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Thread: Bomber Command raids on Bergen, Norway

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    Default Bomber Command raids on Bergen, Norway

    Hello to you all.
    Our work on documenting the RAF raids on Bergen during October 1944 is progressing well. We have aquired the ORB's of the 6 Group squadrons that participated together with Nos. 23 and 515 squadrons from No.100 Group. At least one, possibly two squadrons of Lancasters from No. 8 Group also took part. We have identified No. 635 squadron. Does any one on the forum know if there was a second, or third squadron from this group?

    The web site raf.mod.uk also says that two Wellingtons and a Liberator took part, flying RCM sorties. Is RCM meaning Radio/Radar CounterMeasure? And where these three sorties Radio Countermeasure operations done by Wellingtons and a Liberator from No. 100 Group?
    Have just recived the book 100 Group (Bomber support) by Martin Bowman. Have read through it, but nothing about Bergen.

    We are about to order the squadron ORB's of No.5 Group which raided the city on the night between 28-29 October. Apart from this Group, does any one know if there was squadrons from other groups taking part in this attack? No.100 Group comes to mind again.

    Thanks in advance and regards,
    Bengt

  2. #2
    Chris Shackleton Guest

    Default Bergen raids

    4/10/44 Only the 8 aircraft from 635 Sqn came from 8 Group - a Master Bomber, a Deputy Master Bomber and six Supporters. The 100 Group sorties were mostly night time and involved 2 Wellingtons of 192 Sqn over the North Sea (helpful description!), 1 Halifax of 192 Sqn to Oslo and 1 Halifax of 192 Sqn over the Kattegat. 192 Sqn tended to be involved in signals intelligence gathering, but not exclusively. 3 Liberators of 223 Sqn flew Big Ben sorties looking for V2 guidance signals (1 of these made an early return). As you can see there is nothing directly connected to Bergen.

    28/10/44 Was an all 5 Group affair and there does not appear to be any 100 Group support on this raid, or PFF involvement for that matter (with due recognition of 83, 97 and 627 Sqns).

    Regards

    Chris

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    Hey Chris!
    Thank you for a swift reply.
    The Halifax to Oslo is interesting, even if it had nothing to do with the Bergen raid. If I remember correctly, there was a minig operation to Oslo on the night between 4-5 Oct, by No.6 Group, and I presume the 192 Sqn Halifax was involved in this raid in some way.

    By the way, was it Bomber Command Head Quarter who decided which target to be attacked? If so, No.6 Group (and No.100 Group) recived their orders for the comming night from BC HQ.
    I'm interested in this because it is different views regarding the actual target. Was it the u-boat bunker or the surrounding docks and dockyards? The bomb loads carried (1,000 pounders)suggest the docks and dockyards (I assume that the RAF knew that these "light" bombs had no chance of inflicting any serious damage to the bunker itself). We'll have to see if we can find any documents where the actual target is specified.

    Many thanks,
    Bengt

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    Bengt: My father (F/Lt. HHM Cave of 419 Squadron) participated in the raid of October 4th, 1944. I have an excellent bombing photo for this operation taken during brilliant sunshine, 09:29 hrs that morning. Landmarks in Bergen are readily discernable, including the angle of the sun from the shadows of the buildings some of which are still visible from Google Earth today. I also have his ORB record for this op. Dad has audio tape memoires for each of his operations including this one.

    Jim

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    Bengt: My father recalled in his audio tape memoire that it was the U-boat pens that were targeted, as well as certain vessels. Some of these vessels can be seen in Dad's bombing photos. Middlebrook and Everitt also note that the U-boat pens were targeted. I have been able to locate the remaining structures of the U-boat pens on Google maps and these seem to be in the general location of the bombing. I believe Dad's photo would indicate that he bombed fairly early on in the raid.

    Edit: By the way, the decisions about the target would almost certainly have been made at Bomber Command HQ by Harris himself.
    Also: I commented about this raid earlier...
    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?t=492

    Jim
    Last edited by JDCAVE; 22nd October 2008 at 20:31.

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    Hello Jim!
    Thank you for your very interesting answer.
    It seems you are right about the target. The ORB states "Target A" and "B". The main target was the pens and the secondary was ships in the harbour. The crews of the different squadrons reports what target they bombed. It has been in front of my eyes all the time (urghhhh!). The u-boat pens were used by the Norwegian Navy after the war and are still standing there.
    I see that your father flew Lancaster X KB762 VR-X on this mission. All though it seems that the person writing the record got his name wrong (FL HHM Caver).
    I also found your earlier posting regarding this operation.
    When we have collected the documents needed we'll try to make a article at least (mybe a booklet or book) about this mission and the others on Bergen. Is there a possibility for a scan or copy of your fathers bombing photo? Full credit will be given.

    Kind regards,
    Bengt Stangvik
    Bodo, Norway

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    Yes, Bengt, and they also got his rank wrong on the bombing photo: F/O instead of F/Lt. Rest assured he was F/Lt HHM Cave. I also have a photo of J-Jig (KB762) somewhere too. It wasn't his favourite aircraft. The photo is quite amazing as you can see Nordnesparken and specific building and roads clearly on the photo. If you give me your email address by personal message, I will send you the bombing photo promptly.

    On this operation, the aircrew were briefed to fly at very low-level to the target, only gaining height close to the coast. It was dad's first op with his crew and they were running very late. Rather than run to Peterhead in Northern Scotland, which is what they were supposed to do, they (his crew and aircraft) set course directly towards Bergen. He said the weather was miserable on the outward bound course. As they reached the coast, the clouds opened up "just like a cathedral" and they converged with the bomber stream on their port side and climbed to bombing height at 12,500 feet. He did say they were hit by flak over the target.

    Edit: I've appended this link to Dad's bombing photo. Note that the caption on the website is incorrect. The date should be October 4, 1944.
    http://lancaster-archive.com/photo_bombing.htm


    Jim
    Last edited by JDCAVE; 23rd October 2008 at 00:25.

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    Default Bergen Oct 4,1944

    Bengt. Contact at 6 Group web site. I have some info you may be interested in.
    Richard

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    The 419 (Moose) Squadron history has the following record of the attack:

    "After a casualty-free September, the unit got off to a bad start in October as a crew was lost in a raid on submarine pens at Bergen, Norway. Originally posted a s missing, all seven crew members were listed as fatalities before the day was out, it having been learned that they had crashed to their deaths in the Scottish hills south of Berwick. Killed on their fourth operation together were, F/O D. R. Duncan, F/O W. G. Layng, Sgt. W.O. Karstens, F/O A. Gaddes, Sgt. T. B. Tierney, P/O J. W. F. Hall (RAP), and Sgt. D.A. Trott.

    "From all reports, the attack on aiming-point "A", in which the Moosemen were concentrating, was for the most part accurate and concentrated. F / L Barlow's crew, for one, saw a stick of bombs go crashing down on the pens, and the rear gunner of F/O Howc's crew, FS N. R. Springstein, claimed to have seen one U-boat absorb three hits. Some bombs were splashing into the fiord or falling in the adjacent hills, but their numbers were inconsequential. Several dazzling explosions followed by plenty of fires and much black smoke suggested that oil tanks had been hit. Ships were scuttling out of the harbour in great panic, heading for open water. F/O N. R. Vatne called it the best attack he had seen and even the MB himself expressed his pleasure a t the results. Bomb-aimer F/O J. A. Willison, of F / L Cameron's crew, was frustrated on the very brink of attainment by a total hand-up. ("I pressed the bomb tit and nothing happened".) None of 419's returning raiders were mentioned as having been flak-damaged and the fighter escort discouraged the Luftwaffe from interfering. A "Target tokenf' was awarded to F/O A.M. Roy and crew in recognition of their perfect bombing-run (and theoretical direct hit) on the target. The bombing pictures bear out the true excellence of their attack."

    The absence of flak is puzzeling, as Dad clearly remembers being hit once.

    I should add that Middlebrook and Everitt (Bomber Command War Diaries) have an entry on this operation pp593-594.

    Jim
    Last edited by JDCAVE; 23rd October 2008 at 03:03.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDCAVE View Post
    Yes, Bengt, and they also got his rank wrong on the bombing photo: F/O instead of F/Lt. Rest assured he was F/Lt HHM Cave. I also have a photo of J-Jig (KB762) somewhere too. It wasn't his favourite aircraft. The photo is quite amazing as you can see Nordnesparken and specific building and roads clearly on the photo. If you give me your email address by personal message, I will send you the bombing photo promptly.

    On this operation, the aircrew were briefed to fly at very low-level to the target, only gaining height close to the coast. It was dad's first op with his crew and they were running very late. Rather than run to Peterhead in Northern Scotland, which is what they were supposed to do, they (his crew and aircraft) set course directly towards Bergen. He said the weather was miserable on the outward bound course. As they reached the coast, the clouds opened up "just like a cathedral" and they converged with the bomber stream on their port side and climbed to bombing height at 12,500 feet. He did say they were hit by flak over the target.

    Edit: I've appended this link to Dad's bombing photo. Note that the caption on the website is incorrect. The date should be October 4, 1944.
    http://lancaster-archive.com/photo_bombing.htm


    Jim
    This is fantastic! Are you the administrator of this web-site? I visited it a couple of days ago, before my home computer went u/s (using a computer at work now, and cursing the damned thing back home). I'we send you a pm.

    Bengt

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