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Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary


Campaign Diary
July 1944

 

1 July 1944

307 Halifaxes of Nos 4 and No 6 Groups with 15 Mosquitos and 6 Lancasters of the Pathfinders attacked 2 flying bomb launching sites and a stores site. All targets were completely or almost completely cloud-covered; bombing was on Oboe markers and no results could be seen. 1 Halifax of No 4 Group was lost from the raid on the St Martin l'Hortier site.

2 Mosquitos carried out uneventful Ranger patrols to airfields in Northern Holland.

100 Not Out!!
This Lancaster, N-Nan, completed 100 operations on 1 July. Unfortunately, it is not possible to identify the aircraft or squadron involved as more than one 'N-Nan's reached this milestone. The important task of updating the aircraft's mission log.

1/2 July 1944

6 Mosquitos to Scholven/Buer and 4 to Homberg - both targets were oil plants - 6 Lancasters minelaying off Horn's Reef, 2 Mosquitos on flying-bomb patrols. No aircraft lost.

2 July 1944

374 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups attacked 3 V-weapons sites. Cloud affected all of the raids but good concentrations of bombs were believed to have been dropped at all targets. No aircraft lost.

4 Mosquitos on uneventful Ranger patrols.

3/4 July 1944

6 Mosquitos to Scholven/Buer and 4 to Homberg, 4 Stirlings minelaying off Brest, 24 aircraft on Resistance operations, 11 Mosquitos on flying-bomb patrols. No aircraft lost.

4 July 1944

328 aircraft - 307 Halifaxes, 15 Mosquitos, 6 Lancasters - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups to 3 flying bomb launching sites. Some cloud was present but at least 2 of the attacks were assessed as accurate. No aircraft lost.

17 Lancasters, 1 Mosquito and 1 Mustang of No 617 Squadron attacked a flying-bomb store in a large cave at St Leu d'Esserent, north of Paris, and bombed the site accurately and without loss. (Aircraft of No 5 Group, with some Pathfinders, attacked St Leu d'Esserent immediately after the No 617 Squadron attack but Bomber Command records show the No 617 Squadron operation as a day raid and the later operation as a night raid.)

4 Mosquitos carried out uneventful Ranger patrols.

4/5 July 1944

231 Lancasters and 15 Mosquitos, mostly from No 5 Group but with some Pathfinder aircraft, continued the attack on the underground flying-bomb store at St Leu d'Esserent with 1,000lb bombs, in order to cut all communications to the site. The bombing was accurate but 13 Lancasters were lost when German fighters engaged the force.

282 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups attacked railway yards at Orleans and Villeneuve. Both targets were accurately bombed. 14 Lancasters were lost, 11 from the Villeneuve raid and 3 from Orleans.

36 Mosquitos to Scholven/Buer oil facility, 25 RCM sorties, 61 Mosquito patrols, 6 Stirlings and 5 Halifaxes minelaying off Brest and St Nazaire, 16 aircraft on Resistance operations, 30 OTU sorties. 1 Halifax RCM aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 712 sorties, 28 aircraft (3.9 per cent) lost.

5/6 July 1944

542 aircraft - 321 Lancasters, 201 Halifaxes, 20 Mosquitos - of Nos 3, 4, 6 and 8 Groups attacked 2 flying bomb launching and 2 storage sites. The night was clear with a bright moon and all targets were hit. 4 Lancasters lost.

154 Lancasters of No 1 Group to the main railway area at Dijon, which was heavily bombed. No aircraft lost.

35 Mosquitos to Scholven/Buer and 10 to Düren, 9 RCM sorties, 50 Mosquito patrols, 6 Halifaxes minelaying off Brest and St Nazaire, 29 aircraft on Resistance operations, 3 OTU sorties. 3 Mosquitos were lost - 1 from the Scholven raid, 1 RCM aircraft and 1 Serrate aircraft.

Total effort for the night: 838 sorties, 7 aircraft (0.8 per cent) lost.

6 July 1944

551 aircraft - 314 Halifaxes, 210 Lancasters, 26 Mosquitos, 1 Mustang - attacked 5 V-weapon targets. Only 1 aircraft was lost, a No 6 Group Halifax from a raid on siracourt flying-bomb store. Four of the targets were clear of cloud and were believed to have been bombed accurately but no results were seen at the Forêt de Croc launching site.

On his return from leading 617 Squadron's attack on the Mimoyecques site, Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire was ordered by the commander of No 5 Group to leave the squadron and rest. Cheshire had completed 4 tours and flown 100 operations. Squadron Leaders JC McCarthy, KL Munro and DJ Shannon, the three No 617 Squadron flight commanders - all survivors of the Dams Raid - were also ordered to rest. 2 months later, Cheshire was awarded the Victoria Cross for his 4 tours and for his courage and skill in developing low-level marking. He did not fly on operations again.

Mimoyecques V-Weapon Site
The V-weapon storage facility at Mimoyecques was completely destroyed.
Royal Visitors for Pathfinder Squadrons, 6 July 1944
HM King George VI meets with Pathfinder crews. Queen Elizabeth and a rather thoughtful-looking Princess Elizabeth with Air Vice-Marshal Don Bennett, the inspirational leader of the Pathfinders. The Royal guests chat with a Canadian of No 8 (PFF) Group.

6/7 July 1944

33 Mosquitos to Scholven/Buer and 3 to Mezieres railway junction, 6 Intruder and 16 flying-bomb patrols, 4 Stirlings minelaying off the Belgian and Dutch coasts. No aircraft lost; Mosquitos shot down 6 flying bombs, their best success of the war.

7 July 1944

467 aircraft - 283 Lancasters, 164 Halifaxes, 20 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups in a major effort to assist in the Normandy land battle. The Canadian 1st and British 2nd Armies were held up by a series of fortified village strongpoints north of Caen. The first plan was for Bomber Command to bomb these villages but, because of the proximity of friendly troops and the possibility of bombing error, the bombing area was moved back nearer to Caen, covering a stretch of open ground and the northern edge of the city. The weather was clear for the raid, which took place in the evening, and two aiming points were well marked by Oboe Mosquitos and other Pathfinder aircraft. The Master Bomber, Wing Commander SP (Pat) Daniels of No 35 Squadron, then controlled a very accurate raid. Dust and smoke soon obscured the markers but the bombing always remained concentrated. 2,276 tons of bombs were dropped.

It was afterwards judged that the bombing should have been aimed at the original targets. Few Germans were killed in the area actually bombed, although units near by were considerably shaken. The northern suburbs of Caen were ruined. No German fighters appeared and only 1 Lancaster, of No 166 Squadron, was shot down by flak. 2 further Lancasters and 1 Mosquito crashed behind the Allied lines in France.

7/8 July 1944

208 Lancasters and 13 Mosquitos, mainly from No 5 Group but with some Pathfinder aircraft, attacked a flying-bomb storage dump in a group of tunnels (formerly used for growing mushrooms) at St Leu d'Esserent. The bombing was accurately directed on to the mouths of the tunnels and on to the approach roads, thus blocking access to the flying bombs stored there. German night fighters intercepted the bombing force and 29 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos were lost, 14.0 per cent of the force. No 106 Squadron, from Metheringham, lost 5 of its 16 Lancasters on the raid and No 630 Squadron, from East Kirkby, lost its commanding officer, Wing Commander WI Deas, who was flying his 69th operation. Wing Commander Deas was killed and is buried in a small cemetery at Omerville, north-west of Versailles.

123 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups carried out an accurate raid on the railway yards at Vaires without the loss of any aircraft.

106 aircraft of Nos 1, 3, 5 and 9No 3 Groups on a diversionary sweep almost to the coast of Holland, 7 Mosquitos of No 5 Group dropping 'spoof' markers in support of the St Leu d'Esserent raid, 32 Mosquitos to Berlin and 9 to Scholven/Buer, 48 aircraft on RCM sorties or Resistance operations (no breakdown available), 83 Mosquito patrols. 2 Mosquitos were lost from the Berlin raid and 1 aircraft (type not recorded) was lost from a Resistance flight.

Total effort for the night: 634 sorties, 34 aircraft (5.3 per cent) lost.

8/9 July 1944

10 Mosquitos to Scholven/Buer, 8 Halifaxes and 4 Stirlings minelaying off Biscay coasts, 7 aircraft on Resistance operations, 8 Mosquitos on flying-bomb patrols. No aircraft lost.

9 July 1944

347 aircraft - 197 Halifaxes, 120 Lancasters, 30 Mosquitos - of Nos 3,4,6 and 8 Groups bombed 6 V-weapon launching sites but most of the targets were cloud-covered and some of the bombing was scattered. 1 Halifax and 1 Lancaster lost.

9/10 July 1944

8 Mosquitos to Scholven/Buer, 14 RCM sorties, 9 Serrate patrols, 8 Halifaxes and 4 Stirlings minelaying off Biscay ports, 19 aircraft on Resistance operations, 4 OTU sorties. No aircraft lost.

10 July 1944

213 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups attacked a flying-bomb storage dump at Nucort but the target was covered by cloud and the bombing was not concentrated. No aircraft lost.

6 Mosquitos carried out Ranger patrols without loss. 1 Ju88 was claimed destroyed near Oldenburg.

10/11 July 1944

35 Mosquitos to Berlin, 8 Halifaxes and 6 Lancasters minelaying in the Kattegat and in the Frisians, 13 Halifaxes and 9 Stirlings on Resistance operations, 4 OTU sorties. 1 Mosquito lost on the Berlin raid.

11 July 1944

26 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos of No 8 Group made two separate raids on a flying-bomb site at Gapennes. The Lancasters made the first 'heavy Oboe' attack of the war. A Lancaster of No 582 Squadron had been fitted with Oboe equipment and Wing Commander GF Grant, from No 109 Squadron, one of the Oboe Mosquito squadrons, flew in the Lancaster and directed the bombing. When Grant released his bombs, other Lancasters flying in formation did the same. This method allowed a greater tonnage of bombs to be dropped directly on the Oboe signals and it became one of Bomber Command's most accurate bombing methods and enabled small targets like the flying-bomb sites to be bombed accurately in cloudy conditions. No aircraft were lost on this raid.

2 Mosquitos flew Ranger patrols. 1 aircraft attacked a tanker with cannon-fire. The Mosquitos returned safely.

11/12 July 1944

8 Mosquitos to Homberg oil plant, 3 Serrate patrols, 21 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

12 July 1944

222 aircraft - 168 Halifaxes, 46 Lancasters, 8 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups bombed a storage dump at Thiverny but the target was cloud-covered and no results were seen. 18 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos of No 8 Group used Oboe to bomb the Rollez launching site. No aircraft lost.

153 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups to attack the important railway yards at Vaires on the outskirts of Paris; the target area was covered by cloud and the Master Bomber ordered the attack to be abandoned after 2 Mosquitos had marked and 12 Lancasters had bombed. No aircraft lost.

12/13 July 1944

378 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 5 and 8 Groups attacked railway targets at Culmont, Revigny and Tours. Culmont and Tours were accurately bombed but cloud interfered with the all-No 1 Group raid at Revigny and only half of the force bombed. 10 Lancasters were lost on the Revigny raid and 2 on the Culmont raid.

230 aircraft - 196 Halifaxes, 17 Lancasters, 17 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups attacked 4 flying bomb launch sites. All targets were hit, the raid on the Bremont les Hautes site being particularly accurate. No aircraft were lost.

168 aircraft of all Main Force groups and Nos 92 and 93 (OTU) Groups on a diversionary sweep over the North Sea, 8 Mosquitos to Homberg, 32 RCM sorties, 32 Mosquito patrols, 12 Halifaxes minelaying off Heligoland, 14 OTU sorties. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 881 sorties, 12 aircraft (1.4 per cent) lost.

Culmont Railway Depot
The scene at Culmont when photographed on the July 13th.

13 July 1944

13 Lancasters of No 8 Group to attack a flying-bomb site and 2 Mosquitos on Ranger patrols but thick cloud prevented all aircraft from operating.

13/14 July 1944

4 Mosquitos to Homberg and Scholven/Buer, 4 Serrate patrols over Denmark, 6 Stirlings minelaying off Brest, 3 Halifaxes on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

14 July 1944

19 Lancasters of No 8 Group attacked the flying-bomb site at St Philibert Ferme through thick cloud and 4 Mosquitos flew Ranger patrols to Northern Germany and Denmark. No aircraft lost.

14/15 July 1944

242 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 5 and 8 Groups to attack the railway yards at Revigny and Villeneuve. The raid on Villeneuve was carried out and the railways were hit, though much of the bombing fell to the east of the target. The raid to Revigny was abandoned because the railway yards could not be identified. 7 Lancasters lost from the Revigny raid.

115 aircraft - 101 Halifaxes, 10 Mosquitos, 4 Lancasters - of 4, 6 and 8 Groups attacked V-weapons sites at Anderbelck and Les Landes. Anderbelck was accurately bombed in good visibility but the bombing at Les Landes was through 10/10ths cloud.

Support and 132 aircraft on a diversionary sweep over the North Sea, 42 Mosquitos to Hannover, 35 RCM sorties, 56 Mosquito patrols, 8 Stirlings minelaying off Biscay ports. 1 Mosquito of No 100 Group lost.

Total effort for the night: 641 sorties, 8 aircraft (1.3 per cent) lost.

15 July 1944

47 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos carried out an 'Oboe leader' attack on the flying-bomb supply dump at Nucort. No bombing results were seen, because of poor weather conditions. No aircraft lost.

15/16 July 1944

234 aircraft - 162 Halifaxes, 58 Lancasters, 14 Mosquitos - carried out accurate attacks in the Bois des Jardins flying bomb launch site and the Nucourt supply dump. 1 Halifax lost.

222 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos attacked railway yards at Chalons sur Marne and Nevers. Both raids were successful. 3 aircraft lost, 2 Lancasters from the Nevers raid and 1 Lancaster from Chalons.

Support and 162 aircraft from 7 different groups on a diversionary sweep over the North Sea, 36 Mosquitos to Berlin, 25 RCM sorties, 45 Mosquito patrols, 6 Lancasters minelaying off Denmark, 11 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 minelaying Lancaster lost.

Total effort for the night: 748 sorties, 5 aircraft (0.7 per cent) lost.

16 July 1944

30 Lancasters and 3 Mosquitos of No 8 Group bombed the flying-bomb launching site at St Philibert Ferme through thick cloud. No aircraft lost.

16/17 July 1944

38 Mosquitos attacked the synthetic-oil plant at Homberg without loss.

4 Stirlings minelaying off Brest, 5 OTU sorties, 8 Mosquitos on flying-bomb patrols. No aircraft lost.

17 July 1944

132 aircraft - 72 Halifaxes, 28 Stirlings, 20 Lancasters, 11 Mosquitos, 1 Mustang - attacked 3 V-weapons sites without loss. Few details of bombing results were recorded.

17/18 July 1944

23 Stirlings and 11 Halifaxes from Heavy Conversion Units of Nos 1 and No 5 Groups on a diversion flight over the North Sea without loss, although no major operation took place elsewhere, 31 Mosquitos to Berlin, 24 RCM sorties, 38 Mosquito patrols, 8 Halifaxes minelaying off Heligoland and the Frisians, 16 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

18 July 1944

942 aircraft - 667 Lancasters, 260 Halifaxes, 15 Mosquitos - to bomb 5 fortified villages in the area east of Caen through which British Second Army troops were about to make an armoured attack, Operation Goodwood. The raids took place at dawn in clear conditions. 4 of the targets were satisfactorily marked by Oboe and, at the target where Oboe failed, the Master Bomber, Squadron Leader EK Creswell, and other Pathfinder crews used visual methods. American bombers also attacked these targets and a total of 6,800 tons of bombs were dropped, of which Bomber Command dropped more than 5,000 tons. Elements of two German divisions, the 16th Luftwaffe Field Division and the 21st Panzer Division, were badly affected by the bombing, the Luftwaffe Division particularly so. Operation Goodwood made a good start. This raid was either the most useful or one of the most useful of the operations carried out by Bomber Command in direct support of the Allied armies. The aircraft bombed from medium heights, 5,000-9,000ft, but army artillery and naval gunfire subdued many of the flak batteries and only 6 aircraft - 5 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster - were shot down. No German fighters appeared. Allied air superiority over the battlefield by day was complete.

110 aircraft - 99 Halifaxes, 6 Lancasters, 5 Mosquitos - of 4,6 and 8 Groups attacked the railway yards at Vaires but no report on the bombing results was filed. 2 Halifaxes lost.

Total effort for the day: 1,052 sorties, 8 aircraft (0.8 per cent) lost.

18/19 July 1944

194 aircraft - 111 Halifaxes, 77 Lancasters, 6 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups to attack the synthetic-oil plant ar Wessling. 1 Halifax lost. A useful German report from Wesseling shows that this was a very successful raid and a credit to the Pathfinder marking. Approximately 1,000 high-explosive bombs fell inside the area of the plant in 20 minutes. 20 per cent of the installations were destroyed but, because some important buildings were particularly hard-hit, the loss of production was greater than this figure. 600 workmen were present on the night shift but they had good air-raid shelters and only 3 were killed. The nearby town was also hit and 151 houses were destroyed, many of them being in the estate for the oil-plant workers. The people here must also have been provided with good shelters because only 8 German people were killed. The local report stresses that no children of school age were among the casualties; the local school had been evacuated to Silesia a few weeks earlier. Foreign workers and prisoners of war in a nearby camp probably had poorer air-raid shelters; 22 foreign workers and 9 prisoners of war died.

157 Lancasters and 13 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups attacked the oil plant at Scholven/Buer. 4 Lancasters lost.

This was also a successful raid. The local report says that 550 bombs fell in the plant area, although 233 of them did not explode. Production came to 'a complete standstill for a long period'.

253 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3, 5 and 8 Groups attacked railway junctions at Aulnoye and Revigny. Both targets were hit and the railway lines to the battle front were cut. 2 Lancasters were lost on the Aulnoye raid but the No 5 Group raid to Revigny was caught by German fighters and 24 Lancasters were shot down, nearly 22 per cent of the Lancasters involved. No 619 Squadron, from Dunholme Lodge, lost 5 of its 13 aircraft taking part in the raid.

62 aircraft - 51 Halifaxes, 9 Mosquitos, 2 Lancasters - of 4 and 8 Groups bombed a flying-bomb launching site at Acquet but photographs indicated that no new damage was caused. 2 Halifaxes lost.

Support and 115 aircraft - 86 Wellingtons, 19 Stirlings, 10 Halifaxes - from Heavy Conversion and Operational Training Units on a diversionary sweep over the North Sea, 22 Mosquitos to Berlin and 6 to Cologne, 20 RCM sorties, 76 Mosquito patrols, 8 Halifaxes minelaying in the Frisians, 36 aircraft on Resistance operations. 3 aircraft lost - 1 Mosquito from the Berlin raid and 2 Halifaxes from Resistance operations.

Total effort for the night: 972 sorties, 36 aircraft (3.7 per cent) lost.

19 July 1944

132 Lancasters and 12 Mosquitos of 5 and 8 Groups attacked two launching sites and a supply dump. All target areas were partially cloud-covered but the targets were believed to have been hit. No aircraft lost.

19/20 July 1944

36 Mosquitos to Bremen, 9 RCM sorties, 29 Mosquito patrols, 6 Halifaxes minelaying off Heligoland, 8 OTU sorties. No aircraft lost.

20 July 1944

369 aircraft - 174 Lancasters, 165 Halifaxes, 30 Mosquitos - attacked 6 flying-bomb launching sites and the V-weapon site at Wizemes. All raids were successful except the small raid by 20 aircraft on the Forêt de Croc site where the Oboe leader Lancaster was shot down on the bombing run and the bombs of this force all missed the target. This was the only aircraft lost.

8 Mosquitos flew uneventful Ranger patrols.

The unsuccessful attempt on Hitler's life at his headquarters in East Prussia took place on this day.

20/21 July 1944

302 Lancasters and 15 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 5 and 8 Groups attacked the railway yards and a 'triangle' rail junction at Courtrai. The Bomber Command report states that both targets 'were devastated'. 9 Lancasters lost.

166 aircraft - 149 Halifaxes, 13 Mosquitos, 4 Lancasters - of 4 and 8 Groups attacked the synthetic-oil refinery at Bottrop. The northern part of the target was badly damaged. 7 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster lost.

147 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups attacked the oil plant at Homberg and caused severe damage. German documents show that the production of aviation fuel, which had stood at nearly 6,000 tons per day at the end of April, was now fluctuating between 120 and 970 tons per day, following Bomber Command and American Eighth Air Force raids. But German night fighters caught the Homberg bomber force and 20 Lancasters were lost. No 75 (New Zealand) Squadron, from Mepal, lost 7 of its 25 aircraft on the raid.

87 aircraft - 54 Halifaxes, 23 Lancasters, 10 Mosquitos - of 4, 5 and 8 Groups attacked flying bomb sites at Ardouval and Wizernes without loss but only 23 aircraft bombed at Ardouval and none at Wizernes.

Support and 106 aircraft from training units on a diversionary sweep over the North Sea, 6 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos on a 'spoof' raid to Alost, 26 Mosquitos to Hamburg, 33 RCM sorties, 42 Mosquito patrols, 8 Stirlings minelaying off Lorient, 17 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 Mosquito lost from the Hamburg raid.

Total effort for the night: 971 sorties, 38 aircraft (3.9 per cent) lost.

Wizernes V-Weapon Site
Wizernes V-weapon site before the recent series of Bomber Command attacks. A Lancaster is seen over Wizernes during the daylight attack on the 20th July. One feature of the Wizernes site was a huge concrete dome used as aunderground store. Recce picture of the site at Wizernes. In the center of the picture the large dome-shaped underground storage area can be made out. Low-level recce picture of the remains of the Wizernes site.

21 July 1944

52 aircraft - 45 Halifaxes, 5 Mosquitos, 2 Lancasters - of 6 and 8 Groups attacked a flying-bomb site at Anderbeck. No results were recorded. No aircraft were lost.

2 Mosquitos flew Ranger patrols to Aalborg, Grove and Jagel airfields; German aircraft seen on the ground were attacked. The Mosquitos returned safely.

21/22 July 1944

33 Mosquitos to Berlin, 20 RCM sorties, 18 Mosquito patrols, 6 Halifaxes and 6 Lancasters minelaying in the Frisians and the Kattegat. 1 Mosquito Intruder lost.

22 July 1944

48 Lancasters and 12 Mosquitos of No 8 Group carried out 'Oboe leader' bombing of 4 V-weapon sites through 10/l0ths cloud. No aircraft lost.

2 Mosquitos on Ranger patrols to Holland and Germany shot up trains without loss.

22/23 July 1944

6 Lancasters minelaying in the Kattegat, 10 Halifaxes on Resistance operations, 5 OTU sorties. No aircraft lost.

23 July 1944

48 Lancasters and 12 Mosquitos of 3 and 8 Groups bombed flying bomb sites at Forêt de Croc and Mont Candon through thick cloud. No aircraft lost.

23/24 July 1944

Kiel: This was the first major raid on a German city for two months. 629 aircraft - 519 Lancasters, 100 Halifaxes, 10 Mosquitos - were dispatched. The elaborate deception and RCM operations combined with the surprise return to a German target completely confused the German fighter force and only 4 aircraft - all Lancasters - were lost, a rate of 0.6 per cent. The city suffered heavily in this first RAF raid since April 1943 and its heaviest RAF raid of the war. The bombing force appeared suddenly from behind a Mandrel jamming screen and the local radio warning system only reported it as being a force of minelaying aircraft. 612 aircraft then bombed in a raid lasting only 25 minutes. All parts of Kiel were hit but the bombing was particularly heavy in the port areas and all of the important U-boat yards and naval facilities were hit. The presence of around 500 delayed-action bombs or unexploded duds caused severe problems for the rescue and repair services. There was no water for 3 days; trains and buses did not run for 8 days and there was no gas for cooking for 3 weeks.

119 aircraft - 100 Halifaxes, 14 Lancasters, 5 Mosquitos - of Nos 6 and 8 Groups attacked an oil refinery and storage depot at Donges, near the mouth of the River Loire. This was the start of a new campaign against oil targets in the occupied Countries. The bombing took place in good visibility. The target was severely damaged and a tanker was hit and capsized. No aircraft lost.

116 aircraft - 102 Halifaxes, 12 Mosquitos, 2 Lancasters - of Nos 4 and 8 Groups attacked 2 flying bomb sites with accurate bombing. 1 Halifax lost from the raid on the Les Hauts Buissons site.

Support and 180 aircraft of training units on diversionary sweep over the North Sea, 27 Mosquitos to Berlin and 5 to Düren, 39 RCM sorties, 45 Mosquito patrols, 6 Lancasters minelaying off Kiel and 2 Stirlings off Brest, 12 aircraft on Resistance operations, 8 OTU sorties. 1 Lancaster lost while minelaying near Kiel.

Donges
This picture taken the day after the attack on the oil refinery at Donges shows smoke rising from the target area. A merchantman lies capsized in the adjacent river. By the 25th, the smoke had cleared to reveal the full extent of the damage at Donges.

Total effort for the night: 1,188 sorties, 5 aircraft (0.4 per cent) lost.

24 July 1944

28 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of 3 and 8 Groups bombed flying bomb sites at Acquet and Prouville without loss.

3 Mosquitos flew Ranger patrols to Northern Germany and attacked trains but 1 Mosquito was lost.

24/25 July 1944

461 Lancasters and 153 Halifaxes to Stuttgart. 17 Lancasters and 4 Halifaxes lost, 4.6 per cent of the force. This was the first of 3 heavy raids on Stuttgart in 5 nights and the only report available is a composite one for the 3 raids. The 3 raids caused the most serious damage of the war in the central districts of Stuttgart which, being situated in a series of narrow valleys, had eluded Bomber Command for several years. They were now devastated and most of Stuttgart's public and cultural buildings were destroyed. The second of the 3 raids, on the night of 25/26 July, was the most successful.

104 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitos of 5 and 8 Groups attacked the oil depot at Donges again and, according to reports, the target was 'devastated'. 3 Lancasters lost.

112 aircraft - l00 Halifaxes, 10 Mosquitos, 2 Lancasters - of Nos 6 and 8 Groups attacked a flying-bomb site at Ferfay but the Master Bomber allowed only 73 aircraft to bomb. 1 Halifax lost.

Support and 107 aircraft from training units on diversionary sweep, 27 Mosquitos to Berlin, 8 to Frankfurt and 5 to Aachen, 36 RCM sorties, 46 Mosquito patrols, 4 Halifaxes minelaying off Brest and Lorient, 12 aircraft on Resistance operations, 4 OTU sorties. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 1,088 sorties, 25 aircraft (2.3 per cent) lost.

Stuttgart
Taken the day after the first of Bomber Command's July raids on Stuttgart, the amount of damage caused to the city is very much in evidence. The following attack would be even more devastating.

25 July 1944

94 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked an airfield and signals depot at St Cyr. Bombing was accurate. 1 Lancaster lost.

93 aircraft - 81 Lancasters, 11 Mosquitos, 1 Mustang - of 5 and 8 Groups attacked 2 launching sites and the Watten storage site. All raids were successful and no aircraft were lost.

St Cyr
Despite being attacked by a relatively small force of Lancasters, there was a large amount of damage to St Cyr. Another view of the heavy damage inflicted on St Cyr.

25/26 July 1944

412 Lancasters and 138 Halifaxes to continue the attack on Stuttgart. 8 Lancasters and 4 Halifaxes lost, 2.2 per cent of the force.

135 aircraft - 114 Halifaxes, 11 Lancasters, 10 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4 and 8 Groups attacked the Krupp oil refinery at Wanne-Eickel. No aircraft lost. Only a few bombs hit a corner of the oil refinery and production was not seriously affected. Other bombs hit the south-eastern part of Eickel, destroying 14 houses and killed 29 civilians, 4 foreign workers and 3 prisoners of war and causing production at the Hannibal coal mine to cease.

36 Lancasters and 15 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups bombed 3 launching sites and succeeded in destroying the launching ramp at the Bois des Jardins site. No aircraft lost.

21 Mosquitos to Berlin, 15 to Mannheim and 6 to Somain, 28 RCM sorties, 37 Mosquito patrols, 4 Halifaxes minelaying off Brest, 5 Halifaxes on Resistance operations. 1 Mosquito of No 100 Group lost.

Total effort for the night: 852 sorties, 13 aircraft (1.5 per cent) lost.

26/27 July 1944

178 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitos of No 5 Group carried out an accurate attack on the railway yards at Givors. 4 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos lost.

30 Mosquitos to Hamburg, 11 to Somain and 2 to Saarbrücken, 6 RCM sorties, 23 Mosquito patrols, 6 Lancasters minelaying off Heligoland, 6 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 Mosquito lost from the Hamburg raid.

27 July 1944

72 aircraft - 36 Lancasters, 24 Stirlings, 12 Mosquitos - of Nos 3 and 8 Groups attacked 5 V-weapon sites without loss. All targets were cloud-covered and most of the bombing was 'confused and scattered'. Some of the Stirlings on this raid, from No 218 Squadron, were fitted with the G-H blind-bombing device and they used this in the attack on one of the sites; this was the first use of the 'G-H leader' technique.

27/28 July 1944

30 Mosquitos to Stuttgart and 12 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

28 July 1944

199 aircraft - 159 Halifaxes, 20 Mosquitos, 20 Stirlings - of Nos 3, 4 and 8 Groups attacked two launching sites and made two further separate raids on the Forêt de Nieppe storage site. All bombing was through cloud but the various methods used were believed to have led to accurate results. 1 Halifax lost from one of the Forêt de Nieppe raids.

28/29 July 1944

494 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3, 5 and 8 Groups in the last raid of the current series on Stuttgart. German fighters intercepted the bomber stream while over France on the outward flight; there was a bright moon and 39 Lancasters were shot down, 19 per cent of the force.

307 aircraft - 187 Halifaxes, 106 Lancasters, 14 Mosquitos from Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups - to Hamburg. German fighters again appeared, this time on the homeward flight, and 18 Halifaxes and 4 Lancasters were lost, 12 per cent of the force. The Halifax casualties were 9.6 per cent; No 431 (Canadian) Squadron, flying from Croft airfield in Co. Durham, lost 5 of its 17 aircraft on the raid. This was the first heavy raid on Hamburg since the Battle of Hamburg just a year earlier. The bombing on this raid was not well concentrated. The Germans estimated that only 120 aircraft bombed in the city area, with no recognisable aiming point, though western and harbour areas received the most bombs.

119 aircraft of Nos 1, 4 and 8 Groups attacked the flying bomb stores area at Forêt De Nieppe again. No aircraft lost.

Support and 95 training aircraft on a diversionary sweep over the North Sea, 13 Mosquitos to Frankfurt, 41 RCM sorties, 50 Mosquito patrols, 5 Halifaxes minelaying in the River Elbe. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 1,126 sorties, 61 aircraft (5.4 per cent) lost.

29 July 1944

76 aircraft - 50 Halifaxes, 16 Stirlings, 10 Mosquitos - of Nos 3, 4 and 8 Groups attacked the stores dump at Forêt De Nieppe without loss.

29/30 July 1944

30 Mosquitos to Frankfurt (though some bombs fell in Mainz 20 miles away, killing 8 people), 9 to St Trond and 4 to Coulommiers (these last 2 targets were German night-fighter airfields), 13 RCM sorties, 6 Mosquito patrols, 9 OTU sorties. No aircraft lost.

30 July 1944

692 aircraft - 462 Lancasters, 200 Halifaxes, 30 Mosquitos - were sent to bomb 6 German positions in front of a mainly American ground attack in the Villers Bocage Caumont area. The presence of cloud caused many difficulties and only 377 aircraft were able to bomb, on to Oboe markers, and only 2 of the 6 targets were effectively hit. 4 Lancasters lost.

2 Mosquitos carried out uneventful Ranger patrols.

30/31 July 1944

20 Halifaxes on Resistance operations, 6 OTU sorties. No aircraft lost.

31 July 1944

127 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 5 Groups carried out an accurate raid on the railway yards at Joigny La Roche in clear conditions. 1 Lancaster lost.

97 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos of Nos 5 and 8 Groups attacked the ends of a railway tunnel at Rilly La Montage being used as a flying-bomb store. No 617 Squadron caved in both ends of the tunnel with their Tallboy bombs and the other part of the bombing force cratered all the approach areas. 2 Lancasters were lost, including the No 617 Squadron aircraft of Flight Lieutenant William Reid, who had won a Victoria Cross in 1943 in a raid on Düsseldorf while flying with No 61 Squadron. Flight Lieutenant Reid survived.

52 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups bombed the port area at Le Havre but the target soon became smoke-covered and results were uncertain, though one U-boat was believed to have been hit. 1 Lancaster lost.

31 July/1 August 1944

202 aircraft - 104 Lancasters, 76 Halifaxes, 22 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups attacked two launching and two storage sites, but only at the Forêt de Nieppe storage site was effective damage caused. 1 Halifax and 1 Lancaster lost.

4 Serrate patrols, 4 Halifaxes minelaying off Brest.


1944 June  1944 August
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