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May 2013 - Dambusters 70th Anniversary  
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13045 posts, RR: 78
Posted (11 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 5538 times:

Next month marks 70 years since the raid on the dams in Nazi Germany, by the specifically formed 617 Squadron RAF.
Using Barnes Wallis's famous 'bouncing bomb.
617 Sqn is still operational, on Tornadoes for the past 30 years. Preceded by Vulcan's (one of the units 50 years ago carrying the 'Blue Steel' stand-off bomb, prior to that, the unit operated Canberra aircraft.

The Squadron has done some commemorative markings, unveiled last month by historian Dan Snow;

http://globalaviationresource.com/v2...ambusters-70th-official-unveiling/

The design is taken from the squadron badge, it's rare that since the RAF was formed in 1918, for squadrons to have been raised for a specific task as 617 Sqn was. For Operation Chastise.
Later it would use it's Lancaster's armed with the huge 'Tallboy' and 'Grand Slam' bombs against other precision targets, including sinking the Battleship Tirpitz.

The breaching of two of the three target dams, which caused large amounts of damage over a wide area, has in recent years been questioned as a sensible use of resources, also given the 56 aircrew who died in the raid.
It's been pointed out within six months, the dams were repaired, including the damaged Sorpe dam.
This misses an important point, to avoid a longer term, even more serious damage to their war effort, the dams had to be repaired ASAP.
To do this, a huge number of forced/slave labour was used, 70,000 of them. Also it was a strain on resources other than workers, clearing and repairing all the damage caused by the raid.

These workers had to be taken off other projects, most notably the frantic attempts to build the 'Atlantic Wall' as the Allies gathered their invasion force in England in 1943/44.
So when Rommel was put in charge of these defences, he was profoundly shocked at how little had been done from what had been scheduled by then. Cause? That huge reallocation of the workforce and materials to clear up the mess that 617 Sqn had made in May 1943.

23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12061 posts, RR: 52
Reply 1, posted (11 months 4 weeks ago) and read 5500 times:

Correct. Anytime you can force your enemy to divert resources, men, and equipment, even for a short time gives your forces an advantage.

User currently offlinegatorman96 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 852 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (11 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 5472 times:

The dambuster bombs were always an interest of mine. Here is pretty good training footage testing the bombs prior to becoming operational (note the Lancaster at the 00:40 mark):

Dambuster Training Footage



Cha brro
User currently offlinecjg225 From United States of America, joined Feb 2013, 617 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (11 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 5466 times:

Very interesting stuff. Thanks for the link.


Restoring Penn State's transportation heritage...
User currently offlineConfuscius From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 3825 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (11 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 5457 times:

I like the 1956 movie starring Michael Redgrave. Although I think African-Americans will be offended by the name of the Wing Commander's dog.



[Edited 2013-04-26 21:15:36]


Ain't I a stinker?
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13045 posts, RR: 78
Reply 5, posted (11 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 5409 times:

Quoting Confuscius (Reply 4):
I like the 1956 movie starring Michael Redgrave. Although I think African-Americans will be offended by the name of the Wing Commander's dog.

On a recent showing on terrestrial TV here, the dog's name was cut.
A bit silly, though offensive to us now, in the essentially mono racial Britain of WW2 it would not have been.

Gibson was in reality deeply upset by the dog's death.
He was a complex man Guy Gibson, born in India to British parents, educated in the UK, he joined the RAF before the war and was on bombers from the start.

Flying Hamden's he was was of the few who actually manged to reach his targets in those early night bombing days.
With the night time Blitz on the country after the Battle Of Britain, Gibson was assigned, as an experienced night time pilot, to fly the Blenheim night fighters, the first in the world to be fitted with an airborne radar, he and his crewman shot down three German bombers in this period. Gibson was upset he did not get more.

His personality, background and education made Gibson uncomfortable around all but fellow officers, deeply driven and a disciplinarian, he was not popular with either NCO pilots or ground crew.
A difficult marriage also made him unhappy in his personal life, though that might have had something to do with his, it's been alleged, using his rank to get sexual favours from other's wife's and girlfriends.
Certainly his serial philandering was common knowledge.

His parents had split up when he was 6, his mother an alcoholic by the time he was 12, his public school was strict. The woman he married in 1940 was older and an actress, he met her by, essentially stalking her at her theatre.
A short man, many thought him as essentially lonely and insecure.

Leading 106 Sqn on Lancaster's however, he gained a reputation as a highly effective commander, by now he had won the Distinguished Flying Cross and Distinguished Flying Medal. He was a hard taskmaster expecting his men to show the same absolute commitment, incredible bravery that he did. All of the time.

Hand picked to lead 617 Sqn when it was formed, he had to, for a couple of months, keep secret the target for the raids. All through the dangerous low level night ime training that was very tough on the crews.
On the raid itself, after dropping his bomb, he stayed to divert anti aircraft fire from other attacking aircraft, on all the target dams, extremely dangerous to say the least.
Small wonder he was after the raid he was awarded that highest honour, the Victoria Cross.
Gibson didn't really care, the comedown after the raid, the losses amongst his men, left him depressed.
Then came the PR stuff, the raid had been a morale booster and Gibson spearheaded all that.
He wanted to just get back flying and fighting.

This included a trip to the US which even his friends said went to his head, with hints of heavy womanising.
Bomber Command though, with it's danger and terrible casualty rate, did have a culture of flying hard, fighting hard and playing very hard. Every time, in all senses, in the air or in recreation on the ground, might well be your last.
Everyone had lost many friends.

Gibson however did write, in this period, his classic account 'Enemy Coast Ahead'.
But he was deeply frustrated at his now genuine fame and national hero status keeping him on the ground.
He always wanted 'one last'. One last mission, one last bombing run, so he pulled strings to get one last attack on the enemy. He had been unhappy, felt marginalised, his negative traits of intolerance and pomposity were as bad as ever. So somehow, he got himself back operational flying. On a low level sortie in a Mosquito in September 1944 he crashed and he and his crewman were killed. He was 26.

Richard Todd's sympathetic portrayal of Gibson in the 1955 film, though a fine performance, did not touch on the more negative aspects of Gibson. It was not that sort of film and that was not the era, when WW2 was fresh in the memory, for anything but a heroic role.

Parts of that downed Mosquito, along with many other artifacts of both Gibson and 617 sqn, are preserved at RAF Scampton to this day. Including his dog's grave.

[Edited 2013-04-27 03:14:38]

User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12061 posts, RR: 52
Reply 6, posted (11 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5298 times:

Quoting GDB (Reply 5):
He was a complex man Guy Gibson, born in India to British parents, educated in the UK, he joined the RAF before the war and was on bombers from the start.

Didn't he fly Blenheims and Beaufighters nightfighters with Fighter Command's 29 Squadron (3-4 confirmed kills) before he returned to Bomber Command for a while?


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29699 posts, RR: 59
Reply 7, posted (11 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 5203 times:

Quoting Confuscius (Reply 4):
I like the 1956 movie starring Michael Redgrave. Although I think African-Americans will be offended by the name of the Wing Commander's dog.

I got the film last year and definately learned why they never showed it on TV.

I don't actually agree with cutting the dogs name because history is full of warts and we shoudln't be too offended by them since we don't live in that time, and really do need that memory of "the way we where"



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlinecomorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4869 posts, RR: 16
Reply 8, posted (11 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5145 times:

Any of you guys remember "The Dambusters' March"?   

User currently offlineConfuscius From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 3825 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (11 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5121 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 7):

The sign of the times, then and now. It's the same with the Hoover Dam mascot. There's a plaque without the dog's name and Park Rangers aren't allowed to mention the name.



Ain't I a stinker?
User currently offlinekiwirob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 6641 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (11 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5118 times:

Quoting GDB (Reply 5):

On a recent showing on terrestrial TV here, the dog's name was cut.

I have a problem with that, it also appears that in the movie which is being written the dogs name might be changed. I would hope that black folks are grown up enough to accept the word Nigger as part of history of the story.


User currently offlinekiwirob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 6641 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (11 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5118 times:

Quoting GDB (Reply 5):

On a recent showing on terrestrial TV here, the dog's name was cut.

I have a problem with that, it also appears that in the movie which is being written the dogs name might be changed. I would hope that black folks are grown up enough to accept the dogs name as part of history of the story.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13045 posts, RR: 78
Reply 12, posted (11 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5113 times:

It might well have been cut, on the last showing, as it was broadcast in the early/mid afternoon.
It was the first time it was at least reported that a cut had been made.
I suspect the film being shown later, after the 'watershed' on UK terrestrial TV of 21.30, would not be cur. While this mainly covers swearing, sex and violence more broadly it's about what some might find offensive.

The channel was ITV1.

Of course when the film was made, incredibly the configuration of the Upkeep bombs was still secret! Never mind that by then the RAF had it's first Atomic weapons!
When Upkeep was finally declassified, in 1962, Bomber Command, including 617 Sqn, were equipped with thermonuclear weapons. Old bureaucratic habits die hard.
The full details of the raid were not fully declassified until 1973, under the '30 year rule'.


User currently offlineronglimeng From Canada, joined Oct 2006, 624 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (11 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 4917 times:

I find the "Dambusters March" that was composed for the movie (?) a curious piece. There are parts of it that I really like and other parts that just sound too frivolous.

User currently offlinecomorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4869 posts, RR: 16
Reply 14, posted (11 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4841 times:

Quoting ronglimeng (Reply 13):
I find the "Dambusters March" that was composed for the movie (?) a curious piece. There are parts of it that I really like and other parts that just sound too frivolous.

Ronglimeng, this is the version that I was referring to and played on BBC Radio back in '55:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNRhJtAjgpI


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13045 posts, RR: 78
Reply 15, posted (11 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 4443 times:

An alert for UK members here, on BBC2 16th May;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22510300


User currently offlineADent From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 1333 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 4409 times:

I remember when they recreated the drop from a DC-4 with Arnie Schreder on an episode of Ice Pilots.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © James Connor



User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13045 posts, RR: 78
Reply 17, posted (11 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 4286 times:

A very nice ceremony at RAF Scampton yesterday, guests included two of the three surviving aircrew who took part in the raid and the daughter of Barnes Wallis.
The BBMF Lancaster, plus two PR Spitfires - the type which took the pre and post raid photos - and two specially marked 617 Sqn Tornado GR'4's, landed at Scampton for the occasion.

Prior to that, they overflew the Derwent reservoir - where the Dambusters had trained for the raid - captured in this great bit of amateur - maybe semi amateur - footage;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aSJJNT8LnE


User currently offlinehailstone From Germany, joined Nov 2000, 408 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (11 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4073 times:

I applaud the feat of having been able to burst 2 out of three targetted dams against the defenses.

Granted that this happened during WW II - causing the loss of 56 aircrew and eight out of 19 aircraft - with the aim of hurting the German dictatorial regime and "war machine" (taking out 15 power plants for a period of less than 90 days), but the "colateral civilian damage" of about 1500 drowned civilians does not find a mention in the above 17 posts.


User currently onlinebennett123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7209 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (11 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 4051 times:

I think that you are overlooking several points here.

Firstly, that the Average Error for bombing at that time was several miles. Meaning considerable "colateral damage".

Secondly, that the death of civilians in bombing raids was not unique to this operation.

Finally, iirc, about half the dead were "Guest Workers". Without the Nazi War Machine, they would not even have been in Germany.


User currently offlinehailstone From Germany, joined Nov 2000, 408 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (11 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 4018 times:

deleting the "whole time yards", as only the first two lines show up. sorry.

bennett123 -

I am not saying that the RAF did something wrong and am also not discussing as to who started WWII - of course bpmbs go astray, but in this case it was not bombs that went astray that killed civilians or forced labour / flooded the villages / camps / factories.

I was rather asking myself if busting a dam, resulting mainly civilian (or forced labour) casualties justifies the mission (as much as one can talk about justifying bombing an aggressor) - in other words, IF (very hypothetically) there were an extreme conflict involving the PRC, woudl it be permissible to target the Three Gorges Dam ? I know that the scale is a different one, but nevertheless.

[Edited 2013-05-21 09:07:08]

User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13045 posts, RR: 78
Reply 21, posted (11 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 3997 times:

Quoting hailstone (Reply 18):
but the "colateral civilian damage" of about 1500 drowned civilians does not find a mention in the above 17 posts.

The official ceremony at Scampton, included remembrance and prayer services that included all the deaths during the raid, including 'those on the ground'.

Sadly, the death toll you mention might be an underestimate, as stated though, that might well have been at least in part, due to those forced labour victims, identification, tracing them, the sheer physical element of the flood.


User currently offlinehailstone From Germany, joined Nov 2000, 408 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (11 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 3993 times:

GDB -- thanks for sharing that bit of info

User currently offlinecjg225 From United States of America, joined Feb 2013, 617 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (11 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3982 times:

Quoting hailstone (Reply 20):
in other words, IF (very hypothetically) there were an extreme conflict involving the PRC, woudl it be permissible to target the Three Gorges Dam ? I know that the scale is a different one, but nevertheless.

That, of course, brings up the very difficult subject of "military value."

In hindsight, it's always easy to say, "well, that wasn't worth striking given the number of civilians who were killed, or even military members who were needlessly killed."



Restoring Penn State's transportation heritage...
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