Hi all

41 Squadron attacked several distilleries in late 1941, as a part of planned offensive actions.

These included facilities at:

  • St. Pol-sur-Ternoise, 08 Nov 41
  • Yvetot, 18 Nov 41 (abandoned)
  • Airel, La Meaffe and Saint-Lô, 19 Nov 41 (abandoned)
  • Fontaine-le-Dun, 21 Nov 41
  • Le Buc, 09 Dec 41

These were formal actions, rather than targets of opportunity, but available documentation does not reveal the reason these targets were chosen. And I dare say that 41 Sqn was not the only unit sent to attack small, low-key distilleries in this manner, but why choose them as a target of interest at all?

While many of us would generally think of beer or schnapps when we hear 'distillery', perhaps the clue is in the way the targets are named ("Alcohol distillery"). Was it the alcohol (as a potential fuel) that they were after? Of course, dampening the spirits (if you'll excuse the pun) of the troops by taking away alcoholic beverages ('demoralising the enemy') would probably not be outside the realms of possibility, either, but probably less likely, I think.

Can anyone suggest with some confidence as to why distilleries were consciously targeted, please?