The Dambuster Raid
Date: 12th May 1943
Task Organisation: Squadron 617, Leader Guy Gibson
An expedition to German Ruhr valley dams: Möhne, Eder, Sorpe, Bever has been organised for 9pm Sunday 16th May 1943.
Enemy Forces: German Luftwaffe and anti-aircraft guns. Flying over enemy territory.
Friendly Forces: No other Squadron has been assigned.
To destroy the dams using the Highball Bouncing Bombs
Take-off from Scampton at 9pm in Lancaster bombers.
Fly to pre-arranged destination and lower to 60 feet. Set the bomb spinning to 500 rpm and keep bomber at constant speed of 250 mph. Release bomb. If the bomb breaches the dam, code word is Nigger but if it does not breach, code word is Gonner.
The night of the Dambusters Raid was fairly successful. The Möhne Dam was attacked first, but although the first bomb that was dropped fell short of the dam, and another went too far and landed in the valley below, one bomb did sink at the right place and destroy the dam, flooding the valley below. At this dam, a rectangular wedge 250 feet wide and 112 feet deep was torn away from a 50 foot thick wall. The Eder Dam was also breached. The Sorpe Dam however, was very misty and the bombs were used as ordinary bombs and did very little damage.
The operation did not have a hundred percent success rate, and lost many planes and crew. Eight Lancaster bombers and 56 men did not return to Britain.The breached dams did not have very much effect on the German industry and it was not long before the dams were repaired. However, one thing the Dambusters did do was raise the morale of the British which was sorely needed after four years of war. Even if the expedition was only partly successful, at least it had been successful and spurred engineers, including Barnes Wallis himself, and the Services to keep on fighting.
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