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JtD
02-10-2008, 01:43 PM
I'm looking for info about the participating bomber command units, preferably down to individual planes. Is there a good website around? I had a bomber command website, but the interesting part is no longer online.

JtD
02-10-2008, 01:43 PM
I'm looking for info about the participating bomber command units, preferably down to individual planes. Is there a good website around? I had a bomber command website, but the interesting part is no longer online.

Low_Flyer_MkIX
02-10-2008, 01:50 PM
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/UK-RAF-I/index.html

Might help.

leitmotiv
02-10-2008, 09:11 PM
I can send you a bibliography and scans of just what you need---will have to do it in a few hours, though!

leitmotiv
02-10-2008, 09:17 PM
P.S. not many know the Wellington IA in the Brooklands Museum was a survivor of the 18 Dec 1939 debacle.

leitmotiv
02-11-2008, 05:42 AM
From FLEDGLING EAGLES (Shores), pages 148-49:

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s261/G6AS/bight003.jpg

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s261/G6AS/bight004.jpg

From BOMBING COLOURS (1937-1973 volume) (Bowyer), pages 52 and 57:

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s261/G6AS/bight001.jpg

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s261/G6AS/bight002.jpg

leitmotiv
02-11-2008, 05:59 AM
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Fortunately there are some good accounts of the Dec 1939 daylight missions into the Bight. The best narrative is in Hastings' BOMBER COMMAND, pages 22-35. He notes the leader of 9 Squadron was charged with "lack of interest" (cowardice) for apparently trying to run away (he was shot down in flames) (pages 28 and 34). See also FLEDGLING EAGLES (Shores), pages 124-150. For a superb pilot's account see: WELLINGTON: THE GEODETIC GIANT (Bowman), pages 22-30.

JtD
02-11-2008, 08:56 AM
Hey guys, thanks a lot. I hope you didn't hurt your books with the red pen just for me, leitmotiv.

The issue that makes me curious is the amount of overclaim on the German side. In the previous raids, they were overclaiming by the usual 25-50%, but here it is about 200%.

And then, at least during the war, the British officials were quite reluctant to admit the losses, initially they published a figure of 7 ac missing.

Now assuming that there really were 10 (or even 12) bombers shot down (which seems to be backed up by every source I can find/you showed), how did the Germans come up with 34 claims (27 confirmed)?

Maybe everyone who took a shot at a specific bomber would later, when it went down due to accumulated damage, claim it individually?

Also, why did the German spotters report a formation of 44 planes attacking (which happens to be exactly twice as many as the Bomber Command records indicate)? Did they have too much Schnaps? Or did two guys report and the commanding officer added the numbers up in error?

Would it, in theory, have been possible for the RAF to launch a 44 plane formation? Were there enough Wellingtons around? If so, why would they do so, all previous attacks were at a much smaller scale? There was no specific target assigned, just go for the German coast and sink a few ships. leitmotivs book above calls it armed recon. Why'd you do that with 44 planes?

You know, I found a quote in a book that reads "a disaster the bomber command is denying up to present day". Huh? But all the guy wrote to backup that claim were German reports. That's a bit thin, imho.

I'm afraid I have to get some books...

JG53Frankyboy
02-11-2008, 09:10 AM
i guess the business of serious airfighting was still to new and all soldiers who took part were even more excited about what happened...................

leitmotiv
02-11-2008, 09:36 AM
There are no tracks for cool and calm analysis after a real battle. Excitement accounts for errors---perfectly honest errors---fighters see a bomber smoking assume it is doomed---ditto for bomber gunners with fighters. Bomber Command was seriously threatened by this debacle. They had sold the government on the turreted Wellington in formation as being invulnerable to fighters. It was not! They had sold the Wellington as a ship killer. It was not! (until they started operating from Malta with two torpedoes in 1942). Furthermore, a Sqd-Ldr ditched his formation at full throttle and pulled considerably away from them. Another leader did the same. This was a rout, an aerial equivalent of a broken square in an 18th century land battle. The squadron which maintained perfect, tight formation had one out of six shot down, and several arrive back at base in very bad shape. According to theory, it should have come through in perfect condition. This equalled a public relations disaster for Bomber Command with the government, for the RAF, and for the British. The Germans were not used to aerial battles, lacked gun cameras, and were excited. They were clearly beating the heck out of weapons which were supposed to be formidable. Imagine the glee and relief. Unarmored German fighters were vulnerable to the Wellingtons' .303 bullets. To come through a brawl alive, and maybe having seen a Wellington hit by your fire would have been extremely exciting and confusing.

JtD
02-11-2008, 01:03 PM
Well, I can understand that the claims the German fighters made are off. There were other instances in the war were the error was equally large.

It is a bit of a mystery to me, however, how a spotter on the ground, having all the time he needs, can estimate/count twice the number of planes that are actually there. It's not really hard to count to 22.

What type of formation did the BC use? Double V?

Xiolablu3
02-11-2008, 02:50 PM
Guys, could you tell me what battle this was?

What was the General Aim of the mission, and was it conducted in daylight with no fighter escort?

Bewolf
02-11-2008, 02:55 PM
AFAIK these were raids along the german coast when the war started by the british, targeting mainly industrial areas and the Kriegsmarine, with very low success and high losses.

Xiolablu3
02-11-2008, 03:00 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Bewolf:
AFAIK these were raids along the german coast when the war started by the british, targeting mainly industrial areas and the Kriegsmarine, with very low success and high losses. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thanks for that..

I was just a bit surprised to see Bomber ops in 1939. I thought the RAF had mostly dropped leaflets up until the end of the 'Phoney War'.

leitmotiv
02-11-2008, 04:17 PM
Bomber Command operated constantly by day in the North Sea and in the vicinity of the naval bases at Kiel and Wilhelmshaven. The government had imposed rules of engagement on Bomber Command, at the urging of FDR, which denied them the ability to attack targets on the German mainland (except for the seaplane bases at Borkum and Sylt). Both sides played by these rules until the flattening of Rotterdam---then the RAF was turned loose on German mainland targets.

On 18 Dec 1939, the Wellingtons were in a massive diamond formation, which had come unglued after flak and fighter attack. Each carried three 500-lb SAP bombs. The bombs were not dropped because all the ship targets were moored at wharves in harbor.

Except for landing a bomb on a small auxiliary and ineffectively hitting the refitting SCHEER with bombs which bounced off, these patrols accomplished nothing, and resulted in bombers being knocked down like ninepins on occasion.

Bomber Command did not give up on daylight attacks with the big mediums (Wellingtons and Hampdens) until the Battle of France. Bomber Command attempted daylight attacks again in 1941 against Brest (SCHARNHORST, GNEISENAU, PRINZ EUGEN, HIPPER), and in 1942, with the brand new Lancasters, against targets deep in Germany.