416th Bombardment Group (L)
and Target Identifiers
Primary Target Latitude/Longitude Coordinates
Primary Target Latitude/Longitude coordinates have been identified for all 285 Combat Missions flown by the 416th Bomb Group and are included on the individual Mission web pages in both Decimal Degrees and Degrees, Minutes, Seconds format with a hyperlink to a Google Map display centered at the Latitude/Longitude.
Please be advised that these Latitude/Longitude coordinates are based on the identified Primary Targets. In cases where the Primary Target included multiple M.P.I. (Mean/Main Point of Impact) locations, only one M.P.I. was used to determine the Latitude/Longitude. Also on many Missions, the Primary Target was not actually bombed for a variety of reasons, so in these cases the defined Latitude/Longitude will not correspond to the bombed location.
Individual Mission Latitude/Longitude coordinates were identified via one the following methods:
416th Bombardment Group (BG) Combat Mission Targets where identified and referenced in a several different ways, including Target Codes, Numbers, Illustrations and Map References.
At a broad level, targets were often referred to by the nearest town and type of target (Airdrome, Railroad Bridge, Marshalling Yard, NOBALL, etc.). However, every mission was critical and was focused on one or more very specific target locations which were often only a few hundred to a few thousand square yards in size. Thus, the exact locations of the targets had to be clearly referenced.
Mission target Mean/Main Point of Impact (M.P.I.) or Aiming Point (A.P.) locations were usually referenced by a 6-digit Grid Coordinate Reference on a specific Target Illustration or based on the Modified British System grid coordinate system. The first 3 digits of the Grid Coordinate Reference represents the X-axis or West-East coordinate, the last 3 digits the Y-axis or North-South coordinate. These Grid Coordinate Reference values were only valid for the identified Target Illustration or a specific Modified British System 100 km quadrangle. In a few instances, the Grid Coordinate Reference was given as a more precise 8-digit number and in these cases, the first 4 digits were the X-axis coordinate and last 4 digits the Y-axis coordinate.
"XI" ("NOBALL") Target Codes
416th BG NOBALL Combat Mission Target Codes beginning with "XI/A/" followed by a number are Allied Central Interpretation Unit (ACIU) Plan No. R/41 V-weapon ("Vengeance Weapon") "'A' Constructional Works" launch site identifiers. Mission 90 NOBALL Target Code was "XI/E/3" and Target Type was "'E' Headquarters".
"NOBALL" ("No Ball") was the Allied codename for operational use of any German V-weapons, "Big Bend" for the V2 and "Diver" for the V1 (Henshall, 2002 p. 48). The four primary V-weapons were V1 (flying bomb or pilotless aircraft), the V2 long range rocket, Rheinbote ("Rh", "Rhine Messenger") solid-fuel rocket and Hochdruckpumpe ("HDP", "High Pressure Pump") Super-Gun (Henshall, 2002).
V1 launch sites were also referred to as "Ski-sites" due to long, narrow buildings with one end curved which "resembled giant skis laid on their sides" (Henshall, 2002 p. 27). Because Yvrench's Bois Carre was the first to be identified as a V1 launch site, subseqent sites were also often called "Bois Carre sites" (Williams, 2014 p. 157). The V1 flying bomb weapons were also nick-named "Doodlebug" or "Buzz Bomb" due to their distinctive sound. German Air Ministry ("Reichs LuftMinisterium" (RLM)) V1 codenames were "Flakzielgerat 76" or "FZG-76" (Flak target equipment) and "Kirschkern" (cherry stone) (Henshall, 2002 p. 1).
According to "V-Weapons (Crossbow) Campaign" the Allied code word "Crossbow" was used throughout the period of planning and operations as a convenient term for any matters relating to the attack on England by long range weapons, including all counter-measures against such attacks." Germany planned "Operation Eisbar" (Eisbar means "Polar bear" in German) with the aim of devastating London, England via the use of their new Vengeance Weapons.
The 416th BG flew 31 NOBALL Missions against V1 launch sites (including Mission 90 targeting "NOBALL 'E' Headquarters") in France, between 18-Mar-1944 and 5-Jul-1944, the first Mission #5 and last Mission #90.
"S" Target Codes
In addition to the 31 NOBALL Missions, 23 416th BG Missions having Target Codes begin with "S", followed by a period, followed by 3 or 4-digit numbers. The specific source for these Target Codes is not known at the present, but presumed to be a similar source to the NOBALL Target Codes.
Of these 23 "S" style Target Code Missions (Missions #29 to #68, flown between 26-Apr-1944 and 6-Jun-1944), 14 were Airdromes/Airfields (all in France) and 9 were Marshalling Yards (4 in Belgium, 5 in France).
"Target Operational Numbers"
416th BG Combat Mission Target Numbers beginning with "Z" are referred to as Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command (BC) "Target Operational Numbers", probably assigned in RAF BC target books (RAFCommands).
Example: Z-3115 - Mission #10, Bois des Huit Rues, France, NOBALL (XI/A/73), 10-Apr-1944
Most 416th BG Missions from March thru May, 1944 used the RAF Bomber Command "Target Operational Numbers" style Target Numbers. There were 64 416th BG Missions (First: #1, Last: #90) flown from 3-Mar-1944 to 5-Jul-1944 having these "Z" style identifiers.
"Tactical Target Dossier"
416th BG Combat Mission Target Numbers such as "4802W/H/4" are British Air Ministry "Tactical Target Dossier" identifiers (NARA. "Tactical Target Dossiers, 1943-1944").
Example: 4802W/H/4 - Mission #95, Rennes, France, Fuel Dump, 8-Jul-1944
Most 416th BG Missions from June thru August, 1944 used the "Tactical Target Dossier" style Target Numbers. The 416th BG flew 59 Missions (First: #11, Last: #178) from 10-Apr-1944 to 27-Dec-1944 which were identified using this style.
This style identifier is constructed via the following components (ArmyAirForces.com Forum): "4802W" refers to the 1 degree Latitude by 1 degree Longitude geographical area having south-west corner of 48 degrees North Latitude and 2 degrees West ("W") Longitude. "H" is a target category ("H" = "Fuel Dumps"). "4" the fourth target of the "H" category within the "4802W" geographical area.
"Modified British System"
416th BG Combat Mission Target Numbers beginning with one or two letters, followed by a 6-digit number are "Modified British System" map reference/coordinate codes and are well described at Overview of the "Modified British System" used on the European Theatre of Operations.
Example: M-448160 - Mission #239, Worms, Germany, Communications Center, 18-Mar-1945
Most 416th BG Missions from September, 1944 to the end of the war (May, 1945) used the "Modified British System" style Target Numbers. The 416th BG flew 137 Missions (First: #70, Last: #285) between 7-Jun-1944 and 3-May-1945 identified using this style.
416th BG Combat Mission Target Illustrations were typically Aerial Reconnaissance Photographs or Maps provided by the British Air Ministry and varied considerably in thier identification style. Most maps used in target referencing were produced by the Geographical Section, General Staff (GSGS, also known as MI 4) operated under the Director of Military Operations and Intelligence. (NARA. "Military maps of the Second World War")
As noted earlier, Mission target Mean/Main Point of Impact (M.P.I.) or Aiming Point (A.P.) locations were usually referenced by a 6-digit Grid Coordinate Reference on a specific Target Illustration or based on the Modified British System grid coordinate system. The first 3 digits of the Grid Coordinate Reference represents the X-axis or West-East coordinate, the last 3 digits the Y-axis or North-South coordinate. These Grid Coordinate Reference values were only valid for the identified Target Illustration or a specific Modified British System 100 km quadrangle.
Target Illustration Examples:
Illustration: XI/A/39/6 - Mission #17, Yvrench/Bois Carre and Petit Bois Tillencourt, France, NOBALL 13-Apr-1944
Illustration: S 898/8 - Mission #65, Chartres, France, Airdrome, 3-Jun-1944
Illustration: GSGS 4250 7F/2 NEG. NO 40933 - Mission #100, Giberville Area G, France, Strong Point, 18-Jul-1944
Illustration: 4906E/3/1 - Mission #158, Mayen, Germany, Railroad Bridge 14-Oct-1944