Arming of a He-111 takes place ready for a raid against England in early 1942.
European Air War!
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10/01/1942 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.
21/01/1942 The Luftwaffe, with 400 aircraft available, begins a series of raids against London and ports in southern England.
 
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14/02/1942
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.
23/02/1942

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.
 
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03/03/1942 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.
08/03/1942 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.
09/03/1942 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.
28/03/1942 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.
 
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16/04/1942 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.
17/04/1942 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.
23/04/1942 The RAF raids Rostok with 142 aircraft.
24/04/1942 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.
25/04/1942 The Luftwaffe attack Bath as the 'Baedeker' raids continue.
26/04/1942 The RAF again attacks Rostok, this time with 128 aircraft. The Luftwaffe again raid Bath.
27/04/1942 The RAF use 107 aircraft in another raid against Rostok. Norwich is attacked by the Luftwaffe.
 
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12/05/1942 The first contingent of the US Eighth Army Air Force arrives in Britain.
17/05/1942 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.
18/05/1942 The RAF launches a major attack against Mannheim.
20/05/1942 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.
23/05/1942 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.
25/05/1942 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.
31/05/1942 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 or another.
 
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01/06/1942 Himmler is put in charge of the German ARP system.
02/06/1942 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.
06/06/1942 A German bomb, undiscovered for 13 months explodes. 19 people are killed, more than 50 injured and 300 families made homeless.
14/06/1942 Air Marshal Harris is recognised for his achievements with the recent 1,000 bomber raids with a knight-hood.
21/06/1942 The Luftwaffe carries out a night raid against Southampton.
24/06/1942 The Luftwaffe launches the first in a series of night raids against Birmingham.
25/06/1942 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.
 
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04/07/1942 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.
31/07/1942 Heavy RAF night raid on Düsseldorf.
 
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17/08/1942 The first all-American bombing raid in Europe is conducted against Rouen by Eighth USAAF.
28/08/1942 A massive RAF raid against Nuremberg is launched, killing 4,000 civilians and destroying over 10,000 houses.
 
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11/09/1942 Heavy RAF raid on Düsseldorf.
18/09/1942 The RAF’s Pathfinder Force flies its first mission, which is against Flensburg.
21/09/1942 RAF raids are conducted against Munich and the Saar valley.
25/09/1942 RAF Mosquitoes make a successful low level daylight raid on Gestapo HQ in Oslo.
 
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11/10/1942 The first night raid on Britain by Luftwaffe for 15 days.
23/10/1942 The RAF launches bombing raids against the Italian cities of Genoa and Turin.
 
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29/11/1942 Prime minister Churchill warns the Italian government that RAF bombing of Italian cities will continue until Italy abandons the war.
30/11/1942
An Italian radio broadcast, reports of large-scale evacuations of Turin, Genoa and Milan.
 
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04/12/1942 The U.S. 5th Air Force launches its first raid against the Italian port of Naples.
20/12/1942 The navigation and bombing radar aid 'Oboe' is used operationally for the first time by Bomber Command.
 

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