Previous Members Meeting: A talk by Rob Kirby, “The Dambusters Raid 16th/17th May 1943”

Our next monthly members meeting will take place on Monday 10th January 20227.00 pm (19.00 hrs) via Zoom

“The Dambusters Raid 16th/17th May 1943” by Rob Kirby

The dams raid is arguably the most audacious and skilful operation ever staged in modern warfare. The novel bouncing bomb used in the raid was devised by inventor and engineer, Barnes Wallis. Though its general circumstances & indeed, details of the raid, are well known, the speaker will offer a new dimension arising from his detailed discussions with P/O Geoff Rice, a pilot on the raid. The illustrated talk will focus on the intensity of demands on the Bomb Aimers, Flight Engineers and especially on the pilots. CO,W/C Guy Gibson was given carte blanche to recruit the best crews, but in the haste to meet a deadline quite a number of less experienced final recruits had to be accepted.

The amazing summary is that RAF Bomber Command, a high level strategic bomber force, repurposed this small specially-created unit,617 Squadron, and retrained it in haste to be a low level night intruder force. To succeed every crew needed to attack at the exact height, exact speed, exact heading, exact range, with wings absolutely level. All this had to be achieved from a height of 60 feet, half the wingspan of an Avro Lancaster, after only a few seconds to position the aircraft over the reservoir and whilst it was shaking like a bucking bronco due to rotation of an out of balance heavy bomb. At the Mohne Dam anti-aircraft defences were being directed at close range. Both the Mohne and the Eder dams were burst, causing severe flooding and loss of hydro-electric power in the Ruhr cities for many weeks.

This incredible achievement came at a heavy price,19 Lancasters carrying 133 aircrew participated,53 of whom failed to return. Only 3 of those lost on the misson survived.

If you’re already on our mailing list we’ll e-mail you with the Zoom link close to the date. If you want to be on the invitation list, or you’re unsure whether you already are, just fill in our form and we’ll do the rest.

You can see the complete list of the years talks on the 2022 Zoom Meetings page.

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