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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,
T/o Fiskerton 2222 landing 0313 Target Duty Hamburg
Hamburg 0102 hrs 20,000 ft 2/10th light wispy cloud, very hazy. Posn X track flares 0015 and 0020. Window 5 bundles carried 4 bundles off. After having left target at 0124 hrs large explosion was observed in target area, Ornage glow seen 150 miles away. PFF procedure very good, of great assistance. Route not so good as previous once as track passes near and sometimes through flak and searchlight areas.
Part of the station ORB for 27/28 July 1943
27/28 July 1943 Hamburg
This is the night of the notorius firestorm, when 729 aircraft dropped 2,326 tons of bombs on Hamburg. The Squadron contributed 16 Lancasters to the attack, again with three new crews, those of ; Sgt Gospel (ED721), P/O Hidderley (ED416) and Sgt Greig (EE134)
Window was used and it would appear with grat success, P/O Tomlin (ED805) reports:
' Defences seemed hopelessly confused, searchlights probably numbered 100 were directed aimlessly.'
Losses were lighter than usual with 17 aircraft failing to return.
Bob Petty (JA894) and crew were once again involved in trouble, this time with a night fighter. The 'Monica' system had been successful in warning them of the approach of a JU88... the enemy fighter turned in to attack from teh starboard quarter and Eddie Smith the rear gunner opened fire. The fighter then broke away to try his luck from the port quarter; both Eddie and the mid upper gunner 'Shorty' Roberts were waiting ... they opened fire togehter causing the night fighter to burst into flames and they reported seeing it hit the ground.
All 49's aircraft were safely home by 04.19 hrs.
The Bomber Command War Diaries
By Middlebrook & Everitt
27/28 July 1943
Beware Of The Dog At War
By John Ward
27/28 July 1943
787 aircraft - 353 Lancasters, 244 Halifaxes, 116 Stirlings, 74 Wellingtons. 17 aircraft - 11 Lancasters, 4 Halifaxes, 1 Stirling, 1 Wellington - were lost 2.2% of the force.
The American Commander, Brigadier-General Anderson, again flew in a Lancaster and watched this raid.
The centre of the Pathfinder marking- all carried out by H2S on this night was about 2 miles east of the planned aiming point in the centre of the city, but the marking was particularly well concentrated and the main force bombing 'crept back' only slightly. 729 aircraft dropped 2,326 tons of bombs.
This was the night of the firestorm, which started through an unusual and unexpected chain of events. The temperature was particularly high (30º centigrade at 6 o'clock in the evening) and the humidity was only 30%, compared with an average of 40 - 50 per cent for this time of year. There had been no rain for some time and everything was very dry. The concentrated bombing caused a large number of fires in the densely built up working class districts of Hammerbrook, Hamm and Borgfeld. Most of Hamburg’s fire vehicles had been in western parts of the city, damping down the fires still smouldering there from the raid of 3 nights earlier, and only a few units were able to pass through roads which were blocked by the rubble of buildings destroyed by high-explosive bombs early in this raid. About half way through the raid, the fires in Hammerbrook started joining together and competing with each other for the oxygen in the surrounding air. Suddenly, the whole area became one big fire with air being drawn into it with the force of a storm. The bombing continued for another half hour, spreading the firestorm area gradually eastwards. It is estimated that 550-600 bombs fell into n area measuring only 2 miles by 1 mile. The firestorm raged for about 3 hours and only subsided when all burnable material was consumed.
The burnt out area was almost entirely residential. Approximately 16,000 multi-storeyed apartment buildings were destroyed. There were a few survivors from the firestorm area and approximately 40,000 people died, most of them by carbon monoxide poisoning when all the air was drawn out of their basement shelters. In the period immediately following this raid, approximately 1,2000,000 people - two thirds of Hamburg’s population - fled the city in fear of further raids.
Minor Operations: 3 Mosquitoes to Duisburg, 6 Wellingtons mine-laying in the River Elve, 11 O.T.U sorties 1 Mosquito lost.