15/9/43 Attack Against Targets at Montlucon – Dunlop Rubber Factory

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. N. Bevans. Mid Upper Gunner*
F/S John Sebastian Hulena RNZAF. Rear Gunner

Striling Mk.III EH939 ‘J’ for Johnny

Up 20.40 8th September
Down 03.40 8th September
Total Flight Time 7 hours

*I currently have no explanation for the absence of Sgt. Tom Derbyshire on this op. What is perhaps slightly stranger is that his replacement, Sgt. N. Bevans, is listed in the nominal roll of the Squadron as a Flight Engineer……..

75 (NZ) Sqn RAF Operations Record Book (ORB)
Seventeen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb..One aircraft failed to take-off, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This was a good concentrated attack, large fires and heavy explosions being observed, smoke from fires and heavy explosions being observed, smoke from fires was rising to a height of 12,000ft.. Inaccurate A.A.fire from a few guns was the only opposition, no enemy aircraft were encountered. There was 5/10th cloud over the target but visibility was nevertheless good. Navigation was excellent.
Page 588, 1943. Form 540/ 541 AIR27/ 646  75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Mepal. National Archives.

Bomber Command War Diary
15 September 1943
Montluçon: 369 aircraft of Nos 3, 4, 6 and No 8 Groups – 209 Halifaxes, 120 Stirlings, 40 Lancasters. 5 American B-17s also took part. 2 Halifaxes and 1 Stirling lost. This was a moonlit raid on the Dunlop rubber factory at Montluçon in Central France. The Pathfinders marked the target accurately and the Master Bomber, Wing Commander DFEC Deane, brought the Main Force in well to carry out some accurate bombing. Every building in the factory was hit and a large fire was started.

8 Lancasters of 617 Squadron took off to carry out the postponed raid on the Dortmund-Ems Canal but the area was misty and 5 aircraft were lost, including those of Pilot Officer LG Knight, another of the Dams Raid survivors, and the new squadron commander, Squadron Leader G Holden. These heavy losses, and the losses of the Dams Raid, confirmed that low-level attacks on German targets, even when away from major defended areas, were not viable with heavy bombers and this type of operation was not repeated. 617 Squadron now started retraining as a specialist high-altitude-bombing unit.
Page 430, The Bomber Command War Diaries. 2011. Everitt Middlebrook. Midland publishing.

2 thoughts on “15/9/43 Attack Against Targets at Montlucon – Dunlop Rubber Factory

  1. William Richerson

    Was the Dunlop factory producing tires for the Luftwaffe, truck tires for the Wehrmacht, or something else that made it a priority target?


    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      Hi William
      To be perfectly honest, I don’t know – I would imagine, based on its known existence pre-war, it would be seen as a strategically relevant target, it manufacturing facilities and production capacity would be known and the potential contribution to the Nazi war effort must have identified it as a target. I would imagine that even potentially as a facility that would be making components, it was fully understood that the destruction or even damage to a factory making ‘bits’ would be as useful as going after the final assembly sites – which, because of their importance might be more heavily defended.

      Hopefully someone else might see this and provide a better answer…….




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