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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. Attend briefing: understand flight plan, know the targets, draw necessary maps, and plot enemy flak positions. Also check individual Navigators equipment to see that it is complete.

  2. Between Stations and Take-Off time he will:

    1. Brief crew on fighter rendezvous, flak concentrations, best return route if forced to leave formation, and friendly airfields should they make an emergency landing on the continent or England.
    2. Check his guns.
    3. Check for flare pistol and Aldis lamp.
    4. Run the Flux-Gate Compass through the caging cycle after engines have run for 10 minutes.

  3. During the Mission, Navigator will:

    1. Notify Pilot of all turns and climb at least two minutes in advance.
    2. Notify crew when friendly aircraft should be seen.
    3. Notify Radio Operator when camera should be turned on and make entry of the same in log.
    4. Notify crew how time schedule is being followed and deviations noted in log.
    5. Notify Pilot when flak concentration may be expected.
    6. Co-ordinate bomb run with Pilot and Bombardier.
    7. Continue with Navigation until actual fighter attacks occur, keep track of approximate position during attack.
    8. Keep a complete log of which includes the following:

      1. Time, altitude and position of assembly with other Squadrons and Groups.
      2. Continuous record of planes heading, altitude and airspeed.
      3. Time and altitude of crossing English and Continent Coasts.
      4. Position report on landfalls, I.P. and at least once every 30 minutes during entire flight.
      5. Wind vector recordings at least once over England, one over the water, one over target area, and one on return.

  4. Recordings for Intelligence:

    1. Accurate time entries made of flak, the intensity and accuracy of fire and if possible the position of batteries.
    2. Fighter attacks should be logged as to time and place.
    3. Enemy shipping, camouflage, smoke screens and any other details of military value.
    4. Any news concerning friendly aircraft in distress should be accurately given to Hot News before interrogation.

  5. Recording for Air Force:

    1. Time of Bombs Away to the half minute.
    2. Magnetic heading over target.
    3. Indicated airspeed and altitude over target.
    4. Wind vector determined near target.

  6. Recording for Meteorology:

    1. Weather report must be taken by each Navigator on mission noting height, and nature of low, medium, and high clouds, also recording of vapor trails, temperature.

  7. Recording for Signals:

    1. Splasher and fix beacons should be checked on the radio compass and characteristics noted.
    2. Meaconing and jamming should be noted on all beacons used. Enemy interference can be noted in one of these ways:

      1. Wide swinging of the compass needle when the identifying letters are sent out.
      2. More than two oral nulls are registered when the loop antenna is rotated through 360 degrees.
      3. A series of dots super-imposed on the call sigh by the British implies that they have detected interference on Splasher Beacons. (Known as mutilating).

    3. Gee should be checked for jamming, the last fix in enemy territory and the first fix possible on way out.
    4. Care should be taken in tuning radio beacons and bunchers because of the great number of stations in England.

  8. In addition to the above all Lead Navigators on the Operational Mission will be required to:

    1. Attend pre-briefing target study with Lead Bombardiers two hours before breakfast.
    2. Report to Group Operations for any further information immediately after briefing.
    3. Report to Group Operations after interrogation to write narrative of the mission, including effectiveness and time of rendezvous, actual winds at altitude, time schedule maintained. Any navigation hazards or errors noted. Also go over route flown with Group Navigator and give reasons for any deviations from briefed route.
    4. Group Lead Navigator will be responsible for giving Radio Operator control points as specified in field order. One is considered on course if within 5 miles of control points.
    5. Wind at altitude will be given over VHF Channel "A" only over enemy territory. (In the clear.)

  9. Two Navigators will be in Group Lead Aircraft besides Mickey Operator. One Navigator in each Squadron Lead.



    1. Swing and keep in running condition Flux-Gate Compass of aircraft assigned. Compasses will be swung in the ground with the Mark IV Land Compass.

    2. Keep an up to date Flak Map. Positions of such can be obtained in Intelligence Library.

    3. Each Navigator will train his Bombardier in Pin-Pointing, and D.R. Navigation.

    4. Brush up on Celestial Navigation. Obtain if any, the error in Sextant.

    5. Attend Gee and combination trainers when scheduled.

    6. It is the responsibility of Navigators to read Eighth Air Force Navigator's Hand Book, which can be obtained at Group Navigation Office at any time.

    7. Because Group assembles on Harrington Buncher, practice should be made homing on it, and pin-pointing the Buncher so it can be easily identified even in broken cloud coverage.

    8. Practice using winds of over 60 knows on E6B. It is not unusual to have very strong winds on operational missions.


    1. Insure all new Navigators are properly trained.

    2. See that all Lead aircraft are swung.

    3. Train and check out Bombardiers on D.R. Navigation.

    4. Assist Squadron Operation's Officer in planning practice missions, in scheduling Navigators or missions.

    5. Check long after each mission and initial them as fair, poor, good, or excellent.


    1. This equipment is a very accurate method of obtaining one's position and is an aid to Navigation and not a means of Navigation itself.

    2. Winds may be obtained by two methods:
      • First by track and ground speed on the E6B Computer.
      • Second by Air Plot - plotting an accurate fix with the no wind position of the aircraft for the same time.

    3. Gee may also be used for homing into one's Base or any point desired. By setting the Gee coordinators in the box and flying down one lattice line until it intersects the other line at desired position.

    4. Do Not Fix Crawl: Your equipment may fail at any time. It is only aid, keep up on D.R. at all times.


    • Grade "A": Stations are operated with most skilled personnel. Emergency "stand by" equipment is warmed up and ready in case of any power failure. Power output will be maximum and steady. This transmission is used for operational mission only.

    • Grade "B": Stations are operated by reduced staff and subject to delay of "stand by" equipment in case of power failure. Adequate for U.K. flights.

    • Grade "C": Stations are operating, but testing and checking equipment. Pulses appear intermittently but subject to wide errors. Navigational fixes should not be attempted.

    • Grade "D": Stations are turned off. No pulses are visible.

  1. What PFF is:

    PFF is Navigation and Bombing by means of Radar. The radar Navigator, or Mickey Operator, operates the radar set over the continent, or beyond Gee range, in order to obtain fixes, by which to aid the D.R. Navigator. PFF is most useful when weather conditions are 10/10, and the D.R. Navigator can get no visual pin-points, but it can also be useful in visual bomb runs, since the Mickey Operator can set up the bombardier on the right course miles away from his target and before the Bombardier can get the target in his sight. The Mickey Operator can pick up any city of 25,000 and over, and can thus avoid almost all heavy flak defended areas. His fixes should be accurate within two miles.

  2. PFF in Relation to Crew Coordination:

    PFF is a scheme of close coordination and cooperation between the Pilot, DR Navigator, Bombardier, and Mickey Operator. The close cooperation of the last two is by far the most important. By means of fixes given in coordinates to the DR Navigator whenever possible, the DR Navigator can obtain a good wind and put the aircraft on the correct heading to the target from the I.P. At this point the Mickey should be able to pick up the target area, and at this time he will take over the direction of the aircraft from the DR Navigator. Now the success of the bombing depends on the teamwork between the Mickey and Bombardier. The Mickey will give the Bombardier the necessary data to preset into his bombsight and bombs will be dropped by the bombsight, if the weather does not permit visual sighting by the Bombardier. It is very important that the Bombardier and Mickey Operator should know what each is doing on the bomb run. In other words, if the run is to be visual, the Bombardier should tell the Mickey, and if it is to be PFF, the Mickey should be told at the I.P. At any time during the bomb run, if the original situation changes, the Bombardier and the Mickey should tell each other. If the run is started visually and clouds obscure the Bombardier's view, he should let the Mickey know at once. During the bomb run, the Pilot must keep the aircraft straight and level except when correcting course, otherwise the Mickey set will blank out and the Mickey Operator will lose his target at the critical time. If the Lead's Mickey set goes out before the I.P., the Deputy should be advised of this at least 10 minutes before the I.P. so that he may take over the Lead and establish the I.P. without and danger of over-shooting it due to lack of time to changed places in the formation. Also, it is the Deputy Mickey's job to take scope pictures on the bomb run, and his set will be set up to take pictures on the bomb run, rather than to do the actual bombing.

    The Deputy Lead Mickey Operator's main duty on a mission is to take scope pictures, and to enable the pictures to be plotted more easily he must keep a complete numerical record of the pictures on his charts. At the moment when he turns on his intervalometer he will annotate that on his maps. As soon as the intervalometer stops working, which will be when the bomb bay doors close, he will again start keeping numerical track of the manual pictures taken, starting from where he left off when the intervalometer was turned on. In this connection, the Mickey Operator must be certain that the A-2 box in the bomb bay is cocked at takeoff, and that the Bombardier releases all stations at bombs away. This is very important, otherwise the bombs away picture will not be known, and the exact bomb hits cannot be plotted by means of the scope pictures. The importance of getting good pictures cannot be overestimated, since the Group's bombing record will be compiled by plotting scope pictures, when the sky is completely undercast.

    During a Mission, the Mickey Operator should tell the Pilot immediately if his set goes out. He should however, try to find the trouble if his set is not completely out, and try to remedy it, before he tells the Pilot and only then when he feels his set is of no use for accurate and dependable Navigation and Bombing. The Mickey Operator is an aid to the DR Man on the way to the target, but when the weather is 10/10 he is Navigator and Bombardier from the I.P. to the target.


    All Mickey Operators should be thoroughly acquainted with the practice routes used by this Group, and the respective I.P.s for the various targets. Those regular practice routes will always be flown on practice Missions.

    There will always be a PFF Bombardier and a D.R. Navigator on every practice mission, in addition to the Mickey Operator.

    Vertical pictures will always be taken on all practice missions, unless the Bombardier can see only clouds beneath him. Scope pictures will also be taken on every practice mission until a number of targets have been photographed; Mickey's will then be briefed on specific MPI's and CE's will be computed by means of vertical pictures. There will be three vertical pictures taken at each target, one at bombs away, one when the bombs are halfway down, and one when the bombs should hit. The heading of the Aircraft should not be changed after the first picture is taken, otherwise the pictures will be inaccurate.


  1. PILOT:

    1. Gee-H Explained: Th Gee-H Bomb run is comparable to flying a beam. The LINE OF POSITION which is followed is a curved line. This is not a homing procedure since direction of the warning point is not indicated by the Gee Box. The Gee Box merely indicates position in respect to the LOP. Since the track is curved the Gee-H Navigator, using Navigation Wind, figures the Magnetic Heading at a six minute point (near I.P.) and Magnetic heading at Warning Point. Along the bomb run the Gee-H Navigator calls the corrections to the Pilot both to get on the LOP and to stay on the LOP. Gee-H Navigator may call for as "S" turn, a turn to a certain heading and right back to the original heading. At the Warning Point the proper Magnetic heading must be held in order to start the bombs toward the target. From the Warning Point there is a Warning Period, determined from ground speed, before bombs are actually dropped. Gee-H is a method of dropping bombs on a Navigational Wind and bombs can easily be placed within 500 feet of the target with good coordination. The Warning Point is indicated by another LOP.


    1. The Bombardier is to figure the indicated altitude to fly for the true altitude given in the field order.

    2. Bombardier makes the timing with a stop watch from the Warning Point as told by he Gee-H Navigator. The pilot must hold the heading during the Warning Period.


      The Gee-H Navigator is your DR assistant. Working together you will obtain the best wind possible, since Gee-H bombing depends on a good wind. Gee-H Navigator must set up equipment 5 minutes before the I.P. Gee-H Navigator must have ETA's for I.P. and target so that he will not feel lost at any time and can do his best on the bomb run.


    1. Gee-H Navigator will attend Navigation briefing and a Gee-H briefing immediately after. He will then report to Group Navigation for teletype information and tables, and then attend the Leader's meeting in Group Operations to be sure all understand the Mission.

    2. Gee-H Navigator takes charge at the I.P.

    3. Gee-H Navigator will indicate by prearranged signal to the Bombardier when the Warning Point is reached. Bombardier will make the timing and release the bombs.

    4. As soon as the engines are started the Gee Box and Gee-H transmitter will be tested.


    1. Gee-H Navigator must make at lease one practice flight a week.

    2. Gee-H Navigator can fly only 1 in 4 regular Missions and not more than 6 a month.

    3. The Squadron is responsible for having Pilots checked out on Gee-H. Pilots must make all corrections immediately.

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