Royal Air Force Bomber
Command 60th Anniversary
1 September 1943
30 OTU Wellingtons with 6 Mosquitos and 5 Lancasters of the Pathfinders
successfully bombed an ammunition dump in the Forêt de Mormal,
8 Mosquitos were sent to Cologne and Duisburg, 89 aircraft were minelaying
in the Frisians, near Texel and off Brittany and Biscay ports. 1 Stirling
3/4 September 1943
316 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitos despatched to Berlin. Because of the
high casualty rates among Halifaxes and Stirlings in recent Berlin raids
the heavy force was composed only of Lancasters. 22 Lancasters were
lost, nearly 7.0 per cent of the force. The Mosquitos were used to drop
'spoof' flares well away from the bombers' route to attract German night
fighters. The raid approached Berlin from the north-east but the marking
and bombing were, once again, mostly short of the target. That part
of the bombing which did reach Berlin's built-up area fell in residential
parts of Charlottenburg and Moabit and in the industrial area called
Siemensstadt. Several factories were hit and suffered serious loss of
production and among 'utilities' put out of action were major water
and electricity works and one of Berlin's largest breweries.
32 OTU Wellingtons, 6 Mosquitos and 6 Halifaxes to an ammunition dump
in the Forêt de Raismes, near Valenciennes; 44 Stirlings and 12
Halifaxes minelaying off Denmark, in the Frisians and off the Biscay
coast; 4 Mosquitos to Düsseldorf and 7 OTU Whitleys on leaflet
raids. 1 Wellington, 1 Stirling and 1 Whitley were lost.
4/5 September 1943
8 Mosquitos to Cologne and Duisburg, 25 Wellingtons and 13 Stirlings
minelaying in the Frisians, in the River Gironde and off Lorient and
St Nazaire. No aircraft lost.
5/6 September 1943
605 aircraft - 299 Lancasters, 195 Halifaxes, 111 Stirlings - ordered
to carry out a second 'double' attack, this time against Mannheim and
Ludwigshafen. 34 aircraft - 13 Halifaxes, 13 Lancasters, 8 Stirlings
- lost, 5.6 per cent of the force. The target area for this double attack
was clear of cloud and the Pathfinder marking plan worked perfectly.
Ground-markers were placed on the eastern side of Mannheim so that the
bombing of the Main Force - approaching from the west - could move back
across Mannheim and then into Ludwigshafen on the western bank of the
Rhine. The creepback did not become excessive and severe destruction
was caused in both targets.
4 Mosquitos to Düsseldorf, 25 aircraft minelaying in the German
Bight, near Texel and off Brest and Lorient. No aircraft lost.
6/7 September 1943
Munich: 257 Lancasters and 147 Halifaxes.
The Pathfinders found that Munich was mostly covered by cloud and neither
their ground-markers nor their skymarkers were very effective. Most
of the Main Force crews could do no more than bomb on a timed run from
the Ammersee, a lake situated 21 miles south-west of the target. The
bombing was mostly scattered over the southern and western parts of
the city. 16 aircraft - 13 Halifaxes, 3 Lancasters - lost, 4.0 per cent
of the force.
8/9 September 1943
Boulogne gun positions: 257 aircraft - 119 Wellingtons, 112 Stirlings,
16 Mosquitos, 10 Halifaxes. OTU aircraft formed part of this force and
5 B-17s also flew the first American night-bombing sorties of the war
with Bomber Command. Nos 4 and No 5 Groups did not take part in the
raid. The target was the site of a German long-range gun battery and
the marking was mainly provided by Oboe Mosquitos, some of whom were
experimenting with a new technique. But the raid was not successful;
the marking and the bombing were not accurate and the battery does not
appear to have been damaged. No aircraft lost.
13/14 September 1943
5 Oboe Mosquitos to Cologne and 5 to Duisburg. No losses.
14/15 September 1943
8 Lancasters of 617 Squadron set out with the new 12,000lb bomb (not
the 12,000lb Tallboy 'earthquake' bomb developed later) to attack the
banks of the Dortmund-Ems Canal near Ladbergen. While the force was
over the North Sea, however, a weather reconnaissance Mosquito reported
that there was fog in the target area and the Lancasters were recalled.
The aircraft of Flight Lieutenant DIH Maltby, one of the original members
of the squadron that had attacked the Ruhr dams, crashed into the sea
and the crew were all killed. Maltby's body was washed ashore and is
buried at Wickhambreux, near Canterbury in Kent; the names of the other
6 crew members are on the Runnymede Memorial for the Missing.
8 Mosquitos made a nuisance raid on Berlin. 1 aircraft lost.
15/16 September 1943
Montluçon: 369 aircraft of Nos 3, 4, 6 and No 8 Groups - 209 Halifaxes,
120 Stirlings, 40 Lancasters. 5 American B-17s also took part. 2 Halifaxes
and 1 Stirling lost. This was a moonlit raid on the Dunlop rubber factory
at Montluçon in Central France. The Pathfinders marked the target
accurately and the Master Bomber, Wing Commander DFEC Deane, brought
the Main Force in well to carry out some accurate bombing. Every building
in the factory was hit and a large fire was started.
8 Lancasters of 617 Squadron took off to carry out the postponed raid
on the Dortmund-Ems Canal but the area was misty and 5 aircraft were
lost, including those of Pilot Officer LG Knight, another of the Dams
Raid survivors, and the new squadron commander, Squadron Leader G Holden.
These heavy losses, and the losses of the Dams Raid, confirmed that
low-level attacks on German targets, even when away from major defended
areas, were not viable with heavy bombers and this type of operation
was not repeated. 617 Squadron now started retraining as a specialist
16/17 September 1943
340 aircraft of 3, 4, 6 and No 8 Groups - 170 Halifaxes, 127 Stirlings,
43 Lancasters - to attack the important railway yards at Modane on the
main railway route from France to Italy. 5 American B-17s also took
part. The marking of the target, situated in a steep valley, was not
successful and the bombing was not accurate. No report is available
from France. 2 Halifaxes and 1 Stirling lost.
12 Lancasters - 8 from 617 Squadron and 4 from 619 Squadron - attempted
to bomb the railway viaduct at Anthéor Cannes on the coastal railway
line leading to Italy, but no direct hits were scored. 1 Lancaster of
619 Squadron was lost; it came down in the sea off Portugal, possibly
while trying to reach Gibraltar.
5 Mosquitos to Berlin, 3 OTU sorties. No losses.
17/18 September 1943
6 Mosquitos to Berlin, 8 Wellingtons minelaying off Brest. No losses.
18/19 September 1943
5 Mosquitos to Cologne, 49 aircraft minelaying in the Frisians and
off Biscay ports. No losses.
20/21 September 1943
8 Mosquitos to Berlin, 20 Wellingtons minelaying off Brest, Lorient
and St Nazaire, 21 OTU sorties. No losses.
21/22 September 1943
26 aircraft minelaying in the Frisians and off Brest, 3 OTU sorties.
22/23 September 1943
711 aircraft - 322 Lancasters, 226 Halifaxes, 137 Stirlings, 26 Wellingtons
- on the first major raid to Hannover for 2 years; this was the first
of a series of 4 heavy raids on this target. 5 American B-17s also took
part in the raid, their first night raid on Germany. 26 aircraft - 12
Halifaxes, 7 Lancasters, 5 Stirlings, 2 Wellingtons - lost, 3.7 per
cent of the force. Visibility in the target area was good but stronger
winds than forecast caused the marking and the bombing to be concentrated
between 2 and 5 miles south-south-east of the city centre.
21 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of No 8 Group carried out a diversionary
raid at Oldenburg, dropping much 'Window' and many flares and target
indicators to simulate the arrival of a larger force. The losses on
the Hannover raid, lower than the recent average, may indicate that
this tactic was partially successful. No aircraft were lost on the diversionary
12 Mosquitos on a further diversion to Emden, 4 Stirlings minelaying
in the Frisians, 7 OTU sorties. No losses.
23/24 September 1943
Manheim: 628 aircraft - 312 Lancasters, 193 Halifaxes, 115 Stirlings,
8 Mosquitos. 5 B- 17s also took part. 32 aircraft - 18 Lancasters, 7
Halifaxes, 7 Wellingtons - lost, 5.1 per cent of the force. The Pathfinder
plan worked well and concentrated bombing fell on the intended area,
although later stages of the raid crept back across the northern edge
of Ludwigshafen and out into the open country.
21 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of No 8 Group carried out a diversionary
raid on Darmstadt without loss. The diversionary purpose of this raid
was not achieved because Darmstadt was too close to Mannheim and the
German night fighters could see the main attack only 20 miles away quite
clearly. But the small force of bombers caused much damage in this university
town which had little industry and which had not been seriously bombed
6 Mosquitos to Aachen, 28 OTU sorties. 1 OTU Wellington lost.
24/25 September 1943
4 Mosquitos to Duisburg, 39 aircraft minelaying in the Frisians and
south of Texel, 2 OTU sorties. 1 Stirling minelayer lost.
25/26 September 1943
8 Mosquitos to Cologne and Düsseldorf, 10 Stirlings minelaying
in the Frisians, 11 OTU sorties. No losses.
| Crew completes tour
26/27 September 1943
5 Mosquitos to Aachen and 4 each to Cologne and Hamborn, 4 OTU sorties.
The 5 Mosquitos attacking Aachen were carrying out the first trials
of Mark II Oboe but the equipment failed and bombs were released visually
or on dead reckoning.
27/28 September 1943
Hannover: 678 aircraft - 312 Lancasters, 231 Halifaxes, 111 Stirlings,
24 Wellingtons. 5 B-17s also took part. 38 Bomber Command aircraft -
17 Halifaxes, 10 Lancasters, 10 Stirlings, 1 Wellington - lost, 5.6
per cent of the force, and 1 B-17 also lost. The use by the Pathfinders
of faulty forecast winds again saved the centre of Hannover. The bombing
was very concentrated but fell on an area 5 miles north of the city
centre. No details are available from Germany but RAF photographic evidence
showed that most of the bombs fell in open country or villages north
of the city.
21 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos of No 8 Group carried out a diversionary
raid on Brunswick which was successful in drawing off some night fighters.
218 people were killed in Brunswick - 51 Germans and 167 foreigners.
1 Lancaster lost.
9 Mosquitos on another diversion to Emden, 5 Mosquitos on Oboe tests
to Aachen (3 were successful), 19 aircraft minelaying in the Kattegat
and the Frisian Islands, 4 OTU sorties. No losses.
| 97 Squadron, 27 September 1943
28/29 September 1943
8 Mosquitos attacked Cologne and Gelsenkirchen without loss.
29/30 September 1943
352 aircraft - 213 Lancasters, 130 Halifaxes, 9 Mosquitos - ordered
to Bochum. 9 aircraft - 5 Halifaxes and 4 Lancasters - lost, 2.6 per
cent of the force. The Oboe-assisted Pathfinder plan worked perfectly
and led to accurate and concentrated bombing.
11 Mosquitos to Gelsenkirchen, 14 Lancasters minelaying off Danzig,
Gdynia and Pillau in the Baltic. No aircraft lost.