Who Calibrated the Norden Bombsight?

Shown: Due to the excellence of these 390th Bomb Group Bomb sight technicians, not once in 301 missions was a failure of 390th bombing equipment registered.

For every WWII heavy bomber air crew, there were at least twenty people on the ground supporting each mission. These workers included strategists, ground crews, ordnance workers, mess hall cooks, photographers, base defenders, and technologists.

The complex Norden Bomb sight was an analog computer used by bomber crews during World War II designed to solve the mathematics of dropping bombs from high altitude. This device, like all other technological components, required calibration and repair by highly trained technicians. These workers were essential to the success and morale of the air crews.

Norden Bombsight Technicians

Behind the brilliant results achieved by the 390th Group’s bombardiers were twenty-two men, accomplished technicians, who serviced the Group’s seventy-odd bomb sights and maintained the automatic pilot devices on the bombers. In the relative secrecy of the bombsight vault they worked night and day to insure the accuracy of the Group’s attacks. The slightest malfunction of any of the precision instruments with which they worked easily might have nullified all the efforts which were coordinated in putting 390th planes over enemy targets.

Not once in 301 missions against the enemy was a failure of bombing equipment registered. This record won the Bronze Star Medal for Capt. John Cochrane, Group bomb sight officer. In the Group vault Lt. Daniel Constant, whose superior work resulted in promotion from master sergeant to second lieutenant, perfected a bomb release which increased the accuracy of the bombing pattern. He received the Legion of Merit for this innovation, which was adopted by the Third Air Division and used effectively against vital German installations. Capt. Harold Van Horn, who later became a Squadron armament officer, directed maintenance of auto-pilot equipment for many months.

Source: The Story of the 390th Bombardment Group (H) (aka Blue Book), pp. 320, 321
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