Pathfinders over Hamburg

Pathfinders over Hamburg
by cricketjeff on September 8, 2018.  © Jeff Green, All rights reserved
The navigator’s face is eerie green,
His pencil dances lightly on his chart,
Although the target cannot yet be seen
He tells the crew the bombing run must start.

With forty Merlins roaring on and on;
Staccato guns supplying deadly rain.
And straight and true the Lancasters plough on
Till marker bombs and flares have left the plane.

It lurches right, first climbing then a dive
Rear gunner calls our markers are alight
The master bomber signals “Reds are live”
But we’re already heading through the night.

Mid upper says that Charlie’s caught some flack
But he can see six others heading back.

Author notes
My Uncle did two full tours as a navigator in a pathfinder Lancaster. Staring
at dim green screens of the new magical aiming systems and dead reckoning the
path home after dropping markers for the main force close behind. (forty
Merlins represent ten 4-engined Lancaster bombers, the Master Bomber in a
Mosquito checks which colour flares are on target and calls on the main force,
to bomb those markers. Once the first thirty or forty planes have dropped their
incendiaries there will be no more need for markers)