73 Operational Training Unit

About This Unit

RAF OTU were the last stage of training for aircrew before being assigned to an operational unit in NW Europe and other RAF theatres of war. By this stage, individuals had 'crewed up' (ie formed and trained as a crew in the aircraft type they were to fly in combat operations) with the other men who were to make up their crew with whom they would fly until separated by death injury illness or re-posting. In some cases, OTU detached aircraft to take part in actual operations, notably the first "Thousand Bomber Raid" on Cologne in May 1942. Loss rates in training were high due to inexperience, crowded airspace, often poor weather, and even enemy action over the United Kingdom.

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