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Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary


Campaign Diary
June 1944

 

1/2 June 1944

101 Halifaxes of No 4 Group and 8 Pathfinder Mosquitos attacked the main German radio-listening station at Ferme d'Urville near the coast chosen for the invasion, but cloud and haze prevented accurate bombing. No aircraft lost.

58 Lancasters of No 5 Group attacked a railway junction at Saumur. Photographic reconnaissance showed 'severe damage to junction, main lines torn up'. No aircraft lost.

6 Mosquitos to the port of Aarhus in Denmark, 3 Serrate patrols, 18 aircraft minelaying in the Kattegat and off Dunkirk, 40 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 Halifax on Resistance operations lost.

2/3 June 1944

128 aircraft - 105 Halifaxes, 19 Lancasters, 4 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4 and 8 Groups attacked the railway yards at Trappes. Most of the bombing fell in the eastern half of the target area. 15 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster lost, 12.5 per cent of the force.

103 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups attacked a radar-jamming station at Berneval with great accuracy and without loss.

271 aircraft - 136 Lancasters, 119 Halifaxes, 16 Mosquitos - attacked 4 coastal gun positions with the loss of 1 Lancaster. In only 1 raid was the bombing accurate but this was not too serious because these raids were part of the invasion deception plan. None of the targets were in the Normandy area; all were on the Pas de Calais coast.

Further raids in the next 2 nights would continue the deception and the Normandy batteries would only be bombed on the last night before the invasion.

23 Mosquitos to Leverkusen, 4 to Laval and 3 to Lison, 16 RCM sorties, 9 Serrate and 6 Intruder patrols, 53 aircraft minelaying from Dunkirk to Brest, 36 aircraft on Resistance operations, 11 OTU sorties. 1 Stirling lost on a Resistance operation.

Total effort for the night: 667 sorties, 17 aircraft (2.5 per cent) lost.

3/4 June 1944

96 Lancasters of No 5 Group and 4 Pathfinder Mosquitos to attack the important German signals station at Ferme d'Urville which had escaped serious damage in bombing 2 nights earlier. 3 of the Oboe Mosquitos placed their markers perfectly and the Lancasters wiped out the station. No aircraft lost.

127 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups continued the deception raids on coastal batteries at Calais and Wimereux. The bombing was accurate; no aircraft lost.

20 Mosquitos to Ludwigshafen and 5 to Argentan, 4 RCM sorties, 6 Serrate and 3 Intruder patrols, 57 aircraft minelaying from the River Scheldt to Dunkirk. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 330 sorties with no aircraft losses.

4/5 June 1944

259 aircraft - 125 Lancasters, 118 Halifaxes, 16 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4, 5, 6 and 8 Groups to bomb 4 gun positions; 3 of these were deception targets in the Pas de Calais but the fourth battery, at Maisy, was in Normandy between what would soon be known as Omaha and Utah Beaches, where American troops would land in less than 36 hours' time. Unfortunately, Maisy was covered by cloud and could only be marked by Oboe skymarkers, but it was then bombed by 52 Lancasters of No 5 Group. 2 of the 3 gun positions in the Pas de Calais were also affected by bad weather and could only be bombed through cloud but the position at Calais itself was clear and was accurately marked by the Mosquitos and well bombed by Halifaxes and Lancasters of No 6 Group. No aircraft lost on these operations.

20 Mosquitos to Cologne and 6 to Argentan, 4 RCM sorties, 6 Serrate patrols, 4 Halifaxes and 3 Lancasters minelaying from the Scheldt to Dunkirk, 17 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 319 sorties with no aircraft losses.

The Battle Of Normandy

5/6 June 1944

1,012 aircraft - 551 Lancasters, 412 Halifaxes, 49 Mosquitos - to bomb coastal batteries at Fontenay, Houlgate, La Pernelle, Longues, Maisy, Merville, Mont Fleury, Pointe du Hoc, Ouisterham and St Martin de Varreville. 946 aircraft carried out their bombing tasks. 3 aircraft were lost - 2 Halifaxes of No 4 Group on the Mont Fleury raid and 1 Lancaster of No 6 Group on the Longues raid. Only two of the targets - La Pernelle and Ouisterham - were free of cloud; all other bombing was entirely based on Oboe marking. At least 5,000 tons of bombs were dropped, the greatest tonnage in one night so far in the war.

110 aircraft of Nos 1 and 100 Groups carried out extensive bomber-support operations: 24 'Airborne Cigar' (ABC)-equipped Lancasters of No 101 Squadron patrolled all likely night-fighter approaches, so that their German-speaking operators could jam the German controllers' instructions; No 100 Group flew 34 RCM sorties and 27 Serrate and 25 Intruder Mosquito patrols. 2 Intruders and 1 ABC Lancaster were lost.

58 aircraft of Nos 3 and 5 Groups carried out a variety of operations to conceal the true location of the invasion for as long as possible. 16 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron and 6 G-H fitted Stirlings of No 218 Squadron dropped a dense screen of Window, which advanced slowly across the Channel, to simulate a large convoy of ships approaching the French coast between Boulogne and Le Havre, north of the real invasion coast. These flights required exact navigation; both squadrons had been practising for this operation for more than a month. The second diversion was carried out by 36 Halifaxes and Stirlings of Nos 90, 138, 149 and 161 Squadrons. These aircraft dropped dummy parachutists and explosive devices to simulate airborne landings over areas not being invaded. 2 Stirlings of No 149 Squadron were lost while carrying out this duty.

31 Mosquitos bombed Osnabrück without loss.

Total Bomber Command effort for the night: 1,211 sorties, 8 aircraft (0.7 per cent) lost. The number of sorties flown was a new record. British, American and Canadian divisions landed on five Normandy beaches early the next morning.

D-Day Landings
The beach at Graye-sur-Mere. This formed part of JUNO Beach where the Canadian 3rd Infantry were landed. This picture was taken around lunchtime on June 6th and shows a number of beached assault vessels and two underway (at bottom left).

6/7 June 1944

1,065 aircraft - 589 Lancasters, 418 Halifaxes, 58 Mosquitos - to bomb railway and road centres on the lines of communication behind the Normandy battle area. All of the targets were in or near French towns. 3,488 tons of bombs were dropped on targets at Achères, Argentan, Caen, Châteaudun, Conde sur Noireau, Coutances, St Lô, Lisieux and Vire. Every effort was made to bomb accurately but casualties to the French civilians were inevitable. Cloud affected the accuracy of the bombing at many of the targets and, at Achères, the Master Bomber ordered the raid to be abandoned because of cloud and no bombs were dropped. 10 Lancasters and 1 Halifax were lost in these raids; 6 of the Lancasters were lost in the No 5 Group raid at Caen, where the main force of bombers had to wait for the target to be properly marked and then fly over an area full of German units and guns at bombing heights below 3,000ft. Some details are available of the effects of the bombing. At Argentan, Châteaudun and Lisieux, much damage was done to railways, although the towns, Lisieux in particular, were hit by many bombs. Important bridges at Coutances were badly damaged and the town centres of Caen, Conde sur Noireau, St-Lô and Vire were all badly bombed and most of the roads through those towns were blocked.

32 Mosquitos to Ludwigshafen, 18 Serrate patrols, 19 aircraft minelaying in the Brest area, 26 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 1,160 sorties, 11 aircraft (0.9 per cent) lost.

7/8 June 1944

337 aircraft - 195 Halifaxes, 122 Lancasters, 20 Mosquitos - attacked railway targets at Achères, Juvisy, Massey Palaiseau and Versailles. Bombing conditions were better than on the previous night. All targets were accurately bombed and, although no details are available, it is probable that fewer civilians were killed. The targets were mostly more distant from the battle front than those recently attacked and German night fighters had more time to intercept the bomber forces. 17 Lancasters and 11 Halifaxes were lost, 8.3 per cent of the forces involved.

112 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 5 and 8 Groups carried out an accurate attack on an important 6-way road junction half-way between Bayeux and St-Lô at Forêt De Cerisy. The surrounding woods were believed to contain fuel dumps and German tank units preparing to counter-attack the Allied landing forces. The nearest French village was several kilometres away. 2 Lancasters lost.

32 Mosquitos to Cologne, 10 RCM sorties, 18 Serrate and 18 Intruder patrols, 22 Halifaxes and 3 Stirlings minelaying off Lorient and Brest, 24 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 586 sorties, 30 aircraft (5.1 per cent) lost.

8/9 June 1944

483 aircraft - 286 Lancasters, 169 Halifaxes, 28 Mosquitos - attacked railways at Alençon, Fougères, Mayenne, Pontabault and Rennes to prevent German reinforcements from the south reaching Normandy. All of the raids appear to have been successful. 4 aircraft were lost, 2 Lancasters from the Pontabault raid and 1 Lancaster and 1 Mosquito from the Rennes raid.

The first 12,000lb Tallboy bombs developed by Barnes Wallis were used on this night by No 617 Squadron in a raid on a railway tunnel near Saumur, 125 miles south of the battle area. The raid was prepared in great haste because a German Panzer unit was expected to move by train through the tunnel. The target area was illuminated with flares by 4 Lancasters of No 83 Squadron and marked at low level by 3 Mosquitos. 25 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron then dropped their Tallboys with great accuracy. The huge bombs exploded under the ground to create miniature 'earthquakes'; one actually pierced the roof of the tunnel and brought down a huge quantity of rock and soil. The tunnel was blocked for a considerable period and the Panzer unit was badly delayed. No aircraft were lost from this raid.

17 Serrate and 19 Intruder patrols, 34 aircraft minelaying from the Scheldt to Lorient. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 585 sorties, 4 aircraft (0.7 per cent) lost.

Saumur Railway Tunnel
The huge, distinctive blast-holes caused by Tallboys. The tunnel entance can be seen on the right, and the tracks outside have been ripped apart in the attck by No 617 Squadron.

9/10 June 1944

401 aircraft - 206 Lancasters, 175 Halifaxes, 20 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups bombed airfields at Flers, Le Mans, Laval and Rennes, all situated south of the Normandy battle area. Bomber Command documents do not give any reason for these raids; it is possible that the intention was to prevent these airfields being used for German reinforcements being brought in by air because the railways were blocked. All the attacks were successful. 2 Halifaxes were lost on the Laval raid.

108 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitos of No 5 Group, with 5 Pathfinder Mosquitos, attempted to bomb a railway junction at Étampes, south of Paris. 6 Lancasters lost. The marking was accurate but late and the bombing spread from the railway junction into the town.

36 Mosquitos to Berlin, 13 RCM sorties, 2 Serrate patrols, 24 Halifaxes and 4 Stirlings minelaying off Brest. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 597 sorties, 8 aircraft (1.3 per cent) lost.

10/11 June 1944

432 aircraft - 323 Lancasters, 90 Halifaxes, 19 Mosquitos - attacked railway targets at Achères, Dreux, Orléans and Versailles. All targets were believed to have been hit but few further details are available. 15 Lancasters and 3 Halifaxes lost.

32 Mosquitos to Berlin, 13 RCM sorties, 7 Serrate and 18 Intruder patrols, 30 aircraft minelaying off France on the flanks of the invasion area. 2 Mosquitos lost from the Berlin raid.

Total effort for the night: 532 sorties, 20 aircraft (3.8 per cent) lost.

11/12 June 1944

329 aircraft - 225 Lancasters, 86 Halifaxes, 18 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 3, 4 and 8 Groups attacked railway targets at Évreux, Massey Palaiseau, Nantes and Tours. All of the raids appeared to be successful. 3 Lancasters and 1 Halifax - 1 aircraft from each raid - were lost.

33 Mosquitos to Berlin, 30 Serrate patrols, 13 Halifaxes minelaying on the flanks of the invasion coast. 2 Mosquitos lost from the Berlin raid.

Total effort for the night: 405 sorties, 6 aircraft (1.5 per cent) lost.

12/13 June 1944

671 aircraft - 348 Halifaxes, 285 Lancasters, 38 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 5, 6 and 8 Groups to attack communications, mostly railways, at Amiens/St Roch, Amiens/Longueau, Arras, Caen, Cambrai and Poitiers. (It is interesting to note that, with the exception of Caen, all of these targets were the sites of well-known battles of earlier wars and Caen was soon to be the scene of fierce fighting.) Bomber Command's records state that the Poitiers attack, by No 5 Group, was the most accurate of the night and that the 2 raids at Amiens and the raid at Arras were of reasonable accuracy. The target at Cambrai was hit but many bombs also fell in the town. The most scattered attack (also by No 5 Group) was at Caen. 23 aircraft - 17 Halifaxes and 6 Lancasters - were lost from these raids; all of these losses were from Nos 4 and 6 Groups.

A Canadian airman, Pilot Officer Andrew Charles Mynarski from Winnipeg, was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his bravery on the Cambrai raid. His Lancaster, of No 419 Squadron, was attacked by a night fighter and set on fire and the crew were ordered to abandon the aircraft. Mynarski was about to jump when he saw that the tail gunner was trapped in his turret and he went through fierce flames to help. The rear turret was so badly it jammed that it could not be freed and the trapped gunner eventually waved Mynarski away. By the time he left the aircraft, Mynarski's clothing and parachute were on fire and he died while being cared for by French civilians soon after he landed. The tail gunner was fortunate to survive the crash and his report on Mynarski's courage led to the award of the Victoria Cross. Pilot Officer Mynarski is buried in the small village cemetery at Meharicourt, east of Amiens.

303 aircraft - 286 Lancasters and 17 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups - carried out the first raid of the new oil campaign; the target was the Nordstern synthetic-oil plant at Gelsenkirchen (the Germans called the plant Gelsenberg AG). 17 Lancasters were lost, 6.1 per cent of the Lancaster force. The attack opened with exceptional accuracy owing to good work by the Pathfinders and to improved versions of Oboe sets now available. Later phases of the bombing were spoiled by the clouds of smoke from the burning target and by a rogue target indicator which fell 10 miles short of the target and was bombed by 35 aircraft. A German industrial report shows that all production at the oil plant ceased, with a loss of 1,000 tons of aviation fuel a day for several weeks, as well as the loss of other fuels.

27 Mosquitos to Cologne, 3 RCM sorties, 39 Serrate and 13 Intruder patrols, 9 Halifaxes and 5 Stirlings minelaying off Brest and St Nazaire, 13 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 1,083 sorties, 40 aircraft (3.7 per cent) lost.

13/14 June 1944

8 Mosquitos to Münchengladbach and 3 to Düren, 15 Serrate patrols, 8 Stirlings and 4 Lancasters minelaying off Brest and St Nazaire, 2 Halifaxes on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

14 June 1944

221 Lancasters and 13 Mosquitos of No 1, 3, 5 and 8 Groups carried out Bomber Command's first daylight raid since the departure of No 2 Group at the end of May 1943. The objectives were the fast German motor-torpedo boats (E-boats) and other light naval forces harboured at Le Havre which were threatening Allied shipping off the Normandy beaches only 30 miles away. The raid took place in 2 waves, one during the evening and the second at dusk. Most of the aircraft in the first wave were from No 1 Group and in the second wave from No 3 Group. Pathfinder aircraft provided marking by their normal methods for both raids. No unexpected difficulties were encountered; the naval port area was accurately bombed by both waves with 1,230 tons of bombs and few E-boats remained undamaged. No 617 Squadron sent 22 Lancasters, each loaded with a 12,000lb Tallboy bomb, and 3 Mosquito marker aircraft to attack the concrete covered E-boat pens just before the first wave bombed. Several hits were scored on the pens and one bomb penetrated the roof.

This raid was regarded as an experiment by Sir Arthur Harris, who was still reluctant to risk his squadrons to the dangers of daylight operations but both waves of the attack were escorted by Spitfires of 1No 1 Group and only 1 Lancaster was lost.

14/15 June 1944

337 aircraft - 223 Lancasters, 100 Halifaxes, 14 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 5 and 8 Groups attacked German troop and vehicle positions at Aunay-sur-Odon and Évrecy, near Caen. These raids were prepared and executed in great haste, in response to an army report giving details of the presence of major German units. The weather was clear and both targets were successfully bombed. The target at Aunay, where the marking was shared by Nos 5 and 8 Groups, was particularly accurate. No aircraft were lost.

330 aircraft - 61 Lancasters, 255 Halifaxes, 14 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups attacked railways at Cambrai, Douai and St Pol. All of the targets were either partially cloud-covered or affected by haze and the bombing was not completely concentrated or accurate. 3 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster were lost, the Lancaster being the Master Bomber's aircraft at Douai.

35 Mosquitos to attack the Scholven/Buer oil plant. A short German report says that 3 bombs fell into the plant area and that 3 civilians outside the factory - a farmer, a lorry-driver and a housewife - were killed. No Mosquitos lost.

8 RCM sorties, 19 Serrate and 18 Intruder patrols, 12 Stirlings minelaying off French ports, 10 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 769 sorties, 4 aircraft (0.5 per cent) lost.

15 June 1944

297 aircraft - 155 Lancasters, 130 Halifaxes, 12 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4, 5, 6 and 8 Groups carried out attacks on German light naval vessels now gathering in Boulogne harbour. The tactics employed and the bombing results were similar to those at Le Havre the previous evening, although the visibility was not so clear. 1 Halifax lost. The only details from France are in a short civil report which describes this as the Worst raid of the war on Boulogne, with great destruction in the port and the surrounding areas.

15/16 June 1944

227 aircraft - 119 Lancasters, 99 Halifaxes, 9 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 5 and 8 Groups attacked an ammunition dump at Fouillard and a fuel dump at Châtellerault. The raid at Fouillard, carried out by No 4 Group with Pathfinder marking, hit the north- western section of the target and the all-No 5 Group raid at Châtellerault destroyed 8 fuel sites out of 35 in the target area. No aircraft lost.

224 aircraft - 184 Lancasters, 30 Stirlings, 10 Mosquitos - of Nos 3 and 8 Groups attacked railway yards at Lens and Valenciennes. The raids took place in clear visibility and both targets were accurately bombed. 6 Lancasters were lost from the Lens raid and 5 Lancasters from Valenciennes.

31 Mosquitos to Gelsenkirchen, 13 Serrate and 21 Intruder patrols, 7 Stirlings and 4 Halifaxes minelaying off Channel ports. 1 Mosquito lost from the Gelsenkirchen raid.

Total effort for the night: 527 sorties, 12 aircraft (2.3 per cent) lost.

Valenciennes
The railway yards at Valenciennes was wiped out as was an adjacent factory.

16 June 1944

2 Mosquitos of No 100 Group carried out uneventful daylight Intruder patrols to Leeuwarden airfield.

16/17 June 1944

405 aircraft - 236 Lancasters, 149 Halifaxes, 20 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4, 5, 6 and 8 Groups commenced the new campaign against flying-bomb launching sites with raids on 4 sites in the Pas de Calais area. All targets were accurately marked by Oboe Mosquitos and successfully bombed. No aircraft lost.

321 aircraft - 162 Halifaxes, 147 Lancasters, 12 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups to attack the synthetic-oil plant at Sterkrade/Holten despite a poor weather forecast. The target was found to be covered by thick cloud and the Pathfinder markers quickly disappeared. The Main Force crews could do little but bomb on to the diminishing glow of the markers in the cloud. RAF photographic reconnaissance and German reports agree that most of the bombing was scattered, although some bombs did fall in the plant area, but with little effect upon production. Unfortunately, the route of the bomber stream passed near a German night-fighter beacon at Bocholt, only 30 miles from Sterkrade. The German controller had chosen this beacon as the holding point for his night fighters. Approximately 21 bombers were shot down by fighters and a further 10 by flak. 22 of the lost aircraft were Halifaxes, these losses being 13.6 percent of the 162 Halifaxes on the raid. No 77 Squadron, from Full Sutton near York, lost 7 of its 23 Halifaxes taking part in the raid.

25 Mosquitos and 1 Lancaster of No 8 Group to Berlin, 12 RCM sorties (the airborne Mandrel jamming screen was used for the first time on this night), 53 Serrate, Intruder and flying-bomb patrols, 8 Stirlings and 4 Halifaxes minelaying in the Frisians and off the Biscay coast. 1 Stirling RCM aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 829 sorties, 32 aircraft (3.9 per cent) lost.

17/18 June 1944

317 aircraft - 196 Lancasters, 90 Halifaxes, 19 Mosquitos, 12 Stirlings - of Nos 1, 3, 4 and 8 Groups attacked railway targets at Aulnoye, Montdidier and St Martin l'Hortier. 1 Lancaster was lost on the Montdidier raid. All targets were covered by cloud and the Master Bombers at Aulnoye and Montdidier ordered their forces to stop bombing after only 7 and 12 aircraft had bombed respectively. 87 aircraft of No 4 Group bombed their target at St Martin l'Hortier but no results were seen.

114 aircraft - 90 Halifaxes, 19 Lancasters, 5 Mosquitos - of 6 and 8 Groups bombed a site at Oisemont, near Abbeville. No results were observed and no aircraft were lost.

30 Mosquitos to Berlin and 4 to the Scholven/Buer oil plant, 10 RCM sorties, 54 Mosquitos on Serrate, Intruder and flying bomb patrols, 8 Stirlings and 4 Halifaxes minelaying in the Channel Islands, 12 Halifaxes on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 553 sorties, 1 aircraft (0.2 per cent) lost.

18/19 June 1944

In a period of bad flying weather, only 10 Mosquitos could be sent to attack a large concrete flying-bomb storage building in the woods at Watten, near St Omer. 9 aircraft bombed but no details of the results are available. No aircraft lost.

5 Halifaxes and 2 Stirlings laid mines off Brest and St Malo.

19 June 1944

After standing by for 3 days waiting for cloud over the Pas de Calais to clear, 19 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos of No 617 Squadron, with 9 Mosquitos of No 8 Group providing preliminary marking, attacked the flying-bomb store, but the conditions were too difficult for accurate marking and the nearest Tallboy bomb was 50 yards from the concrete store.

20 June 1944

17 Lancasters and 3 Mosquitos of No 617 Squadron attempted to attack a large, concrete covered V-weapon site in a quarry at Wizernes, but the target was cloud-covered and no bombs were dropped.

21 June 1944

322 aircraft - 165 Halifaxes, 142 Lancasters, 15 Mosquitos - 3, 6 and 8 Groups attacked 3 flying bomb sites. Because of cloud, 2 of the raids were abandoned after only 17 aircraft had bombed; the third target, at St Martin l'Hortier, was bombed through 10/10ths cloud. No aircraft lost.

3 Mosquitos of No 100 Group flew Ranger patrols and claimed an Me110 shot down. No Mosquitos lost.

21/22 June 1944

133 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos to attack the synthetic-oil plant at Wesseling; all the aircraft in this force were from No 5 Group except for 5 Lancasters provided by No 1 Group. The weather forecast for the target area (and for the attack on Scholven/Buer which took place at the same time) predicted clear conditions but the bombing force encountered 10/10ths low cloud. The planned No 5 Group low-level marking method could not be used and the reserve method, in which the Lancasters bombed on H2S, was used instead. German night fighters made contact with the bomber force and 37 Lancasters were lost, Nos 44, 49 and 619 Squadrons each losing 6 aircraft. The casualty rate represented 27.8 per cent of the Lancaster force. Post-raid reconnaissance showed that only slight damage was caused to the oil plant but a secret German report quoted in the British Official History records a 40 per cent production loss at Wesseling after this raid. It is possible that the loss was only of short duration.

123 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 5 and 8 Groups (124 aircraft from No 5 Group) to attack the synthetic-oil plant at Scholven/Buer. 8 Lancasters lost. This target was also cloud-covered and the No 5 Group marking method could not be used, the Pathfinder aircraft present providing Oboe-based skymarking instead. Again there is a contradiction in reports on the effect of the bombing. Post-raid photographs appeared to show no new damage but the German secret reports indicate a 20 per cent production loss.

32 Mosquitos to Berlin, 41 Mosquito patrols, 13 Stirlings minelaying off Guernsey, St Malo and St Nazaire, 10 Halifaxes on Resistance operations. 1 Mosquito of No 100 Group lost.

Total effort for the night: 361 sorties, 46 aircraft (12.7 per cent) lost.

22 June 1944

234 aircraft - 119 Lancasters, 102 Halifaxes, 13 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4, 5 and 8 Groups to special V-weapon sites and stores. The sites at Mimoyecques and Siracourt were accurately bombed by 1 and No 4 Group forces with Pathfinder marking but the No 617 Squadron force attacking Wizernes failed to find its target because of cloud and returned without dropping its bombs. 1 Halifax lost from the Siracourt raid.

2 Mosquitos flew uneventful Ranger patrols.

Siracourt V-weapons Site
The accuracy of the bombing by Bomber Command aircraft can be seen at Siracourt where the V-weapons site was attacked.

22/23 June 1944

221 aircraft- 111 Lancasters, 100 Halifaxes, 10 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4 and 8 Groups attacked railway yards at Laon and Rheims. 4 Halifaxes lost from the Laon raid and 4 Lancasters from the Rheims raid. The bombing at both targets was successful.

29 Mosquitos to Hamburg and 8 to Rouen, 15 RCM sorties, 35 Mosquito patrols, 6 Halifaxes and 4 Stirlings minelaying off French ports. No aircraft lost.

23 June 1944

2 Mosquitos on uneventful Ranger patrols.

23/24 June 1944

412 aircraft - 226 Lancasters, 164 Halifaxes, 22 Mosquitos - of Nos 3, 4, 6 and 8 Groups attacked 4 flying-bomb sites, which were all hit. 5 Lancasters lost.

203 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitos of No 1 and 5 Groups attacked railway yards at Limoges and Saintes. Both targets were bombed with great accuracy. 2 Lancasters of No 1 Group were lost from the Saintes raid.

32 Mosquitos to Bremen and 10 to a railway junction at Doves near Amiens, 14 RCM sorties, 27 Mosquito patrols, 12 aircraft minelaying off French ports. 1 Stirling lost from the minelaying force.

Total effort for the night: 714 sorties, 8 aircraft (1.1 per cent) lost.

24 June 1944

321 aircraft - 200 Halifaxes, 106 Lancasters, 15 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups attacked 3 flying bomb sites in clear weather conditions. All targets were accurately bombed; no aircraft lost.

16 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos of No 617 Squadron bombed the Wizernes site and scored several hits with their Tallboy bombs. 1 Lancaster was shot down by flak, the first loss by the squadron for exactly 2 months.

24/25 June 1944

739 aircraft - 535 Lancasters, 165 Halifaxes, 39 Mosquitos - from all groups attacked 7 flying bomb sites, causing fresh damage at most of the targets. (The flying-bomb sites were now becoming so cratered by RAF, 8th Air Force and 2nd Tactical Air Force bombing that results for individual raids were becoming difficult to determine.) 22 Lancasters were lost from these raids; it was a clear, moonlit night and most of the bomber casualties were caused by German night fighters, often operating with the help of searchlights. It is not known why all of the casualties were Lancasters.

27 Mosquitos to Berlin, 7 RCM sorties, 34 Mosquito patrols, 13 aircraft minelaying off French ports and in the Kattegat. 1 Mosquito lost from the Berlin raid.

Total effort for the night: 820 sorties, 23 aircraft (2.8 per cent) lost.

25 June 1944

323 aircraft - 202 Halifaxes, 106 Lancasters, 15 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4, 6 and No 8 Group attacked 3 flying bomb sites. The weather was clear and it was believed that all 3 raids were accurate. 2 Halifaxes of No 4 Group were lost from the raid on the Montorgueil site. No 617 Squadron sent 17 Lancasters, 2 Mosquitos and 1 Mustang to bomb the Siracourt flying-bomb store. The Mustang was flown by Wing Commander Cheshire and used as a low-level marker aircraft. The Mustang had only arrived at Woodhall Spa that afternoon, by courtesy of the Eighth Air Force, and this was Cheshire's first flight in it. The Lancasters scored 3 direct hits on the concrete store with Tallboy bombs and no aircraft were lost. Cheshire had to make his first landing in the unfamiliar Mustang when he returned to his home airfield after dark.

25/26 June 1944

42 Mosquitos of No 8 Group to bomb the Rheinpreussen synthetic-oil plant at Homberg/Meerbeck; photographs showed that no new damage was caused. No aircraft lost.

8 Mosquitos flew RCM sorties and 16 Mosquitos carried out Serrate patrols. No aircraft lost.

26 June 1944

2 Mosquitos on uneventful Ranger patrols.

26/27 June 1944

35 Mosquitos of No 8 Group attacked Göttingen with the intention of hitting railway workshops. The raid was carried out from medium altitude - 4,000 to 10,000ft - but the marker aircraft experienced difficulties in locating the target and bombing was scattered. 1 Mosquito lost. This may have been an experimental raid, to try out the No 8 Group Mosquitos a precision bombing role, but this type of operation was not repeated.

8 Halifaxes of No 6 Group laid mines off French ports without loss.

27 June 1944

104 Halifaxes of No 4 Group with 5 Mosquitos and 2 Lancasters of the Pathfinders attacked the V-weapon site at Mimoyecques without loss. Bombing conditions were good and two large explosions were seen on the ground.

27/28 June 1944

721 aircraft - 477 Lancasters, 207 Halifaxes, 37 Mosquitos - attacked 6 flying bomb sites. All raids were believed to have been successful. 3 Lancasters lost.

214 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 5 and 8 Groups attacked Vaires and Vitry railway yards. The No 8 Group raid on Vaires was particularly accurate; the Vitry yards were hit only at the western end. 4 Lancasters lost, 2 from each raid.

22 RCM sorties, 61 Mosquito patrols, 8 Halifaxes minelaying off Biscay ports, 14 Halifaxes on Resistance operations. 2 Mosquitos were lost but other Mosquitos claimed 6 German night fighters destroyed.

Total effort for the night: 1,049 sorties, 9 aircraft {0.9 per cent) lost.

28 June 1944

103 Halifaxes of No 4 Group with 5 Mosquitos and 2 Lancasters of the Pathfinders attacked the V-weapon site at Wizernes without loss. No report of the bombing results was filed.

2 Mosquitos flew uneventful Ranger patrols.

28/29 June 1944

202 Halifaxes of 4 and No 6 Groups with 28 Pathfinder Lancasters attacked railway yards at Blainville and Metz. Both targets were hit. 20 aircraft were lost, 11 Halifaxes of No 4 Group and 1 Lancaster from the Blainville raid and 7 Halifaxes of No 6 Group and 1 Lancaster from Metz. The combined loss rate was 8.7 per cent.

33 Mosquitos to Saarbrücken and 10 to Scholven/Buer oil plant, 21 RCM sorties, 35 Mosquito patrols, 8 Halifaxes and 4 Stirlings minelaying off Lorient and St Malo. No aircraft lost.

29 June 1944

286 Lancasters and 19 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 5 and 8 Groups attacked 2 flying-bomb launching sites and a store. There was partial cloud cover over all the targets; some bombing was accurate but some was scattered. 5 aircraft - 3 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos - lost, including the aircraft of the Master Bomber on the raid to the Siracourt site, Flight Lieutenant SEC Clarke of No 7 Squadron, but Clarke survived.

2 Mosquitos carried out Ranger patrols and 1 shot up an E-boat while flying back to England. No aircraft lost.

29/30 June 1944

2 Fortresses on RCM sorties, 14 Mosquitos on flying-bomb patrols, 8 Stirlings minelaying off Biscay coasts, 16 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 Mosquito shot down a flying bomb, probably the first No 100 Group Mosquito success against the flying bombs. No Bomber Command aircraft lost.

30 June 1944

266 aircraft - 151 Lancasters, 105 Halifaxes, 10 Mosquitos - of Nos 3, 4 and 8 Groups to bomb a road junction at Villers Bocage through which the tanks of two German Panzer divisions, the 2nd and 9th, would have to pass in order to carry out a planned attack on the junction of the British and American armies in Normandy that night. The raid was controlled with great care by the Master Bomber, who ordered the bombing force to come down to 4,000ft in order to be sure of seeing the markers in the smoke and dust of the exploding bombs. 1,100 tons of bombs were dropped with great accuracy and the planned German attack did not take place. 1 Halifax and 1 Lancaster lost.

102 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups bombed a flying-bomb launching site at Oisemont. The attack took place through 10/10ths cloud and results were not observed. No aircraft were lost.

6 Mosquitos flew uneventful Ranger patrols.

30 June/1 July 1944

118 Lancasters of No 1 Group attacked railway yards at the small town of Vierzon, south of Orléans and bombed with great accuracy, a success for No 1 Group's own marking flight. 11 Lancasters were lost, nearly 12 per cent of the force.

40 Mosquitos to Homberg oil plant, 6 RCM sorties, 29 Mosquitos on fighter patrols, 6 Stirlings minelaying in the River Scheldt. 1 Mosquito lost from the Homberg raid.


1944 May  1944 July
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