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Mission Notes: Kiel

( see map at bottom of screen )

Operation Summary: This was the first major raid on a German city in two months. Over 600 aircraft, including 519 Lancasters, bombed all parts of Kiel, but particularly the port areas including the U boat yards and naval facilities. The crews also dropped leaflets. Jowett replaced Peardon on this mission.

Planes from 115 Squadron:
21 (6 from A flight, 9 from B flight, 6 from C flight)

Planes lost from 115 Squadron:
None

Johnston’s Plane: KO-W (W.PB 131)

Take-off: 10:35 pm

Landing: 3:41 am

Round trip time: 5 hrs 06 mins

Bombing Height: 20,000 ft



DIARY NOTES

Location
RAF Bomber Command, 115 Squadron at Witchford, near Ely

Willie - Lancaster bomber, with “W’ as the final code letter

Drogue shooting - Machine gun practice on a target towed by another airplane

Kiel - German Baltic port 100 kms north of Hamburg

Foxy tactics - Tricky strategies or manouevres

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

A bullseye from the OTUs - A training flight from the Operational Training Units

Drome - Aerodrome or airfield

Chop - Plane that was shot down

#3 Group - Group of bomber squadrons to which 115 Squadron belonged

We dropped leaflets - Copy of the leaflet dropped on this mission appears at the bottom of this screen

10/10 cloud - Measure of cloud cover, ranging from 0/10 (cloudless) to 10/10 (completely clouded over)

July 23, 1944 (Sunday)

Operation # 11 - Kiel

Eleven 1,000 and four 500 pound bombs

Went on an air test with Willie. Did some drogue shooting and got the guns lined up.

Went to Kiel tonight (our first German target). Took above bomb load and 1,460 gallons. Went out across the North Sea below 2,000 to 4 degrees east. Then we climbed to 20,000 ft then bombed, then came down at 1,200 ft per minute to 2,000 again for the trip back. Really foxy tactics I must say.

No H2S on the way out until we climbed so they couldn’t pick it up. Sent a bullseye from the OTUs down towards France to decoy the fighters away and it seemed to work as there were only one or two fighters about and there was supposed to be a big drome just north of Kiel of night fighters.

Saw one chop directly over the target on our run up. None lost from #3 Group. Took five hours and five minutes altogether and I was really tired. It shook me to find myself third back when I hadn’t hurried particularly. Target was pretty active but more so after we left.

We dropped leaflets (it was in Kiel that the revolt started last war and in view of the attempt on Hitler’s life the other day they decided to prod the Navy there a bit in hopes of the same I guess), and we were in the first wave so we didn’t see too much, but it was a busy spot after we left.

10/10 cloud over target at about 4,000 feet but clear above. Sun never did completely set there was a glow to the north all night! Land of the midnight sun sort of thing.

Kiel bombing run photo
from 20,000 ft

Actual Leaflet Johnston dropped on this mission (front & back)

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