Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary
|Railway yards at Giessen|
1 Hudson flew a Resistance operation.
53 Mosquitos to Cologne and 7 to Hanau, 3 RCM sorties. No losses.
Urft Dam: 205 Lancasters of No 5 Group; 1 aircraft lost. Bombing was affected by 9/10ths cloud and no results were seen.
163 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H raid through cloud on the railway yards at Duisburg. 30 Mosquitos of No 8 Group attacked the Meiderich oil plant near Duisburg, probably using the Oboe-leader technique. No aircraft lost.
1 Hudson flew a Resistance operation.
60 Mosquitos to Berlin, 8 to Koblenz and 4 to Meiderich (Duisburg) oil plant, 36 RCM sorties, 28 Mosquito patrols. 1 RCM Halifax lost.
1 Hudson flew a Resistance operation.
233 Lancasters of No 5 Group and 5 Mosquitos of No 8 Group to the Urft Dam. Hits were scored but no breach was made. 1 Lancaster lost.
Osterfeld: 150 Lancasters of No 3 Group on G-H raids through cloud on the railway yards (98 aircraft) and on the benzol plant (52 aircraft). The bombing appeared to be accurate. 1 Lancaster lost.
Duisburg: 80 Mosquitos of No 8 Group on Oboe-leader raids to a coking plant (48 aircraft) and to the Meiderich benzol plant. Most of the bombing on the benzol plant and approximately half on the coking plant appeared to be accurate. No aircraft lost.
Total effort for the day: 468 sorties, 2 aircraft (0.4 per cent) lost.
38 Mosquitos to Hannover, 28 to Hamburg, 9 to Schwerte, 8 to Bielefeld and 6 to Duisburg. 1 aircraft lost from the Hamburg raid.
140 Lancasters of No 3 Group on a G-H raid to the Ruhrstahl steelworks at Witten. German fighters intercepted the force in the target area and 8 Lancasters were lost. It was the town's first major raid of the war. The steelworks were not hit and bombs fell all over the town, destroying 126 houses and 5 industrial premises.
Essen: 540 aircraft - 349 Lancasters, 163 Halifaxes, 28 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4 and 8 Groups. 6 Lancasters lost. This was the last heavy night raid by Bomber Command on Essen. During the post-war interrogations of Albert Speer, Hitler's Armaments Minister, he was asked which forms of attack were most effective in weakening the German war effort. After referring to the effectiveness of daylight raids and to some of the Oboe Mosquito attacks, Speer paid a compliment to the accuracy of this raid on Essen: "The last night attack upon the Krupp works, which was carried out by a large number of 4-engined bombers, caused surprise on account of the accuracy of the bomb pattern. We assumed that this attack was the first large-scale operation based on Oboe or some other new navigational system."
49 Mosquitos to Osnabrück, 43 RCM sorties, 43 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.
Total effort for the night: 675 sorties, 6 aircraft (0.9 per cent) lost.
52 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of No 5 Group were sent to attack the German cruiser Koln berthed in Oslo Fjord but, when the bombers reached Oslo Fjord, the Koln had moved to another location. Other ships were bombed instead but the results were not observed. No aircraft lost.
10 Lancasters and 9 Halifaxes minelaying in the Kattegat without loss.
30 Lancasters and 9 Halifaxes minelaying in the Kattegat without loss.
138 Lancasters of No 3 Group set out on a raid to Siegen but were recalled because bad weather prevented their fighter escorts from taking off.
17 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron attacked the E-boat pens at Ijmuiden with Tallboys but a smoke-screen hindered the bombing and no results were seen. No aircraft lost.
327 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups despatached to Ludwigshafen. 1 Lancaster lost. The target area for this raid was the northern part of Ludwigshafen and the small town of Oppau in which two important IG Farben chemical factories were situated. Severe damage was caused and fierce fires were started. The Oppau factory ceased production completely.. 5 other industrial firms were also badly hit. Some damage was also caused to housing areas around the various factories but this was not serious. Damage was also caused to installations and ships at the nearby Rhine quays.
62 Mosquitos to Hannover, 11 to Osnabrück and 3 to Duisburg, 31 RCM sorties, 38 Mosquito patrols, 15 Lancasters and 8 Halifaxes minelaying off north-eastern Denmark. 1 Lancaster minelayer lost.
Total effort for the night: 509 sorties, 2 aircraft (0.4 per cent) lost.
The great German offensive in the Ardennes started on this day, with the object of capturing Brussels and the port of Antwerp and splitting the Allied armies into two parts. The attack was launched under cover of poor weather conditions, with low cloud and mist, and it would be several days before the RAF and American bomber forces could intervene in the battle.
108 Lancasters of No 3 Group in a G-H raid on the railway yards at Siegen. 1 Lancaster lost. The bombing was accurate enough to hit Siegen and the neighbouring town of Weidenau but not to destroy the railway yards which were hit by only a few bombs. Many public buildings and houses were destroyed in Siegen, which had not been bombed seriously before.
1 Hudson flew on a Resistance operation.
1 Mosquito attempted to bomb Wiesbaden but did not reach the target and 2 Wellingtons flew RCM sorties. No aircraft lost.
Duisburg: 523 aircraft - 418 Halifaxes, 8, Lancasters, 24 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups. 8 Halifaxes lost. Duisburg was badly hit again.
Ulm: 317 Lancasters and 13 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups. 2 Lancasters lost. This was Bomber Command's first and only raid on Ulm, an old city but also the home of 2 large lorry factories - Magirius-Deutz and Kässbohrer - several other important industries and some military barracks and depots. 1,449 tons of bombs were dropped during the 25-minute raid, starting in the centre and then creeping back to the west, across the industrial and railway areas and out into the country. The Gallwitz Barracks and several military hospitals were among 14 Wehrmacht establishments destroyed.
Munich: 280 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of No 5 Group. 4 Lancasters lost. Bomber Command claimed 'severe and widespread damage' in the old centre of Munich and at railway targets.
44 Mosquitos to Hanau (a 'spoof' raid), 26 to Münster and 5 to Hallendorf, 44 RCM sorties, 50 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.
Total effort for the night: 1,310 sorties, 14 aircraft (1.1 per cent) lost.
236 Lancasters of No 5 Group attacked the distant port of Gdynia on the Baltic coast and caused damage to shipping, installations and housing in the port area. 4 Lancasters lost.
40 Mosquitos to Nuremberg and 16 to Münster, 34 RCM sorties, 11 Mosquito patrols, 14 Lancasters of No 5 Group minelaying in Danzig Bay. 1 Mosquito Intruder lost.
32 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H raid on the railway yards in Trier behind the front on which the Germans were attacking in the Ardennes. No Lancasters lost.
12 Lancasters of No 3 Group minelaying in the Kadet Channel off Denmark without loss.
113 Lancasters of No 3 Group again attempted to bomb the railway yards at Trier in 2 waves. No Lancasters lost. The bomber crews were unable to observe results because of the cloud, although a large column of smoke eventually appeared.
1 Hudson flew a Resistance operation.
207 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito of No 5 Group attacked the synthetic-oil refinery at Politz, near Stettin. 3 Lancasters were lost and 5 more crashed in England. Post-raid reconnaissance showed that the power-station chimneys had collapsed and that other parts of the plant were damaged.
136 aircraft - 67 Lancasters, 54 Halifaxes, 15 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups attacked the important Cologne/Nippes marshalling yards which were being used to serve the German offensive in the Ardennes. No aircraft lost. The target was cloud-covered and only a few bombs hit the railway yards but these caused the destruction of 40 wagons, a repair workshop and several railway lines.
97 Lancasters and 17 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups attempted to attack railway areas in Bonn but thick cloud cover prevented an accurate raid and later reconnaissance showed that the railway target was not hit. No other details are available. No aircraft lost.
4 Lancasters of No 5 Group to Schneidmühl as a diversion for the Politz raid, 15 RCM sorties, 12 Mosquito patrols, 30 Lancasters and 23 Halifaxes minelaying in the Kattegat. No aircraft lost.
Total effort for the night: 542 sorties, 3 aircraft (0.6 per cent) lost.
Koblenz; 166 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos, mostly from No 1 Group but with some Pathfinders. No aircraft lost. The aiming point was the Mosel railway yards. There was some cloud in the target area and the local report says that the main weight of the attack fell in farming areas between 2 and 4 kilometres to the west where the villages of Güls and Rübenach were badly hit. But the fringes of the bombing fell on the railway yards, several main lines and 2 important road bridges.
Bingen; 106 aircraft - 90 Halifaxes of No 4 Group and 14 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos of No 8 Group. 2 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster lost. The railway yards were again the objective of the raid. The attack was extremely accurate and all the bombs fell into the yards or into the nearby Rhine, where 2 barges were sunk. All movement of supplies by rail through Bingen to the Ardennes battle front ceased.
44 aircraft of No 100 Group flew RCM sorties and Mosquito patrols (the figure cannot be broken down). No aircraft lost.
153 Lancasters of No 3 Group attempted to attack the Trier railway yards through cloud. The bombing appeared to be accurate and concentrated but Trier could only report that it was the town's worst raid of the war. 1 Lancaster lost.
27 Lancasters and 3 Mosquitos of No 8 Group to attack the Gremberg railway yards, Cologne. The raid went very badly. The force was split into 3 formations, each led by an Oboe-equipped Lancaster with an Oboe Mosquito as reserve leader. During the outward flight, 2 Lancasters of No 35 Squadron collided over the French coast and their crews were all killed. On approaching the target, it was found that the cloud which had been forecast had cleared and it was decided to allow the bombers to break formation and bomb visually; this move was made because the formations would have been very vulnerable to Cologne's flak defences during the long, straight Oboe approach. Unfortunately the order to abandon the Oboe run did not reach the leading Lancaster, a No 582 Squadron aircraft piloted by Squadron Leader RAM Palmer, DFC (on loan from No 109 Squadron), who continued on with his designated role, even though his aircraft was already damaged by flak. German fighters, who were being directed to intercept an American bomber force, also appeared and attacked. The bombs from Squadron Leader Palmer's aircraft were eventually released and hit the target but his plane went down out of control and only the tail gunner escaped, by parachute. Squadron Leader Palmer, on his 110th operation, was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross, the only Oboe VC of the war. The formation suffered further losses when another Lancaster and a Mosquito were shot down by flak and fighters and a further Lancaster had to be abandoned by its crew over Belgium. The losses were thus 6 aircraft out of the 30 dispatched.
52 Mosquitos to Limburg railway yards, 40 to Siegburg and 7 on 'training flights' to Bremen, Hannover, Münster and Osnabrück, 62 aircraft of No 100 Group on RCM and Mosquito operations, 6 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft were lost. Each of the Mosquitos shown as being on 'training flights' visited all 4 targets and dropped 1 bomb on each; these operations later became known as 'siren-sounding tours'.
338 aircraft - 248 Halifaxes, 79 Lancasters, 11 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups attacked the airfields at Lohausen and Mülheim (now Düsseldorf and Essen civil airports). The purpose of the raids was not recorded; it is possible that they were to hinder the movement of supplies by transport aircraft from the Ruhr to the Ardennes battle area. Both attacks took place in conditions of good visibility and the bombing was accurate. 6 aircraft lost - 2 Lancasters and 1 Halifax from the Lohausen raid and 3 Halifaxes from the Mülheim raid.
104 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out an accurate attack on Hangelar airfield near Bonn. 1 Lancaster lost. No results are known.
Cologne/Nippes: 97 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups. 5 Lancasters were lost and 2 more crashed in England. The Oboe marking and the resultant bombing were extremely accurate. The railway tracks were severely damaged and an ammunition train blown up. The nearby Butzweilerhof airfield was also damaged.
2 Mosquitos to Münster, 42 RCM sorties, 42 Mosquito patrols, 12 Halifaxes of No 6 Group minelaying off Oslo, 8 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.
The weather at last improved and allowed Bomber Command to intervene in the Ardennes battle. 294 aircraft - 146 Lancasters, 136 Halifaxes, 12 Mosquitos - of all the bomber groups (not No 100 Group) attacked German troop positions near St Vith. This was the first time since mid-October that aircraft from all the bomber groups had joined together in one raid. The bombing appeared to be concentrated and accurate. 2 Halifaxes lost.
1 Halifax flew a signals patrol.
200 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3, 5 and 8 Groups attacked the railway yards at Rheydt. 1 Lancaster was lost and 1 Mosquito crashed behind the Allied lines in Holland.
Opladen: 328 aircraft - 227 Halifaxes, 66 Lancasters, 35 Mosquitos. 2 Lancasters lost. 9 of the Mosquitos bombed 3½ hours before the main raid. The aiming point for the attack was the marshalling yards but results are not known.
7 Mosquitos on Oboe trials to Bonn, Eisenach, Frankfurt and Kassel (probably calibrating new Oboe stations in France and Belgium), 7 Mosquitos on 'siren tours' of Hamburg, Hannover, Münster and Osnabrück, 32 RCM sorties, 37 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.
167 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked the marshalling yards at Cologne/Gremberg with accurate bombing. No aircraft lost.
1 Hudson flew on a Resistance operation.
Mönchengladbach: 186 aircraft - 129 Lancasters, 46 Halifaxes, 11 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4 and 8 Groups. No aircraft lost. The railway yards were the aiming point but little damage was caused there.
Bonn: 162 Lancasters and 16 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups. 1 Lancaster lost. The intention again was to bomb the railway installations. Bomber Command's report states that the main weight of the attack fell on the railway yards, causing 'considerable damage'.
67 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito of No 5 Group attacked a 'large naval unit' and some merchant ships in Oslo Fjord but no direct hits were claimed. No aircraft lost.
87 Mosquitos to Frankfurt - 79 to the city generally and 8 to the railway yards - 35 RCM sorties, 45 Mosquito patrols, 16 Halifaxes of No 6 Group minelaying in the Skagerrak and 11 Lancasters of No 5 Group off Oslo, 12 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 minelaying Halifax was lost and 1 Mosquito from the Frankfurt raid crashed in France.
Total effort for the night: 638 sorties, 3 aircraft (0.5 per cent) lost.
Two separate forces bombed railway yards in Koblenz, one of the main centres serving the Ardennes battlefront. 192 aircraft - 162 Halifaxes, 22 Lancasters, 8 Mosquitos - of Nos 4 and 8 Groups attacked the Mosel yards, near the main city, and 85 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked the Lützel yards north of the city. No aircraft were lost from either operation. At least part of the bombing of each raid hit the railway areas. The Koblenz-Lützel railway bridge was out of action for the rest of the war and the cranes of the Mosel Harbour were also put out of action.
16 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron attacked the E-boat pens at Rotterdam, scoring several hits; 1 Hudson flew a Resistance operation. No aircraft lost.
Scholven/Buer: 324 Lancasters and 22 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups. 4 Lancasters lost. The raid took place in difficult conditions. There was thick cloud over the target but Oboe skymarkers were accurately placed and the oil refinery was badly hit. The local report says that 300 high-explosive bombs fell within the oil-plant area. There were two large and 10 small fires and much damage to piping and storage tanks.
197 aircraft - 159 Halifaxes, 24 Lancasters, 14 Mosquitos - of 6 and 8 Groups attempted to bomb the railway yards at Troisdorf but most of the attack missed the target. No other details are available. No aircraft lost.
28 RCM sorties, 28 Mosquito patrols, 16 aircraft of No 6 Group minelaying in the River Elbe, 8 Mosquitos of No 5 Group minelaying off Oslo. No aircraft lost.
Total effort for the night: 623 sorties, 4 aircraft (0.6 per cent) lost.
13 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron set out to bomb the U-boat pens at Ijmuiden but the raid was abandoned because of bad weather.
Cologne: 470 aircraft - 356 Halifaxes, 93 Lancasters, 21 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups to attack the area in which the Kalk-Nord railway yards were situated. 1 Halifax and 1 Lancaster lost. The presence of cloud caused difficulties for the Pathfinders and the outcome of the raid could not be observed. But the local report shows that the Kalk-Nord yards, as well as the 2 passenger stations near by, were severely damaged. At least 2 ammunition trains blew up. Nearby Autobahns were also badly damaged, all adding to the effect upon the German transportation system.
154 Lancasters and 12 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked a German supply bottleneck in a narrow valley at Houffalize. The results of the raid are not known. 1 Lancaster crashed in France.
68 Mosquitos to Hannover, 9 to Bochum and 8 to Duisburg, 32 RCM sorties, 36 Mosquito patrols, 11 Lancasters minelaying off Heligoland, 21 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.
Total effort for the night: 821 sorties, 3 aircraft (0.4 per cent) lost.
155 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H raid on the railway yards at Vohwinkel, near Solingen. A strong wind carried much of the bombing south of the target.2 Lancasters lost.
12 Mosquitos of No 627 Squadron, No 5 Group, set out to bomb the Gestapo Headquarters in Oslo. 8 aircraft actually bombed, in 2 waves, and hits were believed to have been scored. No aircraft lost.
149 Lancasters and 17 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups to attack the railway yards at Osterfeld. The only details available are Bomber Command's estimates that the railway sidings were 35 per cent damaged and the 'facilities' 20 per cent damaged. 2 Lancasters lost.
28 Lancasters of No 5 Group attacked cruisers in Oslo Fjord but no hits were scored. 1 Lancaster lost.
77 Mosquitos to Berlin and 12 to Ludwigshafen, 33 RCM sorties, 33 Mosquito patrols, 16 Halifaxes and 10 Lancasters minelaying in the Kattegat. 1 minelaying Lancaster lost.
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