U.S. Naval Vessels Type Designations

U.S. Navy WWII vessel type abbreviations from FM 30-50: Recognition Pictorial Manual of Naval Vessels, U.S. Navy Department, September 1943:



BB  Battleship
CB  Large Cruiser
CV Aircraft Carrier
CVL Aircraft Carrier (Light)
CVE Aircraft Carrier (Escort)
CA Heavy Cruiser
CL Light Cruiser
DD  Destroyer
DE Destroyer Escort Vessel
SS Submarine
SM Minelaying Submarine

Continue reading U.S. Naval Vessels Type Designations

Bombardier Duties

From Bombardiers’ Information File, War Department, March 1945:

Bombardier Duties: Bombardier to Crew


Cooperate with pilot: Explain to him the principles of the bombing problem. Emphasize importance of not changing altitude or airspeed radically during bombing run and of informing you before reaching bomb release point if altitude or airspeed is off. Tactfully assist him in preflight and adjustment of autopilot. Give him information on other aircraft ahead and below; talk him into formation. Report flak bursts and frontal fighter attacks.

Cooperate with navigator: Explain bombardiering to him so that he can assume role of bombardier in an emergency. Help in DR and pilotage navigation. Obtain drift and groundspeed from bombsight. Warn of approach of bad weather.

Cooperate with armament crew: Report accurately and promptly any malfunction of bombsight or other bombing equipment. Assist them in preflight of bomb racks and controls, and in loading and fuzing bombs. Assist in flight checking autopilot.

Cooperate with gunners: Assist in loading ammunition, and in preflight of guns and ammunition. Inform them of frontal fighter attacks at which they best can fire. When using remote control turrets, maintain closest coordination in transferring control.

Cooperate with radar operator: Explain the bombing problem to hun; stress importance of supplying accurate data for bombing run. When visibility permits, give him check points and keep him informed of his accuracy. Work in closest coordination when bombing through overcast; notify him if visibility allows you to take over bombing run.

Bombardier Duties: Crew to Bombardier


Pilot and copilot cooperate with you: They must coordinate closely in obtaining pre-set data, in making turn over IP, and in taking evasive action. They must adjust autopilot to obtain maximum performance for bombing. Pilot should not jockey airspeed or change altitude radically during bombing run. Before reaching bomb release point, they should notify you if altitude or airspeed is off. Pilot must make prompt but smooth, coordinated turns in following PDI.

Navigator cooperates with you: He should explain navigation to you, so that you can assume role of navigator in an emergency. He should check your computations of true airspeed, bombing altitude, wind, groundspeed, and drift. Navigator should check trail and disc speed found from bombing tables and set into bombsight. He helps to identify IP and target. On the bombing run navigator gives you the variations of airspeed and altitude and assists in making computations for offset bombing.

Armament crew cooperates with you: They assist in preflight of bomb racks and controls. They must load and fuze bombs carefully and accurately. Armament crew ground checks autopilot. They must maintain bombsight, bomb racks and controls, autopilot, guns and turrets with care and thoroughness and keep them in best possible condition.

Gunners cooperate with you: They assist in loading ammunition and in preflight of guns and ammunition. They report frontal attacks at which you best can fire. Gunners should report bomb rack malfunctions and bomb hit data.

Radar operator cooperates with you: He must work in close coordination with you on bombing run, especially when bombing through overcast. He should give you accurate information on check points, drift, bombing altitude, groundspeed, dropping angle.


Allied-Axis: The Photo Journal of WWII

Recent issues of Ampersand Publishing’s reference magazine Allied-Axis: The Photo Journal of the Second World War:

Issue No. 21 --- Allied-Axis: The Photo Journal of the WW2Issue 21
Studebaker US6 trucks; SdKfz 7, 8-ton halftrack; SdKfz 10/4 flak; Corbitt & White trucks
Issue No. 22 --- Allied-Axis: The Photo Journal of the WW2Issue 22
M15/M15A1 halftrack multiple gun motor carriage; Scheinwerfer 150-cm searchlight; 57-mm antitank gun; Universal carrier; M10 ammunition trailer; U.S. rations
Issue No. 23 --- Allied-Axis: The Photo Journal of the WWIIIssue 23
M4A3E2 Jumbo tank; SdKfz 7, 8-ton halftrack; U.S. snow tractors; Armored utility car M20; SPA/Fiat prime mover; 6-ton bridge erector truck
Issue No. 24 --- Allied-Axis: The Photo Journal of the WW2Issue 24
.50-Caliber multiple gun carriage M55; Cannone de 90/53 on Autocarro Pesante Lancia; 75mm Pack Howitzer; Japanese Type 95 tank; 105mm Howitzer M2A1; sFH 18 15-cm howitzer


When to Salute

When to Salute (Military Courtesy and Tradition)

Source: The Ordnance Soldier’s Guide


Molotov Cocktails Against Tanks

The following two drawings of Molotov cocktails being used against Russian tanks appeared in the article “German Close-in Tactics Against Armored Vehicles” in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 23, April 22, 1943. The article contained translated German documents describing infantry close-combat techniques against Russian tanks on the Eastern Front.

Wehrmacht Use of Molotov Cocktails Against Russian Tanks

German WWII Molotov Cocktails Against Russian Tanks

Snow Camouflage for 90mm AAA Gun Battery

Diagram of snow camouflage for 90mm antiaircraft gun battery, from “Antiaircraft Artillery Notes,” No. 9, December 1944:

Snow Camouflage for 90mm AAA Antiaircraft Gun Battery


Antiaircraft Rules for Confirming V-1 Claims

German V-1s were fired in attacks against the strategic port of Antwerp after the Allied capture of the V-1 launch facilities used to attack England. Antwerp was hit by over 2,000 V-1s from October 1944 to March 1945. Numerous Allied antiaircraft units were deployed around Antwerp to defend against the V-1 attacks. The following report describing the rules for V-1 claims by antiaircraft units was published in “Antiaircraft Artillery Notes,” No. 8, December 1944.

SUBJECT: Rules for Confirming Claims of Pilotless Aircraft Shot Down.
SOURCE: Headquarters, Antwerp “X” Command, Operations Memorandum #25.

Operations Memo #25, Hq Antwerp “X” Command, 2 December 44, is quoted:

1. In order that all concerned may be apprised of the conditions under which claims for PAC (Diver) shot down are allowed at this Headquarters, the following rules governing the procedure of the Claims Board established by Operations Memo No 13, this Headquarters, are hereby published:

a. The claim is initiated by unit commander who must cite the basis for the claim.

(1) To substantiate a Cat A claim the statement will be made that a PAC while engaged by AA exploded in mid-air.

(2) To substantiate a Cat 3 claim the statement will be made that a PAC fell as a result of damage sustained from AA fire as manifested in one or more of the following:

(a) Deflection in course.
(b) Definite and abnormal change or cessation in motor sound.
(c) Appearance of fragments of PAC in air.
(d) Definite and abnormal increase in flame area around target.

b. Each claim must be reviewed by commanders in the chain of command. When received at the Statistical Office, the claims board tentatively allows or disallows claim. This does not require a meeting of the entire board but may be done by any one member of the board.

2. All concerned are reminded that the records being compiled, of PAC shot down, are an important military and historical record which will be given the most careful study by higher authority and it is therefore incumbent on everyone in the chain of command to insure that all claims registered are founded on substantial fact. It is considered to be a serious dereliction of duty to enter, or allow, claims which are not so founded.

3. In forwarding claims the commanders concerned will insure that the basis of the claim is fully stated, in order that the claims board may have sufficient data on which to proceed. Prior to 1500 daily, the entire claims board will meet for confirmation of rejection of all claims which have previously been allowed tentatively. After this has been done, credit will be allocated to specific batteries for the PAC shot down.

4. In order to avoid duplication of reports, it is desired to obtain individual battery credits, or PAC Kills, from the daily Statistical Report. To avoid confusion between units “engaging” and units actually “claiming” PAC, Groups and Brigades are directed to plainly indicate on report forms the difference between the two categories.


Tactical and Technical Trends #12

The U.S. military intelligence articles from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 12, November 1942 have been added to the main website:

German Aircraft Cannons  ◊  The German Rescue Buoy  ◊  Antiaircraft Defense of Motor Columns on the March  ◊  Japanese Antiaircraft Guns  ◊  Italian 90-mm Multipurpose Gun  ◊  Soviet Antitank Defense  ◊  Armor Penetration of German Antitank Guns  ◊  German Schwere Wurfgerät 40  ◊  German 105-mm Gun  ◊  305-mm Skoda Coast Defense Gun  ◊  210-mm German and Italian Howitzers  ◊  German Self-Propelled 150-mm Howitzer  ◊  Japanese Incendiary Bombs  ◊  Nitrogen Mustard Gases  ◊  Demolition Charge for 20-mm AA/AT Gun  ◊  Winter Fighting in Russia  ◊  German Tactics in the Final Phases at Kharkov  ◊  Crew and Communications of German Mark IV Tank  ◊  Security Measures of a German Armored Division  ◊  Enemy Practices Used in Interrogating Prisoners of War  ◊  Italian Measures for Concealing a Withdrawal  ◊  Operations of the German Tank Recovery Platoon  ◊  Propeller-Driven Sleds  ◊  Report of Italian Pilot on “Crows Feet”  ◊  Markings on German Motor-Maintenance Vehicles  ◊  German Methods Against Russian Winter Conditions  ◊  Katakana (Phonetic Japanese) Used in Communications


Route of the 9th Armored

Route of the 9th Armored Division

“Route of the 9th Armored” from the G.I. Stories booklet: The 9th: The Story of the 9th Armored Division published by the Information and Education Division, ETOUSA in 1945.

Ditching a B-17 Flying Fortress at Sea

Emergency procedures for a forced landing at sea from the Pilot’s Manual for Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress:


Ditching B-17 Bomber at Sea

1. As complete evacuation of the airplane should not take over 30 seconds, preflight practice drills should be participated in by all crews who are to make a flight over water, or whose operations are generally over water.

2. A complete and careful inspection of emergency equipment should be made before each long over water flight. Check life rafts, emergency kit bags (provisions), and emergency radio equipment. The kit bags and radio are stored aft of the radio compartment.

3. When it becomes evident that the airplane is to be forced down at sea due to lack of fuel, or that an altitude of at least 1,000 feet cannot be maintained, the pilot gives warning over the interphone. WARNING! This command must, if possible, be given while the fuel supply is still sufficient for 15 minutes of flight. The chances for a successful landing are much greater, if power is used.

4. Each crew member will acknowledge the command over the interphone.

5. The bombardier after acknowledging the command, will jettison bombs, or bomb bay tanks if more than half full, and close the bomb bay doors. If there is not sufficient time to release the bombs and close the bomb bay doors, ascertain that the bombs are “SAFE” and leave the doors closed.

6. The navigator will determine the position and inform both the pilot and the radio operator. He will take with him the instruments necessary to make simple computation while on life rafts.

B-17 Bomber Forced Landing at Sea

7. The radio operator will jettison the hatch cover. Then, when directed by the pilot, he will send an appropriate distress signal and position. After completing this duty, he will bring the emergency radio set into the radio compartment.

8. The side gunners will jettison the side guns as they make very dangerous battering rams. If there are no side gunners, this duty should be given to other crew members before flight.

9. A crew member appointed before flight will take the emergency kit bags to the radio compartment.

10. After completing his individual duties, each member goes to the radio compartment which is the crash station for all but the pilot and copilot.

11. The pilot will direct the copilot to cut the two inboard engines, if the two outboard engines are functioning satisfactorily, and to feather their propellers.

12. Both the pilot and the copilot will strap themselves in their seats. If the side windows are to be used as exits, slide windows open, then close, insuring freedom of operation. Leave them closed until after the impact. CAUTION! Place axe handy in event of jamming.

Pilot Manual B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber: Forced Landing Water

13. Be sure all emergency equipment is in the radio compartment. Throw overboard any equipment that might come loose.

14. Remove cushions from seats for head protection and take crash positions. Do not take a position in the center of the compartment as ball turret upper structure makes this unsafe. Brace head against solid structure, if possible. Do not leave these positions until plane has come to rest as there will probably be more than one shock.

15. All members should have life vests on, parachutes removed, and should have on all extra clothing to be worn on rafts. At night, turn off all bright internal lights and use only the amber lamps.

16. The pilot should attempt to set the airplane down in a trough, which is usually cross wind. The two outboard engines are used for control and to flatten the approach. The landing gear should be up, the flaps lowered medium, and the ignition switches cut a foot or so above the water.

17. The water should be touched at about 90 mph. Come in as level as possible.

18. As soon as the airplane has come to rest the predesignated member will pull the life raft handles.