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Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary


Campaign Diary
October 1944

 

1 October 1944

2 Liberators and 1 Wellington on signals investigation patrols, 6 Hudsons on Resistance operations, 73 Halifaxes on petrol-carrying flights. No aircraft lost.

1/2 October 1944

48 Mosquitos to Brunswick, 8 each to Heilbronn and Krefeld and 6 each to Dortmund and Koblenz, 2 RCM sorties. No aircraft lost.

2 October 1944

3 Liberators and 2 Wellingtons on signals investigation patrols, 8 Hudsons on Resistance operations, 71 Halifaxes on petrol-carrying flights. No aircraft lost.

2/3 October 1944

34 Mosquitos to Brunswick, 7 to Pforzheim and 4 each to Dortmund and Frankfurt, 3 RCM sorties, 39 Mosquito patrols, 1 aircraft on a Resistance operation. No aircraft lost.

3 October 1944

252 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos commenced the attack on the sea walls of Walcheren island. Coastal gun batteries at Walcheren dominated the approaches to the port of Antwerp, whose facilities could handle 40,000 tons per day of much needed supplies when ships could safely use the approaches. The intention was to flood the island, most of which was reclaimed polder below sea level. The flooding would submerge some of the gun batteries and also hamper the German defence against eventual ground attack. The target for this first raid was the sea wall at Westkapelle, the most western point of Walcheren. The main bombing force was composed of 8 waves, each of 30 Lancasters, with marking provided by Oboe Mosquitos and Pathfinder Lancasters, with the whole operation being controlled by a Master Bomber. The attack went well and a great mass of high-explosive bombs, mainly 1,000- and 500-pounders but with some 4,000-pounders, forced a gap during the fifth wave of the attack. Later waves widened the breach until the sea was pouring in through a gap estimated to be 100 yards wide. 8 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron which were standing by were not needed and carried their valuable Tallboy bombs back to England. No aircraft were lost from this successful operation.

Minor operations: 6 RCM sorties, 5 Hudsons on Resistance operations. No losses.

Lancaster of No 218 (Gold Coast) Squadron
The crew of a Lancaster of No 218 Squadron chat with an unknown visitor, October 1944.

3/4 October 1944

43 Mosquitos to Kassel, 6 each to Aschaffenburg and Pforzheim, 5 to Münster and 4 to Kamen, 1 RCM sortie, 19 Intruder patrols. No aircraft lost.

4 October 1944

German U-boats had been forced out of the Biscay ports following the Allied liberation of France and Bergen was one of several Norwegian ports now being used as the forward operating bases for the U-boats. The pens at Bergen were being enlarged with an influx of German technicians and a large labour force. 93 Halifaxes and 47 Lancasters of Nos 6 and 8 Groups were dispatched to attack Bergen, most of the aircraft being allocated to the pens but 14 Halifaxes and 6 Lancasters were ordered to bomb individual U-boats known to be moored in the harbour. 12 Mosquitos of No 100 Group acted as a long-range fighter escort. The raid appeared to be successful and only 1 Lancaster was lost. 7 bombs hit the U-boat pens, causing little structural damage because of the thickness of the concrete roof, but the electrical-wiring system in the pens was completely put out of action. Nearby ship-repair yards were seriously damaged. 3 U-boats were damaged by the bombing but they did not sink. 3 other small ships were hit; two of them sank and the third the German auxiliary Schwabenland, had to be put in dry dock for repair.

2 Wellingtons and 1 Liberator flew RCM sorties without loss.

4/5 October 1944

6 Mosquitos to Pforzheim and 5 to Heilbronn, 4 RCM sorties, 36 Mosquito patrols, 47 Lancasters and 31 Halifaxes minelaying off Oslo and in the Kattegat, 15 aircraft on Resistance operations. 4 aircraft were lost - 1 Mosquito from the Heilbronn raid and 2 Lancasters and 1 Halifax from the minelaying operations.

5 October 1944

227 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito of No 5 Group attempted to bomb Wilhelmshaven through 10/10ths cloud. Marking and bombing were all based on H2S and the raid appeared to be scattered. 18 Lancasters did not join in the main attack but bombed a group of ships seen through a break in the cloud over the sea. Wilhelmshaven's diary only states that 12 people died. 1 Lancaster lost.

5 RCM sorties, 5 aircraft on Resistance operations. No losses.

5/6 October 1944

531 Lancasters and 20 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups on the first major RAF raid to Saarbrücken since September 1942. 3 Lancasters lost. The raid was made at the request of the American Third Army which was advancing in this direction; the intention was to cut the railways and block supply routes generally through the town. The bombing was accurate and severe damage was caused in the main town area north of the River Saar, the area through which the main railway lines ran. Damage was particularly severe in the Altstadt and Malstatt districts.

20 Mosquitos to Berlin and 26 to 5 other German targets, 36 RCM sorties, 47 Mosquito patrols, 10 Halifaxes minelaying off Heligoland and 9 Mosquitos of No 8 Group minelaying in the Kiel Canal. No aircraft lost.

6 October 1944

320 aircraft - 254 Halifaxes of No 4 Group and 46 Lancasters and 20 Mosquitos of No 8 Group - attacked the synthetic oil plants at Sterkrade and Scholven/Buer. Both raids took place in clear conditions and the bombing was considered to be accurate. 9 aircraft were lost - 4 Halifaxes and 2 Lancasters at Scholven and 3 Halifaxes at Sterkrade.

4 Liberators and 3 Wellingtons flew signals investigation patrols without loss.

6/7 October 1944

Dortmund: 523 aircraft - 248 Halifaxes, 247 Lancasters, 28 Mosquitos - of Nos 3, 6 and 8 Groups. No 6 Group provided 293 aircraft - 248 Halifaxes and 45 Lancasters, the greatest effort by the Canadian group in the war. This raid opened a phase which some works refer to as 'The Second Battle of the Ruhr'. 5 aircraft - 2 Halifaxes (of No 6 Group), 2 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito - lost, less than 1 per cent of the force raiding this Ruhr target on a clear night. The Pathfinder marking and the bombing were both accurate and severe damage was caused, particularly to the industrial and transportation areas of the city, although residential areas also suffered badly.

246 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 5 Groups carried out the last of 32 major Bomber Command raids on Bremen during the war. 5 Lancasters lost. The raid, based on the No 5 Group marking method, was an outstanding success. Severe damage was caused to the AG Weser shipyard, the two Focke-Wulf factories, the Siemens Schuckert electrical works and other important war industries. The 'transport network' was described as being seriously disrupted. (It is interesting to note the increased efficiency and hence destructive power of Bomber Command at this time. Bremen - with its shipyards and aircraft factories - had been the target for many carefully planned Bomber Command raids earlier in the war and was the target for one of the much publicized 1942 1,000-bomber raids. Now this raid by no more than a quarter of the total strength of Bomber Command, hardly mentioned in the history books, had finished off Bremen and this city need not be attacked by Bomber Command again.)

22 Mosquitos to Berlin, 11 to Ludwigshafen and 2 to Saarbrücken, 35 RCM sorties, 76 Mosquito patrols, 19 aircraft minelaying off Texel and Heligoland and in the River Weser, 6 aircraft on Resistance operations. 2 Mosquitos were lost - 1 from the Berlin raid and 1 Serrate aircraft.

Total effort for the night: 947 sorties, 12 aircraft (1.3 per cent) lost.

7 October 1944

351 aircraft - 251 Halifaxes, 90 Lancasters, 10 Mosquitos - of Nos 3, 4 and 8 Groups to bomb the small German town of Kleve which, together with Emmerich, stood on the approach routes by which German units could threaten the vulnerable Allied right flank near Nijmegen which had been left exposed by the failure of Operation Market Garden. Visibility was clear and the centre and north of the town were heavily bombed, although some crews bombed too early and their loads actually fell in Holland near Nijmegen. 2 Halifaxes lost.

340 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups carried out an even more accurate attack on Emmerich. 3 Lancasters were lost.

121 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos of No 5 Group continued the attack on Walcheren Island, without any aircraft losses, and the sea walls which were breached near Flushing.

The Kembs Dam. This was another No 617 Squadron special operation. The Kembs Dam on the Rhine, just north of Basle, held back a vast quantity of water and it was feared that the Germans would release this to flood the Rhine valley near Mulhouse, a few miles north, should the American and French troops in that area attempt an advance. The Squadron was asked to destroy the lock gates of the dam. 13 Lancasters were dispatched. 7 aircraft were to bomb from 8,000ft and draw the flak, while the other 6 would come in below 1,000ft and attempt to place their Tallboys, with delayed fuses, alongside the gates. American Mustang fighters would attempt to suppress flak positions during the attack. The operation went according to plan. The gates were destroyed but 2 Lancasters from the low force were shot down by flak.

5 RCM sorties, 2 Ranger patrols, 2 Hudsons on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the day: 846 sorties, 7 aircraft (0.8 per cent) lost.

Kembs Dam
Picture showing a variety of bombs (including 12,000lb 'Tallboys') hitting the water and dam wall.

7/8 October 1944

46 aircraft of No 100 Group flew an operation in which various electronic devices and Window were used in an attempt to lure the German night-fighter force into the air to waste its fuel. The feint was made in the direction of Bremen, using the same route as had been used in the raid carried out the previous night. Radio listening stations in England heard the German controllers plotting the supposed force 'vigorously', but few night fighters were scrambled. Mosquito Intruders and Serrate aircraft, which were part of the No 100 Group force, then flew on towards Bremen and claimed an Me110 destroyed and a Ju88 damaged. 1 further RCM Halifax flew a signals listening patrol. No aircraft were lost on this night.

8 October 1944

2 Mosquitos flew Ranger patrols over Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark, shooting down an Me109 in Schleswig-Holstein; 1 Wellington flew a signals patrol. No aircraft lost.

9 October 1944

2 Liberators and 2 Wellingtons flew uneventful signals patrols.

9/10 October 1944

Bochum: 435 aircraft - 375 Halifaxes, 40 Lancasters, 20 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups. 4 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster lost. This raid was not successful. The target area was covered by cloud and the bombing was scattered.

47 Mosquitos to Wilhelmshaven, 5 to Krefeld, 4 to Saarbrücken and 3 to Düsseldorf, 34 RCM sorties, 57 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

10 October 1944

2 Wellingtons and 1 Liberator on RCM sorties, 2 Ranger patrols, 4 Hudsons and 3 Stirlings on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

10/11 October 1944

49 Mosquitos to Cologne, 6 each to Aschaffenburg and Pforzheim, 5 to Duisburg and 2 to Düsseldorf, 1 Liberator on an RCM sortie. No aircraft lost.

Road and Rail Bridge at Zutphen Destroyed
No specific date for this daylight attack on the road and rail bridge at Zutphen (some 25 miles north-east of Arnhem), but the aiming appears to have been very accurate indeed.

11 October 1944

160 Lancasters and 20 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups attacked the Fort Frederik Hendrik battery position at Breskens, on the south bank of the Scheldt, and 115 Lancasters of No 5 Group attacked guns near Flushing on the north bank. Both attacks started well but more than half of the Breskens force had to abandon the raid because their target was covered by smoke and dust. Two large explosions were seen at Flushing. 1 Lancaster lost from the Breskens raid.

61 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attempted to breach the sea walls at Veere on the northern coast of Walcheren Island but were not successful. No aircraft lost.

3 RCM sorties, 1 Ranger patrol, 2 Hudsons on Resistance operations. No losses.

11/12 October 1944

46 Mosquitos to Berlin, 8 to Wiesbaden and 4 to Heilbronn. 1 aircraft lost from the Berlin raid.

12 October 1944

111 Halifaxes and 26 Lancasters of Nos 6 and 8 Groups attacked the oil plant at Wanne-Eickel. A direct hit on a storage tank early in the raid produced dense cloud and smoke which hindered later bombing. A German report says that the refinery itself was not seriously damaged but that the GAVEG chemical factory was destroyed; it is possible that the bombers were aiming at the wrong target.

86 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups attacked a gun battery near Breskens and destroyed 2 of the 4 gun positions. No aircraft lost.

3 RCM sorties, 1 Hudson on a Resistance operation. No losses.

Wanne-Eickel
Famous image of a Halifax taken during the attack on Wanne-Eickel.

12/13 October 1944

Mosquitos went to bomb the following targets: Hamburg, 52 aircraft; Düsseldorf and Wiesbaden, 6 aircraft each; Koblenz, 4 aircraft; Schweinfurt, 2 aircraft. 1 aircraft lost from the Hamburg raid.

13 October 1944

2 Wellingtons and 1 Liberator carried out uneventful signals patrols.

13/14 October 1944

57 Mosquitos to Cologne and 4 to Stuttgart. No aircraft lost. A report from Cologne shows that bombs were scattered across the city, causing mostly minor damage.

14 October 1944

Duisburg. This raid was part of a special operation which has received little mention in the history books. On 13 October, Sir Arthur Harris received the directive for Operation Hurricane: 'In order to demonstrate to the enemy in Germany generally the overwhelming superiority of the Allied Air Forces in this theatre ... the intention is to apply within the shortest practical period the maximum effort of the Royal Air Force Bomber Command and the VIIIth United States Bomber Command against objectives in the densely populated Ruhr.' Bomber Command had probably been forewarned of the directive because it was able to mount the first part of the operation soon after first light on 14 October. No heavy bombers had flown on operations for 48 hours and 1,013 aircraft - 519 Lancasters, 474 Halifaxes and 20 Mosquitos - were dispatched to Duisburg with RAF fighters providing an escort. 957 bombers dropped 3,574 tons of high explosive and 820 tons of incendiaries on Duisburg. 14 aircraft were lost - 13 Lancasters and 1 Halifax; it is probable that the Lancasters provided the early waves of the raid and drew the attention of the German flak before the flak positions were overwhelmed by the bombing.

For their part in Operation Hurricane, the American Eighth Air Force dispatched 1,251 heavy bombers escorted by 749 fighters. More than 1,000 of the American heavies bombed targets in the Cologne area. American casualties were 5 heavy bombers and 1 fighter. No Luftwaffe aircraft were seen.

2 Bomber Command RCM sorties and 2 Resistance operations were also flown on this day.

Operation Hurricane: Duisburg
Bombs can be seen falling on a smoke-covered Duisburg during Operation Hurricane.

14/15 October 1944

Bomber Command continued Operation Hurricane by dispatching 1,005 aircraft - 498 Lancasters, 468 Halifaxes, 39 Mosquitos - to attack Duisburg again in 2 forces 2 hours apart. 941 aircraft dropped 4,040 tons of high explosive and 500 tons of incendiaries during the night. 5 Lancasters and 2 Halifaxes were lost.

Nearly 9,000 tons of bombs had thus fallen on Duisburg in less than 48 hours. Local reports are difficult to obtain. The Duisburg Stadtarchiv does not have the important Endbericht - the final report. Small comments are available: 'Heavy casualties must be expected.' 'Very serious property damage. A large number of people buried.' 'Thyssen Mines III and IV: About 8 days loss of production.' 'Duisburg-Hamborn: All mines and coke ovens lay silent.'

Not only could Bomber Command dispatch more than 2,000 sorties to Duisburg in less than 24 hours, but there was still effort to spare for No 5 Group to attack Brunswick with 233 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos. The various diversions and fighter support operations laid on by Bomber Command were so successful that only 1 Lancaster was lost from this raid. Bomber Command had attempted to destroy Brunswick 4 times so far in 1944 and No 5 Group finally achieved that aim on this night, using their own marking methods. It was Brunswick's worst raid of the war and the old centre was completely destroyed. A local report says 'the whole town, even the smaller districts, was particularly hard hit'. It was estimated by the local officials that 1,000 bombers had carried out the raid.

141 training aircraft on a diversionary sweep to Heligoland, 20 Mosquitos to Hamburg, 16 to Berlin, 8 to Mannheim and 2 to Düsseldorf, 132 aircraft of 100 Group on RCM, Serrate and Intruder flights (no sub-totals are available), 8 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 Halifax was lost on the diversionary sweep - it was seen to dive into the sea in flames - and 1 Mosquito was lost from the Berlin raid.

Total effort for the night: 1,572 sorties, 10 aircraft (0.6 per cent) lost.

Total effort for the 24 hours: 2,589 sorties, 24 aircraft (0.9 per cent) lost. Total tonnage of bombs dropped in 24 hours: approximately 10,050 tons. These record totals would never be exceeded in the war.

Brunswick Burns
The old medieval town of Brunswick still had many wooden buildings in 1944. These burnt readily after being ignited with incendiaries and the Old Town was destroyed.

15 October 1944

18 Lancasters of No 9 Squadron to attack the dam at the Sorpe reservoir, the second most important supply of water for the Ruhr and one of the targets for the original Dams Raid by No 617 Squadron in 1943. 16 aircraft dropped Tallboys or other bombs from 15,000ft and hits were seen on the face of the earth dam but no breach was made. No aircraft lost.

3 RCM sorties, 4 Hudsons on Resistance operations. No losses.

15/16 October 1944

506 aircraft - 257 Halifaxes, 241 Lancasters, 8 Mosquitos - from all groups except No 5 Group on the last of 14 major Bomber Command raids on Wilhelmshaven that began in early 1941. Bomber Command claimed 'severe damage' to the business and residential areas.

44 Mosquitos to Hamburg, 6 to Saarbrücken and 2 each to Düsseldorf and Kassel, 33 RCM sorties, 42 Mosquito patrols, 22 Halifaxes and 15 Lancasters minelaying off Denmark, 2 aircraft on Resistance operations. 2 Halifaxes and 2 Lancasters lost from the minelaying operation.

16 October 1944

9 Mosquitos of No 100 Group dispatched, 5 on Ranger patrols and 4 on anti-minesweeper operations off Denmark where mines were laid the previous night; they attacked 2 coastal vessels with cannon-fire. No aircraft lost.

16/17 October 1944

39 Mosquitos dispatched to Cologne without loss.

Cologne
Much damage was done to the city of Cologne throughout October. Pictured on the 20th is the collapsed Mulheim Bridge.

17 October 1944

47 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the sea wall at Westkapelle on Walcheren. Bombing appeared to be accurate but no major result was observed. No aircraft lost.

5 RCM sorties, 4 Ranger patrols to Denmark, 4 Hudsons on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

17/18 October 1944

12 Mosquitos of No 100 Group flew anti-flying-bomb patrols. (The Germans were releasing flying bombs from aircraft over the North Sea.) No interceptions made.

18 October 1944

Bonn. This was the first major operation by No 3 Group in the new independent role which its commander, Air Vice-Marshal R Harrison, had been granted. Approximately one third of the group's Lancasters were now fitted with the G-H blind-bombing device and No 3 Group were to operate on days when the ground was concealed by cloud but when the cloud tops did not exceed 18,000ft. Aircraft with G-H had their tail fins painted with a prominent design; aircraft without G-H found a G-H 'leader' to follow into the target area and bombed when that aircraft bombed. G-H was a relatively accurate, easy-to-operate and very useful device and No 3 Group were to make good use of it in the remaining months of the war. The device had been used before, but not by a large force. Air Vice-Marshal Harrison requested that the almost unbombed and unimportant town of Bonn should be the target for this first operation, possibly so that post raid reconnaissance photographs could show the results of the first G-H raid without the effects of other bombing confusing the interpretation of the photographs. 128 Lancasters were dispatched; the raid appeared to go well and only 1 aircraft was lost. The attack was a complete success. The heart of old Bonn was destroyed, with its university, many cultural and public buildings and a large residential area being burnt out. The local report says that the home in which Beethoven lived was saved 'by the courageous actions of its caretakers'. 700 buildings were destroyed and 1,000 were seriously damaged.

4 RCM sorties, 1 Hudson on a Resistance operation. No losses.

18/19 October 1944

19 Mosquitos to Hannover, 18 to Mannheim, 8 to Düsseldorf, 5 to Pforzheim and 4 to Wiesbaden. 1 aircraft lost from the Pforzheim raid.

19 October 1944

4 Wellingtons and 1 Liberator on signals patrols, 2 Hudsons on Resistance operations. 1 aircraft lost.

19/20 October 1944

Stuttgart: 565 Lancasters and 18 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups in 2 forces, 4½ hours apart. 6 Lancasters lost. The bombing was not concentrated but serious damage was caused to the central and eastern districts of Stuttgart and in some of the suburban towns. Among individual buildings hit were the important Bosch factory.

263 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of No 5 Group dispatched to Nuremburg. 2 Lancasters lost. This was only a partial success for the No 5 Group method and the knock-out blow on Nuremberg, which had eluded Bomber Command for so long, was not achieved. The target area was found to be almost completely cloud-covered. The aiming point is believed to have been the centre of the city but the local report says that the bombing fell almost entirely in the southern districts, but this was the industrial area of Nuremberg.

48 Mosquitos to Wiesbaden and 6 to Düsseldorf, 49 RCM sorties, 82 Mosquito patrols. 1 Mosquito Intruder was lost but other Mosquitos claimed 2 Ju88s, 1 Ju188 and 1 Me110 destroyed and 3 other night fighters damaged, a better-than-average night's success.

Total effort for the night: 1,038 sorties, 9 aircraft (0.9 per cent) lost.

21 October 1944

75 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out accurate visual bombing of a coastal battery at Flushing. 1 Lancaster lost.

2 Wellington flew signals patrols.

21/22 October 1944

242 Halifaxes of 4 and No 6 Groups and 21 Pathfinder Lancasters dispatched to Hannover but recalled because of deteriorating weather in England. All aircraft landed safely.

4 Mosquitos to Pforzheim and 2 each to Cologne and Düsseldorf but only Pforzheim was reached, 7 aircraft minelaying in an unrecorded area. No aircraft lost.

22 October 1944

100 Lancasters of No 3 Group to Neuss; none lost. This G-H raid was not as concentrated as the recent Bonn raid and bombing was scattered. The local report says that 94 houses and 3 industrial buildings were destroyed and 545 houses, 18 industrial buildings and 1 public building were seriously damaged.

3 RCM sorties, 1 Hudson on a Resistance operation. No losses.

22/23 October 1944

45 Mosquitos to Hamburg, 4 to Wiesbaden, 3 to Düsseldorf and 2 to Cologne, 6 Serrate patrols, 20 Lancasters and 19 Halifaxes minelaying in the Kattegat, 6 Stirlings on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

23 October 1944

112 Lancasters of No 5 Group attacked the Flushing battery positions but visibility was poor and the bombing was scattered. 4 Lancasters lost.

4 RCM sorties, 6 Ranger patrols. No losses.

23/24 October 1944

1,055 aircraft - 561 Lancasters, 463 Halifaxes, 31 Mosquitos - to Essen. This was the heaviest raid on this target so far in the war and the number of aircraft dispatched was also the greatest number to any target so far; these new records were achieved without the Lancasters of No 5 Group being included. 5 Lancasters and 3 Halifaxes were lost. 4,538 tons of bombs were dropped. More than 90 per cent of this tonnage was high explosive (and included 509 4,000-pounders) because it was now considered that most of the burnable buildings in Essen had been destroyed in earlier raids. The greater proportion of high explosive, against all the trends in earlier area-bombing raids, was now quite common in attacks on targets which had suffered major fire damage in 1943.

38 Mosquitos to Berlin, 10 to Wiesbaden and 2 to Aschaffenburg, 41 RCM sorties, 50 Mosquito patrols, 1 Hudson on a Resistance operation. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 1,197 sorties, 8 aircraft (0.7 per cent) lost.

24 October 1944

2 Wellingtons and 1 Liberator on signals patrols.

24/25 October 1944

57 Mosquitos to Hannover. 6 to Aschaffenburg and 4 to Oberhausen, 3 RCM sorties, 11 Mosquito patrols, 25 Lancasters and 9 Halifaxes minelaying in the Kattegat and off Oslo, 1 aircraft on a Resistance operation. No aircraft lost.

25 October 1944

771 aircraft - 508 Lancasters, 251 Halifaxes, 12 Mosquitos - attacked Essen. 2 Halifaxes and 2 Lancasters lost. The bombing was aimed at skymarkers, because the target area was covered by cloud. The Bomber Command report states that the attack became scattered, but the local Essen report shows that more buildings were destroyed - 1,163 - than in the heavier night attack which had taken place 36 hours previously. A photographic reconnaissance flight which took place after this raid showed severe damage to the remaining industrial concerns in Essen, particularly to the Krupps steelworks. Some of the war industry had already moved to small, dispersed factories but the coal mines and steelworks of the Ruhr were still important. The Krupps steelworks were particularly hard-hit by the two raids and there are references in the firm's archives to the 'almost complete breakdown of the electrical supply network' and to 'a complete paralysis'. The Borbeck pig-iron plant ceased work completely and there is no record of any further production from this important section of Krupps.

Much of Essen's surviving industrial capacity was now dispersed and the city lost its role as one of Germany's most important centres of war production.

243 aircraft - 199 Halifaxes, 32 Lancasters, 12 Mosquitos - of 6 and 8 Groups attacked the oil plant at Meerbeck near Homberg. The target was covered by cloud. Bombing was scattered in the early stages but later became more concentrated on the skymarkers.No aircraft were lost.

6 RCM sorties, 1 Hudson on a Resistance operation. No losses.

Total effort for the day: 1,021 sorties, 4 aircraft (0.4 per cent) lost.

26 October 1944

105 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H raid on Leverkusen, with the chemical works as the centre of the intended bombing area. The raid appeared to proceed well but cloud prevented any observation of the results. No aircraft lost.

4 RCM sorties, 1 Hudson on a Resistance operation. No losses.

26/27 October 1944

26 RCM sorties, 42 Mosquito patrols, 10 Lancasters of No 1 Group minelaying off Heligoland. 1 Lancaster minelayer lost.

27/28 October 1944

60 Mosquitos to Berlin and 21 in small numbers to 6 other targets. No aircraft lost.

28 October 1944

Cologne: 733 aircraft - 28 Lancasters, 286 Halifaxes, 19 Mosquitos. 4 Halifaxes and 3 Lancasters lost. The bombing took place in 2 separate waves and the local report confirms that enormous damage was caused. The districts of Mülheim and Zollstock, north-east and south-west of the centre respectively, became the centre of the 2 raids and were both devastated. Much damage was caused to power-stations, railways and harbour installations on the Rhine.

277 aircraft - 155 Halifaxes, 86 Lancasters, 36 Mosquitos - of 4 and 8 Groups carried out raids on gun positions at 5 places on the rim of the newly flooded island of Walcheren. Most of the bombing appeared to be successful. 1 Halifax and 1 Lancaster lost.

4 RCM sorties, 1 Hudson on a Resistance operation. No losses.

Total effort for the day: 1,015 sorties, 9 aircraft (0.9 per cent) lost.

Cologne
A Lancaster passes over the partially obscured city of Cologne during a daylight raid on October 28. This bridge across the Rhine at Cologne was completely destroyed during the daylight attacks of 28 October.

28/29 October 1944

237 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of No 5 Group to attack the U-boat pens at Bergen. It is probable that No 5 Group had been waiting to attack this important target for several days; the Group had not flown any operations since 23 October. Clear conditions were forecast for the target area, although there were some doubts about this. Unfortunately the area was found to be cloud-covered. The Master Bomber tried to bring the force down below 5,000ft but cloud was still encountered and he ordered the raid to be abandoned after only 47 Lancasters had bombed. 3 Lancasters lost.

30 Mosquitos to Cologne, 4 to Karlsruhe and 3 to Rheine, 8 RCM sorties, 5 Mosquito patrols, 14 Lancasters minelaying off Oslo. No aircraft lost.

29 October 1944

358 aircraft - 194 Lancasters, 128 Halifaxes, 36 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 3, 4 and 8 Groups attacked 11 different German ground positions on Walcheren. Visibility was good and it was believed that all the targets were hit. 1 Lancaster lost.

37 Lancasters - 18 from No 9 Squadron, 18 from No 617 and a film unit aircraft from No 463 Squadron - were dispatched from Lossiemouth in Scotland to attack the battleship Tirpitz, which was now moored near the Norwegian port of Tromso. The removal of the Lancasters' mid-upper turrets and other equipment and the installation of extra fuel tanks, giving each aircraft a total fuel capacity of 2,406 gallons, allowed the Lancasters to carry out this 2,250 mile operation. A weather reconnaissance Mosquito had reported the target area free of cloud and the Lancasters formed up at a lake near the bay in which the Tirpitz was moored and commenced their attack. Unfortunately the wind had changed and a bank of cloud came in to cover the battleship 30 seconds before the first Lancaster was ready to bomb. 32 aircraft released Tallboy bombs on the estimated position of the battleship but no direct hits were scored. 1 of No 617 Squadron's Lancasters, which was damaged by flak, crash-landed in Sweden and its crew were later returned to Britain.

3 RCM sorties, 4 Ranger patrols, 1 Hudson on a Resistance operation. No aircraft lost.

29/30 October 1944

59 Mosquitos to Cologne and 6 to Mannheim, 55 Mosquitos on Serrate and Intruder patrol. No aircraft lost.

30 October 1944

102 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of No 5 Group successfully attacked gun batteries on Walcheren. 1 Mosquito lost. This was the last Bomber Command raid in support of the Walcheren campaign and the opening of the River Scheldt. The attack by ground troops on Walcheren commenced on 31 October and the island fell after a week of fighting by Canadian and Scottish troops, including Commandos who sailed their landing craft through the breaches in the sea walls made earlier by Bomber Command. It required a further 3 weeks before the 40 mile river entrance to Antwerp was cleared of mine and the first convoy did not arrive in the port until 28 November.

102 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H raid on the oil refinery at Wesseling. No results were seen because of the cloud but the bombing was believed to be accurate. No aircraft lost.

7 RCM sorties, 1 Hudson on a Resistance operation. No losses.

30/31 October 1944

Cologne: 905 aircraft - 438 Halifaxes, 435 Lancasters, 32 Mosquitos. No aircraft lost. This was an Oboe-marked raid through cloud, and Bomber Command estimated that only 'scattered and light' damage was caused in the western parts of the city. But the local report shows that enormous damage was caused in the suburbs of Braunsfeld, Lindenthal, Klettenberg and Sülz, which were 'regelrecht umgepflügt' - 'thoroughly ploughed up' - by the huge tonnage of high explosive dropped (3,431 tons of high explosive and 610 tons of incendiaries were dropped). A vast amount of property, mostly civilian housing, was destroyed but railways and public utilities were also hit. There was little industry in the area which was bombed.

62 Mosquitos to Berlin and 3 each to Heilbronn and Oberhausen, 42 RCM sorties, 57 Mosquito patrols. 2 Mosquitos were lost - 1 from the Berlin raid and 1 Intruder.

Total effort for the night: 1,072 sorties, 2 aircraft (0.2 per cent) lost.

31 October 1944

101 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a good G-H attack on the oil plant at Bottrop. 1 Lancaster lost.

1 Wellington carried out a signals patrol and 1 Hudson flew a Resistance operation.

Bottrop Synthetic Oil Plant
The gutted remains of the Bottrop synthetic oil plant. Although this picture was not taken until 19th November, the damage caused in the attack almost 3 weeks earlier is still very evident.

31 October/1 November 1944

Cologne: 493 aircraft - 331 Lancasters, 144 Halifaxes, 18 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 3, 4 and 8 Groups. 15 further Mosquitos carried out a feint attack just before the main raid. 2 Lancasters lost. This was another Oboe-marked attack through thick cloud. Most of the bombing fell in the southern districts, with Bayental and Zollstock, according to the local report, being the hardest hit, although damage was not as severe as in other recent raids.

49 Mosquitos to Hamburg, 4 to Saarbrücken and 2 to Schweinfurt, 36 RCM sorties, 59 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.


1944 September  1944 November
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