Operation order for Eder, Möhne and Sorpe operation and other details

SBrennanJ1210913v20005-00080002.pdf

Title

Operation order for Eder, Möhne and Sorpe operation and other details

Description

5 Group operation order No B.976. Provides explanation for attack on Ruhr Dams, enemy defences, 20 special Lancaster from 617 Squadron, routes to be flown by all three waves. Goes on with detailed plan of attack, method and timing. Continues with diversions, armament all fitted with UPKEEP bombs, fuel, navigation, secrecy, reports, special devices, intercommunication details and other orders. Maps of routes, 617 Squadron night flying programme for night 16 May 1943 with crews listed. Diagram of attack against dams. Extract from operations record book for month of May 1943 with summary of operation carried out by squadron 16/17 May 1943. Extract from London Gazette citation for Guy Gibson giving details of his service career and accomplishments.

Creator

Date

1943-05-16
1943-05-28

Temporal Coverage

Language

Format

Fourteen pages of photocopied printed and typewritten documents

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Rights

This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Contributor

Identifier

SBrennanJ1210913v20005-00080002

Transcription

[underlined] MOST SECRET [/underlined]
COPY NO . . . .

[underlined] NO. 5 GROUP OPERATION ORDER NO. B.976 [/underlined]

APPENDIX ‘A’ – ROUTES AND TIMINGS [stamp] TOP SECRET [/stamp]

APPENDIX ‘B’ – SIGNALS PROCEDURE FOR TARGET DIVERSIONS, ETC

APPENDIX ‘C’ – LIGHT AND MOON TABLES

[underlined] INFORMATION [/underlined].

[underlined] General [/underlined].

1. The inhabitants and industry of the Ruhr rely to a very large extent on the enormously costly water barrage dams in the Ruhr District. Destruction of TARGET X alone would bring about a serious shortage of water for drinking purposes and industrial supplies. This shortage might not be immediately apparent but would certainly take effect in the course of a few months. The additional destruction of one or more of the five major dams in the Ruhr Area would greatly increase the effect and hasten the resulting shortage. TARGET Z is next in importance.

2. A substantial amount of damage would be done, and considerable local flooding would be caused immediately consequent on the breach of TARGET X. In fact it might well cause havoc in the Ruhr valley. There would be a large loss of cooling water for the large thermal plants.

3. In the Weser District the destruction of the TARGET Y would seriously hamper transport in the Mittelland Canal and in the Weser, and would probably lead to an almost complete cessation of the great volume of traffic now using these waterways.

4. The reservoirs usually reach their maximum capacity in May or June, after which the level slowly falls.

[underlined] Enemy Defences [/underlined].

5. (a) [underlined] TARGET X [/underlined].
There are three subjects on the crest of the dam which may each be a light A.A. gun. A light 3-gun A.A. position is situated below and to the N. of the dam with a possible searchlight position nearby. A double line boom with timber spreaders is floating on the main reservoir at 100 to 300 feet from the dam. No other A.A. position or defence installation is known.

(b) [underlined] TARGETS Y and Z [/underlined].
Information about the defences of these two dams will be given when P.R.U. sorties have covered these areas. (Information has now been issued).

(c) The last resort targets are unlikely to be defended.

[underlined] INTENTION [/underlined]

6. To breach the following dams in order of priority as listed:
(a) TARGET ‘X’ (GO 939)
(b) TARGET ‘Y’ (GO 934)
(c) TARGET ‘Z’ (GO 960)
(d) Last Resort Targets:-
(i) TARGET ‘D’ (GO 938)
(ii) TARGET ‘E’ (GO 935)
(iii) TARGET ‘F’ (GO 933)

/EXECUTION . . . .

[page break]

[underlined] EXECUTION [/underlined]
[stamp] TOP SECRET [/stamp]

[underlined] Code Name [/underlined].

7. This operation will be known by a code name which will be issued separately.

[underlined] Date of Attack [/underlined].

8. The operation is to take place on the first suitable date after 15th May, 1943.

[underlined] Effort [/underlined].

9. Twenty Special Lancasters from 617 Squadron.

[underlined] Outline Plan [/underlined].

10. The twenty special Lancasters of 617 Squadron are to fly from base to target area and return in moonlight at low level by the routes given in APPENDIX ‘A’. The Squadron is to be divided into three waves, viz:-

(a) [underlined] 1st Wave [/underlined]. Is to consist of three sections, spaced at ten minute intervals, each section consisting of three aircraft. They are to take the Southern route to the target area and attack Target X. the attack is to be continued until the Dam has been clearly breached. It is estimated that this might require three effective attacks. When this has been achieved the leader is to divert the remainder of this wave to Target Y, where similar tactics are to be followed. Should both X and Y be breached any remaining aircraft of this wave are to attack Z.

(b) [underlined] 2nd Wave [/underlined]. Is to consist of five aircraft manned by the specially trained crews who are to take the Northern route to the target, but are to cross the enemy coast at the same time as the leading section of the 1st wave. This 2nd wave are to attack Target Z.

(c) [underlined] 3rd Wave [/underlined]. Is to consist of the remaining aircraft and is to form an airborne reserve under the control of Group H.Q. They are to take the Southern route to the target but their time of take-off is to be such that they may be recalled before crossing the enemy coast if the 1st and 2nd waves have breached all the targets.

Recall will probably not be possible unless the first section of the 1st Wave are at POSITION 51°51’ N., 03°00’E. by Civil Twilight (EVENING) + 30 minutes and the 3rd Wave must be at this position 2 hours 30 minutes later. Orders will be passed to aircraft on the Special Group frequency if possible before they reach the enemy coast instructing them which target they are to attack. Failing receipt of this message aircraft are to proceed to X, Y and finally last resort targets in that order, attacking any which are not breached. Officer Commanding, R.A.F. Station, Scampton, is to arrange for individual aircraft to be detailed to specific last resort targets.

[underlined] Detailed Plan [/underlined].

11. the 1st Wave is to take off in three sections each of three aircraft and fly to the target at low level by the route given in Appendix ‘A’. Sections are to be spaced at intervals of ten minutes and are to fly in open formation. Height is not to exceed 1,500 feet over England. On leaving the English Coast aircraft are to descend to low level and set their altimeters to 60 feet using the Spotlight Altimeter for calibration. The QFF at various stages of the route is to be carefully noted. Aircraft are to remain at low level for the Flight to the target and on the return journey at least until crossing a point 03°00’E.

[page break]

– 3 –
[stamp] TOP SECRET [/stamp]

as low as possible both going in and coming out ever if it is necessary to climb a little later for map reading.

13. On arriving at a point 10 miles from the target the leader of each section is to climb to about 1,000 feet. On seeing this all other aircraft are to listen out on V.H.F. Each aircraft is to call the leader of the Wave on V.H.F. on arriving at the target. Spinning of the special store is to be started ten minutes before each aircraft attacks. The leader is to attack first and is then to control the attacks on TARGETS X and Y by all the other aircraft of the 1st Wave using the Signals procedure given in APPENDIX ‘B’.

14. Number 2 of the leading section of the 1st Wave is to act as deputy leader for the whole of the 1st Wave during the attack on TARGET X. Should the leader fall out No. 2 of the leading section is to take over leadership, and No. 3 deputy leadership, for the attack of TARGET X. For the attack of TARGET Y Number 4 is to take over deputy leadership, or if No. 1 is absent he is to take over leadership, in which event No. 7 is to be the deputy leader. All other aircraft are to return by Route 1, the second three by Route 2 and the last three aircraft of this wave by Route 3.

15. The direction of attack of TARGET X is to be at right angles to the length of the target. The general direction of attack is, therefore, to be S.E. to N.W. Aircraft are not to be diverted to TARGET Y until TARGET X has been breached. If TARGET X is breached, up to two additional aircraft may be used, at the discretion of the leader, to widen the breach in TARGET X provided at least three aircraft are diverted to attack TARGET Y.

16. When TARGET X is seen to be breached beyond all possible doubt the leader is to divert the remainder of the first Wave to TARGET Y by W/T and V.H.F. where similar tactics are to be used for the attack of this target. The general direction of attack of TARGET Y is to be from N.W. to S.E. If target Y is seen to be breached beyond all possible doubt all remaining aircraft of the 1st Wave are to be diverted by the leader to attack TARGET Z independently using the same tactics as the 2nd wave.

18.[sic] For the attacks of both Targets X and Y the special range finder is to be used, the height of attack is to be 60 feet and the ground speed 220 m.p.h.

19. The 2nd Wave is to take off and fly to Target Z at low level by the Northern Route given in Appendix ‘A’. Aircraft are to cross the enemy coast in close concentration, but not in formation, at the same time, although at a different point, as the leading section of the 1st Wave. Aircraft on this Wave sill [sic] be controlled on the alternative V.H.F. channel. The special stores are not to be spun for the attack of Target Z. Aircraft are to attack this target from N.W. to S.E. parallel to the length of the dam and are to aim to hit the water just short of the centre point of the dam about 15 to 20 feet out from the edge of the water. Attacks are to be made from the lowest practicable height at a speed of 180 m.p.h. I.A.S. Aircraft are to return to base independently. First two aircraft by Route 1; second two aircraft by Route 2 and the last by Route 3.

20. The 3rd Wave is to consist of the remaining aircraft and is to form an airborne reserve under the control of Group Headquarters. They are to fly to Target X in close concentration, but not in formation, at low level by the Southern route given in Appendix ‘A’. These aircraft are to be at Position 51°52’ N., 03°00’E. 2 hours 30 minutes after the leading section of the 1st Wave have crossed this point on their outward route to the target. Orders for the 3rd Wave will be passed to all aircraft on the special Group frequency, if possible before they reach the enemy coast, instructing them which target they are to attack. Failing receipt of this message aircraft are to proceed to X, Y and , finally, last resort targets in that order attacking any which are not breached. The 3rd Wave are to use tactics of attack

/similar to those . . .

[page break]

– 4 – [stamp] TOP SECRET [/stamp]

similar to those used by the 1st Wave when attacking Targets X and Y except that attacks on last resort targets are to be made independently. After attacking, aircraft are to return to base independently at low level by any of the three return routes given in Appendix ‘A’. Aircraft attacking early should take Route 1; the next aircraft Route 2 and the last Route 3.

[underlined] Method of Attack [/underlined].

21. Aircraft are to use the method of attack already practiced. The pilot being responsible for line, the Navigator for height, the Air Bomber for range and the Flight Engineer for speed.

22. The interval between attacking aircraft is to be not less than three minutes all targets.

23. On all targets except Target Z each aircraft is to fire a red verey cartridge immediately over the dam during the attack. Aircraft attacking Target Z are each to fire a red verey cartridge as they release their special store.

24. All aircraft are to fly left hand circuits in each target area keeping as low as possible when waiting their turn to attack.

[underlined] Time of Attack [/underlined].

25. The time of attack of each target by each wave is not important to within a few minutes. The time of crossing the enemy coast is, however, all important. ZERO HOUR, which will be given in the executive order, is, therefore to be the time at which the first section of the 1st wave are to be at POSITION 51°52’N., 03°00’E. on the outward route to the target. This time will probably be Civil Twilight (EVENING) + 30 minutes. At this time aircraft of the 2nd Wave should be about Position 53°19’N., 04°00’E.

[underlined] Routes [/underlined].

26. As in Appendix ‘A’.

[underlined] Diversions [/underlined].

27. The whole essence of this operation is surprise, and to avoid bringing enemy defences to an unnecessary degree of alertness, diversionary attacks must be carefully timed. H.Q. B.C. will be asked to arrange the maximum possible diversionary attacks 20 minutes after the leading section of the 1st wave crosses the enemy coast. No diversionary attacks should be despatched which would cross the enemy coast for a period of one hour preceding the 3rd Wave. 15 minutes after the 3rd Wave cross the enemy coast further diversionary attacks should be made at maximum strength and should continue, if possible until the 3rd wave are clear of enemy territory on the return journey. Diversionary attacks below 2,000 ft. should not be made in the area bounded by the points (51°00’N., 03°20’E), (51°20’N., 06°30’E), (51°00’N., 10°00’E.)., 52°00N., 09°00’E.). (53°20’N., 06°00’E.). H.Q. B.C. will also be asked to arrange suitable weather reconnaissance to report in particular on the visibility in the target area at least in sufficient time to recall the Lancasters before they cross the enemy coast if the weather is unsuitable.

[underlined] Armament [/underlined].

28. (a) [underlined] Bomb Load [/underlined]. – Each Lancaster is to carry one special modified store (UPKEEP).
(b) [underlined] Ammunition [/underlined]. – All guns to be loaded with 100 night tracer (G VI).

[underlined] Fuel [/underlined].

29. The Lancasters may take off at a maximum all up weight of 63,000 lbs. at +14 boost. As the modified store now weighs about 9,000 lbs. 1750 gallons of petrol can be carried.

/Navigation . . .

[page break]

– 5 –
[stamp] TOP SECRET [/stamp]

[underlined] Navigation [/underlined].

30. H.Q. B.C. are requested to arrange for the Eastern Chain, Stud 5 to be switched on at Z – 20 minutes and to remain on for the whole of the operation. This should assist in making an accurate landfall on the enemy coast at the correct time.

31. The route is to be carefully studied before flight and the outstanding features, obstructions and pinpoints noted, particularly water pinpoints. E.T.A.’s at each are to be carefully calculated and if any pinpoint is not found on E.T.A. a search is to be made before proceeding to the next pinpoint. Aircraft may climb to 500 feet shortly before reaching each pinpoint if necessary to help map reading.

32. The maximum use is to be made of the Air Position Indicators.

[underlined] Synchronisation of Watches [/underlined].

33. All watches are to be synchronised with B.B.C. time before take off on the day of the operation.

[underlined] Secrecy [/underlined].

34. Secrecy is VITAL. Knowledge of this operation is to be confined to the Station Commander, O.C. 617 Squadron and his two Flight Commanders until receipt of the EXECUTIVE signal. After crews are briefed they are to be impressed with the need for the utmost secrecy because of the possibility that the operation may be postponed should weather reconnaissance prove the weather to be unsuitable.

[underlined] Reports [/underlined].

35. Each aircraft as soon as possible after it has attacked is to report by W/T on the normal Group operational frequency in accordance with APPENDIX ‘B’.

[underlined] Special Devices [/underlined].

36. MANDREL and TINSEL are not fitted.

37. IFF is NOT to be used on the outward journey but normal procedure is to be followed on the homeward flight. Any aircraft returning early is NOT to use IFF except after Z + 30 minutes for the 1st and 2nd Waves and after Z + 3 hours for the 3rd Wave.

[underlined] Nickels [/underlined].

38. nickels are not to be dropped.

[underlined] INTERCOMMUNICATION [/UNDERLINED].

[underlined] Wireless Silence [/underlined].

39. Strict W/T and R/T silence is to be maintained until after Z + 30 minutes for the 1st and 2nd Waves and after Z + 3 hours for the 3rd Wave. Any aircraft returning early is NOT to break W/T or R/T silence and is NOT to identify on MF/DF except after Z + 30 minutes for the 1st and 2nd Waves and after Z + 3 hours for the 3rd Wave. Aircraft returning before that time are to cross the English Coast at 1,500 feet at the point of exit and proceed direct to base or the nearest suitable airfield. Otherwise normal operational signals procedure is to be used except as modified by Appendix ‘B’.

[underlined] MF/DF Section [/underlined].

40. Section D is to be used if required in accordance with Paragraph 39.

/[missing words]

[page break]

– [missing number] –
[stamp] TOP SECRET [/stamp]

[underlined] Executive Order [/underlined].

41. The executive order for the operation will be given by EXECUTIVE followed by the code word allotted, the date on which the operation is to take place and the time of Zero Hour in British Double Summer Time.

42. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT BY TELEPRINTER.

(Sgd.) H.V. SATTERLY C/C
Senior Air Staff Officer,
No. 5 Group,
[underlined] Royal Air Force [/underlined].

Ref:- 5G/101/54/Air.
[underlined] Date:- 16th May, 1943 [/underlined].

[underlined] DISTRIBUTION [/underlined]

[underlined] External [/underlined]. – [underlined] Copy No [/underlined].

Group Captain J.N.H. Whitworth, DSO., DFC. – 1 and 2.

Headquarters, Bomber Command. (Deputy C.-in-C. personally, or in his absence, Group Captain N.W.D. Marwood-Elton, D.F.C.). – 3, 4 and 5.

[underlined] Internal [/underlined].

Action Copy (Ops. II). – 6 } – Not to be issued until after despatch of Executive Signal.

C.S.O. – 7 }

File. – 8 }

Spares. – 9, 10, 11, and 12. }

[page break]

[map]
[underlined] ROUTES FOLLOWED [/underlined]

[page break]

[map]

[page break]

[inserted] Red I
Grey II
White III [/inserted]

[underlined] No. 617 SQUADRON NIGHT FLYING PROGRAMME 16.5.43. [/underlined]

[table, annotated]
No. – A/C. – Captain. – F/Engr. – Navigator. – [missing letter]/Optr. – A/Bomber. – Front Gunner. – Rear Gunner.
1. – G. – W/CDR. GIBSON. – SGT. PULFORD. – P/O. TAERUM – F/LT. HUTCHISON. – P/O SPAFFORD. – F/SGT. DEERING. – F/LT. TREVOR-ROPER – III – 0415
2. – [deleted] M. – F/LT. HOPGOOD [/deleted] – SGT. BRENNAN. – F/O. EARNSHAW. – SGT. MINCHIN. – F/SGT. FRASER. – P/O. GREGORY. – F/O. BURCHER. – II
3. – P. – F/LT. MARTIN. – P/O. WHITTAKER. – F/LT. LEGGO. – F/O. CHAMBERS. – F/LT. HAY – P/O. FOXLEE. – F/SGT. SIMPSON. – II – 0319
4. – A – [deleted] S/LDR. YOUNG. [/deleted] – SGT. HORSFALL. – SGT. ROBERTS. – SGT. NICHOLS. – F/O. MacCAUSLAND – SGT. YEO. – SGT. IBBOTSON. – III
5. – J. – F/LT. MALTBY. – SGT. HATTON. – SGT. NICHOLSON. – SGT. STONE. – P/O. FORT. – SGT. HILL. – SGT. SIMMONDS. – II – 0311
6. – L. – F/LT. SHANNON. – SGT. HENDERSON. – F/O. WALKER. – F/O. GOODALE. – F/SGT. SUMPTER. – SGT. JAGGER. – P/O. BUCKLEY. – II – 0406
7. – [deleted] Z. – S/LDR. MAUDSLAY. [/deleted] – SGT. MARRIOTT. – F/O. URQUHART. – SGT. COTTAM. – P/O. FULLER. – F/O. TYTHERLEIGH. – SGT. BURROWS. – III
8. – [deleted] B. – F/LT. ASTELL. [/deleted] – SGT. KINNEAR. – P/O. WILE. – SGT. GARSHOWITZ. – F/O. HOPKINSON. – SGT. GARBAS. – SGT. BOLITHO. – III
9. – N. – P/O. KNIGHT. – SGT. GRAYSTON. – F/O. HOBDAY. – F/SGT. KELLOW. – P/O. JOHNSON. – SGT. SUTHERLAND. – SGT. O’BRIEN. – III – 0420
10. – W. – F/LT. MUNRO. – SGT. APPLEBY. – F/O. RUMBSES. [sic] – SGT. PIGEON. – SGT. CLAY. – SGT. HOWARTH. – F/SGT. WEEKS. – I – 0036
11. – C. – F/LT. McCARTHY. – SGT. RADCLIFFE. – F/SGT. McLEAN. – SGT. EATON. – SGT. JOHNSON. – SGT. BATSON. – F/O. RODGER. – I – 0323
12. – H. – P/O. RICE. – SGT. SMITH. – P/O. MacFARLANE. – SGT. GOWRIE. – F/SGT. THRASHER. – SGT. MAYNARD. – SGT. BURNS. – I – 0047
13. – [deleted] K. – SGT. BYERS. [/deleted] – SGT. TAYLOR. – P/O. WARNER. – SGT. WILKINSON. – SGT. WHITAKER. – SGT. JARVIE. – SGT. McDOWELL. – I
14. – [deleted] E. – F/LT. BARLOW. [/deleted] – SGT. WHILLIS. – F/O. BURGESS. – F/O. WILLIAMS. – SGT. GILLESPIE. – F/O. GLINZ. – SGT. LIDDELL. – I
15. – [deleted] C. – P/O. OTTLEY. [/deleted] – SGT. MARSDEN. – F/O. BARRETT. – SGT. GUTERMAN. – F/SGT. JOHNSON. – SGT. TEES. – SGT. STRANGE. – III
16. – [deleted] S. – P/O. BURPEE. [/deleted] – SGT. PEGLER. – SGT. JAYE. – P/O. WELLER. – SGT. ARTHUR. – SGT. LONG. – F/SGT. BRADY. – III – [symbol]
17. – O. – F/SGT. TOWNSEND. – SGT. POWELL. – P/O. HOWARD. – F/SGT. CHALMERS. – SGT. FRANKLIN. – SGT. WEBB. – SGT. WILKINSON. – III – [symbol]
18. – F. – F/SGT. BROWN. – SGT. FENERON. – SGT. HEAL. – SGT. HEWSTONE. – SGT. OANCIA. – SGT. ALLATSON. – F/SGT. McDONALD. – II – [symbol]
19. – Y. – F/SGT. ANDERSON. – SGT. PATERSON. – SGT. NUGENT. – SGT. BICKLE. – SGT. GREEN. – SGT. EWAN. – SGT. BUCK. – II – [symbol]
[inserted] Collection WBI. /inserted]
[/table, annotated]

(SEE OVER)

[page break]

[underlined] No. 617 SQUADRON. NIGHT FLYING PROGRAMME 16.5.43. [/underlined]

No. – A/C – Captain – F/Engr – Navigator – W/Optr – A/Bomber – Front Gunner – Rear Gunner

1. – G. – W/CDR. GIBSON. – SGT. PULFORD. – P/O. TAERUM – F/LT. HUTCHISON. – P/O SPAFFORD. – F/SGT. DEERING. – F/LT. TREVOR-ROPER
2. – M. – F/LT. HOPGOOD – SGT. BRENNAN. – F/O. EARNSHAW. – SGT. MINCHIN. – P/O. FRASER. [symbol] – P/O. GREGORY. – F/O. BURCHER. [symbol]
3. – P. – F/LT. MARTIN. [symbol] – P/O. WHITTAKER. [symbol] – F/LT. LEGGO. [symbol] – F/O. CHAMBERS. [symbol] – F/LT. HAY – P/O. FOXLEE. [symbol] – F/SGT. SIMPSON. [symbol]
4. – A – S/LDR. YOUNG. – SGT. HORSFALL. – SGT. ROBERTS. – SGT. NICHOLS. – F/O. MACCAUSL’D – SGT. YEO. – SGT. IBBOTSON.
5. – J. – F/LT. MALTBY. – SGT. HATTON. – SGT. NICHOLSON. – SGT. STONE. – P/O. FORT. – F/SGT. HILL. – SGT. SIMMONDS.
6. – L. – F/LT. SHANNON. [symbol] – SGT. HENDERSON. [symbol] – F/O. WALKER. [symbol] – F/O. GOODALE. [symbol] – F/SGT. SUMPTER. [symbol] – SGT. JAGGER. – P/O. BUCKLEY. [symbol]
7. – Z. – S/LDR. MAUDSLAY. – SGT. MARRIOTT. – F/O. URQUHART. – SGT. COTTAM. – P/O. FULLER. – F/O. TYTHERL’GH. – SGT. BURROWS.
8. – B. – F/LT. ASTELL. – SGT. KINNEAR. – P/O. WILE. – SGT. GARSHOWITZ. – F/O. HOPKINSON. – SGT. GARBAS. – SGT. BOLITHO.
9. – N. – F/LT. KNIGHT. – SGT. GRAYSTON. [symbol] – F/O. HOBDAY. [symbol] – SGT. KELLOW. [symbol] – P/O. JOHNSON. [symbol] – SGT. SUTHERLAND. [symbol] – SGT. O’BRIEN. [symbol]
10. – W. – F/LT. MUNRO. [symbol] – SGT. APPLEBY. [symbol] – F/O. RUMBLES. [symbol] – SGT. PIGEON. [symbol] – SGT. CLAY. [symbol] – SGT. HOWARTH. [symbol] – F/SGT. WEEKS. [symbol]
11. – Q. – F/LT. McCARTHY. [symbol] – SGT. RADCLIFFE. [symbol] – F/SGT. McLEAN. [symbol] – SGT. EATON. [symbol] – SGT. JOHNSON. [symbol] – SGT. BATSON. [symbol] – F/O. RODGER. [symbol]
12. – H. – P/O. RICE. [symbol] – SGT. SMITH. – P/O. MACFARLANE. – SGT. GOWRIE. – F/SGT. THRASHER. – SGT. MAYNARD. – SGT. BURNS.
13. – K. – SGT. BYERS. – SGT. TAYLOR. – P/O. WARNER. – SGT. WILKINSON. – SGT. WHITAKER. – SGT. JARVIE. – SGT. McDOWELL.
14. – E. – F/LT. BARLOW. – SGT. WHILLIS. – F/O. BURGESS. – F/O. WILLIAMS. – SGT. GILLESPIE. – F/O. GLINZ. – SGT. LIDDELL.
15. – C. – P/O. OTTLEY. – SGT. MARSDEN. – F/O. BARRETT. – SGT. GUTERMAN. – F/SGT. JOHNSON. – F/SGT. TEES. [symbol] – SGT. STRANGE.
16. – S. – P/O. BURPEE. – SGT. PEGLER. – SGT. JAYE. – P/O. WELLER. – SGT. ARTHUR. – SGT. LONG. – F/SGT. BRADY.
17. – O. – F/SGT. TOWNSEND. [symbol] – SGT. POWELL. – P/O. HOWARD. [symbol] – F/SGT. CHALMERS. [symbol] – SGT. FRANKLIN. [symbol] – SGT. WEBB. [symbol] – SGT. WILKINSON. [symbol]
18. – F. – F/SGT. BROWN. [symbol] – SGT. FENERON. [symbol] – SGT. HEAL. [symbol] – SGT. HEWSTONE. [symbol] – SGT. OANCIA. [symbol] – SGT. ALLATSON. – F/SGT. MacDONALD. [symbol]
19. – Y. – F/SGT. ANDERSON. – SGT. PATERSON. – SGT. NUGENT. – SGT. BICKLE. – SGT. GREEN. – SGT. EWAN. – SGT. BUCK.

[symbol] SURVIVED THE WAR.

[page break]

[sketch]

[page break]

OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK

DETAIL OF WORK CARRIED OUT

By No. 617 Squadron. [underlined] SECRET [/underlined] Page No

For the Month of May 1943.

Aircraft Type & Number – Crew – Duty – Time, Up – Down – Details of Sortie or Flight – Notes

[underlined] SUMMARY OF OPERATION CARRIED OUT BY SQUADRON ON 16/17th. May, 1943. [/underlined]

On the night of 16/17th. May, 1943, nineteen aircraft of No. 617 Squadron took off to breach a number of important Dams in and around the Ruhr area. There were three primary targets, namely the Mohne, the Eder and the Sorpe Dams, and three alternative targets, the Lister, the Ennerpe [sic] and the Diemel Dams.
The Squadron trained for six weeks, paying particular attention to map reading and accurate low level bombing.
The attack was divided into three waves. The first wave of 9 aircraft subdivided into three sections of three aircraft each, took off at 10 minute intervals, in perfectly clear weather, and with a full moon to assist them. They were detailed for the Mohne and the Eder Dams, in that order of priority. The second wave, consisting of five aircraft, took off to attack the Sorpe Dam, taking a different route, but timed to cross the enemy coast at the same time as, though at different points from, the leading section of the first wave. The third wave, consisting of the remaining five aircraft, formed an air bomb reserve and took off three hours later, each detailed for one of the alternate targets, and all detailed to be prepared to attack the Mohne or Eder Dams in the absence of any direct orders in the air to carry on to the alternative targets.

Wing Commander Gibson, on route to the target leading the first section of the first wave, met about twelve searchlights, and some concentrated light flak at the lakes 10 miles N.E. of Haltern, which was reported to Group by W/T, and passed by Group to all the other aircraft. On arrival at a point 10 miles from the Mohne Dam, the formation went over to R/T control, and each individual attack was controlled by W/Cdr. Gibson. There were between seven and ten light flak guns around the target, believed to be mainly 20 mm. One or two were located on the Dam itself, and there were two positions on the N bank of the Lake on each side of the Dam. W/Cdr. Gibson attacked first and dropped his load accurately. Four other aircraft then attacked under his control, one of which was seen to be hit by light flak during its run up, and overshot with its load. The Dam was seen to breach on the fifth attack, and this was reported to 5 Group by W/T. The remaining four aircraft were then diverted to the Eder Dam, one of these however had been shot down on the way to the target, and only three attacked. One load was seen to overshoot, and this Dam was seen to breach, after two successful attacks. This fact was also reported by W/T to Group Headquarters.
Of the five aircraft detailed to attack the Sorpe Dam, two returned early, one is known to have attacked, and two are missing without trace. A sixth aircraft from the mobile reserve was also detailed by W/T. to attack the target, and did so successfully. The two aircraft attacking both reported that the crest of the Dam was seen to crumble for some considerable distance.
Two of the remaining four aircraft of the mobile reserve were detailed to attack the Sorpe Dam, one attacked successfully and one is missing, and it is believed did not attack. The fourth aircraft was detailed by W/T. to attack the Lister Dam, and acknowledged the order. There is no further trace of him, and it is not known if he attacked it. The fifth aircraft successfully attacked the Dam at Enneppe.
The most important consequence of this operation is that the Ruhr industries will be deprived of a great deal of their industrial water for the coming summer. The immediate [sic] of the floods from the two Dams breached was to cause devastation and disruption throughout the valley of the Ruhr as far [inserted] as [/inserted] Duisburg, and serious flooding below the Eder Dam at Kassel, and other places down the Weser Valley.

Date – Time – Summary of Events [underlined] SECRET. [/underlined] – References to Appendices

15.5.43 – P/O. A.M. WHITTAKER SD (A/5) reposted to Squadron on appointment to commission. (144777)
P/O S.L. WHILLIS 144619 SD(F/E) reposted to the Squadron on appointment to commission.
Flying Training prior to operations completed to-day.
16.5.43. – A special operation for which this Squadron has been training so hard was carried out.
The target was the three great German Dams, the Eder, the Möhne and the Sorpe. 19 aircraft took off to attack the target, and of these, 8 failed to return. The attack was an outstanding success in spite of these losses, and the Eder and the Mohne Dams were definitely breached, and the Sorpe damaged.
13.5.43. – Today, the Air Officer Commanding No.5 Group addressed all personnel of this Squadron.
After his address, all aircrew proceeded on 7 days leave, and ground crew, with the exception of a few personnel remaining as a [indecipherable word] staff, were given 3 days.
P/O. MCCLEAN D.A. J.17476 reposted to Squadron on appointment to commission.
P/O. G.A. DEERING J.17245 reposted to squadron on appointment to commission.
F/LT. D.J.MALTBY(60335) [deleted word] D.F.C., GD. Granted acting rank of Squadron Leader [deleted word].
19.5.43 – 568102 SGT. DENHAM R.B. Fit/Arm. posted to No.1.A.A.S.
20.5.43 – 1539602 SGT. WILLIAMS A. A/G. ceased attachment to A.C.R.S. Brighton.
F/L. ALLSEBROOK AND CREW+ posted to Squadron.
24.5.43 – His Majesty the King approved the following immediate Awards for the squadron operation on the German Dams. :- [underlined] VICTORIA CROSS. [/underlined] WING COMMANDER G.P. GIBSON D.S.O. [deleted word], D.F.C. [deleted word]
[underlined] C.G.M. [/underlined] F/SGT. K.W. BROWN. F/SGT. W.C. TOWNSEND. [underlined] D.S.O. [/underlined] F/L. D.J. SHANNON D.F.C.,
F/LT. J.C. MCCARTHY DFC. P/O. L.G. KNIGHT. S/LDR D.J.H. MALTBY DFC.,
F/LT. N.B. MARTIN DFC. [underlined] BAR TO D.F.C., [/underlined] F/O. D.R. WALKER DFC. F/L. R.E.F. HUTCHISON DFC
F/L. J.F. LEGGO DFC., F/L. R.C. HAY DFC., [underlined] D.F.C., [/underlined] F/O. L. CHAMBERS.
P/O. C.L. HOWARD. P/O. G.A. DEERING. P/O. H.T. TAERUM. P/O. F.M. SPAFFORD. [inserted] D.F.M. [/inserted]
F/LT. TREVOR-ROPER DFM. P/O. J. FORT. F/O. H.S. HOBDAY. F/O. E.C. JOHNSON

[page break]

THE LONDON GAZETTE 28 MAY 43.

[indecipherable word] Wing Commander Guy Penrose GIBSON, DSO, DFC, Reserve of Air Force Officers, No. 617 Squadron.

This officer served as a night bomber pilot at the beginning of the war and quickly established a reputation as an outstanding operational pilot. In addition to taking the fullest possible share in all normal operations he made single handed attacks during his ‘rest’ nights on such highly defended objectives as the German battleship TIRPITZ, then completing in WILHELMSHAVEN.

When his tour of operational duty was concluded, he asked for a further operational posting and went to a night-fighter unit instead of being posted for instructional duties. In the course of his second [missing letter]our, he destroyed at least three enemy bombers and contributed much to the raising and development of new night fighter formations.

After a short period in a training unit he again volunteered for operational duties and returned to night bombers. Both as an operational pilot and as a leader of his squadron, he achieved outstandingly successful results and his personal courage knew no bounds. BERLIN, COLOGNE, [indecipherable words], MILAN, NUREMBURG, and STUTTGART were among the targets he attacked by day and by night.

On conclusion of his third operational tour, wing Commander GIBSON pressed strongly to be allowed to remain on operations and he was selected to command a squadron then forming for special tasks. Under his inspiring leadership, this squadron has now executed one of the most devastating attacks of the war – the breaching of the MOHNE and EDER dams.

The task was frought [sic] with danger and difficulty. Wing Commander GIBSON personally made the initial attack on the MOHNE dam. Descending to within a few feet of the water and taking the full brunt of the anti-aircraft defences he delivered his attack with great accuracy. Afterwards he circled very low for thirty minutes drawing the enemy fire on himself in order to leave as free a run as possible for the following aircraft which were attacking the dam in turn

Wing Commander GIBSON then led the remainder of the force to the EDER DAM where, with complete disregard for his own safety he repeated his tactics, and once more drew on himself the enemy fire [symbol] [indecipherable] the attack would be successfully developed.

Wing Commander GIBSON has completed 170 sorties involving more than 600 hours operational flying. [indecipherable word] his operational career, prolonged exceptionally at his own request, he has shown leadership, determination and valour of the highest order.

(SEE OVER)

[page break]

THE LONDON GAZETTE. 28th. MAY 1943.

Acting Wing Commander Guy Penrose GIBSON, DSO, DFC, Reserve of Air Force Officers, No. 617 Squadron.

This officer served as a night bomber pilot at the beginning of the war and quickly established a reputation as an outstanding operational pilot. In addition to taking the fullest possible share in all normal operations he made single handed attacks during his “Rest” nights on such highly defended objectives as the German Battleship TIRPITZ then completing in WILHELMSHAVEN.

When his tour of operational duty was concluded, he asked for a further operational posting and went to a night-fighter unit instead of being posted for instructional duties. In the course of his second Tour, he destroyed at least three enemy bombers and contributed much to the raising and development of new night fighter formations.

After a short period in a training unit he again volunteered for operational duties and returned to night bombers. Both as an operational pilot and as a leader of his squadron, he achieved outstandingly successful results and his personal courage knew on bounds. BERLIN, COLOGNE, DANSIG, GYDNIA, GEMOA, Le CREUSOT, MILAN, NUREMBURG and STUTTGART were among the targets he attacked by day and night.

On conclusion of his third operational tour, Wing Commander GIBSON pressed strongly to be allowed to remain on operations and he was selected to command a Squadron then forming for special tasks. Under his inspiring leadership, this squadron has now executed one of the most devastating attacks of the war, the breaching of the MOHNE and EDER dams

The task was frought [sic] with danger and difficulty. Wing Commander GIBSON personally made the initial attack on the MOHNE dam. Descending to within a few feet of the water and taking the full brunt of the anti-aircraft defences, he delivered his attack with great accuracy. Afterwards he circle [sic] low for thirty minutes drawing the enemy fire on himself in order to leave as free a run as possible for the following aircraft which were attacking the dam in turn.

Wing Commander GIBSON then led the remainder of his force to the EDER dam where, with complere [sic] disregard for his own safety, he repeated his tactics and once more drew on himself the enemy so that the attack would be successfully developed.

Wing Commander GIBSON has completed 170 sorties involving more than 600 hours operational flying, throughout his operational career, prolonged exceptionally at his own request, he has show [sic] leadership, determination and valour of the highest order.

Collection

Citation

H V Satterly, “Operation order for Eder, Möhne and Sorpe operation and other details,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 28, 2022, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/33688.

Item Relations

This item has no relations.