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Thread: Operation RAMROD

  1. #1
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    Default Operation RAMROD

    I would be pleased if members can help with any specific information or helpful comment on the following - I am trying to pin down the use of the operation code “RAMROD”.

    The definitions I have found indicate that a RAMROD was a “short range bombing operation”. I research at Kew but I have not yet found an instruction for any command/group that gives a better definition.

    I believe the code RAMROD was introduced in June 1943 and it replaced CIRCUS This seems to be confirmed by books such as Bowyer’s “2 Group” and Foreman’s “Fighter Command Diaries”. My broad understanding is that CIRCUS was introduced when the RAF began to “lean into Europe” in 1941 and involved a small number of bombers escorted by a large number of fighters intended to bring the German Air Force to battle.

    My confusion begins with fighter operations in the run up to the invasion and in support of the beachhead and the breakout. A lot of these operations carried out by single seat aircraft carrying bombs are recorded as a RAMROD but quite frequently they are also recorded in ORBs as “armed reconnaissance”. Especially after the invasion It seems to be the case that an Operation Order was issued for the whole day rather than specific sorties by a unit or group of units this might be something like “RAMROD 950 provide armed reconnaissance in the area Falaise – Mortain” and all the sorties flown by different units throughout the day are logged as “RAMROD 950”.

    My confusion increases with the reinstatement of daylight ops by Bomber Command during the invasion and after the invasion which are also listed as RAMRODs and this codeword is also used by the fighter squadrons that escorted these operations. So a daylight bombing mission to Northern Germany involving 400-500 four engine bombers is designated “RAMROD”; the raids on Berchtesgaden using Tall Boys or Grand Slams or whatever are designated “RAMROD” – Berchtesgaden is hardly short range?

    When first introduced RAMRODs were numbered and the indications are that they began with RAMROD 100. In the invasion period they are numbered in 800s and 900s and by the autumn of 1944 they are numbered in the 1000s – all of which seems to suggest that there was one single sequence of RAMROD orders that applied across different commands.

    Steve

  2. #2
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    Default

    Steve,

    Sometime in 1942, but it could have been as early as late 1941. A Ramrod is essentially "An attack by bombers (or fighter/bombers) escorted by fighters, in which the destruction of the target is the primary object." As for it replacing a "Circus", I doubt that other than this type of an op became less and less in 1944 and 1945.

    Stephen

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