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B-17 Crew Requirements and Standard Operating Procedures
Crew Composition Crewmen Duties Clothing Oxygen Navigators Bombardiers Gunners Observers
Intelligence Engines Take-off and Assembly Formation 41st CBW Assembly Landing Sorties

APO 557, U.S. ARMY
15 October 1944

  1. Lead and Deputy Lead Bombardiers will be called two (2) hours before breakfast and will report to the S-2 Library.
    1. They will fix their mission folders in complete order.
      1. All aiming points of chosen targets will be properly marked.
      2. Orientation spinners for obscured bombing procedure will be put on the necessary target pictures and used.
      3. Headings to the target will be drawn on the target pictures and also on the night target maps.
      4. A line will be drawn from the I.P. to the target and definite, outstanding pilotage points will be encircled in the area from the I.P. to the target.

    2. All Lead and Deputy Lead Bombardiers will check out maps from the map room and will draw the course from the enemy coast to the target on them. They will do pilotage during the entire mission in addition to studying the target etc.
      1. Secondaries and Last Resort Targets will be encircled on the maps and numbered in the priority of their order. The nearest Last Resort Target, after leaving the Primary, is to be numbered one (1) etc.

  2. All bombardiers will attend the bombardier's briefing.

  3. All Lead and Deputy Lead Bombardiers will report to Group Operations after the main briefing.

  4. All Bombardiers will thoroughly check their equipment before take-off.

  5. Lead or Deputy Lead Bombardiers will perform all sighting operations, i.e., sight for both range and deflection. Flight Leaders will drop their bombs when the Leader drops and all wing Bombardiers will drop their bombs on their respective section Leader's release.

  6. The Leader of the Low Squadron will be the Deputy Leader if the Leader aborts or cannot bomb before the I.P. If the Deputy Leader cannon take over, the Leader of the High Flight will take over. This refers to a 12 ship group. In an 18 or 21 ship group, the Deputy Lead will be the Leader of the High Section and the second Deputy will be the Leader of the Low Section. These ships will take over prior to the I.P. If the Leader cannot bomb during the bomb run, the number four (4) man in the Lead Section will do the sighting.

  7. The Deputy Leaders will have their sights and equipment set up to bomb in case the Leader aborts or cannot bomb.

  8. A series of red "dits" from an Aldis lamp in the tail gunner's position of the lead ship will be the signal to the High Squadron that the lead ship cannot bomb and the High Squadron to take the Lead. A steady green light from the Deputy Lead ship will be the signal that this bombardier is prepared to assume the lead.

  9. Leaders will attack only assigned targets and assigned MPI's of those respective targets. The Target of Opportunity will be attacked when the assigned targets cannot be bombed due to inclement weather, etc. Lead and Deputy Lead Bombardiers will be suer that they know where the bomb line is located before departing on a mission.

    1. Pins will be pulled after an altitude of 5,000 feet is reached. In case bombs are returned, the pins will be replaced before landing.
    2. Lead Bombardier will have his stabilizer warmed up and his PDI held center so that the pilot can set up AFCE immediately after take-off.
    3. Bombardiers will know their flare colors and will keep on the alert for them and give the Pilot all the cooperation they can in forming with the group.
    4. Bombardiers will act as Oxygen Officer and Gunnery Officer during the entire mission and will order the crew to check in every five (5) minutes when at high altitude. When under attack by enemy aircraft or in flak, crews will be checked every three or four minutes, or as often as possible.
    5. The Lead and Deputy Lead Bombardiers will take several drift runs on each leg of the flight and notify their respective Navigator of the proper drift. The Navigator will use this drift in conjunction with Metro Data or Gee Box data. It is absolutely impossible to get a more accurate drift than that obtained from the bomb sight. Drift readings will be taken with a dead sight.
    6. The bomb run will be flown on AFCE. After bombing altitude is reached, the Lead Bombardier will check the ratio of the automatic Pilot by making a turn with the secondary clutch and then engaging it while still in the turn. If the Auto Pilot brings the PDI back past center, or stops short of center, the ratio is not correct and the Pilot can make the necessary adjustments.
    7. If the Auto Pilot fails to function, the leader will not relinquish his position to the Deputy Lead, but will make the run on PDI.
    8. After bombing altitude is reached and just prior to the I.P. , the bombardier will obtain from the navigator the exact drift for the bomb run and pre-set his sight. He will also get a good stabilizer level and check it while on the bomb run.

    1. In case of a "Tactical Mission," there will be a bombardier from each Squadron in the respective Squadron equipment rooms to take the bomb count. On a "Strategic Mission," the bombardiers will report to the Group Bombardier's table immediately after the mission and turn in their reports. They will tell him whether they released their bombs on their respective leader, on time, and as briefed. In case of any malfunction of any sort, they will report this to the Group Bombardier and the Armament man of their ship.
    2. After being interrogated, the Lead Bombardier will report to the Group Bombardier's Office and write their narrative and give a complete account of their mission.
    3. All bombardiers, except Lead Bombardiers will clean their guns, on the same day of the mission. Lead Bombardiers will not be required to install or clean their guns.


  1. The Lead Navigator will have the Pilot swing wide of the I.P. and come directly over it.

  2. When the formation is headed for the target, the Lead Bombardier will take over the ship and the rest of the crew will stay off the interphone during the entire bomb run. Only the Pilot, Navigator and/or Bombardier will do any talking over the interphone during the bomb run.

  3. The Lead Bombardier will check his pre-set drift, obtained from the Navigator, at the beginning of the bomb run. The Lead Navigator will stand directly behind him and do pilotage. After the bombardier has pre-set his drift and killed his rate, th will cage his gyro and pick up his map. The Navigator will show him the target if it is visible. If the target cannot be located from the I.P., the Navigator will show on his map where he is in relation to the ground directly in front of him.

  4. The Lead Bombardier will notify the Pilot when he has located the target and when he is coming up on it. About 20 or 30 seconds before "Bombs Away" the Bombardier will notify the Pilot and leave his airspeed and altitude exactly as it is. This will enable him to kill his rater perfectly.

  5. After "Bombs Away" the Pilot will take over the ship and the Bombardier will take down his necessary data and close his doors and shut off the power switches.

  6. It is the Bombardier's duty at "Bombs Away" to make sure all cameras are turned on.

  7. The Bombardier will be sure that their intervalometer counter knob is on zero and the select switch on train after leaving the target and while en route to it.

  8. Procedure if interphone is out:

    1. Making run on C-1 Auto Pilot:
      1. Two minutes before the I.P., Bombardier will attract the Pilot's attention by flashing bomber-call light, two long flashes.
      2. Upon receiving this signal Pilot will stand by to turn at I.P.
      3. When I.P. is reached, Bombardier will indicate this by one long flash of bomber-call.
      4. Pilot starts turn toward, and levels out when Bombardier gives two long flashes of bomber-call.
      5. At this time Bombardier takes control of Aircraft and makes normal run on target.
      6. As the bomb release light flashes, Pilot again assumes control of aircraft.

    2. Making run Manually:
      1. If C-1 Auto Pilot ceases to function properly, a manual run will be made. Bombardier will notify Pilot of this by turning on PDI.
      2. Two minutes before I.P. is reached, Bombardier will attract the Pilot's attention by two (2) long flashes of bomber-call light.
      3. Upon receiving this signal Pilot will stand by to turn at I.P.
      4. When I.P. is reached, Bombardier will indicate this by one long flash of bomber-call.
      5. Pilot turns toward target as Bombardier indicated direction of turn with PDI. Pilot levels out when PDI is centered.
      6. From this point, the bomb run is made with the Pilot following PDI until the bomb release light flashes.



    1. Squadron Bombardiers will have charge of bombardier training in their respective Squadrons.
    2. Bombardiers will be checked out in Navigation to substitute as Navigator in case of Navigator shortage. Lead Bombardiers and Squadron Bombardiers will be checked out as Navigator before leading a Group.
    3. Lead Bombardiers will get a minimum of three (3) hours of target identification each week.
    4. All Bombardiers will become thoroughly familiar with Gee-box and its use.
    5. All Bombardiers will understand the operation of racks and release systems in all types of aircraft, electrical and mechanical.
    6. Bomb trainer, chin-turret, and all other trainers will be attended when scheduled.


    1. All practice bombing missions will be flown using the designated I.P.s. The Squadron Navigator will inform the bombardiers and navigators as to what they are for the different ranges.
    2. Accidental releases outside of danger areas or release of more than one bomb at a time will be reported to the Group Bombardier's Office immediately upon completion of mission.
    3. Most of the practice bombing will be done on Auto Pilot, but every bombardier will make at least two runs on PDI while on a practice mission.

By order of the Group Commander
Major, Air Corps
Operations Officer