Villers Bocage, Edward King's 19th operation of his tour

SKingEJ182986v10084.jpg
SKingEJ182986v10085.jpg
SKingEJ182986v10086.jpg
SKingEJ182986v10087.jpg
SKingEJ182986v10088.jpg

Title

Villers Bocage, Edward King's 19th operation of his tour

Description

Five items, Edward's description of the operation to bomb Panzer concentrations in woods, requested by Field Marshall Montgomery. As the operation was in daylight Edward was able to describe the scene not too long after D Day. There is also Edwards navigation plot, a map showing the target area with their track and the target. Part of an official report on the operation, it details the aircraft from 3 Group that took part and their squadrons, together with 4 Group Halifax aircraft with a heavy fighter escort. It makes the point that this is the first full scale operation by 3 Group in daylight since D Day. The visibility was good until obscured by dust created by the bombs exploding, the operation was judged a success. There is also a press cutting captioned 'What Monty ordered' describing the operation.

Creator

Date

1944-06-30

Temporal Coverage

Language

Format

Two typewritten documents, a nav plot, a map, a press cutting

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

SKingEJ182986v10084, SKingEJ182986v10085, SKingEJ182986v10086, SKingEJ182986v10087, SKingEJ182986v10088

Transcription

[underlined] VILLERS BOCAGE [/underlined] [underlined] 30th June, 1944 [/underlined]

[underlined] Panzer Concentrations in Woods. [/underlined]

Daylight operation at request of Field Marshall Montgomery. Formation flight with very heavy fighter escort. Very good visability [sic] & weather. Many ships seen in [deleted word] Channel and at the beachheads with many wrecked landing craft. H.M.S. "Rodney" observed near to the beaches with convoys everywhere. Landing strips in Normandy see in operation with Liberators, Spitfires and Lightnings. Cherbourg seen[deleted] i [/deleted] in distance. Bayeaux very peaceful. Only light flak seen but it was very accura[missing letters] Fighter escort mainly Spitfires with a few Tempests.

[page break]

[map]
[inserted] VILLERS BOCAGE [/inserted]

[page break]

[map]

[page break]

DAY 30TH JUNE 1944.

3 GROUP ADOPTED A NEW ROLE YESTERDAY WHEN THEY MADE A DAYLIGHT ATTACK ON VILLERS BO[deleted]S[/deleted]CAGE. APART FROM THE DAWN ATTACK ON 'D' DAY THIS WAS THE FIRST FULLSCALE OPERATION CARRIED OUT BY THIS GROUP OVER ENEMY TERRITORY BY DAY, SINCE THE BREST DAYS OF 1941.

127 LANCASTERS TOOK OFF FROM.

15 SQUADRON. – 17 DETAILED. – 16 PRIMARY. – 1 ABORTIVE.
622 SQUADRON. – 14 DETAILED. – 13 PRIMARY. – 1 CANCELLED.
90 SQUADRON. – 19 DETAILED. – 19 PRIMARY.
115 SQUADRON. – 27 DETAILED. – 27 PRIMARY.
514 SQUADRON. – 29 DETAILED. – 27 PRIMARY. – 1 ABORTIVE. – 1 MISSING.

THESE IN COMPANY WITH 105 HALIFAXES OF 4 GROUP SET OUT IN IT IS HOPED, GOOD FORMATION WITH FIGHTER COVER. THERE WAS 3.5/10 CLOUD AND MOST OF THE CREWS WERE ABLE TO SEE THE TARGET AREA QUITE CLEARLY THROUGH GAPS IN THE CLOUD. HOWEVER, OWING TO THE TERRIFIC CLOUD OF SMOKE AND DUST CAUSED BY THE HALIFAXES WHO WENT IN FIRST, THE AIMING POINT WAS COMPLETELY OBSCURED AND VERY FEW SAW THE MARKERS. THIS DID NOT PREVENT A GOOD ATTACK AND BOMBING WAS CARRIED OUT ON INSTRUCTIONS OF MASTER BOMBER ON CONCENTRATION OF SMOKE, THE MAJORITY FROM 10/12,000 FT. BUT A NUMBER CAME DOWN BELOW CLOUD AND BOMBED FROM 3,600 TO 4,000 FT.

SOME EXCELLENT PHOTOGRAPHS WERE OBTAINED BY ALL SQUADRONS AND ABOUT 90% SHOW THE AIMING POINT OR WHAT WAS THE VILLAGE COVERED BY CLOUDS OF SMOKE AND VERY LITTLE BOMBING APPEARS TO BE OFF THE TARGET. THE VILLAGE AND RODS [sic] SEEM TO BE OBLITERRATED [sic], AND IT IS HOPED MANY 'PANZERS' WITH IT.

THERE WERE SOME SCATTERED ACCURATE LIGHT AND HEAVY FLAK IN TARGET AREA, SEVERAL AIRCRAFT BEING HIT. THIS IS BELIEVED TO ACOUND [sic] FOR THE ONE LANCASTER AND ONE HALIFAX CASUALTIES.

NO ENEMY FIGHTERS WERE SEEN

ONE OF 75 SQDN WAS HIT BY FLAK OVER TARGET AND FORCED DOWN, BUT MANAGED TO LAND ON ONE OF THE LANDING STRIPS BEHIND OUR LINES, THE ONLY CASUALTY BEING ONE MEMBER OF CREW SLIGHTLY WOUNDED BY FLAK.

VILLERS BOCAGE
THE WHOLE AREA IS A MASS OF CRATERS. ALL THE AREAS ARE STILL BLOCKED.

[page break]

[photograph]

What Monty ordered

THE bombs going down in bottom centre of picture were part of the 1,000 tons dropped by the R.A.F. on a special target in answer to a call from the battle-line in Normandy

The target was a forest in the Villers Bocage area which held concentrations of German tanks. More than 250 Lancaster and Halifax night bombers, with fighter cover, made the daylight attack

The picture was taken at the height of the attack when the target was a sea of smoke and fire. In 12 minutes Rommel's armour was obliterated

"Your action will not be forgotten by the enemy," said Gen. Montgomery in his message of thanks to Bomber Command

Citation

Edward King, “Villers Bocage, Edward King's 19th operation of his tour,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed October 1, 2022, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/34243.

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