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Mission Notes: Kiel

( see map at bottom of screen )

Operation Summary:
372 Lancasters took part in this mission, which resulted in a large number of bombers lost, including 3 from 115 Squadon.

Planes from 115 Squadron:
22 (7 from A flight, 7 from B flight, 8 from C flight)

Planes lost from 115 Squadron:
3 (Holder, Braun, Morgan)

Johnston’s Plane:
KO-W (W.PB 131)

Take-off: 8:22 pm

Landing: 1:37 am

Round trip time: 5 hrs 15 mins

Bombing Height: 18,000 ft


RAF Bomber Command, 115 Squadron at Witchford, near Ely

Cookie - 4,000 lb bomb, consisting of a steel tube packed with RDX explosive

Cans - Incendiary bombs

Op - Operational raid

Kiel - German Baltic port 100 kms north of Hamburg

Flak - German anti-aircraft fire

Rocket ack ack - Rocket propelled German anti-aircraft fire

Coned - Plane was caught simultaneously in the beams of a number of searchlights, and then flak was concentrated on it

Hamburg - German city 200 kms northwest of Berlin near the Baltic coast

Chop - Plane that was shot down

Twenty-four chops altogether - While a large amount, this was not unexpected , as for every 100 airmen in Bomber Command:
-51 were killed in action
- 9 were killed in crashes over England
- 3 were seriously injured on operations
- 12 became prisoners of war
- 1 was shot down and evaded capture
- 24 survived unharmed

St Elmo’s fire - Electrical discharge resembling a flame associated with electrical storms

Pitot head - Air speed indicator sensor

Jettison - Discard unused bombs prior to landing

G/S - Ground speed

August 26, 1944 (Saturday)

Operation # 24 - Kiel

One 4,000 pound “cookie” and 7,500 pounds of “cans”

Called at 5:30 for a meal and then up for an op. Everybody in pretty poor shape as we didn’t get to bed until noon.

Flew our usual trip over water to Kiel but there was lots of excitement at the end of the trip. More flak and searchlights than I’ve ever seen before. They used rocket ack ack tonight too – first time I’ve ever really been able to identify it though I’ve seen it before a few times.

There was one cone to starboard going in (Hamburg) with from 150 to 200 searchlights in it! And you could hardly see its apex for flak bursts. Some poor boy getting it!

There was one chop on the coast behind us after we were in and another over the target (both flak, though fighters were seen by various people). There were twenty-four chops altogether - three from here and several got shot up a bit.

I picked the only flak free corridor I could see on the coast to go in through, about four miles port of track – the coast was alive for miles.

One fellow was coned just in front of us after the bombs dropped and I had a hang of a job staying out of the light as they were only about a hundred yards in front of me and he was going all over the sky.

Bombed from 18,200 then down to 6,000 to coast then 4,000 for twenty miles then 2,000 to England.

Just past the coast ran into an electric storm – St. Elmo’s fire etc – wonderful sight! Some clot over the target just missed us by a wingspan going in exactly the opposite direction – really close.

When we took off we had something in the pitot head and it gave us a really exciting time. I couldn’t get above 140 at 2,850, +10 and couldn’t climb at all. I was past coast on way out to jettison when heat finally burned it out and airspeed turned out to be 240 approximately. Just as it happened the Nav told me the same thing from working out our G/S from fixes – but it surely shook me!

Kiel bombing run photos
from 18,000 ft

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