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Thread: Pullar Bank Bombing Range

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    SuperMod Peter Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Pullar Bank Bombing Range

    Whilst perusing Thorney Island's ORB Appendices (AIR 28/845) there was frequent mention of the used made of a wreck on Pullar Bank for bombing and firing practice (SZ 86066 85941). This is a new one to me as I have not seen it mentioned before.
    It was used by No.2 APC whilst at Thorney Island and probably continued after it moved. The wreck is, I suspect, that of the BRITSUM (Dutch) which was set on fire by enemy action in 1941 and subsequntly wrecked by rough weather. Sadly 9 men lost their lives in the incident.
    Assuming this was the wreck in question it would appear to have had substantional remains as a Hudson was lost after striking the mast of the wreck in June 1943. As it is not mentioned in any lists I have found I assume the wreck was rendered useless as a target after a while and was ecorded as no longer visible in October 1946. Currently the BRITSUM is always underwater and is badly brokn up and is considered a dangerous wreck, probably because of it's invisibilty.

    Having always thought of wrecks as a post war range item it appears they were used frequently around the country as they made realistic targets. I wonder how many more of these "ranges" existed? Back to the ORB's then. How many are there?

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    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pullar Bank Bombing Range

    I should assume that these 'targets, were unobserved and pilot controlled only. But I should expect that marine charts would be amended to show a danger zone in addition to wreck hazard and that the wrecks were fairly well off-shore. But, to be visible they would have to be exposed or part exposed dependent on tides and in fairly shallow water.

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    SuperMod Peter Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pullar Bank Bombing Range

    As this was a Coastal Command range they used a rear facing (a mirror at 45degrees) camera to record results. Although not as acurrate as plotted strikes it was good enough providing there was a reference point, in this case the wreck. A spotting plane was also employed in some cases but this would dpend on availability. If more than one aircarft was in the circuit to attack the target I wonder if they used hand held oblique shots to give further confirmation.

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    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pullar Bank Bombing Range

    Right, that makes sense. Low-level with PBs or AS and DCs would not require a large safety radius. If an independent observer was on the flight he could later confirm accuracy for the record.

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    SuperMod Peter Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pullar Bank Bombing Range

    The rear facing camera was an operational requirement and there are quite a few shots of U-Boats covered in a DC explosion (only the good ones made publication) with an aircraft tail wheel at the top of the frame. Need to check if Pullar Bank is in the Selsey Bill air to air range.

    This is the wreck location ("X" marks the spot) and as I said it is a suspicion that this is the correct wreck.


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