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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

It is expected that each member of a combat crew be familiar with the procedure hereinafter set forth and the will adhere to it during his assignment to this Group.


    1. Any failure of security in regard to a mission or a planned mission may cost you your life, and result in the loss of other crew members. Impose upon yourself complete silence about a mission and insist that others about you do the same.

    2. Censorship is one means of achieving security that is very important in preventing the enemy from securing information about this Group, its personnel, and its operations. Censorship of mail on Enlisted Personnel is accomplished on the Base by Squadron censors. Officer's mail is censored by the theatre Censors Officer. No mail will be posted other than in Army Postal Offices, this includes mail addressed to persons resident in the British Isles. The following restrictions are applicable to all correspondence. No mention may be made of: Operations against the enemy - The number of missions that you have been on - or personnel that are listed as missing in action - Enemy claims - The war effort of the U.S. or her Allies - Equipment or installations - Activities of the enemy except in most general terms and even then nothing as to location or extent of damage or casualties - Possible moving of this or any other unit to another theatre or to the Zone of the Interior - Geographical location of this organization or of nearby towns.

    3. Loose talk particularly in public places is one of the most valuable sources of information open to the enemy as are conversations by ordinary commercial telephone. Severe punishment has been imposed in this theatre for violation of the restriction on so called "loose talk."

    4. Mailing or carrying home of strike attach and aerial photos also personal photos of airfields, equipment or crews is prohibited unless such photos are stamped with the censor's stamp.

    5. Personal cameras may not be taken on missions.

    6. No classified documents may be carried on missions or training flights.


    1. The purpose of the pre-briefing is to give the lead teams, i.e. Bombardiers and Navigators, an opportunity to study the target and the route to it with sufficient thoroughness prior to a mission so as to insure the identification of the assigned target.

    2. Material furnished by S-2:
      • 1-250,000 map with course drawn in from the I.P. to target and for a distance of 15-20 miles prior to I.P.
      • 1-25,000 or 1-50,000 maps of target area in such maps are available in a recent series.
      • Target pictures, including any P.R.U. pictures that may be available. Target maps with smoke screen lines, where applicable.
      • Description of route from I.P. to target, emphasizing seeable landmarks and distances, including approximate size of towns and cities on or near enough to the route to be used as check points.
      • Target map and landmarks shown thereon in relation to the primary target. Relative distances from the target to be indicated.
      • Target pictures stereo-pairs when available with dimensions of MPI and other major buildings in the target area.
      • Secondary and last resort targets - relation to primary - distance and direction of such targets from the primary.


    1. The purpose of briefing is two-fold: First to assure your finding and recognizing the target and ; second, to inform you of the enemy opposition that is to be expected.


        1. S-2 provides and posts an overlay showing route, targets, flak defended areas, fighter support, fighter rendezvous points and bomb line.

        2. The S-2 briefing officer follows the Group Navigator in the order of briefing and presents the following data:
          1. Type of Interrogation
          2. Results of pervious mission
          3. Special Information such as:
            1. Marking of friendly aircraft
            2. Requests for particular observations
            3. Bomb line location and ground forces situation when pertinent
            4. Restrictions as to targets of opportunity
          4. Convoys
          5. Tides - if coastal target is involved
          6. Enemy aircraft opposition likely or possible and recent enemy tactics
          7. Flak along route and at target
          8. Evasion and escape suggestions and prisoner of war security reminders
          9. Location and type of targets of other Divisions and Combat Wings
          10. Description of location and importance of our targets
          11. Epidiascope showing route from I.P. to target, target area on night target map, target itself and aiming point on illustrations
          12. Same for secondary targets


        The information outlined below is given by S-2:

        1. Targets of each of the three Divisions and their relative positions.
        2. Primary, secondary and last resort targets - also targets of opportunity in any assigned to this group
        3. Location of these targets, with distance and direction of secondary and other targets from the primary target.
        4. Enemy fighters - possible strength and types in case any data is available
        5. Tides - Convoys - Prisoner of War information
        6. List of aircraft that are carrying cameras, and persons who are to operate the cameras, i.e. Bombardier, Radio Operator, cameraman.
        7. Bombing results, last previous mission, with pictures when available
        8. Flak areas
        9. Aircraft, in any, that are carrying leaflets
        10. Target information
        11. Name of targets, their location
        12. Brief description of importance of the target to the enemy, products produced, together with comparative size of target
        13. Course into I.P. and outstanding landmarks for a distance of 20-50 miles on course into I.P.
        14. Landmarks around the I.P. and photos of I.P. if any are available
        15. Bomb run - true course, magnetic heading, distance in statute miles and time of the run
        16. Landmarks from I.P. to target with distances from I.P.
        17. Target area, dimensions of MPI, area and general shape of target. Landmarks or checkpoints in vicinity of target, distances and direction from MPI including reference points to side of MPI and ahead of it as nearly on course as possible.
        18. Smoke screens, camouflage, and dummy installations, if any
        19. Secondary, last resort, and targets of opportunity are dealt with in conference with the Leaders and deputy Leaders to insure that they know the assigned MPI and locations of those targets in relation to the primary target


        S-2 presents the following data:

        1. Target - Name and location of primary, secondary and last resort
        2. Convoys and tides
        3. Prisoner of War information (Escape and Evasion)
        4. Enemy aircraft data
        5. Anti-Aircraft Gunfire:
          1. Brief description of known points that are defended
          2. The Lead and deputy Lead Navigators should get the 1-500,000 flak maps as at present
        6. Special information, as leaflets, etc.
        7. Target identification:
          1. Location of I.P.
          2. Landmarks and orienting points around I.P. (in detail)
          3. Heading, distance and description of bomb run
          4. Complete discussion of landmarks and orienting point I.P. to target
          5. General target data (brief description of target)
          6. Smoke screens, decoys and camouflage
        8. Illustrations:
          1. Photographs of target
          2. Brief comment on its value to the Germans and importance of its destruction
          3. 1-250,000 Map (for I.P., bomb run and target location and identification
          4. Night target map
          5. Photograph of target area
          6. Duplicate for secondary target as needed


        Information furnished by S-2:

        1. Targets, primary, secondary, last resort and target of opportunity
          1. Importance of the primary target and its relation to the German war effort
        2. Flak areas
        3. Enemy aircraft to be expected
        4. Prisoner of War (Escape and Evasion)
        5. Convoys
        6. Route from the I.P. to target, mentioning landmarks en route
        7. Night target map with location of outstanding landmarks in target area
        8. Picture of target with MPI marked thereon
        9. List of cameras to be operated by gunners
        10. Result of the last previous bombing, with pictures if appropriate


    1. In the case of tactical targets, i.e. those in support of ground forces, interrogation is carried on at the dispersal areas, and includes only selected crews, the names of which are announced at briefing.

    2. Where a target is classed as strategic, all crews are interrogated in which case they report to the main briefing room as soon as they land. Here again if all crews are to be interrogated an announcement to that effect is made at briefing.

    3. The purpose of interrogation is twofold:
      • First - To secure from crew members any information that they may have regarding the mission so far as it pertains to the carrying out of the mission by our forces.
      • Second - To get from each crew member any information or observations that he may have gained or made during the mission with reference to the enemy. This will include tactics of enemy aircraft, details of Anti-Aircraft gunfire, its intensity and areas where encountered, observations of naval or ground activity or installations.

    4. In the case of strategic target, the Pilot or Co-Pilot reports to the S-2 officer on duty in the main briefing room as soon as he and his crew are brought in from their aircraft. The S-2 duty officer assigns crews for interrogation in the Navigators or Gunners briefing room. When a crew is called for interrogation it is the Pilot's responsibility to see that all of his crew are available and attend the interrogation.

    5. When the Pilot registers for interrogation he is asked to furnish the following information for the purpose of a flash report for Higher Headquarters:
      Target bombed - Position flown from in the formation as it went over the target - Intensity and accuracy of flak at the target - In addition Lead Crews are asked to furnish general information as to fighter escort - Enemy Aircraft - Weather - Bombing accuracy - Whether bombing was visual or P.F.F.


    1. All Combat personnel must empty their pockets of all personal effects before going on an operational mission.

    2. All Combat personnel, including Officers, should wear G.I. clothing and also G.I. shoes if possible

    3. The following escape aids must be carried by all combat crews on all missions: Escape Kit (Box), Escape Packet (purses), Dogtags, Small Compass, Language sheets, Paratroop rations (when available).

    4. Escape Kits and Purses or Packets are issued in sets of ten each in a bag to each Co-Pilot at briefing and are collected from the Co-Pilot at interrogation. Kits and packets are not expendable property, and each Co-Pilot is responsible for the ones issued to him.

    5. Escape boxes and purses and packets are not to be opened until needed in enemy territory.

    6. On being shot down over enemy territory it is the duty of all personnel to avoid capture, if possible, and to return to their unit.

    7. In the event of a landing in enemy territory, the plane, its equipment and cargo must be destroyed. In the event of landing in neutral territory, all classified papers and equipment must be destroyed.

    8. An order of the War Department forbids broadcasting over the German radio by prisoners of war.

    9. No prisoner of war shall give his permanent parole, but may give a temporary parole for a limited time with the permission of the camp leader.

    10. Prisoners of War, when interrogated, should state their name, rank and serial number. They should exercise every precaution not to reveal either directly or indirectly, any other information whatever. This applies to no only the camp where the prisoner is first interrogated, but also to the permanent camps to which the prisoners are sent. Extreme care is important because of stool pigeons and microphones.

    11. Prisoners are still in the armed forces of the United States and it is their duty to escape.

    12. All combat personnel should have an read carefully War Department Pamphlet No. 21-7 on the rights of prisoners of war.

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