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Thread: 28/29 January 1944 - Diary of a Raid

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    Default 28/29 January 1944 - Diary of a Raid

    A while back I replied to PeteT's request for the documentation covering a single raid, saying I'd provide this when I got the chance. Apologies for the long wait, but I've now posted a bunch of images in a folder in the image gallery. I'm afraid I can't find a way to put them in anything like the right order, if anyone knows how to do this please let me know.

    http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries...iary-of-a-raid

    28/29th January 1944 saw the thirteenth raid on Berlin since Harris opened the Battle of Berlin on 18/19th November 1943. It was the second raid in two nights, and followed shortly after the Magdeburg raid, when 57 bombers were lost. The 1 Group summary for 28/29 January says:

    28/29 January 1944 – BERLIN (680/46)

    BERLIN was again the target for 125 aircraft of this Group, which took off to find 10/10ths cloud in the target area with tops up to 10,000ft. The cloud layer was thin enough for a fair proportion of the crews to see the ground markers. The P.F.F. opened the attack punctually, and a very good concentration both of Release Point flares and Ground Markers was achieved. Those crews carrying navigational aids found that the area marked agreed with their own indication of the central city area. Very large fires were soon started, and soon became very exceptionally well concentrated and even those crews bombing later in the attack reported that there was very little scatter. Several experienced crews report that in their opinion this was the most effective and concentrated attack that they had yet seen on BERLIN. Slightly more opposition was encountered from ground defences than in the previous night’s attack. Heavy opposition was encountered from the night fighter defences in the target area where all but 2 of the 10 reported combats occurred. The only other areas where enemy fighters were seen was off the DANISH coast and in the ROSTOCK area. 7 aircraft were abortive, all due to technical reasons and 4 aircraft are missing, nothing having been heard from them after take off.
    I'm pretty sure that no complete set of documentation exists for any given raid. For example, I've yet to find anything on the Met details other than the Group-level weather reports. With this caveat in mind, the documentation provided in the image file consists of:

    1 - Form G: HQ BC's consolidation of the Group 'offers', issued at 1800hrs daily and showing aircraft and crew availability.
    2 - Form A: HQ BC's Executive Order for the operation.
    3 - Form B: in this example, HQ 1 Group's detailed orders for the raid. The various elements it contains have built up through the day via conference calls and teleprinter transmissions.
    4 - RAF Bardney Ops Log: where you can follow the build up of information (this example within 5 Group) and local arrangements such as meal and briefing times.
    5 - RAF Spilsby Ops Log: as for Bardney.
    6 - RAF Bourn Watchkeeper's Log: as above.
    7 - RAF Bourn Int Log: as above.
    8 - 5 Group Int Log: as above.
    9 - Sample Int Reports: These would feature in the Station or Sqn Int Officer's Briefing - examples provided are the relevant HQ BC Int Narrative of Ops, the BC Int Summary, relevant samples of 4 Group's Int Summaries and the Weekly Crew Brief for the week of this particular operation.
    10 - Form Y: The consolidated raid report sent from Group HQ to HQ BC after debriefings had completed. This example is from HQ 1 Group.
    11 - HQ BC signals Report: detailing the German reaction during the raid.
    12 - PFF Initial Raid Assessment: analysis of the marking from HQ PFF.
    13 - Interceptions and Tactics Report: detailing known losses/causes.
    14 - Final Night Raid Report: ORS review of the operation, published some time afterwards.
    15 - Air Ministry letter to C-in-C Bomber Command: another shot across the bows for Harris from ACOS Ops, part of a long series of exchanges throughout the campaign as Air Ministry grew increasingly impatient with Bomber Command's private war.
    16 - Extract from PFF ORB for this period.

    I hope these are of interest. If anyone has any other documentation for this raid that they can add, please just upload to the gallery.

    Many thanks,

    Richard
    Last edited by Richard; 4th March 2018 at 13:38.

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    Richard

    Thanks for posting this information; your time and effort is very much appreciated.

    I will have a look through it over the next few days to try to get a better understanding of the process

    Regards (and thanks again)

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Dear Richard
    Thank you so much for posting all this. A really good piece of research and a great example to all of us.
    Best wishes
    James

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    A correction: The Form Y was a report from the Station the Group HQ
    Form Z was a report from Group HQ to Bomber Command HQ.
    There a some months of Z forms at the PRO, some months missing, also raids missing.

    Richard.k

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    Thanks Richard.k, I'd forgotten the distinction between Forms Y and Z!

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