Squadron Operations: Summary Information

Overview

Listed below is the information available for operations to this target flown by 550 Squadron.

Operation Summary: The column headers should be fairly self-explanatory. The term "aborted" as used here covers a number of possibilities:

Aircraft Deployed: When a link to a particular aircraft is given, this indicates aircraft known to have taken part in this raid (in the records currently available to the web-site author). A record of whether the aircraft returned or failed to return (FTR) is also logged.

Servicemen Deployed: Names of the crew in the operation.

Station Summary: This section is the information from the RAF North Killingholme Station Record Book for the operational date (if available).

Definitions of the abbreviations used are available: here.

Manageable Lists

The amount of data in the database is growing and this is resulting in the "all operations/targets" list getting rapidly bigger and thus slower to generate. There are options to display shorter, more quickly generated, reports if you want to home in on something specific. For example, there are options to generate reports on operations to a single target, or by single aircraft (to all targets) or by single aircraft to a single target. There is, on the database-reports summary page, a short user guide (PDF format) on how to do this.


Operation/Target: Wachenfeld (25 Apr 1945 - 25 Apr 1945)

Operation Summary
Target Out Back Aborted
(Y / N)
Comments
Wachenfeld 25 Apr 1945 25 Apr 1945 N After two day of non-operational flying the Squadron was called upon for operations. The honour of making the front-page headlines was given to Nos 1 and 5 Groups. No 5 Group were attacking the Eagle's Nest, the Wachenfeld, and the SS Barracks in three separate attacks, some with 12000lb bombs, at 09:00 and No 1 Group followed up at 0945 with the main weight of the attach with the aiming point on the SS Barracks. 23 aircraft were detailed from the Squadron, and after the chilly greyness of the early (very early) morning briefing, all of them took off as dawn was breaking. With the exception of occasional patches of cirrus above 20000 ft. thje route was entirely free from cloud, and as the sun rose, the French countryside became visible as the crew flew southeastward. It appeared deserted and peaceful, in contrast to its turmoil and battling activity of recent months. Ther appeared more activity in the air than on the ground, with the Allied Air Focres, Tactial and Heavy, all busily dominating the skies; one gunner, however, asserts that a white figure (feminine) gave him a warm and personal wave. Soon the Alps loomed up on the starboard, and the crews had to make a great effort not to become quite lyrical over their appearance, gleaming in the sunshine. In the target area, the weather was perfect with no cloud and excellent visibility except for a few patches of ground mist in the valleys; this was fortunate as the target was not easy to find among the maze of mountains, valleys and partly snow-covered and partly tree-covered slopes. When the leading formation arrived on time at the last turning point before the target, the leader, who had tuned in to the Master Bomber, realised that difficulty was being experienced by the latter and his deputy in marking the target. In order to avoid losing the Main Force over the target before marking had commenced, he therefore overshot the last turing point by 2-and-a-half minutes before making a wide orbit to get back on track. This, however, had the effect of splitting up the formation and as a result aircraft were approaching the target on many different headings - in fact "coming round the mountain when she comes" seems best to sum up the situtaiton, which for the first few minutes of the attack was somewhat hectic. The Master Bomber at last instructed the crews (who were orbitting violently in all directions) to bomb visually if they were able; a minute later, however, a single Red Target Indicator was dropped accurately on the Aiming Point. The Master Bombers order were throughout the attack, given in relation to the smoke which was clearly seen by all crews. The early arrivals had no difficulty in identifying the target visually, and before smoke had covered the aiming point a good concentration of bombs was reported to have fallen across the S.S. Barracks. An excellent concentration was achieved with some tendency to overshoot to the norther and spread to the east. In the main, however, bombing was confined to the immediate vicinity of the aiming point, and it is thought that satisfactory results should have been achieved. In the words of the popular Press (yes, we did hit the headlines) "the barracks were seen to be taking severe punishment, and the whole area was soon covered with a pall of black smoke, rising to 10000 ft. with bomb flashes leaping through it. Many aircraft circled the area several times to make sure of hitting the target". The report from the P.R.U. photographs that were taken immediately after the smoke had cleared, says that the Chalet (Wachenfeld) has received 2 or 3 direct hits and blask damage; the N.E. building of the S.S. Barracks has been demolished, the S.W. one severly damaged and the N.W. one severly damaged in its northern half; the Main Control Building has been a quarter demolished; the Air Raid Control and Administrative H.Q. was still on fire; the Garage, Hospital and Guest Houses have all received blast damage, and Herr Spann's house has been severly damaged/ . That 550 Squadron contributed materially to these results is shown by our photographs of which 22 out of the 23 show the aiming point somewhat in their bombing point. This was the greatest number achieved in the Base. Defences at the target consisted of moderate but accurately predicted H/F with omse L/F, while there was some H/F from Salzburg, and one venturesome flak gun that "popped off" from an isolated valley as our bomber stream passed over on the way to the target. "M" (Sgt Locke) was unable to bomb the primary target due to a sticking distributor arm, although making an orbit and a second run. However, they used their bombs usefully by dropping them on a bridge and railway line at Ruhpolding, about 26 miles homeward from the target. All things considered, an extremely successful raid; we think that Francis Drake that expert in singeing the facial protuberances of Continental dictators would have been pleased.

CONGRATULATIONS: Congraulations to F/O Screen on his immediate DFC - won on the Hanover raid of 25th March last after a good show on 3 engines.
And congratulations to F/L Browne on his immediate DFC - achieved on the Plauen raid on 10th April and equally good show on two engines.
And finally congratulations to F/L Parsons and his crew on completing their operational tour.
Aircraft Deployed Servicemen Deployed
Aircraft Service Number Returned
or FTR
Comments Crew Details
ME390 Returned Primary at 17,000 ft at 09.49 hrs
PA325 Returned Primary at 17,500 ft at 09.52 hrs F/L H S Grimes (P)
F/Sgt H D Campbell (F/Eng)
Sgt H L Brown (Nav)
Sgt R A Elliott (A/B)
Sgt A Aitken (W/Op)
Sgt K Higgins (MU/AG)
Sgt B Edwards (R/AG)
RG289 Returned Primary at 18,000 ft at 09.53 hrs
PD343 Returned Primary at 19,500 ft at 09.50 hrs F/Sgt D P Lambert (P)
PD382 Returned Primary at 17,500 ft at 09.58 hrs
PB321 Returned Primary at 17,000 ft at 09.49 1/2 hrs F/Sgt C L Cochrane (P)
Sgt J Potts (F/Eng)
F/Sgt D G Mather (A/B)
Sgt R H Keevil (MU/AG)
F/Sgt R G Miles (R/AG)
F/Sgt J N Williams (Nav)
F/Sgt E Ashley (W/Op)
ME776 Returned Primary at 18,000 ft at 09.55 1/2 hrs F/Sgt M J Ball (P)
F/Sgt P Clark (F/Eng)
Sgt F M Johnstone (Nav)
Sgt A E Farmer (A/B)
Sgt W H Bailey (W/Op)
Sgt F Law (MU/AG)
Sgt G W Butcher (R/AG)
RF237 Returned Primary at 17,000 ft at 09.56 hrs
LM182 Returned Primary at 17,000 ft at 09.50 hrs F/L E G Blakeway (P)
F/Sgt G B Dawkins (F/Eng)
F/L H James (Nav)
F/O K H Vaughan (A/B)
F/O G McCann (W/Op)
F/Sgt N Gamble (MU/AG)
F/O L O Lynch (R/AG)
RF135 Returned primary at 17,500 ft at 09.53 hrs F/L D R Parsons (P)
F/Sgt J P Tasker (MU/AG)
Sgt G E Carter (F/Eng)
F/Sgt J Price (Nav)
Sgt M W Morrison (A/B)
F/Sgt K Robinson (W/Op)
Sgt E Dinsley (MU/AG)
ND972 Returned Primary at 17,500 ft at 09.58 1/2 hrs
PD313 Returned Pimary at 17,000 ft at 09.48 hrs F/Sgt D T Williams (P)
Sgt V Rose (F/Eng)
Sgt D H Shaw (Nav)
Sgt A M McCreight (A/B)
Sgt R O Smith (W/Op)
F/Sgt A W Robinson (MU/AG)
Sgt J E Lindsay (R/AG)
NG250 Returned Last resort - at 16,500 ft at 10.08 - Runpolding
PA288 Returned Primary at 18,000 ft at 09.51 hrs F/Sgt V B Cassapi (F/Eng)
P/O A G Elliott (P)
F/Sgt N H Lund (Nav)
F/Sgt R J Francis (A/B)
Sgt D Scully (W/Op)
Sgt A J Cassidy (MU/AG)
Sgt R Craigs (R/AG)
RA503 Returned Primary at 18,000 ft at 09.52 hrs
ME542 Returned Primary at 17,000 ft at 09.52 hrs
NG243 Returned Primary at 18,000 ft at 09.58 hrs
PA268 Returned Primary at 18,000 ft at 09.49 1/2 hrs F/O W E Town (P)
Sgt A E Wood (F/Eng)
F/Sgt N E Reffell (Nav)
F/Sgt E A Francis (A/B)
F/Sgt L F O'Reilly (MU/AG)
F/Sgt J B Southgate (R/AG)
F/Sgt D S Gould (W/Op)
PB707 Returned Primary at 17,500 ft at 09.57 hrs P/O R M Harris (P)
Sgt D A Dryburgh (F/Eng)
F/Sgt E Shelley (Nav)
F/O G E Dunkley (A/B)
Sgt B G Hooker (W/Op)
Sgt E J Hill (MU/AG)
F/Sgt D Laurie (R/AG)
NG120 Returned Primary at 17,000 ft at 09.52 1/2 hrs F/O F J A Cox (P)
P/O S J Jackson (F/Eng)
F/O A Davidson (Nav)
F/O P M Fletcher (A/B)
Sgt R Townend (W/Op)
Sgt E J Chick (MU/AG)
Sgt H W E Gee (R/AG)
RF136 Returned Primary at 18,000 ft at 09.48 1/2 hrs
NG134 Returned Primary at 16,800 ft at 09.53 1/2 hrs
LM228 Returned Primary at 16,800 ft at 09.56 hrs P/O J Lukies (P)
Sgt W K Oldham (F/Eng)
F/Sgt L W Pfitzner (Nav)
F/Sgt R W Caples (A/B)
F/Sgt J W Foran (W/Op)
P/O H K Johnson (MU/AG)
Sgt J M Craine (R/AG)

Summary Statistics

Based on the data in the lists displayed above, and keeping in mind that data is still being updated and thus not yet complete, the following statistics are generated:

Aircraft Deployment Statistics


Aircraft deployments 23
MAX Aircraft deployed
in single operation
23
(Wachenfeld, 25 Apr 1945)

These details were last updated: 16 September 2020


Note

this list is still being built and will take some time to complete
what is currently displayed is believed accurate but much more is still to be added

This note describes the options currently available to produce a smaller, more manageable list and also describes planned future enhancements to the reporting facility.


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