Oil fires R.A.F planes



Oil fires R.A.F planes


Details of operations on oil tanks at Rotterdam and on Wilhelmshaven.



Temporal Coverage




One newspaper cutting


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[...] R.A.F. PLANES
“We blew those tanks to blazes”
Flames rose to 300ft. and great clouds of yellow smoke rose to 1,000ft. from oil tanks at Vlaardingen, near Rotterdam, after a raid on Saturday night by Blenheim Bombers of Coastal Command.
“We could see the oil tanks very clearly in the moonlight – and we just blew them to blazes”, said one of the British pilots last night.
“The Germans opened up from a ring of guns all round as we came in, but our leader beat them to it. He got in several direct hits.
There were huge explosions, and a mountain of smoke which came up provided cover for the rest of us. The heat was so great that some of us, following on, were thrown violently upwards as we came over the targets”.
Seen 100 miles away
The fires lit up the countryside toward Rotterdam, and were so vivid that one pilot could see every detail of the railway lines and sheds.
The sky was still red with the reflection of the fires when the Blenheims were one hundred miles away on the return journey, according to the squadron leader, and the pilot of another aircraft saw the oil tanks still blazing furiously four hours later.
But these tanks were only one of many targets on Saturday night.
Germany’s naval base at Wilhemshaven was bombed again, despite fighter attacks and violent anti-aircraft fire.
One bomber got home safely though its wings were torn and a rudder and both airscrews damaged by shell splinters.
None of the crew was injured, but the navigator found shrapnel in his flying suit.
Another aircraft over Wilhelmshaven came down so low to attack two warships lying at anchor by a wharf that it nearly collided with a church steeple. Searchlights and A.A. batteries surrounding the docks were attacked too.
Two supply ships were bombed at sea, and one of them is believed to have been badly damaged.
Five of our bombers were lost in these operations.
Yesterday’s daylight raids by the R.A.F. included attacks on the radio station on Utsire Island, near Stavanger, and airfields at Flushing. Two of our reconnaissance aircraft failed to return.
Berlin still claiming
Berlin claimed last night to have scored direct hits on a cruiser and two destroyers during Saturday’s attacks on convoys in the Channel.
A communique issued by Nazi High Command said that German fighters shot down eight British planes in these operations.
This was refuted by an official statement in London that four British fighters were lost. One of our pilots escaped.
Authoritative comment backed up this official version, saying:-
“Today, as yesterday, the German authorities have distorted in their own favour the results of the day’s air operations over the English Channel and British coast.
“Actually the result of yesterday’s operations in this area was twelve German machines definitely destroyed.”


“Oil fires R.A.F planes,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 12, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/814.

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