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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 2017 landing 0328 Target Duty Berlin
Berlin 0008 hrs 20,000 ft. Clear, no cloud. Concentrated bombing, at 2352 hrs. large orange fires could be seen 12o miles away. PFF good. Weather and route also good. Flak not as efective as in March.
Part of the station ORB for 23/24 August 1943
23/24 August 1943 Berlin
Bomber Comman now began a short series of raids to test the German defences around Berlin in preperation for the forthcoming winter campaign. Over 725 bombers were dispatched with 9 being sent by the Squadron and 9 safely returning .
This raid resulted in Bomber Command suffering the greatest loss so far in one night, when 56 aircraft failed to return. 49 Squadron crews reported numerous cones of searchlights working in co-operation with nightfighters..
The Bomber Command War Diaries
By Middlebrook & Everitt
23/24 August 1943
Beware Of The Dog At War
By John Ward
23/24 August 1943
727 aircraft - 335 Lancasters, 251 Halifaxes, 124 Stirlings, 17 Mosquitoes.
The Mosquitoes were used to mark various points on the route to Berlin in order to help keep the main force on the correct track. A Master Bomber was used; he was Wing Commander J E Fauquier, the Commanding Officer or 405 (Canadian) Squadron. (The famous ' Johnny ' Fauquier later commanded 617 Squadron) 56 aircraft - 23 Halifaxes, 17 Lancasters, 16 Stirlings - were lost 7.9% of the heavy bomber force . This was Bomber Commands greatest loss of airc raft in one night so far in the war.
The raid was partially successful. The Pathfinders were not able to identify the centre of Berlin by H2s and marked an area in teh southern outskirts of the city. The main force arrived late and many aircraft cut a corner and approached from the south-west instead of using the planned south-south-east approach; this resulted in more bombs falling in open country than would otherwise have been the case. The German defences- both flak and night fighter - were extremely fierce.
Much of the attack fell outside Berlin - 25 villages reported bombs, with 6 people killed there - ans in teh sparsely populated southern suburbs of the city. Despit this, Berlin reports the most serious raid of the war so far, with a wide range of industrial, housing and public properties being hit. 2,611 individual buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged. The worst damage was in teh residential area of Lankwitz and Lichterfelde and the worst industrial damage was in Mariendorf and Marienfelde; these districts are all well south of the city centre. More industrial damage was casued in the Tempelhof area, nearer the centre, and some of those bombs which actually hit the centre of the city fell by chance in the 'goverment quarter', where the Wilhelmstrasse was recorded as having not a building undamaged. 20 ships in the city's canals were sunk.
Casualties in Berlin were heavy considering the relatively inacurate bombing 854 people were killed: 684 civilians, 60 service peronel, 6 air raid workers, 102 foreign workers (89 of them women) and 2 prisoners of war. 83 more civilains were classed as missing. The citys officials who complied the reports found out that this high death rate was caused by an unusually high proportion of the dead not having taken shelter, as ordered, in the allocated air-raid shelters. Our excellent adviser from Berln Arno Abendroth, who was living in the city at this time evacuated in September 1943, says that when Doktor Goebbels, who as well as being the Minister of Propoganda was also Berlin's Gauleiter, recieved the report on the number of people killed outside the shelters, Geobbels ' nearly went nuts'.
Minor Operations: 40 Wellingtons minelaying in teh Frisians and off Lorient and St. Nazaire, 22 O.T.U. sorties . No losses