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Mission Notes: Stettin

( see map at bottom of screen )

Operation Summary:
461 Lancasters took part in this raid of the port and industrial areas of Stettin. While Johnston reports the bombing efforts as scattered the RAF reported it as “accurate, with much damage in the port and factory area”.

Planes from 115 Squadron:
18 (6 from A flight, 5 from B flight, 7 from C flight)

Planes lost from 115 Squadron:

Johnston’s Plane: KO-W (W.PB 131)

Take-off: 9:05 pm

Landing: 5:30 am

Round trip time: 8 hrs 25 mins

Bombing Height: 20,000 ft


RAF Bomber Command, 115 Squadron at Witchford, near Ely

J type incendiary clusters - Small type of incendiary bombs mounted in canisters

Daylight - Daylight operation/mission

Night effort - Night time operation/mission

Stettin - Polish port city on the Baltic near Germany, now called Szczecin

Iced up - A situation where ice formed on the wings and other air surfaces, which made the plane less aerodynamic, and in extreme cases could cause it to plummet uncontrollably and crash

GEE - Radio navigation system that allowed planes to determine their location by timing synchronized pulses sent from three transmitters in the United Kingdom. It did not extend over the horizon, and the Germans could jam it, but it was very effective over England and the North Sea

U/S - Unserviceable, or unusable

H2S - Radar navigation and bomb aiming aid – a downward pointing radar scanner in the rear belly of the aircraft that showed the ground below – it could not be jammed by the Germans, but they could home in on it, so it was only used for very short periods

TI - Target indicators - type of marker flare in different colours dropped by the Pathfinders that preceded the bomber stream, and used to identify a bombing target

Peenemunde - German town located on the island of Usedom just off the Baltic coast directly north of Berlin – during the war there was an important V rocket testing and development facility located here, hence the heavy flak defenses

Flak - German anti-aircraft fire

Flak Gun

Barrage - Enemy fire which is designed to fill a volume or area, rather than aimed at a specific target

Window - Strips of tinfoil jettisoned in large numbers from planes to cloud enemy radar

Chops - Planes that were shot down

Bob - Livingstone, Johnston’s bomb aimer

Op - Operational mission

Tony K - Kovacich, Canadian air bomber in Chatterton’s crew in 115 Squadron at Witchford

Chatterton, Ed - Canadian pilot and friend of Johnston in 115 Squadron at Witchford

August 16, 1944 (Wednesday)

Operation # 21 - Stettin

One 2,000 pound and twelve J type 500 pound incendiary clusters

Hung about for a daylight until noon then they changed it to a night effort. Boy what a long way – Stettin – Germany’s biggest Baltic port. Two thousand miles approximately (it’s eighty miles past Berlin).

We went to five degrees east under 1,000 feet, climbed to 16,000 to cross Denmark, then on the way south again we climbed to as high as we could get to bomb (in our case 19,800 as we got iced up).

After going through the target - dived at 240 mph 1,500 feet per minute to 6,000 feet all the way to nine degrees forty minutes east at 6,000 then down to 3,500 to well past the coast then down to 1,000 for return journey.

GEE went U/S about 100 miles out so used H2S where possible – winds were bad and timing all off (also courses) but we bombed a minute early - bombed a TI just barely visible through cloud and found it about one and a half miles short of main attack – we were in cloud right until the edge of the target. We weren’t the only ones.

However though the attack was scattered it was scattered evenly and the attack did some good.

At Peenemunde on the way in I saw more flak than I’ve ever seen in my career, but we were on the outskirts of it and the target was not much better – just barrage stuff.

The target was well lit up with searchlights – there must have been a hundred or more! The Window had them baffled though and they were pretty aimless.

Saw two chops – one right before the target and one about halfway to Denmark (said to be a night fighter). Trip was just over eight hours – what a stooge!

Bob celebrated his birthday at midnight – that’s three of my boys who have celebrated birthdays on an op!

Finished the meal about 7:30 a.m. and we (ie: Tony K, Ed Chatterton and myself) went in and played a game of billiards until nine, then picked up our mail and then back to bed (stupid, eh?).

Stettin bombing run photo
from 20,000 ft

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