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Old 21st Apr 2017, 07:15   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2006
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Age: 36
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RAFG Strike Operations


I知 seeking some information, I知 a keen wargamer and am putting a scenario together featuring RAFG in the 1960s primarily, my area of interest centres round the role of the Canberra squadrons and where they were destined for should the balloon have went up.

Now I know some of you gents have signed the official secrets act so I understand you may be unlikely to be able or willing to tell me where you were slated to strike.

However I値l throw some questions up and I will be grateful for any response you might have.

Firstly I understand a number of crews were kept on QRA at the clutch airfields, if the hooter went was there a recall method, before you penetrated the IGB like the V-force had with 8 Deg East?

What types of targets were QRA set to strike? Would it be things like radar and fixed SAM sites in order to cut holes in the air defences for follow on strikes, or were the Nuclear capable Soviet airfields the prime targets of the Canberra units? Or am I looking too deep into East Germany, and in fact the strikes would have been more NORTHAG orientated, certain bridges, rail junctions, targets that would affect the Red Army divisions on the move west?

I have read a couple of RAF journals available online in relation to this subject, it mentions that the recce Canberra sqns war missions were to penetrate the IGB and conduct 斗ine searches looking for troop movements. The Canberra had phenomenal range, so how far and wide would you have ranged over Eastern Europe? Are we talking just the DDR or as far as Eastern Poland?

Thanks in advance for any answers, if anyone has any recommendations for further reading on this subject, I would be most grateful.


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Old 21st Apr 2017, 08:03   #2 (permalink)
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See from page 121:
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Old 21st Apr 2017, 10:39   #3 (permalink)
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AFIR my pre-planned mission was to take pictures of what was left of 3 towns in western Poland. After that who knows? As to range, at 300kt low-level fuel consumption was assumed to be 6000lb/hr for the first hour, 5500lb/hr for the next, and 5000lb/hr for the 3rd. If you increased to 450kt it was considerably more - but you could steam past any F104 you spotted ahead of you (its smoke was a dead giveaway).
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Old 24th Apr 2017, 20:56   #4 (permalink)
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RAFG Strike Operations


Thanks for taking the time to answer my query, I wondered if you could pose another one.

For the above scenario, what kind of mission profile did you expect to fly, was it to be a Lo-Lo-Lo profile, or were there segments to be flown at a more fuel efficent altitudes?

And another question what was the offical position regards, post strike recovery? Did you have allocated airfields?


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Old 17th May 2017, 11:09   #5 (permalink)
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On the F4 that replaced the Canberra strike squadrons, along with the Buccaneers, it was Lo Lo Lo and we did not really expect to get back. As there would be numerous Russian MRBM and shorter range nuke tipped nasties going in the opposite direction, there was not expected to be anything to come back to.

Remember, it was a part of the deterrent. If it had to be used then it had failed.
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Old 17th May 2017, 18:27   #6 (permalink)
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A Buccaneer pilot told me he would try for Sweden in case they had gone neutral but he was a first division "mickey-taker".
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Old 18th May 2017, 07:52   #7 (permalink)
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"A Bucket of Sunshine" by Mike Brooke describes his time flying the Canberra (16sqdn) during the very period you are interested and has some detailed recollections of QRA duty, bombing techniques and targeting. A recommended read.
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Old 18th May 2017, 10:11   #8 (permalink)
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I remember being told as a spotty cadet on camp at Wildenrath not to even think about going anywhere near the QRA Canberras: "If you're very lucky, you'll only get shot in the leg".
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Old 19th May 2017, 10:13   #9 (permalink)
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TCU - you beat me to it.... a very good read IMHO
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Old 20th May 2017, 08:38   #10 (permalink)
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Whilst attending my ATC summer camp at RAF Bruggen (July 1972) I was able to inspect a former 16 Sqn Canberra B(I)8 recently retired to decoy duties.

The aircraft was complete, even down to its ventral gun pack. I was however surprised that the weapons bay had only a single pylon and a loom of wiring for the PALs (Permissible Action Links) associated with the carriage and delivery of nuclear weapons. There was no other option to carry conventional weapons.

I was rather perplexed as to why if the aircraft was going on a nuclear delivery sortie, that they would bother with the gun pack. It rather stretches the imagination that after having delivered their bucket of instant sunshine that anyone could be interested in shooting up targets of opportunity with a battery of cannon?
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