aviation in World War 2

bomber tactics
the Blitz
bombing of Coventry
bombing in the Bristol area
Combined Bomber (CBO)
Bomber Command
the Dambusters
bombing of Hamburg
1000 bomber raids
bombing of Dresden
bombing of Nuremberg
the Schweinfurt raids
German Night Fighters
the Pathfinders
Soviet bombing raids
Pearl Harbour
the Doolittle raid
the B-17 and B-29
fire bombing raids on Japan
Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

the Pathfinders

Pathfinders - target marking

After the Luftwaffe first used a specially trained force (Kampfgruppe 100) to mark and illuminate Coventry with incendiary bombs, to help guide other German bombers on to the city, the British developed a similar method called the shaker technique to aid RAF Bomber Command during its Strategic air offensive against Germany.

In August 1942 the bombers using this method were replaced with four squadrons of Wellington and Stirling bombers commanded by an Australian, Group Captain Donald Bennett. Later, Mosquitoes were mostly used and these flew ahead of the main force to mark the targets for those who were less navigational experienced.

By the time Bennett's force became operational a new Electronic navigation system called GEE was already being jammed by the Germans and this, plus the fact that it was not automatically allotted the best crews or the best equipment, initially limited the force's effectiveness. However, once other Electronic navigation systems and target indicating bombs were introduced bombing accuracy improved dramatically.

To keep the British bomber-stream compact and flying accurately Pathfinders were also used to mark the route, and a senior Pathfinder pilot, called a Master Bomber or Master of Ceremonies, would fly above the target to broadcast advice to the main force.