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Lancaster ED999

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 1932 landing 0220 Target Duty Mannheim

Mannheim 2306 hrs. 22,000 ft. Bombing considered concentrated. Fired could be seen 170 miles away. Weather gave good cover on entire sortie. Flak not eccective. Window 108 bundles off. Monica used.
Part of the station ORB for 5/6 September 1943
5/6 Sepember 1943

Twelve Lancasters for Fiskerton took part in this doublew attack by 605 bombers on Mannheim / Ludwigshaven, which caused servere damage to both targets.

Thirty four of the raiders were brought down on a night when fighters were very active.. it was a fighter that raked the underneath of J-Johnny flown by F/sgt Kirton (ED416) and crew of 49 Squadron, shortly after 'bombs away'. The gunners, Don Burdett and Nick Batty, who together had successfully fought and downed an ME 110 two nights previously, had little chance this night. Don Burdett did manage to shout a warning but terminal damage was sustained in the first attack .. the bomb bay wa ablaze and the port wing was burning furiously. Bomb aimer 'Pop' Mathison was having trouble opening the nose hatch so Sgt Wilby the flight engineer went down to help. Wireless operator Jim Davis informed his skipper that he was ready to bale out and went to the rear door. 'Bunny' Perry, navigator, was standing beside the pilot when the aircraft suddenly lurched and he was thrown to the floor... the next thing he remembered was floating down by parachute.

Next day 'Bunny' Perry was re-united with his skipper in a German hospital where F/Sgt Kirton was being treated for a knee wound.. the pilot remembered preparing to leave his seat when the aircraft exploded and he too found himself parachuting down.
extract from
The Bomber Command War Diaries
By Middlebrook & Everitt
5/6 Sepember 1943
lancaster_bombers025002.gif hcnext_b.gif hchome_b.gif
extract from
Beware Of The Dog At War
By John Ward
5/6 Sepember 1943

Mannheim / Ludwigshafen

605 aircraft - 299 Lancasters, 195 Halifaxes, 111 Stirlings. 34 aircraft - 13 Halifaxes, 13 Lancasters, 8 Stirlings - lost 5.6% of the force.

The target area for this double attack was clear of cloud an the Pathfinder marking plan worked perfectly. Ground markers were placed on th eastern side of Mannheim so that teh bombing of the Main Force - approaching from the west could move back across Mannheim and than into Ludwigshafen on the western bank of the Rhine. The creepback did not become excesive and servere destruction was caused in both targets.

Mannheim's normally detailed air raid report does not give any specific details of proerty damage or casualties. It i probable that the raid was so servere that the normal report gathering and recording process broke down. The Mannheim records speak only of a 'catastrophe' and give gebberal comments on the activities of the air raid services and the behaviour of the population which are both described as 'vorbildich' (exemplary)

More detail is available from Ludwigshafen where the central and southern parts of the town were devastated. The fire department recorded 1,993 seperate fires including 3 classed as 'fire areas' and 986 as large fires; 139 of the fires were in industrial premises, 1,080 houses, 6 military and 4 industrial buildings were destroyed and 8 more industrial buildings were seriously damaged, including the I.G. Farben works. 127 people are described as suffering eye injuries. The relatively small number of deaths may be an indication that many of the German cities were evacuating parts of their population after the recent firestorm disaster at Hamburg and other heavy raids.