Night of the Big Wind 24th March 1944

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by CL1, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    The fact that the Office still had only a very limited understanding of upper air winds, in particular how
    narrow the bands of strong winds could be, was brought into tragically sharp focus on the night of
    24–25 March 1944. An allied bomber stream destined for Berlin which had been forecast to meet winds
    no stronger than 45mph was torn apart when it encountered winds in excess of 120mph resulting in the
    loss of 72 bombers.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/r/q/Remember.pdf
     
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  2. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    On the night of 24/25 March 1944 on a raid to Berlin RAF Bomber Command Squadrons lost the following........

    7 Squadron - 2 Lancaster's
    12 Squadron - 4 Lancaster's
    15 Squadron - 2 Lancaster's
    35 Squadron - 1 Lancaster
    44 Squadron - 2 Lancaster's
    51 Squadron - 2 Halifax's
    57 Squadron - 2 Lancaster's
    61 Squadron - 2 Lancaster's
    76 Squadron - 1 Halifax
    78 Squadron - 6 Halifax's
    97 Squadron - 2 Lancaster's
    100 Squadron - 1 Lancaster
    103 Squadron - 1 Lancaster
    115 Squadron - 4 Lancaster's
    156 Squadron - 1 Lancaster
    158 Squadron - 2 Halifax's
    166 Squadron - 4 Lancaster's
    207 Squadron - 1 Lancaster
    420 Squadron - 1 Halifax
    424 Squadron - 1 Halifax
    425 Squadron - 2 Halifax's
    427 Squadron - 3 Halifax's
    429 Squadron - 3 Halifax's
    432 Squadron - 1 Halifax
    433 Squadron - 2 Halifax's
    460 Squadron - 2 Lancaster's
    466 Squadron - 1 Halifax
    514 Squadron - 1 Lancaster
    576 Squadron - 2 Lancaster's
    578 Squadron - 3 Halifax's
    619 Squadron - 1 Lancaster
    625 Squadron - 3 Lancaster's
    626 Squadron - 2 Lancaster's
    630 Squadron - 3 Lancaster's
    635 Squadron - 1 Lancaster
    640 Squadron - 2 Halifax's
     
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  3. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Great info there Clive. Thanks for posting.
     
  4. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    This raId marked the end of the Battle for Berlin,being the last of 16 attacks on the city and the 35th of the overall bombing campaign which started in November 1943.

    During this period BC dispatched 20.224 sorties.1047 aircraft failed to return with 1682 aircraft damaged.The raids on Berlin have an operational return as follows:

    Total aircraft dispatched......9111
    Missing..................................492
    Damaged...............................954
    SOC.........................................95.

    For the final raid 24/25 March 1944,the operational return was as follows:

    Aircraft dispatched................................................811
    Aircraft reporting attack on primary area..............660
    Airport reporting attack on an alternative area.......26
    Abortive sorties.......................................................53
    Aircraft missing.......................................................72 plus one Mosquito (No 100 Group Fighter Support)

    A short summary from the Bomber Command Report on the night operations of 24 March 1944 reads as follows:

    811 aircraft were sent to Berlin.An exceptionally strong wind caused the Pathfinders to over shoot the aiming point and the bombing spread outside the southern suburbs.Considerable damage was,however,inflicted, on the capital.the Siemens and 73 other factories were hit.72 aircraft were lost (8.9%),of which it is estimated that nearly three quarters were due to flak,the wind driving many bombers off their course over heavily defended areas. Mosquitos carried out a feint attack on Kiel,and precision raids on Munster,Duisburg and on airfields in the Low Countries.Other Mosquitos made intruder and Serrate patrols,destroying three enemy aircraft and damaging four other s for the loss of one British fighter. A large diversionary sweep was carried out over France but this did appear to distract the fighters.

    (This would be the deception attempted by the sweep south of Paris which was dismissed by the Luftwaffe night fighter controllers and similar to the deception conducted by the planners a week later for the raid on Nuremberg which was equally dismissed by the air controllers leading to the loss of nearly 100 aircraft)

    Apparently the root cause of the overshooting was due to the effect of the strong north wind which BC put at105mph. Markers were dropped via H2S and
    were immediately swept south.

    The raids on Liepzig,Berlin and Nuremberg cost BC dear but there was no lack of aircrew,willing and eager to replace loses.However after March 1944 Bomber Command were given a different role of preparing for the invasion of Europe under Eisenhower as the Supreme Commander.

    Overall the Battle of Berlin did not wreck the city from end to end and it did not cost Germany the war but PR operations between 25 March and 11 April 1944 indicated the severe damage to industrial assets in the Wailmersdorf, Schoneburg, Charlotenburg,Siemenstadt,Wedding,Spandau,Templehof and Teltow districts.

    Per Ardua ad Astra........as related by J H Searby in his The Bomber Battle for Berlin.
     
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