The Pathfinder Force: a study of their development, evolution and contribution to the British bombing offensive against Germany

Thomson, Kirsteen Adele (2003). The Pathfinder Force: a study of their development, evolution and contribution to the British bombing offensive against Germany MPhil Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Thomson, Kirsteen Adele
Thesis Title The Pathfinder Force: a study of their development, evolution and contribution to the British bombing offensive against Germany
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2003
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Moore, Clive
Total pages 191
Collection year 2003
Language eng
Subjects L
780199 Other
430108 History - European
Formatted abstract On August 17 1942 the founding squadrons of the Royal Air Force's Pathfinder Force transferred to their stations near the cathedral city of Ely in Cambridgeshire. They were brought together under the leadership of acting Group Captain Don Bennett at a time when it was no longer possible to ignore the ineffectiveness of Bomber Command's operations against Germany. Despite almost three years of war, Bomber Command, which provided the Allies' only means of attacking Germany, remained largely ineffectual for two fundamental reasons - bomber crews experienced significant difficulties in both finding and bombing their targets. The problem of finding (and identifying) the target was largely one of navigation, while the problem of hitting it was one of technique and equipment. It became increasingly evident that some means had to be found to resolve these problems, and many believed that this could be done by bringing together experienced and expert crews into a coordinated unit; by providing them with marking equipment and special navigation aids; and by supporting them with expert planning and specialist training. This belief led to the formation of the Pathfinder Force.

The development of the Royal Air Force and Bomber Command is outlined briefly to place the formation of the Pathfinder Force in context, and the debate that ensued when the force was proposed is examined. The preliminary phase of Pathfinder operations is then considered, as is the contribution of the Pathfinder Force to Bomber Command's main offensive. The need to develop precision techniques in support of the invasion of Europe and the consequent emergence of competition in the target marking arena are also explored. Finally, the contribution of the Pathfinder Force to Bomber Command's offensive against Germany is analysed.
Additional Notes The Yellow pictures are intended to be lighter because the lighter images show more detail and are a superior quality.

 
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Created: Fri, 24 Aug 2007, 18:10:22 EST