Trying to identify a book by a Lancaster pilot...

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Khyros, May 12, 2007.

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  1. Having a senior moment and can't recall the title but several years ago I read an excellent account of the air war by a fellow who flew Lancasters during the night time bombing raids over Germany. One vignette referred to an encounter with a JU-88 night fighter varient that was trying to maneuver under his aircraft's belly which later was suspected of being the cuprit to several planes expoding mysteriously, the thought was that it had a cannon mounted vertically in the fuselage. Any one familiar with it?
     
  2. The cannon ( 2 of 'em) were known as "Schrage Musik" (German for Jazz) and the Lanc crews developed a countermeasure known as the "corkscrew", a violent twisting manoeuvre which usually threw the night-fighter off his stroke!
    Sorry, I can't help with the book title though...
     
  3. Only one I really know of is 'Luck and Lancaster' by Harry Yates.
    Have you tried a google search?
     
  4. The Schrage Musik story sounds familiar, but can't quite place it. Not Walter Thompson's 'Lancaster to Berlin', is it?

    Jack Currie's 'Lancaster Target' would be another possibility.
     
  5. Hmm... great info on the the German nightfighter and thanks for the titles. Those aren't the one I'm thinking of (it was published circa the late 60's or early 70's) but look like rather interesting works that I might be forced to check out. Thanks for the help.
     
  6. According to my 'Boys Book of German Nightfighters' (William Green's 'War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters Vol 1, Macdonalds)) the Junkers Ju 88 C and G, variants had twin 20mm MG 151 cannon firing obliquely upwards; also the Heinkel HE 219... and probably anything else they could stuff 'em into at the time... Seems like record keeping went to rats-sh*t during the latter days of the Thousand Year Reich! :roll:
     
  7. Paul Brickhill wrote about 617 Squadron.

    I'm not sure I read this one or another (Readers Digest edition) which described 617s exploits from the Dams through their accurate bombing days (using tallboys etc) and finishing with Cheshire starting up His Home for sick ex services people
     
  8. Corkscrewing was one of the standard procedures when the rear or mid-upper gunner spotted an incoming fighter from behind. Aircraft making an attack with Schrage Musik usually approached from below and out of sight. The night-fighter pilot would align his aircraft with the target so that his first burst would go into the inner wings (specifically the fuel tank area) and fuselage of the target. Few bombers survived an accurate attack with Schrage Musik. Of course the German pilot had to be pretty good to get his aircraft into exactly the right place undetected, and then get out without the destroyed aircraft falling on him.

    IIRC the existence of Schrage Musik was not confirmed until very late in the war and therefore there were little or no counter-measures put into place.
     
  9. Correct. Corkscrewing was a general defensive measure vs a stalking nightfighter, rather than specifically Schrage Musik. The SM fits did not use tracer, since they were delivered at such close range from beneath that there was no advantage. Given the low survival rates from their victims (crews not tensed to react to a known attack, exploding fuel tanks, etc), even lower evasion rates should chaps survive, and the lack of visible cause to other aircraft in the stream, there was little that could or was put in place as a countermeasure. The main defence was the ever more deadly efforts of 100 Group's nightfighters flying bomber support missions to hunt down the Luftwaffe "night hunters"...
     
  10. The Eighth Passenger by Miles Tripp is a pretty good memoir of Bomber Command. Eighth passenger? Yes, it is "fear"!!
     
  11. Losses from bombers being hit from below and behind were quite high. Ironically, Mr Chadwick designed the Manchester (the MK 3 of which became the Lancaster MK 1) with a ventral gun position just aft of the bomb bay.
    (from http://www.dambusters.org.uk/aircraft.htm ). The position was later taken by the H2S bombing RADAR.

    That .303 peashooter would possibly have saved many a bomber, even just putting doubt and caution in the Nachtjager's mind. It was removed, though, as a weight saving and there's only so much you could do with a 7 man crew.