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Hamburg
Lancaster JA892

P/O 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, P/O Hidderley (2nd Pilot)

T/o Fiskerton 2225 landing 0332 Target Duty Hamburg

Hamburg 0107 hrs. 20,000 ft 163 . Haze. Vis good, no cloud. 2 Red T.I.'s in bomb sight. 1 very large explosion 0107 hrs. Many fires burning all over city when leaving target. Monica, 20 unidentified. Window 80 bundles. Blacked out M/U turret through deposit. An extremely large explosion in centre of target area. of brilliant yellow colour.
Part of the station ORB for 24/25 July 1943
24/25 July 1943 Hamburg

On the same night as shuttle raiders were returnign from Africa. 'Bomber Harris' decided to launch his follow up to the Battle of the Ruhr... an all out attack on the Reich's second largets town. Hamburg. What was to become known as the Battle of Hamburg consisted of 4 major raids in which it was intended to drop 10,000 tons of bombs. For the first raid conditions were clear... H2S marking was used as the distance was too great for Oboe. A mixed force of 791 bombes was dispatched of which 728 aircraft dropped 2,284 tons of boms in 50 minutes.

WINDOW

A new and major technical inovation was introduced during the Battle of Hamburg. For some time scientists had been devising a way of jamming German ground rada. They came up witha very simple and relatively inexpencive method which was given the code name 'Window' . Window was in fact strips of black paper 27 centimetres long and 2 centimetres wide with aluminium foil stuck to one side. Dropped in bundles of 2,000 strips held together with elastic bands, it formed a hyge cloud of aluminium strips. The German Wurzburg rada sets which controlled the night-fighter interception and radar - predicted flak guns plus the smaller airborne Lichtenstein radar sets, were all rendered useless when swamped by so may false echoes.

Leading aircraft from 791 strong Main Force started releasing bundles of Window shortly after passing over Heligoland; the effect was immediate as the German defences were thrown into total confusion. F/O Kirton (ED416) and crew, who flew over the target with their starboard inner engine u/s, reported

" One bundle of Window carried away the Marconi aerial - Searchlights weaving about hopelessly "

The metod of releasing Window by most crews was via the aircraft's window, which resulted in several aerials being lost. P/O Cyril Anderson (JA892) and W/O Jock Morrison (LM306) had the disconcerting dilemma of having the mid- uupw turret blacked out by these metal strips. The only other incident occured when F/Lt Taylor's (ED721) mid-upper gunner, Sgt Stopani, succeeded in scaring away a night fighter with one short burst, just after leaving the target.
extract from
The Bomber Command War Diaries
By Middlebrook & Everitt
24/25 July 1943
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extract from
Beware Of The Dog At War
By John Ward
24/25July 1943
Hamburg

791 aircraft - 347 Lancasters, 246 Halifaxes, 125 Stirlings, 73 Wellingtons. 12 aircraft - 4 Halifaxes, 4 Lancasters, 3 Stirling, 1 Wellington - were lost 1.5% of the force.

Window was used for the first time on this night. Conditions over Hamburg were clear with only a gentle wind. The marking- a mixture of H2S and visual - was a little scattered but most of the target indicators fell near enough to the centre of Hamburg for a concentrated raid to develop quickly. 728 aircraft dropped 2,284 toms of bombs in 50 minutes. Bombing photographs showed that less than half of the force bombed within 3 miles of the centre of Hamburg and a creepback 6 miles long developed. But because Hamburg was such a large city servere damage was caused in the centre and north western districts particularly in Altona, Eimsbuttel and Hoheluft The Rathaus, the Nikolaikirche, the ain police station, the main telephone exchange and the Hagenbeck Zoo ( where 140 animalsdied) were among the well known Hamburg landmarks to be hit. Approximately 1,500 people were killed. This was the greatest number of people killed so far in a raid outside the area in which Oboe could be used.

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