384th Glossary

Definitions, Jargon, etc.

  • AFCE: Automatic Flight Control Equipment - also known as "autopilot." When connected to the Gee-H or PFF equipment, AFCE would allow the Gee-H or PFF operator to guide the aircraft to the proper bomb release point. Wikipedia has more information on this system.
  • AR: Accident Report. A standard report compiled to report the damage to or loss of an aircraft, not due to combat. See also the MACRs & ARs page under this topic.
  • Carpetbagger: Code name for clandestine air operations from England by the Eight Air Force. These included delivery of materiel and supplies to resistance fighters in occupied territories, insertion and extraction of agents and evading personnel, as well as other activities not involving direct combat. These missions were flown at night from Harrington Airfield, AAF Station 179, a few miles west of Grafton Underwood.
  • CAVU: Ceiling And Visibility Unlimited. Refers to flying conditions that are unrestricted by clouds, haze, or other meteorological impediments to vision.
  • Composite (Wing, Group, Squadron): This term, used in describing combat formations, indicates that the relevant formation was comprised of aircraft from different bomb groups.
  • Dead-Reckoning Navigation: A means of navigation based on direction of travel, speed, and time. Wikipedia has more information on this method.
  • Gee-H, GH: A radio-navigation system, Gee-H depended on ground-based transmitters, and was limited by the range of the signals and the earth's curvature. It entered operational service in B-17s in mid-1944 with aircraft of the 41st Combat Wing. Significantly more accurate than PFF - but less accurate than the Norden bombsight - its dependence on ground stations limited use to targets within 170-200 miles of those locations. Wikipedia has more information on this system.
  • MACR: Missing Air Crew Report. A standart report used to report missing and unaccounted for personnel during air combat operations. See also the MACRs & ARs page under this topic.
  • PFF, H2S, H2X, or "Mickey": An airborne ground-imaging radar system with equipment carried entirely aboard the aircraft. Initially brought into operational service in 1943, it permitted attacks when targets were obscured by clouds or smoke screens. The British-developed H2S system used frequencies around 3GHz, while the American-developed H2X used frequencies around 10GHz. The higher frequency produced higher-resolution images, such as within cities, and enabled better identification of "pin-point" target areas. Due to the primitive state-of-the-art, bombing results were not as accurate as using the Norden bombsight. Wikipedia has more information on this system.
  • Pilotage Navigation: A means of air navigation involving observation of the ground below, and comparing it to maps/charts to determine the position of an aircraft in relation to the desired course or destination. Wikipedia has more information on this technique.
  • POL: Petroleum, Oil, Lubricants. These were key strategic materials in WWII, and were the focus of the "Oil Campaign."
  • Provisional: This designation is used to identify military units that are formed in the theater of conflict, as compared to units having been formed in the USA and transferred overseas.
  • RDF: Radio Direction-Finding is a means of obtaining a current position of an aircraft by measuring the direction to two known radio transmitters. Maximum precision is obtained when the directions to the two transmitters are 90° apart. Wikipedia has more information on this method.
  • Target of Opportunity, or TOO: This term signifies a target of attack that was not specifically identified in the mission plan.
  • ZI: Zone of the Interior refers to the 48 contiguous states of the United States. Personnel headed there after completing a tour were said to be "ZI-ing."