Like pilots, cadets who trained to be bombardiers and navigators were assigned to different air fields for different phases of their training. They had preflight, gunnery and either bombardier or navigator training, or both.
Here are the phases of bombardier and navigator training as they were in 1944, adapted from The Official Guide to the Army Air Forces (New York: Pocket Books, Inc., May 1944).
Preflight School: 10 week course. Trainees attend the same preflight school. Both bombardiers and navigators take 48 hours of code; 28 hours of mathematics; 24 hours of maps and charts; 30 hours of aircraft recognition; 12 hours of aero-physics; 9 hours of altitude equipment.
Gunnery School: 6 week course. Because every bomber crew member must be an expert gunner, navigator and bombardier trainees are sent to a flexible gunnery school after preflight school. They learn weapons, ballistics, turret operation and maintenance; gun repairs; air, sea and land recognition; shooting from a moving base and from a turret; firing from the air at ground objects, at tow targets and at other planes with a gun camera. After gunnery school bombardier and navigator trainees separate and each takes a specialized advanced course.
Bombardier School: 20 week course. Following gunnery school, bombardier trainees spend 120 hours in AT-11 training planes on practice bombing runs and 718 hours in ground school. The latter consists of: navigation, 96 hours; bombing, 388 hours; navigation and bombing and related training (code, meteorology, air and sea recognition), 234 hours. At the conclusion of the course trainees are awarded bombardier’s silver wings, appointed flight officers or commissioned 2nd lieutenants, and sent on to unit training.
Navigator School: 20 week course. Following gunnery school navigator trainees spend 104 hours in the air on practical navigation problems, and 782 hours in ground school. The latter includes: pilotage, 8 hours; instruments, 83 hours; dead reckoning, 54 hours; radio, 8 hours; code and recognition, 9 hours each. Upon completing the course, trainees are awarded navigator’s wings, appointed flight officers or commissioned 2nd lieutenants, and advanced to unit training.
Bombardier-Navigator School: 12 week course. Each month a specified number of graduate navigators (180 monthly on March 1, 1944) receive full bombardier’s training, excluding navigation in which they are already proficient. Bombardier-navigator training provides the doubly-trained officers needed for B-29s and for lead planes in medium bomber missions.