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Thread: 197 squadron, The Netherlands January 1945

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    Default 197 squadron, The Netherlands January 1945

    L.S.,

    On 28.01.1945 the 197 sqn with 10 TYPHOON's attempted to bomb a railroad/canal/road bridge 300 meters away from my backgarden in The Netherlands. Position 52:13'32.8" N 005:00'23.4" E. Happened later in the afternoon on that Sunday when flying conditions improved but bombing conditions not enough. Apparently more 146 wing squadrons had bridges as target that day, but also changed into railway targets because of the weather.

    The event has almost been forgotten, but was able to trace a lot again. Am lacking however the bigger context why the bridge was attacked: in other words, on which operational target list (there are at least 3 options) was the bridge mentioned? Is there any info out there that may give a hint or the decisive answer?

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    With my limited knowledge, I believe that the briefing would be to hit "targets of opportunity" if the designated targets couldn't be attacked. Anything that would slow down or halt Germans moving back to Germany to continue the fight rather than be captured was encouraged. Therefore, if they saw your house (oops!!) nearby bridge especially if railway, road and canal all at once, it would have been something they would try to destroy, cutting all three forms of transport at once. The bridge was probably on a high priority target list because of that, but perhaps they just saw it in a gap in the clouds and tried to destroy it, without it necessarily being a specific target that day.

    I'm sure more expert Pals will be along shortly to give chapter and verse.

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    Thanks. The house is mine only since the last few years, although it was build in 1935. I was build much later though...

    Having read a lot trying to dig it out, having seen the ORB's it to me is more or less clear that 1) the bridges (amongst this one) were the targets, 2) the weather prevented doing that seriously so 3) indeed get the railroad. Number of problems/issues: the original bridge target can be on the list for a) the general bombing policy the allies had => disturb 'communication', b) the CROSSBOW attacks (after the 20th-22nd of January there was a bit more political pressure building from the UK to do more against that) or c) pre-preparations for the VERTIBLE operations to prevent German troops to flank the Canadians with troops from the west of The Netherlands (reportedly the 84 group started preps as from the 1st of February with the break-out starting a week later).

    There might be more, hence the interest to see if a target list can be found with the bridge on it or other data/references giving hints (or rather solutions) as to the reasoning. We got a reference 'DD 503' which we think is refering to the bridge plus ofcourse the grid position (which has no secrets anymore), but that's about it.

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    hland: "The house is mine only since the last few years, although it was build in 1935. I was build much later though..." Terrific! Just my kind of humour!!! I look forward to more posts from you!!

    I'm sorry, but I don't have the expertise to provide any answers for you, but I'm sure others will do their best for you. Good luck and I hope you get the helpful answers you need!

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    Default Bridges

    Was this about the time they were being used to support the armies moves towards getting to the German border because they would then have been attacking them to prevent the Germans moving up troops to rebuff them?

    Dee

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    If I am correct, and I can only repeat what I have researched, the 'close air support' started already (much) earlier. Have read about a 'cab ranking system' they developed/used in Normandie with sufficient fighter/bombers in the air being called in 'at will' by ground forces.

    If you picture The Netherlands a bit at the time (the hunger winter period) the allied were south of the large rivers that more or less split The Netherlands in two. The northern bit was still occupied, the southern bit liberated. More or less splitting the northern bit in an east and a west part is a, since 1932 dammed off, part of the North Sea, previously called the Zuiderzee (Southern Sea) but after the completion of the dam called the IJsselmeer (IJssellake). This means that any east-west traffic/transport (the biggest cities where the Germans launched their V2's to the UK are in the west) basically has to go through the say 30 km wide area between the IJssellake and the rivers. The canal 'my' specific bridge is crossing basically runs from Amsterdam towards the rivers (e.g. the Rhine, Rijn in Dutch) and now is called the, you guessed it, Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal (durring and prior to WW II it was called the Merwede-canal). That is running north-south again and rendering the bridges useless will effectively make traffic to/from the western part more difficult. This for the latter two of my suspected reasons mentioned earlier is important because 1) it would prevent the Germans transporting their V2's west to the launching area around The Hague and 2) would prevent the German troops to move east to attack the Allied forces moving up north in the eastern part of The Netherlands. In that sense the western part of The Netherlands was not important to the allies; they wanted to run into Germany north of the rivers. See here one of the reasons for the hungerwinter in the western part of The Netherlands.

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    I'm getting off-track: original question was "The event has almost been forgotten, but I was able to trace a lot again. Am lacking however the bigger context why the bridge was attacked: in other words, on which operational target list (there are at least 3 options) was the bridge mentioned? Is there any info out there that may give a hint or the decisive answer".

    One thing to add is that a number "DD 503" was mentioned which I have found out to be at least not one of the aircraft serialnumbers (see the RAF BOMBER COMMAND RAID CODES thread).

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