Raid Assessments



Raid Assessments


Five raid assessments carried out at RAF Spilsby. Detail of problems encountered in each operation. Final sheet is an extract from Operations Record Book by three different Lancasters.


IBCC Digital Archive




Steve Baldwin


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13 photocopied sheets




Temporal Coverage


[underlined] RAID ASSESS )MENT MEETING. HELD ON 10th. FEB/45 [/underlined]
[underlined] LADBERGEN. 7/8th. February 1945. [/underlined]
C.O. [missing letters]over details of weather experienced. Cloud possibly made attack ineffective and in any case difficult to assess results.
Defences stronger than previously.
[underlined] S/L.ROSSIETTER. [/underlined] 44/E. was cancelled due to defective spark-ing plugs in port outer engine.
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] In the case of “probable” A/C. “made up” crews are to be allotted to the A/C which is most likely to become serviceable.

[underlined] GARDENING (Forget-me-nots). 7/8th. Feb/45. [/underlined]
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] Not satisfactory attack. Training thought to be insufficient or faulty.
[underlined] F/O.STANCER. (207 Squadron). [/underlined] One crew took wrong reference point.
44 Squadron crews – Faulty camera manipulation and P. .I. photographs only taken of vicinity and not yet plotted, 44/C landed away.
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] 44/C landed Carnaby. Why?
[underlined] S/L.FERGUSON. [/underlined] 44/C landed Carnaby with engine u/s. Had three good engines and no apparent reason for landing away.
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] Will S/L.Ferguson supply reason for 44/c landing away?
I will speak to Squadron Commanders after this meeting to discuss methods to raise standard of gardening.

[underlined] POLITZ. 8/9th. Feb/45. [/underlined]
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] No. 1 Group attacking later say target was a mass of flames looking as if our attack was successful. However, 50% of photographs which were plotted reveal errors of over 1.000 yards. Possibly errors were caused by enemy decoy markers.
One crew bombed direct without having run up on markers and another bombed on wrong heading.
[underlined] W/C.BLACK. [/underlined] These were pilot’s errors due to new inexperienced crews who have been spoken to on the matter and are unlikely to repeat the errors. In the second case he did not continue his turn after passing over T.I’s to get on correct heading. When B/A said “Now” pilot straightened out without attempting to correct heading.
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] Flak over Sweden increased. One A/C seen shot down over Sweden.
[underlined] S/L.HARISON. [/underlined] Possibly lowest we’ve been over Sweden.
[underlined] W/C.BLACK. [/underlined] Crews reported definitely shot at.
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] In future consider Swedish flak at Flight Planning. There were two early returns. 1.u/s Bombsight. 2. u/s Oil Gauge. 207/L.
[underlined] P/O.YOUNG. [/underlined] Servicibility [sic] of instruments is mentioned at briefings
[page break]
[underlined] RAID ASSESSMENT MEETING. 10/2/45. [/underlined] (continued) [underlined] SHEET. 2. [/underlined]

[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] One A/C of 44 Squadron abortive as late.
[underlined] S/L [missing word]. [/underlined] This was due to faulty D.R.Navigation.

[underlined] GENERAL. [/underlined]

[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] Overshoots. Crews to be reminded that they may have to return and land on shorter runway. Some crews seem to think that call-up height is 1.200 ft instead of correct height of 2.000 ft. Some crews landing without R.T.
[underlined] F/L.DOUGHTY. [/underlined] Caused by window as A/C are coming back with window on aerial. A/C unable to “get through” without aerial and would not know of u/s aerial until return.
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] 44 Squadron Gunners are letting off rounds on airfields. S/LFERGUSON to report.
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] Five crews from each Squadron to be detailed for E.T.R. procedure and for wind finding.
Any improvement in number of crews using H2S ?
[underlined] F/O.WALLACE. [/underlined] Only four or five crews from each Squadron.
[underlined] [missing letter]/L.BAUD. [/underlined] Low level of return was reason for not using H2S on last operation.
[underlined] F/O.WALLACE. [/underlined] The only way we can test the instrument is by operation in the air. Therefore it is essential that H2S be tested in air whenever possible.
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] It is now to be an [underlined] order [/underlined] that crews use H2S whenever possible.
[page break]
[inserted] File [/inserted]
[underlined] RAID ASSESSMENT MEETING. 16th. FEBRUARY 1945. [/underlined]
[underlined] ROSITA – 14/15th. FEB/45. [/underlined]
1. [underlined] C.O. [/underlined] There was delay in take-off caused by Navigators waiting for Met. winds.
[underlined] F/O.STEELE. [/underlined] Amendment to winds came through late and had to be written on blackboards in briefing rooms.
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] If amendment to Met. winds comes through before one hour previous to “first time off” then it is in order to pass the information to Navigators direct. Amendments coming through within one hour of take-off are to be referred to the station Navigation Office-r [sic] for him to decide whether the information is sufficiently important to be passed to crews.
2. [underlined] C.O. [/underlined] Further delay caused by an A/C. becoming bogged, due to standing on a French drain. Crews are not to stop on these drains.
[underlined] S/L.HOWES. [/underlined] Captain of this A/C. has been spoken to on the matter.
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] Two tractors should have been there.
[underlined] S/L.GARDINER. [/underlined] Tankers were sent first, then second tractor sent.
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] Drill should be to turn A/C. immediately, in view of uncertainty as to speed with which bogged A/C. can be moved.
[underlined] W/C.NEWMARSH. [/underlined] Suggested not too long a line of A/C. be allowed to build up between end of runway and intersection.
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] Agreed! 4-5 A/C. a suitable number. Will speakto [sic] S/LDR.Gardiner about this.
3. [underlined] C.O. [/underlined] These delays resulted in only 8 A/C. of 44 Squadron and 11 of 207 Squadron doing support run over target.
4. There were three early returns in 207 Squadron, crews having been instructed to return from Position ‘C’ if there was no chance of making up time.
[underlined] S/L.HOWES. [/underlined] F/O’s Howard and [indecipherable word] could not have made up time and were justified in returning. Not so in the case of F/[missing letter].Downing.
F/O.Howard was the only one to attempt to cut across over LONDON area, or to East of LONDON. It is thought that it would be helpful if a ruling could be obtained as to whether it is permissible for late A/C. to do this.
[underlined] S/L.HARRISON AND S/L.GARDINER. [/underlined] Prior/clearance would be necessary.
5. [underlined] C.O. [/underlined] Supporting A/C. were affected by icing on Perspex having come down through cloud to bombing height.
[underlined] S/L.FERGUSON. [/underlined] This/icing was not severe and should have cleared before bombing.
[underlined] F/O.BAKER. [/underlined] Thought crews slow to use de-icing equipment. Possibily [sic] forgot to use it.
[page break]
[underlined] Page 2. [/underlined]
[underlined] HARBURG. [/underlined] (1) Marking carried out slightly too early controller ordering “Come in and bomb” at H-3. Winds were passed at H-5. The fact that some crews arrived early increased time over target. Heavy losses due to fighters – 13 in Group, 2 from this Station.
(2) F/Lt.Linnett reported that three aircraft of 207 Squadron had large errors shown by photographs but this was due to pilots carrying out turns at the time of photograph, to avoid other aircraft.
(3) 44 Bombing Leader said that several aircraft had difficulty in keeping straight and level after bombing for this reason.
(4) Headings in 44 Squadron were mainly O.K. 207/H attacked practically on reciprocal of correct heading W/Op had difficulty with W.T. and had to rely on “magic eye”.
(5) S/Ldr.[indecipherable name] thought routeing over Hamburg may have upset headings.
(6) 207/V had no photograph of bombing as film was expended during jettison action on way to target. This action was necessary to reduce load owing to engine trouble.

[underlined] TAXYING. [/underlined] (1) C.O. stated that taxying of both squadrons is still too fast owing to aircraft leaving dispersals too late.
This possibly due to crews not entering aircraft early enough. They should be in aircraft 10 minutes before time to leave. a contributory cause may be that first aircraft off is taking off too soon.
[underlined] R.T. DISCIPLINE. [/underlined]
(1) C.O. stated that R.T. discipline bad and that too much chattering is going on.

[underlined] E.R.T. and LANDING PROCEDURE. [/underlined]
(1) 207 Squadron aircraft have been returning early possibly due to desire to get back “while the going’s good”.
S/Ldr.[indecipherable name] said that crews while willing to adjust speed are disinclined to carry out “dog-legs”.
[page break]
[underlined] Page 3. [/underlined]
[underlined] E.R.T. and LANDING PROCEDURE (contd). [/underlined]
(2) C.O. reported that last return was complete shambles. This was thought to be due to0 the Funnel not being switched on rather than the fact that lighting was originally on quarter strength. Crews must have [missing letter].D.M. set on D.R. compass. S/Ldr.Ferguson had [missing letter].D.M. set O.K. and found runway alright although lighting was rather dim and aircraft on [indecipherable word] looked bright by comparison. He had to overshoot twice owing to being too close to other aircraft. Aerodrome was visible at distance of 10 miles at 2000 ft although not recognisable. S/Ldr.Ferguson considered quarter strength sufficient on a dark night.

[underlined] R/T. FAILURES. [/underlined]
(1) F/Lt.Doughty said all failures were due to loss of aerials. W/Op should go over to 1155 and briefed each time to do this. It takes 3 minutes to change over.
(2) W/Cmdr.Newmarsh and S/Ldr.Bird considered 1155 unsatisfactory owing to background of noise and suggest such aircraft wait until other aircraft have landed. C.O. ruled that crews must go over to Marconi and if reception is not good enough then wait until end.
(3) W/Cmdr.Newmarsh said that one of the main troubles is that crews do not realise soon enough that R/T is not working properly.
[page break]
[underlined] RAID ASSESSMENT MEETING. 16th. FEBRUARY 1945. [/underlined]
[underlined] DRESDEN – 13/14th. FEB/45 [/underlined]

1. [underlined] C.O. [/underlined] There was one swing on take-off (F/O.Craig of 44 Squadron). Caused by starboard inner engine failure. Odd that this should result in a swing to port.
[underlined] S/L.FERGUSON. [/underlined] F/O.Craig reports that he had full rudder control. Possibily [sic] he anticipated starboard inner engine cutting(because fuel lights came on) thereby causing swing to port.
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] Squadron Commanders to brief crews concerning swings on take-off, particularly with regard to slow opening of throttles and straightening of tail wheel.
2. [underlined] C.O. [/underlined] E.T.R. procedure went wrong. E.T.R. had to be amended to 0308. In the case of the ROSITZ raid the following night, the E.T.R. again had to be amended and 7 crews from this station did not receive the amendment. This was due to non-compliance with instructions to return Group Frequency for second broadcast and presumably crews assumed there would be no amendment. E.T.R. discipline evidently slacking off,
[underlined] W/C.NEWMARSH. [/underlined] Found to be well ahead of Flight Plan timing on return trip. Possibly due to fairly prolonged period of increased speed at time of “coming down in steps”.
[underlined] P/O.STANCER. [/underlined] Thought to be better to keep to Flight Plan [underlined] timing [/underlined], unless it becomes necessary to reduce speed by more than 5-10 mph, in which case it would be preferable to keep to planned [underlined] speeds [/underlined].
[underlined] S/L.HOWES. [/underlined] Considered crews are trying to keep to E.T.R. procedure but that they are experiencing difficulty. Scheme would work successfully if it were a question of keeping to either Flight Plan times [underlined] OR [/underlined] speeds.
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] F/O. Stancer to take this matter up with Group using the ROSITZ operation as an example.
3. [underlined] F/O.STANCER. [/underlined] Crews are now operating H2S wherever possible.
4. [underlined] S/L. GARDINER. [/underlined] Some crews are still entering circuits below 2000 ft.
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] Further briefing on this point is necessary in view of call-up height having been 1200 ft some time previously.
5. [underlined] S/L.HARRISON. [/underlined] Read over P.R.U. report confirming that this operation was successful.
6. [underlined] C.O. [/underlined] Still reports of incendiary bombs being jettisoned on track.
[underlined] S/L.FERGUSON. [/underlined] Crews were specifically briefed again about keeping bomb doors closed. No reports of jettisoned I/B’s after ROSITZ attack. Always reported after Incendiary attacks.
[page break]
[underlined] Raid Assessment Meeting. 16th. February 1945. (contd) SHEET 2. [/underlined]
6. [underlined] C.O. [/underlined] Fighter activity again slight.
[underlined] F/L.CLARKE. [/underlined] Two combats in 44 Squadron. One A/C. reporting a S/E. A/C. carrying diffused light in belly presumably for the purpose of blinding bomber crews.
7. [underlined] C.O. [/underlined] A lot of dust is present on the runways.
[underlined] S/L.GARDINER. [/underlined] Runways are brushed once a fortnight, difficulty being experienced in obtaining a driver from M.T. Section. The top surface is in need of repair.
[underlined] C.O. [/underlined] See about getting a driver from M.T. Also see that a Control Officer goes round the airfield half an hour before take-off to ensure it is cleared of workmen.

[inserted] [INTELLIGENCE stamp] [/inserted]
[page break]
[underlined] RAID ASSESSMENT MEETING 9 th MARCH 1945. [/underlined]
DEFECTS: (1) S/L Rossiter mentioned that engine defects usually occur between 360 – 395 hours. Engine defects not considered to be due to bad handling by flight engineers.
[inserted vertically] [INTELLIGENCE stamp] [/inserted vertically]
(2) 207/H D.R. compass U/S owing to break in supply lead due to being struck or hung on by someone. Pilot had experienced slight trouble with it before, but did not consider it sufficiently serious to report. W/C Black to interview this Pilot.
(3) 44/C Compass U/S due to failure of master unit. This had been reported 3 days previously..Caused Pilot to fly over Rhur [sic] and run the gauntlet of considerable Flak defences. Eventually he had to return without bombing.
(4) 44/M Crew reported failure of bomb release mechanism. W/C Newmarsh said electrical section unable to discover any technical failure. S/L Bird of the opinion that crew did not carry out drill correctly owing to excitement.
(5) 207/X Had valve trouble on Gee indicator.
(6) One mine hung up. Orders are that a percentage check of mines loaded is to be carried out.

SASSNITZ. (1) Gardening errors were high. F/O.Stancer reported that crews did not obtain best possible photographs. On this occasion they were briefed by F/Sgt.Bremage and F/O. Baker. F/Lt.Linnett mentioned that all new crews are lectured on the camera and its use. Crew of 44/Q did not carry out correct drill which is marked on the camera. This crew mined successfully on the previous gardening operation. Commanding Officer pointed out that it is finally the responsibility of the Bombing or Gardening Leader that the release points are correctly worked out.
(2) Swedish flak reported by W/Cmdr.Newmarsh to be less than encountered on previous operations. S/Ldr.Harrison pointed out that searchlights apparently more active this time.
[page break]
[underlined] RAID ASSESSMENT MEETING. 23rd MARCH 1945. [/underlined]
[indecipherable word] 20/21 March, 1945.
1) C.O. went over Flight Plan which seemed to have been correct strategy.

2) S/Ldr. BAUD reported three small deviations from Flt. Plan by 44/[indecipherable letter]-F/L.JORY, 44/N – P/O.DALTON, 44/A – F/O. WALKER. F/L. JORY denied that he was 500 ft. below planned height in front line area. S/Ldr. BAUD said that where Captains and Navigators disagree , there is no alternative but to take the written evidence of the Navigator.
CO., ruled that Navigator must use Captains readings. CO., remarked thatin [sic] this instance it appeared that some crews had commenced descent slightly too soon and that it is very important to keep correct heights, particularly over front line areas.

3) S/Ldr. BAUD reported one slight deviation in 207 Squdn. By 207/V – F/Lt. VERRALLS who was too high at 090E. This was justifiable as the purpose was to gain cloud cover.

4) CO., remarked that the T.I’s on the spoof target of HALLE were inaccurate and F/LO. LINNETT said they were 4 miles West of the Town.

5) F/Lt. LEATHER reported that some crews on BOHLEN bombed early. Squadron Bombing Leaders reported that [indecipherable word] from Spilsby did this.

6) C.O. mentioned that attack was successful. The value of bombing photographs was instanced in this raid as it was immediately apparent that it was unnecessary to attack BOHLEN again the succeeding night.

7) Intruder activity ceased at 22.45 and did not, after all, interfere with take – off at 23.15.

8) F/O.KING, 2078 Squadron, reported that in each of the last two operations M.T.drivers had no clue as to the positions of the dispersals. C.O. ruled that new drivers are not to be put on night duty.

9) S/Ldr.BAUD reported that majority of crews endeavour to keep to E.T.R.
But two or three are not doing so. On This operation three of 44 Squadron were back early and one was late, five of 207 Squadron were in excess of 7 minutes one way or the other.
C.O. remarked that it will be necessary to order early crews to “Bograt”.

10) S/Ldr.GARDNER reported that Control had no difficulties on this night. S/Ldr.BIRD said that Channel “B” was noisy. C.O. said that take-off was slow.

S/Ldr.BAUD said track keeping was mostly O.K. Winds were the main snag. 207/X was late in spite of having flown correct speeds. The A.S.I. is being checked but no report yet received. Different crews had experienced the same trouble with the same aircraft.

[underlined] “HAMBURG D.P.A.G.” [/underlined] 21/22 March, 1945.

1) C.O. went over Flight Plan. Question was raised at Flight Planning as to whether it would be better to come down to 3-5000 feet over Kiel Canal or keep high and risk fighters. A.O.C. decided to accept risk of light flak. Some crews experienced considerable light flak over the canal and others none – possibly due to patchy cloud conditions. One Ju.88 was seen over Hamburg and another enemy aircraft before the target was reached.
[page break]
[underlined] Page 2. [/underlined]
2) Engineering Officer reported flak damage to 44/J and 44/H.

3) F/Lt.JORY saw one aircraft crash in Kiel Canal area. Aircraft concerned was to starboard of track.

4) C.O. and S/Ldr.FERGUSON discussed the difficulty caused because one aircraft in target area had V.H.F. on “transmit”.

5) P/O.JONES reported that all 44 Squadron bombed as planned. F/Lt.LINNETT said two crews of 207 Squadron bombed direct. W/Cmdr.BLACK had told these crews that bombing is to be as planned unless instructions are received to the contrary.

6) C.O. remarked that most photographs were good. S/Ldr.BIRD said one crew of 44 Squadron had 6000 yards undershoot due to trouble with the bombsight which the Bomb Aimer could not correct. F/Lt.LINNETT explained that one error (2700 yards undershoot) was due to photograph being affected by the aircraft being in a dive, also due to over anxiety of new crew.

7) S/Ldr.FERGUSON reported difficulty in climbing to specified bombing height adding that he just reached correct height in time and that he was in a lower height band than some.
S/Ldr.BAUD reported that 4 crews from this Station bombed below correct height. Wind velocity in target area was 3300/50 i.e. from port quarter.

[underlined] DEFECTS. [/underlined]

1) F/Lt.KENNEDY reported one early return (44/Y) due to U/S rear turret. Caused by small hole in main pressure gauge pipe resulting from chaffing. This is inspected at every minor inspection. MA.P. have the matter in hand.

2) Engineering Officer reported an early return (44/S) due to loss of oil pressure and coolant overheating. The overheating was due to radiator flap being closed but no cause can be found for the other defect. Pilot (F/Lt. SIMONS) said gauge read zero. The gauge is serviceable.

3) F/Lt. HERBERT reported one A/C had trouble with Master Bomb Switch which, having been checked “on” was subsequently found to be knocked “off”. Thought to be caused by Engineer knocking the switch while in the act of windowing. 44/A – F/O. WALKER struck sea on way back. No instrument failure evident. S/Ldr. BIRD said it was due to “low flying”.
S/Ldr. BAUD said 44 Squadron were under a misapprehension as to the purpose of the master bombing switch which should be always be locked “ON” except in certain circumstances. C.O. ruled that instructions should be given at Navigators Briefing.

4) F/Lt. HERBERT said that ultra – violet lighting in aircraft, though not required at present may be necessary in future.

[page break]
(Date) 2/3.2.45 (Aircraft Type & Number) Lancaster I PD.782(Crew) F/O. CHAMBERS F.E., Sgt. Tait A, Sgt. Davies J.H., F/Sgt. Mirfin R.J., Sgt. Jewish W.H.R., Sgt. Sutherland D, F/Sgt. Walsh D.W.A. (Duty) Bombing (Time Up) 20.26 (Time Down) 03.46 (Details of Sortie or Flight) [underlined] BOMBING ATTACK KARLSRHUE. [/underlined] Bomb load 1 x 4000 Minol + 1800 x 4 lb incendiaries. 10/10th cloud over target. Target identified by one big red glow from fires. Bombed at 23.31 hrs. from 13.000 ft. heading 1100 IAS.175 mph. Centre of red glow + basic delay of 8 secs. One big glow. One green T.I. and two reds seen going down many miles to port. High oil temperature on both outer engines. This delayed us. Engine trouble prevented us from catching up withthe [sic] main bombing force in time to the supporting run and also from reaching the bombing height laid down – 16.000 feet. SORTIE COMPLETED. (Reference) 1 [deleted] 4 [/deleted]

(Date) 7/8.2.45 (Aircraft Type & Number) Lancaster I LL.902 (Crew) F/O. Watters. D.R., Sgt. Henderson J., Sgt. Stewart J.M., Sgt. Moore R., Sgt. Staveaz M.E., Sgt. Verney E., Sgt. Watkins. C.H. (Duty) Bombing (Time Up) 20.52 (Time Down) 03.23 (Details of Sortie or Flight) [underlined] BOMBING ATTACK LADBERGEN. [/underlined] Bomb load 14 x 1000 MC. Fzd. 8/10th. St. Cu. Tops 8-10.000’. Target identified by illuminating flares: Red and Green T.I.’s: Gee. Bombed at 00.02 1/2 hours from 11.500 ft. heading 0640 IAS. 160 m.p.h. Glow of red T.I.S.’s (Controller instructed “bomb first red T.I. as you go in”). SORTIE COMPLETED. (Reference) 1 [deleted] 4 [/deleted]

(Date) 7/ [sic] (Aircraft Type & Number) Lancaster I PA.183 (Crew) F/O.Chambers, Sgt. Taito A., Sgt. Davies J.A., F/Sgt. Mirfin R.J., Sgt. Jewiss W.H.R., Sgt. Sutherland D., F/Sgt. Walsh D.W.A. (Duty) Bombing (Time Up) 20.59 (Time Down) 03.35 (Details of Sortie or Flight) [underlined] BOMBING ATTACK LADBERGEN. [/underlined] Bomb load 14 x 1000 MC. Fzd. 53A 10/10ths cloud. Target identified by two Red and Green T.I.’s Gee. Bombed at 00.04 hrs. from 10.000’ heading 0420 IAS. 180 mph. Westerly red T.I. In cloud until 10 sec. before release. Observation impossible. Defences considerably stopped [sic] up. SORTIE COMPLETED. (Reference) 1 [deleted] 4 [/deleted]



“Raid Assessments,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed March 20, 2019,

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