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[Home] [Articles and Misc] [Milan 24/25 October 1942]

Operation – 24 / 25 October 1942 – Milan

Last 103 Squadron Halifax Operation

The last 103 Squadron Halifax operation was a long trip to Milan Italy crossing the Alps. This was undertaken by 11 crews 2 of which failed to return. The Fox crew was certainly a night fighter victim. The Claridge crew may have been due to a lightning strike due to storms over France at that time

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Eleven aircraft were details to attack this target with 2 x 1000 lb GP and 7 x 90 x 4 lb incendiary bombs. Cameras carried by all but no nickels. The route taken was :- Base – Dungeness – Le Treport – 4556N 0830E – 4554N 0835E – Target – Direct to Le Treport – Tangmere ( Advanced Base )

First up S/L Fox and crew at 1828

P/O Rose was unfortunate in being attacked by a twin engined night fighter about 30 miles south east of Besacoon at 21.09 height 8000 ft on the way to the target and was forced to jettison his bombs and dvive several thousand feet to cloud cover. The aircraft was badly damaged so he returned and landed at Manston. During the combat it was discovered that all guns in rear turret and one in the mid upper turret had frozen and consequently the only fire returned from the Halifax was fron one gun which was ineffective. Extensive damage was caused to the controls wireless, electrical and other accessories.

Sgt Mcgown bombed from 13000 ft at 22.39 hours on the glow in the clouds from the fires below.

Sgt Berry bombed in the same manner from 15000 ft at 2249 hours. S/L Kennard bombed in the same manner from 1000 ft at 22.27 hrs.

Sgt Smith had to return early owing to all the fuel pressure lights coming on due to air in the fuel pipes. He jettisoned his bombs. F/S Moriarty bombed red glow seen in the clouds as above. His height was 17500 ft at 2232 hours.

Sgt Bayliss jettisoned his bombs from 13000 ft at 2020 hours and returned as three rear and 2 front guns were unserviceable. This aircraft was taken over at short notice by the crew.

W/O Taylor bombed glow of fires seen in the clouds from 12000 ft at 2235 hours

All crews were disappointed at meeting 10/10ths clouds over the target area but bombed with a certain amount of confidence the glow in the clouds caused earlier in the day by the force of Lancasters that bombed Milan at low level at approx 1700 hours.

A huge front had to be crossed before reaching the Alps but there was no cloud over the Latter and it was doubly disappointing to see 10/10ths cloud appear again.

Moderate heavy but inaccurate flak was encountered in the target area and a few searchlights.

All captains had been instructed to land at an advanced base at Tangmere unless they felt that they had enough petrol to bring them home.

Only S/L Kennard managed to return to base. P/O Rose and Sgt McGown landing at Manston and Sgt Berry, F/S Moriarty and W/O Taylor landing at Tangmere

First down – Sgt Moriarty at 0206

S/L Fox and crew and Sgt Claridge and crew failed to return from this operation

103 Squadron Moriarty LE

103 Squadron Moriarty LE

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24-Oct-42 - Milan - Point of Aim - Halifax - W1188 – S/L SH Fox - FTR - Night fighter victim. Crashed SE of Bar-Le-Duc, France

24-Oct-42 - Milan - Point of Aim - Halifax - W7819 – P/O JC Rose RAAF - Combat. Attacked by twin engined night fighter. Jettisoned bombs and evaded into cloud. Aircraft badly damaged. 4 guns in rear turret and 1 in mid upper frozen solid. Extensive damaged to controls Wireless transmittor and other accessories. Landed at Manston

24-Oct-42 - Milan - Point of Aim - Halifax - DT482 – Sgt WL McGown - Landed at Manston

24-Oct-42 - Milan - Point of Aim - Halifax - DT505 – Sgt KH Berry - Landed at Tangmere

24-Oct-42 - Milan - Point of Aim - Halifax - W7861 – Sgt JV Roper – Did not take off

24-Oct-42 - Milan - Point of Aim - Halifax - W7772 – S/L JH Kennard - Landed at base

24-Oct-42 - Milan - Point of Aim - Halifax - W1223 – Sgt SA Claridge - FTR - Crashed north east of Compiegne, France.

24-Oct-42 - Milan - Point of Aim - Halifax - BB223 – Sgt HB Smith – Early return - Fuel pressure lights came on due to air in fuel pipes. Jettisoned bombs

24-Oct-42 - Milan - Point of Aim - Halifax - W1217 – F/S LE Moriarty RCAF - Landed at Tangmere

24-Oct-42 - Milan - Point of Aim - Halifax - DT506 – Sgt CE Bayliss RAAF – Early return - 3 rear and 2 front guns unserviceable. Jettisoned bombs. Aircraft had taken off at short notice.

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24/25 October 1942 - Milan

71 aircraft of 1 and 3 Groups and the Pathfinders - 25 Halifaxes, 23 Stirlings, 23 Wellingtons - continued the attack on Milan. 4 Wellingtons and 2 Stirlings were lost, 8.5 per cent of the force.

Storms en route dispersed the bomber force; some aircraft flew over Switzerland and were 'warned' by anti-aircraft fire. Only 39 aircraft claimed to have bombed Milan and local reports say that little further damage was caused there.

Minor Operations: 25 Wellingtons of 1 Group minelaying in several areas between La Pallice and Denmark, 11 OTU sorties. 2 Wellington minelayers lost.

Compiled by David Fell. Photo from my archive

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