REport And After action
of raid 1003 on the soviet oil facility at baku
Oct. 2nd 1946
USE OF Uncle Cat
It became apparent early in the B-29 bomber offensive against Baku that P-80 escort fighters flying from Turkey, Cyprus and Rhodes would be needed to counter the Soviet jet fighters among others. In order for the Shooting Stars to fly the long distance from Turkey and the islands and return safely, some kind of electronic navigation system would be needed to:
a. find the B-29’s they were escorting; and,
b. find their way back. A VHF beacon system would eliminate the problems associated with the MF beacons thus providing greater reliability and accuracy.
Beacons were established. It was used aboard B-29’s equipped with Uncle Cat transmitters specifically tasked with serving as navigation aircraft for the fighter escorts. This signal, when received on a fighter’s SCR-522 VHF communication set (equipped with an AN/ARA-8 homing adapter and MD-34 modulator keying unit), allowed the fighters to meet the bombers at a specific predetermined location in order to ensure maximum fuel efficiency. The Uncle Cat was an improved version of the Uncle Dog.
The flights were almost as long as in the Pacific and many a fighter pilot looked like an old man after climbing out of the cockpit and hitting the ground. A few had to be helped out because of cramps. It paid to be of small stature on these kinds of flights.
It became apparent that the perils of such long flights caused as many losses as the enemy. On the first two raids as many planes went down over enemy and Turkish territory from engine or battle damage as were shot down outright over the Baku area. This had the effect of doubling the loss rate from these missions.
Soviet Proximity Fuse Improvement
It was clear that the Soviet rockets now had a much better proximity fuse solution. Their rockets while still erratic, were now exploding at a far greater rate than before, when near a target. Previously more than half of the missiles that were able to reach the target without failure, passed harmlessly by and exploded above the intended target. It was observed on the last two raids that there was at least a 3 fold increase in the missile exploding at the proper altitude if it was able to get within a kill radius. It is speculated that some improvement had been made and is the most likely cause for this increase in accuracy.
A number of bombers had active jamming units scanning and three of these were shot down. We can only conclude that the current jammers are not accomplishing their task or the Soviets have developed a way to circumvent our capabilities in this area.
Conversely the anti-aircraft shells did seem to be effected by the jammer aircraft. It appears that the VVS is using a combination of proximity fused ammunition and conventionally fused shells. With half exploding a thousand feet from the jammer aircraft while others exploded in a manner that would suggest they were set for a certain altitude and fired in the general direction of the bombers.
The three fold improvement in the missile detonations is very troubling. We estimate that the bomber losses on the two raids launched to date were increased by a full 5% because of this addition or improvement of the Soviet proximity fuse technology.
Increase in Missile Launches
The VVS has increased the number of launches both from the ground and the air by a factor of 30% observed between the two raids. This 30% increase has happen in a 24 hour period. Some combination of factors has made this dramatic increase. Possibly a security leak forewarned the Stavka and they were able to marshal their missile forces faster than anticipated or the Soviet industry has increased their manufacturing process dramatically from earlier estimates.
The end result is close to a 7% increase in the bomber fleets losses and is unsustainable for no more than a period of 12 days at which time a temporary halt will have to be ordered due to lack of bomber replacements. Currently the supply of replacement bombers and crews is 47 a month. The number of units damaged beyond repair or lost has been 108 in two days of raids with fully 32 being shot down by what can only be called a guided missile, with the others succumbing to fighter aircraft either by cannon fire or ramming.
The loss rate is a sustainable 9% over two raids but with the increase in losses by missile fire this may not stay true. The fourth raid on the Baku area should give us a clearer picture as to the viability of launching multiple raids on the same target in the age of guided missiles.
Oil Production Losses
Overflight suggest that between a large bomb dispersion rate and the prevailing strong winds over the target that bombing from above 25,000 is not economical. After only on true bombing raid on Baku it is too early to draw any hard and fast conclusions. The circular error was calculated to be over 1500 ft.
With 24 hour repair operations we estimate a net 3% loss of oil production daily at the current rate. With Baku estimated to be a 30% capacity it will take 30 days to bring production to a halt. In the intervening time the other production facilities bombed by atomic bomb are being repaired at a rate of 7% a week. The Baku facility does represent 47% of the pre-attack oil production capacity of the Soviet Union.
At the damage rate, the Soviet oil production facilities will continue to increase and reach 80% capacity in 7 months despite the air campaign currently being waged.
Continue the Baku raids until the production levels are down to 10% with the caveat that weekly unit losses do not exceed 15%. If the weekly losses exceed 15% it is recommended that other oil production facilities in be targeted in a random rotation. If these raids experience a higher than 10% attrition rate then the strategic bombing campaign against these facilities should be suspended until improved tactics are developed.
Possible Tactical Improvement to be explored:
1 Improved anti-missile defenses
a. Dropping flares
i. If it is determined that heat seeking guidance is being used
b. Improved jammer capability
c. Physical destruction of missile by counter fire before they are in range of bombers
i. High rate of fire 50 cal or larger rounds at 1000 feet or more in a shot gun manner
a. Develop ways to defeat the missiles by maneuver
i. Bombers must stay in formation
ii. Bombers must stay at altitude
iii. Must reconstitute formation over target at time of release of bombs
iv. Avoid collisions
b. This may diminish the bombers ability to defend from fighter attack
c. Maneuver unit should be no less than squadron size