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THE COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE

LIBRARY

Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027-6900


Call Number

CGSC Label 13
1 Jan 85 Edition of 11 Dec 72 is obsolete.

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF FLAK AND FLAK INTELLIGENCE IN THE NINTH AIR FORCE

Prepared by Flak Section H<i. Ninth Air Fore* (Adv.) APO 696. U. S. Annv

Lieutenant General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Commanding

HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES ARMY NINTH AIR FORCE


OFFICE OF THE COMMANDING GENERAL

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APO 6g6; U. S. Army 9 May 1945

With the successful accomplishment of complete and total victory in the Ewopean campaigns comes the period for reflection on and analysis of the acti vities of the. months past. This booklet is a brief record of the efforts of airmen and flak officers to combat the major opponent of this air force German flak. It must be remembered that the Ninth was a tactical air arm. After anni hilation of the Luftwaffe, our schedule was mainly designed toward isolation of the ground battle area and cooperation with the ground forces of the Twelfth Army Group. In addition the situation frequently demanded air operations in the area of and in cooperation with all Army Groups in Europe. These missions defined all activities of the many staff sections of this complex air organization including theflaksection. These pursuits constituted a great challenge to the Ninth. In the final analysis this challenge was most important, not only to the flak sections, which existed because of it, but to the tremendous striking force of the Ninth the pilots and their aircraft. Flak intelligence was a part of the insurance taken out for their protection. The flak officers' proudest claim is that they were able to help assure this protection. It is hoped that this record of their efforts, together with the lessons learned by our airmen, may contribute to the great remaining task total defeat of

Japan.

HOTT S. VANDENBERG
Lieutenant General, USA
Commanding

FLAK IN THE NINTH

The Mission Organization and Operation Ninth Air Force IX Bomber Command IX Tactical Air Command XIX Tactical Air Command XXIX Tactical Air Command Flak Analysis Developments II
, i
3
3
9
13
17
21
24

THE ENEMY-HIS EQUIPMENT AND METHODS


Flieger Abwehr Kanonen Fire Control Equipment Other Defenses Flak Tactics . Chain of Command III
31
43
47
52
60

FLAK COUNTERMEASURES
Routing Evasive Action Counterflak (Air) Counterflak (Ground) Formations Radio Countermeasures IV
65
69
73
77
79
83

FLAK IN THE CAMPAIGNS


Pre-Invasion Invasion and Normandy Battle of France Fall Campaign 87
89
93
95

German Counter-Offensive March to the Rhine Battle of Germany V

97
Io1 I0

SUCCESS OF FLAK INTELLIGENCE


A Backward Glance Proof of the Pudding 107
109

Brigadier General Robert M. Lee


Deputy Commanding General for Operations

In the European Theatre of Operations flak reached its majority when the back of the German Air Force was broken in the first months of 1944. Enemy antiaircraft artillery replaced enemy aircraft as the major combat risk of Allied air fleets. The Army Air Forces through the efforts of Gen. Arnold's AAA adviser, Maj. Gen. H. R. Oldfield, were quick to note the growing importance of this menace from the ground and to anticipate the developing destructive capabilities of flak weapons. Immediately intelligence and analysis of German technique, equipment, tactics, etc. were intensified, and trained personnel were assigned to all Air Forces to counter the increasingly potent threat of the enemy's ground defenses. Results of this counter-flak program were a major factor in enabling Allied air power to retain complete supremacy of the skies.

To meet the ever-increasing threat of German antiaircraft artillery, which was fast becoming of age, flak intelligence sections were established throughout the Ninth Air Force in all echelons above group level during March and April of 1944.

The mission of these sections was to study and ana lyze German flak defenses and to prescribe counter measures which would defeat this enemy defense a defense which had become capable of reaching up and knocking our planes from the air or of

severely damaging these aircraft and of killing or wound ing the men who manned them. Specifically the mission above included, among other vitally important tasks, the following: a. Advising the Commanding General and his opera tions staff on matters pertaining to enemy antiaircraft defense as these matters affected current and future oper ations. b. Maintaining and disseminating to lower units information regarding the position and strength of enemy antiaircraft artillery defenses, materiel, tactics, techniques, and capabilities. c. Recommending routes of approach and withdraw al and target attack technique to be employed by air craft. d. Training through lectures, memoranda and inspection, of both ground and flying personnel in the particulars of enemy antiaircraft defense measures. Accomplishing this assigned mission was a major task, fraught with the many difficulties incident to estab lishing a new section in the Air Force, teaching a new subject to new pupils, and producing results operation ally valuable all in time to make the invasion dead line which was less than two months away. However, within a very short time after arrival in the theatre flak analysis personnel were deep into the many problems involved, and flak intelligence in the Ninth was in full scale operation by D-Day.

AND

Herein are contained brief histories of the developments and methods of opera tions of major Ninth Air Force flak sections in combatting problems posed by the German AA defenses. Though basically similar, all procedures varied slightly to meet circumstances peculiar to each command.

Ninth Air Force (Advanced)

Main Function
As regards the flak section at Air Force level the missions mentioned in the first chapter were actually additional to the main function which con cerned the collection, collation and speedy dissem ination of basic flak location data and flak reac tion in the tactical or battle area for all units of the Ninth Air Force plus all other Allied air echelons in the European Theatre of Operations. The Ninth had been selected as the American Air Force to play the role of closely supporting the Allied ground armies in their continental attack along with the British Second Tactical Air Force. The nerve center of the air-ground team in England was located at Uxbridge, Middlesex, and to this spot key members of the operations and intelligence staffs of both these headquarters came to operate the pre-invasion and invasion period air missions which proved so effective in sealing off the initial battle area and in keeping the Hun continually unbalanced throughout the whole European cam paign. To this spot too came the Air Force flak section to undertake its new tasks amid the secrecy, the tenseness, the imminence, and the adventure of the coming D-Day.

Organization
The very intimate structure of the Ninth and the Second Tactical Air Forces demanded particu larly close staff procedure; thus in endeavouring to fulfill as completely as possible this requirement, the flak intelligence sections of these two headquarters amalgamated all flak information and procedures even to the extent of occupying the same office space. This close contact proved highly satisfactory and was instrumental in the establishment of standard flak procedures in all Allied flying units. Certain procedures were duplicated under the above plan so that when the Ninth Air Force and Second TAF went their separate ways in July, 1944, each flak section was able to function efficiently even though widely separated. Relations established dur ing our combined operational period served to facilitate greatly the flow of information throughout the entire campaign.

Air Force Adv

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Personnel
In the beginning one officer and one enlisted man (plotter) carried on the function of the Air Force flak section. However it soon became apparent that, dur ing this period prior to invasion when target lay-on and initial planning for eleven medium bomb er groups and fifteen fighterbomber groups was accomplished at Air Force level, one officer was insufficient, and another officer joined the section to allow more detailed flak analysis of the tar gets assigned. Later when the Advanced sec tion of the Air Force headquarters moved to the continent, the mis Standing: ist Lt. E. G. Slaughter, Lt. Col. R. D. Curtin, ist. Lt. J. C. Gregg sion of providing information in Kneeling: S/Sgt. A. Alerriman, Sgt. P. E. Hughes the tactical area became a primary responsibility and an addi tional enlisted plotter was added. Still later, in an Source Material attempt to accomplish more in field of flak appre In accomplishing the missions outlined in pre ciation and evaluations for other air and ground vious paragraphs the flak section at Air Force commands, yet another officer was assigned to do operated under procedures which were developed research and aid in the establishment of a more in the course of early operations. Because the whole complete flak service. Thus throughout the entire structure of flak intelligence and analysis is based period the maximum personnel engaged in flak on sound source material, much effort was expended was three officers and two enlisted men. in the early stages in the establishment of these sources so that usable data could be expected to The flak analysis officers at the various other flow automatically and continuously into the Air Air Force echelons were guided and administered Force flak center for use at that level and for quick under the senior flak officer who was directly re dissemination to lower units. sponsible for the operating policies and general guid Prior to the invasion of the continent source ance of these officers. The chief of intelligence at material was quite centralized in the British War each echelon however was in charge of each of the Office flak intelligence center (M. I. 15). This office flak analysis officers, they being members of the furnished six figure map coordinate locations of intelligence staff of each headquarters.

FLAK
|v U.S. ARMY. PHOTO INTCRP. 3 " U S . ARMY PHOTO INTERP. NINTH AIR FORCE UNITS

INFORMATION

9UUS. ARMY PHOTO INTERP. BRITISH WAR OFFICE K. M.I. 19 I22U.S. ARMY 6P. PHOTO INTERP 7V U.S. ARMY PHOTO INTERP.

I'FRENCH ARMY

PHOTO INTERR

FIRST TACAF UNITS

SECONO T A F
133

v&m FORCE UNITS

R.A.F. UNITS .I. 15

UNITS

67'-" TAC/RN \ GROUP

I5-'CAN. ARMY APIS.

GROUP 2BR. ARMY .. A. P. I.S. SECOND T . A . F . FLAK SECTION NINTH AIR FORCE

KIMTH AIR FORCE ADVANCED

20

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UNITS 363"-5 TAC/RN GROUP

2 1 " ARMY OP. A.P.I.S.

912 TAC/RN. GROUP \, (PRN.)

9PVOM8 DIV. UNITS

| IX T.A.C. UNITS
1

| XIX T.A.C UNITS ! SeuS.ARMY

| XXIX T.A.C. UNITS : &U.S.ARMY

IX T.C.C. UNITS

HIALLIEO A/B ARMY UNITS

8ISA.F. UNITS

IX A.O.C.

SECONO T.A.F. UNITS l2|gARMY OPT]

WAR OFFICE M.I. 16

F t t S . ARMY

flak positions in addition to medium scale (i 1500,000) maps showing flak densities throughout the con tinent. These coordinates were plotted daily on large scale (1:50,000) maps, thus permitting rout ing and flak analysis to be accomplished. Balloon barrages, searchlights, railway flak, smoke defenses, background material on weapons, organization, tactics, etc. were also furnished units by this agency, and all units were constantly informed of the latest information available on German defenses, capa bilities and tactical employment, as well as pinpoint locations of all weapons.

Reporting System
It was apparent however that once the ground battle was launched on the continent, flak defenses in the tactical or battle area would become thorough ly confused if some method could not be designed to cope with the fluidity of flak defenses, especially that flak with the German Army units (Heeres flak) engaged in the battle. The answer to this situation was found in the establishment of a system of reporting which had its center in the Ninth Air Force section. With such an organization this flak section, together with the Second TAF flak section,

TT

'

Tactical Area Flak


This is an extracted sec tion of the Ninth Air Force flak map of 14 Feb. 1945 at the start of the Rhine Offensive. The gun count; of 2 0 3 6 heavy and 4184 light guns in this small area above indicate the enormity of the German AA densities along the Western Front. 3 # = Lt. Flak 7 =Hvy.Flak Scale l"= 3.95 miles Hqs. Ninth Air Force

I4FEB.I945

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furnished to all European Theatre air and ground echelons all flak information in the area approxi mately one hundred miles east of the ground battle lines. Jointly with the information gathered by the extensive photographic sources was combined the information derived from the mission reports of flak fire received. It can be readily seen that when the ground battle became a rout, as in the battle of France, photographic coverage could not pos sibly uncover the flak which was moving all over the countryside. Thus was established a procedure of analyzing combat crew reports of flak fire received during missions over enemy territory. By plotting this flak reaction on a 1:250,000 scale map of the operational area, noting kind and intensity, and combining these plots with a current knowledge of the ground battle situation (lines of communica tion, dumps, new airfields, vital communications centers, ground topography, etc.), together with the flak analysis officer's familiarity with the Ger man capabilities of flak employment, a very reason able answer was arrived at which would indicate flak areas. These areas were disseminated along with the photographic pinponts and their use by the flying crews proved sound. Later photography of the area concerned would often prove the method feas ible by evidence of the presence of flak.

weeks. This Air Force flak bulletin was sent out many times daily and contained all of the collated flak data from ground sources, prisoner of war inter rogations, and other sources.

Operational Use
As in all of the lower echelons the flak section at Air Force level worked in close conjunction with the combat operations and target intelligence sec tions. All targets, prior to selection for attack by medium bombardment division, were checked to determine that the target at the time was not too heavily defended to make it impractical for medium level bombardment. Such factors as sun, weather, present situation regarding German flak tactics, gun densities, etc. were considered, and in every case the analysis and estimate of the flak officer was weighed in the final selection or discarding of the proposed target. Very often special coordinated attacks on densely defended targets and target systems were prepared by the flak section. Also the G-2 (Air) section of 12th Army Group Headquar ters received on request special studies on flak and its capabilities in a ground role. To facilitate flak presentation and quick ana lysis the flak section after much experimentation constructed and printed frequently editions of a 1:250,000 scale flak map containing actual pin point locations of heavy flak guns plus area densities of all known and suspected light flak areas from both photographic and other sources. A previous map (1:500,000) was constructed by this section and issued frequently during the early stages of the invasion to facilitate intelligence, especially rout ing, on targets during the very mobile phases of the campaign. These maps were kept current by changes issued daily via the flak bulletin and proved parti cularly valuable to fighter-bomber units employed in close ground support roles.

Dissemination
In the dissemination of flak intelligence speed was of the essence since the entire operational area was constantly changing and flak information arriv ing late for briefing could result in the unneces sary loss of men and aircraft. Thus all flak bulletins in the Air Force were routed by speedy operational priority teletype channels, with the time differen tial of photography to pinpoint stage varying from twelve to forty-eight hours a tremendous im provement over the earlier intervals of one to two

IX Bomber Command

The Beginning
Command, and one to each of its three wings. The Third Bombardment Wing, later to be Among the tasks confronting the new organization, come IX Bomber Command, organized for operations one was to determine the altitude, routes and early in 1943. In the absence of trained American bearings best calculated to enable the mediums to flak personnel, the British War Office aided greatly defy the strong heavy flak concentrations defending by assigning one of their their targets. When the AA experts the mission study had been made, of assisting in flak intel methods similar to those ligence for the new twopreviously developed by engine bomber units. the Eight Air Force were Among the first found to be adaptable, operations conducted and an SOP of flak anal during this early phase ysis for medium level were low level attacks was formulated. along the Holland coast Flak Intelligence which proved to be very As regards the col disastrous, many ships lection of flak intelligence being lost to the dense data, in this period the light flak concentrations. entire Command began Shortly afterwards the by using the 1:100,000 use of the B-26 and A-20 faded flak maps produced aircraft on very low level by the British War Office. missions was deemed not Experience showed that a feasible in this theater larger scale was prefer and from that time these able, and the faded maps aircraft were considered were replaced with over and used as medium lays on a scale of 1 : 50,000. level bombing aircraft. General Samuel E. Anderson All known enemy posi The Third Wing tions, whether occupied or unoccupied, possible, was transformed into the IX Bomber Command in dummy or decoy, were plotted on these overlays, October 1943, and in the early months of 1944, with which were intended to present graphically at a the arrival of Antiaircraft Artillery Officers from glance the actual configuration of the flak defenses. the States, the flak organization began to assume They were supplemented by a system of cards on its final shape. Two officers were assigned to the

L/. Co/. M. 7irr//, .SV/. Sammarco, Li. Col. E. E. Bellonby, Sgt. Bruhn, isl Li. L W. Adams, ist Li. W. J. Whicker

ist Li. H. E. Gaillard

isi Li. J. R. O'Donnell (Center)

10

which were entered six-figure coordinates of each battery shown on the overlay, together with com plete information on railway flak, balloon barrages and naval AA defenses. Flak intelligence was passed down to lower units by teletype. Pinpoint data was kept there on 1:250,000 maps, the scale best suited for operational planning. Range circles indicated the effective range of the defenses. Card files again provided the necessary details. The operational units in their turn transmitted to the Command the amount and intensity of flak fire actually encountered on missions over enemy territory. The 323rd Group instituted and developed a trace showing the route briefed, route flown, flak experienced en route and at target, aircraft damaged and lost, phenomena observed and any other pertinent information. This trace proved highly satisfactory and became SOP in the Command for reporting flak experience.

action tests conducted by the Flak Section made use of captured enemy directors. The results formed the basis for all evasive action procedures in the Bomb Division. Additional tests were carried out on formation spacing from the standpoint of flak hazard. Later in the war anti-flak bombing by mediums was experimented with.

A Job Well Done


One of the most important missions of the Command and Wing flak officers was discharged by frequent visits to groups and squadrons for discussions on flak with aircrews. New enemy flak equipment and fire methods were constantly being reported. Throughout the air campaign flak officers flew on numerous operational missions as observers. The result was that they themselves gained insight into the viewpoint of the combat crews, while the crews felt increased confidence in the words of the flying flak officers. Flak officers throughout the Command contributed much to the success of the medium bomber operations.
Mission accomplished!

Countermeasures
During the course of the past year outstanding contributions have been made in the field of flak countermeasures. One of the greatest problems solved was that of correct procedure in the use of chaff. Much pioneering was done here by the 397th Group. As the results are described elsewhere, it will suffice to say that a proper chaff dispensing procedure was quickly established and training begun in the strict flying discipline it demanded. Shortly after the invasion another countermeasure was instituted. Flak officers of the Bomber Division and IX TAG were instrumental in coordinating with the US field artillery a procedure of counterfire against flak batteries protecting targets chosen for attack from the air. The technique was extremely effective and continued in effect from the invasion of Nor mandy until the end of the war in Europe. Evasive

THE BELGIANS

LOVEP 05 , GERMAN OFFICER CANDIDATE SCHOOJ.

VERSAILLES AND GUMPSE OF PARIS

PANZER TRAINING SCHOOU

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IX Tactical Air Command

Early in April 1944 flak intelligence and analy were constructed by the Command flak analysis sis was established in the IX Tactical Air Command officer which indicated correct attack headings and with the arrival of antiaircraft officers at Command also the relative hazard of various defended targets. and Wing headquarters. These curves were pioneers in this field of flak anal Flak intelligence in those early days at Com ysis, and proved a great aid in operational planning mand, Wing and some for fighters and fighterof the Group flak sec bombers. tions was kept current D-Day Preparation by plotting heavy and light positions on the Prior to D-Day flak conventional 1:50,000 lectures had been made scale overlaid maps, at all units with the while the remaining officers of both Com mand and Wing expend Groups depended on the ing much effort in this flak map and the speci regard in an endeavor fic information sent to familiarize the pilots down to them for each with their most danger mission from the Wing ous foe and ways of headquarters. In this defeating it. At that time stage of the war, a few all flak pin-points within months before the inva 300 miles of the English sion, information receiv coast had been recorded ed from Ninth Air throughout the TAC, Porce and MI 15, as and so the intelligence well as from photo inter stage was set for the big pretation units attached gest show of the century. to the IX TAG and IX TAC flak was First Army, was screen Major General Elwood R. Quesada really in on the ground ed and collated at Com floor of the invasion, as one of its Wing flak officers mand and passed down to Wings and Groups hit Omaha beach on D plus 2, and the Command rapidly via the teletype circuit. flak section came in on D plus 10 and started its One of the first big problems attacked and operations. Communication difficulties during the -solved by the Command section was that of flak initial invasion stages led to a change in the basic analysis for light flak. Curves of relative damage

13

Maj. A. W. Haaland

ist Lt. F. R Morrissey

reporting system. Verbal exchange of reported flak fire was devised for more immediate dissemination of the operationally important intelligence. This was necessary because it was no longer possible to contact the Group S-2's to brief on each individual target. Complete flak traces were still kept at Com mand and Wing levels, while the Groups main tained the information only in their operational area. As these areas changed, bulletins were sent from Wing to cover the new area.

Studies For First Army


Several special tasks immediately presented themselves, among which was a flak analysis made for the final assault on Cherbourg. Another was an analysis of enemy ground defenses using flak dis positions to indicate main concentrations. This second analysis was researched for First Army before the St. Lo offensive.

The flak sections had so proven their worth by this time that throughout the Command these sections were a working partner of combat opera tions on ever\- mission, a set-up which lasted through out the European campaign. With large volumes of photo and crew reports pouring in to all flak sections, flak personnel were bending under the strain. The ground battle situa tion was so fluid that 84th Wing used a 1:250,000 scale map indicating crew experience for the last 48 hours only. Flak fire was so common an occur rence that an analysis of even this short a period gave a good picture of flak dispositions in the parti cular operational area.

Flak Estimate at Remagen


On all occasions the Command flak section worked very closely with the Army. When the Remagen bridgehead was established, First Army requested a complete analysis of enemy flak capa bilities which the enemy could use in a ground role to contain or counterattack the bridgehead. This was completed and forwarded in three hours and materially aided the Army G-2 in estimating the enemy strength. Throughout the war the flak officers continually visited the Squadrons, as pilot turnover was high and it was extremely essential to keep the pilots, new and old, informed on the latest flak situation. When the war drew to a close eleven months later, IX TAG, the big brother of the tactical air commands, could reflect with pride on its accom plishments with the victorious First Army. No small part of its operational success can be claimed by its energetic and resourceful flak analysis section.

"Havoc' flying through flak

15

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Off LIMIT6 TO XIX TAC

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XIX Tactical Air Command

The flak section at XIX TAG commenced The Command flak section compiled a card operations in March 1944, when one officer and one file indexed to correspond to the map sheets of the enlisted man undertook the staggering job of re 1:50,000 and 1:100,000 maps of Europe. Photo constructing the flak picture in Belgium, Holland interpretation reports were extracted and filed to and Northern France by poring over results of provide reference from the card system as to photo all photo interpretation and sortie number, date made during the past of photos, etc. Ground two years. The informa source information and tion was furnished bv the pilot experience were also British War Office in the entered on the cards, form of pinpoint loca which then became a flak tions which were plot history for each map sheet. ted on the standard Data Transmission 1150,000 scale overlaid Highlights to em maps. With the acquisi phasize the contributions tion of a flak officer at of XIX TAC to flak each Wing in April 1944 during its organization the TAC flak picture can perhaps best be des took on a more balanced cribed by listing some aspect, since crews could of the methods used to then be lectured and disseminate flak intel Groups more properly ligence in coping with briefed on flak and flak the flak menace. analysis. (a) Crew Reports of Toward the middle Flak Reaction (teletype) of May, just as most of - This message was dis the problems seemed repatched each morning to solved, long range fightMajor General Otto P. Weyland Air Force and units of ers providing escort for the Command. It contained flak experience of the heavy bombers deep inside Germany started to Groups for the preceding day, indicating new and attack German airfields while enroute home from old defenses, flak trends, balloon defenses, flak traps, these escort missions. This necessitated consolida etc. tion and distribution of flak positions covering the (b) Daily Briefing Information Bulletin This defenses of about 100 German airfields.

17

Sgt. C. L. Shotwell

Capt. Thomas B. Kelly

Capt. W. C. Charlton

bulletin prepared at Command for the briefine of pilots on the missions of the following day con tained a flak briefing paragraph written by the Command flak officer and was sent to Wings and Groups each evening. The strength of each defense and locations of guns were included, headings into and out of the target areas were recommended, and other danger areas in the vicinity noted. When last minute selection of targets became necessary, infor mation normally sent in this paragraph was tele phoned directly to the Groups and when aircraft were airborne enroute to targets, this information was transmitted to pilots over the radio telephone. This briefing paragraph superseded the earlier "Flak Over Target" message sent down from Wings on targets to be attacked. This latter teletype message contained pertinent information on targets and was used during the hectic invasion period. An example of this message follows, the suc cessive numbers constituting the circumferential values of the " I N " and " O U T " flak clocks: FLAK TARGET WM 8932, 4 heavy 15 light. In Ht 13000 Begin 360. 3.1, 3.0, 2.7, 1.5, 1.3, 1.1, 1.0, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6, 2.8, 3.2. Out Ht 3000 Begin 360.
1.7, 1.5, 1.1, 1.0, 1.2, 1.7, 2 . 0 , 2 . 3 , 2 . 7 , 3 . 0 , 2 . 5 , 2.0

Target Selection
The flak officer at Command was always present with advice and intelligence at the target conferences. His daily indications of the appearance of new flak concentrations often resulted in re-examination of cover and discovery of new targets. Many times the selection of targets depended on the flak officer's decision as to feasibility of attack from the flak standpoint. Flak officers of this Command also contributed greatly to the development of probability curves for low level flak analysis. Here too counter-battery flak fire was developed and employed through the Command flak section, as was the case throughout the Air Force. With war's end so ended the flak section at the XIX Tactical Air Command, but not without realization that it had played a vital part in the provision of intelligence which had unquestionably saved lives and may well have enhanced the suc cesses of many missions.
Flakked up!

Best out between 60-120. Past target 3 miles then climb to minimum 6000 during next 7 miles. Keep out of SW sector. (c) Daily Intelligence Summary A para graph was included in the published DIS which gave information on flak trends in dispositions and tactics of interest to other air or ground units with which the Command cooperated. (d) Loss and Damage Analysis Reports These statistical reports prepared bi-monthly were instrumental in presenting in a factual manner the progress being made against the ever present flak threat.

19

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XXIX Tactical Air Command

In September 1944 the 84th and 303rd Fighter made available at Group level via the Command Wings formed the X X I X TAG, and the two flak daily flak teletype. As close cooperation between sections joined in gathering and organizing the targets and flak was a necessity, these two sections many overlaid maps, teletypes and SOP's necessary were always situated in the same room. A flak for a command flak section in the new area of oper officer attended the "Combined Target Committee" ations. meeting each evening In maintaining its where material for the fol flak intelligence the lowing day's program was XXIX TAG section de instigated. A flak officer pended mainly on Ninth also spoke at the more Air Force flak bulletins, formal briefing for the but also made use of ori Commanding General, relating strength of de ginal photo interpreta fenses, trends in flak de tion reports of Ninth Ar ployment, new technical my, Second British Army, data, and plane loss and and a detachment of 20th damage to flak. Flak Photo Interpretation De maps were always kept tachment which was as up - to - date in the combat signed to the TAG. Photo operations section in pinpoints were compiled 11500,000 and larger on the standard 1:100,000 scales for reference at scale overlaid maps used any time of day or night. throughout the Air Force, while the 11500,000 and Controllers 11250,000 flak maps were Flak information used for general plan was available in another ning. At Groups the same Brigadier General Richard E. Nugent form for fighter controlprocedure was followed, lers. Range circles were the Group S-2 servicing drawn around heavy gun defended areas on the the Squadrons by transmitting for use at squadron 1:500,000 scale vectoring board. Since the board briefings pin-pointed flak positions around the displayed only a grid and not ground features or immediate target area assigned for that mission. names of towns, the flak circle clearly showed safe Recent crew reports from neighboring fighter groups routes of approach and withdrawal from defended and units of other Tactical Air Commands were

21

ft

Target Conference

ist Lt. X. E. Langs taffand Gen. Xugent

areas for use by the vectoring officers. To aid in the processing of information speedily to group level, a special paragraph was reserved for flak in the daily XXIX TAG A-2 periodic report. Contents of pub lications whose distribution stopped at command level were reproduced and disseminated to lower units. The flak officers made repeated visits to squadrons where they carried on discussions of the capabilities of flak and the guard against it. Considerable interest was manifested at these con ferences, as X X I X TAC's operational area included the Cologne plain and the "Happy Valley" of the Ruhr the hottest piece of sky in the world.

Flak Considered
Except in the Ruhr valley and in the center of the larger industrial cities of the Rhine, a target was not turned down on account of flak alone. Certain areas in the Ruhr were recognized beforehand as prohibitive to wise operation, and targets there were not presented for consideration. When the battlefield was to be isolated, the interdiction of communications systems was accomplished at the most advantageous places flak being one of the influencing factors in the selection of points of attack. After the breakthrough in December, an espec ially close watch was kept on movements of flak in all areas, since changes in flak dispositions were indicative of enemy movements and preparations for attack. A special chart was prepared with the entire Western front divided into Luftgau sub sections and German army zones. The relative strength of zones was determined bi-weekly and the results pooled with other information to give an all-round intelligence picture. By the Spring of 1945, many new agencies were becoming interested in flak intelligence, as

flak guns were being used more and more in a ground role. The XXIX TAC daily flak bulletin then includ ed on its distribution all Corps and Army artillery sections as well as the pertinent air units.

Counter-Battery
Anti-flak fire was also coordinated with the 9th Army artillery, and became SOP on close support operations. It met with considerable suc cess, much to the delight of our fighter-bomber pilots. During the last months of the war, the XXIX TAC section was pressed to keep up with rapidly advancing Allied Armies, and the end of hostilities was received with both relief and satisfaction relief to know that the threat of German flak was over and satisfaction with the realization that the XXIX TAC flak section had played a very potent part in disallowing this flak threat from ever devel oping into a menace to the fighter-bomber airmen and aircraft they served.

23

Development of mathematical solutions to the flak problems of a tactical air force was the continual and ingenuity-testing goal of flak analysis officers in this theater. "Approved solutions" were pro duced, but as the campaigns rolled on it became more evident that the best flak analyses in the rapidly shifting tactical areas were very seldom the mathematical solutions. The eternal question in the tactical opera tional area was, "'Where are those German flak positions?", and because flak analysis is founded on an exact knowledge of the weapon locations and characteristics, the problem became extremely neb ulous. There always appeared to be more unknowns than equations. In addition, in a tactical air unit

targets were selected and attacked with such dis patch that formal analysis systems, especially with fighter-bomber organizations, were applied only when time allowed. It was with these limitations that flak personnel approached the subject and evolved the procedures briefly described in the following paragraphs.

Medium Bombardment
Essentially the analysis method in use through out the Bomber Command was that system origin ally devised for the strategic high level bombers in this theater, slightly revised to accomodate the lower bombing altitudes (10,000 to 14,000 feet) employed on the B-26, A-20, and A-26 missions in

24

"Sir, the flak was light, but accurate over Malmedy"

the tactical area. Oftentimes because of the typical unbalanced defenses of the tactical area it was pos sible to choose the proper bombing axis and route without resorting to the flak clock. However, if any doubt existed, due to gun density, wind, possibility of shifts in the mobile defenses, etc., the flak defenses were thoroughly analyzed in conjunction with other operational factors of sun, drift, etc. In order to better evaluate and record flak experience for future use, overlays (see insert) of each mission route with flak experience as to loca tion, intensity, planes damaged, quality and type of fire, etc. were composed at group level and for warded to Command for analysis. This method of presenting flak fire experiences proved very suc

cessful in providing intelligence of enemy disposi tions in areas for which there was no photographic cover.

Fighler-bombers
With due regard to the enormity of the vagaries, the possible errors, the unknown quantities, the flexible conditions, etc. which haunt the fighter flak problem, efforts were made to produce a work able "gadget" that would indicate best routes into and out of light flak areas for the particular benefit of fighter-bomber aircraft. In May, 1944, flak analysis officers of the IX and XIX Tactical Air Commands produced the first dive-bombing and low level bombing flak computers for light flak analysis.

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Ninth fighter-bombers score on an enemy ammo column

(See fig. i, Pg. 27) This simple expedient for computation of gun effectiveness factors was based on the probability of hitting at midpoint slant ranges for light flak weapons. The effectiveness numbers were placed on the computer between the slant range limits (2,500 yards considered maximum effec tive range of light flak), and the altitudes of bomb release and scale of the map determined the size of the computer. Values for each of the guns in a defense were computed at various headings, the smallest effectiveness number determining the best axis of approach. (See fig. 2, Pg. 27) This second computer was based on the assumption that the effectiveness of light antiaircraft artillery at various ranges is inver sely proportional to the square of the slant range. The curves shown were constructed for typical dive-bombing methods in use at the time; i. e.. seventy degree dive, release of bombs at 4,000 feet

and pullout at 1,500 feet, with full recovery 2,500 yards beyond the aiming point. Again, in order to determine axis of attack, data derived from reading values of gun positions at thirty degree intervals of the compass was compiled and the best heading readily chosen. Although these systems were merely basic and did not consider the fact that the aspect of a moving plane constantly changes, thus presenting varying size targets to the ground gunner, this factor is in all probability eliminated since aiming errors in crease with deflection, which itself is greatest when the aspect of the target makes it appear largest. From these beginnings mathematical analysis of light flak has progressed, but it can still be said that flak analysis in a fluid battle situation is essen tially one based on intelligence of the enemy's flak dispositions, capabilities and tactics.

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323 BOMBGP(M)AAF 22 FEBRUARY 1945

TARGETS 8 KEY

All crews reported Meg ger Inaccurate HFFin area of HULMEN in and out, and at COESFELD on the route out. Meager inaccu rate LFF was observed by some crews of the ALTEN BEKEN mission at the target, on the strafing run which was made at 3 , 5 0 0 ft. and an airspeed of ap proximately 2 9 0 miles an hour indicated. No HFF or LFF was reported at the five primaries when the a/c were at bombing alti tude. Visibility was I % miles up sun, 6 miles down sun. No clouds.

INEUBECKUM 3 Runs-10 A/C. LEAD # 2 a # 6 Cat. A 3TS.W. of NEUBECKUM 3 Runs-II A/C. IEAHLEN 3 Runs-12 A/C. LEAD # 1 Cat. A 12LAGE 1 Run-6 A/C. LEAD # 4 Cat. A ISZALTENBEKEN 2 Runs-II A/C MEAG. INACC. MEAG. 1NACC LIGHT. BRIEFED ROUTE No Flak in target areas except for meag. inacc. LFF on strafing run.
ONE FLIGHT DROPPED HERE. DORSTEN *HAMM

TIME HEIGHT
SOEST

1419 to 1430 8,000'to 12,000'

NO CLOUDS VIS. ifeMI. UP SUN WEATHER 6 Ml. DOWN SUN HAZE.

FO. 424

REPRODUCED BY Co B, 942ND ENGR AVN TOPO BN

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750O' SLANT

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F l G . i

OF Of
TO fc

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333

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OF

PUV IN \ 5 SEC. XT \5OO FT.

SCM.E *.--. 50,000

F I G .

28

Early in 1944 flak replaced enemy aircraft as the principle cause of loss and dam age to Allied aircraft. Flak production moved into high gear and the Hun built up powerful defenses throughout the Reich for the protection of his cities, industries, and military installations. During the hey-day of the German Air Force flak was considered a minor and annoying evil, like a mosquito that buzzed around and sometimes bit. The greatest proportion of loss and damage to Allied aircraft during this early period was caused by enemy fighter planes. Formations, tactics, and other defensive measures aimed at reducing the destructive power of enemy aircraft and flak was hardly considered worthy of special treatment. That was before the back of the GAF was finally broken in the early months of 1944, forcing the Hun to rely almost completely on his flak defen ses for protection against the air supremacy enjoyed by the Allies. Production of flak equipment, which had the same priority as did production of aircraft, increas ed in tempo, and by the end of 1944 the already formidable defenses had increased to 16,000 heavy guns, 50,000 light guns, 7,500 searchlights, and 1,500 balloons, manned by a total of more than 1,000,000 personnel. Moreover in December 1944 production of flak equipment was given higher priority than all aircraft except jet propelled planes. Around his most important industries the Hun amassed the greatest concentration of flak guns the world has ever known. The Ruhr defenses, greatest of the great, were capable of hurling 200 tons of metal and explosive into the air every minute; the Cologne defenses, 80 tons; the Berlin defenses, 70 tons. The total defenses of Germany, firing for one minute, could have put 5,000 tons of shells into the sky. Defense of the Reich, as well as of GAF installa tions, was mostly the responsibility of the German Air Force, which controlled approximately 80% of all flak defenses. The Army and SS units con trolled 15%, and the Navy, 5%. Everywhere, on everything, flak guns were found: on the ground, on buildings, towers, trucks, tanks, submarines, barges, small boats, warships, and railway cars. Fire control equipment, both optical and radio, directed accurate fire to heights seven miles above the earth's surface. These, plus deceptive tactics, tricks, and traps engendered of German ingenuity, all joined in desperate battle against the crushing blows of the bombers and the deadly sting of the fighter-bombers. This was the enemy against which flak sections were established. This was the enemy that was, after the demise of the GAF, the primary cause of loss and damage to our aircraft. This was the enemy which is described pictorially in the following pages.
Port engine smoking from flak hit, B-26 streaks for home

Capable of shooting 20 rounds per minute, this gun made up 80% of Germany's heavy flak defenses, protecting all important industries, communication centers, supply points, bridges, etc. More than 1000 heavy flak guns were used in the defense of the Ruhr. Not visible in the picture are two sets of bogies which are the mobile mounting.

"Bogie" of airmen and tank ers alike, this dual purpose gun was the mainstay of Germany's heavy flak defenses, capable of firing effectively to a height of 35,000 feet or of piercing five inches of armor at 2,000 yards. Note foliage camouflage on barrel. The gun was fired electrically.

Considerable use was made by the enemy of such railway mounted heavy flak as shown here for rapid reinforcement of threatened areas a mobile strategic reserve. Generally there were four heavy guns per battery, complete with director (Kommandogerat 40) and radar equipment. The guns could not be fired on the move.

In traveling position this gun weighed 12 tons, and it was generally towed by a 12-ton half-tracked vehicle. In an emergency it could be fired from the wheels. At 0" elevation the barrel recoiled four feet. This picture, taken in Africa, shows the gunners waiting in foxholes till time to move out to new locations. The gun was loaded manually.

msmmmm

128mm

A bigger gun patterned after the 105mm, this weapon streng thened already large defenses of important targets. Intended for static operation, there was also a mobile model which weighed more than 26 tons. *

In addition to the static mount ing shown here, there was also a mobile version of the 105mm flak gun. In range and rate of fire it was inferior to the "88" (41 model), though its projectile weighed 65% more. Since the 88mm was a better all-round weapon, pro duction priorities favored the 88mm as the standard heavy flak gun and the 128mm in the heavier class. Both the 105 mm and 128mm had automatic loaders.

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