Guns Massed Miles Deep in Desperate Defence of Ruhr

SWilliamsonF1311249v10003-0002.jpg

Title

Guns Massed Miles Deep in Desperate Defence of Ruhr

Description

An attack on Bochum. The cutting is annotated '13/6/43 No 1'

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Three newspaper cuttings

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SWilliamsonF1311249v10003-0002

Transcription

[inverted rubber stamp] Sergeants’ Mess
R.A.F. Station
Syerston [/rubber stamp]

[inserted] 13/6/43 No. 1 [/inserted]

4

[underlined] So Many Bombers Attacked Bochum, They Had to Dodge Each Other In The Clouds [/underlined]

Guns Massed Miles Deep In Desperate Defence of Ruhr

RESUMING the offensive against the Ruhr on Saturday night, Bomber Command assailed the coal and iron city of Bochum with a great force of four-engined bombers.

Although the raid was not so heavy as the record attack on Dusseldorf on the previous night, over five 4,000-pounders were going down every minute, in addition to tens of thousands of incendiaries and hundreds of other high-explosive bombs.

More guns have been sent to the Ruhr since the R.A.F.'s last attack on Dortmund.

The Nazis have made no secret of the fact that if the Ruhr is silenced, Germany's war-waging potential is at an end. They are clearly making every effort to ward off such a disaster.

HUGE SEARCHLIGHT CONES
Said the pilot of a Halifax: "The whole place seemed to come alive with hundreds of gun flashes. The barrage did not let up at once. It seemed as if the Germans had massed their guns miles deep."

"Two huge cones of about 70 searchlights were sweeping the sky over Munster," said another airman. "Night fighters were out in force, but when more bombers arrived the efficiently co-ordinated defence began to waver. The guns resorted to a straight barrage.

There were so many bombers over the target that one pilot said that his chief worry was in trying to avoid a collision.

FIGHTER EXPLODED
"The weather had clouded over," said the pilot of a Lancaster, "and I was afraid of hitting one of our aircraft in the darkness.

"I saw one fighter explode with a flash and go down in flames."

Later arrivals over Bochum found two large areas of fire. "I was guided to the target by the glow on the clouds," said the pilot of another Lancaster.

"When we were over the target we were suddenly hit by flak and by an incendiary from one of our own aircraft, at the same moment. The flak did not do us much harm, but the incendiary flared up and started a fire. My wireless operator put out the flames, and we went on to bomb our target.

[page break]

700 Buildings Were Wrecked in Bochum

AIR photographs of Bochum, taken after the attack on the night of June 12, have now been interpreted in detail. They show that damage is even more serious than it appeared to be after a first inspection of the pictures.

The raid was not one of the heaviest of recent attacks in the Battle of the Ruhr, but in the centre of the city 130 acres were devastated.

Nine industrial establishments, three of them of the highest priority, have been affected by the attack. Seven hundred buildings have been destroyed or seriously damaged.

CAN'T BE REPLACED
One of the high priority plants, the Eisen and Huttenwerke A.G., which was very severely damaged, produces some especially important grades of steel, and the extensive devastation of the factory will cost the enemy irreplaceable war material.

[page break]

CHIMNEY STACK COLLAPSED
"I saw a stick of explosives hit a factory. The factory chimney tottered for a moment and then lazily collapsed on to the ground.

"When we looked down again we all saw a huge explosion which was quickly followed by a second and then a third. Sheets of red flame spurted upwards, giving way to smoke, which rolled up towards the clouds."

Many other crews reported seeing these explosions.

Bochum, with a population of 320,000, is one of the most important transport centres of the Ruhr coal basin. It has a great number of coke oven plants and an important steel industry.

24 BOMBERS MISSING
This is the third big raid on Bochum this year.

Fighter Command intruders on Saturday night attacked transport targets in Northern France and Holland.

From the night's operations, 24 bombers are missing.

The German communique reported "casualties among the civilian population, particularly in the town of Bochum. Considerable damage was done to houses and public buildings, including two hospitals. The destruction of 29 enemy bombers has so far been reported.

The pilot of a reconnaissance aircraft which flew over Munster on Saturday found that the fires started during the attack on the previous night were still burning.

Citation

“Guns Massed Miles Deep in Desperate Defence of Ruhr,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 19, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/38130.

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