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Blind Bombing: “Mickey”

Black smoke boils up through cloud cover from oil refineries at Hamburg, Germany, after an Eighth Air Force blind bombing attack on October 25, 1944.

Black smoke boils up through cloud cover from oil refineries at Hamburg, Germany, after an Eighth Air Force blind bombing attack on October 25, 1944.

During the frequently cloudy conditions over Europe, USAAF bombers could not bomb visually.  In these conditions, USAAF heavy bombers used a radar system called H2X and code-named “Mickey.” 


Mickey-equipped “pathfinder” aircraft gave formations the signal to bomb.  On B-24 pathfinders, the H2X radome replaced the ball turret. 


B-17 pathfinder Mickey station—the circular scope in the middle is the display screen.  H2X was developed from the RAF’s night bombing system and first used by the USAAF in early 1944.


H2X screen showing the Dutch coast southwest of Rotterdam—land is indicated by white.  Although Mickey was not as accurate as visual bombing, it permitted strategic attacks to continue in spite of bad weather.


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Return to the B-17F Memphis Belle Fact Sheet

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