-december-1944-ground-cr

 

just wondering how the 3 were grouped together.

 

Jari

I think  you are reading this wrong,   The RAF  would  as an example write a bombload  as being  12 x 250Lb GP   so 12 x 3  probably refers to  a quantity of 12   3 inch flares.  not 12 sets of three flares  (36).  Flares are for iluminating a target,  they are not incendiaries,  you wouldn't need to carry that many on a normal bombing  mission.  If you had loaded 12 sets of three on a wellington you would probably not have enough room in the bomb bay  for a bombload.  Looking at the image above I think the rack on the floor is maybe carrying four flares  (not sure of the type as I have not got my references to hand) so it would probably be three of these  alongside the bombload.

 

Selwyn 

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That makes sense although i don't see any reference to a 3" flare being used in that time period, it could be a typo and they used 4.5" flares and the racks as in the pic above. 156 was a Pathfinder squadron so they did carry flares as did other Wellington squadrons, for example this excerpt from 420 Squadron in North Africa:

 

On Sept 17/1943, we were designated as the crew who would be “Lady Of The Lamp” to light up the Cervetari airport. Our job was to precede the others, locate the target and drop the first flares. Having no bombs of any weight, flares only, we were able to circle the target more easily and at a carefully timed interval to allow bombing more accurately. We had no sophisticated electronic equipment as did the Pathfinders in England and had to rely on other means. We considered it an honour to be so selected and we were determined to let no one down. On arrival at the southwest coastal area of Italy, we could see that there were three similar bays and at one of them a furious fire was blazing. As it was a fair moon, we could faintly see the area and the navigator, bomb aimer and I were certain that we had picked the right target, not the one ablaze. However, it was by now only one minute till target time and it was imperative to release the first flare. Immediately the flare was lit, we could see a long line of aircraft, hangars and buildings, all fully exposed. The first bombs hit the target area immediately and the damage we caused at that airport was extreme. For some reason there was no response of any kind as we kept replenishing the flares as they were fading out. Our last view as we left for home was a huge explosion from the pyrotechnics store. Every colour of the rainbow was there. It was reminiscent of a July 1 holiday! We were highly commended the next day by our Commanding Officer who advised us that the British had bombed the wrong area and had been severely censured. Italy of course, as mentioned earlier was out of the war by that time and not about to retaliate.

 

thanks for the help.

 

Jari 

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