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Thread: RAF Bomber Command Diary... Jan 1945......

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    RAF Bomber Command Diary... Jan 1945......

    I found this Diary just by luck.... Pretty interesting info.....

    Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary

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    Campaign Diary
    January 1945


    1/2 January 1945
    152 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos of No 5 Group carried out an accurate attack on the Gravenhorst section of the Mittelland Canal. Half a mile of banks were pitted with bomb craters and some parts were breached. No aircraft lost.

    146 aircraft of No 3 Group successfully attacked the railway yards at Vohwinkel. 1 Lancaster lost.

    105 Halifaxes of No 4 Group and 18 Lancasters and 16 Mosquitos of No 8 Group attempted to bomb a benzol plant at Dortmund but the attack was scattered and the plant was not hit. No aircraft lost.

    28 Mosquitos to Hanau and 27 to Hannover (both 'spoof' raids), 42 RCM sorties, 59 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost. The No 100 Group Mosquitos claimed 6 German night fighters destroyed.

    Total effort for the night: 598 sorties, 1 aircraft (0.2 per cent) lost; 5 aircraft crashed in England.

    2 January 1945
    2 Hudsons flew on Resistance operations without loss.

    2/3 January 1945
    Nuremberg: 514 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups. 4 Lancasters were lost and 2 crashed in France. Nuremberg, scene of so many disappointments for Bomber Command, finally succumbed to this attack. The Pathfinders produced good ground-marking in conditions of clear visibility and with the help of a rising full moon. The centre of the city, particularly the eastern half, was destroyed. The castle, the Rathaus, almost all the churches and about 2,000 preserved medieval houses went up in flames. The area of destruction also extended into the more modern north-eastern and southern city areas.The industrial area in the south, containing the important MAN and Siemens factories, and the railway areas were also severely damaged. 415 separate industrial buildings were destroyed. It was a near-perfect example of area bombing.

    Ludwigshafen: 389 aircraft - 351 Halifaxes, 22 Lancasters, 16 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups. 1 Halifax which crashed in France was the only loss. The aiming point for this raid was the area of the two IG Farben chemical factories. The bombing was accurate, with severe damage to the main IG Farben factory and to the same firm's factory at nearby Oppau. Estimated totals of 500 high-explosive bombs and 10,000 incendiaries fell inside the limits of the 2 factories, causing much damage. 10 large, 30 medium and 200 small fires were recorded at the main factory. Production failure at both plants was complete because of 'loss of power'. 13 other industrial firms and several railway installations were also hit; the train of a railway repair unit was destroyed.

    53 Mosquitos to Berlin, 9 to Castrop-Rauxel and 7 to Hanau, 49 RCM sorties, 41 Mosquito patrols. 2 Mosquitos were lost, 1 each from the Berlin and Castrop-Rauxel raids.

    Total effort for the night: 1,069 sorties, 9 aircraft (0.8 per cent) lost.

    Striking the Nazi 'heart'



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    3 January 1945
    99 Lancasters of No 3 Group made G-H attacks through cloud on the Benzol plants at Dortmund and Castrop-Rauxel. Bombing appeared to be accurate at both targets. 1 Lancaster lost from the Dortmund raid.

    3/4 January 1945
    3 Oboe Mosquitos each to the railway yards at Ludwigshafen and Neuss. No aircraft lost.

    4 January 1945
    1 Hudson flew on a Resistance operation.

    4/5 January 1945
    Royan: 347 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 5 and 8 Groups. 4 Lancasters were lost and 2 more collided behind Allied lines in France and crashed.

    This was a tragic raid with a strange - and disputed - background. Royan was a town situated at the mouth of the River Gironde in which a stubborn German garrison was still holding out, preventing the Allies from using the port of Bordeaux. The task of besieging the town had been given to 12,000 men of the French Resistance commanded by Free French officers appointed by General de Gaulle. The commander of the German garrison recognized the Resistance units as regular forces and the normal rules of warfare were observed. The French, lacking artillery, made little progress with their siege. The German commander gave the inhabitants of the town the opportunity to leave but many preferred to stay in order to look after their homes. It is believed that there were 2,000 civilians at the time of the raid.

    On 10 December 1944, a meeting took place at the town of Cognac between French officers and an American officer from one of the tactical air force units in France. After a meal, at which much alcohol is supposed to have been consumed, the American officer suggested that the German garrison at Royan should be 'softened up' by bombing. He was assured by the French that the only civilians remaining in the town were collaborators - which was not correct. The suggestion that the town be bombed was passed to SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force), which decided that the task should be given to Bomber Command: 'To destroy town strongly defended by enemy and occupied by German troops only.' It is said that SHAEF ordered a last-minute cancellation because of doubts about the presence of French civilians but the order, if issued, was not received by Bomber Command in time.

    The attack was carried out by 2 waves of bombers, in good visibility conditions, in the early hours of 5 January. 1,576 tons of high-explosive bombs - including 285 'blockbuster' (4,OOOlb bombs) - were dropped. Local reports show that between 85 and 90 per cent of the small town was destroyed. The number of French civilians killed is given as '500 to 700' and as '800' by different sources. Many of the casualties were suffered in the second part of the raid, which took place an hour after the first and caught many people out in the open trying to rescue the victims of the first wave of the bombing trapped in their houses. The number of Germans killed is given as 35 to 50. A local truce was arranged and, for the next 10 days, there was no fighting while the search for survivors in wrecked houses continued.

    There were many recriminations. Bomber Command was immediately exonerated. The American air-force officer who passed on the original suggestion to SHAEFwas removed from his command. The bitterest disputes took place among the Free French officers and accusations and counter-accusations continued for many years after the war. A French general committed suicide. De Gaulle, in his Memoires, blamed the Americans: 'American bombers, on their own initiative, came during the night and dropped a mass of bombs.' The German garrison did not surrender until 18 April.

    66 Mosquitos to Berlin and 7 to Neuss, 2 Halifax RCM sorties. No aircraft lost.

    Some of the Light Night Striking Force (No 8 Group) Mosquitos which attacked Berlin on this night flew 2 sorties each. These Mosquitos took off in the early evening, bombed Berlin returned and changed crews, and then flew to Berlin again. This method of augmenting the Mosquito campaign against Berlin was used several times during the long nights of midwinter.

    5 January 1945
    160 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked the railway-yards at Ludwigshafen. 2 Lancasters lost.

    1 Hudson flew a Resistance operation.

    5/6 January 1945
    Hannover: 664 aircraft - 340 Halifaxes, 310 Lancasters, 14 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups. 23 Halifaxes and 8 Lancasters lost, 4.7 per cent of the force. This was the first large raid on Hannover since October 1943.

    131 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked Houffalize, a bottleneck in the German supply system in the Ardennes. The target was bombed with great accuracy. 2 Lancasters lost.

    69 Mosquitos to Berlin, 8 to Neuss and 6 to Castrop-Rauxel, 58 RCM sorties, 55 Mosquito patrols. 4 Mosquitos lost, 2 from the Berlin raid and 2 from No 100 Group.

    Total effort for the night: 1,000 sorties, 37 aircraft (3.7 per cent) lost.

    6 January 1945
    1 Hudson flew a Resistance operation.

    6/7 January 1945
    Hanau: 482 aircraft - 314 Halifaxes, 154 Lancasters, 14 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups. 4 Halifaxes and 2 Lancasters lost. The attack was aimed at that part of Hanau in which an important junction in the German railway system was situated. The local report says that many bombs did fall in this area but also states that a large proportion of the bombing was scattered in the south - into the centre of Hanau - and to the north - into an area of countryside and villages.

    Neuss: 147 Lancasters of Nos 1 and No 3 Groups. 1 Lancaster crashed in Belgium. As in Hanau, some of the bombing fell into the railway area but most was scattered over surrounding districts. 1,749 houses, 19 industrial premises and 20 public buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged.

    20 Mosquitos to Kassel (a 'spoof' raid) and 6 to Castrop-Rauxel, 52 RCM sorties, 32 Mosquito patrols, 49 Lancasters minelaying off Baltic ports. 2 RCM Halifaxes and 2 Lancaster minelayers lost.

    Total effort for the night: 788 sorties, 11 aircraft (1.4 per cent) lost.

    Hanau



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    7/8 January 1945
    645 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3, 5, 6 and 8 Groups to Munich. 11 Lancasters lost and 4 more crashed in France. Bomber Command claimed a successful area raid, with the central and some industrial areas being severely damaged. This was the last major raid on Munich.

    54 Mosquitos to Hannover, 18 to Nuremberg and 12 to Hanau, 39 RCM sorties, 45 Mosquito patrols. 2 Mosquitos lost - 1 from the Hannover raid and a No 100 Group aircraft.

    The last Bomber Command Wellington operation was flown on this night by Flying Officer BH Stevens and his crew of No 192 Squadron. The Wellington was on an RCM flight over the North Sea 'to investigate enemy beam signals connected with the launching of flying bombs and believed to emanate from marker buoys'. Bad weather over the North Sea caused the flight to be curtailed but the Wellington landed safely, the last of more than 47,000 sorties carried out by this type of aircraft in Bomber Command.

    Total effort for the night: 822 sorties, 17 aircraft (2.1 per cent) lost.

    10/11 January 1945
    50 Mosquitos to Hannover and 3 each to Cologne, Koblenz, Mannheim and Wiesbaden. No aircraft lost.

    11 January 1945
    152 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H raid on the railway yard in the Uerdingen suburb of Krefeld. No aircraft lost.

    1 Stirling flew on a Resistance operation.

    12 January 1945
    32 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito of Nos 9 and 617 Squadrons attacked U-boat pens and shipping in Bergen harbour. 3 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron and 1 from No 9 Squadron were lost; the Germans told the local people that 11 bombers had been shot down. A local report says that 3 Tallboys penetrated the 3½-metre-thick roof of the pens and caused severe damage to workshops, offices and stores inside.

    2 Mosquito fighters of No 100 Group flew long-range escort for an air-sea rescue operation and 2 Stirlings flew RCM sorties, all without loss.

    12/13 January 1945
    11 Mosquitos to Bochum and 9 to Recklinghausen, both forces to bomb synthetic-benzol plants, and 32 Halifaxes minelaying off Flensburg and Kiel. 4 Halifaxes lost.

    13 January 1945
    158 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked the railway yards at Saarbrücken. The bombing appeared to be accurate, though with some overshooting. 1 Lancaster crashed in France.

    1 Hudson flew on a Resistance operation.

    13/14 January 1945
    Saarbrücken: 274 aircraft - 242 Halifaxes, 20 Lancasters, 12 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups. 1 Halifax crashed in France. Bomber Command assessed this raid, on the railway yards, as being extremely accurate and effective.

    Politz: 218 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked this oil plant, near Stettin. 2 Lancasters lost. This raid had been planned as a blind-bombing attack but, because the weather conditions were better than forecast, low-level marking was carried out and very accurate bombing followed. Bomber Command, on the basis of photographic reconnaissance, states that the oil plant was 'reduced to a shambles'.

    19 RCM sorties, 22 Mosquito patrols, 10 Lancasters minelaying off Swinemünde. 1 Mosquito of l00 Group lost.



    Total effort for the night: 550 sorties, 4 aircraft (O.7 per cent) lost.

    14 January 1945
    134 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked the railway yards at Saarbrücken in clear visibility and without loss.

    14/15 January 1945
    573 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 5. 6 and 8 Groups carried out two attacks, 3 hours apart, on the synthetic oil plant at Leuna. The attacks caused severe damage throughout the plant. Albert Speer, in his post-war interrogations, stated that this was one of a group of most damaging raids on the synthetic-oil industry carried out during this period. 10 Lancasters lost.

    151 aircraft - 136 Halifaxes, 12 Mosquitos, 3 Lancasters - of Nos 6 and 8 Groups attacked the railway yards at Grevenbroich. The raid was successful and no aircraft were lost.

    115 aircraft - 100 Halifaxes, 12 Mosquitos, 3 Lancasters - of Nos 4 and 8 Groups attempted to bomb a Luftwaffe fuel-storage depot at Dülmen, near Münster, but most of the bombing fell in open country south and south-east of the target. Only slight damage was caused to the fuel dump. 1 Halifax lost.

    Support and 126 training aircraft on a diversionary sweep over the North Sea, 83 Mosquitos to Berlin and 9 to Mannheim, 58 RCM sorties, 54 Mosquito patrols, 21 Halifaxes and 10 Lancasters minelaying off Oslo and in the Kattegat. 1 Lancaster from the diversionary sweep and 1 Mosquito of No 100 Group were lost; 3 Mosquitos from the Berlin raid crashed in Belgium and 1 RCM Liberator crashed in Holland. A further 7 aircraft from the sweep and 5 Mosquitos from the Berlin raid crashed in England because of bad weather.

    Total effort for the night: 1,214 sorties, 17 aircraft (1.4 per cent) lost and 14 aircraft crashed in England.

    Oil plant at Leuna



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    15 January 1945
    82 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked a benzol plant at Recklinghausen. The bombing appeared to be excellent. No aircraft lost.

    63 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H raid through thick cloud on the Robert Muser benzol plant at Bochum. No results known. No aircraft lost.

    1 Hudson on a Resistance operation.

    16/17 January 1945
    371 aircraft - 320 Halifaxes, 44 Lancasters, 7 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups dispatched to Magdeburg. 17 Halifaxes lost, 4.6 per cent of the total force, 5.3 per cent of the Halifax force. This was an area raid. Bomber Command claimed that it was successful, with 44 per cent of the built-up area being destroyed. No local report is available.

    Zeitz: 328 Lancasters of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups. 10 Lancasters lost, 3.0 per cent of the force. The target was the Braunkohle-Benzin synthetic-oil plant near Leipzig. Much damage was caused to the northern half of the plant.

    231 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and No 5 Groups attacked a synthetic-oil plant at Brüx in Western Czechoslovakia. The raid was a complete success. Speer also mentioned this raid as causing a particularly severe setback to oil production. 1 Lancaster lost.

    138 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked the benzol plant at Wanne-Eickel. No results known. 1 Lancaster lost.

    17 Mosquitos to Mannheim and 9 to Hamburg, 55 RCM sortie Mosquito patrols, 23 Halifaxes and 8 Lancasters minelaying off Oslo and in the Kattegat. 1 Mosquito of No 100 Group lost.

    Total effort for the night: 1,238 sorties, 30 aircraft (2.4 per cent) lost.

    17 January 1945
    1 Hudson on a Resistance operation.

    17/18 January 1945
    72 Mosquitos to Magdeburg, 8 to Ruthen oil-storage depot and 3 each to Cologne, Frankfurt, Koblenz and Mannheim, 33 RCM sorties, 13 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    18/19 January 1945
    56 Mosquitos to Sterkrade oil refinery, 12 each, on H2S trials, to Düsseldorf, Kassel and Koblenz and 7 to Ruthen oil depot. 1 Mosquito from the Sterkrade raid crashed in Belgium.

    21/22 January 1945
    76 Mosquitos to Kassel and 4 to Mainz, 23 RCM sorties, 9 Mosquito patrols, 2 Hudsons on Resistance operations. 1 Mosquito lost from the Kassel raid.

    22 January 1945
    1 Halifax flew an RCM sortie.

    22/23 January 1945
    Duisburg: 286 Lancasters and 16 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups. 2 Lancasters lost. This raid was intended for the benzol plant in the Bruckhausen district of Duisburg. This target was identified visually by moonlight and much damage was inflicted on it. Further bombing also hit the nearby Thyssen steelworks, either by misidentification or by a simple spread of the bombing. Duisburg's local report assumed that the steelworks were the primary target and stated that 500 high explosive bombs fell on the Thyssen premises.

    Gelsenkirchen: 152 aircraft - 107 Halifaxes, 29 Lancasters, 16 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 5 and 8 Groups. No aircraft lost. This was a small area-bombing raid. The Bomber Command report states that 'moderate' damage was caused to residential and industrial areas.

    48 Mosquitos to Hannover and 6 to Dortmund, 50 RCM sorties, 40 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    Total effort for the night: 598 sorties, 2 aircraft (0.3 per cent) lost.

    26/27 January 1945
    8 Mosquitos bombed the Castrop-Rauxel synthetic-oil refinery without loss.

    27 January 1945
    1 Lightning of No 100 Group flew on a signals-investigations patrol.

    27/28 January 1945
    12 Mosquitos to Berlin: 8 bombed this target and 3 bombed alternative targets. No aircraft lost.

    28 January 1945
    153 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked the railway yards at Cologne/Gremberg in conditions of good visibility. Some of the bombing fell on the target but some overshot. 3 Lancasters were lost and 1 crashed in France.

    28/29 January 1945
    602 aircraft - 316 Halifaxes, 258 Lancasters, 28 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups dispatched to 2 targets in the Stuttgart area. 11 aircraft - 6 Lancasters, 4 Halifaxes, 1 Mosquito - lost. This raid was split into 2 parts, with a 3-hour interval. The first force - 226 aircraft - was directed against the important railway yards at Kornwestheim, a town to the north of Stuttgart, and the second was against the north-western Stuttgart suburb of Zuffenhausen, where the target is believed to have been the Hirth aero-engine factory. The target area was mostly cloud-covered for both raids and the bombing, on skymarkers, was scattered. Bombs fell in many parts of Stuttgart's northern and western suburbs. The important Bosch works, in the suburb of Feuerbach, was hit. A large number of bombs fell outside Stuttgart, particularly in the east around a decoy fire site which was also firing dummy target-indicator rockets into the air. The village of Weilimdorf, situated not far away, complained bitterly about its damage and casualties! This was the last large RAF raid on Stuttgart. Stuttgart's experience was not as severe as other German cities. Its location, spread out in a series of deep valleys, had consistently frustrated the Pathfinders and the shelters dug into the sides of the surrounding hills had saved many lives.

    67 Mosquitos to Berlin and 8 to Mainz (a 'spoof' raid for the Stuttgart attacks), 51 RCM sorties, 36 Mosquito patrols, 6 Lancasters of No 1 Group minelaying in the Kattegat. 1 Mosquito of No 100 Group crashed in France.

    Total effort for the night: 770 sorties, 12 aircraft (1.6 per cent) lost.

    29 January 1945
    148 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked the Uerdingen railway yards at Krefeld without loss. Bombing was claimed to be accurate but a short Krefeld report states that bombs fell over a wide area.

    29/30 January 1945
    59 Mosquitos; 50 aircraft reached and bombed Berlin without loss.

    31 January/1 February 1945
    8 Mosquitos to the Hansa benzol plant at Dortmund and 6 Mosquitos to Duisburg. 1 aircraft from the Dortmund raid crashed in Holland.

    The weather started to improve at the beginning of February and Bomber Command commenced an almost unbroken period of operations of the most intense and concentrated nature which would continue until a halt was called to the strategic-bombing offensive in April. The first round of raids, however, was not very effective because of poor weather at the targets.

    Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary

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    Campaign Diary
    February 1945


    1 February 1945
    160 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked the general town area of Mönchengladbach through 8-10/10ths cloud, using G-H. The results of the raid are not known. 1 Lancaster crashed in France.

    1 Halifax flew an RCM sortie.

    1/2 February 1945
    Ludwigshafen: 382 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups. 6 Lancasters lost. Most of the force aimed their loads at skymarkers and the local report shows that bombs fell in many parts of Ludwigshafen, with much property damage of a mixed nature. The 900 houses destroyed or seriously damaged were the main item in the report but it also states that the railway yards were seriously damaged and one of the Rhine road bridges was hit by 2 bombs and temporarily closed to traffic.

    Mainz: 340 aircraft - 293 Halifaxes, 40 Lancasters, 8 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups. No aircraft lost. A few early crews were able to bomb target indicators seen through a gap in the clouds, but the gap soon closed and most of the raid was on skymarkers. The local report states that a few buildings were destroyed, including the Christuskirche, which burnt out, and the town hospital was damaged, but most of the bombing fell outside Mainz.

    Siegen: 271 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of No 5 Group. 3 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito lost. This raid also experienced difficult marking and bombing conditions. Some damage was caused to the railway station but the local report says that the markers were either carried away from Siegen by a strong wind or that dummy markers and a decoy fire site attracted much of the bombing. Most of the raid fell in country areas outside Siegen.

    122 Mosquitos to Berlin, 8 to Bruckhausen benzol plant, 6 to Hannover, 4 to Nuremberg and 4 dropping dummy target indicators at both Mannheim and Stuttgart, 64 RCM sorties, 47 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    Total effort for the night: 1,273 sorties, 10 aircraft (0.8 per cent) lost.

    2 February 1945
    2 Mosquito Ranger patrols over Northern Germany without loss.

    2/3 February 1945
    495 Lancasters and 12 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups to Wiesbaden. 3 Lancasters crashed in France. This was Bomber Command's one and only large raid on Wiesbaden. There was complete cloud cover but most of the bombing hit the town. 5 important war industries along the banks of the Rhine were untouched but the railway station was damaged.

    Wanne-Eickel: 323 aircraft - 277 Halifaxes, 27 Lancasters, 19 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups. 4 Halifaxes lost. This target was also cloud-covered and the attack, intended for the oil refinery, was not accurate. Local people assumed that the target was a local coal mine - Shamrock 3/4; most of the bombing fell in the open ground around the mine.

    Karlsruhe: 250 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of No 5 Group. 14 Lancasters lost. No 189 Squadron, from Fulbeck, lost 4 of its 19 aircraft on the raid. Cloud cover over the target caused this raid to be a complete failure. Karlsruhe reports no casualties and only a few bombs. The report mentions 'dive bombers', presumably the Mosquito marker aircraft trying to establish their position. This was a lucky escape for Karlsruhe in its last major RAF raid of the war.

    43 Mosquitos to Magdeburg and 20 to Mannheim, 54 RCM sorties, 44 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    Total effort for the night: 1,252 sorties, 21 aircraft (1.7 per cent) lost.

    3 February 1945
    36 Lancasters of No 5 Group attacked U-boat pens at Ijmuiden (No 9 Squadron) and Poortershaven (No 617 Squadron) with Tallboy bombs. It was believed that these pens, in that part of Holland still occupied by the Germans, were sheltering midget submarines. The weather was clear and hits were claimed at both targets without loss.

    1 Halifax flew an RCM sortie.

    3/4 February 1945
    192 Lancasters and 18 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups attacked the Prosper benzol plant at Bottrop successfully. 8 Lancasters lost.

    149 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked the Hansa benzol plant at Dortmund but the bombing fell north and north-west of the target. 4 Lancasters lost.

    42 Mosquitos to Wiesbaden and 20 to Osnabrück, 42 RCM sorties, 28 Mosquito patrols, 19 Halifaxes of No 4 Group minelaying off German ports. No aircraft lost.

    Total effort for the night: 510 sorties, 12 aircraft (2.4 per cent) lost.

    4/5 February 1945
    238 aircraft - 202 Halifaxes, 20 Lancasters, 16 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups to Bonn. 3 Lancasters lost. This was a poor attack, with most of the bombing falling to the south of the target or over the Rhine in the Beuel area.

    123 aircraft - 100 Halifaxes, 12 Mosquitos, 11 Lancasters - of 6 and 8 Groups attacked a benzol plant at Osterfeld but caused no fresh damage. No aircraft lost.

    120 aircraft - 96 Halifaxes, 12 Lancasters, 12 Mosquitos - of 4 and 8 Groups attacked the Nordstern synthetic-oil plant, Gelsenkirchen. Some minor damage was caused but most of the bombs fell south of the target. No aircraft lost.

    50 Mosquitos to Hannover, 12 to Dortmund, 4 to Magdeburg and 3 to Würzburg, 59 RCM sorties, 42 Mosquito patrols, 15 Lancasters and 12 Halifaxes minelaying off Heligoland and in the River Elbe. 2 Mosquitos lost, 1 each from the Hannover and Würzburg raids.

    Total effort for the night: 678 sorties, 5 aircraft (0.7 per cent) lost.

    5 February 1945
    1 Halifax flew an RCM sortie.

    5/6 February 1945
    63 Mosquitos to Berlin, 7 to Magdeburg and 6 to Würzburg, 1 RCM sortie. 1 Mosquito lost from the Berlin raid.

    6 February 1945
    35 aircraft of No 5 Group (Nos 9 and 617 Squadrons) to attack viaducts at Bielefeld and Altenbeken were recalled because of bad weather.

    7 February 1945
    100 Lancasters of No 3 Group to attack the oil plant at Wanne-Eickel. Only 75 aircraft were able to bomb in wintry conditions which scattered the force. The results of the raid are not known. 1 Lancaster lost.

    7/8 February 1945
    Goch: 464 aircraft - 292 Halifaxes, 156 Lancasters, 16 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups. 2 Halifaxes lost. This raid was preparing the way for the attack of the British XXX Corps across the German frontier near the Reichswald. The Germans had included the towns of Goch and Kleve in their strong defences here. The Master Bomber ordered the Main Force to come below the cloud, the estimated base of which was only 5,000ft, and the attack opened very accurately. The raid was stopped after 155 aircraft had bombed, because smoke was causing control of the raid to become impossible. Considerable damage was caused in Goch but most of the inhabitants had probably left the town.

    Kleve: 295 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups. 1 Lancaster lost. 285 aircraft bombed at Kleve, which was battered even more than Goch. After the war, Kleve claimed to be the most completely destroyed town in Germany of its size. The British attack, led by the 15th (Scottish) Division, made a successful start a few hours later but quickly ground to a halt because of a thaw, which caused flooding on the few roads available for the advance, and also because of the ruins which blocked the way through Kleve. Lieutenant-General BG Horrocks, the Corps Commander in charge of the attack, later claimed that he had requested that Kleve should only be subjected to an incendiary raid but Bomber Command dropped 1,384 tons of high explosive on the town and no incendiaries.

    177 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the Dortmund-Ems Canal section near Ladbergen with delayed-action bombs. Later photographs showed that the banks had not been damaged; the bombs had fallen into nearby fields. 3 Lancasters were lost.

    38 Mosquitos to Magdeburg, 16 to Mainz and 41 in small numbers to 5 other targets, 63 RCM sorties, 45 Mosquito patrols, 30 Lancasters and 15 Halifaxes minelaying in Kiel Bay. 4 Mosquitos lost - 3 from No 100 Group and 1 from the raid on Mainz.

    Total effort for the night: 1,205 sorties, 10 aircraft (0.8 per cent) lost.

    Destruction in Kleve



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    8 February 1945
    15 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron dropped Tallboys on the U-boat pens at Ijmuiden without loss.

    1 RCM sortie was flown.

    8/9 February 1945
    Politz: 475 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 5 and 8 Groups. 12 Lancasters lost, l of them coming down in Sweden. The attack took place in 2 waves, the first being marked and carried out entirely by the No 5 Group method and the second being marked by the Pathfinders of No 8 Group. The weather conditions were clear and the bombing of both waves was extremely accurate. Severe damage was caused to this important synthetic-oil plant. It produced no further oil during the war. Speer mentioned this raid, in his post-war interrogations, as being another big setback to Germany's war effort.

    Wanne-Eickel: 228 aircraft - 200 Halifaxes, 20 Mosquitos, 8 Lancasters - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups. 2 Halifaxes crashed in France. This raid was not a success. The local report says that the bombing was scattered, with only light damage to the oil refinery.

    Krefeld: 151 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked the Hohenbudberg railway yards but photographic reconnaissance was unable to detect any new damage. 2 Lancasters lost.

    47 Mosquitos to Berlin, 9 to Neubrandenburg (a 'spoof' for the Politz raid) and 4 to Nuremberg, 47 RCM sorties, 42 Mosquito patrols, 10 Lancasters of No 5 Group minelaying off Swinemünde. 1 RCM Halifax lost.

    Total effort for the night: 1,020 sorties, 17 aircraft (1.7 per cent) lost.

    9 February 1945
    1 Halifax flew an RCM sortie.

    9/10 February 1945
    7 Stirlings of No 3 Group flew on Resistance operations but none were able to carry out their tasks (the reasons were not recorded) and 1 Stirling was lost. 1 Mosquito flew an RCM sortie.

    10 February 1945
    1 Halifax flew an RCM sortie.

    10/11 February 1945
    82 Mosquitos to Hannover and 11 to Essen, 24 RCM sorties, 22 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    12/13 February 1945
    72 Mosquitos to Stuttgart, 11 to Misburg, 4 to Würzburg and 3 each 'on H2S trials' to Cologne, Frankfurt, Koblenz and Wiesbaden, 1 Mosquito on an RCM sortie. No aircraft lost.

    Cologne, 24 February 1945



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    13/14 February 1945
    Operation Thunderclap

    The Air Ministry had, for several months, been considering a series of particularly heavy area raids on German cities with a view to causing such confusion and consternation that the hard-stretched German war machine and civil administration would break down and the war would end. The general name given to this plan was Operation Thunderclap, but it had been decided not to implement it until the military situation in Germany was critical. That moment appeared to be at hand. Russian forces had made a rapid advance across Poland in the second half of January and crossed the eastern frontier of Germany. The Germans were thus fighting hard inside their own territory on two fronts, with the situation in the East being particularly critical. It was considered that Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig and Chemnitz - all just behind the German lines on the Eastern Front now - would be suitable targets. They were all vital communications and supply centres for the Eastern Front and were already packed with German refugees and wounded from the areas recently captured by the Russians. As well as the morale aspect of the attacks, there was the intention of preventing the Germans from moving reinforcements from the West to face the successful Russian advance. The Air Ministry issued a directive to Bomber Command , at the end of January. The Official History. describes how Winston Churchill took a direct hand in the final planning of Operation Thunderclap - although Churchill tried to distance himself from the Dresden raid afterwards. On 4 February, at the Yalta Conference, the Russians asked for attacks of this kind to take place, but their involvement in the process only came after the plans had been issued. So, Bomber Command was specifically requested by the Air Ministry, with Churchill's encouragement to carry out heavy raids on Dresden, Chemnitz and Leipzig. The Americans were also asked to help and agreed to do so. The campaign should have begun with an American raid on Dresden on 13 February but bad weather over Europe prevented any American operations. It thus fell to Bomber Command to carry out the first raid.

    Dresden: 796 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitos were dispatched in two separate raids and dropped 1,478 tons of high explosive and 1,182 tons of incendiary bombs. The first attack was carried out entirely by No 5 Group, using their own low-level marking methods. A band of cloud still remained in the area and this raid, in which 244 Lancasters dropped more than 800 tons of bombs, was only moderately successful. The second raid, 3 hours later, was an all-Lancaster attack by aircraft of Nos 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups, with No 8 Group providing standard Pathfinder marking. The weather was now clear and 529 Lancasters dropped more than 1,800 tons of bombs with great accuracy. Much has been written about the fearful effects of this raid. Suffice it to say here that a firestorm, similar to the one experienced in Hamburg in July 1943, was created and large areas of the city were burnt out. No one has ever been able to discover how many people died but it is accepted that the number was greater than the 40,000 who died in the Hamburg firestorm and the Dresden figure may have exceeded 50,000.Bomber Command casualties were 6 Lancasters lost, with 2 more crashed in France and 1 in England.

    311 American B-17s dropped 771 tons of bombs on Dresden the next day, with the railway yards as their aiming point. Part of the American Mustang-fighter escort was ordered to strafe traffic on the roads around Dresden to increase the chaos. The Americans bombed Dresden again on the 15th and on 2 March but it is generally accepted that it was the RAF night raid which caused the most serious damage.

    Böhlen: 368 aircraft - 326 Halifaxes, 34 Lancasters, 8 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups attempted to attack the Braunkohle-Benzin synthetic-oil plant at Bohlen, near Leipzig. Bad weather - 10/10ths cloud to 15,000ft with icing - was encountered and the marking and bombing were scattered. No post-raid photographic reconnaissance was carried out. 1 Halifax was lost.

    71 Mosquitos to Magdeburg, 16 to Bonn, 8 each to Misburg and Nuremberg and 6 to Dortmund, 65 RCM sorties, 59 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    Total effort for the night: 1,406 sorties, 9 aircraft (0.6 per cent) lost.

    Magdeburg/Rothensee oil plant



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    14 February 1945
    36 Lancasters and 1 photographic Mosquito of Nos 9 and 617 Squadrons dispatched to attack Bielefeld and Altenbeken viaducts abandoned the raids because of cloud. 1 Lancaster of No 9 Squadron lost.

    14/15 February 1945
    Operation Thunderclap

    Chemnitz: 499 Lancasters and 218 Halifaxes of Nos 1, 3,4,6 and 8 Groups to continue Operation Thunderclap. 8 Lancasters and 5 Halifaxes lost. This raid took place in two phases, 3 hours apart. A very elaborate diversion plan succeeded in keeping bomber casualties down but Chemnitz - now called Karl-Marx-Stadt - was also spared from the worst effects of its first major RAF raid. Both parts of the bomber force found the target area covered by cloud and only skymarking could be employed. Post-raid reconnaissance showed that many parts of the city were hit but that most of the bombing was in open country.

    224 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the oil refinery in Rositz near Leipzig. 4 Lancasters were lost. Damage was caused to the southern part of the oil plant.

    Diversionary and 95 aircraft of No 3 Group and of Heavy Conversion Units on a sweep into the Heligoland Bight, 46 Mosquitos to Berlin, 19 to Mainz, 14 to Dessau, 12 to Duisburg, 11 to Nuremberg and 8 to Frankfurt, 21 RCM sorties, 87 Mosquito patrols, 30 Lancasters and 24 Halifaxes minelaying in the Kadet Channel. 5 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster lost from the minelaying force.

    Total effort for the night: 1,316 sorties, 23 aircraft (1.7 per cent) lost.

    15 February 1945
    1 Halifax flew an RCM sortie.

    15/16 February 1945
    37 Lancasters and 18 Halifaxes minelaying in Oslo Fjord and the Kattegat, 2 RCM sorties, 6 Mosquito patrols. 1 Mosquito fighter crashed in France.

    16 February 1945
    100 Lancasters of No 3 Group and 1 Mosquito of No 8 Group attacked the town of Wesel on the Rhine, near the fighting area. No aircraft lost. The raid took place in clear conditions and 'the town and the railway were seen to be smothered in bomb bursts'.

    17 February 1945
    Wesel: 298 aircraft - 247 Halifaxes, 27 Lancasters, 24 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups. The target area was covered in cloud and the Master Bomber ordered the raid to be stopped after only 8 Halifaxes had bombed. No aircraft were lost but 3 Halifaxes crashed in England.


    17/18 February 1945
    6 Oboe Mosquitos attacked the Deschimag shipyard in Bremen but no results were seen because of ground fog. No aircraft lost.

    18 February 1945
    160 Lancasters of No 3 Group returned to Wesel to carry out a G-H attack through cloud. No Lancasters lost.

    18/19 February 1945
    32 Mosquitos to Mannheim, 6 each to Berlin and Bremen and 3 on 'siren tours' of various towns in Central Germany, 34 RCM sorties, 18 Mosquito patrols, 21 Lancasters and 4 Halifaxes minelaying in the German Bight. 2 Lancasters were lost from the minelaying force.

    19 February 1945
    Wesel: 168 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a good attack with the best concentration of bombs being in the railway area. 1 Lancaster lost.

    1 Halifax flew an RCM sortie.

    19/20 February 1945
    254 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos of No 5 Group dispatched to Böhlen. 1 Mosquito lost. This raid was not successful, probably because the aircraft of the Master Bomber, Wing Commander EA Benjamin, was shot down by flak over the target. Post-raid reconnaissance showed that damage to the target was 'superficial'; there was no evidence to show where the main bombing fell.

    82 Mosquitos to Erfurt and 24 in small numbers to 6 other targets, 9 RCM sorties, 29 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    20 February 1945
    1 Halifax flew an RCM sortie.

    20/21 February 1945
    514 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups attacked Dortmund in Bomber Command's last large-scale raid on this target. 14 Lancasters lost. The intention of this raid was to destroy the southern half of Dortmund and Bomber Command claimed that this was achieved.

    173 aircraft - 156 Halifaxes, 11 Mosquitos, 6 Lancasters - of Nos 4 and 8 Groups attacked the Rhenania Ossag refinery in the Reisholz district of Düsseldorf. The raid was accurate and it was later established that all oil production was halted. 4 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster lost.

    128 aircraft - 112 Halifaxes, 10 Mosquitos, 6 Lancasters - of 6 and 8 Groups attacked the Rhenania Ossag refinery at Monheim with similar results to the Reisholz raid. 2 Halifaxes lost.

    154 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of No 5 Group were ordered to attack the Mittelland Canal near Gravenhorst but the raid was ordered to be abandoned by the Master Bomber because the area was covered by cloud. No aircraft lost.

    Diversionary and 91 aircraft from Heavy Conversion Units in a sweep over the North Sea, 66 Mosquitos to Berlin and 16 to Mannheim, 65 RCM sorties, 45 Mosquito patrols, 6 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 aircraft of No 100 Group (type not recorded) lost.

    Total effort for the night: 1,283 sorties, 22 aircraft (1.7 per cent) lost.

    21 February 1945
    1 Halifax flew an RCM sortie.

    21/22 February 1945
    362 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups dispatched to Duisburg. 7 Lancasters were lost and 3 crashed behind Allied lines in Europe. This was a successful area-bombing raid and much damage was caused. No other details are available. This was the last major Bomber Command raid on Duisburg.

    Worms: 349 aircraft - 288 Halifaxes, 36 Lancasters, 25 Mosquitos. 10 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster lost. This was the first and only large Bomber Command raid on Worms. The raid was an area attack in which 1,116 tons of bombs were accurately dropped. A post-war survey estimated that 39 per cent of the town's built-up area was destroyed.

    165 Lancasters and 12 Mosquitos of No 5 Group again attempted to breach the Mittelland Canal near Gravenhorst. Visibility was clear and the attack was successful. Bomber Command claimed that the canal was rendered '100 per cent unserviceable'. 9 Lancasters were lost and 4 crashed in France and Holland, 7.9 per cent of the Lancaster force. One of the Lancasters which crashed in Holland was piloted by Group Captain AC Evans-Evans, DFC, the station commander at Coningsby, flying a No 83 Squadron aircraft. The Lancaster was shot down by a German fighter and crashed near Eindhoven. One of the gunners was the only survivor.

    77 Mosquitos to Berlin and 5 to Bremen, 66 RCM sorties, 35 Mosquito patrols, 28 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

    Total effort for the night: 1,110 sorties, 34 aircraft (3.1 per cent) lost.

    22 February 1945
    167 Lancasters of No 3 Group in forces of 85 and 82 aircraft to oil refineries at Gelsenkirchen and Osterfeld. A Film Unit Lancaster of No 463 Squadron, No 5 Group, accompanied the Gelsenkirchen force. Both targets were accurately bombed in clear weather conditions. 1 Lancaster lost from the Gelsenkirchen raid.

    22/23 February 1945
    73 Mosquitos to Berlin, 6 to Bremen, 4 to Erfurt and 3 on 'siren tours' of various German towns, 35 Lancasters to railway viaducts at Altenbeken and Bielefeld, 48 RCM sorties, 23 Mosquito patrols, 19 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 Mosquito from the Erfurt raid crashed in Belgium.

    Bielefeld viaduct



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    23 February 1945
    342 aircraft - 297 Halifaxes, 27 Lancasters, 18 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups to Essen. 1 Halifax crashed in Holland. The target area was cloud-covered and all of the bombs were dropped on skymarkers. The marking must have been extremely accurate; a German report states that 300 high-explosive and 11,000 incendiary bombs fell on the Krupps works.

    133 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H attack on the Alma Pluto benzol plant at Gelsenkirchen but no results were seen. No aircraft lost.

    1 Lightning flew an RCM sortie.

    23/24 February 1945
    367 Lancasters and 13 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups and a Film Unit Lancaster carried out the first, and only, area-bombing raid of the war on Pforzheim. 10 Lancasters were lost and 2 more crashed in France. The marking and bombing, from only 8,000 ft, were particularly accurate and damage of a most severe nature was inflicted on Pforzheim. 1,825 tons of bombs were it dropped in 22 minutes. The post-war British Bombing Survey Unit estimated that 83 per cent of the town's built-up area was destroyed, probably the greatest proportion in one raid during the war.

    Bomber Command's last Victoria Cross of the war was won on this night. The Master Bomber was Captain Edwin Swales, DFC, a South African serving with No 582 Squadron. His Lancaster was twice attacked over the target by a German fighter. Captain Swales could not hear the evasion directions given by his gunners because he was broadcasting his own instructions to the Main Force. 2 engines and the rear turret of the Lancaster were put out of action. Captain Swales continued to control the bombing until the end of the raid and must take some credit for the accuracy of the attack. He set out on the return flight but encountered turbulent cloud and ordered his crew to bale out. This they all did successfully but Captain Swales had no opportunity to leave the aircraft and was killed when it crashed. He is buried at the Leopold War Cemetery at Limburg in Belgium.

    73 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos carried out an accurate attack on a possible U-boat base at Horten on the Oslo Fjord. 1 Lancaster was lost.

    70 Mosquitos to Berlin, 6 to Worms and 4 each to Darmstadt, Essen and Frankfurt, 54 RCM sorties, 25 Mosquito patrols, 22 Lancasters minelaying in Norwegian waters, 13 aircraft on Resistance operations. 4 aircraft lost - 2 RCM Halifaxes, 1 Resistance operation Stirling and 1 Mosquito from the Berlin raid.

    Total effort for the night: 666 sorties, 17 aircraft (2.6 per cent) lost.

    24 February 1945
    Kamen: 340 aircraft - 290 Halifaxes, 26 Lancasters, 24 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups. 1 Halifax lost. The target was a synthetic-oil plant which was actually in Bergkamen, just north of Kamen. The target area was covered by cloud and the raid was based on Oboe and H2S markers.

    166 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitos of No 5 Group were ordered to abandon a raid on the Dortmund-Ems Canal without bombing because of cloud which covered the target area. All aircraft landed safely.

    24/25 February 1945
    74 training aircraft on a diversionary sweep over Northern France to draw German fighters into the air, 63 Mosquitos to Berlin, 18 to Neuss and 3 on 'siren tours' of Dessau, Erfurt and Halle, 37 RCM sorties, 23 Mosquito patrols, 35 Lancasters minelaying in the Kattegat and off Norwegian ports. 5 RCM aircraft - 4 Halifaxes and 1 Fortress - lost; these aircraft were operating in association with the diversionary sweep of training aircraft and were probably victims of German fighters drawn up by that sweep. The 4 lost Halifaxes were all from No 462 (Australian) Squadron, based at Foulsham; they had been sent ahead of the diversionary force to drop Window, bombs and incendiaries in a 'spoof' raid on the Ruhr.

    25 February 1945
    153 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H attack on the synthetic-oil refinery at Kamen. 1 Lancaster lost.

    25/26 February 1945
    63 Mosquitos to Erfurt, 10 each to Berlin and Mainz and 6 to Bremen, 8 RCM sorties, 23 Mosquito patrols, 10 Halifaxes of No 6 Group minelaying in Oslo Fjord, 20 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 Halifax minelayer lost.

    26 February 1945
    149 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H attack on the Hoesch benzol-oil plant at Dortmund through cloud. No results were seen but the bombing appeared to be concentrated. No aircraft lost.

    26/27 February 1945
    38 Mosquitos each to Berlin and Nuremberg, 3 Mosquitos on 'siren tours' of Northern Germany, 1 RCM sortie, 6 Mosquito patrols, 18 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 Stirling lost on a Resistance flight.

    27 February 1945
    458 aircraft - 311 Halifaxes, 131 Lancasters, 16 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups to Mainz. 1 Halifax and 1 Mosquito lost. The target area Mainz was covered by cloud and the bombing was aimed at skymarkers dropped on Oboe. No results were seen by the bomber crews but the bombing caused severe destruction in the central and eastern districts of Mainz; this was the city's worst raid of the war. 1,545 tons of bombs were dropped. 5,670 buildings were destroyed, including most of the historic buildings in the Altstadt, but the industrial district was also badly hit. This was the last heavy raid on Mainz.

    149 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H attack through thick cloud on the Alma Pluto benzol plant, Gelsenkirchen but no results were seen. 1 Lancaster lost.

    27/28 February 1945
    82 training aircraft on a sweep over the North Sea to draw up German fighters, 96 Mosquitos to Berlin and 6 to Bremen, 62 RCM sorties, 32 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    28 February 1945
    156 Lancasters of No 3 Group in a G-H raid on the Nordstern synthetic-oil plant at Gelsenkirchen. No aircraft lost.

    28 February/1 March 1945
    98 training aircraft on a sweep over the North Sea, 74 Mosquitos to Berlin, 8 to Nuremberg and 4 to Munich, 44 RCM sorties, 31 Mosquito patrols, 5 Mosquitos of No 5 Group minelaying in the Kiel Canal, 20 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 Mosquito lost from the Berlin raid.



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    Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary

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    Campaign Diary
    March 1945


    1 March 1945
    478 aircraft - 372 Lancasters, 90 Halifaxes, 16 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups to Mannheim in Bomber Command's last large-scale raid on the city. 3 Lancasters lost. This was a general attack on the city area. Skymarking was used because of the complete cloud cover. No details of the raid are available.

    151 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked an oil plant at Kamen through cloud.

    1/2 March 1944
    55 Mosquitos to Berlin, 40 to Erfurt and 3 on nuisance raids over Northern Germany, 32 RCM sorties, 13 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    2 March 1945
    858 aircraft - 531 Lancasters, 303 Halifaxes, 24 Mosquitos - raided Cologne in 2 waves. 6 Lancasters and 2 Halifaxes were lost and 1 Halifax crashed in Belgium. The first raid was carried out by 703 aircraft and the second by 155 Lancasters of No 3 Group. In the second raid, however, only 15 aircraft bombed, because the G-H station in England was not working correctly. The main raid was highly destructive, with the Pathfinders marking in clear weather conditions. This was the last RAF raid on Cologne, which was captured by American troops 4 days later.

    Cologne



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    2/3 March 1945
    69 training aircraft on a sweep, 67 Mosquitos to Kassel and 3 to Berlin, 48 RCM sorties, 31 Mosquito patrols, 10 Halifaxes and Lancasters minelaying off Norway and 6 Mosquitos in the Kiel Canal, 21 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

    3/4 March 1945
    234 aircraft - 201 Halifaxes of No 4 Group and 21 Lancasters and 12 Mosquitos of No 8 Group repeated the attack on Kamen. No aircraft lost over Germany. The synthetic-oil refinery at Bergkamen was severely damaged in this accurate raid and no further production of oil took place.

    212 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the Ladbergen aqueduct on the Dortmund-Ems Canal, breached it in 2 places and put it completely out of action. 7 Lancasters lost. The gunners in the No 619 Squadron Lancaster of Wing Commander SG Birch claimed to have shot down a V-1 flying bomb near the target area; the V-1 was probably aimed at the port of Antwerp.

    95 training aircraft on a diversionary sweep, 64 Mosquitos to Berlin and 32 to Würzburg, 61 RCM sorties, 29 Mosquito patrols, 31 Lancasters minelaying in the Kattegat and in Oslo Fjord, 17 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 Lancaster lost - from the minelaying operation.

    The Luftwaffe mounted Operation Gisella on this night, sending approximately 200 night fighters to follow the various bomber forces to England. This move took the British defences partly by surprise and the Germans shot down 20 bombers - 8 Halifaxes of No 4 Group, 2 Lancasters of No 5 Group, 3 Halifaxes, 1 Fortress and 1 Mosquito of No 100 Group and 3 Lancasters and 2 Halifaxes from the Heavy Conversion Units which had been taking part in the diversionary sweep. 3 of the German fighters crashed, through flying too low; the German fighter which crashed near Elvington airfield was the last Luftwaffe aircraft to crash on English soil during the war.

    Total effort for the night: 785 sorties, 8 aircraft lost over Germany and the sea, 20 aircraft shot down by Intruders over England, a total casualty rate of 3.6 per cent.

    Dortmund-Ems canal



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    4 March 1945
    128 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H attack through cloud on Wanne-Eickel. No results were seen.

    4/5 March 1945
    31 Mosquitos to Berlin, 24 to Essen and 28 in small numbers to 5 ports in Northern Germany, 6 Mosquito patrols, 12 Halifaxes minelaying off Heligoland, 16 aircraft on Resistance operations. 2 Stirlings on Resistance operations were lost.

    5 March 1945
    170 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H attack on the Consolidation benzol plant at Gelsenkirchen. No results were seen. 1 Lancaster lost.

    5/6 March 1945
    Chemnitz; 760 aircraft - 498 Lancasters, 256 Halifaxes, 6 Mosquitos - to continue Operation Thunderclap. The operation started badly when 9 aircraft of No 6 Group crashed near their bases soon after taking off in icy conditions. No 426 Squadron, at Linton-on-Ouse, lost 3 out of their 14 Halifaxes taking part in the raid in this way, with only 1 man surviving. 1 of the Halifaxes crashed in York, killing some civilians. 22 further aircraft were lost in the main operation - 14 Lancasters and 8 Halifaxes.

    248 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the synthetic-oil refinery at Böhlen. The target area was covered by cloud but some damage was caused to the refinery. 4 Lancasters lost.

    75 Mosquitos to Berlin, 15 to Gelsenkirchen and 36 in small numbers to 6 other targets, 52 RCM sorties, 27 Mosquito patrols. 5 aircraft lost - 2 Mosquito bombers from the Berlin raid, 1 Mosquito lost from a small raid to Hallendorf, 2 RCM aircraft (1 Halifax and 1 Stirling, of which the latter was believed to have been shot down over France by an American artillery unit).

    Total effort for the night: 1,223 sorties, 31 aircraft (2.5 per cent) lost and 10 more crashed in England.

    Operation Thunderclap: Chemnitz



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    6 March 1945
    119 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H attack through cloud on the Wintershall oil refinery at Salzbergen. 1 lost.

    48 Mosquitos of No 8 Group attacked Wesel, which was believed to contain many German troops and vehicles. The target had been cloud-covered for several days. Oboe Mosquitos provided the marking. 1 aircraft lost.

    6/7 March 1945
    191 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the port of Sassnitz on the island of Rügen, in the Baltic. Considerable damage was caused to the northern part of the town and 3 ships were sunk in the harbour. 1 Lancaster lost.

    87 Lancasters of No 3 Group and 51 Mosquitos of No 8 Group continued the attack on Wesel with two separate raids. No aircraft lost.

    42 Mosquitos to Berlin, 2 RCM sorties, 5 Mosquito patrols, 15 Lancasters minelaying off Sassnitz.

    7/8 March 1945
    526 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups raided Dessau. 18 Lancasters lost, 3.4 per cent of the force. This was another devastating raid on a new target in Eastern Germany with the usual town centre, residential, industrial and railway areas all being hit.

    256 Halifaxes and 25 Lancasters of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups attempted to attack the Deutsche Erdoel refinery at Hemmingstedt, near Heide, with little success. 4 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster lost.

    234 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of No 5 Group carried out an accurate attack on the oil refinery at Harburg. 14 Lancasters lost. No 189 Squadron, from Fulbeck, lost 4 of its 16 Lancasters on the raid. One local report states that a rubber factory was seriously damaged as well as the oil targets.

    80 Mosquitos to Berlin, 10 to Frankfurt, 9 to Münster and 5 to Hannover, 56 RCM sorties, 43 Mosquito patrols, 15 Halifaxes and 5 Lancasters minelaying off Eckemforde and Flensburg. 4 aircraft were lost - 2 Halifaxes and 1 Fortress of No 100 Group and 1 Mosquito from the Berlin raid.

    Total effort for the night: 1,276 sorties, 41 aircraft (3.2 per cent) lost.

    Harburg oil refinery attack



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    8/9 March 1945
    312 aircraft - 241 Halifaxes, 62 Lancasters, 9 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups attacked Hamburg. 1 Halifax lost. The purpose of this raid was to hit the shipyards which were now assembling the new Type XXI U-boats, whose parts were prefabricated in many parts of inland Germany. Thanks to the Schnorkel breathing tube and a new type of battery-driven electric engine, the Type XXI could cruise under water for long periods and was capable of bursts of high speed. Its development in numbers would have posed great problems for Allied convoy defence if the war had lasted longer. The Hamburg area was found to be cloud-covered and the bombing was not expected to be accurate enough to cause much damage to the shipyards.

    262 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups carried out the first large raid on Kassel since October 1943; it was also the last large RAF raid on this target. 1 Mosquito lost. This target was also covered by cloud.

    39 Mosquitos to Berlin, 33 to Hannover, 7 to Hagen and 5 each to Bremen and Osnabrück, 50 RCM sorties, 36 Mosquito patrols, 23 Halifaxes and 14 Lancasters minelaying in the Rivers Elbe and Weser, 5 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 RCM Halifax lost. The 5 Stirlings of No 161 Squadron, which were carrying supplies to Resistance units at unrecorded destinations, but probably in Denmark and Norway, were the last Resistance operations flights of the war.

    Total effort for the night: 805 sorties, 3 aircraft (0.4 per cent) lost.

    9 March 1945
    159 Lancasters of No 3 Group bombed the North and South plants of the Emscher Lippe benzol plant near Datteln. The target area was cloud-covered and G-H was used. The bombing appeared to be accurate but no results were seen. 1 Lancaster lost.

    21 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos of No 5 Group set out to bomb the Bielefeld Viaduct but the raid was abandoned because of low cloud.

    9/10 March 1945
    92 Mosquitos to Berlin and 16 Mosquitos on nuisance flights over Bremen, Hannover, Osnabrück and Wilhelmshaven, 29 RCM sorties, 12 Mosquito patrols, 21 Halifaxes minelaying in the Kattegat and off Oslo. No aircraft lost.

    10 March 1945
    155 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H attack on the oil refinery at Scholven/Buer. Photographs taken later showed this to have been a very accurate and effective raid. No aircraft lost.

    10/11 March 1945
    60 Mosquitos to Berlin, 4 each to Gotha, Jena and Weimar, 35 RCM sorties, 10 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    11 March 1945
    1,079 aircraft - 750 Lancasters, 293 Halifaxes, 36 Mosquitos - of all bomber groups attacked Essen. This was the largest number of aircraft sent to a target so far in the war. 3 Lancasters lost. 4,661 tons of bombs were dropped on Oboe-directed skymarkers through complete cloud cover. The attack was accurate and this great blow virtually paralysed Essen until the American troops entered the city some time later. This was the last RAF raid on Essen, which had been attacked so many times, though often in the early years of the war with such disappointing and costly results. Most of the city was now in ruins. 7,000 people had died in air raids. The pre-war population of 648,000 had fallen to 310,000 by the end of April 1945; the rest had left for quieter places in Germany.

    11/12 March 1945
    90 Mosquitos to Berlin and 6 each to Brunswick, Hannover and Magdeburg, 4 Mosquito patrols, 22 Lancasters minelaying in the Kattegat and off Oslo. No aircraft lost.

    12 March 1945
    1,108 aircraft - 748 Lancasters, 292 Halifaxes, 68 Mosquitos attacked Dortmund. This was another new record to a single target, a record which would stand to the end of the war. 2 Lancasters lost. Another record tonnage of bombs - 4,851 - was dropped through cloud on to this unfortunate city. The only details available from Dortmund state that the attack fell mainly in the centre and south of the city. A British team which investigated the effects of bombing in Dortmund after the war says that, 'The final raid … stopped production so effectively that it would have been many months before any substantial recovery could have occurred'.

    12/13 March 1945
    81 Mosquitos to Berlin and 3 each to Halle, Magdeburg and Stendal, 2 RCM sorties, 16 Lancasters and 3 Halifaxes minelaying in the Kattegat. 3 Lancaster minelayers lost.

    13 March 1945
    354 aircraft - 319 Halifaxes, 24 Lancasters, 20 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups to Wuppertal and Barmen. No aircraft lost. This attack also took place over a cloud-covered target and the bombs fell slightly east of the area intended, covering the eastern half of the Barmen district and extending into Schwelm.

    Bomber Command had now dispatched 2,541 sorties by daylight to Ruhr targets in a 3-day period. Approximately 10,650 tons of bombs had been dropped through cloud with sufficient accuracy to cripple 2 cities and 1 town. The bomber losses were only 5 aircraft, a casualty rate of 0.2 per cent. These results show the great power now wielded by Bomber Command, its technical efficiency and the weakness of the German defences.

    38 Lancasters of No 5 Group to bomb the Arnsberg and Bielefeld viaducts encountered bad weather. 1 aircraft bombed at Arnsberg and 2 further aircraft bombed alternative targets. No aircraft lost.

    13/14 March 1945
    195 Lancasters and 32 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups attacked benzol plants at Herne and Gelsenkirchen. The Gelsenkirchen attack was successful but not the Herne raid, 1 Lancaster lost from the Gelsenkirchen raid.

    50 Mosquitos to Berlin, 26 to Bremen and 6 to Erfurt, 58 RCM sorties, 37 Mosquito patrols. 1 Mosquito from the Berlin raid crashed in Belgium and 1 Halifax RCM aircraft in France.

    14 March 1945
    169 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out G-H attacks through cloud on oil plants at Datteln and Hattingen (near Bochum). Both attacks appeared to be accurate but no results were seen. 1 Lancaster lost from the Hattingen raid.

    32 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito of No 5 Group, with 4 Oboe Mosquitos of No 8 Group, to attack the Bielefeld and Arnsberg viaducts. 28 Lancasters dropped Tallboy bombs and the No 617 Squadron Lancaster of Squadron Leader CC Calder dropped the first 22,000lb 'Grand Slam' bomb at Bielefeld. The Arnsberg viaduct, No 9 Squadron's target, was later found to be undamaged but more than 100 yards of the Bielefeld viaduct collapsed through the 'earthquake effect' of the Grand Slam and 'Tallboys' of No 617 Squadron. No aircraft lost.

    Bielefeld viaduct



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    14/15 March 1945
    244 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the Wintershall synthetic-oil refinery at Lützkendorf. Photographic reconnaissance showed that 'moderate damage' was caused. 18 Lancasters were lost, 7.4 per cent of the Lancaster force.

    230 aircraft - 121 Lancasters, 98 Halifaxes, 11 Mosquitos - of Nos 6 and 8 Groups to Zweibrücken. No aircraft lost. This attack was directed on to the town area to block the passage through it of German troops and stores to the nearby front line, The raid took place in good visibility and was very effective. The local report shows that every public building and inn and 80 per cent of the houses in the town were destroyed or damaged. Most of the civilian population had been evacuated; those remaining took shelter in 2 large caves in the north and south of the town or in the normal basement shelters of their houses.

    161 aircraft - 127 Halifaxes, 23 Lancasters, 11 Mosquitos - of 4 and 8 Groups on the same task as the Zweibrücken raid proceeded to Homburg. No local report is available but it is believed that this attack was equally successful. 2 Halifaxes lost.

    75 Mosquitos to Berlin and 6 each to Bremen and Brunswick, 52 RCM sorties, 27 Mosquito patrols. No 100 Group lost 2 Mosquitos and 1 Fortress.

    The last Stirling operation of Bomber Command was flown on this night when Stirling LJ516, from No 199 Squadron at North Creake, flew a Mandrel screen operation; Squadron Leader JJM Button, the Australian pilot, and his crew landed safely.

    Total effort for the night: 812 sorties, 23 aircraft (2.8 per cent) lost.

    15 March 1945
    188 aircraft - 150 Halifaxes, 24 Mosquitos, 14 Lancasters - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups attacked oil plants at Bottrop and Castrop-Rauxel. Both raids were believed to have been successful. 1 Halifax of No 4 Group lost from the Bottrop raid.

    16 Lancasters of Nos 9 and 617 Squadrons attacked the viaduct at Arnsberg. Two aircraft of No 617 Squadron each carried a Grand Slam; the 14 aircraft of No 9 Squadron carried Tallboys. The viaduct was not cut. No aircraft lost.

    15/16 March 1945
    267 aircraft - 134 Lancasters, 122 Halifaxes, 11 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups attacked Hagen. 6 Lancasters and 4 Halifaxes lost. This area attack took place in clear visibility and caused severe damage; the local report estimated that the bomber force was 800 aircraft strong! The main attack fell in the centre and eastern districts. There were 1,439 fires, of which 124 were classified as large.

    257 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups attacked the Deurag refinery at Misburg, on the outskirts of Hannover. Visibility was good and some fires were started but the main weight of the raid fell south of the target. 4 Lancasters lost.

    54 Mosquitos to Berlin, 27 to Erfurt, 16 to Mannheim and 5 each to Jena and Weimar, 53 RCM sorties, 37 Mosquito patrols. 1 RCM Fortress lost.

    Total effort for the night: 729 sorties, 14 aircraft (1.9 per cent) lost.

    Jena Misburg



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    16/17 March 1945
    Raid on Nuremburg by 231 Lancasters of No 1 Group and 46 Lancasters and 16 Mosquitos of No 8 Group. 24 Lancasters, all from No 1 Group, lost, 8.7 per cent of the Lancaster force and 10.4 per cent of the No 1 Group aircraft involved. Most of these losses were due to German night fighters, which found the bomber stream on its way to the target. A local report states that the southern and south-western districts were hit as well as the ruins of the Altstadt which was destroyed in a previous raid. A serious fire was established in the Steinbuhl district. The main railway station was also on fire and the city's gasworks were so badly damaged that they did not resume production before the end of the war. This was the last heavy Bomber Command raid on Nuremberg.

    225 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked Würzburg. 6 Lancasters lost. This was another dramatic and devastating blow by No 5 Group. 1,127 tons of bombs were dropped with great accuracy in 17 minutes. According to a post-war survey, the old cathedral city with its famous historic buildings suffered 89 per cent of its built-up area destroyed. Würzburg contained little industry and this was an area attack.

    56 Mosquitos to Berlin, 24 to Hanau and 6 each to Brunswick and Osnabrück, 32 RCM sorties, 40 Mosquito patrols, 12 Halifaxes and 12 Lancasters minelaying in the Kattegat and off Heligoland. No aircraft lost.

    Total effort for the night: 717 sorties, 30 aircraft (4.2 per cent) lost.

    17 March 1945
    167 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out G-H attacks through cloud on benzol plants at Dortmund and Hüls. Both raids appeared to be accurate. No aircraft lost.

    17/18 March 1945
    66 Lancasters and 29 Halifaxes from training units on a sweep over Northern France to draw up German fighters, 39 Mosquitos to Nuremberg, 38 to Berlin and 2 each to Mannheim and Stuttgart, 6 RCM sorties, 15 Mosquito patrols. 1 Intruder Mosquito of No 100 Group lost.

    18 March 1945
    100 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out G-H attacks on oil plants at Hattingen and Langendreer. Both raids appeared to be accurate. No aircraft lost.

    18/19 March 1945
    324 aircraft - 259 Halifaxes, 45 Lancasters, 20 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups dispatched to Witten. 8 aircraft - 6 Halifaxes, 1 Lancaster, 1 Mosquito - lost. This was an area raid carried out in good visibility. 1,081 tons of bombs were dropped, destroying 129 acres, 62 per cent of the built-up area (according to the post-war British Bombing Survey Unit).

    277 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups bombed Hanau. 1 Lancaster lost. This was another accurate area raid. 0 industrial buildings and 2,240 houses were destroyed. The Altstadt was completely devastated and, says the report, all of the town's churches, hospitals, schools and historic buildings were badly hit.

    Support and 70 aircraft on a sweep over France, 30 Mosquitos to Berlin, 24 to Kassel and 18 to Nuremberg, 40 RCM sorties, 53 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    Total effort for the night: 844 sorties, 9 aircraft (1.1 per cent) lost.

    19 March 1945
    79 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked the Consolidation benzol plant at Gelsenkirchen. Smoke and dust from the bombing prevented observation of the results. No aircraft lost.

    37 Lancasters of No 5 Group attacked the railway viaduct at Arnsberg and the bridge at Vlotho, near Minden. The attack at Arnsberg by No 617 Squadron using 6 Grand Slams, was successful and a 40-foot gap was blown in the viaduct. No 9 Squadron's attack at Vlotho was not successful.

    19/20 March 1945
    34 Mosquitos to Berlin. No losses.

    20 March 1945
    153 aircraft - 125 Halifaxes, 16 Lancasters, 12 Mosquitos - of Nos 4 and No 6 Groups attempted to hit the railway yards at Recklinghausen but cloud and a strong wind spoiled the Pathfinder marking and the bombing was well scattered. No aircraft lost.

    99 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked the railway yards at Hamm and 14 Lancasters of No 9 Squadron attacked the railway bridge at Arnsberg. Bombs were seen to explode in the target area at both targets. No aircraft lost.

    20/21 March 1945
    224 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the synthetic-oil plant near Böhlen. This accurate attack put the plant out of action and it was still inactive when captured by American troops several weeks later. 9 Lancasters lost.

    166 Lancasters of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups carried out an equally effective attack upon the oil refinery at Hemmingstedt. 1 Lancaster lost.

    Support and 70 training aircraft on a diversionary sweep over France, 12 Lancasters in a feint raid on Halle, 38 Mosquitos to Berlin, 27 to Bremen and 16 to Kassel, 47 RCM sorties, 55 Mosquito patrols, 9 Lancasters minelaying off Heligoland. 3 aircraft lost - 1 Lancaster from the Halle raid and 1 Fortress and 1 Liberator RCM aircraft.

    Total effort for the night: 675 sorties, 13 aircraft (1.9 per cent) lost.

    Böhlen



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    21 March 1945
    178 aircraft - 150 Halifaxes, 16 Lancasters, 12 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups carried out an accurate attack upon the railway yards and the surrounding town area at Rheine. 1 Lancaster lost.

    160 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked the railway yards at Münster and a nearby railway viaduct. 3 Lancasters lost. The only information available from Münster is that 17 people were killed.

    133 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups attacked the Deutsche Vacuum oil refinery at Bremen .This appeared to be an accurate raid in clear weather conditions. No aircraft lost.

    20 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron attacked the Arbergen railway bridge just outside Bremen. 2 piers of the bridge were destroyed. 1 Lancaster lost.

    Total effort of the day: 497 sorties, 5 aircraft (1.0 per cent) lost.

    Bremen Railway yards at Rheine Arbergen railway bridge



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    21/22 March 1945
    151 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked Hamburg. 4 Lancasters lost. The target for this raid was the Deutsche Erdölwerke refinery .The attack was accurate; 20 storage tanks were destroyed and the plant was still out of action at the end of the war.

    131 Lancasters and 12 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups carried out an accurate attack on the benzol plant at Bochum. 1 Lancaster lost.

    142 Mosquitos in 2 attacks on Berlin (with some aircraft making 2 sorties), 3 Mosquitos to Bremen, 26 RCM sorties, 56 Mosquito patrols, 7 Mosquitos of No 5 Group minelaying in Jade Bay and the River Weser. 1 Mosquito from the Berlin raid and 1 RCM Fortress lost.

    Total effort for the night: 536 sorties, 7 aircraft (1.3 per cent) lost.

    22 March 1945
    227 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups to Hildesheim. 4 Lancasters lost. The target was the railway yards; these were bombed but the surrounding built-up areas also suffered severely in what was virtually an area attack. This was the only major Bomber Command raid of the war on Hildesheim and the post-war British survey found that 263 acres, 70 per cent of the town, had been destroyed.

    Attack on Dülmen by 130 aircraft - 106 Halifaxes, 12 Lancasters, 12 Mosquitos - of Nos 4 and 8 Groups. No aircraft lost. This was an area attack and the town was soon burning after a concentrated raid in clear weather conditions. No other details are available.

    124 aircraft - 100 Halifaxes, 12 Lancasters, 12 Mosquitos - of Nos 6 and 8 Groups bombed Dorsten. Dorsten was a rail and canal centre and also the location of a Luftwaffe fuel dump. All these targets were believed to have been hit but the town probably suffered as well. No aircraft were lost.

    100 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H attack on the town of Bocholt, probably with the intention of cutting communications. The town was seen to be on fire. No aircraft lost.

    102 Lancasters of No 5 Group attacked bridges at Bremen (82 aircraft) and Nienburg (20 aircraft of No 617 Squadron). The bridge at Nienburg was destroyed; the bombing at the Bremen bridge appeared to be accurate but no results were seen. No aircraft lost.

    Total effort for the day: 708 sorties, 4 aircraft (0.6 per cent) lost.

    Dülmen



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    22/23 March 1944
    56 Mosquitos to Berlin, 8 to Paderborn and 6 to Bochum, 39 RCM sorties, 30 Mosquito patrols, 21 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos minelaying in Oslo Fjord. 2 Intruder Mosquitos of No 100 Group lost.

    23 March 1944
    128 Lancasters of Nos 1 and 5 Groups attacked bridges at Bremen (117 aircraft) and Bad Oeynhausen (11 aircraft). Both bridges were hit. 2 Lancasters were lost from the Bremen raid.

    80 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked Wesel, which was an important troop centre behind the Rhine front in an area about to be attacked by British troops. The raid was accurate and no aircraft were lost.

    23/24 March 1944
    195 Lancasters and 23 Mosquitos of Nos 5 and 8 Groups carried out the last raid on the unfortunate town of Wesel. No aircraft lost. Wesel claims to have been the most intensively bombed town, for its size, in Germany. 97 per cent of the buildings in the main town area were destroyed. The population, which had numbered nearly 25,000 on the outbreak of war, was only 1,900 in May 1945.

    Support and 78 training aircraft on a sweep across France and as far as Mannheim, 65 Mosquitos to Berlin and 23 to Aschaffenburg, 41 RCM sorties, 39 Mosquito patrols. 2 Mosquitos lost from the Berlin raid.

    24 March 1945
    The final phase of the land war opened on this day, with the amphibious crossing of the Rhine on the Wesel sector and the airborne landings among the enemy defences a few hours later. British Commandos captured Wesel in the early hours, just after the Bomber Command raid had left the defenders dead or too dazed to fight properly. The weather remained good for further Bomber Command operations. It is interesting to observe that the Ruhr was still supplying fuel and munitions for the fighting front which was now only 15 miles away and that tactical bombing and strategic bombing were taking place almost side by side.

    177 aircraft - 155 Halifaxes, 16 Lancasters, 6 Mosquitos - of 4 and 8 Groups attacked the railway yards at Sterkrade so successfully that, according to Bomber Command, there was 'complete destruction of a well packed marshalling yard'. No aircraft lost.

    175 aircraft - 153 Halifaxes, 16 Lancasters, 6 Mosquitos - of 6 and 8 Groups attacked Gladbeck situated on the northern edge of the Ruhr and not far from the new battle area. The target was 'devastated'. 1 Halifax lost.

    173 Lancasters and 12 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups attacked the Harpenerweg plant at Dortmund and the Mathias Stinnes plant at Bottrop. 3 Lancasters were lost on the Dortmund raid.

    Total effort for the day: 537 sorties, 4 aircraft (0.7 per cent) lost.

    24/25 March 1945
    67 Mosquitos to Berlin, 8 to Nordheim and 2 which bombed both Berlin and Magdeburg on nuisance flights, 38 RCM sorties, 33 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    25 March 1945
    The Bomber Command operations on this day were directed to towns on the main reinforcement routes into the Rhine battle area. Heavy attacks were made on the railway routes through these towns and on the surrounding built-up areas.

    Hannover attacked by 267 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups. The bombing was observed to fall in the target area. 1 Lancaster lost.

    175 aircraft - 151 Halifaxes, 14 Lancasters, 10 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups raided Münster. 3 Halifaxes lost. Few results were seen by the bombers because the target area rapidly became smoke-covered. Münster reports a large number of bombs but only 2 people dead.

    156 aircraft - 132 Halifaxes, 14 Lancasters, 10 Mosquitos - of Nos 4 and 8 Groups to Osnabrück. No aircraft lost. Osnabrück reports extensive property damage throughout the town.

    Total effort for the day: 606 sorties, 4 aircraft (0.7 per cent) lost.

    25/26 March 1945
    8 Mosquitos to Berlin and 1 Lancaster dropping leaflets over The Hague. No losses.

    26/27 March 1945
    86 Mosquitos to Berlin, 2 each to Erfurt and Paderborn, and 2 which bombed both Berlin and Magdeburg on a 'siren tour'. No aircraft lost.

    27 March 1945
    268 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos to attack Paderborn where American troops were attempting to complete the encirclement of the Ruhr. No aircraft lost. The was covered by cloud but the raid was still carried out with almost perfect accuracy and this old town was virtually destroyed in less than a quarter of an hour.

    150 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out G-H raids on 2 benzol plants in the Hamm area. No results were seen, because of cloud, but dense black smoke rose through the cloud from both targets. No aircraft lost.

    115 Lancasters of No 5 Group attacked an oil-storage depot (95 aircraft) and a U-boat shelter (20 aircraft of No 617 Squadron) at Farge on the River Weser north of Bremen. Both attacks appeared to be successful. The results of the raid on the oil depot were not known because this target was attacked with delayed-action bombs so that clouds of smoke would not obscure the target. The U-boat shelter was a particularly interesting target. It was a huge structure with a concrete roof 23 ft thick. It was almost ready for use when No 617 Squadron attacked it on this day and penetrated the roof with 2 Grand Slams which brought down thousands of tons of concrete rubble and rendered the shelter unusable. No aircraft were lost in these attacks.

    Total effort for the day: 541 sorties, no aircraft lost.

    27/28 March 1945
    82 Mosquitos to Berlin, 7 to Bremen, 4 to Erfurt and 3 each to Hannover and Magdeburg, 46 RCM sorties, 23 Mosquito patrols, 8 Mosquitos of No 5 Group minelaying in the River Elbe. 4 Mosquitos lost - 3 from the Berlin raid and 1 from the minelaying operation.

    29 March 1945
    130 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H raid on the Hermann Goering benzol plant at Salzgitter. No results were seen through the cloud. No aircraft were lost.

    Lancaster veteran of No 550 Squadron



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    29/30 March 1945
    48 Mosquitos to Berlin, 7 to Harburg and 3 each to Bremen and Hannover. No aircraft lost.

    30/31 March 1945
    43 Mosquitos to Berlin, 43 to Erfurt, 4 to Nordingen and 3 each to Hamburg and Kiel, 36 RCM sorties, 31 Mosquito patrols, 6 Mosquitos minelaying in Jade Bay and the River Weser. 1 Mosquito was lost from the Berlin raid.

    31 March 1945
    Hamburg: 469 aircraft - 361 Lancasters, 100 Halifaxes, 8 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups attempted to attack the Blohm & Voss shipyards, where the new types of U-boats were being assembled, but the target area was completely cloud-covered. The local report describes 'considerable damage' to houses, factories, energy supplies and communications over a wide area of southern Hamburg and Harburg. 8 Lancasters and 3 Halifaxes were lost, a number being victims of an unexpected intervention by the Luftwaffe day-fighter force. This was Bomber Command's last double-figure aircraft loss of the war from a raid on one city.

    Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary

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    Campaign Diary
    April and May 1945


    1/2 April 1945
    4 Mosquitos of No 100 Group, operating from a forward airfield in France, patrolled airfields in Southern Germany. 1 Mosquito was lost, hit by flak and seen to crash at Leipheim, a small airfield near Ulm.

    2/3 April 1945
    59 training aircraft on a sweep over the North Sea, 54 Mosquitos to Berlin, 50 to Magdeburg, 8 to Lüneburg and 1 each to Hamburg and Lübeck, 55 RCM sorties, 26 Mosquito patrols. 1 Mosquito lost from the Berlin raid.

    3 April 1945
    247 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups to attack what were believed to be military barracks near Nordhausen. Unfortunately, the barracks housed a large number of concentration-camp prisoners and forced workers of many nationalities who worked in a complex of underground tunnels where various secret weapons were made. The camp and the tunnel workshops had been established immediately after Bomber Command attacked the rocket-research establishment at Peenemünde in August 1943.
    The bombing was accurate and many people in the camp were killed; the exact number is not known. The men working in the tunnels were unhurt. 2 Lancasters lost.

    3/4 April 1945
    95 Mosquitos to Berlin, 8 to Plauen and 5 to Magdeburg, 17 Mosquito patrols. 9 Lancasters sent to lay mines in the Kattegat were recalled because of weather conditions. 1 Mosquito lost from the Magdeburg raid.

    4 April 1945
    243 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito of No 5 Group, with 8 Pathfinder Mosquitos, attacked the barracks and the town of Nordhausen, which was severely damaged. 1 Lancaster lost.

    Nordhausen, before and after



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    4/5 April 1945
    327 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitos of Nos 3, 6 and 8 Groups attacked the synthetic-oil plant at Leuna. The target was cloud-covered, the bombing was scattered and only minor damage was caused. 2 Lancasters lost.

    327 aircraft - 277 Halifaxes, 36 Lancasters, 14 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups attacked the Rhenania oil plant, Harburg. The target was easily identified and severe damage was caused to it. 2 Lancasters and 1 Halifax lost.

    258 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups attacked the oil refinery at Lützkendorf. Bomber Command claimed 'moderate damage'. 6 Lancasters lost.

    35 Mosquitos to Berlin and 31 to Magdeburg, 70 RCM sorties, 66 Mosquito patrols, 30 Lancasters minelaying in the Oslo Fjord and the Kattegat. 5 aircraft lost. 12 Mosquitos from the Magdeburg raid and 3 Lancasters of No 1 Group from the Kattegat minelaying operation. The 136 aircraft dispatched by No 100 Group on this night were that group's largest effort of the war.

    Total effort for the night: 1,172 sorties, 16 aircraft (1.4 per cent) lost.

    6 April 1945
    54 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito of No 5 Group to attack a ship or ships which had broken the naval blockade around that large part of Western Holland where German forces were cut off. The raid was abandoned because of bad weather.

    7 April 1945
    15 Lancasters (No 617 Squadron) and 2 Mosquitos of No 5 Group carried out an accurate attack on ships at Ijmuiden. No aircraft lost.

    7/8 April 1945
    175 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the benzol plant at Molbis, near Leipzig. The weather was clear and the bombing was so effective that all production at the plant ceased. No aircraft lost.

    6 RCM sorties and 14 Mosquito patrols were flown by No 100 Group without loss.

    8/9 April 1945
    440 aircraft - 263 Halifaxes, 160 Lancasters, 17 Mosquitos - of Nos 4,6 and 8 Groups dispatched to Hamburg. 3 Halifaxes and 3 Lancasters lost. This attack was intended for the shipyard areas but partial cloud caused the raid to become dispersed. Some damage was probably caused to the shipyards but, as an American raid on the yards had taken place a few hours earlier, damage seen in photographs could not be allocated between the two forces. This was the last major Bomber Command raid of the war on Hamburg.

    231 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the Lützkendorf oil refinery, which had escaped serious damage the previous night. The refinery was rendered 'inactive'. 6 Lancasters lost.

    22 Halifaxes of No 4 Group in a diversionary raid on Travemünde, 71 Mosquitos to Dessau, 28 to Berlin (where Oboe from forward ground stations was used for the first time) and 8 to Munich, 64 RCM sorties, 43 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    Total effort for the night: 918 sorties, 12 aircraft (1.3 per cent) lost.

    9 April 1945
    Hamburg: 57 Lancasters of No 5 Group attacked oil-storage tanks (40 aircraft) and U-boat shelters (17 aircraft of No 617 Squadron with Grand Slams and Tallboys). Both attacks were successful. 2 Lancasters were lost from the raid on the oil tanks.

    9/10 April 1945
    591 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups to Kiel. 3 Lancasters lost. This was an accurate raid, made in good visibility on two aiming points in the harbour area. Photographic reconnaissance showed that the Deutsche Werke U-boat yard was severely damaged, the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer was hit and capsized, the Admiral Hipper and the Emden were badly damaged. The local diary says that all 3 shipyards in the port were hit and that the nearby residential areas were severely damaged.

    22 Halifaxes in a diversionary raid to Stade, 44 Mosquitos to Berlin, 37 to Plauen and 24 to Hamburg, 45 RCM sorties, 37 Mosquito patrols, 70 Lancasters and 28 Halifaxes minelaying in Kiel Bay and the Little Belt. 1 Halifax from the diversion raid crashed in France.

    Total effort for the night: 906 sorties, 4 aircraft (0.4 per cent) lost.

    10 April 1945
    230 aircraft - 134 Lancasters, 90 Halifaxes, 6 Mosquitos - attacked the Engelsdorf and Mockau railway yards at Leipzig. The weather was clear and the bombing was accurate. 1 Halifax and 1 Lancaster lost.

    10/11 April 1945
    Plauen: 307 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups. No aircraft lost. The bombing fell around the railway yards in the northern half of the town. The railways were hit and 365 acres, 51 per cent, of the town's built-up area were also destroyed.

    76 Lancasters and 19 Mosquitos of 5 and 8 Groups attacked the Wahren railway yards, Leipzig. The eastern half of the yards was destroyed. 7 Lancasters lost.

    77 Mosquitos to Berlin, 21 to Chemnitz and 7 to Bayreuth, 53 RCM sorties, 26 Mosquito patrols. 1 Mosquito from the Berlin raid and 1 RCM Halifax were lost.

    Total effort for the night: 594 sorties, 9 aircraft (1.5 per cent) lost.

    11 April 1945
    129 Halifaxes of No 4 Group and 14 Pathfinder Lancasters attacked the railway yards at Nuremberg with great accuracy. No aircraft lost.

    100 Halifaxes of No 4 Group and 14 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of No 8 Group also carried out a very good attack on railway yards on Bayreuth without loss.

    11/12 April 1945
    107 Mosquitos attacked Berlin in 3 waves. Large fires were seen. 1 Mosquito lost. 8 Mosquitos attacked Munich without loss.

    12/13 April 1945
    97 Mosquitos to Berlin and 3 to Munich. 13 Mosquitos on Intruder patrols. No aircraft lost.

    13 April 1945
    34 Lancasters of No 5 Group (Nos 9 and 617 Squadrons) set out to attack the warships Prinz Eugen and Lützow in Swinemünde harbour but the raid was abandoned because of cloud over the target. All aircraft returned safely.

    13/14 April 1945
    377 Lancasters and 105 Halifaxes of Nos 3, 6 and 8 Groups to Kiel. 2 Lancasters lost. This raid was directed against the port area, with the U-boat yards as the main objective. Bomber Command rated this as 'a poor attack' with scattered bombing.

    20 Halifaxes and 8 Mosquitos in a diversionary raid on Boizenburg, 87 Mosquitos to Hamburg, 20 to Stralsund and 12 to Reisa, 62 RCM sorties, 55 Mosquito patrols, 82 Lancasters and 27 Halifaxes minelaying in Kiel Bay and the Kattegat. 1 Mosquito of No 100 Group lost.

    Total effort for the night: 855 sorties, 3 aircraft (0.4 per cent) lost.

    14 April 1945
    20 Lancasters of 6 17 Squadron again found their target at Swinemünde covered by cloud and returned without bombing. No aircraft lost.

    14/15 April 1945
    500 Lancasters and 12 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups attacked Potsdam. This was the first time that Bomber Command 4-engined aircraft had entered the Berlin defence zone since March 1944 but the approach, across parts of Germany recently captured by Allied troops, and the Cuxhaven diversion led to only 1 Lancaster being lost; it was shot down by a night fighter.

    This was the last raid of the war by a major Bomber Command force on a German city. The aiming point was the centre of Potsdam and the intention was to destroy the local barracks (depot of the old German Guards regiments) and the railway facilities. The attack was reasonably successful and severe damage was caused in Potsdam but bombs also fell in the nearby northern and eastern districts of Berlin.

    24 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitos in a diversion raid to Cuxhaven, 62 Mosquitos to Berlin and 10 to Wismar, 54 RCM sorties, 50 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    Total effort for the night: 716 sorties, 1 aircraft (0.1 per cent) lost.

    15/16 April 1945
    106 Mosquitos to Berlin, 8 to Oranienburg airfield and 4 to Lechfeld airfield, 27 RCM sorties, 19 Mosquito patrols. 1 Mosquito of No 100 Group lost.

    16 April 1945
    18 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron flew to Swinemünde to attack the pocket battleship Lützow. The force flew through intense flak; 1 Lancaster was shot down (No 617 Squadron's last loss of the war) and all but 2 aircraft were damaged. 15 aircraft managed to bomb the target with Tallboys or with 1,000-pounders. The effects of one near miss with a Tallboy tore a large hole in the bottom of the Lützow and she sank in shallow water at her moorings.

    16/17 April 1945
    222 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of No 5 Group carried out an accurate attack on the railway yards at Pilsen. 1 Lancaster crashed in France.

    167 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of 6 and 8 Groups attacked the railway yards at Schwandorf, causing severe damage. 1 Lancaster lost.

    19 Halifaxes of No 6 Group and 4 Pathfinder Mosquitos to Gablingen airfield, 64 Mosquitos to Berlin and 23 to Munich, 57 RCM sorties, 35 Mosquito patrols. 2 Halifaxes and 1 Fortress of No 100 Group were lost.

    Total effort for the night: 610 sorties, 5 aircraft (0.8 per cent) lost.

    17/18 April 1945
    90 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the railway yards in the small town of Cham deep in south-eastern Germany. The attack was completely successful, with tracks torn up and rolling stock destroyed. No aircraft lost.

    61 Mosquitos to Berlin and 43 to Ingoldstadt airfield, 28 RCM sorties, 40 Mosquito patrols. 2 Mosquitos lost from the Berlin raid.

    18 April 1945
    969 aircraft - 617 Lancasters, 332 Halifaxes, 20 Mosquitos - of all groups attacked the naval base at Heligoland, the airfield and the town on this small island. The bombing was accurate and the target areas were turned almost into crater-pitted moonscapes. 3 Halifaxes were lost.

    18/19 April 1945
    114 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the railway yards in the Czechoslovak town of Komotau (now known as Chomutov). This was the last major raid in the long communications offensive to which No 5 Group had made a particularly effective contribution. The raid was completely successful and all the aircraft involved returned safely.

    57 Mosquitos to Berlin and 36 to Schleissheim airfield near Munich, 35 RCM sorties, 33 Mosquito patrols. 1 Mosquito of No 141 Squadron was lost while carrying out a napalm attack on an airfield in Northern Germany; this was a new form of weapon being used by the Mosquito squadrons of No 100 Group.

    19 April 1945
    49 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H raid on the Pasing railway yards, Munich. The bombing appeared to be concentrated. No aircraft lost.

    36 Lancasters of 9 and 617 Squadrons attacked coastal battery positions at Heligoland with Tallboy bombs. All targets were hit and no aircraft were lost.

    19/20 April 1945
    79 Mosquitos to Berlin, 35 to Wittstock airfield and 8 to Schleswig airfield, 34 RCM sorties, 40 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    20 April 1945
    100 Lancasters of No 3 Group bombed the fuel-storage depot at Regensburg accurately. 1 Lancaster lost. This was the last raid in the current campaign against German oil targets which had been waged since June 1944. Much of Bomber Command's effort during this period, sometimes at considerable loss, had been devoted to these oil operations, which had helped not only the Allied ground forces on the Western Front but also those fighting in Italy and on the Eastern Front.

    20/21 April 1945
    76 Mosquitos made 6 separate attacks on Berlin. This was the last RAF raid of the war on Berlin; the Russians were about to enter the city. Mosquito XVI ML929, of No 109 Squadron, claimed the last bombs - 4 500-pounders - at 02.14 British Time. The crew were Flying Officer AC Austin, pilot, and Flying Officer P Moorhead, navigator. All aircraft returned safely.

    36 Mosquitos to Schleissheim airfield, 3 RCM sorties, 2 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    21/22 April 1945
    107 Mosquitos to Kiel. 2 aircraft lost.

    16 Mosquitos to Eggebek airfield near Flensburg, 3 RCM sorties, 16 Mosquito patrols, 20 Lancasters of No 6 Group minelaying in the Kattegat. No aircraft lost.

    22 April 1945
    Bremen: 767 aircraft - 651 Lancasters, 100 Halifaxes, 16 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups. 2 Lancasters lost. This raid was part of the preparation for the attack by the British XXX Corps on Bremen. The bombing was on the south-eastern suburbs of the city, where the ground troops would attack 2 days later. The raid was hampered by cloud and by smoke and dust from bombing as the raid progressed. The Master Bomber ordered the raid to stop after 195 Lancasters had bombed. The whole of Nos 1 and 4 Groups returned home without attacking.

    22/23 April 1945
    40 Mosquitos to Bremen and 11 to Kiel, 56 RCM sorties, 39 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    23 April 1945
    148 Lancasters of No 5 Group set out to attack the railway yards and port area at Flensburg but the operation was abandoned because of cloud which covered the target on the bomb run. All aircraft returned safely.

    23/24 April 1945
    60 Mosquitos dispatached to Kiel; none lost.

    38 Mosquitos to Rendsburg, 32 to Travemünde and 8 to Schleissheim airfield, 45 RCM sorties, 35 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

    24 April 1945
    110 Lancasters attacked the railway yards at Bad Oldesloe. No aircraft lost.

    24/25 April 1945
    30 Mosquitos and 7 Lancasters dropped leaflets on 8 POW camps in which British prisoners-of-war were waiting to be liberated. Medical supplies were also dropped at the Neubrandenburg camp, north of Berlin. No aircraft were lost.

    40 Mosquitos to Schleissheim airfield, 38 to Pasing airfield and 17 to Kiel, 27 RCM sorties, 19 Mosquito patrols. 1 Mosquito from the Schleissheim raid crashed in Belgium.

    25 April 1945
    Wangerooge: 482 aircraft - 308 Halifaxes, 158 Lancasters, 16 Mosquitos - of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups. 5 Halifaxes and 2 Lancasters lost. The raid was intended to knock out the coastal batteries on this Frisian island which controlled the approaches to the ports of Bremen and Wilhelmshaven. No doubt the experience of Antwerp, when guns on the approaches had prevented the port being used for several weeks, prompted this raid. The weather was clear and bombing was accurate until smoke and dust obscured the target area. The areas around the batteries were pitted with craters but the concreted gun positions were 'hardly damaged'; they were all capable of firing within a few hours. Part of the bombing hit a camp for forced workers and the holiday resort and many buildings were destroyed, including several hotels and guest houses, the Catholic church and two children's holiday homes, although these do not appear to have been occupied at the time of the bombing.

    6 of the 7 bombers lost were involved in collisions - 2 Halifaxes of 7No 6 Squadron, 2 Lancasters of No 431 Squadron and 2 Halifaxes of Nos 408 and 426 Squadrons (both from Leeming airfield). There was only 1 survivor, from one of the No 76 Squadron aircraft. 28 Canadian and 13 British airmen were killed in the collisions. The seventh aircraft lost was a Halifax of No 347 (Free French) Squadron, whose crew were all killed.

    Berchtesgaden: 359 Lancasters and 16 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 5 and 8 Groups. 2 Lancasters lost. This raid was against Hitler's 'Eagle's Nest' chalet and the local SS guard barracks. Among the force were 16 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron dropping their last Tallboys. 8 Oboe Mosquitos were also among the bombing force, to help with the marking, but mountains intervened between one of the ground stations transmitting the Oboe signals and the Mosquitos could not operate even though they were flying at 39,000 ft! There was some mist and the presence of snow on the ground also made it difficult to identify targets, but the bombing appeared to be accurate and effective. No other details are available.

    Total effort for the day: 857 sorties, 9 aircraft (1.0 per cent) lost.

    Most of the squadrons taking part in the raids on this day were flying their last operations of the war.

    Attacking the 'Eagles Nest'



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    25/26 April 1945
    107 Lancasters and 12 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the oil refinery in Tonsberg in Southern Norway in the last raid flown by heavy bombers. The attack was accurately carried out and the target was severely damaged. A Lancaster of No 463 Squadron came down in Sweden, the last of more than 3,300 Lancasters lost in the war; Flying Officer A Cox and his all-British crew all survived and were interned in Sweden until the end of the war - only a few days away.

    82 Mosquitos to Pasing airfield and 18 to Kiel, 9 RCM sorties, 35 Mosquito patrols, 14 Lancasters minelaying in Oslo Fjord (the last minelaying operation of the war), 12 Mosquitos of No 8 Group dropping leaflets over prisoner-of-war camps.

    26 April to 7 May 1945
    Operation Exodus

    Bomber Command Lancasters now started flying to Brussels, and later to other airfields, to collect British prisoners of war recently liberated from their camps. 469 flights were made by aircraft of Nos 1, 5, 6 and 8 Groups before the war ended and approximately 75,000 men were brought back to England by the fastest possible means (unlike the end of the First World War when some British ex-prisoners were still not home by Christmas, although the Armistice was signed on 11 November 191. There were no accidents during that part of Operation Exodus which was carried out before the war ended.

    26/27 April 1945
    31 Mosquitos to Husum, 28 each to Eggebek and Grossenbrode and 12 to Neumünster (all airfields in Schleswig-Holstein), 12 Mosquitos to Kiel, 4 Mosquito Intruders on patrols. No aircraft lost.

    29 April to 7 May 1945
    Operation Manna

    A large pocket in Western Holland was still in German hands and the population was approaching starvation; many old or sick people had already died. A truce was arranged with the local German commander and Lancasters of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups started to drop food supplies for the civilian population. Pathfinder Mosquitos 'marked' the dropping zones. 2,835 Lancaster and 124 Mosquito flights were made before the Germans surrendered at the end of the war and allowed ships and road transport to enter the area. Bomber Command delivered 6,672 tons of food during Operation Manna.

    30 April 1945
    Hitler committed suicide in Berlin on this day, after handing over the leadership to Admiral Doenitz, who was in the Kiel-Flensburg area.

    2/3 May 1945
    There had been no offensive operations by Bomber Command since 26/27 April and most squadrons thought that their war in Europe was over, but it was feared that the Germans were assembling ships at Kiel to transport troops to Norway in order to carry on the war there. A last raid by No 8 Group Mosquitos was thus organized, with a large supporting effort being provided.

    16 Mosquito bombers of No 8 Group and 37 Mosquitos of No 100 Group were first dispatched to attack airfields in the Kiel area. A Mosquito of No 169 Squadron, No 100 Group, was lost while carrying out a low-level napalm attack on Jagel airfield; its crew - Flying Officer R Catterall, DFC, and Flight Sergeant DJ Beadle - were killed.

    126 Mosquitos of No 8 Group then attacked Kiel in 2 raids, 1 hour apart. The target area was almost completely cloud-covered but H2S and Oboe were used. Large fires on the ground were seen through the cloud. No Mosquitos were lost on these raids. Towards morning, a large column of military vehicles departed in the direction of Flensburg on the Danish frontier. 'The upsurge in the population's morale was indescribable', comments the town diary. 'There was a final spasm of fear when explosions were heard from the harbour but these turned out to be all the flak guns and warships in the harbour firing off their ammunition.' After this, Kiel was declared an open, undefended town. As soon as this happened, all the military stores and some of the civilian ones containing rationed goods were thrown open to the public before Allied troops arrived 36 hours later.

    Meanwhile, there had been a final small tragedy for Bomber Command. 89 RCM aircraft of No 100 Group had been sent to support the Mosquito bomber force and 2 Halifaxes from No 199 Squadron, each with 8 men on board, were lost. The Halifaxes had been part of the Mandrel screen and were also carrying 4,500lb bombs and large quantities of Window. The 2 aircraft crashed at Meimersdorf, just south of Kiel, and it is probable that they collided while on their bomb runs. They were the last Bomber Command aircraft to be lost in the war. There were only 3 survivors. 13 airmen, 12 from the United Kingdom and one from the Irish Republic, mostly second-tour men, died. They were: Warrant Officer WF Bolton; Flight Sergeant AA Bradley; Flight Lieutenant WE Brooks; Sergeant FT Chambers; Flying Officer KNJ Croft; Warrant Officer KAC Gavin; Flight Sergeant D Greenwood; Flying Officer ASJ Holder, DFC; Flight Sergeant JR Lewis; Flight Sergeant J Loth; Pilot Officer WHV Mackay; Warrant Officer RHA Pool; and Flight Sergeant D Wilson.

    On 4 May, German officers came to the Tactical Headquarters of Montgomery's 21st Army Group on Lüneburg Heath and signed a surrender document for all German forces in North-West Germany, Denmark and Holland, to be effective from the following day. Various local surrenders took place elsewhere. On 7 May General Eisenhower, with representatives from Britain, Russia and France, accepted the unconditional surrender of all German forces on all fronts, to be effective from 0001 hours on 9 May. But the fighting was effectively already over. Allied troops, fully supported by Bomber Command, had liberated the whole of Western Europe in just eleven months of hard fighting. The British Army lost nearly 40,000 men during this campaign. Bomber Command had lost 2,128 aircraft during the same period, with approximately 10,000 airmen being killed. Many of the bomber squadrons were now earmarked for Tiger Force, to continue the war against Japan, but the dropping of two atom bombs three months later brought the surrender of Japan and the end of the Second World War before Tiger Force left England.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -atst_vith_lanc-jpg   -atrailway_yards-jpg  

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    -ahbi600b-jpg   -ahbi600a-jpg  

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  3. #3
    the old Sage Erich's Avatar
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    interesting Les, it is a direct copy of Martin Middlebrooks Bomber Command War diaries which I own. the book was published 1995 as it's 3 printing by Midland Publishing. softcover, 808 pages, a must have on the operations of RAF command during the war along with Chorleys multi-volumes by the years.

    E ~
    Rip it up !

  4. #4
    Senior Member lesofprimus's Avatar
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    Its truely a work of art..... Quite impressive......



  5. #5
    Senior Member plan_D's Avatar
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    And I'm going to get it now.
    "When you go home tomorrow, don't expect anyone to know what you have been through. Even if they did know, most people probably wouldn't care anyway. Some of you may get the medals you deserve, many more of you will not. But remember this, all of you are now members of the front-line club, and that is the most exclusive club in the world." - Lt. Col. Matthew Maer CO 1st Battalion, the Princess of Wale's Royal Regiment. Camp Abu Naji, Oct. 2004

    To those in that club.

  6. #6
    "Shooter" evangilder's Avatar
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    One for me to look for as well!


    > I Support Doug Gilliss <

    For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return. Leonardo Da Vinci

  7. #7
    Senior Member Nonskimmer's Avatar
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    And me!

  8. #8
    the old Sage Erich's Avatar
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    here is the isbn # of the monster book..........it may be out of print but check your specialty book shops.

    1-85780-033-8

    pounds 19.95 when I picked it up. Still essential reading with some minor errors. on losses.

    E ♪
    Rip it up !

  9. #9
    "Shooter" evangilder's Avatar
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    Thanks, I know that sometimes Amazon and Barnes and Noble have deals on used books or listing of people that have books out of print. That's how I got Strangers in a Strange Land.


    > I Support Doug Gilliss <

    For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return. Leonardo Da Vinci

  10. #10
    Senior Member the lancaster kicks ass's Avatar
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    very nice les, thanks!!!

    "Reminds me of the time I sank the Tirpitz" comments a Spitfire pilot, "One pass of course, old boy."

  11. #11
    Junior Member
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    My fathers Halifax was one of those aircraft lost on the Hanau ? raid {an ECM} on Jan 6th . One of 12 aircraft from Foulsham as part of 462 Squadron 100 Group. I am looking for a photo of this aircraft and its crew

  12. #12
    Junior Member
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    just websurfing...and came across the war diary for bomber command.
    My father was the pilot from 100 group lost on the night of 16/17 january 45 flying mosquitos-but he did survive to become a 'guinea pig', even though postumously promoted at the time

  13. #13
    Siggy Master Wurger's Avatar
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    Excellent info and nice pics Lesofprimus.




  14. #14
    the old Sage Erich's Avatar
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    Z5N and Hooter I would be intereted in your fathers last name as well as squadron and code of their Halifax/Mosquito if that could be shared ?

    was the downing the result of German night fighter activities on the dates in 45 ?

    Erich
    Rip it up !

  15. #15
    Senior Member lesofprimus's Avatar
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    Gotta love how this place works sometimes.... 6 months later and 2 guys pop up who are related to some participants, and our resident researcher has the opportunity to get some exact info....



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