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Subject: Cities as radar targets: a request for help rss

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Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
United Kingdom
Ely
Cambridgeshire
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I need some help with research.

One of the features of Bomber Command is that we distinguish between the radar signatures of city targets. These are important in helping determining marking and concentration of bombing on cities. I rate cities as Good/Normal/Poor for radar profile.

The trouble is that there is very little data to go on when it comes to this. Most of what we have is anecdotal.

Some assumptions have been made, such as coastal cities having good radar signatures (which seems to have ben true on the whole) and Berlin having a notably poor signature--a function of its very size.

Some other inland cities seem to be particularly good or poor. For example, Martin Middlebrook notes that the junction of the Rhine and Neckar rivers gave Mannheim-Ludwidgshafen a distinctive radar signature for pathfinders using H2S radar, and describes a 5/6 Sep 43 raid as having a particularly devastating effect.

I'm trying to read through my library, pulling out what quotes and references to radar signatures that I can. But it is a big task and to make it manageable I'd like to crowdsource the effort. If anyone can dig out a reference to the radar signature of a particular German city could they please drop me a line with the reference? I really need all the help I can on this.

As a reward I can promise an acknowledgement in the credits list.

Cheers,

- lee
 
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Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
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Just a quick update: thanks to all those folks who offered references on the principles of radar navigation, ground mapping and the development of H2S. Your thoughtfulness was much appreciated. However, that was not quite what I was looking for.

The problem I face is trying to sort which exact German cities were particularly good or poor subjects for blind bombing using H2S radar. It's difficult to tick off a list of characteristics to get this information. You cannot determine it from a map, since on paper every city is potentially a good target.

Instead you have to go direct to the narrative histories and see of there were any particular targets noted at the time as having good or poor characteristics. Which means trawling through the history books raid by raid and seeing what clues emerge.

Any help with this effort would be gratefully received.
 
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Andrzej Fiett
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I know this can't help a lot, but as far as I know the crucial criterion should be location of the city near waters - rivers, lakes, seashore. Hamburg was a good target as both close to a coastline and on a big Elbe and Alster rivers. Berlin became to be a good target too, from 2 December 1943, when H2S Mark III started to be able to identifying numerous lakes and rivers in Berlin area.

I believe Bomber Command Campaign Diary could be useful, from this point on: http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/jan43.html
 
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