Day raid on Danzig. U-boat yards bombed. 1,700 miles through storms



Day raid on Danzig. U-boat yards bombed. 1,700 miles through storms


Newspaper cutting from The Times about a day bombing on Danzig and Flensburg.



Temporal Coverage




Two mounted newspaper cuttings


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[inserted] THE TIMES. MONDAY. JULY. 1942 [/inserted]
From our Aeronautical Correspondent
Several squadrons of Lancasters – the R.A.F.’s latest and fastest heavy bombers – flew 1,750 miles through violent thunderstorms and thick cloud to make a daring daylight attack on Danzig on Saturday evening. It was the longest daylight operational flight made by our bombers. A smaller force of Lancasters also bombed the Baltic port of Flensburg.
The Air Ministry report on the raid stated :-
In daylight on Saturday evening several squadrons of Lancaster bombers attacked the important submarine building yards at Danzig. The attack was made from well below cloud base, and the yards were heavily bombed.
At about the same time other bombers attacked the submarine building yards at Flensburg from a very low level. Bursts are reported on the slipways.
Three aircraft of Bomber Command are missing from these daylight operations.
During Saturday night our bombers laid mines in enemy waters. Two of our aircraft are missing.
On the outward journey conditions were difficult for the crews, some of which failed to locate their target. The great bombers were thrown about by violent winds, and had to force their way through thick thunder clouds and sudden storms. Several of our machines were hot by flak,
[inserted] map [/inserted]
but the attack was pressed home. No German fighters appear to have been up, probably on account of the unfavourable conditions.
As in most of Bomber Command’s recent raids, the main targets were production centres of importance in the Battle of the Atlantic – U-boat and other shipbuilding yards – and the bursting of many heavy bombs in the target area was observed, while some of the crews reported big fires.
Danzig is the only submarine building centre which the enemy might reasonably have regarded as being outside the range of our bombers, and for that reason the dock and yard facilities have been further developed by the Germans.
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Near Denmark (states the Air Ministry News Service describing the raid) there was 10-10ths cloud, with base as low as 800ft., and its top at 15,000ft. There was severe icing along the route, and thunderstorms with much static electricity. The crews tried all heights, from 50ft. to 20,000ft. Inevitably they had to lose formation, though some were able to join up again for a time. Not every navigator was able to find the way, and some Lancasters had to turn for home before they could find Danzig. A formidable force, and certainly one big enough to do heavy damage, got there.
One pilot, a squadron leader, describing the attack, said: “All of us met at an appointed spot over England and flew out over the sea for 150 miles. Then we ran into thick clouds and lost formation for a quarter of an hour. We regained it in a large gap in the clouds, but lost it again when we got into the thick cloud once more. We flew on through this sort of weather for two more hours.
“As I came towards the target I ran into a field of flak. I came down, first to 2,500ft. and then right down. Skimming over the roofs I saw light flak going over the top of the Lancaster and hitting houses on the other side. Though it was not dark there were searchlights. I told my gunners to shoot them up. The front and mid-upper gunner each put one out. Over the target I saw a number of other Lancasters. My bomb-aimer was sure he had the submarine yard in his sight.
Another pilot, a flight sergeant, described how he saw the southern area of the target well alight. Another, when over Danzig, made a power dive and came down to 1,000ft. at a terrific speed. Then he levelled out and bombed. Immediately afterwards a shell blew a hole one foot wide in the belly of the aircraft, cut the “intercom,” holed the mid-upper turret, and made a great number of small holes in the fuselage.
At Flensburg delayed action bombs were dropped from 50ft., and as the crews came away they saw the bursts on the submarine slipways and one very heavy explosion nearby. One aircraft went in so low that it hit a house. A great hole was torn in the bomber’s fuselage, and the main plane and propellers were damaged. But the crew went on to bomb and returned safely home. They suffered only from intense cold of the wind whistling in through the holes, which they vainly tried to stuff with cushions. At the interrogation they brought along bits of brick which had been forced into the cockpit.



“Day raid on Danzig. U-boat yards bombed. 1,700 miles through storms,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 16, 2024,

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