When I was trained as a navigator 1950-51, we were taught how to lose ourselves using these monstrosoties. The sight is averaged by a clockwork motor so one has to keep the star or whatever in the bubble for that length of time. In an Anson bouncing about at a few thousand feet, not an easy task. We had to locate three stars and take a "three star fix" and plot out the resultant position line from each, transfer them forward to the time of the last star and so get the three lines to cross so as to form a "cocked hat" . by choosing stars nicely seperated one hoped to have a triangle plotted and one was somewhere within it. Reducing each sight entailed fumbling through the Air Almanac and a another great book of tables in order to produce each position line.
A very laborious procedure which we were expected to carry out within 20 minutes, i.e take 3 sights, and plot them out. I well remember the laugh with my roommate produced his chart. We did triangular flights in the Anson, roughly 100 miles each leg, his fix formed an excellent star of David with his tracks, so at least he was somewhere in the vicinity of where he was supposed to be.
Our poor bomber navs in the early part of the war had this tool as their main navaid, little wonder the Butt? enquiry found we were bombing the wrong towns, sometimes even the wrong country.
Sorry to be longwinded, I was extremely glad to be posted onto a night fighter squadron and escape such contraptions.
Last edited by PeterVerney; 14th February 2013 at 16:33.
Man is not lost. Only temporarily uncertain of his position.