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Thread: No.104 Squadron daylight raid

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    Default No.104 Squadron daylight raid

    The nearest-to-me copy of "Strike Hard" (history of No.104 Squadron) appears to be in Calgary (some 1,500 miles distant) and probably three weeks (and $ 20.00) away via inter-library loan, so I am posing this question. A draft RCAF press release describes a daylight raid on Niksic, Yugoslavia at "Eastertime 1944" (Easter that year was 9 April but the exact date may have been a day or two off); the target was a German garrison, the attack specifically requested by Tito, and it was conducted by "a small force of Wellingtons with Spitfire escort."

    Can someone establish the exact date of this attack ? Does "Strike Hard" identify units other than No.104 ? Does it have a decent index, and if so would it list either Fred Ashbaugh or Thomas McAneneny ?

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    Default No.104 Squadron daylight raid

    Hugh - whilst the book 'Strike Hard' relates a potted history of the Squadron it has a long way to go to become a good reference work having no index and just giving highlights of operations in its 176 pages however any book on the activities of 104 Squadron is to be welcomed. I regret that the book does not answer your questions.
    I quote with acknowledgement to Robert Ginn the author 'A surprise target on the 8th April was a daylight attack on a Yugoslav town called Niksic, held in strength by the Germans. This was at the request of the Partisans who had surrounded the town. According to target photographs, a successful result, although one felt for any civilians caught up in it; eleven 4000lb bombs hit the place. That no enemy fighters appeared is a significant comment on the state of the German Air Force, now conserving its strength for the defence of the fatherland and its immediate environs. 104's CO, Wing Commander Turner led the Squadron contingent of four machines.
    Chris

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    40 Squadron also contributed a single crew, captained by Ken Dunn, who remembered the raid as follows (quote from my Sweeping the Skies, p.260):

    Requested by Marshal Tito, Commander of the Yugoslav National Army, the attack, under Spitfire escort, included one aircraft (F/O Dunn) from 40 Squadron carrying a 4,000lb G.P. bomb with an 11 second delay. Ken Dunn writes:
    The aiming point was a long barracks. We were quite low and approaching just at the right angle and although no other aircraft were in sight I decided we would bomb straightaway as we were sure of the target and we had a good run in. We stayed low and the rear gunner reported that the bomb had gone off just in front of the building. We then climbed up and circled over the village and by this time other aircraft were making their approach. As they bombed we photographed the explosions and craters --most within the target area and one bomb landing directly on the building. I suppose we stayed for 5-10 minutes--there was some light flak but nothing serious and no sign of any fighters.
    Ken Dunn adds what he describes as 'a rather sad note':
    when the photos were enlarged a speck on the road as we approached the target turned out to be a donkey and cart and after our bomb had exploded this had disappeared. We hoped this was the only civilian casualty.

    David

    PS. Bob Ginn's Strike Hard is indeed disappointing. He missed a big opportunity, but to be honest was rather keener on including his own expriences than on soliciting a wide range of others'.

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    My thanks for this information, which confirm the date and add some colour (and also save me some money when it comes to requesting the No.104 Squadron history). Your quote about the donky cart, David, was especially touching and interesting. Like you, I prefer more comprehensive histories with indexes (such as your study of No.40 Squadron), but I sympathize with authors from earlier years who did not realize that their works would subsequently be scrutinized by more meticulous and nit-picking researchers such as ourselves.

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