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Lancaster ED453

Sgt C T Anderson, Sgt R C Paterson, Sgt J P Nugent, Sgt W D Bickle, Sgt A W Buck, Sgt G J Green, Sgt E Ewan

T/o Fiskerton 2028 landing 0255 Target Duty Berlin

Bombed primary 2313 hrs 20,000 ft No cloud, Smoke haze. Saw T .I markers. Markers in sight.
Part of the station ORB for 27/28 March 1943
27/28 March 1943

396 aircraft - 191 Lancasters, 124 Halifaxes, 81 Stirlings, 9 aircraft 4 Halifax, 3 Lancaster, 2 Stirling - lost 2.3% of the force.

This raid was basicly a failure. The bombing force approached the target from the south-west and the Pathfinders established two seperate marking area's, but both well short of the city. No bombing photographs were plotted within 5 miles of the aiming point in the centre of Berlin and most of the bombing fell from 7 to 17 miles short of the aiming point.

The Berlin report confirms that damage in the city was not heavy, although the bombing was slighty more widespread than the bombing photographs indicated. The local report, however, contains several interesting aspects. Only 16 houses were classes as completely destroyed but many further buildings, including public utilities and factories, suffered light damage. These were typical results in a scattered raid; the local fire service were able to contain fires quickly. But 102 people were killed and 260 injured. The majority of these casualtiesoccurred when two bombs at the Anhalter Station hit a military train bringing men on leave from the Russian front; 80 soldiers were killed and 63 injured. Our researcher in Berlin Arno Abendroth, states that the damage in Berlin would have been heavier if approximately one quarter of the bombs dropped had not turned out to be 'duds'; 'The English factories must have been under some stress,' he writes. Further out from the city centre, stray bombs hit several Luftwaffe establishments. 3 planes were destroyed and a flak position was hit at Tempelhof airfield; the flying school at Staaken airfield was damaged and a further 70 service personnel were killed or wounded. These casualties are in addition to those in Berlin.

But the most interesting story concerns a secret Luftwaffe stores depot in teh woods at Teltow, 11 miles south-west of the centre of Berlin. By chance, this was in the middle of the main concentration of bombs and a large quantity of valuble radio, radar and other technical stores was destroyed. The Luftwaffe decided that this depot was the true target fro the R.A.F. raid on this night and were full of admiration for the special unit which had found and bombed it so accuratley. The Gestapo investigated houses near by because someone reported that a light signal had been flashed to the bombers. This theory was still current when our research into this raid was carried out in 1983!

Minor operations: 24 aircraft minelaying in the Frisians and off Texel, 4 O.T.U. sorties. No losses

Total effort for the night: 424 sorties, 9 aircraft (2.1%) lost.
extract from
The Bomber Command War Diaries
By Middlebrook & Everitt
27/28 March 1943
27/28 March 1943 Berlin.

By 10.30 hrs, orders were through requiring 10 aircraft for Hamburg or Berlin. At 15.00 hrs the target was confirmed as Berlin. W/Cdr Slee (ED702), flying his 24th operation with the Squadron, led 9 aircraft away from Fiskerson by 20.49 hrs the tenth Lancaster was scrubbed when Sgt pilot Stables reported unfit to fly.

All the remaining 9 crews completed their sorties, with both W/Cdr Slee and Sgt Price (ED721) sustaining flak damage to the underside of their repective Lancasters. 6 aircraft landed back at base and 3 landed at Scampton.
extract from
Beware Of The Dog At War
By John Ward
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