On 16 May 1943, nineteen Lancaster aircraft from the RAF’s 617 Squadron set off to attack the great dams in the industrial heart of Germany. Flying at a height of 60ft, they dropped a series of bombs which bounced across the water and destroyed two of their targets, thereby creating a legend. The one-off operation combined an audacious method of attack, technically brilliant flying and visually spectacular results. But while the story of Operation Chastise is well known, most of the 133 ‘Dambusters’ who took part in the Dams Raid have until now been just names on a list. They came from all parts of the UK and the Commonwealth and beyond, and each of them was someone’s son or brother, someone’s husband or father. This is the first book to present their individual stories and celebrate their skill, heroism and, for many, sacrifice.
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The story of all the men who took part in the RAF's most famous bomber operation, the 1943 Dams Raid
In May 1943 a specially established RAF squadron made its permanent imprint on military aviation history by flying a high-risk, low level, nighttime attack against German hydro-electric dams vital to the Nazi armaments industry in the Ruhr Valley. A comparatively tiny part of Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris' four-month-long "Battle of the Ruhr†? this one raid had an impact totally out of proportion to the small number of aircraft involved. It highlights the synergy of science and technology, weapons development and production, mission planning and practice, and the unflinching courage in the execution of a highly dangerous bombing raid. Furthermore, it established a legend that still resonates today.
A brand new history of the Dambusters raid from best-selling and critically acclaimed military historian, Max Hastings.
It was a night that changed the Second World War. The secret air raid against the hydroelectric dams of Germany’s Ruhr River took years to plan, involved an untried bomb and included the best aircrews the RAF Bomber Command could muster—many of them Canadian. The raid marked the first time the Allies successfully took the war inside Nazi Germany. It was a mission that became legendary. On May 16, 1943, nineteen Lancaster bombers filled with 133 airmen took off on a night mission code-named Operation Chastise. Hand-picked and specially trained, the Lancaster crews flew at treetop level to the industrial heartland of the Third Reich and their targets—the Ruhr River dams—whose massive water reservoirs powered Nazi Germany’s military industrial complex. Each Lancaster carried an explosive that, when released just sixty feet over the reservoirs, bounced like a skipping stone to the dam, sank and exploded. The raiders breached two dams and severely damaged a third. The resulting torrent devastated power plants, factories and infrastructure a hundred miles downstream. Every one of the 133 airmen on the mission understood that the odds of survival were low. Of the nineteen bombers outbound, eight did not return. Operation Chastise cost the lives of fifty-three airmen, including fourteen Canadians. Of the sixteen RCAF men who survived, seven received military decorations. Based on personal accounts, flight logs, maps and photographs of the Canadians involved, Dam Busters recounts the dramatic story of these young Commonwealth bomber crews that were tasked with a high-risk mission against an enemy prepared to defend the Fatherland to the death.
This is the story of the authors uncle, David Maltby and the crew with whom he flew on the famous Dam Raid in 1943. Just five months later, on their return from an aborted mission to bomb the Dortmund Ems Canal, they all died when their aircraft went down in the North Sea. Only Davids body was recovered, washed ashore a day later, and identified by his 18 year old sister the authors mother. David was the pilot of the fifth Lancaster, J-Johnny to drop a bomb on the Mhne Dam and cause the final breach in the dam. He was then just 23 years of age, but already had 30 operations and a D.F.C. to his name.This book tells the story of the crew, what made them join the RAF when they new the risk was so high, how fate threw them together, what it was like for one crew to take part in the raid and what happened to them in the five months between Operation Chastise and their deaths. It goes beyond the raid to look at what happened afterwards and how the families left behind were affected. Their sons, brothers and fathers might have become famous but they had to cope with life and loss in the same way as did thousands of other British families.
First published to acclaim in 1982, this was author Alan Cooper's first publication before he went on to become a prolific writer of Aviation history. As we approach the 70th Anniversary of the Dam Buster Raids, this re-print will make a timely addition to the library of any enthusiast wishing to mark the occasion, and any curious readers who wish to expand their knowledge of this key operation in World War II history. Painstaking research went into every aspect of an operation which at the time and ever since has captured the imagination of the world. This forms an evocative history of one of the most successful operations of the Second World War carried out by the famous 617 Squadron led by Guy Gibson. This account includes the whole lead up to the final mission; the development of the bouncing bomb, the forming of 617 Squadron and the intense course of training carried out to make the operation a success. The raid itself is viewed from both British and German camps; many of the aircrew who took part in 617 operations give their accounts, as do several Germans, including Albert Speer, the Armaments minister. There is a remarkable eye-witness account of the raid from a man who was a gunner on the Mohne dam itself, telling of the damage after the raid and how he and his companions shot down one of the attacking aircraft. The investigation is completed by an in-depth study into the effects of the operation, how far it proved successful and the true extent of the devastation it caused. All in all, the book recreates the excitement and aura of danger and uncertainty which surrounded the Dam busters' mission, giving the reader the full story of one of the greatest episodes of the war. 'A fascinating record which will be difficult to better' – Group Captain W.S.O. Randle, Aerospace
Seventy years ago, 133 airmen of 617 Squadron, later known as the Dambusters, set out to destroy the Ruhr Dams in Germany. This one operation amongst many carried out by Bomber Command has become one of the most well known in the whole history of WWII. Indeed, a very successful film was made about it which became a classic, etching the dramatic events of the Dambuster raids in the minds of young and old alike. The book covers every facet of this enthralling episode.??It also works as a poignant tribute to the 53 men who were killed on the operation, as well as the men who returned from the operation but were later killed on further sorties with 617 and other squadrons. Cooper brings together various narrative threads, focussing on stories recorded in document form and acquired on a first-hand basis to give a real insight into the daily operations of the squadron.
Wing Commander Guy Gibson writes affectionately about his beloved aircrews.
The famous dams raid in May 1943 was made possible only by the fusion of cutting-edge technology with the raw courage of a hand-picked squadron of RAF airmen. The incredible bouncing bomb, used to devastating effect by 617 Squadron on the Ruhr dams, was the vanguard of a whole train of technical developments that made this and other precision raids possible. Using the Haynes Manual approach, Iain Murray describes the technology behind the bouncing bomb as well as the heavily modified Lancasters that were used to deliver the weapons.