Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary
|Renault Factory, Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris|
17 aircraft bombed St Nazaire and 17 Hampdens were sent minelaying off Lorient. 1 minelaying aircraft lost.
24 Bostons, with much support from Fighter Command, carried out a series
of raids against targets in France. 12 Bostons of 88 and 226 Squadrons
made a low-level attack on the Ford lorry factory at Poissy, near Paris,
a target beyond the range of fighter Cover. Two further formations,
each of 6 Bostons, carried out Circus operations to Abbeville railway
yards and Comines power-station at times which would divert German fighter
attention from the Poissy raid.
All of these operations were carried out with much success. 8 Bostons bombed 1 Poissy, though 1 of them crashed soon afterwards. This was the first operational loss of a Boston aircraft. There were no other bomber losses.
This was yet another major step forward, a heavy raid on the previously
difficult target of Essen with leading aircraft now fitted with the
Gee navigational aid.
211 aircraft - 115 Wellingtons, 37 Hampdens, 27 Stirlings, 22 Manchesters and 10 Halifaxes. 8 aircraft - 5 Wellingtons, 2 Manchesters and 1 Stirling - lost.
It was a fine night but industrial haze over Essen prevented accurate bombing and the raid was a disappointment. Gee could only enable the aircraft to reach the approximate area of the target. Photographic evidence showed that the main target, the Krupps factories, was not hit but some bombs fell in the southern part of Essen.
Essen reports only a 'light' raid with a few houses and a church destroyed, 10 People killed and 19 missing.
Minor Operations: 13 Wellingtons and Stirlings to Le Havre, 6 Blenheims to Ostend, 6 Blenheim Intruders to Dutch airfields, 9 Hampdens minelaying in the Frisians, 3 Manchesters minelaying off Lorient, 1 Hampden on a leaflet flight to France. No losses.
Total effort for the night: 249 sorties, 8 aircraft (3.2 per cent) lost.
6 Bostons on Circus raid to Mazingarbe fuel depot. All bombed; no losses.
187 aircraft - 136 Wellingtons, 21 Stirlings, 15 Hampdens, 10 Manchesters,
5 Halifaxes - to continue the series of heavy Gee-guided raids to Essen.
2 Wellingtons and 1 Halifax lost.
Thick ground haze led to scattered bombing. Only 2 buildings were destroyed in Essen but 72 were damaged. Bombs also fell in 24 other Ruhr towns with particular damage in Hamborn and Duisburg. 10 people were killed, 19 were missing and 52 were injured in Essen; 74 people were killed and 284 injured in other towns.
Minor Operations: 9 Wellingtons and Stirlings to Boulogne, 5 Hampdens minelaying in the Frisians. No losses.
4 Bostons on an uneventful shipping search off the Dutch coast.
126 aircraft - 56 Wellingtons, 43 Hampdens, 13 Manchesters, 12 Stirlings,
2 Lancasters; this was the first participation by Lancasters in a raid
on a German target. 4 aircraft - 2 Hampdens, 1 Stirling, 1 Wellington
This was another disappointing raid with unexpected cloud being the main cause of poor bombing. 62 crews claimed to have bombed Essen; 35 crews bombed alternative targets. The report from Essen shows that only 2 bombs fell on an industrial target - railway lines near the Krupps factory - and 1 house was destroyed and 2 damaged in residential areas. 5 Germans were killed and 12 injured and a Polish worker was killed by a Flak shell which descended and exploded on the ground.
Minor Operations: 23 'freshman' crews to Boulogne, 3 Hampdens minelaying off the French coast. No losses.
68 Wellingtons to attack the Deutsche Werke U-boat yard. 5 aircraft
The report from Kiel indicates that the port area was successfully bombed, with damage in the Deutsche Werke and the Germania Werft, both building U-boats, and in the naval dockyard. Casualties are listed as 12 killed and 21 injured but it is not known whether service personnel were included.
20 Wellingtons and 20 Whitleys; 3 Whitleys lost. Bombing photographs indicated that the nearest bombs were 5 miles from the target.
Minor Operations: 26 Hampdens and 1 Manchester minelaying off German ports, 1 Hampden on a leaflet flight to France. No losses.
11 Bostons to Hazebrouck railway yards. No losses.
135 aircraft of 6 different types. 1 Manchester lost.
This can be considered the first successful Gee-led raid. Although there was no moon, the leading crews carrying flares and incendiary-bomb loads located the target and much accurate bombing followed. It was later estimated that this raid was 5 times more effective than the average of recent raids on Cologne. There were 237 separate fires. Casualties were 62 killed and 84 injured.
Minor Operations: 20 aircraft to Boulogne, 19 to Dunkirk, 2 Blenheim Intruders to France and Holland, 5 Hampdens minelaying in the Frisians, 7 Hampdens on leaflet flights to France. 2 Wellingtons were lost from the Dunkirk raid and 1 Wellington from the Boulogne raid.
6 Bostons on uneventful shipping sweeps off Le Havre.
6 Bostons on uneventful shipping sweeps off Brittany.
3 Blenheims on Intruder flights to Dutch airfields. Schiphol airfield was attacked. No losses.
1 Wellington on a cloud-cover raid to Essen dropped its bombs somewhere in the Ruhr.
5 Wellingtons to Essen returned because of lack of cloud.
1 Wellington to Essen returned early because of lack of cloud.
13 Manchesters and 6 Lancasters on daylight minelaying in the Frisians; only 11 aircraft reached the correct area. 2 Wellingtons to Essen returned because of lack of cloud. No losses.
1 Wellington to Essen returned because of lack of cloud.
Minelaying: 12 Hampdens, 3 Stirlings and 2 Manchesters minelaying off Lorient without loss. This was the first time that Stirlings of 3 Group participated in the minelaying campaign.
18 Bostons on escorted raids, 12 to Comines power-station and 6 to Abbeville railway yards. Bombing results were not observed. No Bostons lost.
Minelaying: 35 aircraft of 3 and 5 Groups minelaying off Lorient. 1
Hampden and 1 Lancaster lost.
These were the first Bomber Command losses for 11 days and nights and the Lancaster lost, from 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron, was the first of its type to be lost on operations. The pilot, Flight Sergeant L. Warren-Smith, a South African, and his all N.C.O. crew - 4 Englishmen, 2 Rhodesians, 1 Australian - all died.
9 Bostons, with fighter escort, carried out accurate bombing at Le Trait shipyard. No Bostons lost.
254 aircraft - 192 Wellingtons, 26 Stirlings, 20 Manchesters, 9 Hampdens,
7 Lancasters - in the largest force sent to 1 target so far. 9 aircraft
- 5 Manchesters (out of the 20 dispatched), 3 Wellingtons, 1 Hampden
Visibility was good and 181 crews claimed to have bombed Essen, many claiming hits on the Krupps works, but bombing photographs showed that much of the effort was drawn off by the decoy fire site at Rheinberg, 18 miles west of Essen. Essen's report says that only 9 high-explosive bombs, 700 incendiaries and 1,627 leaflets were dropped there. 1 house was destroyed and 2 seriously damaged. 5 people were killed and 11 injured.
Minor Operations: 27 aircraft to St Nazaire, 38 aircraft minelaying off Lorient, 30 aircraft on leaflet flights to France. 1 Wellington on the St Nazaire raid and 1 minelaying Hampden were lost.
Total effort for the night: 349 sorties, 11 aircraft (3.2 per cent) lost.
24 Bostons to Le Havre. Hits were reported on ships in the harbour. 1 Boston lost.
104 Wellingtons and 11 Stirlings. 10 Wellingtons and 1 Stirling lost.
The bombing force encountered heavy Flak at the target and many night fighters on the routes. Hits on the Krupps works and fires in Essen were claimed but the raid was actually another failure on this difficult target. Only 22 high-explosive bombs were counted in Essen, with 2 houses destroyed, 6 people killed and 14 injured. The bombers had suffered nearly 10 per cent casualties.
Minor Operations: 8 aircraft to Le Havre, 11 Blenheims Intruding over Holland, 36 aircraft minelaying off Wilhelmshaven, in the Frisians and in the River Gironde, 15 aircraft on leaflet flights to France. 2 Blenheim Intruders and 2 Hampden minelayers lost.
12 Bostons attacked Ostend power-station without loss but their bombs fell into fields short of the target.
The St Nazaire Raid
35 Whitleys and 27 Wellingtons to bomb German positions around St Nazaire in support of the naval and Commando raid to destroy the dry-dock gates in the port. The aircraft were ordered to bomb only if the target had clear visibility. Conditions were bad, however, with 10/1Oths cloud and icing, and only 4 aircraft bombed at St Nazaire; 6 aircraft bombed elsewhere. 1 Whitley was lost in the sea.
Minor Operations: 8 Blenheims Intruding over Holland, 15 Hampdens minelaying off north-west German coasts. 1 Blenheim and 3 Hampdens lost.
234 aircraft - 146 Wellingtons, 41 Hampdens, 26 Stirlings, 21 Manchesters.
12 aircraft - 7 Wellingtons, 3 Stirlings, 1 Hampden, 1 Manchester -
This raid was the first major success for Bomber Command against a German target. The attack was carried out in good visibility, with the help of an almost full moon and, because of the light defences of this target, from a low level, many crews coming down to 2,000 ft. The force was split into 3 waves, the leading one being composed of experienced crews with Gee-fitted aircraft; although Lübeck was beyond the range of Gee, the device helped with preliminary navigation. More than 400 tons of bombs were dropped; two thirds of this tonnage was incendiary. 191 crews claimed successful attacks. German sources show that 1,425 buildings in Lübeck were destroyed, 1,976 were seriously damaged and 8,411 were lightly damaged; these represented 62 per cent of all buildings in Lübeck.
The casualties in Lübeck were 312 or 320 people killed (accounts conflict), 136 seriously and 648 slightly injured.
Minor Operations: 2 Blenheims Intruding over Holland, 7 Hampdens minelaying in the Frisians, 14 aircraft on leaflet flights to France. No losses.
Total effort for the night: 257 sorties, 12 aircraft (4.7 per cent) lost.
18 Hampdens and 8 Manchesters minelaying in the Frisians and off Denmark, 6 aircraft on leaflet flights to France. 2 Manchester minelayers lost.
34 Halifaxes attempted to bomb the Tirpitz in a fjord near Trondheim. The Tirpitz was not located; 3 aircraft bombed Flak positions. 1 Halifax lost in the sea.
11 Hampdens and 6 Wellingtons on cloud cover raids to Germany. 6 aircraft found targets to bomb. No aircraft lost.
4 Wellingtons, with selected crews, to Essen but only random targets were bombed by 2 aircraft. No losses.
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