Author(s): Sean Feast
The Pathfinders were the corps d'elite of Bomber Command, the command that had been leading the fight back against Germany even before the fall of France in 1940. Formed in July 1942, the Pathfinder force was tasked with marking targets and leading bomber formations to the right place at the right time in order to cause maximum devastation to the enemy. Pathfinder crews consisted of members who had flown a minimum of 45 operational sorties and while they were no doubt the best of the best, the force was made up of individuals from all ranks and backgrounds. Even amongst these elite there were gods, and these took the form of the master bombers.The Master Bomber, as the name suggests, was the aircraft in charge of the whole attack, it was the Master Bomber who determined the accuracy of the target indicators dropped by the primary visual markers, and what further marking or illumination was required. It was the Master Bomber that would transmit instructions over VHF radio to the main force telling them what coloured markers to ignore and what to bomb, exhorting them on to greater consistency.