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New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force (Vol. II)


page 447

Appendix I


(With particular reference to air operations in Europe)
14–24 Conference between Prime Minister, President Roosevelt, and their Chiefs of Staff at Casablanca.
21 Casablanca directive issued by the Combined Chiefs of Staff defining the primary objects of the combined bomber offensive.
27 First USAAF air raid on GermanyEmden and Wilhelmshaven attacked by Fortresses and Liberators.
30 Mosquitos made their first daylight attack on Berlin (during Goebbels' and Goering's addresses at the 10th anniversary celebrations of Hitler's regime.)
Main Allied bombing effort directed against U-boat bases and factories. Heavy RAF attacks on Lorient and St. Nazaire.
2 Remaining German forces trapped at Stalingrad capitulated.
14 Russian forces recapture Rostov.
25 Allied air forces commence ‘round-the-clock’ bombing. Over 2000 sorties in next 48 hours.
28 Norwegian commandos from Britain destroy German heavy-water installations connected with atomic research at Norsk Hydro, near Ryukan in Norway.
3 Knaben molybdenum mines in Norway attacked by Mosquitos of Bomber Command.
5–6 Bomber Command's Battle of the Ruhr commences with an attack on Essen. 442 aircraft despatched – first full-scale use of ‘Oboe’ results in the first effective attack on Essen.
25 Formation of RAF Transport Command.
30 The Battle of the Atlantic at its height. Record shipping losses on convoy routes especially in North Atlantic, but long-range aircraft achieve increasing success in that area.
Fighter Command now mainly employed on escort duties but attack on enemy rail and shipping targets continues.
1 General Sir F. E. Morgan appointed Chief of Staff to Supreme Allied Commander to begin planning for the invasion of NW Europe. Battle of the Ruhr continues with fifteen major raids by Bomber Command in April–May.page 448
Heavy attacks by U-boat packs in North Atlantic now defeated. Aircraft of Coastal Command have destroyed 36 U-boats since beginning of year.
12–27 Conference between Prime Minister and President Roosevelt in Washington.
13 Allied campaign in North Africa ended.
16–17 Twelve RAF Lancasters attacked and breached the Moehne and Eder Dams. Wing Commander Guy Gibson of No. 617 Squadron awarded the Victoria Cross.
31 The intense period of duels between Coastal Command aircraft and U-boats in the Bay of Biscay commenced.
1 Formation of Second Tactical Air Force based in UK for operations connected with invasion of Europe.
10 Combined Chiefs of Staff issued a directive to RAF and USAAF on the pointblank plan for destruction of the German aircraft industry.
20 First shuttle-bombing raid by Bomber Command, target Friedrichshafen. Aircraft landed at Algiers and attacked Spezia on return journey to UK.
22 Rocket projectiles used for the first time against enemy surface shipping by Coastal Command.
9–10 US and British airborne troops land on Sicily followed by seaborne forces on 10 July.
17 First aircraft landed on runway cleared of fog by ‘Fido’.
24 First of a series of large-scale raids on Hamburg which ended 3 August. ‘Window’ used for first time by Bomber Command.
25 Heavy RAF raid on Essen marks end of Battle of Ruhr.
RAF Mosquitos make 18 night raids on Germany, including seven on Berlin. Heavy bomber targets include Turin, Milan, and Genoa.
1 Air attacks on oil refineries and wells at Ploesti and Campina made by US 8th and 9th Air Forces operating from North Africa.
3 U-boats in the Bay of Biscay forced to abandon surface passage owing to heavy casualties inflicted by Coastal Command.
17 US 8th Air Force attack on ball-bearing factories at Schweinfurt and Regensburg. Of 309 aircraft despatched 60 lost.
17–18 First RAF attack on Peenemunde Air Research and Development Station. 597 heavies despatched, 1938 tons of bombs dropped – 40 bombers lost.
14–24 Quebec Conference between Prime Minister and President Roosevelt. cossac plan for cross-Channel invasion approved.
Bomber Command targets include aircraft factories at Berlin, Hanover, Munich, and Dunlop works at Montlucon.
15–16 12,000 lb. HC bombs dropped for first time by Bomber Command (Dortmund–Ems canal).
22–23 First use of ‘Spoof’ raid technique by Bomber Command. Main target Hanover – ‘Spoof’ target Oldenburg.page 449
8 First Coastal Command units arrived in the Azores (Terceira) to establish an air base.
8–9 Last operation by Wellingtons of Bomber Command.
14 Further attack on Schweinfurt by US 8th Air Force. 60 out of 224 aircraft lost.
10–11 315 aircraft of Bomber Command attacked Modane, on the Mont Cenis route into Italy.
15 Formation of Allied Expeditionary Air Force under Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory. Fighter Command became Air Defence of Great Britain.
18–19 ‘Battle of Berlin’ opened – fifteen major raids in next three months by Bomber Command.
28 Teheran Conference began (President Roosevelt, Marshal Stalin and Mr Churchill).
3 Formation of No. 100 (Special Duties) Group RAF.
20 Commencement of attacks on flying-bomb sites.
23 General Eisenhower appointed Supreme Allied Commander of Expeditionary Forces in UK. Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder became Deputy Supreme Commander. General Montgomery appointed Commander-in-Chief British Group of Invasion Armies.
Attacks by RAF and USAAF against flying-bomb installations in the Pas de Calais intensified.
21 Air Marshal Sir A. Coningham assumed command of RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force.
21–22 German Air Force attacks on London recommenced (‘Baby Blitz’).
9 Allied bombing of French railway system began in preparation for overlord.
15–16 Heaviest attack on Berlin by Bomber Command: 2643 tons of bombs dropped. 891 aircraft despatched, 806 attacked, 43 missing.
18 RAF Mosquitos attacked Amiens prison to release French patriots.
23-24 The ‘Big Week’ commenced. RAF and USAAF bombers dropped 16,506 tons of bombs in a six-day series of raids on the German aircraft industry.
24–25 Bomber Command and US 8th Air Force attacks on ball-bearing industry at Schweinfurt.page 450
4 First American bomber attack on Berlin.
6 800 aircraft in daylight attack on Berlin.
24–25 Last attack of the bomber ‘Battle of Berlin’. 50 RAF and Dominion Air Forces personnel murdered by Germans after attempting to escape from Stalag Luft III.
30–31 Bomber Command suffered its heaviest losses in one attack. 95 aircraft missing out of 795 despatched to Nuremberg.
Heavy Allied air attacks on French railway system.
5 First of a series of 24 day and night attacks by USAAF and RAF bombers from the Mediterranean on the oil refineries at Ploesti. (Last attack 19 August 1944.
9–10 Allied air attacks on French coastal batteries began.
11 RAF Mosquitos attacked the ‘House in the Hague’.
14 Strategic bombing in Europe placed under the control of the Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force (General Eisenhower) for operations in support of overlord.
Air operations over the Continent intensified in preparation for invasion. Heavy raids on rail centres, military depots, and installations.
11 Allied air offensive opened against enemy airfields within fighter range of Caen.
12 Attacks on German oil industry resumed by US air forces.
30 Allied bombing effort now concentrated against coastal defences and key centres in Normandy and in Pas de Calais.
6 D Day. Allied armies began landing in Normandy closely supported by both Tactical and Strategic Air Forces.
8–9 First 12,000-pound DP bombs (‘Tallboys’) dropped by Bomber Command (Saumur railway tunnel).
9 Allied fighters commenced operating from airstrips in France.
10 U-boats, having failed to penetrate Channel defences, began using ‘Schnorkel’ to avoid detection and attack from the air, but without success.
12–13 Bomber Command begins heavy attacks against Ruhr oil targets.
13–14 First flying bombs launched against England.
15–16 Beginning of flying-bomb offensive proper. Between 11.30 p.m. and 6 a.m. 95 crossed the British coast.
16–17 Bomber Command recommenced attacks against ‘Crossbow’ targets (flying-bomb and rocket sites) – period of intensified effort lasted until 6 September 1944.page 451
Allied air forces continue to operate intensively in support of the invading armies.
7 Bomber Command dropped over 2300 tons of bombs on enemy positions at Caen in 38 minutes.
9 Caen captured by British and Canadian forces.
17 Defences of UK against flying bombs re-deployed. New deployment subsequently proved highly successful.
18 Bomber Command dropped over 5600 tons of bombs to assist British offensive south-east of Caen.
20 Attempted assassination of Hitler by German Army officers.
24 Campaign in Normandy officially ended.
24–25 Bomber Command offensive against German industrial cities resumed (Stuttgart).
25 1500 aircraft of US 8th Air Force dropped 3500 tons of bombs to assist American offensive in St. Lo area.
30 American troops entered Granville and Avranches.
31 American breakthrough at Avranches.
4 Meteor jet aircraft first operational – against flying bombs.
7–8 1018 aircraft of Bomber Command despatched against concentrations south of Caen in support of First Canadian Army.
7–12 Defeat of German counter-attack at Mortain, largely by air action.
8 500 US heavy bombers attacked targets south of Caen to prevent German forces escaping from the Falaise pocket.
14 672 Bomber Command aircraft attacked targets north of Falaise in support of the Canadian Army.
15 Allied forces landed on coast of southern France following a four-day intensive air bombardment and attacks by airborne forces.
17 Canadian forces took Falaise. Retreating enemy decimated by air attacks.
18 The U-boat threat to the sea communications of the Expeditionary Force considered at an end. During the period Coastal Command aircraft had sunk 30 U-boats and shared in five further kills with naval forces.
20 First bridgehead across the Seine established by American forces at Mantes.
23 Paris liberated, organised enemy resistance ceased on 25th.
25 Bridgeheads across the Lower Seine established by British forces.
27 First daylight attack by Bomber Command aircraft on Ruhr oil plants.
27–28 Between dusk on 27th and dusk on 28th, defences destroyed 87 flying bombs out of 97 approaching England. Only four reached London.page 452
Strategic air forces intensify their assault on German industrial centres and oil plants.
3 British forces liberated Brussels.
4 Antwerp occupied by British troops.
8 First V-2 rockets fired on Western Front fell in the suburbs of London and Paris.
10 Large-scale attack by Bomber Command on Le Havre; further attack on 11 September.
11–16 Conference in Quebec between Prime Minister and President Roosevelt.
15 Strategic air forces in Europe reverted to the control of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
17 First Allied Airborne Army landed in Holland at Arnhem and Nijmegen.
23–24 RAF Bomber Command breached the Dortmund–Ems canal with 12,000-pound bombs.
25–26 Withdrawal of First Allied Airborne Army from Arnhem – 2163 men returned, about 7000 killed, wounded, and missing.
Heavy attacks on Ruhr cities by Bomber Command.
3 RAF Bomber Command breached the Dyke near Westkapelle on Walcheren.
7 RAF Bomber Command breached Kembs Dam on the Upper Rhine north of Basle to assist the US Army.
14–15 Heaviest attack of war by Bomber Command on German territory. 1576 aircraft dropped 5453 tons of bombs – also largest tonnage on a single target at night, 4547 tons on Duisburg.
15 AEAF disbanded; Air Staff SHAEF formed. ADGB became Fighter Command again.
31 Gestapo HQ at Aarhus, Denmark, destroyed by RAF Mosquitos.
1 Allied amphibious forces attacked Walcheren.
4–5 Dortmund–Ems canal again breached by Bomber Command.
9 Capture of Walcheren completed. Over 2300 tons of bombs dropped on targets near Metz and Thionville by Allied Air Forces in support of Third Army offensive in the Metz-Nancy area.
12 Tirpitz sunk by Lancasters of Bomber Command in Tromso Fiord with 12,000-pound bombs.
16 American offensive towards Cologne after Duren, Julich, and Heinsburg had been attacked by RAF Bomber Command, and Eschweiler and Duren by US 8th Air Force.
28 Port of Antwerp reopened to traffic.page 453
16 German counter-attack in the Ardennes sector opens.
24 RAF and USAAF heavy bombers flew over 2000 sorties against German airfields.
26 Deepest German penetration during Ardennes offensive – 60 miles (near Celles).
27 Large attacks continued to be made by Allied air forces on the Ardennes salient. Bastogne relieved.
31 RAF bombed Gestapo HQ in Oslo.
Offensive against German oil plants increases.
1 German Air Force attack on Allied airfields in Belgium, 155 British and American operational aircraft destroyed and 135 damaged. 193 enemy aircraft destroyed by air action and by AA fire.
1–2 Dortmund–Ems canal and the Mittelland canal breached by Bomber Command.
26 End of Battle of Ardennes.
Strategic air forces concentrate their attacks against German oil and communications.
4–10 Conferences opened at Yalta between Prime Minister, President Roosevelt, and Marshal Stalin.
13–14 Bomber Command and 8th Air Force attacked Dresden in support of Russian front and Chemnitz on following night.
20–21 First of 36 consecutive night raids made by RAF Mosquitos on Berlin.
21 Allied Strategic and Tactical Air Forces began intensified campaign against enemy transport and communications preparatory to the Rhine crossing.
11 Bomber Command dropped 4680 tons of HE on Essen.
12 Bomber Command attacked Dortmund with 4851 tons of HE. Heaviest tonnage dropped on one target in one day.
14 RAF attacked and destroyed Bielefeld Viaduct with 22,000-pound DP bombs (‘Grand Slam’). First time used.
18 Largest daylight raid on Berlin – 1300 sorties by US 8th Air Force dropping 2500 tons of bombs.
21 RAF Mosquito attack on Gestapo HQ at Copenhagen.
24 Crossing of the Lower Rhine near Wesel preceded by heavy air onslaught and accompanied by airborne landings – 8000 aircraft and 1300 glider sorties.
27 RAF aircraft attacked U-boat shelters at Farge using 10-ton bombs. Last rocket (V-2) fell on England.
31 End of Commonwealth Air Training Scheme announced.page 454
1 Encirclement of Ruhr completed when US Ninth and First Armies joined forces at Paderborn.
9 Coastal Command anti-shipping Strike Wings used in daytime to attack surfaced U-boats on passage in the Kattegat.
9–10 Admiral Scheer sunk by Bomber Command during an attack on Kiel.
11 American forces reached the Elbe.
12 Death of President Roosevelt.
16 Bomber Command daylight attack on Swinemunde resulted in the sinking of Lutzow.
17 Low-level attack by RAF Mosquitos on Gestapo HQ at Odense in Denmark.
18 953 RAF bombers attacked the naval base, Heligoland.
20 Last Allied air attack on Berlin.
22 Russian forces fighting in Berlin.
24 First operation on the Continent by RAF jet aircraft (Meteors).
25 Western Allied forces made contact with Russian forces at Torgau on the Elbe.
25–26 Last attack by Bomber Command against oil storage depot at Vallo, Norway.
26 First PWs repatriated by air, continued until 1 June, during which time Bomber Command alone repatriated 75,000 PWs.
29 250 RAF bombers commenced food-dropping operations over Holland. These operations continued daily with one exception until 8 May.
2 Russian forces captured Berlin.
3 Fall of Hamburg.
7 Unconditional surrender of Germany to the Western Allies and Russia.
8 VE Day.
4 Last patrol by Coastal Command. (Sunderland escort to inward-bound convoy across Atlantic.)