Royal Air Force Bomber
Command 60th Anniversary
1 July 1942
1 Mosquito bombed Kiel through cloud and returned safely. The Kiel
diary has no entry.
1/2 July 1942
4 Lancasters laid mines in the Great Belt without loss.
2 July 1942
6 Mosquitos were dispatched to carry out a low-level raid on a U-boat
construction yard at Flensburg but were intercepted by German fighters
which shot down the Mosquito of Wing Commander A. R. Oakeshott, commander
of 139 Squadron, who, with his navigator Flying Officer V. F. E. Treherne,
was killed. This was 139 Squadron's first Mosquito operation. The other
Mosquitos escaped from the German fighters by increasing speed and leaving
the Germans behind but a second Mosquito was damaged by Flak over Flensburg
and crashed in Germany.
These were the first Bomber Command daylight casualties for 3 weeks.
Returning Mosquito crews claimed to have bombed the shipyard accurately.
2/3 July 1942
325 aircraft - 175 Wellingtons, 53 Lancasters, 35 Halifaxes, 34 Stirlings,
28 Hampdens. 13 aircraft - 8 Wellingtons, 2 Hampdens, 2 Stirlings, 1
Halifax - lost.
265 aircraft claimed to have bombed in good visibility but it is probable
that much of the attack fell outside the southern borders of the town.
A brief Bremen report says that more than 1,000 houses and 4 small industrial
firms were damaged. 3 cranes and 7 ships in the port were also hit;
1 of the ships, the 1,736-ton steamer Marieborg sank and is recorded
as having become a danger to navigation. Only 5 people were killed and
Intruders: 24 Blenheims were dispatched and attacked many airfields
3/4 July 1942
6 Lancasters minelaying in the Great Belt; 2 aircraft lost.
4 July 1942
12 Bostons were dispatched in 4 flights of 3 aircraft each, in low-level
attacks on 4 Dutch airfields: De Kooy, Bergen, Haamstede and Valkenburg.
As it was American Independence Day, 6 of the planes were crewed by
members of the Eighth Air Force. Intense light Flak was encountered
at the Dutch coast and at the targets and 3 Bostons were shot down,
all of the aircraft lost being crewed by Americans.
5/6 July 1942
14 Wellingtons minelaying off St Nazaire without loss.
6/7 July 1942
42 aircraft minelaying off Lorient and Verdon. 3 Wellingtons lost.
7/8 July 1942
Minelaying: 79 Wellingtons and 23 Stirlings of 1 and 3 Groups laid
mines in the Frisian Islands without loss.
8/9 July 1942
285 aircraft - 137 Wellingtons, 52 Lancasters, 38 Halifaxes, 34 Stirlings,
24 Hampdens - to attack the dock areas. 5 aircraft - 3 Wellingtons,
1 Halifax, 1 Lancaster - lost.
Photographs showed that most of the bombing fell in open country west
of the target. Wilhelmshaven reports damage to housing and a variety
of other premises. 25 people were killed and 170 injured.
5 Halifaxes made leaflet flights to France without loss.
9 July 1942
1 Mosquito to Wilhelmshaven bombed through cloud. The local diary has
9/10 July 1942
Minelaying: 59 aircraft to Heligoland and the Frisian Islands. 1 Wellington
10 July 1942
8 Wellingtons on cloud-cover raids to Duisburg and Düsseldorf
were recalled. 1 Wellington did not return.
11 July 1942
44 Lancasters were dispatched on another experimental raid. The plan
called for the Lancasters to fly at low level and in formation over
the North Sea, but then to split up and fly independently in cloud which
was forecast to be present over Denmark and that part of the Baltic
leading to Danzig (now Gdansk). The target was expected to be clear
of cloud and the Lancasters were to bomb U-boat yards from normal bombing
heights just before dusk and return to England during darkness. With
a round trip of 1,500 miles, it was the most distant target Bomber Command
had yet attempted to reach. It was also another attempt to utilize Lancasters
in a semi-daylight role.
The plan worked well except that some of the Lancasters were late in
identifying Danzig and had to bomb the general town area in the dark.
24 aircraft bombed at Danzig and returned; 2 more were shot down by
Flak at the target. They were the only losses; the novel tactics and
routeing prevented any German fighters making contact.
Minor Operations: 7 Hampdens flew 'roving commissions' in the Bremen
area but only 1 of these dropped bombs. 6 Mosquitos attacked a U-boat
yard at Flensburg but 1 was lost, possibly crashing into the ground
because of flying so low; a second aircraft struck the chimney of a
house but returned safely with pieces of chimney pot in its cockpit.
Both the Hampden and Mosquito operations were intended to divert German
attention from the Lancasters flying to Danzig.
11/12 July 1942
41 Wellingtons and 8 Stirlings minelaying off Heligoland, in the Frisians
and in the Langeland Belt. 2 Wellingtons lost.
12 July 1942
12 Bostons bombed an airfield near Abbeville but results were not seen
because of cloud. No aircraft were lost.
American crews flew in 6 of the Bostons, their last introductory flight
with the Bostons of 2 Group. The Americans, from the 15th (Light) Bomb
Squadron, had flown 13 sorties with the R.A.F.'s 226 Squadron but had
lost 3 crews.
12/13 July 1942
Minelaying: 55 aircraft to Lorient, St Nazaire and the Frisians. 1
Hampden and 1 Wellington lost.
1 Lancaster made a leaflet flight to France and returned safely.
13 July 1942
12 Bostons bombed Boulogne railway yards without loss.
13/14 July 1942
194 aircraft - 139 Wellingtons, 33 Halifaxes, 13 Lancasters, 9 Stirlings
- on the first of a series of raids on this industrial city on the edge
of the Ruhr. 6 aircraft - 3 Wellingtons, 2 Stirlings, 1 Lancaster -
were lost and 4 more aircraft crashed in tons England.
The force encountered cloud and electrical storms and reported that
their bombing was well scattered. Duisburg reports only housing damage
- 11 houses destroyed, 18 seriously damaged - and 17 people killed.
Minor Operations: 10 Blenheim Intruders, 6 aircraft on leaflet flights.
1 Intruder lost.
14/15 July 1942
Minelaying: 52 aircraft to Lorient, St Nazaire, Verdon, the Frisians
and the River Elbe. No aircraft were lost.
4 aircraft made leaflet flights to France without loss.
16 July 1942
21 Stirlings in a raid using similar tactics to the cloud-cover approach
and dusk attack as had been used on the recent raid to Danzig. Only
8 aircraft reported bombing the main target; 2 Stirlings were lost.
Other Operations: 2 Wellingtons on cloud-cover raids to Essen, 4 Mosquitos
- 2 to Ijmuiden, 1 to Vegesack and 1 to Wilhelmshaven. The only loss
was the Mosquito to Wilhelmshaven whose local diary says that it dropped
2 bombs in dockyard installations, wounding 4 people, but was then shot
17 July 1942
16 Wellingtons on cloud-cover raids to Emden (9 aircraft) and Essen
(7 aircraft). Only 3 aircraft from the Essen force bombed and machine-gunned
a convoy off the Dutch coast. Only near misses were achieved by the
bombs. No aircraft lost.
18 July 1942
10 Lancasters to Essen but only 3 aircraft bombed, by Gee, through
thick cloud and another aircraft attacked a ship in the East Scheldt
river. No aircraft lost.
19 July 1942
20 Bostons in pairs to hunt for targets of opportunity at low level,
a new form of operation. On this day some were frustrated by bad weather
but 14 aircraft bombed various targets. 7 Wellingtons and 3 Lancasters
were sent to Essen but none bombed and 5 Hampdens had 'roving commissions'
over Germany. 4 aircraft - 2 Bostons, 1 Hampden, 1 Wellington - were
19/20 July 1942
99 4-engined aircraft - 40 Halifaxes, 31 Stirlings, 28 Lancasters.
3 Halifaxes lost.
The force had orders to bomb the Vulkan U-boat yard visually or, if
that was not possible, to bomb the town by Gee. The target area was
found to be cloud- covered and all the aircraft bombed by Gee. Later
photographs showed that no bombs fell in Vegesack. A report from Bremen,
a few miles up river from Vegesack, describes how 2 storehouses of military
equipment were bombed and completely burnt out. Further damage in Bremen
included a wooden-hutted military camp. The number of casualties is
19 Wellingtons were minelaying off Lorient, St Nazaire and La Pallice.
1 aircraft lost.
20 July 1942
12 Wellingtons on a cloud-cover raid to Bremen; only 3 aircraft bombed
scattered locations. 4 Bostons bombed targets at Lille. No aircraft
20/21 July 1942
1 Stirling on a leaflet flight to Belgium returned safely.
21 July 1942
6 Mosquitos were dispatched on single flights to different targets
in the Ruhr and Northern Germany but only 3 aircraft bombed targets
of opportunity seen through gaps in the cloud. One of the places bombed
was believed to be the inland docks at Duisburg. No aircraft lost.
21/22 July 1942
291 aircraft - 170 Wellingtons, 39 Halifaxes, 36 Stirlings, 29 Lancasters,
17 Hampdens. 12 aircraft - 10 Wellingtons, 1 Halifax, 1 Hampden - lost.
253 returning crews reported that they had bombed and started many
fires but photographs showed that the flares of the leading aircraft,
dropped by Gee, were not accurate and part of the bombing fell in open
country over the Rhine to the west.
This large raid was possibly sent on a moonless night to avoid the German
night fighters. It is interesting to note that bombing results were
better than on many moonlit raids but the bomber casualties, at 4.1
per cent, were heavier than normal. Returning crews reported that Duisburg's
Flak and searchlight defences were not as fierce as in recent raids
to that target because of the haze and most of the bomber losses were
suffered in the coastal fighter belt.
Duisburg reports much damage in housing areas, 94 buildings being destroyed
and 256 seriously damaged, with 49 people killed. What Bomber Command
documents describe as 'ground sources' later stated that the Thyssen
steelworks and 2 other important war industries were hit.
Minor Operations: 8 Blenheim Intruders to St Trond, Venlo and Vechta
airfields, 9 aircraft minelaying off Texel and in the Frisians, 6 aircraft
on leaflet flights to France. 1 Intruder lost.
22 July 1942
8 Bostons in pairs attacked various targets. 2 aircraft bombed Sluiskil
power-station and then machine-gunned barges near Ghent and 2 aircraft
bombed Langenbrugge power-station. 1 Wellington was sent to Essen and
1 Mosquito to Münster but these aircraft turned back because of
lack of cloud. No aircraft lost.
23 July 1942
4 Mosquitos on cloud-cover raids to Germany. 3 turned back but 1 aircraft
bombed a factory in the area south of Grevenbroich. No aircraft lost.
23/24 July 1942
215 aircraft - 93 Wellingtons, 45 Lancasters, 39 Stirlings, 38 Halifaxes.
7 aircraft - 3 Wellingtons, 2 Lancasters, 2 Stirlings - lost.
Much cloud was present over the target and the flares dropped by the
leading aircraft were scattered. Those bombs which did fall in Duisburg
again caused some housing damage and 65 people were killed.
Minor Operations: 8 Blenheim Intruders, 13 aircraft minelaying. 2 Intruders
25 July 1942
12 Bostons were dispatched in low-level pairs but only 2 aircraft bombed
Sluiskil power-station. Later in the day, 12 further Bostons were sent
out in an attempt to bomb an open air 'Quisling meeting' at Lunteren
in Holland but they had to turn back because of lack of cloud cover.
2 Mosquitos were dispatched and both reached and bombed their targets,
Frankfurt and Mannheim. No aircraft lost.
25/26 July 1942
313 aircraft - 177 Wellingtons, 48 Stirlings, 41 Halifaxes, 33 Lancasters,
14 Hampdens. 12 aircraft - 7 Wellingtons, 2 Halifaxes, 2 Lancasters,
1 Stirling - lost.
Thick cloud covered the target area. Duisburg again reports property
damage, though not as heavy as on the last two raids. 6 people were
Minor Operations: 21 Blenheim Intruders, 8 aircraft minelaying off
St Nazaire and Verdon, 7 Halifaxes on leaflet flights. 3 Intruders and
1 Lancaster minelayer lost.
Total effort for the night: 349 sorties, 16 aircraft (4.9 per
26 July 1942
3 Mosquitos to Cologne, Duisburg and Essen all reached and bombed their
targets without loss
26/27 July 1942
403 aircraft - 181 Wellingtons, 77 Lancasters, 73 Halifaxes, 39 Stirlings,
33 Hampdens dispatched in what was probably a full 'maximum effort'
for the regular Bomber Command squadrons. 29 aircraft - 15 Wellingtons,
8 Halifaxes, 2 Hampdens, 2 Lancasters, 2 Stirlings - were lost, 7.2
per cent of the force.
Crews encountered a mixture of cloud and icing at some places on the
route but clear weather at the target. Good bombing results were claimed.
Hamburg reports show that severe and widespread damage was caused, mostly
in housing and semi-commercial districts rather than in the docks and
industrial areas. At least 800 fires were dealt with, 523 being classed
as large. 823 houses were destroyed and more than 5,000 damaged. More
than 14,000 people were bombed out. 337 people were killed and 1,027
12 Bostons and 10 Blenheims carried out Intruder flights to airfields.
1 Boston of 226 Squadron was lost while attacking Jever; this was the
first Boston Intruder casualty.
27 July 1942
8 Wellingtons on cloud-cover raids to Northern Germany bombed blindly
through clouds in the Bremen and Emden areas. 2 aircraft lost.
28 July 1942
6 Mosquitos on cloud-cover raids to widely separated targets. 5 aircraft
bombed; 1 lost.
28/29 July 1942
256 aircraft - 165 from 3 Group and 91 OTU aircraft - dispatched. A
much larger force had been detailed for this raid but bad weather over
the bases of 1, 4 and 5 Groups prevented their participation. The force
which took off comprised 161 Wellingtons, 71 Stirlings and 24 Whitleys.
The weather worsened and the OTU aircraft were recalled, although 3
of them went on to bomb Hamburg. The remaining bomber force became very
scattered; many more aircraft turned back and only 68 bombed in the
target area. Hamburg suffered 13 people killed and 48 injured with 56
fires, 15 of them large.
Bomber casualties were heavy. 16 Wellingtons and 9 Stirlings were lost
from 3 Group, 15.2 per cent of those dispatched by the group. 4 OTU
Wellingtons were lost and a Whitley crashed in the sea.
30 Bostons and 13 Blenheim Intruders were dispatched. 2 Bostons and
1 Blenheim lost.
29 July 1942
3 Mosquitos to Düsseldorf, Münster and the village of Oberlahnstein
in the Westerwald where a railway traffic centre was the target. All
3 aircraft could only bomb approximate positions through cloud. No Mosquitos
29/30 July 1942
291 aircraft of 5 types on the first large raid to this target. 9 aircraft
- 3 Wellingtons, 2 Halifaxes, 2 Lancasters, 2 Stirlings - lost.
The defences at the target were not expected to be strong and crews
were urged to bomb at lower than normal altitudes. 248 aircraft reported
accurate bombing, three quarters of them doing so from below 10,000
ft. Bomber Command claimed severe damage to 2 industrial targets, an
ironworks and an engineering works. Saarbrücken's records show
severe damage and casualties in the centre and north-western districts.
396 buildings were destroyed and 324 seriously damaged, with 155 people
30 July 1942
6 Bostons sent to Abbeville had to turn back. 4 Mosquitos on cloud-cover
raids to Frankfurt, Hamborn, Hannover and Lübeck. No aircraft lost.
30/31 July 1942
6 Blenheims on Intruder flights were recalled but one did not hear
the signal and went on to bomb Rheine airfield. There were no losses.
31 July 1942
24 Bostons to Abbeville airfield and St Malo harbour; all bombed accurately
and without loss. Mosquito bombed the dock area of Duisburg.
31 July/1 August 1942
630 aircraft - 308 Wellingtons, 113 Lancasters, 70 Halifaxes, 61 Stirlings,
54 Hampdens, 24 Whitleys. This was another raid in which Bomber Command's
training units provided aircraft, though it was not an attempt to reach
the 1,000-aircraft figure. It was the first occasion when more than
100 Lancasters took part in a raid. 484 aircraft claimed successful
bombing although their photographs showed that part of the force bombed
open country. More than 900 tons of bombs were dropped.
453 buildings in Düsseldorf and Neuss, the suburb town over the
Rhine, were destroyed and more than 15,000 damaged (12,192 only lightly).
954 fires were started, of which 67 were classed as large. 279 people
were killed - 245 in Düsseldorf and 34 in Neuss; 1,018 people were
injured and 12,053 were bombed out. (The British Official History, p.
487, gives 379 deaths but this is believed to be an error.)
The casualties of the bomber force were again heavy. 29 aircraft - 16
Wellingtons, 5 Hampdens, 4 Halifaxes, 2 Lancasters, 2 Whitleys - were
lost; this was 4.6 per cent of those dispatched. 92 (OTU) Group lost
11 of its 105 aircraft on the raid, a casualty rate of 10.5 per cent.
6 Blenheim Intruder sorties were flown; 1 Blenheim lost.