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Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary


Campaign Diary
September 1942

 

1 September 1942

8 Bostons on uneventful sweep off the Dutch coast.

1/2 September 1942

Saarbrücken

231 aircraft of 5 types. 4 aircraft - 1 Halifax, 1 Lancaster, 1 Stirling, 1 Wellington - lost, 1.7 per cent of the force.

The Pathfinders illuminated and marked a town which they believed to be Saarbrücken and the Main Force bombed accurately. A total of 205 aircraft claimed good bombing results. But the town bombed was Saarlouis, 13 miles to the north-west and situated in a similar bend of the River Saar. The small, non-industrial town of Saarlouis and the villages immediately surrounding were heavily damaged. The exact extent of this damage was not recorded but 52 civilians were killed. No bombs fell in Saarbrücken.

2 September 1942

8 Bostons in low-level pairs to Holland and Belgium and 6 Mosquitos individually to Germany, Targets at Ghent, Ijmuiden, Sluiskil, Cologne, Essen and Osnabrück all attacked. No aircraft lost.

2/3 September 1942

Karlsruhe

200 aircraft of 5 types with 4 Group Halifaxes now back on major operations. 8 aircraft - 4 Wellingtons, 2 Lancasters, 1 Halifax, 1 Stirling - lost, 4.0 per cent of the force.

The Pathfinders were accurate and this was a successful raid. An estimated 200 fires were seen burning at the same time. Reconnaissance photographs showed much residential and some industrial damage. A very short report from Karlsruhe says only that 73 people were killed and that 3 public buildings in the city centre were hit.

3 aircraft minelaying in the Frisians without loss.

3/4 September 1942

Emden

11 aircraft - 7 Wellingtons, 3 Stirlings, 1 Halifax - dispatched but could only bomb through cloud on dead-reckoning positions. 2 Wellingtons lost.

4 September 1942

6 Mosquitos to Germany. 3 aircraft bombed the Cologne, Essen and Münster areas through thick cloud. No aircraft lost.

4/5 September 1942

Bremen

251 aircraft - 98 Wellingtons, 76 Lancasters, 41 Halifaxes, 36 Stirlings. 12 aircraft - 7 Wellingtons, 3 Lancasters, 1 Halifax, 1 Stirling - lost, 4.8 per cent of the force.

The Pathfinders introduced new techniques on this night, splitting their aircraft into 3 forces: 'illuminators', who lit up the area with white flares; 'visual markers', who dropped coloured flares if they had identified the aiming point; then 'backers-up', who dropped all-incendiary bomb loads on to the coloured flares. This basic pattern - illuminating, marking and backing-up - would form the basis of most future Pathfinder operations with proper target-indicator bombs and various electronic bombing aids being employed as they became available.
The weather was clear and the Pathfinder plan worked well; heavy bombing of the target followed. Bremen confirms that this was a successful raid. Property was hit as follows:

  Destroyed Damaged
  Seriously Lightly
Large/medium Industrial 6 6 50
Small Industrial 15 29 64
Dwelling Houses 460 1,361 7,592
A Lancaster silhouetted against smoke over Bremen.

Among the industrial buildings seriously hit were the Weser aircraft works and the Atlas shipyard. 4 dockside warehouses were destroyed and 3 oil-storage tanks were burnt out. Various public buildings together with 7 schools and 3 hospitals were hit. 124 people were killed and 470 injured.

3 Wellingtons laid mines in the Frisian Islands without loss.

6 September 1942

12 Bostons bombed ships in Boulogne harbour but scored no hits, 5 Mosquitos flew to Germany but only Bremerhaven was bombed. 1 Mosquito lost.

6/7 September 1942

Duisburg

207 aircraft of 6 types. 8 aircraft - 5 Wellingtons, 2 Halifaxes, 1 Stirling - lost, 3.9 per cent of the force.

Cloud and haze were present and the bombing was not concentrated. But Duisburg reports its heaviest raid to date, with 114 buildings destroyed and 316 seriously damaged; 86 people were killed.

Minor Operations: 9 aircraft minelaying off Heligoland and in the Frisians, 5 aircraft on leaflet flights. No losses.

7 September 1942

5 Mosquitos bombed Bremerhaven, Cologne, Emden, Essen and Wilhelmshaven. The Cologne and Wilhelmshaven diaries have no records of bombs falling. No aircraft lost.

7/8 September 1942

Minor operations: 16 aircraft dispatched to bomb the Heinkel works at Warnemünde were recalled, 43 aircraft minelaying off Biscay ports and in the Frisians. 1 Wellington minelayer lost.

8 September 1942

12 Bostons bombed Cherbourg and Le Havre docks without loss.

8/9 September 1942

Frankfurt

249 aircraft of 5 types. 5 Wellingtons and 2 Halifaxes lost, 2.8 per cent of the force.

The Pathfinders were unable to locate Frankfurt accurately and most of the bombing fell south-west of the city and in the town of Rüsselsheim, 15 miles away. Frankfurt reports only a few bombs - approximately 6 aircraft loads - with minor damage, 1 person dead and 30 injured. Bomber Command documents state that the Opel tank factory and the Michelin tyre factory were damaged.

9 September 1942

6 Mosquitos attacked Münster, Osnabrück and Bie1efeld without loss.

9/10 September 1942

Minelaying: 34 aircraft to many places from Denmark to Biscay. 1 Lancaster lost.

10/11 September 1942

Düsseldorf

479 aircraft - 242 Wellingtons, 89 Lancasters, 59 Halifaxes, 47 Stirlings, 28 Hampdens, 14 Whitleys. Training aircraft of 91, 92 and 93 Groups took part in this raid. 33 aircraft - 20 Wellingtons, 5 Lancasters, 4 Stirlings, 3 Halifaxes, 1 Hampden - lost, 7.1 per cent of the force. 16 OTU, from Upper Heyford, lost 5 of its 13 Wellingtons on the raid.

The Pathfinders successfully marked the target, using 'Pink Pansies' in converted 4,00Olb bomb casings for the first time. All parts of Düsseldorf except the north of the city were hit as well as the neighbouring town of Neuss. 39 industrial firms in Düsseldorf and 13 in Neuss were damaged so much that all production ceased for various periods. 8 public buildings were destroyed and 67 damaged. 911 houses were destroyed and 1,506 seriously and 8,340 lightly damaged. 132 people were killed, 120 in Düsseldorf and 12 in Neuss. 116 further people were still classed as missing 2 days later and 19,427 people were bombed out.

13/14 September 1942

Bremen

Training aircraft from 0.T.U.s were again included in the 446 aircraft dispatched. 21 aircraft - 15 Wellingtons, 2 Lancasters, 1 Halifax, 1 Hampden, 1 Stirling, 1 Whitley - were lost, 41 per cent of the force.

The Lloyd dynamo works was put out of action for 2 weeks and various parts of the Focke-Wulf factory for from 2 to 8 days. 5 nearly completed aircraft were destroyed and 3 more damaged. The report also lists 7 cultural and historical buildings hit in the centre of the town as well as 6 schools and 2 hospitals. 70 people were killed and 371 injured.

14 September 1942

5 Mosquitos bombed ports in Northern Germany without loss. Wilhelmshaven reports 4 bombs falling in the town centre, with an old folks' home and several houses hit and 10 people injured. Kiel reports 4 bombs on a nearby village with no particular damage and no casualties.

14/15 September 1942

Wilhelmshaven

22 aircraft of 5 types. 2 Wellingtons were the only aircraft lost. The 4 aircraft of 408 (Canadian) Squadron on this raid represent the last operational effort by Hampden raft with front-line squadrons.

The Pathfinder marking was accurate and Wilhelmshaven reports its worst raid to date. Housing and city-centre type buildings are listed as being hit hardest. 77 people were killed and more than 50 injured.

15 September 1942

12 Bostons of 107 Squadron bombed the whaling factory ship Solglint in Cherbourg harbour; the ship was set on fire and gutted. No Bostons lost.

Attack on the factory ship 'Solglint', Cherbourg 15 September
Water splashes rise from bombs hitting the water, and smoke can be seen rising from the Solglint (moored to the right of the splashes). Anoth shot of bombs hitting the vessel and water. The ship is just visible in the center of the picture under the rising smoke.

15/16 September 1942

Minelaying: 27 Wellingtons and 13 Stirlings of 1 and 3 Groups were minelaying in the Frisian Islands and off Verdon without loss.

16 September 1942

9 Bostons to Den Helder turned back, 4 of 6 Mosquitos to Wiesbaden bombed a chemical factory without loss.

16/17 September 1942

Essen

369 aircraft, including aircraft from the training groups. 39 aircraft - 21 Wellingtons, 9 Lancasters, 5 Stirlings, 3 Halifaxes, 1 Whitley - lost, 10.6 per cent of the force.

Although much of the bombing was scattered, this was probably the most successful attack on this difficult target. There were 33 large and 80 'medium' fires. 8 industrial and 6 transport premises were hit. The Krupps works were hit by 15 high-explosive bombs and by a crashing bomber loaded with incendiaries. There was much housing damage. In Essen and its immediate surroundings, 47 people were killed and 92 injured.

Many other towns were hit, in particular Bochum with 50 fires and 4 people dead, Wuppertal with 13 dead, Heme with a large fire in a lorry garage and Cochem, a small town on the Moselle 90 miles south of Essen, which received 1 bomb load destroying 4 houses and killing 15 people.

17/18 September 1942

3 Halifaxes on leaflet flights to France without loss.

18 September 1942

3 Mosquitos were dispatched to German ports but only 1 bombed the approximate position of Borkum, No aircraft lost.

18/19 September 1942

Minelaying: 115 aircraft to many locations between Lorient and Danzig. 5 aircraft - 2 Lancasters, 2 Stirlings, 1 Wellington - lost.

1 Halifax on leaflet flight to France returned safely.

19 September 1942

6 Mosquitos of 105 Squadron attempted the first daylight bombing raid on Berlin. 2 aircraft had to turn back with mechanical trouble, 2 aircraft bombed Hamburg and 1 aircraft bombed the Berlin area through thick cloud. The remaining Mosquito was lost, believed shot down by a German fighter.

19/20 September 1942

Saarbrücken

118 aircraft - 72 Wellingtons, 41 Halifaxes, 5 Stirlings. 3 Wellingtons and 2 Halifaxes lost, 4'2 per cent of the force.

The Pathfinders had to mark 2 targets on this night and the Pathfinder crews allocated to this raid experienced difficulties with ground haze. Bombing was scattered to the west of the target. Saarbrücken reports on 13 houses destroyed, 27 seriously damaged and 1 man killed.

Munich

68 Lancasters and 21 Stirlings, 3 Lancasters and 3 Stirlings lost, 6.7 per cent of the force.

Approximately 40 per cent of the crews dropped bombs within 3 miles of the centre of Munich but most of the bombs fell in the western, southern and eastern suburbs of the city. It has not been possible to obtain a report from Munich.

Total effort for the night: 207 sorties, 11 aircraft (5.3 per cent) lost.

21/22 September 1942

17 aircraft minelaying in Kiel Bay and off Denmark. 3 Wellingtons lost.

22 September 1942

18 Bostons in low-level pairs attacked power-stations in France. 6 Mosquitos were sent to Ijmuiden steelworks; 4 aircraft bombed there. 2 Bostons lost.

23/24 September 1942

During this prolonged period of bad weather, Bomber Command sent out 3 small raids without Pathfinders.

Wismar

83 Lancasters of 5 Group; 4 lost.

This was judged to be a successful attack on the Baltic coastal town and the nearby Dornier aircraft factory. Many crews came down to less than 2,000ft. Numerous fires were seen including a large one in what was believed to be the aircraft factory. Wismar reports 32 houses and 8 industrial buildings seriously damaged, 67 people killed and 109 injured.

Flensburg

28 Halifaxes of 4 Group; 5 lost. Only 16 aircraft claimed to have bombed Flensburg.

Vegesack

24 Stirlings of 3 Group; 1 lost.

25 Wellingtons and 8 Stirlings of 1 and 3 Groups minelaying at many places between Biscay and Denmark. 2 Wellingtons lost.

Total effort for the night: 168 sorties, 12 aircraft (7.1 per cent) lost.

24/25 September 1942

Minelaying: 51 aircraft to Texel, the Frisian Islands, Heligoland and the Baltic. 1 Lancaster lost.

25 September 1942

Oslo Gestapo Headquarters

This raid was intended to be a morale raiser for the Norwegian people and was timed to coincide with a rally of Norwegians who supported the Germans.

4 Mosquitos of 105 Squadron set off from Leuchars in Scotland but were intercepted by FW 190s on their low-level bombing run and 1 Mosquito was shot down. 4 bombs hit the Gestapo headquarters but 3 passed right through the building without exploding and the fourth, which remained inside the building, also failed to explode.

The Gestapo HQ attack as viewed from a photo-reconnaissance Mosquito. Point A - smoke from a damaged building, Point B - Nazi flag flying from cupola on HQ building and Point C - The University.

25/26 September 1942

10 Wellingtons minelaying in the Frisian Islands without loss.

26/27 September 1942

Flensburg

28 Halifaxes of 4 Group were recalled. 1 aircraft went on to bomb the target area and 1 aircraft was lost.

52 Wellingtons and 19 Stirlings minelaying in the Frisians and off Denmark. 1 Wellington lost.

28 September 1942

6 Wellingtons to Lingen, on the Dortmund-Ems Canal. Only 1 aircraft bombed ships, but missed. 1 Wellington lost.

29/30 September 1942

14 Lancasters minelaying in the Baltic off Bornholm, Sassnitz and Swinemünde. 1 aircraft was lost.

30 September/1 October 1942

20 Wellingtons and 5 Stirlings minelaying off Texel and in the Frisians. 1 Stirling and 1 Wellington lost.


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