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Thread: Spitfire Ixe attacks rail bridge near Granville 27 Apr 1944

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    Default Spitfire Ixe attacks rail bridge near Granville 27 Apr 1944

    I am looking into the attack by F/L CD Cross, 411 Sqn, on a rail bridge near Granville on 27 Apr 1944. How effective were Spitfires on such a mission and how were they armed for such tactical purposes. With bombs? How many, what size?

    I have recently read something about how difficult it was to bomb a bridge and achieve significant damage. Were the Spits successful in taking out the bridges prior to D-Day?

    I also can't see any bridges near Granville, but there is one closer to La Vielle Vicomte.
    David

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    Hi David,

    There are many Railways' bridges on the Railway line Granville - Paris. The first one is just one kilometre after the start of the train and the next one less than one kilometre after, and many more after. Most of them are for little roads so they should be very difficult to see from the sky.
    Unfortunately I don't know which bridge was attacked this day but the first bridge nearest to the railway station could be the one because if he was like in 2011 he could be seen at low altitude because there aren't any trees to hide it and if it was destroyed no trains could leave from Granville.
    Regards.

    Bruno
    Bruno LECAPLAIN
    Raf WWII 38 Group Squadrons Reunited <www.raf38group.org>
    Stirling Aircraft Society <stirlingaircraftsoc.raf38group.org>

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    Aside from the ORB, would there be a record somewhere of the targets for this raid? I assume it was all part of the Transportation Plan and that these things were all designated ahead of time.
    David

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    Default 500 lb

    David,

    Most likely a 500 lb was used.

    Stephen

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    500 lb carried on centre line rack or 2 x 250 lb underwing. Have seen 2 x 250 lb + centreline slipper long range tank. Griffon power Spitfires could carry 1 x 500 lb and 2 x 250 lb, think the Mk IX could also carry 1000 lb load ?

    Ian

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    I can see now why my man was picked to fly spits after flying CC Hampdens with torpedoes and such. By that point in the war, 411 Sqn was part of 2TAF and being used in the fighter-bomber role.

    The question remains, how effective was this configuration against its intended targets?
    Last edited by dfuller52; 14th January 2011 at 14:56.
    David

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    Dave, a very general answer to the question of effectiveness:

    No, I don't think anybody intended to permanently destroy a steel or concrete bridge with 500 lb bombs, delivered one at a time. A bridge is still a useful target however, because even minor damage to the tracks or to cars on the bridge can block the bridge to train traffic for some time. Also, such damage would take longer to fix or remove on a bridge than it would on any other stretch of track. Letting your enemy know that bridges are on your target list can also force them to spread their finite defences (AA guns and fighter cover) over a large number of bridges.

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    Thanks Bill, that's what I thought. I just recently read about an all-out effort in WW1 to try to destroy bridges behind the German lines to cut off their withdrawal to the Hindenburg line. Many allied aircraft were lost and no damage was done, yet they kept trying due to the importance of those bridges. Several commanders noted the futility of it, but to no avail.

    I know the WW2 attempts were more effective by comparison, but not by much it seems.
    David

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    Default 250 lb

    Ian,

    I am pretty sure the outter points which gave the Spitfire an extra 500 lb, were not being used in April 1944.

    Stephen

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