Big raid on Baltic coast: 41 missing



Big raid on Baltic coast: 41 missing


Newspaper account of Peenemunde operation. Notes attack on secret research and development establishment. Followed United States Fortress attack on Regensburg and Schweinfurt. Desribes all attacks.




Temporal Coverage




One newspaper cutting


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[inserted] EVENING NEWS AUG 18/1943. [/inserted]

R.A.F. SHATTER ’SE[missing letters]


‘Forts’ Wreck Two Other Vital Plants: Berlin Bombed, Too

IN the last 24 hours three huge factories vital to German armaments productions have been shattered by the Allied air forces.

R.A.F. bombers during the night flew to the Baltic coast town of Peenemunde, 60 miles north-west of Stettin, to make a heavy attack in bright moonlight on the “secret” research and development establishment there, the largest of its kind in Germany. Forty-one bombers are missing from the night’s operations.

This attack followed blows by U.S. Flying Fortresses raiding in daylight on –
Regensburg, on the Danube, site of Germany’s second largest aircraft factory, where the latest type of Messerschmitt fighters are made; and

Schweinfurt, 65 miles east of Frankfurt, where there are important ball-bearing works.

After raiding Regensburg the Fortresses flew on another 1,000 miles over the Alps to land at bases in North Africa.

The R.A.F.’s night attack was the first on Peenemunde. The Air Ministry communiqué announcing the raid went on:

[Italics] First reports indicate that the attack was well concentrated. A great number of enemy aircraft were encountered along the route. Several of these were destroyed.

Mosquitoes bombed objectives in Berlin.

Fighter Command intruders carried out many attacks on airfields and railway targets in France, the Low Countries, and North-West Germany. Four enemy aircraft were destroyed. Forty-one bombers and one fighter are missing. [/italics]

The attack on Peenemunde was made in conditions approximating to daylight. Like the U.S. attacks on Schweinfurt and Regensburg, it was a precision attack on a special objective of outstanding importance in the air war. The Peenemunde establishment deals with high-grade development work on aircraft, radiolocation and armaments.

Biggest Day of the War

These latest Allied raids, together with simultaneous attacks carried out yesterday on German airfields in Northern France and on air bases near Marseilles by bombers from North Africa, make up thhe [sic] most intensive day in the air since the war began.

To-day’s German communiqué reporting on the raids, said:

“The enemy dropped a large number of H.E. and incendiary bombs on places on the North German coast during the night. There were civilian casualties. Night fighters and A.A. guns shot down at least 37 aircraft.

“Enemy air formations which flew over Southern Germany in daylight yesterday lost 51 four engined bombers and five fighters. In two South German towns civilians suffered casualties.”

Great Factory in Flames

The attacks by Fortresses on Regensburg and Schweinfurt celebrated the first anniversary of their initial blow at Europe.

Returning crews were jubilant over the results of the attack on Schweinfurt, reporting smoke billowing up to 10,000 feet over the target. A reconnaissance pilot later reported that smoke had risen 20,000 feet and was drifting for 10 miles.

Preliminary reports on Regensburg stated. “Regensburg appears really well pranged. Plenty craters. Smoke issuing from factory buildings.”

The Vital Targets

Brig.-Gen. Frederick L. Anderson, the Commanding General Eighth U.S. Air Force Bomber Command, said this after the raids:

”The recent attacks into Germany surely have caused the enemy to doubt the safety of any part of Axis Europe. Penetrations much deeper than any which some of our critics thought possible were but the beginning of the Daylight Battle of Germany. Germany is now wide open – no part secure.

“Between Our Jaws”

“We have celebrated this anniversary by sending out two large forces of Fortresses deep into Germany. One of these forces is continuing on south, almost a thousand more miles beyond its target, to Africa.

“We have taken up the ‘shuttle service’ across Europe, a service which was started by the R.A.F., but which both Air Forces will now carry out while demonstrating beyond all doubt that the end of German power is but a matter of time.

Allied Air Forces in Africa have now contacted those from England, and German [sic] is between their jaws.

“Although we cannot say that the end actually is in sight, the eventual end, the ultimate collapse of German resistance, due to the ever-spreading bomb cancer, certainly is obvious and inevitable.

“The real results of strategic, precision bombing can never be spectacularly or immediately apparent. But the final effects of the prolonged bombing of this kind are as inevitable as the chain of events necessary to build an enemy aeroplane. We are breaking that chain in several places and many other chains along with it.”


Stockholm. Wednesday. – The Germans regard the Fortress bombardments of French airfields as the prelude to the invasion of France, say Berlin messages. – A.P.



By Our Air Correspondent

THE important tactical feature of the attack on Peenemunde was that it was the first precision attack at night. Unlike the customary practice of saturating a target area embracing many industrial buildings, our bombers went out to bomb one particular building.

Ordinarily, identification of such a selected target at night is very difficult; to pin-point such a target at night it is necessary to wait for such conditions as bright moonlight, which gives an almost daylight effect, and clear weather.

Of course, such conditions have a disadvantage in that they expose our bombers to greater dangers from enemy night fighters. This would account for the losses last night. Peenemunde involves a round trip of nearly 1,300 miles, and our bombers would have had to run the gauntletf [sic] rom [sic] swarms of night fighters operating from the north-west coast of Germany, Denmark, and the whole Baltic area.

Selection of the works at Peenemunde fits into the present policy of reducing the offensive and defensive power of the Luftwaffe by striking at production and operational bases. Radiolocation production has been badly hit by two attacks – one on Friedrichshafen on June 20 and the other on Peenemunde last night.

[italics] Included in the air attacks of the past 36 hours have been raids on airfields and railways in the Calais-Lille-Poix area and other objectives in the Low Countries and North-West Germany. [/italics]


Evening News, “Big raid on Baltic coast: 41 missing,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 20, 2024,

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