Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary
|HM King George VI and Queen Elizabeth meet training crews who took part in 1,000-Bomber raids. RAF Waterbeach 12 June 1942|
106 aircraft - 40 Wellingtons, 39 Halifaxes, 15 Lancasters, 12 Stirlings.
8 aircraft - 4 Halifaxes, 3 Wellingtons, 1 Stirling- lost.
Only 16 crews reported that they had identified Essen; 56 bombed alternative targets, 45 of them attacking Bonn. Essen reports only 3 high-explosive and 400 incendiary bombs in the city with one person being wounded.
This raid concluded the series of 5 raids on Essen in 16 nights. 1,607 sorties had been dispatched and 84 aircraft (5.2 per cent) lost. No industrial damage was caused in Essen on any of these raids; a few houses were destroyed and 38 civilians were killed. Essen would not be visited in strength for 3 months.
Minor Operations: 12 Hampdens minelaying off Lorient, 9 aircraft on leaflet flights to France. No losses.
Minor Operations: 27 Stirlings and Wellingtons to St Nazaire but only 6 aircraft bombed, in poor weather, 46 aircraft minelaying off St Nazaire and in the Frisians, 2 Stirlings on leaflet flights. No losses.
3 Mosquitos to Bremen and Bremerhaven but the only places bombed were Wilhelmshaven and the island of Langeoog. No aircraft lost.
Minelaying: 65 aircraft to Lorient and the Frisian Islands. 1 Hampden lost.
194 aircraft - 112 Wel1ingtons, 37 Halifaxes, 25 Stirlings, 11 Hampdens,
9 Lancasters. 9 aircraft - 6 Wel1ingtons, 2 Stirlings, 1 Halifax -lost.
131 crews claimed to have bombed Emden. Bombing photographs showed that part of the flare force started a raid on Osnabrück, 80 miles from Emden, in which 29 aircraft eventual1y joined. Emden recorded only 5 high-explosive bombs and 200-300 incendiaries with no damage or casualties.
Minor Operations: 6 Blenheim Intruders, 5 aircraft on leaflet flights to France. No losses.
12 Bostons to Le Havre power-station and 2 Mosquitos to Emden, all without loss.
185 aircraft of 5 types. 8 aircraft - 3 Wel1ingtons, 2 Stirlings, 1
Halifax, 1 Lancaster - lost.
Only part of the bomber force identified the target. Emden reports about 100 houses damaged and 1 person injured.
Minor Operations: 5 Blenheim Intruders, 3 aircraft on leaflet flights to France. No losses.
12 Bostons attempted to bomb a cargo ship in Dunkirk harbour; the bombs fell on railway lines near the ship. No Bostons lost.
Minor Operations: 56 aircraft minelaying off St Nazaire, 2 aircraft on leaflet flights to France. 1 Wellington minelayer lost.
12 Bostons to Dunkirk. 6 aircraft bombed the docks; the other 6 bombed a nearby airfield. No Bostons lost.
227 aircraft - 144 Wellingtons, 38 Stirlings, 26 Halifaxes, 11 Lancasters,
8 Hampdens. 6 aircraft - 4 Wellingtons, 1 Lancaster, 1 Stirling - lost.
196 crews claimed good bombing results but decoy fires are believed to have drawn off many bombs. Emden reports: 50 houses destroyed, 100 damaged, damage in the harbour (no details available), 6 people killed and 40 injured.
Minor Operations: 10 Blenheim Intruders, 2 Stirlings on leaflet flights. No losses.
12 Bostons to Dunkirk docks and 6 to Morlaix airfield. Both targets were believed to have been accurately bombed. No Bostons lost.
Minor Operations: 14 Wellingtons and Stirlings to St Nazaire but only 3 crews found and bombed the target, 52 aircraft minelaying off Lorient, Verdon and St Nazaire and in the Frisians, 1 Lancaster on a leaflet flight. 2 Wellington minelayers lost.
21 aircraft. No losses.
The 'Thousand Force' was reassembled for this raid, although only 960
aircraft became available for Bomber Command use. Every type of aircraft
in Bomber command was included, even the Bostons and Mosquitos of 2
Group which, so far, had only been used for day operations. The force
was composed as follows: 472 Wellingtons, 124 Halifaxes, 96 Lancasters,
69 Stirlings, 51 Blenheims, 50 Hampdens, 50 Whitleys, 24 Bostons, 20
Manchesters and 4 Mosquitos.
A further 102 Hudsons and Wellingtons of Coastal Command were sent to Bremen. 5 further aircraft provided by Army Co-Operation Command were also added to the force. The final numbers dispatched, 1,067 aircraft.
Parts of the force were allocated to specific targets in Bremen. The entire 5 Group effort - 142 aircraft - was ordered to bomb the Focke-Wulf factory; 20 Blenheims were allocated to the A.G. Weser shipyard; the Coastal Command aircraft were to bomb the Deschimag shipyard; all other aircraft were to carry out an area attack on the town and docks.
The tactics were basically similar to the earlier 'Thousand' raids except that the bombing period was now cut to 65 minutes. Bremen, on the wide River Weser, should have been an easy target to find and the inland penetration of the German night-fighter belt was only a shallow one. There were doubts about a band of cloud which lay across the Bremen area during the day, but this was being pushed steadily eastwards by a strong wind. Unfortunately the wind dropped in the evening and the bomber crews found the target completely covered for the whole period of the raid. The limited success which was gained was entirely due to the use of Gee, which enabled the leading crews to start fires, on to the glow of which many aircraft of later waves bombed. 696 Bomber Command aircraft were able to claim attacks on Bremen.
572 houses were completely destroyed and 6,108 damaged. 85 people were killed, 497 injured and 2,378 bombed out.
On the industrial side, an assembly shop at the Focke-Wulf factory was completely flattened, a further 6 buildings at this factory were seriously damaged and 11 buildings lightly so. Damage was also experienced by 4 important industrial firms - the Atlas Werke, the Vulkan shipyard, the Norddeutsche Hütte and the Korff refinery - and by 2 large dockside warehouses.
The actual losses of the Bomber Command aircraft involved in the raid were 48 aircraft, including 4 which came down in the sea near England from which all but 2 crew members were rescued. This was a new record loss. It represented exactly 5 per cent of the Bomber Command aircraft dispatched. This time, heaviest casualties were suffered by the OTUs of 91 Group, which lost 23 of the 198 Whitleys and Wellingtons provided by that group, a loss of 11.6 per cent. 5 of the 102 Coastal Command aircraft were also lost.
Intruder Operations: 56 aircraft of 2 Group - 31 Blenheims, 21 Bostons, 4 Mosquitos - were dispatched to attack and harass 13 German airfields. 15 of the Blenheims were lent by Army Co-Operation Command and were operating under Bomber Command orders. The Boston and Mosquito sorties were the first Intruder flights by those aircraft types. 2 of the Army Co-Operation Blenheims, attacking St Trond and Venlo airfields, were lost.
Total Bomber Command effort for the night: 1,016 sorties, 50 aircraft (4.9 per cent) lost. Total including Coastal Command: 1,123 sorties, 55 aircraft (4.9 per cent) lost.
12 Bostons attacked Le Havre power-station but the bombing fell outside the target area. 2 Mosquitos photographed Bremen. 2 further Mosquitos to Essen turned back. No aircraft lost.
Minelaying: 29 Wellingtons and 10 Halifaxes off Lorient and St Nazaire and in the Frisian Islands. No losses.
144 aircraft - 55 Wellingtons, 39 Halifaxes, 26 Stirlings, 24 Lancasters.
9 aircraft - 4 Wellingtons, 2 Halifaxes, 2 Lancasters, 1 Stirling -
119 aircraft bombed blindly through cloud after obtaining Gee fixes. Bomber Command believed the results were successful. Bremen records that two of the large firms hit in the recent 'Thousand' raid - the Atlas Werke and the Korff refinery - were damaged again, as well as several smaller firms and dockside warehouses. A hospital and an unrecorded number of houses were also hit. 7 people were killed and 80 injured.
Minor Operations: 15 aircraft mine1aying off St Nazaire and Verdon, 6 Halifaxes on leaflet flights. No losses.
Minor Operations 14 aircraft to St Nazaire, 4 Lancasters minelaying in the River Gironde, 1 Stirling on leaflet flight. 1 Stirling on the St Nazaire raid was lost.
12 Bostons bombed railway yards at Hazebrouck without loss. 1 of the Bostons was manned by Captain Kegelman and his all-American crew, the first Americans of the Eighth Air Force to take part in a bomber operation. Their hosts were 226 Squadron at Swanton Morley.
253 aircraft - 108 Wellingtons, 64 Lancasters, 47 Stirlings, 34 Halifaxes
- dispatched, the first time that 4-engined bombers provided more than
half of the force on a major raid. 11 aircraft - 4 Stirlings, 4 Wellingtons,
3 Halifaxes - were lost.
The Bremen report shows that 48 houses were destroyed and 934 damaged, mostly lightly. Extensive damage occured in 5 important war industries, including the Focke-Wulf factory and the A.G. Weser U-boat construction yard, and at the local gasworks, a museum and a merchant-navy college. Most of this damage was caused by fire.
Minor Operations: 18 Blenheim Intruders, 7 Wellingtons minelaying off St Nazaire, 5 leaflet flights. No losses.
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