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Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary


Campaign Diary
August 1944

 

1 August 1944

777 aircraft - 385 Lancasters, 324 Halifaxes, 67 Mosquitos, 1 Lightning - to attack numerous V-weapon targets but only 79 aircraft were able to bomb; Bomber Command records do not state why the remaining sorties were abortive but poor weather conditions were the probable cause. No aircraft lost.

2 August 1944

394 aircraft - 234 Lancasters, 99 Halifaxes, 40 Mosquitos, 20 Stirlings, 1 Lightning - attacked 1 flying bomb launch site and 3 supply sites. Visibility was clear at all targets and good bombing results were claimed. 2 Lancasters of No 5 Group lost from the raid on the Bois de Cassan supply site.

54 Lancasters of Nos 1 and 8 Groups attacked German naval vessels in the port area of Le Havre in good visibility conditions and without loss.

3 August 1944

1,114 aircraft - 601 Lancasters, 492 Halifaxes, 21 Mosquitos - carried out major raids on the Bois de Cassan, Forêt de Nieppe and Trossy St Maxim flying-bomb stores. The weather was clear and all raids were successful. 6 Lancasters lost, 5 from the Trossy St Maxim raid and 1 from the Bois de Cassan raid. 1 Lightning and 1 RCM aircraft accompanied the raids.

4 August 1944

291 aircraft - 169 Halifaxes, 112 Lancasters, 10 Mosquitos - of Nos 6 and 8 Groups attacked the Bois de Cassan and Trossy St Maxim flying bomb sites in clear visibility. 2 Halifaxes of No 6 Group were lost on the Bois de Cassan raid and 2 Lancasters on the Trossy St Maxim raid.

A posthumous Victoria Cross was later awarded to Squadron Leader IW Bazalgette of No 635 Squadron, captain of one of the aircraft lost on the all-No 8 Group raid on Trossy St Maxim. Bazalgette's Lancaster was hit by flak and set on fire while approaching the target but the pilot carried on to release his markers and bombs on the target. (The statement in the VC citation that Bazalgette was Master Bomber for this raid is not correct, although he had acted as Master Bomber on earlier raids.) On leaving the target, the Lancaster dived steeply, almost out of control, but the pilot was able to recover from this and 4 members of his crew were able to bale out. Bazalgette then made a good crash-landing in an attempt to save his wounded bomb aimer and the mid-upper gunner who was overcome by fumes or smoke, but the Lancaster exploded and all 3 men still inside were killed. Squadron Leader Bazalgette and his 2 comrades are buried at the small village of Senantes.

288 Lancasters of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups attacked Bec-d'Ambes and Pauillac oil stores in clear conditions and without loss. 27 Serrate Mosquitos were used as escorts to the bombers attacking these 2 targets; this was the first use of No 100 Group Mosquito fighters in this way. They did not encounter any German fighters.

27 Lancasters, 2 Mosquitos and 1 Mustang of No 617 Squadron attacked a railway bridge at Étaples. Some hits were scored but the 1,000-lb bombs used failed to destroy the bridge. No aircraft lost.

3 Mosquitos attacked the Forêt de Nieppe storage site without loss.

4/5 August 1944

Minor Operations 12 Halifaxes minelaying off Brest, 29 aircraft on Resistance operations, 11 OTU sorties. 1 Halifax and 1 Lysander lost on Resistance operations.

5 August 1944

742 aircraft - 469 Halifaxes, 257 Lancasters, 16 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 5, 6 and 8 Groups attacked the Forêt de Nieppe and St Leu d'Esserent storage sites. Bombing conditions were good. 1 Halifax lost from the St Leu d'Esserent raid.

31 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of No 8 Group attempted to carry out small 'Oboe leader' raids on 4 launching sites but only 9 aircraft succeeded in bombing. None lost.

306 Lancasters of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups attacked oil storage targets on the River Gironde at Blaye, Bordeaux and Pauillac with excellent results. 1 Lancaster was lost from the Pauillac raid. 30 Mosquitos of No 100 Group escorted these forces without loss.

15 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos of No 617 Squadron attacked the U-boat pens at Brest and scored 6 direct hits with Tallboys. 1 Lancaster shot down by flak.

14 Lancasters of No 5 Group again attacked the railway bridge at Étaples but the target was soon obscured by smoke and dust and no results could be seen. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the day: 1,148 sorties, 3 aircraft (0.3 per cent) lost.

5/6 August 1944

35 Mosquitos attacked the synthetic-oil plant at Wanne-Eickel without loss. The markers appeared to be well placed and 2 fires were observed.

2 RCM sorties, 3 Halifaxes minelaying off Brest, 6 aircraft on Resistance operations, 5 OTU sorties. No losses.

6 August 1944

222 aircraft - 107 Lancasters, 105 Halifaxes, 10 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 5 and 8 Groups attacked the Bois de Cassan and Forêt de Nieppe V-weapon sites. 1 Lightning accompanied the Bois de Cassan operation. The bombing at both targets was scattered. Some markers at Forêt de Nieppe were not accurate and some of the Master Bomber's instructions at Bois de Cassan were misunderstood, resulting in more than half of the bombing force there retaining their bombs. 3 Lancasters were lost on the Bois de Cassan raid.

62 aircraft - 51 Halifaxes, 6 Lancasters, 5 Mosquitos - of 4 and 8 Groups bombed the railway centre at Hazebrouck. The attack opened well but the target became obscured by smoke. 1 Halifax lost.

12 Lancasters and 3 Mosquitos of No 617 Squadron bombed the U-boat pens at Lorient without loss. 2 direct hits were scored.

6/7 August 1944

40 Mosquitos attacked the synthetic-oil plant at Castrop-Rauxel; a large fire was seen. 1 Mosquito lost.

7 Mosquitos to Cologne and 4 to the Forêt de Nieppe, 14 RCM sorties, 10 Lancasters of No 8 Group on a special operation in support of ground troops, described as 'a recce of target marking by ground forces in the battle area', 10 Mosquito patrols, 12 Stirlings minelaying off Brest, 22 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 Stirling minelayer lost.

7 August 1944

25 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos of No 5 Group recalled from a raid on U-boat pens at Lorient without bombing; 1 Wellington flew an RCM sortie. No aircraft lost.

7/8 August 1944

1,019 aircraft - 614 Lancasters, 392 Halifaxes, 13 Mosquitos - attacked five aiming points in front of Allied ground troops in Normandy. The attacks were carefully controlled - only 660 aircraft bombed and German strong points and the roads around them were well cratered. 10 aircraft - all Lancasters - were lost, 7 to German fighters, 2 to flak and 1 to an unknown cause.

4 Mosquitos to Coulommiers airfield, 48 RCM sorties, 11 Mosquito patrols, 18 Halifaxes and 11 Stirlings minelaying off Brest, 6 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 1,117 sorties, 10 aircraft (0.9 per cent) lost.

8 August 1944

202 aircraft - 148 Halifaxes, 49 Lancasters, 5 Mosquitos - of 6 and 8 Groups attacked an oil-storage dump at Forêt De Chantilly which was hit and fires were started. 1 Halifax lost in the sea.

58 Halifaxes and 20 Mosquitos of 4 and 8 Groups attacked 4 launching sites; the bombing was accurate. 1 Halifax lost.

8/9 August 1944

170 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups attacked depots and storage dumps at Aire sur Lys and the Forêt de Lucheux. Both raids were successful. 1 Lancaster lost from the Forêt de Lucheux raid.

34 Mosquitos to Cologne, 11 RCM sorties, 18 Mosquito patrols, 24 aircraft minelaying off Brittany ports, 15 aircraft on Resistance operations. 2 aircraft, probably Halifaxes, lost from the Resistance operations.

9 August 1944

172 aircraft - 114 Halifaxes, 35 Mosquitos, 23 Lancasters - of 4 and 8 Groups attacked 7 launching sites. Visibility was clear and all raids were successful. 3 Halifaxes lost.

160 aircraft - 147 Halifaxes, 8 Lancasters, 5 Mosquitos - of 4 and 8 Groups attacked a fuel-storage dump at Forêt De Mormal. A large column of thick smoke was rising from the target at the end of the raid. No aircraft lost.

29 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos of No 5 Group. 17 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito attacked an oil depot and 12 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron and 1 Mosquito attacked the U-boat pens at La Pallice but smoke and haze prevented observation of results at both targets. No aircraft lost.

2 Halifaxes and 2 Wellingtons flew RCM sorties without loss.

9/10 August 1944

311 aircraft- 171 Lancasters, 115 Halifaxes, 25 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups attacked 4 launching sites and the Fort-d'Englos storage site. All targets were accurately bombed and no aircraft were lost.

176 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitos of No 1 and 5 Groups successfully attacked an oil-storage dump at Forêt De Chatellerault. 2 Lancasters lost.

3 Mosquitos to Osnabrück, 21 RCM sorties, 40 Mosquito patrols, 16 Mosquitos minelaying in the Dortmund-Ems Canal and 10 Lancasters minelaying off Biscay ports, 20 aircraft on Resistance operations, 15 OTU sorties. No aircraft lost.

10 August 1944

98 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups attacked aviation-fuel storage tanks at Dugny, near Paris. The bombing started badly but then became concentrated. No aircraft lost.

60 Lancasters of No 1 Group and 20 Pathfinder Mosquitos attempted to bomb a flying-bomb site at Ferme du Forestal but cloud caused difficulties and only 17 Mosquitos and 13 Lancasters attacked, possibly because the No 1 Group aircraft were unused to the Oboe-leader technique. No aircraft lost.

4 Wellingtons flew RCM sorties without loss.

10/11 August 1944

215 aircraft - 109 Lancasters, 101 Halifaxes, 5 Mosquitos - of 5, 6 and 8 Groups attacked oil depots at Bordeaux and La Pallice successfully and without loss.

104 Halifaxes of No 4 Group and 20 Lancasters of Nos 1 and 8 Groups attacked a railway junction and the railway yards at Dijon; much damage was caused. 2 Halifaxes were lost and a further Halifax crashed or crash-landed in the liberated part of Normandy.

32 Mosquitos to Berlin, 3 Lancasters of No 8 Group to Bremen, 8 RCM sorties, 37 Mosquito patrols, 12 Lancasters minelaying off Biscay ports, 8 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

The 3 Pathfinder Lancasters which bombed Bremen were the first Lancaster Mark VIs flown on operations by Bomber Command and they dropped the Command's first 10,000lb bombs.

11 August 1944

459 aircraft - 270 Lancasters, 169 Halifaxes, 20 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 3, 4 and 8 Groups attacked 3 railway yards and 1 bridge. Forces of between 133 and 142 aircraft attacked Douai, Lens and Somain; the bombing at these targets started well but ground features rapidly became covered by smoke and dust. 1 Halifax lost on the Somain raid. 49 aircraft attacked the Étaples railway bridge without loss and claimed direct hits on the bridge.

53 Lancasters and 3 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked U-boat pens at Bordeaux and La Pallice with 2,000lb armour-piercing bombs, but examination of the pens after their capture a few weeks later showed that these bombs could not penetrate the roofs. 6 Mosquito fighters of No 100 Group provided a partial escort cover for the Bordeaux raid but no German fighters were encountered. No aircraft lost.

40 Halifaxes of No 4 Group and 20 Pathfinder Mosquitos attacked 4 launching sites. Visibility was clear; the bombing was accurate and no aircraft were lost.

11/12 August 1944

179 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups carried out an exceptionally accurate attack on the railway yards at Givors. No aircraft lost.

33 Mosquitos to Berlin and 2 to Trossy St Maxim, 9 RCM sorties, 28 Mosquito patrols, 8 Stirlings and 6 Lancasters minelaying off Biscay ports, 14 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 Mosquito lost from the Berlin raid.

12 August 1944

117 aircraft - 95 Halifaxes, 16 Lancasters, 6 Mosquitos - of 6 and 8 Groups attacked a fuel dump at Forêt De Montrichard, which was soon covered by a thick pall of smoke. No aircraft lost.

68 Lancasters of No 1 Group and 2 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked pens at Brest, La Pallice and Bordeaux without loss. A U-boat was believed to have been hit at La Pallice. 8 Mosquitos of No 100 Group provided a fighter escort. 1 Wellington flew an RCM sortie.

12/13 August 1944

Brunswick: 242 Lancasters and 137 Halifaxes. 17 Lancasters and 10 Halifaxes lost, 7.1 per cent of the force. This was an experimental raid. No Pathfinder aircraft took part and there was no marking. The intention was to discover how successfully a force of aircraft could carry out a raid with each crew bombing on the indications of its own H2S set. The raid was not successful and there was no concentration of bombing. The Brunswick report calls it a 'heavy raid' but only states that bombs fell in the central and Stadtpark areas. Other towns, up to 20 miles distant, were mistaken for Brunswick and were also bombed.

297 aircraft - 191 Lancasters, 96 Halifaxes, 10 Mosquitos - to Rüsselsheim. 13 Lancasters and 7 Halifaxes lost, 6.7 per cent of the force. The target for this raid was the Opel motor factory and normal Pathfinder marking methods were used. The motor factory was only slightly damaged; the local report states that the tyre and dispatch departments and the powerhouse were hit but most of the bombs fell in open countryside south of the target.

144 aircraft - 91 Lancasters, 36 Halifaxes, 12 Stirlings, 5 Mosquitos - bombed a German troop concentration and a road junction north of Falaise. The bombing was believed to have been very effective. No aircraft lost.

40 Halifaxes and 12 Mosquitos bombed 2 launching sites and a storage depot. No aircraft lost.

Support and 143 training aircraft on a diversionary sweep over the English Channel, 21 Mosquitos to Kiel, 10 to Frankfurt and 3 each to Coulommiers and Juvincourt airfields, 33 RCM sorties, 47 Mosquito patrols, 10 Lancasters and 4 Halifaxes minelaying off Biscay ports, 21 OTU sorties. 2 Mosquitos lost - 1 from the Frankfurt raid and 1 Mosquito of No 100 Group, probably a Serrate aircraft.

Total effort for the night: 1,167 sorties, 49 aircraft (4.2 per cent) lost. The bombs dropped during this night brought Bomber Command's total for the war so far to approximately 500,000 tons.

Brunswick
Extensive damage to the huge Krupps armament works at Brunswick.
WAAFs Play Their Part
A Lancaster of No 49 Squadron is towed out in prepartion for the night's mission from Fiskerton on August 12. The tractor is driven by one of the many WAAFs who served with great distinction on Bomber Command bases carrying out vital support tasks. A WAAF plotter (possibly from a Pathfinder station).

13 August 1944

28 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito of No 5 Group attacked the U-boat pens and shipping at Brest. Hits were claimed on the pens, on the hulk of an old French battleship, the Clémenceau, and on a medium-sized tanker. The object of the attacks on ships was to prevent the Germans using any of the large ships in Brest to block the harbour just before its capture by American troops. 1 Lancaster lost.

15 Lancasters of No 5 Group bombed an oil depot at Bordeaux accurately. 1 Lancaster lost.

8 Mosquito fighters and 1 RCM Wellington of No 100 Group flew operations without loss.

13/14 August 1944

30 Mosquitos to Hannover, 22 RCM sorties, 15 Mosquito patrols, 10 Halifaxes and 5 Lancasters minelaying off Biscay ports, 4 Halifaxes on Resistance operations, 9 OTU sorties.

No aircraft lost.

14 August 1944

805 aircraft - 411 Lancasters, 352 Halifaxes, 42 Mosquitos - to attack 7 German troop positions facing the 3rd Canadian Division, which was advancing on Falaise. 2 Lancasters lost. A careful plan was prepared with Oboe and visual marking, and with a Master Bomber and a deputy at each of the 7 targets. Most of the bombing was accurate and effective but, about half-way through the raids, some aircraft started to bomb a large quarry in which parts of the 12th Canadian Field Regiment were positioned. This mistake may have been caused by the yellow identification flares which were ignited by the Canadians. It was unfortunate that the target indicators being used by the Pathfinders were also yellow. Bomber Command crews claimed that the Canadians used the yellow flares before any bombs fell in the quarry; the history of the Canadian units says the bombs fell first. The Master Bombers tried hard to stop further crews bombing in the wrong area but approximately 70 aircraft bombed the quarry and other nearby Allied positions over a 70-minute period. The Canadians took shelter in their slit trenches and most emerged unscathed though shaken, but 13 men were killed and 53 were injured and a large number of vehicles and guns were hit. This was believed to have been the first occasion on which Bomber Command aircraft had hit friendly troops during the Battle of Normandy. The Canadian artillery regiment was machine-gunned by RAF Spitfires and USAAF Mustangs the following day!

155 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitos of No 5 Group made two separate attacks on ships in Brest harbour. The Clemenceau and the cruiser Gueydon were both hit and were believed left sinking in 'safe' positions which would not hinder Allied use of the port when American troops took possession. The Allied forces were anxious to capture a good port to which supplies and reinforcements for the land battle could be brought in directly from the United States. 2 Lancasters were lost.

Details of the Canadian side of the bombing come from Into Action with the 12th Field by Captain TJ Bell (published privately in Canada} and from the personal reminiscences of former Lance-Corporal George R Carter of the 12th Canadian Field Regiment. George Carter's brother, Flying Officer Roy E Carter of No 431 Squadron, was a Bomber Command navigator whose Halifax had been shot down over Holland on the Sterkrade raid of 16/17 June 1944. Roy Carter baled out successfully but, while he was being hidden by Dutch civilians in a house at Tilburg, he was discovered by Germans on 8 July and shot, together with a Pathfinder pilot and an Australian airman. The bloodstained Dutch flag which covered the bodies after their death was brought to England in 1983 and placed in the No 83 Squadron Memorial Chapel in Coningsby parish church.

1 Wellington flew an RCM sortie.

Total effort for the day: 965 sorties, 4 aircraft (0.4 per cent) lost.

14/15 August 1944

32 Mosquitos to Berlin, 2 to Sterkrade oil plant and 2 to St Trond airfield, 1 RCM sortie, 8 Halifaxes and 6 Lancasters minelaying off Biscay ports, 4 aircraft on Resistance operations, 7 OTU sorties. No losses.

15 August 1944

1,004 aircraft - 599 Lancasters, 385 Halifaxes, 19 Mosquitos, 1 Lightning - attacked 9 airfields in Holland and Belgium in preparation for a renewed night offensive against Germany. Visibility was perfect and all raids were considered successful. 3 Lancasters lost.

1 Wellington flew an RCM sortie.

The invasion of Southern France started in the early hours of this day. The landings were only lightly opposed and the Allied troops advanced rapidly. The Allied break- out from Normandy was also taking place at this time.

Belgian Airfield Attacks
One of the enemy airfields attacked during today's raids was this one at Brussels-Holsmoek. Whilst this one at St Trond-Brustem suffered to an even greater extent.

15/16 August 1944

32 Mosquitos to Berlin, 8 to Venlo airfield and 9 to various Ruhr targets, 1 RCM sortie, 7 Mosquito patrols, 6 Halifaxes minelaying off La Pallice. No aircraft lost.

16 August 1944

25 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito of No 5 Group to attack the U-boat pens at La Pallice found the target was cloud-covered and only 3 aircraft bombed. 1 Wellington RCM sortie was flown. No aircraft lost.

16/17 August 1944

461 Lancasters to attack the port and industrial areas at Stettin. 5 Lancasters lost. Bomber Command claimed an accurate attack, with much damage in the port and factory area.

348 aircraft - 195 Lancasters, 144 Halifaxes, 9 Mosquitos - to Kiel. 3 Halifaxes and 2 Lancasters lost. This raid was only partially successful.

Support and 145 aircraft from training units on diversionary sweep over the North Sea, 23 Mosquitos to Berlin, 5 to Deelen airfield and 3 each to Dortmund, Kamen and Sterkrade, 33 RCM sorties, 47 Mosquito patrols, 89 aircraft minelaying in the Baltic and in Kiel Bay and 4 in the River Gironde, 24 OTU sorties. 6 aircraft lost - 3 Halifaxes minelaying in Kiel Bay and 2 Lancasters off Swinemünde, and 1 OTU Wellington.

Total effort for the night: 1,188 sorties, 16 aircraft (1.3 per cent) lost.

17 August 1944

79 Halifaxes of No 4 Group were sent to bomb shipping in the port area of Brest but the target area was covered by 7-10/10ths cloud. Only 54 aircraft bombed and no results were observed. No aircraft lost.

17/18 August 1944

55 OTU Wellingtons and 14 RCM aircraft carried out a sweep over the North Sea without loss. This type of operation was now being flown on some nights when no major raid was being carried out, in order to draw up the German fighters and cause them to waste fuel. These sweeps were, therefore, part diversionary to confuse the German controllers but also part of the campaign against German oil supplies.

37 Mosquitos to Mannheim and 3 each to Dortmund, Kamen and Sterkrade, 15 RCM sorties, 14 Mosquito patrols, 12 Halifaxes minelaying off Biscay coasts, 4 aircraft on Resistance operations, 2 OTU leaflet sorties. No aircraft lost.

18 August 1944

158 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked a German supply depot at L'Isle-Adam near Paris. 2 Lancasters lost.

64 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos to oil-storage depots at Bordeaux and Ertvelde Rieme, near Ghent, 16 Halifaxes and 16 Lancasters to 7 small flying-bomb sites, 23 Lancasters to La Pallice U-boat pens. 2 Lancasters lost on the flying-bomb site raid.

18/19 August 1944

Bremen: 288 aircraft - 216 Lancasters, 65 Halifaxes, 7 Mosquitos. 1 Lancaster lost. Visibility over the target was clear and the Pathfinders provided perfect marking throughout the raid. Bremen's own records show this to have been the most destructive raid of the war, although only 274 aircraft attacked, dropping just over 1,100 tons of bombs. The whole of the centre and the north-western parts of Bremen, including the port area, were devastated.

234 aircraft - 210 Halifaxes, 14 Mosquitos, 10 Lancasters - mainly from No 4 Group, to attack the synthetic oil plant at Stekrade. 1 Halifax and 1 Lancaster lost. Bomber Command documents state that the raid was successful and that the plant was seriously damaged.

144 aircraft - 122 Halifaxes, 18 Lancasters, 4 Mosquitos of Nos 6 and 8 Groups attacked Connantre (between Paris and Reims). No aircraft lost. The target here was a railway station and yards 70 miles east of Paris. The Pathfinder marking was accurate and much damage was caused. This raid marked the end of the long series of attacks on the French and Belgian railway systems.

108 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups attacked and caused severe damage to the oil depot and storage tanks at Ertvelde Rieme to the north of Ghent. No aircraft lost.

Support and 139 training aircraft on a diversionary sweep to the Normandy area, 21 Mosquitos to Berlin and 19 to five other targets, 33 RCM sorties, 62 Mosquito patrols, 11 Halifaxes minelaying off Biscay ports, 5 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 Mosquito lost on a raid to Harburg.

Total effort for the night: 1,069 sorties, 4 aircraft (0.4 per cent) lost.

Oil storage facilities at Ghent destroyed
The remains of what was an oil store and depot on the banks of the Terneuzen Canal near Ghent after two raids by Bomber Command .

19 August 1944

52 Lancasters of No 5 Group attempted to bomb two groups of oil-storage tanks at La Pallice but the targets were difficult to identify and the effects of the bombing could not be seen. No aircraft lost.

1 Wellington of No 100 Group carried out a 'signals watch' flight.

20 August 1944

3 Mosquitos on Ranger patrols and 1 Wellington on 'signals watch'. No aircraft lost.

20/21 August 1944

7 aircraft minelaying off La Pallice without loss.

23/24 August 1944

46 Mosquitos attacked Cologne, whose local report mentions the heavy damage caused by 13 4,000lb bombs which fell in residential areas with 721 domestic and 64 commercial or industrial buildings being destroyed or damaged, though 571 of them were only slightly damaged. 1 gasometer was blown up.

8 other Mosquitos attacked Homberg, Castrop-Rauxel and Venlo airfield. Not aircraft lost.

24 August 1944

53 Halifaxes of No 4 Group attacked shipping in Brest harbour. 22 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito of No 5 Group bombed E-boat pens at Ijmuiden. Both raids were successful and no aircraft were lost.

24/25 August 1944

6 Halifaxes minelaying off La Pallice without loss.

25 August 1944

161 aircraft - 140 Halifaxes, 16 Lancasters, 5 Mosquitos - attacked 5 launching or storage sites in the Pas de Calais with varying results. 2 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster lost.

25/26 August 1944

412 Lancasters of Nos 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups attacked the Opel motor factory at Rüsselsreim. 15 Lancasters were lost, 3.6 per cent of the force. The Pathfinder marking was accurate and the raid was successfully completed in 10 minutes. An official German report. says that the forge and the gearbox assembly departments were put out of action for several weeks, but 90 per cent of the machine tools in other departments escaped damage. The assembly line and part of the pressworks were able to recommence work 2 days later and lorry assembly was unaffected because of considerable stocks of ready-made parts.

190 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos of No 5 Group to Darmstadt which had not been seriously attacked by Bomber Command before. 7 Lancasters lost. This 'No 5 Group method' raid was a failure. The Master Bomber had to return early; his 2 deputies were shot down; the flares were dropped too far west and the low-level Mosquito marker aircraft could not locate the target. 95 buildings were hit and 8 people were killed by the scattered bombs which did hit Darmstadt. 33 of the Lancasters bombed other targets, including at least 13 aircraft which joined in the successful raid on nearby Rüsselsheim.

334 aircraft - 284 Halifaxes, 32 Lancasters, 18 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups attacked 8 coastal battery positions near Brest. Most of the bombing was accurate. 1 Halifax and 1 Lancaster lost.

Support and 2 Mosquitos in preliminary reconnaissance of targets, 182 training aircraft on a diversionary sweep over the North Sea, 36 Mosquitos to Berlin and 22 to five other targets, 47 RCM sorties, 68 Mosquito patrols, 6 Halifaxes minelaying off La Pallice, 6 aircraft on Resistance operations. This was the first occasion on which No 100 Group dispatched more than 100 aircraft. 1 RCM Fortress lost.

Total effort for the night: 1,311 sorties, 25 aircraft (1.9 per cent) lost and 8 more aircraft crashed in England, including 3 OTU Wellingtons from the diversionary sweep. The total effort for this night was a new record for Bomber Command, exceeding by exactly 100 the number of aircraft dispatched on 5/6 June, the eve of D-Day.

Brest
The harbour at Brest was the subject of many attacks by Bomber Command during this month, but the enemy also attempted to destroy as much of the harbour as possible before being forced to leave in an effort to make it unusable for Allied shipping. Another view of the enemy's attempts to render Brest unusable.

26/27 August 1944

372 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups despatched to Kiel. 17 Lancasters lost, 4.6 per cent of the Lancaster force. The Pathfinder marking was hampered by smoke-screens but the local report tells of a very serious raid with heavy bombing in the town centre and surrounding districts and widespread fires fanned by a strong wind. The Rathaus was completely burnt out and many other public buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged.

174 Lancasters of No 5 Group to Königsberg, which was an important supply port for the German Eastern Front. The route to the target was 950 miles from the No 5 Group bases. Photographic reconnaissance showed that the bombing fell in the eastern part of the town but no report is available from the target, now Kaliningrad in Lithuania. 4 Lancasters lost.

Support and 108 training aircraft on a diversionary sweep to Normandy, 21 Mosquitos to Berlin, 13 to Hamburg and 12 to five other targets, 19 RCM sorties, 70 Mosquito patrols, 30 Lancasters and 15 Halifaxes minelaying off Danzig and Kiel. 7 aircraft lost - 5 Lancaster minelayers, 1 Mosquito RCM aircraft and 1 Mosquito Serrate aircraft.

Total effort for the night: 844 sorties, 28 aircraft (3.3 per cent) lost.

27 August 1944

243 aircraft - 216 Halifaxes of No 4 Group and 14 Mosquitos and 13 Lancasters of No 8 Group - were dispatched on a historic raid to Homberg, the first major raid by Bomber Command to Germany in daylight since 12 August 1941, when 54 Blenheims had attacked power-stations near Cologne for the loss of 10 aircraft. This raid was escorted by 9 squadrons of Spitfires on the outward flight and 7 squadrons on the withdrawal. 1 Me110 was seen; the Spitfires drove it off. There was intense flak over the target but no bombers were lost. The target was the Rheinpreussen synthetic-oil refinery at Meerbeck. The bombing was based on Oboe marking but 5-8/10ths cloud produced difficult conditions, though some accurate bombing was claimed through gaps in the clouds.

226 aircraft - 176 Halifaxes, 40 Lancasters, 10 Mosquitos - of 6 and 8 Groups carried out an accurate attack on a flying-bomb site at Mimoyecques without loss.

24 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito of No 5 Group bombed 2 ships in Brest harbour and claimed hits on both. No aircraft lost.

27/28 August 1944

30 Mosquitos to Mannheim, 66 OTU Wellingtons on a diversionary sweep, 19 RCM sorties, 26 Mosquito patrols, 7 aircraft on Resistance operations. 2 Mosquitos from the Mannheim raid and 1 Intruder Mosquito lost.

28 August 1944

150 aircraft - 77 Halifaxes, 48 Lancasters, 25 Mosquitos - carried out small 'Oboe leader' raids on 12 flying bomb sites. Most of the targets were satisfactorily hit. This was the last of the long series of raids on the German flying-bomb launching and storage sites in the Pas de Calais area, which was captured by Allied ground troops a few days later. There was 1 aircraft casualty. A No 550 Squadron Lancaster, which had just bombed the Wemars/Cappel launching site near Amiens, received a direct hit from a flak battery near Dunkirk. The Lancaster went down in flames and exploded. The pilot, Pilot Officer SC Beeson, and 3 other members of the crew escaped by parachute, but the wireless operator and the 2 gunners were killed. Sergeants JK Norgate, HS Picton and JA Trayhorn were thus the last fatal casualties in Bomber Command's campaign against the V-1 flying bomb.

30 aircraft of 6 and 8 Groups bombed a German battery on the Île de Cezembre, near St Malo, and 23 Halifaxes of No 6 Group bombed ships in Brest harbour. No aircraft lost.

28/29 August 1944

35 Mosquitos to Essen, 4 to Leverkusen, 3 each to Le Culot and Venlo and 2 to Cologne, 13 Mosquito patrols, 6 Halifaxes minelaying off La Pallice, 19 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 Halifax lost flying on a Resistance operation.

Le Culot
Extensive damage to the huge Krupps armament works at Brunswick.

29/30 August 1944

402 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito of Nos 1,3, 6 and 8 Groups ordered to Stettin. 23 Lancasters lost, 5.7 per cent of the force. This was a successful raid, hitting parts of Stettin which had escaped damage in previous attacks.

189 Lancasters of No 5 Group carried out one of the most successful No 5 Group attacks of the war on Königsberg at extreme range. Only 480 tons of bombs could be carried because of the range of the target but severe damage was caused around the 4 separate aiming points selected. This success was achieved despite a 20 minute delay in opening the attack because of the presence of low cloud; the bombing force waited patiently, using up precious fuel, until the marker aircraft found a break in the clouds and the Master Bomber, Wing Commander J Woodroffe, probably No 5 Group's most skilled Master Bomber, allowed the attack to commence. Bomber Command estimated that 41 per cent of all the housing and 20 per cent of all the industry in Königsberg were destroyed. There was heavy fighter opposition over the target and 15 Lancasters, 7.9 per cent of the force, were lost.

Support and 93 training aircraft on a diversionary sweep over the North Sea, 53 Mosquitos bombing Berlin, Hamburg and 4 other targets, 35 RCM sorties, 49 Mosquito patrols, 31 Lancasters and 12 Halifaxes minelaying off Baltic ports, 8 aircraft on Resistance operations. 2 OTU Wellingtons from the sweep and 1 Lancaster minelayer lost.

Total effort for the night: 873 sorties, 41 aircraft (4.7 per cent) lost.

30/31 August 1944

36 Mosquitos to Frankfurt, 6 RCM sorties, 6 Mosquito patrols, 4 Halifaxes minelaying off La Pallice. No aircraft lost.

31 August 1944

601 aircraft - 418 Lancasters, 147 Halifaxes, 36 Mosquitos - to attack 9 sites in Northern France where the Germans were believed to be storing V-2 rockets. 8 of the sites were found and bombed. 6 Lancasters lost.

165 Halifaxes of No 6 Group and 5 Pathfinder Mosquitos bombed the Île de Cezembre battery near St Malo. 1 photographic Mosquito accompanied the raid. The bombing force flew at 3,000ft or less over the undefended targets and achieved a good bombing concentration. 1 Halifax lost.

31 August/1 September 1944

42 Mosquitos to Düsseldorf, 6 to Cologne and 6 to Leverkusen, 3 RCM sorties, 21 Mosquito patrols, 24 aircraft on Resistance operations. 2 Mosquitos lost, 1 each from the Cologne and Leverkusen raids.


1944 July  1944 September
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