Friday, August 7, 2015

Luftwaffe Observer Checking his Position on the Map

The Beobachter – the literal translation of the term is ‘observer’ – checking his position on the map. He is inside the glazed nose section of a Heinkel He 111. The medium bomber crew comprised of the Flugzeugführer (pilot), Beobachter (observer), Bordfunker (radio operator), Bordmechanik (flight engineer), and Bordschütze (gunner) - most of them in fact doubling as gunners when all guns were manned simultaneously. Most of the crew were stationed together in the nose sections of their comparatively small He 111s, Do 17s, and Ju 88s; consequently, well-placed enemy fire could rapidly inflict devastating casualties. Aircrews frequently knew little of the precise nature of their target, sometimes not even the name of the city, and were often not interested. Their only real concerns were to know about the levels and type of defence they might expect to encounter. Only the Beobachter needed to know that much detail, and even he received only the shortest of briefings, with target descriptions often limited to little more than map references. As the Staffel (Squadron) grew even more familiar with their operational areas and routes, information could be reduced to an airfield or factory name only. Before long this perfectly adequate, as veteran crews could navigate by sight and memory alone

Sources :
Book "Kampfflieger: Bomber Crewman of the Luftwaffe 1939-45" by Robert F. Stedman
Book "Luftwaffe Air & Ground Crew 1939-45" by Robert F. Stedman
Book "The Second World War in Colour: Luftwaffe" by John Christopher

No comments:

Post a Comment