Royal Air Force Bomber
Command 60th Anniversary
1 October 1943
Hagen: 243 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos. This raid was a complete success
achieved on a completely cloud-covered target of small size, with only
a moderate bomber effort and at trifling cost. The Oboe skymarking was
perfect and severe damage was caused.2 Lancasters lost, 0.8 per cent
of the force.
At the same time as the main attack on Hagen was ending, 12 Oboe Mosquitos
were dispatched to attack a steelworks at Witten, north-west of Hagen,
for training purposes. 8 Mosquitos bombed at Witten and 2, whose Oboe
equipment failed, dropped their bombs on the fires burning in Hagen.
No aircraft lost.
2/3 October 1943
294 Lancasters of 1, 5 and No 8 Groups and 2 B-17s - to Munich. 8 Lancasters
lost, 2.7 per cent of the force. Visibility over the target was clear
but the initial marking was scattered. Heavy bombing developed over
the southern and south-eastern districts of Munich but later stages
of the raid fell up to 15 miles back along the approach route. Most
of this inaccurate bombing was carried out by No 5 Group aircraft, which
were again attempting their 'time-and-distance' bombing method independently
of the Pathfinder marking. The No 5 Group crews were not able to pick
out the Wurmsee lake, which was the starting point for their timed run.
8 Mosquitos to Cologne and Gelsenkirchen, 117 aircraft minelaying at
various places from Lorient to Heligoland, 21 OTU sorties. 1 Halifax
3/4 October 1943
Kassel: 547 aircraft - 223 Halifaxes, 204 Lancasters, 113 Stirlings,
7 Mosquitos. The H2S 'blind marker' aircraft overshot the
aiming point badly and the 'visual markers' could not correct this because
their view of the ground was restricted by thick haze. German decoy
markers may also have been present. The main weight of the attack thus
fell on the western suburbs and outlying towns and villages. 24 aircraft
- 14 Halifaxes, 6 Stirlings, 4 Lancasters - lost, 4.4 per cent of the
A number of Mosquito operations took place; 10 aircraft on a diversion
to Hannover, 12 Oboe aircraft to Knapsack power-station near Cologne
and 4 on Mark II Oboe trials to Aachen. No losses.
7 Stirlings minelaying in the Frisians, 7 OTU sorties. No losses.
4/5 October 1943
406 aircraft - 162 Lancasters, 170 Halifaxes, 70 Stirlings, 4 Mosquitos
raided Frankfurt. 3 B-17s also took part. 10 aircraft - 5 Halifaxes,
3 Lancasters, 2 Stirlings - lost, 2.5 per cent of the force. 1 B-17
was also lost. This was the last RAF night-bombing raid in which American
aircraft took part, but individual B-17s occasionally carried out bombing
flights in following weeks Clear weather and good Pathfinder marking
produced the first serious blow on Frankfurt so far in the war, with
extensive destruction being caused in the eastern half of the city and
in the inland docks on the River Main.
6 Lancasters of 1 and No 8 Groups carried out a diversionary raid to
Ludwigshafen without loss but the marking and bombing were scattered.
12 Mosquitos to Knapsack power-station, 1 Mosquito to Aachen, 5 Stirlings
minelaying in the River Gironde, 8 OTU sorties. No aircraft lost. The
Mosquito attacking Aachen was carrying out the first operational trial
of the G-H blind bombing equipment but the trial was not successful.
7/8 October 1943
343 Lancasters despatched to Stuttgart. The first aircraft to be equipped
with ABC, (night-fighter communications jamming known bybthe crews as
'Airborne Cigar'), from 101 Squadron operated on this night. The German
night-fighter controller was confused by the Mosquito diversion on Munich
and only a few night fighters reached Stuttgart at the end of the attack;
4 Lancasters were lost, 1.2 per cent of the force. The target area was
cloud-covered and the H2S Pathfinder marking developed in
16 Lancasters of No 8 Group carried out a diversionary raid without
loss and claimed hits on the Zeppelin factory at Friedrichshafen.
10 Mosquitos to Munich, 7 to Emden, 5 to Aachen, 79 aircraft minelaying
from Brest to Heligoland, 14 OTU sorties. 1 Stirling minelayer lost.
8/9 October 1943
Hannover: 504 aircraft - 282 Lancasters, 188 Halifaxes, 26 Wellingtons,
8 Mosquitos. This was the last Bomber Command raid in which Wellingtons
took part. 300 (Polish) and 432 (Canadian) Squadrons provided the 26
Wellingtons which operated on this night; they all returned safely.
The German controller guessed correctly that Hannover was the target
and many night fighters arrived before the attack was over. 27 aircraft
- 14 Lancasters and 13 Halifaxes - were lost, 5.4 per cent of the force.
Conditions over Hannover were clear and the Pathfinders were finally
able to mark the centre of the city accurately; a most concentrated
attack followed with a creepback of only 2 miles, all within the built-up
area. This was probably Hannover's worst attack of the war.
119 aircraft - 95 Stirlings, 17 Halifaxes, 7 Lancasters of 3 and No
8 Groups to Bremen. This was a diversionary raid on a larger scale than
ever before. The bombing was scattered but this was a subsidiary aim
of the operation. 3 Stirlings were lost, 2.5 per cent of the force.
10 Mosquitos to Castrop-Rauxel, 7 to Berlin, 1 to Düren, 17 Stirlings
minelaying in the River Gironde and off La Pallice, 2 OTU sorties. No
9/10 October 1943
6 Mosquitos attacked Berlin without loss.
13/14 October 1943
4 Mosquitos to Cologne and 4 to Duisburg without loss.
16/17 October 1943
9 Mosquitos to Dortmund, 11 OTU sorties. No losses. One of the Mosquitos
was carrying out a G-H trial but its equipment failed and it had to
bomb by dead reckoning.
17/18 October 1943
8 Mosquitos to Berlin, 2 to Aachen, 2 to Hamborn, 54 Stirlings and
Wellingtons minelaying in the Frisians and off Biscay ports, 16 OTU
sorties. No aircraft lost.
18/19 October 1943
360 Lancasters ordered to attack Hannover. 18 Lancasters lost, 5.0
per cent of the force. The target area was covered by cloud and the
Pathfinders were not successful in marking the position of Hannover.
The raid was scattered, with most bombs falling in open country north
and north-west of the city. This raid concluded the current series of
raids on Hannover. Bomber Command had dispatched 2,253 sorties in 4
raids and 10 American B-17 sorties had also been flown. 1,976 aircraft
claimed to have bombed in the target area. Only 1 raid had been completely
successful but that had caused severe damage. 11O bombers were lost
on the raids, 4.9 per cent of those dispatched.
30 Mosquitos to Duisburg (11 aircraft), Berlin (8 aircraft) and to
4 other targets, 6 Wellingtons minelaying off Texel, 12 OTU sorties.
No aircraft lost.
One of the Lancasters lost on the Hannover raid was the 5,000th Bomber
Command aircraft lost on operations since the start of the war. By the
end of this night, the bombers had flown approximately 144,500 sorties
- 90 per cent of them by night - and lost 5,004 aircraft - 4,365 by
night and 639 by day - over enemy territory, crashed in the sea or shot
down over England by German Intruders or 'friendly' defences.
| Lancaster III on air test
20/21 October 1943
Leipzig: 358 Lancasters of 1, 5, 6 and No 8 Groups. 16 Lancasters lost,
4.5 per cent of the force. This was the first serious attack on this
distant German city. Weather conditions were very difficult - Bomber
Command records describe them as 'appalling' - and the bombing was very
28 Mosquitos to Berlin, Cologne, Brauweiler and Emden, 12 Stirlings
minelaying in the Frisians, 26 OTU sorties. 2 Mosquitos lost.
21/22 October 1943
11 Mosquitos to Emden, the Bruderich steelworks at Düsseldorf
and Dortmund. All targets bombed without loss.
22/23 October 1943
569 aircraft - 322 Lancasters, 247 Halifaxes - to Kassel. The German
controller was again successful in assessing the target and 43 aircraft
- 25 Halifaxes, 18 Lancasters - were lost, 7.6 per cent of the force.
The initial 'blind' H2S marking overshot the target but
8 out of the 9 'visual' markers correctly identified the centre of Kassel
and placed their markers accurately. Although German decoy markers may
have drawn off part of the bomber force, the main raid was exceptionally
accurate and concentrated. The result was the most devastating attack
on a German city since the firestorm raid on Hamburg in July and the
results at Kassel would not be exceeded again until well into 1944.
The fires were so concentrated that there was a firestorm, although
not as extensive as the Hamburg one.
28 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of No 8 Group carried out a diversionary
raid to Frankfurt. Bombing was scattered. 1 Lancaster lost.
12 Oboe Mosquitos to Knapsack power-station and 1 to Dortmund, 17 aircraft
minelaying in the Frisians and off Texel, 10 OTU sorties. 1 Mosquito
It was on this night that an RAF ground radio station in England, probably
the one at Kingsdown in Kent, started its broadcasts with the intention
of interrupting and confusing the German controllers' orders to their
night fighters. The Bomber Command Official History describes how, at
one stage, the German controller broke into vigorous swearing, whereupon
the RAF voice remarked, 'The Englishman is now swearing'. To this, the
German retorted, 'It is not the Englishman who is swearing, it is me'.
| Waving off a Halifax
24/25 October 1943
13 Mosquitos to 5 targets in the Ruhr area and 6 Mosquitos to Emden,
30 Stirlings and Wellingtons minelaying in the Frisians and off Texel.
No aircraft lost.
25/26 October 1943
23 Stirlings minelaying in the Kattegat without loss.
27/28 October 1943
22 OTU Wellingtons on leaflet flights to France without loss.
31 October/1 November 1943
11 Mosquitos to the Ruhr and 6 Mosquitos to Emden. All targets were
bombed but 1 aircraft was lost from its sortie to the Ruhr.