15-21 February 1943


Another fairly quiet week for 12 Sqn; they took part in 3 raids to Lorient, Wilhelmshaven and Bremen and none of the squadron aircraft were lost. The raid on Lorient was the eighth following direct instructions from the Air Ministry and nearly 4000 tons of bombs had been dropped and 24 aircraft lost. The town was said to be completely ruined and deserted.

It may be useful to give a brief description of the type of marking used by the Pathfinder force to help the main force squadrons to hit their designated target. These are mentioned frequently in the Squadron Diary entries.

Types of marking

Three types of target marking were developed by the Pathfinders. These were known by the codenames Parramatta, Wanganui and Newhaven – the names coming from locations in Australia, New Zealand and the UK which had links with Pathfinder staff. If the Oboe system was used to determine the release point then the word “Musical” was used as a prefix, e.g. “Musical Parramatta”. Parramatta used navigation aids such as H2S radar or Oboe radio signals to drop the markers. Newhaven used illumination flares dropped above the target area to light it up sufficiently for a visual marking by the Pathfinder aircraft. Wanganui was used when the target was obscured by cloud, industrial haze, or a smoke screen. Oboe or H2S was used to release the markers over the unseen target. The target indicators used were on parachutes to give an aiming point that could be seen by the main force. This was also known as “sky marking”.

In all cases, further Target Indicators (TI) would be dropped in the course of the raid to reinforce the marking and to compensate for earlier TIs either burning out or being extinguished by the bombing.

Extract from 12 Sqn Diary

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