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Did You Fly The Vulcan?? (Merged)

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Did You Fly The Vulcan?? (Merged)

Old 30th Dec 2003, 23:33
  #101 (permalink)  

Do a Hover - it avoids G
 
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Pontius

Thanks for that. I don't know how to post a link, but if you check out Op Jiu Jitsu at the address below you will read about related exploits a few years earlier by a guy I was proud to work with many years later - John Crampton - who operated some USAF B45s in RAF markings over Russia more than once.

http://www.spyflight.co.uk/SCUL.HTM

At Jever in 58/59 we were often scrambled in Hunters to intecept what turned out to be U2s rather above our ceiling, but I don't recall any Victors

John
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 00:42
  #102 (permalink)  
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John,

I think the Victors were about 55 or 56. I know they did not take part in Suez as it was a Valiant main force do and only one sqn had radar bombing capability. They were the ones that hit their target. The Victor, as far as I can remember, was pre-OCU.

About the B45s I found a similar article that mentioned a broad sweep of RB47 down through Siberia 'just to see what happened'

Why we ever had a cold war I don't know. The Yankees seemed to give plenty of provocation. When the Sovs fired back they were always presented as the bad guys.

Talking of 'balls', ever hear the 'offer' by the Royal Navy to get its submarines into the deterrent game in the early 60s? Sail a sub into the White Sea as far as Severomorsk and drop off some Red Beards. The plan was not received with open arms as it meant laying the 'mines' about a week or so before they went pop. This was pre-Dreadnought and not exactly retailliation.

Nimrodnosewheel on the Bucc thread reminds me about bombing accuracy. On 35 at Akrotiri, in one 6 month period, the 50% accuracy figure for practice laydown on the raft at Epi using visual or radar for the whoe squadron was 300 feet. One crew achieved 280 and one crew achieved 320. The other 8 were all on the money. I told NEAF that I would no longer be reporting laydown bombing accuracy. They did not blink.
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 01:47
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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With regards the RN contribution, I seem to recall they went as far as building some mini submarines to actually carry the bombs back in the mid 1950's but they were scrapped shortly after. Now who would volunteer for a suicide mission like that?
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 03:41
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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Sticky? Damned good idea. Lots of memories coming out here. Beags?...
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 03:57
  #105 (permalink)  
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Make it a sticky by all means..

But unlike some, I still won't talk about:

1. The weapon
2. The target
3. The procedures
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 04:56
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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Penetrations & overflights

John, Pontius, (and others)

You may find the following books of interest:

Spy Flights of the Cold War by Paul Lashmarr
Published by Sutton Publishing Ltd, 1996
ISBN 0 7509 1183 2

The author was the producer of the BBC "Timewatch" documentary "Spies in the Sky" which covered much the same ground as the book, but with interviews of some of the participants (both sides).

Shadow Flights by Curtis Peebles
Published by Presidio Press Inc, 2000
ISBN 0 89141 700 1 or 2

Covers similar ground, but with more empahasis on the U2 operations.

Finally,

The Hidden Hand by Richard J. Aldrich
Published by John Murray Ltd., 2001
ISBN 0 7195 5423 3

A mighty tome!, 645 pages, but worth a look. The book examines the workings of the intelligence community throughout the cold war and contains a few real gems.

Probably a good place to start looking for these and similar books would be on:

www.abebooks.com

Happy reading

YS
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 05:44
  #107 (permalink)  
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Beagle,

I accept what you say but my lecture included all the comms proceedures, authentication, weapons, profiles, routes, targets, and recovery bases. It was fully illustrated and I was surprised the ONLY issue was copyright of the photographs.

One of the best was a low level shot of a Valiant from a Turkish web site.

There was absolutely nothing previously classified at Top Secret Atomic that I was not cleared to discuss. I was even cleared to give the absolute release parameters of the WE177 and the escape manoeuvres.

Lots of details came from AWRE's own web site.

Stories from the Kipper fleet would also make interesting reading, especially the air miss with a MAY. They didn't complain and we didn't report it.
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 07:16
  #108 (permalink)  
 
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Totally agree with you, Beags. See my post on page 4. In my book, the passage of time does not mean that the procedures and anything else surrounding nuclear weapons can be discussed in public.
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 09:49
  #109 (permalink)  
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Many memories triggered here, not all of them good.

Yes Pontius we really did generate 31 at Waddo in mid '67. As I remember it, the exercise started off as a MICK and, after we declared all aircraft serviceable including the Hangar Queen, Bomber Command tried to call our bluff by raising us to MICKEY FINN. [We flew all aircraft off in one go which was most unusual - normally the aircraft dispersed in small groups as soon as they were ready]. Bloody murder that was, I was one of the Valley detachment and went off in a Hastings - after 16 hours of continuous work overnight that is. You can't sleep in a Hastings. We found that RAF Valley hadn't been looking after the Bomber Command detachment billets - a couple of old WW2 huts near the beach - the windows were all broken and the roof leaked so we had nowhere to live. Their MT section had knicked our No.1 Group Landrover too, so we had no transport for moving food over from the mess. We settled down in the caravan by the ORP instead. The lack of sleeping space wasn't a problem as we were short-handed as usual and didn't get any "down" time. We were issued with amphetamines to keep us on our feet (imagine that today!!!) and consequently managed to stand-to for a continuous duty shift of slightly more than 36 hours without sleep or hot food - the cold war wasn't just a game. Dunno where the aircrew hung out. Certainly not with us.

Before we left I recall doing "Combats" on a B2 and as per SOP had an LAC down below catching the Window packets in a dustbin lid. Wingco Eng was snooping about and hearing an odd noise from a hole he went over to investigate. 'Oxo', the LAC didn't get any Window in his bin lid, so I dropped another two. That's when 'Oxo' noticed Wingco Eng covered from head to toe in "Tinsel" For the record, he was not amused!

The QRA tales bring back a few memories too. In early '67 I was supposed to go away to Butterworth on detachment. When I applied for a passport I discovered that I'm not actually British. In fact I wasn't even legally permitted to remain in the country. Bomber Command resolved this problem in typical fashion by swapping me with a chap who was on QRA. So, Johnny Foreigner illegal immigrant, was now looking after one of Her Majesties Nukes. Sometime during that month at Midgeley's Motel on Alpha dispersal [Anyone remember Midge? F/S Midgeley was one of the few proper Gentlemen at Waddo. An ace bloke] we had a call-out without any definition - Zero-five, Start Engines or Zero Two as the case may be. The aircraft went down to the runway and stayed there. We were left standing on the empty pans to reflect upon the fact that there were no standing orders for what to do next. Being a first-strike target there was no point in having any - we would be vapourised where we stood. After a couple of minutes two 5 Sqn Lightnings from Binbrook flew overhead at about 500 feet rocking their wings and then circled the airfield, Something unusual was definitely going on. After about twenty minutes the aircraft taxied off down the runway and came back to Alpha dispersal and the crews returned to the Ops Block. No-one ever told us what was going on, but then we were only grease monkeys and no-one ever did.

I could write a book about the weird situation for ground crew in No.1 Group back then - no cold weather clothing so wear your own; issued with "previously owned Trog Boots and seaboot socks [they could have washed them first!]; Squadron transport robbed of serviceable parts by MT section, to get the road going vehicles through the MOT. Never mind the accidents we had out on the airfield. It was a black comedy out there and we looked like a gang of pirates but no-one in this man's air force or anyone else's could match us at keeping them flyable. We hated every minute of it. Glory Days.

PS Someone mentioned about shooting survivors with radiation sickness. Radiation didn't come into it. During NBC I was allocated to the shooting and cremation group. The medics were to classify all survivors as uninjured, walking injured or incapacitated. Those in the first two groups were to be formed into working parties for forced labour. The latter group were to be taken away and shot. One bullet behind the right ear using a 9 mm Browning Hi-Power. We were also trained in the art of burning all the bodies - how to stack them with the right air gaps for oxygen feed, proportion of wood to human remains etc. Burning bodies in the open isn't as easy as it seems and the authorities didn't wish to waste petrol. [Unusually for a service training course, we weren't allowed to take notes. I wonder why?!?] Maybe that's still the plan - I don't know if there is one anymore, now that the bunkers are open for public inspection. The daft thing that should have been staring 'them' in the face was that none of us was going to surviveto carry out the plan anyway - we were the bloody first strike targets ourselves for Christ's sake!

**************************
Through difficulties to the cinema
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 11:25
  #110 (permalink)  
 
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Blacksheep, towards the end of QRA things got a bit crazy for the aircrew as well.

We had one target, an important "red" city that was scheduled to be hit by missiles before our arrival. Since the city was "very important" you can bet that would have been quite a few missiles. We were supposed to arrive at the target some three hours after the missiles hit, search through the rubble for our radar aiming keypoint then proceed to add our little contribution to the charred cinders below. Did seem a bit pointless.
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 14:37
  #111 (permalink)  
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The hilarious cock-ups made by exercise planners often caused some priceless moments. We once had the usual post-Air Raid Red session in NBC kit, then were a bit surprised to be scrambled before the 'All Clear'. So we bowled down to the jets in our NBC kit; the captain was the first to the plod on cordon duty - and had to show his F1250. Not much point when you're head-to-toe in charcoal and rubber and trying to communicate through an S6 gassie! Mind you, the other trick to wind up plod was to show your 1250 not to the acting corporal but instead to War Hound Fang, one of those playful furry alligators which used to take plod for walkies around the dispersal!

PN - I wasn't having a go at you per se. But I'm totally astonished that anyone could have been permitted to disclose details of our strike role activities publically - particularly disclosure of routes, weapon yields etc. Who on earth ever sanctioned that??
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 14:50
  #112 (permalink)  
 
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Beags

I distinctly remember pitching up at an 'armed' ac with WST team in tow to find RAFP of the female variety on duty. Following checklist to the letter, the captain rejected the ac as the checklist said we should find a policeman !!!!

The rubber face scenario was covered by photographs taken with S6 and tin hat on.......How pointless was that then ?????

Happy days........
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 15:06
  #113 (permalink)  
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AH, WST. That was always a jolly jape! Went out to do our session once at snowy Scampton; as the ac wasn't going to fly, no-one had bothered to clear away the odd heap of snow within the cordon which had fallen since the Team had turned up on base. AEO and I dutifully 2-man our way over to the power set, then over to sit in the jet whilst the Shape is accepted. But I gave a heap of snow in front of the mainwheels a passing kick on the way back, only to discover a Vulcan picketing pin lurking within. Which was about 18" of very stout metal. Hence the area was not secure - what was hiding in the rest of the snow. Wander over to the assessor with our trophy - "Found your little surprise" we say. "Oh bolleaux - we didn't leave that there! BŁoody armourers/groundcrew/plods should have cleared the area.....", says he. There is now A Problem - none of the previous half-dozen crews had spotted it, so does the umpire turn a blind eye - or fail them all? Being a sensible chap he elected to have a little chat with OC Eng instead....and within minutes a bemused dog-and-plod team was escorting various folk with snow shovels clearing the area!
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 18:22
  #114 (permalink)  
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On the topic of ID when in NBC kit, I remember being called out one dark and stormy night during a Taceval at Lyneham and having to don full NBC before making my way to ATC, about a mile's walk.

It was hammering down with rain and there were rivers of water everywhere. I happened upon a station guard, also in full NBC, who pointed his SLR at me and asked for my 1250. After much fumbling I found it and was ordered to put it on the ground and step back. When I did this, it floated away on a mini torrent coming down the hill.

The guard put his hand on his hip, sighed heavily, and said, "For God's sake, if you wanted to play Pooh Sticks why didn't you just say so?"
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 18:52
  #115 (permalink)  
 
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Taceval Brize Norton

Having had great fun during my time on Vulcans, I thought I'd throw my pennyworth in.

On 25 July 1978 in Vulcan XM569, we were tasked to fly down to Brize from Waddington. It had been cleared by the appropriate authority that we were to fly down silent & LL. We were simulating a defecting Russian Aircraft. The Ground crew had put suitable large day-glo red stars on the fin and we all had Russian name badges which translated into expletives but looked very Russian! The idea was to land and find a quiet place to 'park' and await the troops to take action! Their OC Ops was a Russian speaker as was our AEO.

Great fun we thought - licenced hooliganism! So down we flew, low & quiet; lurked just out side the Airfield boundary until the runway was clear. Landed, taxied off, shut down, got out with Russian hats on and waited for the arrivel of Brize Norton defence team .... waited .... waited and waited. It would seem that we were too low & stealthy - no one seemed to have noticed us arriving, despite being in full view of the tower, Ops etc.

Eventually, we had to get back in the Aircraft and make an R/T call to announce our presence! It seems that nothing much has changed - asylum seekers ...??? or what!
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 22:18
  #116 (permalink)  

Do a Hover - it avoids G
 
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BEags

You remarked that unlike some, you still won't talk about:

1. The weapon
2. The target
3. The procedures

I am genuinely interested in why, although if you don't want to say then a 'no comment' by you is fine as well.

It seems to me that what went on with the V Force has no possible connection with any events of today or tomorrow. All the equipment is out of service and there are no links to present weapons.

A great deal of what went on at that time to safeguard our capabilities and nuclear safety - and what safety that was - was very effectively carried out by people who really believed in what they did - despite the odd hilarious incident such as you describe - and so I feel there is merit and value in seeing their efforts properly recorded and understood by today's generation.

Indeed if you want to look at the inside of a 177 you can do so at Boscombe's museum. As an aside I have never seen such high quality wiring which is perhaps why all that stuff was SO reliable, in fact because the RN wanted to use a 177 variant the SHAR inboard pylons had to be permanently attached to the wing in manufacture in order to meet the reliability specs. So you have never seen a SHAR FRS 1 with a clean wing. Don't know if the FA2s have been changed by St Athan.
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 23:07
  #117 (permalink)  
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JF/BEagle

I'm similarly interested in the reluctance to discuss supposedly sensitive topics. I would've thought that the fascinating tales of bygone eras typified by this thread are of great interest to a wide and healthily inquisitive audience - would not these stories, of not a little historical value, be incomplete and a little cred-less without the inclusion of the now bygone taboos.

Like PN, I recently had reason to enquire from the appropriate PTB about the possibility of discussing this previously TS material in a public forum - a very pragmatic reply offered no official objection.

Not seeking explanations - like my previous brief reply to FJJP, simply putting forward a rhetorical 'why not'.

Hope that the second of Jan will be a better day than the first will probably be -- a good 2004 to all

HMG
 
Old 31st Dec 2003, 23:34
  #118 (permalink)  
 
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History?

Beagle

Make it a sticky by all means..

But unlike some, I still won't talk about:

1. The weapon
2. The target
3. The procedures
A bit of perspective, on Item 1 at least. Some years ago I saw in the "New Scientist" a book review dealing wth the US nuclear weapons programme. I requested it though my local public library and it duly arrived. The book contained detailed technical descriptions of most of the US inventory, including a weapon I had recently been qualified on and was still in service with UK forces. Indeed the material was identical to that used for WST revision.

A bit closer to home is the case of an acquaintance and near neighbour who was a career "weaponeer"(I'm pretty sure that just about all the Vulcan aircrew writing here would have met him in one of his guises,Sqn, OCU, WST et.al.). He is now retired and has on his study bookshelf a HMSO published book on British Nuclear Weapons. In his last service appointment he had a copy in his office, only then it was classified Secret and kept in the appropriate container.

So you see there is a vast amount of declassified information available, and some of which (quite a lot) resided in Dark Red folders in our day.

Pontius

Stories from the Kipper fleet would also make interesting reading, especially the air miss with a MAY. They didn't complain and we didn't report it.
They would but the problem is that they are still at it to a greater or lesser degree. V-Force and deterrence is over, but the slow steady procedures of surveillance and collection are probably still going on. in addition, whilst V-Force tales tended to go around (discretely) many of the maritime incidents were only retailed in Forms Purple or in the Purple Amp (LimDis). What you may have heard at a subsequent briefing might be a sanitised version of the original. But there were some good tales nonetheless. I am sure that stories will emerge in due course and there are a number of questions I would like to know the answer to, like just what was Svanetya up to?

YS
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 23:51
  #119 (permalink)  
I don't own this space under my name. I should have leased it while I still could
 
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I WROTE the purple.
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Old 31st Dec 2003, 23:59
  #120 (permalink)  
 
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I'm with BEags on this issue. It's not just the nuke affairs either it's the principle of the thing I guess. I was with the Canberra B(I)8s in Germany in the 60s where we stood our share of nuked-loaded QRAs TACEVALS and "scary" moments. Generally have no problem telling "war-stories" over a pint or two about those times (when I can remember them! ). I came back to 51 Sqn from Germany though and I still, (nearly 30 years later) feel uncomfortable saying anything about those particular times. Even though I realise a lot of the actions/events are now public domain. I have read stuff about Canberras from a couple of "researchers", but it somehow still just doesn't feel "right" to be discussing it in open forum. Maybe some of us took to the security "brainwashing" too well!

I can assure you that the weekly security briefings, even for ground crew, were taken very seriously - particular car registrations, certain movements, people to watch for etc, and I guess the ethos of that time and place has just stuck in my mind. It was even more serious for the aircrews and their families. And there is the 70 year rule!

So, I would respect BEags unwillingness to get involved in detail that's any deeper than "I remember when. . . " type hangar tales. More of these tales will give a personal flavour to this potted history thread. In this I agree with John F, because all those memories are not being written down, or "collected" and, due to the current PC climate, may never be in any official sense.

Just think, maybe, in 30 or 40 years time, this thread will provide a goldmine of insight and detail for some researcher into the background of the RAF's Cold War. Imagine what it would be like now if something like PPRuNe had been available to, say, "Bee" Beamont, or Ginger Lacy.

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