The most audacious bombing raid in history is explained in amazing detail within this text. It includes the complex design and testing of Barnes Wallis theories, including dummy runs across English and Scottish lakes and lochs.
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A brand new history of the Dambusters raid from best-selling and critically acclaimed military historian, Max Hastings.
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.
The night of May 16th, 1943. Nineteen specially adapted Lancaster bombers take off from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, each with a huge 9,000lb cylindrical bomb strapped underneath it. Their mission: to destroy three dams deep within the German heartland, which provide the lifeblood to the industries supplying the Third Reich's war machine. From the outset it was an almost impossible task, a suicide mission: to fly low and at night in formationover many miles of enemy-occupied territory at the very limit of the Lancasters' capacity, and drop a new weapon that had never been tried operationally before from a precise height of just sixty feet from the water at some of the most heavily defended targets in Germany. More than that, the entire operation had to be put together in less than ten weeks. When visionary aviation engineer Barnes Wallis's concept of the bouncing bomb was green lighted, he hadn't even drawn up his plans for the weapon that was to smash the dams. What followed was an incredible race against time, which, despite numerous setbacks and against huge odds, became one of the most successful and game-changing bombing raids of all time.
On 17th May 1943 nearly 350 million tonnes of water crashed into the valleys of the Ruhr, when the Lancasters of 617 Squadron breached the giant Moehne and Eder Dams with colossal 'blockbuster' bombs. The Dam Busters is the story of that raid and the squadron who carried it through. It tells how they took out the V3 rocket weapon and destroyed the Tirpitz in a Norwegian fjord. Again and again, the crews of 617 Squadron Bomber Command used their flying skills, their tremendous courage and Barnes Wallis' highly accurate bombs to deal devastating blows to Nazi Germany. This story is one of the classics of the Second World War, a massive bestseller that became a film.
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.
On the night of 16-17 May 1943, nineteen Lancaster bombers from 617 Squadron headed for Germany. Their mission, for which they had been trained under a cloak of absolute secrecy, was to destroy the dams of the Ruhr Valley and in doing so cripple the Nazi industrial war effort. It was to become one of the most famous raids of WW2. For the first time, acclaimed oral historian Max Arthur has gathered together the voices of the 'Dambusters', including Guy Gibson, commander of the mission and Barnes Wallis, who developed the iconic Bouncing Bomb. These voices tell of the hard training and sheer bravery that went into this legendary mission. We also hear from the German civilians who suffered the attack, who speak of the devastation that was wrought in their lives. This was a raid like no other, and in this extraordinary collection Max Arthur has created an enduring record of a unique event in British military history.
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.
Wing Commander Guy Gibson writes affectionately about his beloved aircrews.