Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary
9 Mosquitos to Duisburg, 48 aircraft minelaying in the Frisians, 9 OTU sorties. 1 Stirling minelayer and 1 OTU Whitley lost.
3 Wellingtons flew RCM sorties without loss.
3 Wellingtons flew RCM sorties without loss.
25 Mosquitos to Leverkusen and 2 to Krefeld, 4 OTU sorties. No losses.
18 Mosquitos attacked Duisburg and 1 Wellington flew an RCM sortie without loss.
Mosquitos: 20 to Essen, 9 to Düsseldorf, 1 to Osnabrück, 4 RCM sorties, 4 OTU sorties. 1 Mosquito lost on the Essen raid.
16 Mosquitos to Düsseldorf, 1 to Bonn, 25 OTU sorties. No losses.
4 Mosquitos to Bochum and 4 to Leverkusen, 3 RCM sorties. No losses.
483 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos on the main raid to Berlin and 5 further Mosquitos dropped decoy fighter flares south of Berlin. The bomber route again led directly to Berlin across Holland and Northern Germany and there were no major diversions. The German controllers plotted the course of the bombers with great accuracy; many German fighters were met at the coast of Holland and further fighters were guided on to the bomber stream throughout the approach to the target. More fighters were waiting at the target and there were many combats. The bombers shook off the opposition on the return flight by taking a northerly route over Denmark. 25 Lancasters, 5.2 per cent of the Lancaster force, were lost. Many further aircraft were lost on returning to England. Berlin was cloud-covered but the Pathfinder skymarking was reasonably accurate and much of the bombing fell in the city. In the city centre, the National Theatre and the building housing Germany's military and political archives were both destroyed. The damage to the Berlin railway system and to rolling stock, and the large numbers of people still leaving the city, were having a cumulative effect upon the transportation of supplies to the Russian Front; 1,000 wagon-loads of war material were held up for 6 days. The sustained bombing had now made more than a quarter of Berlin's total living accommodation unusable. On their return to England, many of the bombers encountered very low cloud at their bases. The squadrons of 1, 6 and No 8 Groups were particularly badly affected. 29 Lancasters (and a Stirling from the minelaying operation) either crashed or were abandoned when their crews parachuted. The group with heaviest losses was No 1 Group with 13 aircraft lost; the squadron with heaviest losses was 97 Squadron, No 8 Group, with 7 aircraft lost.
47 aircraft - 26 Stirlings, 12 Mosquitos, 9 Lancasters - carried out raids on 2 flying-bomb sites near Abbeville. Neither raid was successful. The larger raid, by the Stirlings on the Tilley-le-Haut site, failed because the Oboe Mosquito markers could not get any closer than 450 yards from the small target. The 9 Lancasters of 617 Squadron which attacked the second site, in a wood at Flixecourt, dropped their 12,000lb bombs accurately on the markers placed by the only Oboe Mosquito operating at this target but the markers were 350 yards from the flying-bomb site and none of the 617 Squadron bombs were more than l00 yards from the markers. No aircraft lost.
2 Beaufighters and 2 Mosquitos of 141 Squadron, recently transferred from Fighter Command to No 100 Group, inaugurated Bomber Command's Serrate operations in patrols near the routes of the Berlin raid. (Serrate was a device which homed on to the radar emissions of a German night fighter.) 1 Mosquito made contact with an Me110 and damaged it with cannon-fire. The crew of this first successful Bomber Command Serrate patrol was Squadron Leader FF Lambert and Flying Officer K Dear.
5 Mosquitos to Duisburg, 35 aircraft minelaying in the Frisians and off Biscay ports. No losses.
6 OTU Wellingtons dropped leaflets over French towns without loss.
Frankfurt: 650 aircraft - 390 Lancasters, 257 Halifaxes, 3 Mosquitos. The German control rooms were able to plot the bomber force as soon as it left the English coast and were able to continue plotting it all the way to Frankfurt. There were many combats on the route to the target. The Mannheim diversion did not draw fighters away from the main attack until after the raid was over but the return flight was quieter. 41 aircraft - 27 Halifaxes, 14 Lancasters - lost, 6.3 per cent of the force. The bombing at Frankfurt did not go according to plan. The Pathfinders had prepared a ground-marking plan on the basis of a forecast giving clear weather but they found up to 8/10ths cloud. The Germans lit a decoy fire site 5 miles south-east of the city and also used dummy target indicators. Some of the bombing fell around the decoy but part of the creepback fell on Frankfurt causing more damage than Bomber Command realized at the time. Part of the bombing somehow fell on Mainz, 17 miles to the west, and many houses along the Rhine waterfront and in southern suburbs were hit.
44 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of 1 and No 8 Groups carried out a diversionary raid on Mannheim but most of the bombing fell outside the city. No aircraft lost.
8 Lancasters of 617 Squadron and 8 Pathfinder Mosquitos attempted to bomb an armaments factory near Liege but the Mosquito marking was not visible below the clouds and the Lancasters did not bomb; 1 Lancaster lost. 6 Mosquitos to Rheinhausen and 5 to Leverkusen, 8 RCM sorties, 2 Beaufighters on Serrate patrol, 23 Stirlings minelaying in the Frisians, 38 OTU sorties. 1 Stirling minelayer lost.
9 Oboe Mosquitos to the Mannesmann factory at Düsseldorf and 4 to the Knapsack power station, 4 OTU sorties. No losses.
51 aircraft - 29 Stirlings, 11 Lancasters, 8 Mosquitos, 3 Halifaxes - to attack 2 flying-bomb sites between Abbeville and Amiens. 1 site was bombed accurately but the other could not be located. No aircraft lost.
9 Mosquitos to Frankfurt and 2 to Bonn, 2 RCM sorties, 16 aircraft minelaying off Biscay ports, 21 OTU sorties. No losses.
Berlin: 379 aircraft - 364 Lancasters, 8 Mosquitos, 7 Halifaxes. The bomber casualties were not as heavy as on recent raids, partly because German fighters encountered difficulty with the weather and partly because the German controller was temporarily deceived by the Mosquito diversion at Leipzig. The main force of fighters only appeared in the target area at the end of the raid and could not catch the main bomber stream. 16 Lancasters were lost, 4.2 per cent of the force. The Berlin area was covered by cloud and more than half of the early Pathfinder aircraft had trouble with their H2S sets. The markers were scattered and sparse.
12 Mosquitos to Aachen, 9 to Duisburg and 7 to Leipzig, 4 RCM sorties, 3 Beaufighters on Serrate patrols, 7 OTU sorties. 1 Beaufighter lost.
No bombing raids were carried out on Christmas Eve but 35 Halifaxes were sent minelaying in the Frisians and returned without loss.
Mosquitos: 10 to Duisburg, 9 to Düsseldorf, 1 to Cologne, 11 OTU sorties. No losses.
712 aircraft - 457 Lancasters, 252 Halifaxes, 3 Mosquitos - returned to Berlin. A long approach route from the south, passing south of the Ruhr and then within 20 miles of Leipzig, together with Mosquito diversions at Düsseldorf, Leipzig and Magdeburg, caused the German controller great difficulties and there were few fighters over Berlin. Bad weather on the outward route also kept down the number of German fighters finding the bomber stream. 20 aircraft - 11 Lancasters, 9 Halifaxes - were lost, 2.8 per cent of the force. Berlin was again cloud-covered. The Bomber Command report claiming a concentrated attack on skymarkers is not confirmed by the local report. The heaviest bombing was in the southern and south-eastern districts but many bombs also fell to the east of the city.
8 Mosquitos to Magdeburg, 6 to Düsseldorf, 5 to Leipzig, 4 to Bristillerie - a suspected V-weapon site near Cherbourg - and 3 to Leverkusen, 6 RCM sorties, 2 Beaufighters on Serrate patrols, 5 Stirlings minelaying in the Frisians and off French ports, 4 OTU sorties. No losses.
10 Lancasters of 617 Squadron and 6 Pathfinder Mosquitos attempted to destroy a V1 site which had been missed on an earlier raid, but the markers were 200 yards from the target and, with the Lancasters' bombs well grouped around these, the site was again undamaged. No aircraft lost.
10 Mosquitos to Cologne, 8 to Duisburg and 3 to Bochum, 6 RCM sorties, 26 aircraft minelaying off Texel and French ports, 28 OTU sorties. No losses.
There were no bomber operations on New Year's Eve; 2 Stirlings laid mines off the Dutch coast and returned safely.
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