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Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary


Campaign Diary
June 1942

 

1 June 1942

12 Bostons to Flushing docks and 2 Mosquitos to Cologne. 1 Mosquito lost.

1/2 June 1942

Essen

This was the second raid carried out by the 'Thousand Force' although the full 1,000 aircraft could not be provided on this night. 956 aircraft were dispatched: 545 Wellingtons, 127 Halifaxes, 77 Stirlings, 74 Lancasters, 71 Hampdens, 33 Manchesters and 29 Whitleys.
The plan was similar to the recent raid on Cologne except that many more flares were dropped by the raid leaders, Wellingtons of 3 Group. Crews experienced great difficulty in finding the target; the ground was covered either by haze or a layer of low cloud. Bombing was very scattered.
Essen reports only 11 houses destroyed and 184 damaged, mostly in the south of the city, and one prisoner of war working camp burnt out. Casualties were 15 people killed and 91 injured. Bombs also fell on at least 11 other towns in or near the Ruhr. Particularly heavy bombing occurred in Oberhausen with 83 people killed, Duisburg with 52 killed, and Mülheim with 15 killed.
31 bombers were lost: 15 Wellingtons, 8 Halifaxes, 4 Lancasters, 1 Hampden, 1 Manchester, 1 Stirling, 1 Whitley. This was 3.2 per cent of the force dispatched.

Intruders: 48 Blenheims to German airfields. 10 aircraft made attacks; 3 were lost. Fighter and Army Co-Operation Command aircraft were also operating.

2 June 1942

6 Bostons to Dieppe and 2 Mosquitos to Essen. No losses.

2/3 June 1942

Essen

195 aircraft - 97 Wellingtons, 38 Halifaxes, 27 Lancasters, 21 Stirlings, 12 Hampdens. 14 aircraft - 7 Wellingtons, 2 Halifaxes, 2 Lancasters, 2 Stirlings, 1 Hampden - lost.
This attack was also widely scattered. Essen records only 3 high-explosive and 300 incendiary bombs in the city, with no serious damage or casualties.

Minor Operations: 6 Wellingtons to Dieppe, 11 aircraft minelaying off Lorient and St Nazaire, 4 Hampdens on leaflet flights to France. 1 Hampden minelayer was lost.

3 June 1942

12 Bostons to Cherbourg docks and a power-station at Le Havre. Bombing was poor at Cherbourg but better at Le Havre. No Bostons lost.

3/4 June 1942

Bremen

170 aircraft of all standard types were dispatched on the first large raid to Bremen since October 1941. 11 aircraft - 4 Wellingtons, 2 Halifaxes, 2 Lancasters, 2 Stirlings, 1 Manchester - lost.
Crews reported only indifferent bombing results but Bremen recorded this as a heavy attack, the results of which exceeded all previous raids. Housing areas were heavily hit with 6 streets affected by serious fires. Damage to the U-boat construction yards and the Focke-Wulf factory is described as 'of no importance' but there were hits in the harbour area which damaged a pier, some warehouses and the destroyer Z-25. With 83 people dead, 29 seriously and 229 slightly injured, this would turn out to be Bremen's third heaviest casualty toll in the war.

Minor Operations: 4 Wellingtons to Dieppe, 9 Blenheim Intruders to airfields, 7 aircraft minelaying in the River Gironde and off St Nazaire, 5 aircraft on leaflet flights to France. No losses.

4 June 1942

12 Bostons to Boulogne and Dunkirk docks with accurate bombing at both targets. 1 Boston lost.

4/5 June 1942

Minor Operations: 20 aircraft to Dieppe, 13 Blenheims to Schiphol airfield, 2 aircraft on leaflet flights to France. No aircraft lost.
This night represents the exact mid-point of the war between Britain and Germany but, for Bomber Command, 82 per cent of its sorties, 77 per cent of its aircraft losses and 94 per cent of its bomb tonnage were still to come.

5 June 1942

24 Bostons to power-stations at Le Havre and Ostend and to Morlaix airfield. All targets were bombed without loss to the Bostons. 1 Mosquito photographed Schiphol airfield and returned safely.

5/6 June 1942

Essen

180 aircraft - 98 Wellingtons, 33 Halifaxes, 25 Stirlings, 13 Lancasters, 11 Hampdens. 12 aircraft - 8 Wellingtons, 2 Stirlings, 1 Halifax, 1 Lancaster -lost.
This was another failure, with bombing being scattered over a wide area. Essen suffered minor property damage, 10 people killed and 68 injured.

Minor Operations: 15 aircraft minelaying to the Frisians and Quiberon Bay, 3 aircraft on leaflet flights to France. No losses.

6 June 1942

11 Bostons to Fécamp harbour turned back.

6/7 June 1942

Emden

233 aircraft - 124 Wellingtons, 40 Stirlings, 27 Halifaxes, 20 Lancasters, 15 Hampdens, 7 Manchesters - on the first large raid on this target since November 1941. 9 aircraft - 3 Manchesters, 3 Wellingtons, 2 Stirlings, 1 Halifax - lost.
Crews reported good bombing results and this was confirmed by later photographic reconnaissance. Emden reports briefly that approximately 300 houses were destroyed and 200 seriously damaged and that 17 people were killed and 49 injured. Some unspecified damage was also experienced in the docks area. 6 Blenheims on Intruder operations to airfields without loss.

7/8 June 1942

Minor Operations: 43 aircraft minelaying to unnamed locations, 3 aircraft on leaflet flights to France. No losses.

8 June 1942

12 Bostons bombed the port area of Bruges without loss.

8/9 June 1942

Essen

170 aircraft - 92 Wellingtons, 42 Halifaxes, 14 Stirlings, 13 Lancasters, 9 Hampdens. 19 aircraft - 7 Wellingtons, 7 Halifaxes, 3 Lancasters, 1 Hampden, 1 Stirling - lost.
Yet again, this target was not identified accurately and bombing was scattered over a wide area. Essen suffered further light housing damage, 13 people killed and 42 injured.

Minor Operations: 19 aircraft to Dieppe, 6 Blenheim Intruders, 1 Stirling on a leaflet flight. No losses.

9/10 June 1942

Minelaying: 54 aircraft to the Frisian Islands and off Swinemünde in the Baltic. No aircraft lost.

10 June 1942

23 Bostons to Lannion airfield but only 11 reached and bombed this target, the remainder of the force turning back. 1 Boston lost in the sea.

11/12 June 1942

Minelaying: 91 aircraft to the Frisian Islands and off Swinemünde. 4 aircraft - 2 Lancasters, 1 Stirling, 1 Wellington - lost.

12 June 1942

4 Wellingtons to Essen. 2 aircraft bombed there. No aircraft lost.

HM King George VI and Queen Elizabeth meet training crews who took part in 1,000-Bomber raids. RAF Waterbeach 12 June 1942
  King George and Queen Elizabeth arrive at Waterbeach. The King and Queen meet crews from No 1651 Heavy Conversion Unit which joined the historic raids. The King chats with a Canadian crew.  

16/17 June 1942

Essen

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.

17/18 June 1942

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.

18 June 1942

3 Mosquitos to Bremen and Bremerhaven but the only places bombed were Wilhelmshaven and the island of Langeoog. No aircraft lost.

18/19 June 1942

Minelaying: 65 aircraft to Lorient and the Frisian Islands. 1 Hampden lost.

19/20 June 1942

Emden

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.

20 June 1942

12 Bostons to Le Havre power-station and 2 Mosquitos to Emden, all without loss.

20/21 June 1942

Emden

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.

21 June 1942

12 Bostons attempted to bomb a cargo ship in Dunkirk harbour; the bombs fell on railway lines near the ship. No Bostons lost.

21/22 June 1942

Minor Operations: 56 aircraft minelaying off St Nazaire, 2 aircraft on leaflet flights to France. 1 Wellington minelayer lost.

22 June 1942

12 Bostons to Dunkirk. 6 aircraft bombed the docks; the other 6 bombed a nearby airfield. No Bostons lost.

22/23 June 1942

Emden

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.

23 June 1942

12 Bostons to Dunkirk docks and 6 to Morlaix airfield. Both targets were believed to have been accurately bombed. No Bostons lost.

23/24 June 1942

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.

24/25 June 1942

St Nazaire

21 aircraft. No losses.

25/26 June 1942

Bremen

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.

26 June 1942

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.

26/27 June 1942

Minelaying: 29 Wellingtons and 10 Halifaxes off Lorient and St Nazaire and in the Frisian Islands. No losses.

27/28 June 1942

Bremen

144 aircraft - 55 Wellingtons, 39 Halifaxes, 26 Stirlings, 24 Lancasters. 9 aircraft - 4 Wellingtons, 2 Halifaxes, 2 Lancasters, 1 Stirling - lost.
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.

28/29 June 1942

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.

29 June 1942

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.

29/30 June 1942

Bremen

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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