Sortie 17

Date:  12th December 1944

Target:  Essen (Ruhr Valley)

Crew:  AE Johnson, GB Thomas, CF Myers for H Coulton, RM Jenkins, R Neale, DF Hadland, CA Butler

Aircraft:  PB364 (N)

Role:  Supporter              

Take Off: 17.18  Landing: 21.10

Crew Report:

35 Squadron ORB: 14 aircraft carried out a night attack on Essen. 10/10ths cloud prevailed necessitating a blind attack and few results were observed.

Bomber Command:

Aircraft Used:  540 aircraft – 349 Lancasters, 163 Halifaxes, 28 Mosquitos – of Nos 1, 4 and 8 Groups.

Losses: 6 Lancasters lost.

Summary:  This was the last heavy night raid by Bomber Command on Essen. During the post-war interrogations of Albert Speer, Hitler’s Armaments Minister, he was asked which forms of attack were most effective in weakening the German war effort. After referring to the effectiveness of daylight raids and to some of the Oboe Mosquito attacks, Speer paid a compliment to the accuracy of this raid on Essen: “The last night attack upon the Krupp works, which was carried out by a large number of 4-engined bombers, caused surprise on account of the accuracy of the bomb pattern. We assumed that this attack was the first large-scale operation based on Oboe or some other new navigational system.”