The Dambusters, how effective?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Ascent, May 15, 2013.

  1. Ascent

    Ascent Member

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  2. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    That it is. It doesn't make mention of the increased defences set up to defend those dams, and several others, from future air attack.

    I am glad that the author does state that many of the workers that came to repair the dam had been pulled off the Atlantic Wall. If nothing else, that must, surely, have been worth the effort?

    Also, Stephen Flower, A Hell of a Bomb, suggests that many workers on the Atlantic Wall absconded for fear that they would be sent to Germany.
     
  3. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #3 nuuumannn, May 15, 2013
    Last edited: May 15, 2013
    Excellent coverage and analysis in brief. Particularly liked the last sentence.

    "The most important impact of the Dambusters raid may indeed have been in convincing people on both sides that the Allies were winning, and that, often, is how wars are won and lost."

    By the way, Chastise took place seventy years ago tonight, as if we need to be told...

    The Lanc in the photo is MR.VII NX611 Just Jane owned by the Panton Brothers at East Kirkby; it was gifted by the French government to Australia; the map of the world next to the bomb symbols shows its flight around the world from Australia to the UK; it was named Spirit of the Gold Coast at the time of the flight.
     
  4. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. The raid was a propaganda coup even if the effects on German production in the Ruhr were less than hoped for.

    A version of this reconnaissance photograph of the breached Mohne dam appeared on the front page of British newspapers very soon after the event. This was not at all normal.

    [​IMG]

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Effects on German production were more substantial then many RAF raids involving hundreds of aircraft. So IMO the dam buster mission was a rousing success. Why didn't RAF Bomber Command run more low level precision attack missions?
     
  6. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I've been facinated by this action since I was a kid. I'm planning to visit the Moehnetall sperre next year, so I hope to post some pictures then.
     
  7. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Certainly a rousing story, irrespective of results. Looking forward to Peter Jackson's remake, now that he's done with Hobbits. Apparently one piece of poetic licence is that Gibson's dog has been renamed 'Digger' from 'n$gg&r'. No doubt the purists will huff and puff, but I can see how a scene with Barnes Wallace and a bunch of RAF personnel fist pumping the air and yelling '******, ******, ******!' might be a bit hard to take these days.
     
  8. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Because, like the USAAF, they had to follow the Bomb Plan and, like the USAAF, as a result, many aircraft and lives were lost for moderately effective (overall) results.
     
  9. muskeg13

    muskeg13 Member

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  10. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Because they lost 8 out of 19 aircraft. An unacceptable loss rate at the time and something which appalled Barnes Wallace. 53 (out of 133) aircrew who participated in the attack were killed, near enough 40%. That's almost a suicide mission in western military terms.

    Would you care to evidence the "substantial" effects on German production? The longest lasting effect, and hardly critical, was on food production.

    None of that diminishes the ingenuity of the raid nor the bravery of the men who carried it out. It was a remarkable achievement.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  11. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Well said Steve. An incredible raid by anyone's standards.
    Cheers
    John
     
  12. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I remember an interview with one of the then surviving dambusters. It was one of the Canadians but I'm not sure who. He was asked if he thought that the raid had been worth it. His reply was that to him, personally, having lost so many friends, it was not. Whether it was worth it in the larger context of WW2 he did not know.

    That's a pretty good assessment and one with which I will readily agree.

    It also raises an important point that this was a raid carried out by men from all over the Commonwealth

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  13. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    I just watched an interview with Les Munro.

    He said that for the boost that the raid gave to the English, in his opinion, it was worth it.

    I guess opinions vary as much among the men who flew these missions as they do on this forum.
     
  14. stug3

    stug3 Active Member

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    A reconnaissance image of the Eder dam before raid.
    [​IMG]


    The breach in the dam wall made by the bouncing bomb.
    [​IMG]


    Another German picture of the breach in the dam.
    [​IMG]


    Aerial reconnaissance (vertical) photograph showing the breach in the Mohne Dam caused by No 617 Squadron, Royal Air Force’s raid on 16 May 1943. The Eder Dam was breached in the same operation by means of ‘bouncing’ bombs designed by Dr Barnes Wallis. This spectacular feat of precision bombing had tremendous propaganda value, although its practical effects were less great than some had hoped.
    [​IMG]


    The breach in the Mohne Dam four hours after the Dambusters raid in May 1943.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Good images of the breaches. Why were the Germans allowed to make repairs unmolested by the RAF (or USAAF) ? Failure to follow up was common at the time.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  16. OldSkeptic

    OldSkeptic Active Member

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    Nope no follow up, which was a real weakness in the bombing campaigns (day and night) until very late on. Even nuisance raids by Mossies would have slowed rebuilding up considerably, let alone some attacks by more conventional bombing.
     
  17. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    I guess follow on attacks are hard to sell if the loss rate is 40% and the actual impact difficult to quantify.
     
  18. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    And they would have had to face lots of rapid-firing small caliber AA guns placed against further attacks so similar style attacks would have faced near 100% loss rate. They could have used FBs or Meds with standard iron bombs but they would have a hard time to get some real effect other than disruption of repair efforts, maybe destroying the power houses.
     
  19. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Follow up attacks would not have been the low level precision attacks of the original raid. The breaches were already made. More conventional raids would have served to disrupt the rebuilding process. Finding such targets in the summer of 1943 might have posed a problem.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  20. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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