18/11/43 Attack Against Targets at Mannheim

F/S Allan Johnson Mayfield RNZAF. Pilot
P/O Jack Francis David Jarmy. Navigator
Sgt. Robert Douglas  Sommerville. Air Bomber
F/S William Lake. Wireless Operator
Sgt. A. Warburton. Flight Engineer
Sgt. Thomas Darbyshire. Mid Upper Gunner
F/S John Sebastian Hulena RNZAF. Rear Gunner

Striling Mk.III LJ457  – designator letter unknown at this time

Up 17.35 18th November
Down 23.35 19th November
Total Flight Time 6 hours

75 (NZ) Sqn RAF Operations Record Book (ORB)
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lbs and incendiaries of 30 lb and 4 lbs. Two aircraft returned early but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large concentrated fires and huge explosions were seen. There was a moderate heavy A.A. Barrage and searchlights were fairly active.Mant enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was good, being clear at the target except for slight ground haze. Navigation was very good.
Page 630, 1943. Form 540/ 541 AIR27/ 646  75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Mepal. National Archives.

Bomber Command War Diary
18 November 1943
440 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitos were dispatched. Few German fighters intercepted the force. 9 Lancasters were lost, 2.0 per cent of the force. Berlin was completely cloud-covered and both marking and bombing were carried out blindly; Bomber Command could make no assessment of the results.

Major diversionary raid on Mannheim and Ludwigshafen by 395 aircraft – 248 Halifaxes, 114 Stirlings, 33 Lancasters – of Nos 3, 4, 6 and 8 Groups. German fighters successfully engaged the bomber force and 23 aircraft – 12 Halifaxes, 9 Stirlings, 2 Lancasters – were lost, 5.8 per cent of the force.
Cloud was present over the target area and much of the bombing was scattered. 21 people were killed, 154 injured and 7,500 bombed out. Many bombs fell outside the city and the local report lists much damage and loss at farms.This was the last major raid on the much-bombed city of Mannheim for 15 months.

10 Mosquitos to Essen, 6 to Aachen and 6 to Frankfurt, 16 Wellingtons minelaying from Texel to St Nazaire, 7 OTU sorties.

Total effort for the night: 884 sorties, 32 aircraft (3.6 per cent) lost.
Page 445, The Bomber Command War Diaries. 2011. Everitt Middlebrook. Midland publishing.

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