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"Evasive Tactics of German Level Bombers" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. intelligence report on evasive tactics of Luftwaffe bombers was published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 16, Jan. 14, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


Evasive action, as employed by German Air Force level bombers, may be divided into two categories. One includes all maneuvers made as a matter of normal routine; the other applies to action taken when the presence of enemy aircraft is detected.

The first type of action consists of flying a weaving course in azimuth and simultaneously changing altitude by as much as 500 feet above and below the mean. Occasionally, an orbit or complete circle is made as a further safeguard and may be repeated as often as the pilot considers necessary. This circle is often effective in preventing the successful completion of a ground-controlled interception, and has the added advantage of being easy to carry out while making good a track to the target.

The second type of evasive action is of a much more violent nature. On the approach of intercepting aircraft, it is not unusual for a bomber pilot to quarter-roll his plane, applying full bottom rudder. The resulting dive is very steep, especially if the stick is pulled back hard immediately before the quarter roll. The bombers frequently pull out of this maneuver as low as 2,000 feet.

However, it appears to be beyond the capabilities of the majority of German pilots to carry out evasive tactics irregularly and still make good a mean track to the target. The result is that evasive tactics are used in a comparatively regular manner which the ground control stations are able to follow and sometimes even to predict.

Different tactics are employed in avoiding or escaping searchlights, but the most common evasive action consists of gliding through a known searchlight belt at high altitudes with throttles closed, so that the sound locators for the searchlight and antiaircraft batteries are unable to detect the aircraft.

Enemy aircraft, when picked up by searchlights in night combat, have attempted to deceive the ground defenses by turning away from the beam and immediately returning from another quarter with navigation lights on.

The bombers take effective evasive action on their approach to, and get away from, a target by desynchronizing the engines and constantly altering the throttle settings. This action upsets the normal action of the detectors and makes difficult an accurate prediction of the plane's course.


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