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Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary


Campaign Diary
December 1942

 

2/3 December 1942

Frankfurt

112 aircraft - 48 Halifaxes, 27 Lancasters, 22 Stirlings, 15 Wellingtons. 6 aircraft - 3 Halifaxes, 1 each of the other types - lost, 5.4 per cent of the force.

There was thick haze and the Pathfinders were unable to establish the location of Frankfurt. Most of the bombing fell in country areas south-west of the city; it is possible that a decoy fire site was operating.

4 OTU sorties were flown without loss.

4/5 December 1942

Minor Operations: 29 aircraft minelaying in the Frisians and in the Baltic off Gdynia and Danzig, 3 OTU sorties. No aircraft lost.

5/6 December 1942

6 OTU sorties were flown to France without loss.

6 December 1942

Eindhoven

This was a special raid carried out by all of the operational day-bomber squadrons in 2 Group. Their targets were the Philips radio and valve factories in the Dutch town of Eindhoven. 93 aircraft took part in the raid - 47 Venturas, 36 Bostons and 10 Mosquitos. 1 of the Mosquitos was a photographic aircraft. Eindhoven was well beyond the range of any available fighter escort. The raid was flown at low level and in clear weather conditions.
Bombing was accurate and severe damage was caused to the factory, which was situated in the middle of the town. Because the raid was deliberately carried out on a Sunday, there were few casualties in the factory but several bombs fell in nearby streets and 148 Dutch people and 7 German soldiers were killed. Full production at the factory was not reached again until 6 months after the raid.
The bomber casualties were heavy: 9 Venturas, 4 Bostons and 1 Mosquito were lost over Holland or the sea. This was a loss rate of 15 per cent for the whole force; the Venturas, the aircraft with the poorest performance, suffered 19 per cent casualties. 3 more aircraft crashed or force-landed in England and most of the other aircraft were damaged - 23 by bird strikes!

Eindhoven, 6 December 1942
Mosquito crews prepare for the daylight attack on the Philips factories. The attack was carried out at low-level, as this remarkable phot shows. Another shot from the photographic Mosquito of the factory.
Two Mosquitos can be seen climbing after making their bombing runs. A pair of Mosquitos make good their escape. Overhead view of the smoking Philips factory with substantial damage to several buildings clearly evident.

6/7 December 1942

Mannheim

272 aircraft - 101 Lancasters, 65 Halifaxes, 57 Wellingtons, 49 Stirlings. 10 aircraft - 5 Wellingtons, 3 Halifaxes, 1 Lancaster, 1 Stirling - lost, 3.1 per cent of the force, and 4 more aircraft crashed in England.

The target area was found to be completely cloud-covered. Most of the Pathfinders withheld their flares and many of the 220 crews who bombed did so on dead-reckoning positions. Mannheim reports only 500 or so incendiary bombs and some leaflets. There were no casualties in Mannheim.

14 Lancasters and Wellingtons laid mines in the Frisian Islands without loss.

7/8 December 1942

Minelaying: 36 aircraft were sent to a wide extent of coast from the southern Biscay to the Frisians. This appears to be the first night on which aircraft of 4 Group joined in the minelaying campaign.

8 December 1942

6 Mosquitos carried out daylight Intruder patrols over Holland and just over the German frontier. 1 Mosquito lost.

8/9 December 1942

Turin

133 aircraft of 5 Group and the Pathfinder Force - 108 Lancasters, 9 Halifaxes, 9 Wellingtons, 7 Stirlings; 1 Lancaster lost.

The Pathfinders illuminated the target well and bombing was very accurate. Residential and industrial areas were both extensively damaged. Turin reports 212 dead and 111 injured. Fires from this raid were still burning the following night.

Minelaying: 80 aircraft of 1, 3 and 4 Groups to the German and Danish coasts; 5 aircraft - 3 Stirlings, 1 Halifax, 1 Lancaster - lost.

Total effort for the night: 213 sorties, 6 aircraft (2.8 per cent) lost.

9 December 1942

5 Mosquitos on individual flights to France and Holland; all aircraft attacked targets, mostly trains. No losses.

9/10 December 1942

Turin

227 aircraft - 115 Lancasters, 47 Halifaxes, 40 Wellingtons, 25 Stirlings. 2 Wellingtons and 1 Lancaster lost.

This was a disappointing raid with the Pathfinders not able to perform as efficiently as on the previous night. Smoke from old fires partially obscured the target area. Turin records 73 more people killed and 99 injured.

Minor Operations: 2 Stirlings minelaying in the Frisians, 12 OTU sorties. 1 OTU Whitley lost.

11/12 December 1942

Turin

82 aircraft of 1, 4 and 5 Groups and the Pathfinders - 48 Halifaxes, 20 Lancasters, 8 Stirlings, 6 Wellingtons - were dispatched but more than half of the force turned back before attempting to cross the Alps, because of severe icing conditions. 28 crews claimed to have bombed Turin but the city reports only 3 high-explosive bombs and a few incendiaries, with no casualties. 3 Halifaxes and 1 Stirling lost.

Minor Operations: 26 Wellingtons minelaying off Biscay ports and in the Frisians, 4 OTU sorties. No losses.

12/13 December 1942

Because of bad weather, no major night raids were possible for the remainder of this diary period. On this night, 15 Wellingtons of 1 and 3 Groups were sent minelaying in the Frisian Islands without loss.

13 December 1942

4 Bostons and 4 Mosquitos on railway attacks in France and Belgium but only 2 Mosquitos bombed, at Laon and Criel. No aircraft lost.

13/14 December 1942

6 Wellingtons minelaying off Lorient and St Nazaire without loss.

14 December 1942

4 Mosquitos on railways attacks in Belgium and Holland but only 1 aircraft bombed at Ghent. No losses.

14/15 December 1942

Minelaying: 68 aircraft - 27 Halifaxes, 23 Lancasters, 18 Wellingtons - to Texel, Heligoland and the Frisians. The 5 Group Lancasters were recalled but most of the other types carried out their tasks. There were no losses.

15/16 December 1942

5 Wellingtons minelaying off Lorient and St Nazaire without loss.

16/17 December 1942

Minor Operations: 8 Wellingtons attempted to bomb a German aircraft depot at Diepholz; 3 aircraft bombed the general area of the target but 'with no evidence of success' and 1 Wellington was lost. 18 aircraft minelaying in the River Gironde and off Brest and Lorient; 1 Stirling lost.

17 December 1942

6 Wellingtons and 4 Mosquitos on cloud-cover and railway attacks over a wide area. 5 aircraft attacked various targets, There were no losses.

17/18 December 1942

Minor Operations: 27 Lancasters of 5 Group were sent on raids to 8 small German towns and 16 Stirlings and 6 Wellingtons of 3 Group attempted to attack the Opel works at Fallersleben. This type of limited operation proved to be a costly failure. 9 of the 27 Lancasters were lost and, at Fallersleben, only 3 aircraft bombed the target, in cloud conditions, and 6 Stirlings and 2 Wellingtons were lost from this part of the night's operations. 50 aircraft were dispatched to lay mines from Denmark to southern Biscay - 1 Lancaster was lost - and there were 5 OTU sorties to France.

Total losses for the night: 18 aircraft out of 104 dispatched, 1.3 per cent.

19/20 December 1942

15 Wellingtons minelaying off Brest, Lorient and St Nazaire without loss.

20 December 1942

11 Mosquitos to north-west Germany. 9 aircraft attacked trains and rolling stock; 1 Mosquito lost.

20/21 December 1942

Duisburg

232 aircraft - 111 Lancasters, 56 Halifaxes, 39 Wellingtons, 26 Stirlings. 12 aircraft - 6 Lancasters, 4 Wellingtons, 2 Halifaxes - lost, 5.2 per cent of the force.

The bombing force found that the target area was clear and claimed much damage.

Lutterade Oboe Trial

6 Mosquitos of 109 Squadron were dispatched to bomb a power-station at Lutterade, a small town in Holland near the German frontier. The first Oboe-aimed bombs were dropped by Squadron Leader H. E. Bufton and his navigator Flight Lieutenant E. L. Ifould. 2 other crews bombed on Oboe but the equipment in the remaining 3 aircraft did not function properly and they bombed elsewhere. The Mosquitos all returned safely.

Daylight photographs taken after the raid showed so many old bomb craters from an earlier raid when the Pathfinder mistook Lutterade for Aachen that it was impossible to identify the Oboe results reliably. A local report, however, states that 9 bombs fell together in open ground 2 km from the power-station.

4 OTU Wellingtons on leaflet flights to France without loss.


A Halifax II of No 10 Squadron pictured in Decemcer 1942.

21 December 1942

9 Venturas and 6 Bostons to attack railway targets in France, Belgium and Holland but only 2 Venturas found targets, at Monceau and Valenciennes. No aircraft lost.

21/22 December 1942

Munich

137 aircraft of 1 and 5 Groups and the Pathfinder Force - 119 Lancasters, 9 Stirlings, 9 Wellingtons. 12 aircraft - 8 Lancasters, 3 Stirlings, 1 Wellington - lost, 8.8 per cent of the force.

110 aircraft claimed to have bombed Munich and started fires but their photographs showed that all or most of the bombs fell in open country, possibly attracted by a decoy site.

22 December 1942

6 Wellingtons on a cloud-cover raid to Emden; 4 aircraft bombed estimated positions through cloud. 6 Mosquitos on Intruder raids to Belgium, Holland and north-west Germany; only 2 aircraft attacked railway targets and 1 Mosquito was lost.

22/23 December 1942

Minor Operations: 4 Oboe Mosquitos to Hamborn and Rheinhausen, 4 OTU sorties. No losses.

23 December 1942

18 Bostons bombed St-Malo docks and 6 Venturas bombed naval installations at Den Helder. The Den Helder bombing was particularly accurate and serious damage was caused to a torpedo workshop and other buildings. No aircraft lost.

Bombs falling on the port of den Helder.

23/24 December 1942

5 Oboe Mosquitos attacked industrial targets in Essen, Hamborn, Meiderich and Rheinhausen. No results could be observed, because of haze, and later daylight photographs could not distinguish craters caused by these attacks from those of other raids but a map from Essen shows accurate bomb bursts in the middle of the main Krupps factory on this night. No Mosquitos lost.

24/25 December 1942

3 Oboe Mosquitos attacked Essen and Meiderich without loss. The Essen bombs fell on the northern parts of the Krupps factory.

28/29 December 1942

5 Wellingtons and 1 Stirling laid mines in the Frisian Islands without loss.

29 December 1942

6 Mosquitos attacked various targets in France without loss.

29/30 December 1942

Minor Operations: 3 Oboe Mosquitos attacked Essen and Meiderich in 10/10ths cloud conditions. The Essen bombs fell 500 metres east of the Krupps factory. 14 Lancasters minelaying in the River Gironde. No aircraft lost.

31 December 1942

6 Mosquitos attacked various targets in Belgium and France without loss.

31 December 1942/1 January 1943

Oboe Trials

8 Lancasters and 2 Oboe Mosquitos of the Pathfinder Force to Düsseldorf. 1 Lancaster lost.

This was a trial raid, with the Mosquitos dropping target markers by Oboe for the small Lancaster force. Only 1 Mosquito was able to use Oboe. The Düsseldorf report shows that, out of 9 recorded bombing incidents, 6 were at industrial premises, though no serious damage was caused. 10 civilians and 2 Flak soldiers were killed, 34 people were injured and 7 more were classified as missing. Later in the night, 3 more Oboe Mosquitos were sent to attack the German night-fighter control room at Florennes airfield in Belgium. 2 Mosquitos operated their Oboe equipment satisfactorily and dropped 6 high-explosive bombs from 28,000ft through 10/10ths cloud. The results are not known. No aircraft lost.

Minor Operations: 29 aircraft minelaying off Biscay ports, 8 OTU sorties. 1 Wellington minelayer lost.


1942 November  1943 January
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