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Thread: Raid on Dusseldorf

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    Default Raid on Dusseldorf

    Can anyone help me please. I am trying to discover the route of attack of the raid on Dusseldorf on the night of 11/12 June 1943, and particularly that of Lancaster W4373.

    Many thanks,

    Pauline.

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    Hi Pauline
    Form B #138 for June 11-12 1943 sent from 3 Group HQ to 3 Group stations has the route as:
    BASE - ORFORDNESS - 51.45 N 03.50 E - 50.55N 06.30E - TARGET - TURN WIDE LEFT -51.17N 06.30E - NOORDWIJK - SOUTHWOLD - BASE
    Zero Hour was 1:20 and there were 12 waves of aircraft
    Z to Z+24 was the first 5 waves (inclusive) of 315 aircraft as broadcast
    6th wave was Z+25 to Z+29 - 64 Stirlings of 3 Group
    7th wave was Z+30 to Z+34 38 Stirlings of 3 Group and 24 Wellingtons of 1 Group
    8th & 9th wave was Z+35 to Z+44 126 aircraft as broadcast
    10th wave was Z+45 to Z+49 - 12 Lancs of 3 Group, 32 Halifaxes of 4 Group & 19 Lancs of 5 Group
    11th & 12th wave was Z+50 to Z+59 126 aircraft as broadcast
    Cheers
    Dave Wallace
    Last edited by David Wallace; 17th December 2012 at 18:18.

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    Wonderful Dave, thank you very much.

    We are trying to establish exactly where Lancaster W4373 crashed, we know it was in Dusseldorf but knowing the route that was taken will help to decide whether they may have been going in or coming out.

    Pauline.

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    Bear in mind Pauline that W4373 was a 12 Squadron Lanc from Wickenby in No 1 Group. Their route to target may have differed slightly from the route set out by Dave.

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    I see what you mean Bill, all of this is very new to me but I am learning, I had just assumed that where it says BASE that meant Wickenby, presumably this is not so? Does BASE refer to different bases, from which different aircraft would have come to make up the numbers in this raid?

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    BASE does refer to different stations & in this case BASE was referring to all 3 Group stations on this operation. The Form B information I quoted was sent to 3 Group stations, each Group sent out it's own Form B. 3 Group stations were around Suffolk while 1 Group was in Lincolnshire so their routes would have differed to some degree, particularily over England. Usually once they were over the continent the routes merged into one, so in this case for your purposes I think the approach into the target and the leg away from the target would have been the same for all aircraft. If it wasn't it would have caused some collisions. The 7th wave had a time over target of Z+30 to Z+34 and was made up of 38 3 Group Stirlings we know took this route as well as the 24 of the 51 Wellingtons from 1 Group . If you had the Wellingtons coming into and leaving the target on different headings than the Stirlings, it would be a problem. The night raid report should have a map of the raid tracks and combats. All of the raid report maps I have seen have had all main force aircraft approaching and leaving the target on the same track while the routes from the bases to the continent turning points would vary depending on the home base.
    Dave Wallace
    Last edited by David Wallace; 18th December 2012 at 01:13.

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    Your point is taken Dave. Having had a look at the map and the co-ordinates you quoted, it would seem most likely that all waves flew the same route into the target. Orfordness is not so far from the 1 Group bases, so a rendezvous point over the sea would serve to concentrate each wave. Perhaps the only way to "fine tune" the area in which W4373 came down would be if it could be ascertained whether it was before or after reaching the target. Unfortunately, "in the target area" is a term sometimes used when the actual crash site is not really known. The assumption being that the aircraft had reached it's target. So many aircraft went down that night I fear Pauline may have a very difficult task on her hands.

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    Jörg Helbig tells me that W 4373 crashed between Neuss and Holzheim (around 10 km west of Dusseldorf on the westbank of the Rhine).
    Researching my father's time with 50 Squadron, 97 Squadron, Dulug Luft, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357 and Stalag Luft III.

    http://wallyswar.wordpress.com/

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    Hard to tell whether they were heading for the target or leaving it by the crash location.
    Ford's file in the Australian archives has 43 pages and the oldest entry in it is a cypher message dated June 13 says "not known but presumed over target Dusseldorf night 11-12 June". At that point they had no news of the crew so there must have some reason for their presuming they had made it into the target area. First burial was June 15 Nordfriedhof Cemetery in Dusseldorf. Ford's file is digitized and can be viewed online at http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/SearchScreens/BasicSearch.aspx
    Series: A705 Control symbol: Item title 166/14/54 FORD, Patrick Raymond - (Flight Lieutenant); Service Number - 414132; File type - Casualty - Repatriation; Aircraft - Lancaster I W4373; Place - Germany; Date - 12 June 1943 barcode:1068342

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    From the last turning point given by Dave Wallace and the crash location given by David Lane, I would say they were running in to the target when they went down. It would appear that the raid approached Dusseldorf from the southwest and that would put W4373 just about dead on track. A wide turn to the left after bombing would have put them further north and west of the crash position.
    Bill.

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