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Thread: Nuisance raids

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    Default Nuisance raids

    Hello to all

    As a student in military history I am researching the RAF night raids over Italy,1941-1942.I have read that in this period RAF twin-engine aircraft (Wellington ? Beauforts ?) from Malta made “nuisance raids” on southern Italy and Sicilian towns. Can you help me to explain the meaning of “nuisance raids” ? Who invented it (Hugh Trenchard in the twenties ?) The results ? Thanks to all

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    Hi,

    I can confirm that 311 (Czechoslovak) Bomber Squadron was sent in few cases from their base in East Wretham, UK in summer 1941 to attack Milano and Torino.
    It was a very hazardous for twin-engine Wellingtons MkIC and only few planes were able to reach the target owing problems with climbing over the Alps. But 311 Sq had happily no loss on these flights.

    if you are interested in more details of these particular raids drop me a line via PM or email mentioned in my profile.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Hi,

    Thank you for your kind offer.I mean single aircraft night intruder raids from Malta bases on southerm Italy towns.

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    Default Nuisance Raids

    Hi Gargantua

    From what you've described it sounds like "what it says on the tin". Something along the lines of a small number of a/c going off to different targets (or maybe even just a single a/c to one target) to drop a few bombs, wake up the defences, and cause alarm and disturbance to the locals. As opposed to a 'proper' full-scale raid by lots or all of the available a/c. A bit like the RAF Mosquitos frequently did to Berlin on nights when there wasn't a full raid on that city or when the weather wasn't right for a big raid.

    I don't know whether it was ever a formal title for that type of operation, I think just that's what it was seen as - a bit of a nuisance, to annoy the enemy.

    Results were probably commensurate with the effort, but bomb damage probably wasn't the main aim of the op.

    Ian


    ps As Pavel has pointed out, Bomber Command did for a time carry our 'proper' raids on targets in Northern Italy (Milan, Turin, Genoa, etc) from bases in the UK, but that's not what you've asked about.
    Last edited by ianh; 3rd June 2011 at 16:03.

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    Hello Ian,

    Thank you for your explanation. It is difficult for me understand if there is a difference between nuisance raids,night intruder ops and targets of opportunity.Here in Italy some students say that it was a psychological warfare operation.I am not sure.And you ?

    Gargantua

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    Psychological warfare was only part of it. Nuisance raids were primarily intended to divert and consume enemy defences. To early radar and other warning systems (like eyeballs) a small number of aircraft at night could not be immediately differentiated from a full scale raid. Nuisance raids used a very small portion of the available bomber force to force the defender to spread his night fighters, and fire AA guns to little or no effect. Any bomb damage was a secondary benefit to the attackers.

    Remember that a main force bomber attack would be over the target for tens of minutes, or even several hours early in the war. The nuisance raider could be in and out very quickly, while the defence forces would expect, and thus react, to a much longer attack. By the time the defender could tell a nusiance raid from a large force raid, night fighters would be spread out, AA ammunition wasted, and the residents of the town awakened and forced into shelters.

    Later in the war Bomber Command would fly "siren tours" over Germany, where a single aircraft (usually a Mosquito) would visit several cities in a single flight, just long enough to trigger the air raid sirens, and divert night fighters from the main attack force. Sometimes only one city would actually be bombed.

    Night intruder operations were also partially intended to consume enemy defences, and usually to also strike at enemy airfields (rather than strategic targets). As a secondary goal, night intruder operations would also engage enemy aircraft taking off and landing at the target airfields, so they were usually flown by fighter-bombers and light bombers (Havocs, later Mosquitos). Target of opportunity just means any target not specifically briefed and assigned before the mission. They were often listed in general categories (airfields, ships, trains, etc.). For Bomber Command, targets of opportunity were sought out when weather or heavy defences prevented reaching the briefed targets. For fighters, such as 2 TAF and the Desert Air Force, target of opportunity missions were flown to engage enemy defences first and strike any targets second.

    Churchill, in his memoirs, frequently stated that he knew that Allied production of aircrew and aircraft outstripped the Axis from early in the war, so he supported any kind of operation were aircraft losses would be traded one for one (or even up to two Allied for one Axis) as leading to Allied victory.
    Last edited by Bill Walker; 5th June 2011 at 03:21.

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    Thank you very much for your clear explanation.Can you suggest me further reading on the subject ?

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    gargantua;

    11/12 June, 1940 the day after Italy declaired war on France and Britain
    36 Whitleys attacked Italy over France and the Alps attacked Turin and Genoa
    with minor results.

    15/16 June 1940 8 Wellingtons dispatched to Genoa, only 1 bombed.

    16/17 June, 1940 22 Wellingtons raided Genoa and Milan.

    105 Squadron dispatched to Malta but I don't have any information
    of raids on southern Italy.

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    gargantua

    Strange but true.....
    I started to read a book PILOT A TALE OF HIGH ADVENTURE
    by JOE PATIENT DFC

    and what should I spot??
    Patient is commenting on small raids to Berlin etc,

    "These nuisance raids were introduced without authority
    by AVM Bennett and approved by his C in C Harris later."

    Just the way you described it!

    TTFN
    Robert

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    I would be glad to obtain more details on this book and its author.Thank you.

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