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Operation Chastise

#1
Tonight marks the 69th anniversary of the start of Operation Chastise, better known as the Dambusters raid. A combination of the shear genius of Barnes Wallis' bouncing bomb and the incredible bravery of the men of 617 Squadron caused a huge amount of damage to Germany's weapons production at a cost of 53 aircrew killed in action

The Dambusters - The First Dam - YouTube

Top secret film made from a german soldier during his vacation risking his life. Filmed at the early morning of May 17th 1943 from the north bound of the dam.

Secret german film of destroyed eder dam 1943 - YouTube

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Chastise
 
#2
Tonight marks the 69th anniversary of the start of Operation Chastise, better known as the Dambusters raid. A combination of the shear genius of Barnes Wallis' bouncing bomb and the incredible bravery of the men of 617 Squadron caused a huge amount of damage to Germany's weapons production at a cost of 53 aircrew killed in action

The Dambusters - The First Dam - YouTube

Top secret film made from a german soldier during his vacation risking his life. Filmed at the early morning of May 17th 1943 from the north bound of the dam.

Secret german film of destroyed eder dam 1943 - YouTube
An inspiring operation, but the effects on the German war economy are debatable. Propaganda wise it was outstanding.
 
#4
An inspiring operation, but the effects on the German war economy are debatable. Propaganda wise it was outstanding.
Whether it did or didnt effect the German War economy it was bloody brilliant and will go down in the legend of British Military history.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#5
article the other day on the historical perspective being sour grapes and it knocking 6 months of production on the atlantic wall as mentioned and the fact it cost the equivalent of 5 billion to sort out. it meant that rommel commanded beaches without fortifications and the lads storming ashore maybe had an easier time of it.

probably more important is the amount of guns and ordinance the germans kept back from the front because they feared a repeat which deserves a well done in anyones book as those 88's doubled as tank killers.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
An inspiring operation, but the effects on the German war economy are debatable. Propaganda wise it was outstanding.
Barnes Wallis always thought one of the biggest mistakes of Chastise was not to make follow up raids on the dams to retard repair. One way this could have been done was with a couple of squadrons of mosquito's bombing from 3,000 feet on nights with a new moon - this was the height above the worst of the light flak, but below the height that heavier anti-aircraft guns could track fast moving targets. Even one or two 1,000 lb bombs into the scaffolding would have caused an appreciable delay.

As it was, the Germans only just got the dams repaired in time for them to fill to full capacity over the winter - had they been at reduced capacity, that would have impacted on German steel production in 1944 - and hence on German armament production.

This isn't hindsight either - Wallis was urging the bombing at the time...

Wordsmith
 
#7
article the other day on the historical perspective being sour grapes and it knocking 6 months of production on the atlantic wall as mentioned and the fact it cost the equivalent of 5 billion to sort out. it meant that rommel commanded beaches without fortifications and the lads storming ashore maybe had an easier time of it.

probably more important is the amount of guns and ordinance the germans kept back from the front because they feared a repeat which deserves a well done in anyones book as those 88's doubled as tank killers.
Why would anybody deploy heavy AA guns to defend targets which had to be attacked at at a height where the bombers were within rifle range -- that's a job for 20mm and 40mm light flak. And how would you have used those 88's in an anti tank role? It needed an 11.5 ton Sonderkraftfahrzeug 7 prime mover at least to haul an 88 across country and there were never enough of those available for the guns the Luftwaffe already owned. The British had 3.7 inch AA guns coming out of their ears but nobody ever fired one at a German tank because there was no transport available to get them off road.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
probably because the standard air defense usually involved big guns and big lights just like over here. and just like over here they were probably more for keeping the locals happy and peppered with shrapnel. taking flak refers to the german cannon.

88mm Flak Series - Flugabwehrkanone

any diversion of assets was usefull I imagine when your cunning plan involved untried techniques, secret equipment, pipelines under the channel and lots of men running up the beach. those 88's I imagine would mess up a landing craft just as well. :)
 
#9
I'm always bemused by the claims made about certain actions or operations shortening the war by so many months or years. If someone had got things in order and arranged them consecutively, the war would have ended in 1938!
 
#10
The Germans responded quickly to this resounding attack by developing , within months , their own version of the " Bouncing Bomb " . They dismantled a recovered bomb which had failed to explode and their version included an interesting enhancement .... see video at about 27 secs ...

[video=youtube;J1JBYIClEd0]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1JBYIClEd0[/video]
 
#12
At that period of the war the positive effect on morale of such a raid was absolutely enormous, especially from the point of view of those who were being bombed almost nightly. Clearly the Germans gave enormous priority to repairing the damage and this can only have been at the expense of other projects. The raids, on the whole, achieved their aim and they gave hope to our population as well as showing the German people that we could strike into the heart of Germany and with great precision. To say they achieved little because the repairs were effected in 6 months is tripe, for 6 months Germany was fighting with one arm in a sling and was having to ration ball bearings. How many lives were saved because the Germans weren't 100% effective?

We should pay more attention the extraordinary courage and skill of the men who flew these raids and not look to downplay their efforts and achievements in purely economic or productive terms.
 
#13
I've always thought that the knock on effect was that the Germans had to have a major rethink about strategic bottle necks, which then HAD to be defended against a possible attack, this meant diverting men and materials to places far removed from the 'real' war, every dam was a potential target, fighting men had to be used in case of attack. The heavy water plant in Norway, all the assorted areas attacked by commandoes, etc. The Germans were as short, if not shorter, than the British as regards man power. All the stomach, and ENT battalions the Germans used to man the west wall and low threat areas weren't because they were equal opportunity employers.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
#15
Barnes Wallis always thought one of the biggest mistakes of Chastise was not to make follow up raids on the dams to retard repair. One way this could have been done was with a couple of squadrons of mosquito's bombing from 3,000 feet on nights with a new moon - this was the height above the worst of the light flak, but below the height that heavier anti-aircraft guns could track fast moving targets. Even one or two 1,000 lb bombs into the scaffolding would have caused an appreciable delay.

As it was, the Germans only just got the dams repaired in time for them to fill to full capacity over the winter - had they been at reduced capacity, that would have impacted on German steel production in 1944 - and hence on German armament production.

This isn't hindsight either - Wallis was urging the bombing at the time...

Wordsmith
If they were going to use Mossies, why not fly them in on the next full moon with Highballs instead of Upkeeps, same mission, smaller bomb? The damage was done: this would be about, as you say, retarding repair.

They surely would never expect the same mission a month on, then when Mossies fly over the coast, "They will not be carrying Upkeeps to bomb the Ruhr dams."
 
#16
If they were going to use Mossies, why not fly them in on the next full moon with Highballs instead of Upkeeps, same mission, smaller bomb? The damage was done: this would be about, as you say, retarding repair.
"
Lowered water levels would provide less hydraulic damping and directional detonation impact of the bomb so the result would most likely have been negligible to the structure but would have made a big splash :). Now a couple of 4,000lb HC's might have made their eyes water.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
Lowered water levels would provide less hydraulic damping and directional detonation impact of the bomb so the result would most likely have been negligible to the structure but would have made a big splash :). Now a couple of 4,000lb HC's might have made their eyes water.
As best I recall, Barnes Wallis was keen to impede repairs to the dams - he was not trying to further damage the structure. I had originally suggested Mosquitoes because they were fast enough to be relatively immune from the German night fighters of the time, while packing enough of a bomb load to destroy scaffolding, etc.

I suspect Wallis understood the economic and production consequences of the raid far better than Bomber Command.

Wordsmith
 
#18
I believe that Highball was still 'Secret' and primarily intended as anti shipping weapon, Tirpitz being the juiciest potential target. A follow up raid by Mosquito and Highball would have let the cat out of bag as to Mosquito capability. I am not denying the impact of Mossie and 4k lb Cookies
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
not sure what a german bouncing bomb could have done to blighty as I am blissfully unaware of any major hydro electric projects they might hit or industries so reliant on water power. they probably just rebuilt it and made it better because they were like that. 9playing skittles with battersea power station towers might have been fun)

mind you it didnt allways go so well, the army asked for a t34 clone and ended up with the panther

also regards guns - the army wanted more to use for defense purposes so they could consolidate the eastern front but grofaz liked tanks which cost much more and used the steel needed for a dozen guns. guderian asked for more panzer 4's as they were cheap fast and reliable with skoda turning out thousands of them instead they got tigers and projects like the ferdinand which just wasted time and money and ended up becoming SPs
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#20
not sure what a german bouncing bomb could have done to blighty as I am blissfully unaware of any major hydro electric projects they might hit or industries so reliant on water power. they probably just rebuilt it and made it better because they were like that. (playing skittles with battersea power station towers might have been fun)
If I remember rightly, there was considerable concern in the UK that the Germans might reverse engineer the bomb and return the favour to some of our dams. The Germans found an unexploded Upkeep and soon found how it worked. However, with typical German thoroughness they also spent a lot of time trying to establish the mathematical principles behind it instead of just making a few copies and dropping them. By the time they worked out the maths, the war had turned decisively against them and they'd lost the chance to use them.

also regards guns - the army wanted more to use for defense purposes so they could consolidate the eastern front but grofaz liked tanks which cost much more and used the steel needed for a dozen guns. guderian asked for more panzer 4's as they were cheap fast and reliable with skoda turning out thousands of them instead they got tigers and projects like the ferdinand which just wasted time and money and ended up becoming SPs
The other German solution was tank destroyers - like the Jagdpanther.

Jagdpanther - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

They were cheaper to build than tanks because they didn't have a revolving turret, generally mounted a bigger gun and were often more heavily armoured. My memory creaks a bit on this, but I think the Germans really cranked them out towards the end of the war because they were quicker to produce than tanks, and nearly as effective.

Wordsmith
 

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