||Colonel-General Ernst Udet, head of
Luftwaffe aircraft production and development, commits suicide
because of his failure to provide adequate replacements and
new improved aircraft models to the Luftwaffe.
||The Luftwaffe, with 400
aircraft available, begins a series of raids against London
and ports in southern England.
||Bomber Command is issued with Directive
No.22, which ends the recent period of aircraft conservation
by the RAF, although attacks are still not to be pressed in
the face of bad weather or 'extreme hazard'. The reason for
this change is that the new Lancaster bomber, was just entering
service and that Bomber Command was now equipped with a new
navigation device called GEE, which it was hoped would make
locating targets easier. However, it only had a range of 400
miles and could be jammed.
|Air Marshal A. T. (Bomber)
Harris is appointed C-in-C of Bomber Command. Harris already
had a reputation of being a determined and forceful character
and was totally convinced that the bombing of Germany could
bring her to her knees and be decisive in winning the war.
||RAF Bomber Command, under
its new C-in-C, Air Vice Marshal Harris, attacks the Renault
plant in the Paris suburb of Billancourt. Of the 235 RAF planes
that took off, only 1 failed to return. The new navigation
device, GEE wasn't used, although the target was marked with
flares for the first time and serious damage done to production
facilities, although many French workers were killed. However,
this successful raid was a much needed morale boost for the
bomber crews. On this same night, the Lancaster bomber makes
its operational debut, laying mines of the French port of Brest.
||The RAF use GEE for the first time
for target marking during a raid on Essen. The technique was
known as 'Shaker' and consisted of aircraft marking the target
with flares, allowing aircraft further behind to see the target
more clearly. However the results of the raid were disappointing.
||The RAF returns to bomb Essen once
more, but again are unable to inflict much damage due to the
constant industrial haze over the city and the lack of landmarks,
which made the city notoriously difficult to find.
||Under the new tactical doctrine of
area saturation bombing, introduced by Air Vice Marshal Harris,
the RAF launches a heavy incendiary attack (234 bombers) against
Lübeck on the Baltic that devastates 265 acres of the
old city. The RAF lost 13 aircraft and from one of these the
Germans were able to obtain their first specimen of the GEE
equipment. In retaliation for the raid on Lübeck, Hitler
orders the Luftwaffe to bomb historic British towns and cities.
||An official inquiry into
British bombing policy is setup under Mr. Justice Singleton.
This was the result of a debate between Churchill's two top
scientific advisors, Lord Cherwell and Sir Henry Tizard. Cherwell,
supported by the Air Ministry, drew up a list of 58 German
cities and towns whose destruction would knock Germany out
of the war. Tizard argued that less emphasis should be put
on the bombing of Germany and more on using the aircraft in
the Battle of the Atlantic.
||The RAF makes a daylight raid against
Augsburg in southern Germany with 14 Lancaster bombers. The
raid is pressed home with great gallantry, with squadron leader
J.D. Nettleton being awarded the VC. However, 7 aircraft are
lost, which convinces Air Marshal Harris that daylight raids
by heavy bombers were too costly.
||The RAF raids Rostok with 142 aircraft.
||The Luftwaffe raids Exeter in the
first of Hitler's retaliatory raids, which were soon to become
known as the 'Baedeker' raids after the famous guidebook series
of that name. The RAF raid Rostok employing 91 aircraft.
||The Luftwaffe attack Bath as the 'Baedeker'
||The RAF again attacks Rostok, this
time with 128 aircraft. The Luftwaffe again raid Bath.
||The RAF use 107 aircraft in another
raid against Rostok. Norwich is attacked by the Luftwaffe.
||The first contingent of
the US Eighth Army Air Force arrives in Britain.
||Air Marshal Harris is given permission
by Churchill for a raid on Germany by 1000 bombers. This was
in spite of the fact that the RAF's operational strength at
this time was only 500 aircraft. However, it was believed that
by enlisting RAF Coastal Command and the RAF's training squadron's,
then the magical 1000 bombers could be found. Harris believed
that the only way to get a commitment for strong bomber force,
was to demonstrate what could be done with one. He planned
to launch operation 'Millenium', before the end of the month.
||The RAF launches a major attack against
||Mr. Justice Singleton's report is
published. This concluded that GEE was disappointing, but that
more accurate bombing might result when a new aid, H2S, being
developed, came in to service. provided that greater accuracy
could be achieved, then bombing could prove a 'turning-point',
but only after sustained effort.
||Air Marshal Harris issues his orders
for operation 'Millenium'. The target is to be Hamburg, with
Cologne as an alternate. The raid was to take place on the
night of the 28th/29th May, or the first suitable night thereafter.
||RAF Coastal Command refuses permission
for their aircraft to take part in operation 'Millenium', which
means that a shortfall of 250 aircraft is expected. However,
by scraping up all the resources within Bomber Command, he
manages to find the required 1000 bombers.
||Bad weather over Hamburg, means the
alternate target, Cologne is selected by Bomber Command for
the first 1,000 night-bomber raid of the war. 1,046 heavy bombers
take off with 850 claiming to have attacked the target with
1,455 tons of explosive. The raid lasted about 75 minutes,
a new departure from the past when aircraft were given much
more latitude as to when they attacked the target. The raid
destroys 600 acres of built-up area, kills 486 civilians and
makes 59,000 people homeless. Of the participating aircraft,
40 failed to return and a further 19 crashed for one reason
||Himmler is put in charge
of the German ARP system.
||The RAF' launches it's
second 1,000 bomber raid (although only 956 took off) and hits
Essen, but due to the haze over the city, the results were
minimal and the RAF lost 31 aircraft. Nevertheless, Churchill
was highly impressed and sanctioned further raids on this scale.
||A German bomb, undiscovered for 13
months explodes. 19 people are killed, more than 50 injured
and 300 families made homeless.
||Air Marshal Harris is recognised for
his achievements with the recent 1,000 bomber raids with a
||The Luftwaffe carries out a night
raid against Southampton.
||The Luftwaffe launches the first in
a series of night raids against Birmingham.
||The RAF launches its third 1,000-bomber
raid, with 1,006 aircraft against Bremen. This time Coastal
Command provided 102 Hudson bombers, after Churchill's insistence
that they take part. As with the previous 1,000 bomber raids,
a full moon had been selected to aid in finding the target.
The raid caused heavy damage to the Focke-Wulf plant and devastated
27 acres of the inner city. The RAF lost 49 aircraft, a high
proportion of them being manned by trainee crews.
||For the first time, 6
Douglas A-20/Boston bombers of the USAAF's 15th Bombardment
Squadron were combined with 6 Douglas A-20/Boston bombers from
the RAF's 226 Squadron for raids on German airfields in Holland.
2 USSAF and 1 RAF aircraft failed to return.
||Heavy RAF night raid on Düsseldorf.
||The first all-American
bombing raid in Europe is conducted against Rouen by Eighth
||A massive RAF raid against
Nuremberg is launched, killing 4,000 civilians and destroying
over 10,000 houses.
||Heavy RAF raid on Düsseldorf.
||The RAFs Pathfinder Force flies
its first mission, which is against Flensburg.
||RAF raids are conducted
against Munich and the Saar valley.
||RAF Mosquitoes make a successful low
level daylight raid on Gestapo HQ in Oslo.
||The first night raid on
Britain by Luftwaffe for 15 days.
||The RAF launches bombing raids against
the Italian cities of Genoa and Turin.
||Prime minister Churchill warns the
Italian government that RAF bombing of Italian cities will
continue until Italy abandons the war.
||An Italian radio broadcast,
reports of large-scale evacuations of Turin, Genoa and Milan.
||The U.S. 5th Air Force
launches its first raid against the Italian port of Naples.
||The navigation and bombing
radar aid 'Oboe' is used operationally for the first time by