A crew Definition

Post
BomberBoy
Squadron Member
2007/11/28 00:19:32
I have heard the term "Toggle-ier" (spelling?)  vs. "Bombardier".
Can you all help define the difference in the terms?
Thanks,
Donald.
 
P40 Petey
Group Member
RE: A crew Definition 2007/11/28 01:09:06
A toggelier drops bombs manually from an airplane that is not the lead airplane. 
A bombardier is a rated crewman with special training in dropping bombs using a bomb sight.  Bombardiers were enlisted personnel early in the war, but normally a bombardier is an officer.
The bombardier in the lead airplane uses the bomb sight and aims on the target; when the lead airplane reaches a point in the sky (based on several calculations) where the release of the bombs will result in the bombs hitting the target on the ground, the bomb sight will automatically drop the bombs.  The toggeleirs in the trailing bombers will then drop their bombs manually using a toggle switch when they see the bombs falling from the lead airplane. The toggeleir may or may not be a rated bombardier.  Many times it was an enlisted gunner who was the toggeleir.   The bombardier in the lead or deputy lead airplane is aiming the bombs for the whole flight, squadron or group formation.  All of the trailing bombers will drop their bombs when they see the bombs falling from the lead airplane. 
 
Pete
Square K
Wing Member
RE: A crew Definition 2007/11/28 01:14:59
Hi Donald,
A Togglier was the crewman that released the bombs after the lead plane (lead bombardier or pathfinder / pff ship) released.  This led to more accurate bombing patterns. 
A togglier may or may not have been an actual bombardier and often they were aerial gunners.  Of course not always, but when 10 man crews switched to 9 men, the bombardiers were often the ones removed from the crew.
I will let one of our veteran bombardiers or someone else chime in to add anything.
-Keith

Pete, I see we were both typing at the same time.  Good info, but I'm pretty certain about the spelling as Togglier.  
Thanks!
-Keith
Guest
Division Member
RE: A crew Definition 2007/11/28 08:30:54
These two answers are essentially correct, but ignore the  main reason for toggliers. When the bombardier took over the ship's course by the use of the bomb sight, he was making minute changes in direction [not altitude which the pilot still controlled] This meant that if all the ships in the box were controlled by bombardiers, they would not be able to fly a tight formation, in fact it could lead to mid-air collisions. By using toggaliers, the pilots were able to fly tight formations, and a tight bomb pattern, right or wrong, resulted. Hope this does not further confuse, but that's the way we flew.
RHD
jpeters140
Moderator
RE: A crew Definition 2007/11/28 09:23:53
Excellent answer.  The C-1 Autopilot as used on the B-24 was also used on the B-17 and B-29...(same system).
 
In my crew the left waist gunner (who was also the armorer), moved from the left waist position to the bombardier's position, and then functioned as the togglier, then after dropping the bombs on observation of the lead ship's bomb drop, closed our bomb bay doors and returned to the left waist position.
 
The listing of my missions, however, shows a full crew of 10 men, on each mission, which I disagree with.
As proof of that statement, my crew photo taken after a mission, shows only 9 members, as the bombardier did not fly that mission.
 
Jim :-)
Bob Watkins
'Battle Colors'
RE: A crew Definition 2007/11/28 09:49:51
I'd like to add a question to the first question.

After switching to toggliers, how many qualified bombardiers
usually accompanied each AAF group on any given mission?
jpeters140
Moderator
RE: A crew Definition 2007/11/28 10:04:13
I can only answer for my crew..after my pilot was selected for 2nd element lead, we carried an officer bombardier, as a backup to the lead ship bombardier....so this meant that in my squadron, only two ships carried officer bombardiers....the lead ship and the lead of the second element. The other four ships carried toggliers. (we normally flew with a six ship formation).
 
Jim :-)
Guest
Division Member
RE: A crew Definition 2007/11/28 11:04:23
My answer to this further question is about the same. I flew all my missions in the final 6 mths. of the war. Bombardiers were almost gone. I flew a number of missions as # 3, and my nose gunner or navigator did the toggleing as I remember it. When I flew lead, about my last 10 missions, I had a bombardier, and so did the # 2 plane. To my reccollection, this was the way the whole group flew.
RHD
Bob Watkins
'Battle Colors'
RE: A crew Definition 2007/11/28 11:21:30
Thanks guys, that pretty well answers my question.

I've always been curious as to just how much back-up
there was to compensate for the potential loss of a lead
bombardier. Sounds like you guys had things pretty well
covered from a squadron level on up.

Thanks again,
Bob
jhor9
B17 Jock
RE: A crew Definition 2007/11/28 13:21:20
During my tour all bombardiers were officers, there were no toggliers. Only the lead plane used the bombsight, the rest dropped when the lead did.
Ken a B24 Fan
Division Member
RE: A crew Definition 2007/11/28 23:47:53
My father never flew a mission without a bombardier on board. He never flew lead.

Ken
Guest
Division Member
RE: A crew Definition 2007/11/29 06:10:37
Your dates indicarte that your Dad flew well into 1945. Respectfully, I find it hard to believe he flew with a bombardier unless lead or deputy.
RHD
Ken a B24 Fan
Division Member
RE: A crew Definition 2007/11/29 08:10:58
I find it hard to believe he flew with a bombardier unless lead or deputy.


I have asked dad on several occasions and he confirms that he always flew with a bombardier. Indeed the photograph of his crew on their last mission has his bombardier in it. Dad and his bombardier finished their 35 missions together (Along with the navigator and two gunners).

There was at least one mission dad flew where the lead bombardier was WAY off—by several miles—when he dropped for the target. About half of the formation did not drop with him because the other bombardiers knew he was off. (The report said his intervalometer [sp] was calibrated incorrectly.) So the entire group flew to the alternate target and bombed it.

Ken
billrunnels
Division Member
RE: A crew Definition 2007/11/29 09:32:33
Bombardiers were used, depending on availability,  in other than lead aircraft at the 303rdBG until the end of the war.  We also used three bombardiers (lead, 1st and 2nd deputy lead) in each squadron.  Apparently, we were over staffed with bombardiers.
Guest
Division Member
RE: A crew Definition 2007/11/29 09:39:01
The only thing I can think of, is the short but significant, time differential. I left the states Dec, 1945 with a full crew, including a bombardier ang a new plane. We landed finally  in Bari, Italy, about Jan. 7th. we immediately were seperated from both the new plane, and our 'Bombardier. If we had arrived sooner, we might have flown a few missions with our bombardier, and he might have stayed with us til war's end. However, I am sure that most, if not all planes, were without bombardiers except for lead and deputy lead. As I stated, I was assigned a bombardier when I became lead. He came from a pool of bombardiers who's crews had cpmpleted their missions.
RHD 
jcrossed
Group Member
RE: A crew Definition 2007/11/29 14:05:56
My father's crew arrived in October and had their bombardier most of the time.
hkellerjr
MULESKINNER 5
RE: A crew Definition 2007/11/30 03:58:57
In discussions with my Father's Flight Engineer / Top Turret Gunner I have made the following observations:
 
-  Crew arived in England in July 1944.  Crew comprised of 10 men.  One gunner removed and placed in gunner's pool.  At the time of removal, gunner was "junior" member of crew.  Gunner flew two missions with crew (September 1944) before being rotated to Replacement Depot.  Crew averaged missions every 2 - 4 days.
 
-  Crew became lead crew in November 1944.   Crew averaged missions as lead crew every 2 to 7 days until being rotated back to states in March 1945 after completing 32 combat missions.
 
-  Concerning the Bombardier vice Togglier this may also have been tied to a shortage of Norton Bomb Sights in a particular theater.  My Father's Flight Engineer seems to remember a shortage of Norton Bomb Sights which resulted in folk becoming Toglier's. 
 
-  At August 2006, 452d BG Reunion I spoke with an individual who was trained and flew missions as a Navigator, but also underwent training as a Togglier.
 
-  Father's original crew always flew together from June 1944 - March 1945.  In November 1944 radar operator added to crew.  Radar operator was lost on 3 January 1945 when missioned to fly with another lead crew.