15 MAY 1941, Page 5


WRITING last week on the night-bomber I suggested that there might be a sudden leap in the figures of German losses, and that after the full moonlight-period was over we might be better able to draw conclusions. The full period in which moonlight gives effective assistance to our fighters is not over yet, but we have had the sudden leap, with Saturday night's 33 victims, and considerable discreet optimism seems justified. In spite of official reticence it seems safe to assume in this case that at least a to per cent. toll of the attack was taken. That will certainly not happen every time. It is more likely to happen in the case of a concentrated than of a diffused assault. But if it happens fairly often its deterrent effect— particularly in view of the loss of crews—may be substantial. And there is an increasing probability of its happening. The training of night-fighter pilots has not yet produced its real harvest. Some, the " cat's-eyes " men, have a natural faculty for spotting a bomber without artificial aid, others rely on the various devices which inventors are perfecting. Actually I believe a cat's-eyes man claims the largest total of night-victories, and an " instrument-man " the second, largest. One other enccuraging fact may be noted. German attacks on Britain are not increasing in volume, for all the devastation wrought last Saturday. British attacks on Germany are—both in numbers of machines and in weight of bombs.