nw-.­ -­
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FEB RUA RY, I 9 4 3
COPY NUMBER....._.__....__.._-_..•
Colonel, Infantry
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A. Allied Shipping Losses . . . . . .
B. Ship Construction Versus Losses .. 4
C. German Strategy in Dispositions of Submar ines. . 5
A. Anti-Submarine Operations by Ai!craft. 7
B. Convoys . 8
C. Attacks on U-Boat Bases . 10
D. Attacks on Enemy Submarines. 14
A. First Antisubmarine Squadron Scores Again. 15
B. Convoy Protection off Newfoundland . 16
C. Ventura's Attack . . . . . . . 16
D. Killer Hunt in the Caribbean . . 18
E. B-24 Versus JU.88s . 19
F. Five Messerschmitts Meet a B-24. 20
A. The Average Attack on the Submarine .. 21
B. Bombing Error . 21
C. Low Level Bombsight. . . .. . . 23
D. Spacing of Depth Bombs . .. . .
E. 26th Wing Bombing Practice .
F. Training Facilities .
A. Magnetic Anomaly Detector .. 29
B. The Analattack . . . . . 30
C. Depth Bomb Nomenclature .. 32
Much of the information contained in this publication is derived from
highly secret sources and all personnel are enjoined to exercise extreme
caution in order to prevent dissemination to unauthorized persons.
Information as to X/V sinkings, U-boat dispositions, new technical
developments, operations and locations of antisubmarine units is intended
for the use of higher commanders and their staffs only.
No reproduction of informat' herein may be made without
specific approval of the Command'ng General, Army Air isubmarine
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1939 1940 19q.I 1942 /943
The downward trend of sinkings of Allied and neutral merchant vessels eVident
since Ndvember was abruptly reversed in February, and losses as far, as is known as of
March 12th amounted to sixty-two ships totaling 368,186 gross tons. The tonnage loss,
however, was not heavy in comparison with the average monthly losses for the past
year; the significance of the February record lies chiefly in the reversal of the
trend. Reports for the early part of March indicate sinkings at an accelerated rate.
Chart I shows the record of monthly tonnage losses as a result of submarine
action since September, 1939, as well as the tonnage loss of tankers and cargo-passen­
ger vessels. The curves shown on the chart are based on British figures prior to
_September, 1942, and American figures thereafter. The American figures include ships
that may have been used for transporting troops, regardless of whether the ships were
classified as commissioned auxiliaries.
The loss of ships from enemy action of all types, including mines, air and sur­
face craft, as well as submarines, is shown in the following table for the months of
February and January, 1943. The January figures have been revised slightly from the
totals shown in this report last month, as more accurate information concerning sink­
1ngs during the mopth became available.
February, 1943 January, 1943
Area Ships Tonnage Ships Tonnage
North Atlantic Convoy Area. . . . . . . . 31 199,082 2 20,702
Mid-Atlantic Area . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 4,312
Caribbean Sea Frontier - Eastern. . . . . 1 7,957 2 15,069
Caribbean Sea Frontier - Western. . 4 23,566
Brazilian Area. . . . . . . . . 2 9,528 4 18,724
Northeast Atlantic- Northern . 6 28,600 5 17,192
Northeast Atlantic - Southern . 8 48,547 15 100,108
Southeast Atlantic. 5 27,915
Mediterranean & Red Sea . 6 30,257 7 31,689
Pacific - South .. 1 7,176
Pacific - Southwest 2 11,988 1 2,051
TOTAL 62 368,186 41 236,277
Tankers . . . . . . . . . . 16 128,179 12 102,281
Cargo and Passenger Vessels . 43 240,007 26 133,739
Small Vessels 50-100 tons . 3 Not Available
TOTAL 62 368,186 41 236,277
Note: Tabulation includes 9 vessels overdue and presumed lost in February.
AREAS:- The area that showed the greatest increase in sinkings was the North Atlantic
Convoy Area; in which thirty-one ships, with a combined tonnage of 199,082 tons, were
lost, whereas in the preceding month, sinkings in this area were only two ships, total­
ing 20,702 tons. This great increase was due almost entirely to U-boat pack attacks on
three convoys, which resulted in the loss of 22 ships. Fewer sinkings occurred in the
Northeast Atlantic area, due primarily to curtailed losses off Spain and the North
African Coast. Six ships were lost in ther1editerranean and in the Red Sea. For the
first time in many months, the Caribbean Sea Frontier was nearly free from sink1ngs,
with only one ship reported as lost, and this single sinking occurred in the eastern
portion of the·area. In fact, not a single ship 1s known to have been lost during the
month west of longitude 50
W. Attacks were resumed, however, in the Southeast Atlant1c,
resulting in the loss of five ships.
LOSS OF CONVOYED SHIPS:- The outstand1hg feature of the month was the frequency of
severe attacks on convoys well protected by surface craft. Two west-bound North Atlan­
tic convoys were subject to pack attacks. One of these lost 13 ships and the second
suffered two casualties before -taking evasive action that shook off the U-boat pack.
All o·f the sinkings in these convoys occurred in areas outside of aircraft protection.

From a third west-bound con­
voy, three ships are so long
overdue as to be presumed lost.
A slow speed east-bound North
Atlantic convoy was also at­
tacked and lost 8 ships in
spite of substantial air and
surface protection. The at­
tacks on North Atlantic con­
voys were not without cost to
the enemy, however, and it is
reported that 12 submarines
were attacked and 6 of these
are believed to have been des­
troyed or severely damaged ih
the actions against these con­
voys. Although sporadic at­
tacks on shipping in distant
areas· probably will continue,
submarine warfare in the future
seems destined to become more
and more a series of actions
between large U-boat packs and
convoys. EVidence of this is
seen in the fact that in Janu­
ary 56% of the ships lost were
either 1nconvoys or were
lers from convoys, while in Feb­ Sinkings, February 1943
ruary this ratio roseto 77%.
TYPE OF SHIPS SUNK:- The loss of tankers, as well as cargo ships, was greater in Feb­
ruary than in January. Sixteen tankers of 128,179 gross tons were lost, as compared
With 12 such vessels, With tonnage of 102,281 tons in January0
TYPE OF ENEl'1Y ACTION:- Enemy submarines have been responsible for an increasing propor­
tion of Allied shipping losses, With nearly 90% of ships lost resulting from submarine
action in February. Five ships were sunk by enemy mines which had been placed in posi­
tion by submarines near the African Coast. One ship was sunk by combined air and sub­
marine action, and two by surface craft.
MARINE CASUALTIES:- Study of the ship losses due to the ordinary perils of the sea
shows a drop from 30 vessels in January to 9 in February. There was a similar decline
a year ago, when the figures were 27 and 8, respectively.
L088 OF LIFE:- Two ships sunk in the North Atlantic unfortunately were carrying a
large number of - primarily members of the armed forces and civilians
. -'e" di
from these two sinkings ex-
DAMAGED BUT NOT SUNK:- In addition to vessels lost, twelve ships were damaged by enemy
action during the month but.either succeeded in reaching port or were beached.
SUMMARY:-The total supply of Allied shipping currently is lower than at the beginning
of the war; the need for ships to transport men and material to the fighting fronts is
greater than ever before. Thus the loss of a single ship might limit to some extent
the possible maximum offensive effort. In 1942 an average of 4.2 ships per day were
lost by enemy action and nearly 5.0 ships per day if losses due to ordinary perils of
the sea and unknown causes are included. It is estimated that in 1943, due to the
great shipbuilding program, the total of Allied shipping available at the end of the
year will be greater than at the ,beginning even if losses should average at the high
level of five perdaYj the extent to which this daily average can be reduced is the
measure of progress in antisubmarine warfare.
The remarkable record of new ship construction in the Allied has been one
of the outstandJ-ng industrial feats of the war. The chart shown below shows tonnage
construction and tonnage loss by enemy action by quarter-year periods and indicates
that in the last part of 1942, construction was beginning to outrun losses. The goal
for United States merchant vessel construction in 1943 is over 13,000,000 gross tons.
2,f 040oo

IE::{;l __
/939 1940 181-1 /9""2..
All available eVidence indicates
that the primary effort of the enemy
during February was a continuation of
defensive screens in an attempt to
intercept North Atlantid and African
convoys. Early in the month, there
were four well defined screens: one
south of Greenland which tended to
move west to intercept convoys on
the northern route, one between
Iceland and Greenland, one northwest
of the British Isles, and one off
the Azores. Towards the middle of
the month, these North Atlantic
sqreens had a tendency to merge
into a single large screen, running
north and south roughly from lati­
tude 650N to 350N and between lotlgi­
tudes 30
Wand 35
W. There is some
eVidence also that a considerable
number of U-boats returned to port
at this time. Chart III shows a
typical distribution near the end
of the month.
o· o'
.e: fi- ..
-. ;- ..
. .....
e. . ..
/DO 80' 40 20· o zo'
Typical Disposition of U-Boats at the end
of February.
Towards the end of the month, a new strategy began to develop and has become
even more apparent in the early days of March. This new strategy involved several
different actiohs:
(1) An increase in,the number of U-boats operating along the North Atlantic con­
voy routes •.
(2) A wtderdispersal of U-boats than at any time since November, with small
groups either operating in, or headed towards, the Eastern, Gulf and Caribbean Sea
Frontiers, and the Brazilian, Freetown and Mozambique areas.
(3) The addition to the active U-boat fleet of a number of submarines which were
prevlouslyon trials in the Baltic.
This apparent change in enemy strategy, coupled with the sharply rising trend of
sinkings which, if continued, is likely to bring March losses to about f,our ships per
day, or roughly double those in February, indicates that the lull inactivity has
ended and the Spring U-boat offensive begun. Such a resumption of activity, as
pointed out in this Summary last month, was to have been expected after three months
of reduced activity.
seems clear that the strategy of withdrawing U-boats from distant areas and
Ktlantlcdid not produce a level of Sinkingssatis­
factory to to assume from this that the strategy was
rp _' _-,;-:':./ >'·:'f
a failure ihas\\pee:nEa/oa"'i}2ti 'lin favor of the olde,r and more successful
"f> I , ',:'..,\.;,X.'/UtTl 'I \,2,) "
· . ... fJ"""c
strategy of preying on relatively' in distant areas. Unfortunate­
ly, such a theory ignores the POSSibility:,JOrJ/PTP,bil/bility, that the lull in activity
- !;
from mid-November to mid-February was part of a deliberate plan to utilize a period
during which the Allies were unlikely to attempt a major invasion, to repair, re..... equip
and, re-arm the U-boat fleet in preparation for a period of high activity. Theories,
accepted a month ago in some quarters, that the enemy was hampered by a shortage of oil
or torpedoes, or has already been severely crippled by the bombing of bases, must now
be questioned in light of the current eVidence of renewed actiVity. It 1s not impos­
sible that the bombing of the bases has prevented the number of U-boats in operation
from increasing and it is believed that serious bombing is one of the most powerful
weapons available against the U-boat. There is not as yet any evidence, however, that
it was the cause of the recent inactivity.
Enemy submarine forces are now probably as large, or even larger, than ever be­
fore. In utilizing them, he has three important capabilities:
(1) To form heavy defensive screens to intercept convoys to Europeiand North
(2) To utilize a portion of his forces in harrying shipping in distant areas in
order to force the Allies to disperse their anti-submarine forces, thus weakening the
defense of North Atlantic convoys or preventing concentrated offensive operations
against U-boats.
(3) To hold a portion of his forces in reserve to be utilized as a striking force
if the'Allies attempt a European invasion.
It is probable that he will exercise all of these capabilities in part but it is
believed likely that the first and third capabilities are the most important to him.
It is a vital strategic necessity for him to protect his land forces to the maximum
extent possible by intercepting trans-Atlantic convoys, and he must also do everything
POSSible to prevent or to make costly any invasion attempt. It 1s believed, however,
that he has at present about 450 U-boats, of which about 300 comprise the operating
fleet, and some 150 constitute a reserve on trials or in training. It would not be im­
POSSible for him to maintain 125 U-boats in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, 25 on sta­
tiQn at distant points, 50 to 75 on route to and from distant areas, and still have 125
in bases for repair and supply replenishments, and 100 on trials or available for emer­
gency purposes.
There are four countermeasures available through the use of aircraft against these
enemy capabilities,--two of which are defensive and two are offensive: (1) defensive
patrols in coastal areas to hamper and restrict U-boat operations; (2) defensive escort
and sweeps about convoys to hinder the gathering of U-boat packs; (3) offensive mis­
sions against U-boat bases; and (4) offensive killer hunts by surface and aircraft far
from land, in areas where U-boats are believed to be concentratedo
Air defense of most coastal shipping has been accomplished in a satisfactory manner.
Adequate air defense of trans-Atlantic convoys has Qeen hampered by lack of sufficient
long range aircraft. The offensive against U-boat bases is slowly gaining momentum and
should become a potent factor. These phases of anti-submarine warfare are discussed in
the next section of this Report. Unfortunately, lack of sufficient aircraft and lack of
adequate and planned coordination of all available air and surface craft have in the
past prevented sustained offensives against U-boat concentratIons at sea. Recently co­
ordinated, plans, utilizing as far as possible new and improved weapons,givepromise
that this counter measure also will soon be effective.
Eastern Sea Frontier and Gulf Sea Frontier
The number of hours flown in February by Army and Navy aircraft in these
Frontiers shows an increase of more than 2500 hours over the January figures, due
partially to improved weather conditions. At the same time the average daily densi­
ty of submarines estimated to be in these areas remained low, 0.3, as compared with
the record low of 0.2 in January. In the past, general submarine activity has always
increased during the month of February as'is indicated by the increase in sinkings
shown on chart I. The fact that no corresponding increase of any significance has
been noted in these particular areas may be attributed, in part at least, to the
relatively high density of air patrols maintained. The number of hours flown by
Army and Navy aircraft is shown in the accompanying table. A detailed report of the
operations of the 25th and 26th Wings of AAFAC is included at the end of this Summary.
AAFAC 2445 737 784 5686 9652
Army CAPCP. 9264 1816 119 11199
TOTAL 11709 2553 784 5805 20851
Navy Planes 7985 2477 559 11021
Navy Blimps 1990 1192 250 3432
TOTAL 9975 3669 809 14453
NAVY . . . . . 21684 6222 1593 5805 35304
The 46th Bombardment Squadron of the IV Bomber Command, attached to the Antisubmarine
Command, has now. been permanently assigned to the Antisubmarine Command and redesig­
nated the 22nd Aron.
In the/26th Wing the 76th B.S. of the III Bomber Command, formerly attached to
the Antisubmarine Command, and the 128th Obsn. Sq. have also been assigned to the
Antisubmarine Command and redesignated the 2 3 r ~ Aron and the 21st Aron, respectively.
Squadrons on Foreign Service
The 1st and 2nd.Antisubmarine Squadrons continued to operate out of England dur­
ing February on missions over the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic. Poor weather con­
ditions have restricted operations somewhat and increased the hazards of flying,
especlallyinunfamiliar country. Approximately ten percent of all returning flights
have been diverted to alternate requiring the utmost skill and precision
of Pilot and navigator.
In the first three weeks of February these squadrons are reported to have
sighted 12 submarines, resulting in five attacks. Four other attacks were frus­
trated when the bombs failed to release. In addition, these units have participated
in long range convoy escort and, on missions within 250 miles of German air bases,
the B-24's have occasionally been attacked by enemy aircraft. Two of. these en­
counters are described later in this summary as well as an excellent attack on a
The 9th Aron at Trinidad flew 207 missions in February, or an average-of better
than seven per day. During this month there were no ships sunk in the Trinidad
area. This is the first month in over a year that these waters have been free of
sinkings. Furthermore, with total flying by all organizations in the area of over
5700 hours, not a single positive sighting was made. The average number of U-boats
estimated in the area per day declined to 1.64 as compared with 3.06 in January and
9.13 in September 1942.
There is no way in which the effect of the operations of the 9th Aron on
marine activity off Trinidad can be precisely measured. However, it seems apparent
that the efforts of this squadron nave cQntributed to the increasing security of
what was recently a critical area. Two well executed attacks on submarines by
planes of the 9th Aron early in March are described in a subsequent section.
The break-down of the number of hours flown during February is as follows:
517:05 225:05 31:30 128:25 902:05
As noted in the discussion of sinkings during February, losses in the North­
Atlantic Convoy Area were sharply higher than in the preceding month. An analysis
of convoy activity between the general region of Newfoundland and the United King­
dom, issued by the Commander of Task Force' 24; United States Atlantic Fleet, as of
March 1st and necessarily based on somewhat incomplete data for February, throws
considerable light on this development. Selected significant figures from this
report are as follows:
December January February
Number of Ship Crossings. ....
Average Number of Convoys at Sea. .
Average Number of M!v's per Convoy..
510 *
Average Number of U/B's •.....
Average Number of U/B's per Convoy.
Average Number of Escorts per Convoy.
Average Number of M/v'sper Escort ..
Number of M/v's Sunk.......•.
Percentage of M/v's Sunk .
*If adjusted for the short month, the comparable figure with
December and January would be 566.
The above statistics indicate certain features concerning 'February convoy oper­
(1) The average daily shipping during February in this area was about equal to
that in the preceding month, although there were somewhat fewer convoys and conse­
quently a larger number of ships per convoy.
(2) The average number of U-boats estimated to have been in the area was also
about the same as in although appreciably greater than the estimated number
for December. During the latter part of February, however, the estimated number of
U-boats in the area was increasing rapidly.
(3) The number of mid-ocean escorts also was held nearly constant in total
during this period although there were more escort ships per convoy.
(4) The percentage of merchant vessels sunk rose from the abnormally low figure
of 0.35% in January to 4.71% in February, or about the same as the December figure of
In general, it appears that such elements as the volume of shipping, the number
of enemy submarines and the escort protecttonvaried very little over this three
month period, and consequently these factors do not provide an adequate explanation of
the erratic variations in the sinklngs per month during the period. The review by the
Commander of Task Force 24 offers some explanations that are illuminating.
(1) Weather: The extremely bad weather encountered in January moderated in the
part of February. One very heavily attacked convoy was slowed by heavy gales
for five days during the first part of 'the month, and then ran into moderate weather
which provided almost perfect condl'tions for the U-boat pack to gather and to attack
during four days when the convoy was outside the range of aircraft. Danger from this
factor will increase as it is to be presumed that weather will continue to moderate
as spring advances.
(2) U-Boat Radio Silence:- During February, enemy submarines apparently
duced substantially the use of radio which resulted in impairing the accuracy of
estimated submarine positions. Two convoys were routed through areas which were er­
roneously believed to have been relatively free of enemy submarines. Actually,
U-boats were present in considerable number and made successful attacks.
(3) Latitude of Routing:- It appears that during the Winter months at least,
convoy routes far to the north of the Great Circle course and within range of land­
based aircraft from Greenland and Iceland, have been far safer than routes further
south. During January all north Atlantic convoys were routed far north, and losses
were at a record low. In February, however, two convoys were routed over courses
south of the Great Circle course and both of these were heavily attacked. No con­
voyshad been sent over this southern route previously since December, at which time
two convoys were so routed and sustained heavy losses.
The records of all convoys which have reached port since November are summar­
ized in the following Table:
Course North of
Great Circle
Course Approxi­
mately along
Great Circle
Course South
of Great
Number of CY's ..... 43 3 9
Number of CY's attacked
%of CY'$ attacked .
% of M'Y's sunk . 2.4 2.7 7.8
//-------­ --­
It 1s startling to observe from these figures and from the accompanying chart
that on routes north of the Great Circle course, only 26% of the convoys were at­
tacked and 2.4% of the vessels sunk, whereas on courses south of the Great Circle,
56% of the convoys were attacked and 7.8% of the vessels sunk. Thus it is apparent
that a most important factor in. the rise in convoy losses in February was the un­
fortunate choice of southern courses for these convoys.
Anti-submarine bombing targets in Europe may be roughly classified under two
headings: (1) Submarine operating bases; (2) Submarine bUilding yards and component
parts factories.
In February, submarine operating bases in France were bombed seven times. Lori­
ent was again the favored objective,being bombed four times. The attack on the
night of February 7th executed by a strong force ofR.A.F. Lancasters in two waves
was officially described as the "heaviest yet". Sto Nazaire was raided twice with
good results; once by the R.A.F. and once by the U.S.A.A.F. Brest was also attacked
by the U.S. Army bombers on February 27th. Heavy AA fire was encountered but little
fighter opposition.
In the second classification of anti-submarine bombing targets, Wilhelmshaven
underwent five bombing attacks during February. In addition to' an important naval
base, the Germans maintain a personnel reserve and a submarine construction yard at
this port. The night raid on FebruarY,llth destroyed the main munitions depot of
the naval base. A total of forty out of the fifty sheds containing mines.and naval
munitions were completely destroyed. An area covering one hundred and fifty acres
was devastated and large oil storage tanks seven hundred yards from the depot col­
lapsed from concussion of the explosions. The accompanying pictures give photo­
graphic evidence of great damage. During the month, similar heavy raids were
carried. out on the yards or plants at Hamburg, Bremen, Copenhagen, Nuremburg,
Cologne and Spezia, .Milan and Turin in Italy.
The results of bombing anti-submarine targets are still and the
effect on enemy submarine activity in the Atlantic cannot yet be appraised. The
German plants engaged in the manufacture of component parts for sUbmarines are
Widely dispersed and damage to any particular plant only results in delays of limit­
ed d.uration and would not interfere with the assembly of submarines if sufficient
stocks of component parts have been accumulated. Damage to these plantsi$ import­
ant only in its long range effect of redUCing the over-all productive capacity of
Germany's hard pressed industry. Similarly, in the case of the bombing of the
larger' submarine construction yards, a long term effect on the operation of German
submarines is the most that can be anticipated. Successful precision bombing of
submarine yards would. Ultimately result in a relocation of this work and its trans­
fer to yards beyond the normal bombing radiUS of Allied planes. This temporary dis­
organization might be sufficient to prevent an increase in the submarine operating
fleet in 1943 and might even result in its decteasein 1944. It would seem imlike­
ly, however, that successful bombing of submarine yards would produce results com­
parable in their effect on submarine operations to the bombing of submar­
ine bases.
The five principal operating bases are located at Brest, Lorient, st. Nazaire,
La Fallice and Bordeaux. Assuming that the destruction of the concrete pens at
these bases is not feasible with the bombs now 1nuse, there are nevertheless vul-:­
nerable points whicpcanbe seriously by bombing. These are the Vital work
shops, 011 and gasoline reservo1rs, basins, locks, railroad yards, etc. that, sur­
round the concrete shelters. Sodelicate1s the mechanism of repairing, refitting
and rearming U-boats that the entire orgariization can be thrown off schedule by
damage ,to any oneef the subsidiary installations. Although the prElcise effect of
the bombing of French bases on the operation of the Gennan submarine fleet has not
yet'been ascertained, it would seem obvious that 'continued heavy bombing of these
bases cannot fail to' increase the turn around period and reduces the number of sub­
marines ·available at anyone time f·or operation at sea. Furthermore, even the tem­
porary dislocation of one base would necessarily cause congestion to. another and
forCe submarines to wait outside of crowded shelters and provide bombers With ex­
cellent targets. Continuous heavy bombardment of,bases would be required to inter­
fere seriously With submarine operations. Bad weather is probably the greatest
obstacle to continuous attack. ImprOVing weather this Spring and improved technique
in bad weather flying may allow the R.A.F.. and the VIII Bomber Command to test the
generally accepted theory that cont1nuous bombardment of the operating bases can
'seriously hamper German submarine operations in the immediate future.
The main ammunition depot at tlariensiel, adjoining Tirpitz Haven, where shells,
torpedoes and m i n ~ s are stored to supply Germany's great naval port at Wilhems­
haven, is pictured in this official British photo made from an RAF reconnaissance
plane before the RAF raid on the U-boat base February 12. Blockbusting bombs
wrecked a great area in the 150 acres occupied by the ammunition base.
RAF blockbusters virtually leveled the main ammunition depot at Mariensiel,
which adjoins Tirpitz Hafen, at Wilhelmshaven, great Nazi naval port and U-boat
base. This official British picture was made by ~ reconnaissance plane after the
RAF's devastating raid February 12. The depot contained naval ammunition, tor­
pedoes and mines.
There ·is little indication that the number of enemy submarines in the U.S. Strategic
Area was any larger in February than in January. In fact, the record of sightings and
attacks indicated that there were far

fewer U-boats in the Caribbean and Brazilian, Areas
and, possibly, somewhat fewer in the Canadian Coastal Area. Seventy-one per cent of the
February attacks occurred in the North Atlantic Convoy area which in all proba.bili ty is
a fair measure of U-boat concentration within the U.S. Strategic Area.
Wl1ileAllied shipping losses mounted in February, it was not a comfortable month
. for U-boat crews and when final reports are officially assessed, it probably will be
found that a considerable number of enemy craft never returned to their home ports.
Attacks on enemy submarines in Which theevldence obtained to dateindlcates that
a U-boat was actually from thirty-two in January·to forty-five in
.February, and in the North Atlantic convoy region alone such attacks jumped from eight
to thirty-two., The fact ,that in the North Atlantic Convoy area attacks increased four­
fold even though the estimated number of submarines present was practically identical
for the two months,reflected two important factors: (1) better weather which faeili­
tated sighting and trailing of convoys also Improv,ed the chances of detecting the U-boats
and (2) U-boats became more SUbject to attack as they adopted a more reckless policy of
attacking convoys boldly with larger packs.
Preliminary evaluations indicate that the February attacks resulted in three known
sunk by surface craft and four probably severely 'damaged by RAF airplanes. All of these
lethal or damaging attacks occurred in the North Atlantic convoy area. One of the U­
boats was rammed by a U.S. Coast Guard boat and twenty-one survivors were rescued.
Prisoners stated that the U-boat had left Lorient early in.January and was due to return
on February 20th but had been ordered to wait at sea to attack'the convoy which the
Coast Guard boat was escorting. This statement, if true, indicates that long patrols
are maintained even under winter conditions in the North Atlantic.
One of the damaging RAFattacks is also of particular interest as it was made at a
point approximately one thousand miles from the plane's base in the United Kingdom and
about equidistant from Land's End, England, and St. John'S, NeWfoundland. This attack
was made in the dangerous mid-ocean area in which long-range air coverage is urgently
Reports from the Northeast Atlantic area, not included in the U.S. Strategic Area,
are always slow in reaching this Headquarters but apparently there were at least seven­
teen attacks evaluated as being on actual U-boats. Eleven of these were made by RAF
planes and six by convoy surface escorts. One of the RAF attacks is described as a
perfect straddle with'six depth bombs which blew the submarine out of the water. This
attack also took place some seven hundred miles from the plane's base in the United
During February the 1st and 2nd
Antisubmarine Squadrons participated with
the Coastal Command in long range anti­
submarine patrols over the Bay of Biscay
and the Atlantic. Because of the effi­
ciencyand density of air patrols, sub­
marines in transit between their bases on
the French coast and their operating areas
in the North and South Atlantic have been
forced to travel submerged by day until
approximately west of 15
West. At night
the U-boats surface and take their chances
against radar and searchlight equipped
aircraft. Fruitful patrol areas during
daylight, therefore, are the waters off,
the French coast, as far as possible west
of 15
West. .
On the twentieth of February, a B-24
of the 1st Antisubmarine Squadron was on
patrol in the area 49
30 t North, 21
35' west,
over six hundred miles trom base. It was
flying at 1600 feet through broken' clouds
that extended down to about seven hundred
feet when the navigator in the nose
OEPTIi B0/118 EXPL0510IV5
80MBS fliT TfiE
sighted the broad wake of a fully surfaced U-boat about three miles away. The pilot
immediately dived to attaCk, entering the clouds and emerging when about one mile dis­
tant from the U-boat.
Apparently the aircraft had not been spotted since the U-boat was still on the
surface. The B-24 went in with its bow gun raking the conning tower. Six depth bombs
.spaced for thirty six feet were dropped from two hundred feet and were seen to straddle
the hull just aft of the bow. The accompanying diagram illustrates the direction of the
and position of the depth bombs relative to the submarine. The force of the ex­
plOSions lifted the bow and'as the plume fell away another explosion was seen on the
port side in the vicinity of the conning tower. explosion caused no plume but a
boiling hump appeared on the water. Fifteen seconds later the conning tower disappeared
without any noticeable headway and a bluish-grey oil slick about four hundred feet long
formed on the water. ,Somesmall· bUbbles were seen rising in the center of the slick and
the navigator report$d seeing agre&.nish patch, possibly air, rising to the surface.
Baiting tactics were employed but nothing further was seen. Ninety minutes after
the attack the aircraft left the area and returned to base. This was an excellent
attack probably resulting in severe damage or a kill. When the new described
in last month's Summary become available, it will be possible for an aircraft in an at­
tack of this kind to detect a damaged submarine attempting to escape and follow up the
contact with attacks.
Two RAF aircraft out of Newfoundland attacked two enemy submarines, probably de­
stroying at least one ot them, while on escort about 600 miles from base. The convoy
was westbound and had sustained heavy losses from a formidable number of U-boats over a
period of several days and nights. The planes were dispatched as soon as their object­
ive was within range and both attacks occurred in the vicinity of the convoy.
T1].8 first was sighted in the late morning at a dist8,nce of six miles. It
was fully surfaced and making about twelve knots on 8, course of 250
T. The plane
dropped to attack from 3,000 feet to between 100 and 150 feet, and released four 250­
pound torpex depth bombs set to detonate at·28 feet. The direction of the attack
tive to the U-boat's course was a few degrees off the latter's port bow. Three-qu8,rters
of the enemy craft was visible when the attack was made and the center of the was
seen to strike the conning towero After the disturbance caused by the explosions of the
depth bombs subsided, a continuous mass of bubbles came to the surface for a period of
ten minutes. In addition, was seen as well as strongly defin:3d oil slicks, which
appeared forty five minutes later.
On the same day, in late afternoon, another aircraft on a similar mission sighted
a conning tower four to five miles away on a course of 270
T, speed about eight knots,
proceeding ona parallel course ten miles off the convoy's beam. The plane was at 1000
feet when the sighting was made and imrnediately dove to an altitude of between 50 and
100 feet, releasing four 250-pound torpex depth bombs set for twenty-three feet, about
fifteen seconds after the U-boat had submerged. Explosions were seen approximately
sixty feet ahead of the swirl but darkness obscured the scene and the aircraft departed
fifteen minutes later with nothing further observed. Within the next twenty-four hours
U-boat transmissions became less frequent and finally ceased abruptly as the majority. of
the attackers left the convoy. One more ship was lost in the early hours of the follow­
ing morning but the pack apparently dissolved at the first appearance of aircraft.
It is interesting to note that in the second attack the submarine was in the act of
diving when sighted by the plane at 1000 feet, whereas in the first action reported the
U-boat was attacked on the surface by the plane which had been patroling at 3000 feet.
This is consistent with the conclusions reached through statistical analysis of aircraft
sightings of submarines. An aircraft at 1000 feet is most easily spotted·by a U-boat.
Planes patroling at below 500 feet or over 2000 feet are more difficult to locate.
On the sixth of February an excellent attack on an enemy submarine was delivered by
a Navy PV-3 (improved B-34) operating out of Newfoundl8,nd. The aircraft waspatroling
at 1200 feet on a cloudy day when the co-pilot sighted a wake about six miles away.
...... ----­
)t'\i:O/?CELJ TilE U-BOAT TO TilE JtI/?/ALE.


t.! }I, 1/
" .t"
;Ui \
\ \
Plan of Attack Explosion of Depth Bombs
Using binoculars the pilot saw the conning tower of an apparently surfacing submarine.
As the plane was approaching the bow broke water. Almost immediately there was a large
disturbance in the water around the U-boat and the bow disappeared, leaving nothing
visible but the conning tower.
As the submarine dived the plane opened up with its bow guns on the conning tower
and dropped five Mark XVII depth bombs from a low altitude. The run was made from the
stern on the starboard side passing over the submarine at an angle of about 340 degrees
to its course. Photographs show that the bombs detonated close to the hull, straddling
the U-boat forward of the conning tower.
First the stern, then the bow, appeared to lift out of the water as a result of the
explosions. The submarine lost all way and, as the aircraft raked the conning tower
again with machine-gun fire, the boat slowly settled beneath the surface. This action
was followed by a vigorous bUbbling of air and oil for ten minutes. The attacking air­
craft employed baiting tactics, but was forced to leave after half an hour without ob­
serving any further developments.
The entire operation from the first sighting to the end of the patrol was excel­
lently conducted. There was no surface ship available and the relief aircraft was not
able to reach the attack area until after the PV-3 was forced to leave. It is to be
regretted that the fuel limitations of the attacking plane prevented continuous coverage
of a very important scene of action.
Early on the evening of March 2nd, while returning from a convoy escort mission in
the Trinidad area, a B-18B of the 9th Squadron picked up a good instrument
contact at·· seventeen miles. Haze and darkness restrictedvisibili ty to less than one
mile, so the pilot had to home on the target, increasing speed and losing altitude at
the same time. From three quarters of a mile a wake was sighted and as the plane passed
over at 400 feet it was identified as a fully surfaced submarine on course 330
, speed
12 knots. While the target remained on the radar screen the pilot immediately turned
and lost more altitude. The attack was made 90
to the course of the submarine which
was Visible when the bombs were released. Two Mark XXIX and two Mark 'XVII depth
bombs were released from 100 feet and were seen to enter the water about 50 feet ahead
of th8 swirl. Apparently the U-Boat had just submerged as the bombs hit.· All charges
were observed to explode directly in the track of the submarine but because of darkness
no eVidence of damage could be $een.
Edinburgh Field dispatched another B"'"18B as soon as the message from the attacking
plane was received. About two hours later this plane obtained an initial radar indica­
about eight miles distant at 4$0 to starboard in a position 12 miles northeast of
the scene of the first attack .. The pilot approached the target and, when one mile away,
altitude 200 feet, he turned on 11is landing l.ights. The submarine immediately opened
fire two guns, one firing slightly higher than the other. Tracer bullets were
plainly seen as the pilot banked steeply to the right, turned off the landing lights and
drew out of range. The B-18B returned and positively identified it as an
marine on course 300
making about 15 knots. The U-Boat crash dived immediately making
it impossible for the plane to make a second run.
A square search of the area was begun and two hours later a radar contact was made
at 11 miles, bearing 60 degrees to port. The plane homed on the target dropping to 200
feet and made three passes. over the fully surfaced submarine in an attempt' to line up on
the target. On the fourth pass the submarine was still proceeding on the surface at 15
knots, course 75 degrees. Two Mark XXIX and two Mark XVII spaced for 20 feet were seen
to enter the water, straddling the submarine between the conning tower and stern., At
least three explosions were observed; the other bomb may have hit the U-Boat or hit so
close to it that the explosion was not seen. Following the attack the area was searched
for thirty minutes for evidence' of damage but nothing could be seen due to darkness.
These two attacks, delivered under difficult circumstances, probably saved the con­
voy from an attack and caused possible damage to the enemy submarine. The convoy, at
the time of the initial attaCk, was proceeding at knots on course 300
, 30 miles
ahead of the submarine, with two ships known· to have been straggling. The submarine's
course of 330
and speed of 12 knots ,suggest that its intention was to attack this con­
voy. When the submarine was sighted 'again at 2110 by the B-18B'which relieved the orig­
inal plane, its course of 300
and speed 15 knots indicated that the submarine was per­
in its original intent. The fact that it opened fire on the plane and failed to
submerge while the plane made four passes is not positive indication that the first
attack resulted in damage sufficient to prohibit the prompt execution of a crash dive.
Hovvever, it appears very probable that the net result of the two attacks was sufficient
damage to hinder the enemy greatly in his efforts to evade the extensive search by air­
plane and surface craft which ensued.
Six days later a PBY,camouflaged solid white, was hunting five hundred miles east
of these attacks for a possible crippled U-boat limping its way back home. From 4500
feet, a fully surfaced submarine was sighted about eight miles distant on a course of
and making about 8 knots. Making good use of cloud cover, the aircraft maneuvered
to attack out of the sun. Diving to 75 feet, four Mark XVII depth bombs were dropped in
salvo, landing alongside the hull about ten to fifteen feet away. As the bombs exploded
the submarine appeared to rise out of the water, then split in two at the center. De­
bris, smoke and water were thrown fifty feet in the air. At least eleven survivors were
seen in the water. The accompanying photograph shows five of them on the two-man life
raft dropped by the plane.
The careful planning of this attack and the white camouflage were so effective tha
the approach of the plane was apparently unnoticed until the PBY attacked the men on
deck with machine gun fire as it went in. The submarine was described as more than two
hundred feet long and painted light grey. From its course and position it may have been
the same craft attacked by the B-18B's. No information is available concerning the fate
of the survivors.
E. 8-24 VERSUS JU. 88S
The training of antis'ubmarine squadron crews has principally been directed toward
combatting submarines, but an increasing number of reports of encounters between our own
and enemy aircraft in the European Theatre iTlustrates the added necessity of training
for aerial combat. A B-24 piloted by 1st Lt. WaYne S. Johnson of the 1st Antisubmarine
Squadron was attacked twice in four days while on anti-submarine patrol over the Bay of
The first attack occurred on January 26th while patroling at 3,000 feet on a course
of 208
. A mottled green JU:88 was sighted 3 miles away 3 points off the port bow and
flying at about 4,000 feet on a 90
course. The enemy aircraft Closed to one mile,
circled wide to port and astern, then turned, r e t r a ~ e d its#track and dove to attack out
of the sun. Our aircraft increased speed, weaved, then turned to meet the attack while
diving slightly at 210 mph. Both craft opened fire simultaneously at 600 to 800 yards.
Enemy fire passed mostly over-and behind the The Ju. 88 passed over our ship at
200 yards distance, and peeled off in a steep turn to starboard. As it went astern the
rear gunner of the B-24 opened fire at 400 yards. The enemy was last seen disappearing
in haze 1,500 to 2,000 feet away, losing altitude with white smoke trailing between the
starboard engine and the fuselage.
The B-24 sustained some hits on the fuselage, starboard engine and wing root. The
front upper turret fired 100 rounds, left nose gun 20, left waist 75 and the rear gunner
12 with each gun. This attack which took place within,a total elapsed, time of 7m1nutes
appearstb have been a rather poorly executed enemy attack. The German failed in his
attempt to conceal himself in the sun, and laid himself wide open to fire of our own
craft which apparently took the fullest advantage of its It is probable
that theJU.88 was at'least damaged. Its rapid loss of altitude, the issue of white
smoke and its great distance from the coast line all indicate the of a kill.
The second attaCk took place on January 29th when the B-24 was flying on a track of
at 1,300 feet. Two planes were sighted a mile to starboard, on a 120
course at
1,300 feet. were described as mottled brownish green, with two inline engines.
The camouflage gave the appearance of British planes, but on close approach JU.• 88 mark­
Lugs painted on the under wings and Nazi crosses on the fuselages were clearly seen.
Both enemy planes climbed and closed in to attack from the starboard quarter. The
B-24 climbed to 1,500 feet, dived slightly, and turned to meet the attack at about 260
mph. The first JU. 88 opened fire at 1,000 yards, and our guns returned the' fire at 800
yards. As our tracers were seen to hit the first enemy plane, it stopped ,firing and
dove under the B-24 and continued on a track of 180
• Our rear gunner fired into its
tail as it passed at about 300 yards and when last seen it was followed by black smoke.
The second JU. 88 followed, attacking into the starboard bow, but went above and peeled
off astern. The B-24 leveled off at 1,000 feet after the attack, climbed again to 1,800
feet and found cover in rain and clouds. It later continued patrol, with no further action.
Hits in the tails and wings of both JU. 88s were claimed by all gunners. Ammunition
expended was 30 rounds by the nose gunner, 150 by top turret, 150 by left waist gunner,
30 by right waist gunner and 30 from the tail. No personnel casualties resulted; but
holes were torn in the leading edge of the port wing, a large hole in the starboard side
of the fuselage and numerous small holes on the port side.
One of the most interesting actions between a B-24 and enemy fighters occurred in
November, 1942. The B-24 from the VIII Bomber Command was on a special mission over the
Bay of Biscay. About 250 miles off the shores of occupied France it was approached by
a flight of five ME 110's flying in formation. Apparently it was the first B-24the Ger­
mans had encountered, as they pulled up to starboard just out of range, sizing
.upthe heavy bpmber and probably noting the number and positions of turrets preparatory
to making an attack. The" B-24 cont inued along its course and the Messerschmi tts con­
tinued their appraisal. Finally the gunners aboard the bomber tired of waiting and let
go a burst. Three planes were knocked down and the other two departed hastily.
A careful analysis of attacks on submarines in the U.S. Strategic Area by U.S.
Forces during 1942 has been made by Dr. P.M. Morse of the Anti-Submarine Warfare
Operations Research Group. This analysis, which 1s based on officially assessed
attacks, develops some significant facts. An estimate of the number of submarines
which ."did notarrivehome" was made by counting all cases assessed as certainly
sunk, 8Q%ofthose assessed as probably' sunk, 3Q%ofthose assessed as probably
severely damaged and 5% of those assessed as possibly damaged. This formula is
believed to give a figure smaller than the actual number of U-boats which did not
return. On the other hand, if all those assessed as sunk or damaged are included
the figure derived is thought to be in excess of the actual number.
Surface craft during the year made about 1100 attacks of which probably 55%
were actually on U-boats. Analyzing the attacks in which it is believed that a
U-boat was actually present and utilizing the above formula it appears that about
4% of the submarines so attacked failed to return home. If all attacks in which a
was assessed as sunk or severely damaged are included, 15% failed to return
Aircraft made about 700 attacks during the year of which somewhat more than
half were probably on submarines. Analyzing these attacks in the same manner as the
attacks by surface craft, it is indicated that on the most conservative basis 4% of
the attacked U-boats failed to return home while the more liberal method shows 20%
as destroyed. The lower limit is, therefore, the same as for surface craft while the
upper limit is 33% larger than for attacks by surface craft. It is apparent, there­
fore, that the airplane has just as great, if not of success per
attack as does the surface vessel.
While these figures sUbstantiate the opinion long held in the Air Forces as to
the effectiveness of aircraft in anti-submarine warfare, the total number of submar­
ines destroyed remains far too small. Improvement clearly lies along two major lines:
first, more long-range strategically based aircraft to increase the number of attacks
and, second, improvement of weapons and technique to increase the effectiveness of
the individual attack. Extensive study and experimentation are being made on this
question and new weapons are being developed. The following sections of this report
dealing with bombing errors, bombing training, bomb sights and bomb spacing are
based on these studies.
Bombing errors probably are the largest single factor in the disappointingly small
number of kills from the air. The fact that over 350 attacks on submarines were made
by our aircraft in 1942 indicates that each U-boat on the-average must have been at­
tacked several times during the year and there can be no doubt that our weapons are
lethal if. their exploSions occur close enough to the U-boat. But the bombs must be
Aflock of JO°10

frocK. Lil7e error
oJJtlmed 10 be
eq(jollo half'lne
range error.

so placed as to explode close to
the enemy. The British have an­
\ alyzed a number of attacks in

80% which photographs were available
to show actual bomb impacts; the

average range error was fifty-six

60% yards or at least eight times

greater than the lethal range of

the commonly used depth bombs.
The accompanying chart, re­

produced from the Coastal Command

Review of December 194?, shows

':--t:; clearly the effect of bombing
errors in an assumed attack on a

U-boat at an angle of 30
to the

0 20 40 60 80 100
U-boats' course with six Mark XI
depth charges spaced at thirty
CHART VI six. feet, and assuming line er­
rors to be one half of range
errors. utiliZing American bombs and train spacing the results would be proportion­
ately the same. It will be seen at once that with the present average range error of
fiftY-Six yards there is only a 20% chance of the train falling within lethal range­
of the U-boat; if this average error should be reduced to forty yards the chance of a
kill rises to 38% and if reduced to 20 yards the chance o.f a kill rises to about 85%
or four times as hlghas the pOSSibility of a kill with the present
age er-ror.
There are two common ways to miss a U-boat, --- aim right and drop wrong or aim
wrong and drop right. Either way, the U-boat escapes. This amounts only to saying
that errors are of two different types; - aiming point errors and dropping errors.
Aiming point errors relate to moving targets and a large body of eVidence is accumu­
lating to show that over-water distances are habitually estimated at about one-third
of actual value. Thus, a lead prescribed at twenty yards will result in an aiming
point actually located about sixty yards ahead of the target. Similarly, errors.
scored visually will be reported in feet whereas the same number in yards is usually
more accurate. This type of error can be overcome only by constant practice with
the fact kept in mind constantly that over-water distances are habitually grossly
A second source of aiming point error l1es in the calculation of the number of
yards ahead of the swirl or the surfaced U-boat to aim. This should not present
difficulties since the rate of fall of depth bombs in the air, their rate of
Sinking in the water to functioning depth and the forward movement of the U-boat are
all well established factors. It should be remembered, however, that on a beam at­
tack 'no allowance need to made for the U-boat movement during the time of fall in
the alrof depth charges, whereas in an attack along the track of a U--boatallowance
must.be made for the U-boat movement during both the s1nking t1me and the t1methe
bombs are falling through the air.
The third source of aiming point error is in the allowance that must be made so
that the center of the bombtraip will ex-plode at the desired point. The first bomb
should be dropped half a stick length short plus an allowance for the underwater
travel of the bombs. Thus if a train of four MK 17 (flat nose) is spaced at 50 feet
to make a train of 150 feet and the forward under-water movement is estimated at 40
feet, the first depth bomb should be aimed one hundred and fifteen feet short,­
one half of 150 feet plus 40 feet.
The second great type of error is the true bombing error or errors in dropping
the bombs so as to hIt the point at which they are aimed These fall into two 0
groups, range errors and deflection errors. In this connection it is hoped that the
development of efficient low level bomb sights will be of great assistance.
The solution of the bombing error ,problem seems to lie along three important
lines: continuous practice using both stationary and submersible targets, development
of bomb Sights particularly adapted to this type of bombing and, finally, proper
spacing of bombs in the train to offset as far as possible such errors as are un­
avoidable. Progress along these lines is oUi:!lined in following sections of this
Bombing of U-boats from low altitudes differs suffiCiently from high altitude
bombing not only to make it impossible to use the present high altitude sights, but
also to make the development of a iow altitude sight a project involving many en­
tirely new concepts. Accordingly development has so far been in two directions:
first, toward getting a sight which releases on angle, as do many of the high alti­
tude Sights; and second, toward getting a Sight involving methods developed parti­
cularly for low altitude bombing.
Bomb,aiming from low altitudes maybe considered as consisting of two aspects.
First, the plane must be flown on a course; and second, the bombs must be
released at the proper time. The ideal sight is one that can be used to direct the
plane on the collision course and to give automatic release at the proper time re­
gardless of maneuvering of plane. Fortunately, in low altitude work the first
aspect causes very little trouble except when the U-boat submerges, and even in
such cases the difficulty is less than tha't involved in releasing at the proper time.
Of the Sights releasing on angle, the windshield scratches and,"ten cent
store" sights are perhaps the best known. All such Sights are extremely sensitive to
errors in altitude and to errors in determining the vertical. The Vosseller sight,
a hand-held Sight With a pistol grip and.aclock-work prediction of the position of
the submerged U-boat is one of the more elite developments of this type.
Sights involving other prinCiples are: The British Angular Velocity Sight, in
which release time is the time at which the angular velocity of the target With re­
spect to the plane reaches a predetermined value; the Roman Candle Sight, in which
release time is the time at which a line of tracers crosses the target; a course
directing Sight,whlchdirects the plane over a collision course involving climbing
and diving such that a-bomb released at any point on the course will be
aimed; a magnetic sight for vertical bombing; and a radar sight.
There are several Sights of the type which releases on angle now being tested
and several of the simpler varieties such as the bombing attachment to the N-3-A
Reflector Gunsight are available now. Unfortunately, these are accurate only during
level flight at known speed and altitude. New devices are being pushed and will be
tested as soon as possible.
The spacing of depth bombs ina train dropped upon a submarine is a highly eon­
troversial subject, primarily because of the lack of accurate knowledge of the many
factors which affect determination of an optimum spacing.
'One important factor is bombing accuracy. It is obvious that when errors are
large the bombs should be spaced widely so as to cover as large an area as possible.
If the average error in range is about 150 feet as the British records of actual at­
tacks indicate, a very long train.is required to insure a straddle; but too wide spa­
cing might allow the submarine to escape even though straddled. Therefore, decreasing
the bombing error through the use of bomb sights sUitable for low altitude flying and
through protracted training of the team is very much to be desired.
The size of the bomb that is used also has considerable effect in determining
the spacing. Assuming reasonable bombing accuracy, calculations have been made cover­
ing bombs from the 2000 pound size to the 100 pound and lighter sizes. Itappears
that a minimum charge of 30 pounds of TNT (a bomb weighing about 60 pounds) is the
smallest that with reasonable assurance will afflict lethal damage in direct contact.
The whole question of lethal radii of various types and weights of bombs is rela­
tively undetermined. However, it is probable that the lethal radius in feet varies
approximately as the square root of the weight of the charge in pounds. Current Naval
opinion indicates the values of l.7 feet and 25 feet for lethal radii of the 11k 17 and
11k 29 depth bombs respectively, with the definition that the lethal radius is a dis­
tance such that if a bomb explodes within lethal radius of the submarines pressure hull,
the submarine will sink in a short time. Much speculation has resulted from reports of
observed detonations well within lethal range of submarines which subsequently escaped
with some authorities believing that lethal radii are very small. AS indicated in Sec­
tion, B recent tests have shown that estimated observed errors of misses averaged about
one-third the true errors as determined by photographs. This lack of accurate observa­
tion of bombing errors has seriously impeded the determination of lethal radii.
A small bomb must be essentially a contact bomb inasmuch'as its lethal radius is
very low. On the other hand, although a large bomb prOVides a greater lethal radius,
its use generally causes areduction in the length of the stick and the resultant proba­
bility of a kill. The use of large bombs approaches the "eggs all in one basket" situ­
ation, and a slightly erroneous estimation of altitUde, target, course, range or speed,
means a clear miss that a longer stick of smaller bombs might prevent. At this time,
it appears that, with present bombing accuracY,the best solution is a relatively long
and closely spaced train of small bombs of proper design.
Dispersion in the underwater travel of the bombs is another factor
spacing. This factor is fairly important for round-nosed bombs, but hardly significant
for flat-nosed. The uncertainty in the travel of anyone bomb means that it may not
explode in just the desired place in the train. If it explodes out of place, two un­
desirable things happen. A gap is left in the train where it should have exploded, and
it may explode near another bomb and so be in a sense, wasted. When bombing errors
are large, the second is the more important danger, but it can be reduced by spacing
the bombs widely.
Perhaps the most important point to be made in a discussion of optimum train spa­
cing is that once a reasonably correct spacing is used, very little can be gained by
trying to pick exactly the best spacing. The accuracy of bombing is far more important
than the precise setting in the intervalometer. First attention should be given to
reducing the actual errors in bombing by using a simple attack procedure, by training
and practice, and by the use of a low altitude bombsight. No choice of train spacing
nor of bombs can do as much good as increased accuracy in the bombing.
The 26th Wing reports that on January 18th, in cooperation With the Navy, and with
the help of a locally designed tow target, an intensive practice bombing program was
inaugurated on simulated and actual targets. The program was designed not only to im­
prove bombing accuracy but also to improve communications, especially visual, between
planes and surface craft and to demonstrate to naVigators the use of bronze drift sig­
nals. A photographic school was organized as part of the same program. The program
started With three days of practice on a tow target, followed by two days of training
at Boca Chica With a friendly submarine.
Bombing practice in the 26th Wing was commenced prior to the receipt of a Bombing
Training Directive from the Antisubmarine Command and as no submersible targets were
, available for practice bombing, the following plan was developed to simulate a sub­
mersible target. The tow target isa raft made of 55-gallon oil drums covered and re­
inforced by a wood framework. The raft· is towed at a distance of 750 feet behind a
Naval minesweeper. The minesweeper proceeds at eight knots, the estinated foreward
s p ~ e d of a crash diving or partially submerged U-boat. Planes run four missions each
day dropping from two to eight bombs per mission depending on the capacity of the
plane. Water-filled and sand-filled practice bombs weighing 55 lbs. and 180-lbs. are
used. In order to increase visual conrrnunication proficiency, the planes communicate
with the minesweeper by blinker light. This plan is -coordinated with the exercises
prescribed in the Antisubmarine Command Training Directive.
The first day, each, bomb is presumed to be a demolition charge, and planes simply
make succeSSive attacks on the target. The second day, to simulate an attack ten to
fifteen seconds after the start of a crash dive, -the plane maneuvers into position
one-half mile to two miles from the target. The vessel drops a slick, and at the in­
stant the tow target intercepts it, the plane attacks. The-distance the target has
moved ahead of the slick at the time the bombs are dropped is the distance a submarine
would have run under water after crash diving. The one bomb that is dropped on each
attack is assumed to be the first of a train. Others in the train are plotted. The
third day the aircraft attacks from one to three miles, allowing the simulated U-boat
to have crash dived twenty five to thirty seconds before the bomb is dropped.
A scorer, stationed in the tail gunner's position, plots each bomb an,d relays this
information by interphone to the bombardier. As the bombs strike, photographs are taken
from the co-pilot's seat and the rear camera port. These are developed overnight, so
that crews may see the results of one day's practice before starting on the next.
By February 6th, all 26th Wing Squadrons were performing the tow,target phase of the
training program at their home bases with their own targets. After completing this
phase, the Squadrons have two days of practice at Boca Chica with an actual submarine.
The purpose is to familiarize combat crews with the appearance, track and tactics of
actual submarines, as well as proper attack procedure. The submarine personnel gets
practice in quick identification of friendly aircraft and in rapid evasive action.
During the mornings, the submarine and various surface craft maneuver about the
area. Aircraft crews observe these ~ a n e u v e r s and practice radar pick-ups by the use
of cloud ,c'overand simula,ted runs. In the afternoons, planes and submarine practice
Navy anti-submarine exercises.', In the first of these exercises the submarine connnences
a surface patrol in diving trim at maximum cruising speed. On sighting the plane and
identifying it as friendly, the submarine ignites an identification flare, makes a
quick dive to periscope depth and then runs with periscope exposed. The plane does not
attack. In the second exercise, the aircraft is assumed to be conducting?nti-submarine
patrol under reduced visibili ty conditions when it sights the submarine cruising on
surface patrol. AS a preliminary, the aircraft starts shallow turns two to four miles
from the submarine. The submarine gives the signal by blinker for "Execute Attack,"
the plane immediately turns in to attack, the submarine sets off identification flares
and crash-dives to one hundred feet. The plane drops a stick of 3-lb. practice bombs
with spotting charges from an altitude of fifty to one hundred feet, while the SUbmar­
ine, thirty seconds after submerging, releases a water slug. The distance between the
water slug bubbles and the bomb ,splashes shows ,the accuracy of the drop.
An accompanying plane films the practice, and the moving picture is shown to the
crew before the next day's practice. Then it is forwarded to the Plans and Training
-8ection,26th AWIG, for analysis and study. The attacking plane takes the same photo­
graphs as in the target phase. At the end of each mission, an Intelligence Officer
comments on the use of recognition Signals, identification flares and blinker light
communications. The Visibility of a submarine under various conditions and its
distingui,shing features are described and an estimate is made of the effectiveness of
the bomb!ng.
Since no comparable practice has been held before, it is as yet impossible to
evaluate 1ncreasedbombing efficiency from these exercises. ,However, crews are en-,
thusiastiC, and the 26th AWIG's Commanding Officer, Colonel H.A. Halverson, states:
"This kind of training boosts combat crew morale tremendously. Working first with a
simulated U-boat, and finally with an actual submarine, gives each crew member
confidence and the feeling that any enemy submarine he meets will never meet another
26th AWIG planet"
Training equipment and facilities are problems both to squadrons and the staffs of
higher headquarters. Too often badly.needed training is delayed because of lack of
equipment which should be provided but which cannot be obtained'without considerable
In many instances, squadrons have used a great deal of ingenuity in devising make­
shift arrangements which have allowed them to do training even though higher headquar­
ters were unable to fill requisitions for needed supplies and materials. The 25th
Wing notes the following instances in which squadron ingenuity was used with 'beneficial
One squadron was located on a Marine base, almost totally divorced from all other
Air Force facilities. It needed anti-submarine bombing practice badly. Today you will
see a jeep towing a trailer 'on a long rope down the beach and some mighty nice bombing
being done on the trailer target, - an effective arrangement made with practically no
cost or delay.
Another squadron needed both high altitude and anti-submarine bombing
The base and area engineers had no funds available for the work. About a half mile
off shore, in the bay, was an old sunken wreck; on the shore was an abandoned floating
target. The squadron repaired and recovered the target, put it in a floating'condi­
tion, and then discovered it had no means of getting the target out to the wreck for
anchorage. A fishing boat could be obtained -- but where were the funds for such a
job? A hurried call to New York; Wing and Command A-4' s got busy. Now the squad­
ron has a good target without wait ing months for an allotment of funds through
regular channels.
This target is used for precision bombing. There was an open stretch of beach
nearby, protected by a marshy tidewater area, which would be fine for low altitude
work. Still without funds, the squadron looked up the owner, who leased the area to
the squadron for a year without cost. The only stipulations were that all bombing
would be done at low altitudes, there would be no spotting charges in bombs (because
of fire), and the squadron would keep the area cleaned Bf old bombs. They are now
constructing a conning tower target, and later to try a jeep-and-sled moving
Trained turret gunners were needed by a third squadron. E-5 trainers were not
available; nor were extra turrets. So each day the squadron towed an out-of commis­
sion airplane to the end of a runway, hooked a C-IO generator to the upper turret,
and "shot down" every airplane coming in to land.
Still another squadron needed aerial gunnery practice and qualifications -­
firing from which actual scores could be counted. It was the old story: No tow tar­
get plane, no windlass, no gunnery. The squadron made a release trigger to fit on
a tunnel gun mount, tuck-spliced a 600-foot 1/4" rope to a grommet, spliced on a
release plug, and snaked its targets off the ground. Type A-5 sleeve targets were used
because they were high speed targets, 200 mph cruising, 140 mph releasing, and did
not have the drag of' the A-6 40 ft. flag target. Scores improved too, uSing the
small target.
These are but a few of the many instances wherein squadrons have helped themselves
to better training. Others could be cited, but they are too numerous to mention.
Connnand and Wing headquarters will do their best to supply squadrons with training
facilities but in time of war lack of II).aterials and delay are inevitable and in time
of war training is a life and death essential. Squadron ingenuity can do a great deal
towards solving the problem.
During the Spring of 1942, when the East, Coast U-Boat activity was at its height,
many enemy submarines were contacted by aircraft,forced under, and their mobility seri­
ously restricted. Surface craft and aircraft then rushed to the spot and kept the area
under close watch. However, inasmuch as no means were available to trace from the air
the submerged U-Boat's limited but concealed movements, it often was able to await
night-fall to rise to the surface and effect itsescapeo
To facilitate underwater detection from the air, the Magnetic Anomaly Detector is
now being "installed in B-18's of this command. From the operator's point of view, the
business end of the MAD is. a pointer needle which registers on a moving paper scale
whenever the airplane flies close to a mass of steel about' the size of a U ~ B o a t . The
Mk IV installation--now going into B-18's--utilizes a ,plywood tail which houses the
detector and orienter coils. The actual weight of this cone is about 40 pounds; it
has no known aerodYnamic effect. The rest of the equipment is housed forward in the
A later model, the Mk VI, which is now under initial production, has two units in
order to give the direction of the contact--as either right or left of the plane. It
is expected that the detector units will be housed just inside the wing tips. The com­
plete Mk VI set, including both detectors, weighs slightly less than the Mk IV. In
addition, the Mk VI is to be fitted with a means of making an automatic release of a
flare or slick upon passing over a target. At present, release is manual.
Although the methods by which the anomalous magnetic field is detected need not
concern us here, the tactical advantages of the apparatus may be readily appreciated.
By scientifically sweeping the possible area in which the submarine may be, an M.A.D.
equipped plane has a very good chance of regaining contact.
With eXisting apparatus, the aircraft cannot alone be sure of making a lethal at­
tack so long as the U-Boat stays under the water. Nevertheless, the stalking aircraft
can home onto the scene either relief aircraft to take up the trail and stay on it until
the sub surfaces, or surface craft witll their sonic gear to locate the submarine more
accurately and destroy it while it is still down. With auxiliary weapons and equipment
now being developed such as the M.A.D. and the radio sono buoy the airplane should be
able to'trace underwater movements. In the meantime, tactical and operational uses of
the M.A.D. are being developed both theoretically and practically. Various search plans
for obtaining successive contacts have, been deVised. These are now ready for the acid
test--flying and trying.
An instance of successful M.A.D. cooperation with surface craft occurred on August
21, 1942 near Dry Tortugas, Florida. A plane, operated by I Sea Search Attack Group and
containing such equipment, dropped bombs on a "direct over" MAD contact, to which the
plane had been led by ASV contact. A second bomb run was made one minute later and
another "direct over!' MAD contact was recorded. The pilot believing he had damaged but
not destroyed the submarine, left the scene after fourteen minutes for another load of
bombs but received instructions twenty-two minutes later to return to the scene and
await relief.
The submarine was located again fifty-three minutes later by ASV signal and actual
sighting of the periscope. Four minutes later a strong "offsIde" MAD indication was
received. Seven more MAD contacts were made during the next hour and forty-nine minutes
as the plane flew the prescribed search pattern, smoke bombs being dropped on the
various points of contact. An SC boat and a PC boat arrived meanwhile and dropped depth
charges at the indicated location, just as another MAD signal was received. From the
surfacing of huge oil bubbles it was assumed that the submarine had been severely
damaged. Had it not been for the MAD equipment it is probable that the original ASV
contact would have been lost and it is doubtful that the U-boat would, have been located
The M.A.D. represents a high level of scientific and engineering technique. It
provides an excellent point of application for equal tactical'ingenuity.
An interesting and useful device has been developed by Lt. Robert L. Anderson, USNR,
to illustrate and analyze aircraft depth charge attacks on submerged submarines. The
device 1s known as "The Analattack" and sets are now being manufactured for squadrons
engaged in anti-submarine warfare.
When an actual attack is made on the submerged submarine, the pilot or bombardier
usually sees only the fragmentary action visible on the surface; he-does n9t see the
more important results of his efforts which may take place beneath the surface of the
water. Through practice with the Analattack he can visualize - by means of three di­
mensions - the result$ of attacks from any angle with any bomb train, salvo or single
drop, and he can analyze - by reconstruction - attacks which have been made.
A working surface, consisting of a sheet of white oilcloth or some solid material,
represents the sea floor; it is ruled with black lines into 5 inch squares. Spindles
provide the support for railings which create a "Block of Sea Water" 700 feet long, 400
feet wide and 120 feet deep. All parts of the Analattack similarly are to the scale of
1 inch 10 feet.
Included in the equipment are the following: four metal spindles, with collars
which move up and down on threads, the collars representing "unexploded depth charges";
a tapered wood block, white, also supported by a spindle, represents the "swirl"
left on the surface of the sea by the conning tower of a submerging SUb; a sixth spindle
supports a bulbous white painted -section, representing the actual splash created on the
surface of the sea by the first of a train of depth bombs, with a pointed base indicating
the line of flight of the attacking plane and the line on which true running depth bombs

will go forward in the water; model of the pressure hull of a 517 ton German U-Boat,
made exactly to scale, resting on a spindle which also permits it to be dipped at either
a 5 or 12 degree diVing angle; wood balls in two sizes to illustrate the lethal range
of Mark XVII 325 lb. and Mark XXIX 650 lb. depth bombs, and a steel measuring tape used
to place bombs in train at proper explosion points when setting up a problem.
The accompanying photograph, demonstrating a problem, reconstructs a fair but non­
lethal attack made on a U-Boat when the pilot, attacking on the starboard quarter, made
his release 20 seconds after submergence created the swirl. In setting up this partic­
ular problem, the following steps are followed:
(1) The swirl is placed at one end of the center axis, running the long way, of
the "Block of Sea Water." The swirl is pointed toward the center, indicating the wake
of the submarine.
(2) The splash is placed at the point where the first DC of the train struck the
surface. The pointed base of the splash gives the angle and direction of the attaCk,
the angle being taken from the long axis of the sub advancing in a straight line from
the swirl.
(3) Spindles, representing unexploded depth bombs, are placed in position, with
the collars spun down to appropriate distance to give depth at which charges were set
to explode.
(4) The submarine is then placed in position. In the illustration the sub has
been submerged 20 seconds at the time the plane released its bombs. It took 3 seconds
for them to reach the water from the plane which was flying horizontally at 100 feet at
135 knots, and roughly another 3 seconds to sink. ThUS, at the time of the explosion,
the sub had been submerged 26 seconds from the time its conning tower created the swirl.
In these 26 seconds the sub moved forward 260 feet and down at the rate of 1-1/2 feet
per second. Since, at the time of the s w i r ~ formation, the bottom of the hull was down
27 feet, it is down 66 feet at the end of 26 seconds.
(5) The last move is to slip the red' balls, which illustrate the lethal radius of
the depth bombs, over the spindles and down over the red collars. If any bulb touches
any part of the pressure hUll, it's a kill.
, Since a large majority of depth bombs dropped at submerged submarines are known to
fall short of their marks, it is hoped that study with the Analattack will demonstrate
the great necessity>of taking adequate lead inU-;boat bombing.
The following is the new nomenclature adopted by the U.S. Navy, Which in turn will
probably be adopted by the Army, for the depth bombs'listed:
New Nomenclature
11k 17 flat nose (TNT), weight 329.5 lbs •• Mk 41
I'1k 1.. 7 flat nose (Tor.pex) ( we-ight 354.5 Ibs. 11k 47
11k 17 round nose-( Torpex), weight 350 Ibs 11k 44
11k 29 with shorter and stronger tail, round Mk·37
Mk 29 with .flat nose (TNT). . • • • • • •. 11k 38
A radically new and improved method of teaching described in the
following article written by theO.T.D.
Heretofore aircraft recognition, and to some extent, naval recognition, was taught
on the basis of identification of various component parts, and from this identification
a deduction was as to whether the object seen was an Me 110, FW 190, or a British
battleship of the Rodney class.
In cases in which only- a second or so was available to recognize a plane as friend­
ly or enemy, or When a report had to be made on the strength of a hostile naval force
viewed through a split second break in a cloud bank, this system was found to be inade­
quate. Therefore, a new system of recognition was needed and one was formulated.
Doctor Renshaw, Professor of Psychology at Ohio State University, had the answer
not only in a new method of teaching Aircraft and Naval recognition but also in a new
theory which has been developed by various Doctor,Renshaw, who had been
engaged in experiments calculated to increase the vision and improve the eyesight, found
that with an apt pupil he could increase the visual angle up to 40%. Translating ,his
findings into the solution of naval recognition problems was not difficult. The student
starts his recognition course by having a number of digits flashed· at him. Starting
With five digits flashed at 1/5th of a second, in a month's time the student should be
able to read accurately 7 digits flashed at 1/25th of a second. This primary training
helps to increase the students visual angle, and starts him on the road to recognizing
SUbjects asa whole rather than arriving at a solution by rationalization.
I.. ·

This is the basis of the difference between of identification and the new
method of recognition of a-ircraft. Granted a definite limit to what can be learned in a
given period of time, emphasis is placed on seeing objects as a whole and not as a group
of separate parts with individual characteristics.
In using this method, the airplane, or vessel, is flashed on the 8creen and each
student writes down what he thinks it is. The subject is then projected on the screen
for a period of time while the instructor points out the various outstanding features.
This is the groundwork of the instruction, in addition to which supplementary aids are
used such as peep-boxes for naval recognition, and pictures for aircraft. ~ model of a
ship that has recently been mentioned in news dispatches may be displayed in the peep
box with a description of the various outstanding features pasted on the outside. Re­
cognition contests can be run with the crews competing against each other in the abili­
ty to recognize various vessels. This competitive.idea has been very successfully used
in aircraft recognition. Pictures of three.aircraft are posted daily on a bulletin
board. The members of the various crews fill out a card with their solutions and their
crew numbers, the winning crew having a beer party tendered them from the nickel dropped
in the box by each participant on the first day of the contest. In addition, every ef­
fort should be made to keep abreast of the times through the pages of the daily press
and from intelligence bulletins. Current information should be presented on the planes
or ships that are being taught. For instance, in naval identification, attempts should
be made to find out in what engagements the ships presented have participated, and then
put the entire class aboard that ship during the engagement.
In teaching the sub1ects of naval and aircraft recognition, the student should never
be allowed to lose sight of the Vitally important part they have played in the success
and failure of both our own and the enemy's martial efforts. There are instances with­
out number where the inability to recognize surface craft or aircraft as friendly or
enemy has lead to the most ghastly casualties--the.mostlamentable mistakes. It can and
does happen with us, but IT CAN BE PREVENTED. That is the job of the recognition
While enroute to the European theater of' operations one of the B-24 aircraft of
this Command had the unusual experience
of hitting a mountain in an overcast, losing
seven feet of the right wing and flying almost 500 miles before the brokeD panel could
be replaced•
.The plane, piloted by Lt. Kimball of the 1st Antisubmarine Squadron, was enroute
from Bathhurst to Marrakech. Severe icing conditions were encountered and one engine
was not functioning properly. Since no suitable alternate field was avallableand the
crew was beginning to pick up Marrakech on the radio compass, they decided to try to
go in.
Marrakech lies north of thehlghest pea.k of the Atlas Mountains. There
are passes thru the they can be followed only in contact weather; these
peaks were crossed at 16,500 feet. On the other side the airport was closed in and the
tower radio was out of commission. The navigator pointed out that the field was situa­
ted close to the foothills so that an attempt to make an instrument landing was not ad­
visable. Consequently, Lt. Kimball headed the plane for flat country about fifty miles
north, where he decided to let down and then try a contact approach to the airport.
After descending to 150 feet they were flying contact and still trying to raise the
tower radio. The ceiling was 100 to 150 feet with visibility, because of rain, only
about 1500 feet. The airport was finally contacted, but since no message could be
transmitted or received an attempt was made to approach by radio compas.s. Some moun­
tains or foothills, which suddenly loomed ahead, were barely cleared by climbing and
turning 180°. After again circling over the level area they succeeded in transmitting
their position and situation to the tower and suggested that they continue to circle
where they were and wait for the weather to lift 'or, if necessary, land right there.
However, instructions from the tower were to come in on the radio compass.' The foot­
hills, they were told, were north and east and north and west of the field.
Again they approached on a heading 180
with the radio compass pointing straight
ahead and again the sudden appearance of the foothills forced them to climb and turn.
After gaining about 600 feet, and while making a step turn on instrumer.ts, the right
wing which was down--hit. No one had seen the mountain. Lt. Kimball was able to roll
out of the turn after completing a 180
. Although it was apparent that part of the
right wing had been knocked off, the plane continued to respond. The tower was informed
of the incident and a wheels dovill landing was accomplished back in the flat country.
Seven feet had been knocked off the right wing and four and one half feet off the right
The pilot, determined to carry out his mission, subsequently flew the damaged plane
to Marrakech, where the outer wing was built up so that it was only about four feet
short but still minus an aileron and deicer boot. Lt. Kimball took off immediately for
Casablanca, returned to Marrakech, and then went back to Casablanca in search of a good
right wing for the B-24. He tried to get clearance for U.K. but was refused because of
the damaged wing and prevailing icing conditions on that route. Repairs to the plane
are being completed at Casablanca.
February weather was distinguished by an outbreak of Arctic air that produced a
severe cold wave that lasted from February 15th to 19th and sent temperatures below zero
degrees Fahrenheit south of New York and freeZing temperatures as far south as southern
The average percentages of contact weather in each Wing were as follows: 25th Wing
- 78.8%; 26th Wing - 90.2%. In the 25th Wing Cheery Point,N.C. had tho highest average,
90%, and Westover Field,Mass., the lowest, 66.5%. In the 26th Wing the averages ranged
from 84.2% along the Gulf to 94.2% at the Florida stations.
11 ARON.
12 ARON.
13 ARON.
14 ARON.
16 ARON.
19 ARON.
22 ARON. ,.
#1.6 MANTEO, N. C.
Operations Table
- February.
2736:35 5351:50
2736:35 11,114:25
880:00 1085:00
~ ~ :
Operations Table- February. 1943
7 ARON . 106:00 0:00 49:40 581:05 736:45
8 ARON. 193:00 0:00 173:20 253:25 619:45
10 ARON . 97:30 20:50 21:00 364:10 503:30
·15 ARON. 32:00 0:00 21:10 367:25 . 420:35
17 ARON..... 14:20 0:00 57:30 401:20 473:10
21 ARON. 201:35 0:00 38:05 602:15 841:55
23 ARON. 174:10 70:20 80:20 379:40 704:30
TOTAL BOMBARDMENT 818:35 91:10 441:05 2949:20 4300:10
# 3 LANTANA, FLA . 646:05 0:00 0:00 0:00 646:05
# 5 DAYTONA, FLA . 480:35 0:00 0:00 6:50 487:25
# 7 MIAMI, FLA . 446:55 0:00 0:00 111:30 558:25
# 9 GRAND ISLE, LA 436:55 0:00 0:00 0:00 436:55
#10 BEAUMONT, TEX. 421:15 8:00 0:00 0:00 429:15
#11 PASCAGOULA, MISS 615:30 0:00 0:00 0:00 615:30
#12 BROWNSVILLE, TEX . 567:55 69:55 0:00 0:00 637:50
# 1 ~ TAMPA, FLA 439:30 0:00 0:00 1:00 440:30
#14 PANAMA CITY, FLA . 634:10 0:00 0:00 0:00 634:10
#15 CORPUS CHRISTI, TEX. 502:00 48:00 0:00 0:00 550:00
TOTAL CAP, CPo 5190:50 125:55 0:00 119:20 5436:05
TOTAL 26TH WING 6009:25 217:05 441:05 3068:40 9736:15
Col., Air Corps, A. C. of S., A-2.

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