576-Squadron-RAF
Slava

Menu

576 Squadron RAF

Notices and News

..........

576 Sqn History

576 Sqn War Diary

..........

576 Sqn Airfields

576 Sqn Lancaster Register

Lancaster ED888

Lancaster ME801

Lancaster LM227

Lancaster LM594

The Best of the Rest

576 Sqn Losses Index

..........

576 Sqn Roll of Honour

576 Sqn POWs, Evaders and Internees

..........

Profiles 576 Sqn

..........

Articles and Misc

Resources

 

Northlincweb.net new logo
Thorpe Camp
A of A
IWM logo
Logo_récent_de_la_CWGC
[Home] [Articles and Misc] [Nuremberg 30/31 March 1944]

Operation – Nuremberg - 30/31 March 44

The blackest night in RAF Bomber Command history and the last of the operations carried out during the exceptionally difficult and costly Battle of Berlin during the winter of 1943/44

Nuremberg ruins 1945

Ruins of Nuremberg immediate postwar - WWP

For this attack on Nuremberg Bomber Command detailed a total of 795 aircraft were dispatched - 572 Lancasters, 214 Halifaxes and 9 Mosquitos.

This would normally have been the moon stand-down period for the Main Force but a raid to the distant target of Nuremberg was planned on the basis of an early forecast that there would be protective high cloud on the outward route, when the moon would be up, but that the target area would be clear for ground-marked bombing. A Meteorological Flight Mosquito carried out a reconnaissance and reported that the protective cloud was unlikely to be present and that there could be cloud over the target, but the raid was surprisingly not cancelled.

The German controller ignored all the diversions and assembled his fighters at 2 radio beacons which happened to be astride the route to Nuremberg. The first fighters appeared just before the bombers reached the Belgian border and a fierce battle in the moonlight lasted for the next hour. 82 bombers were lost on the outward route and near the target. The action was much reduced on the return flight, when most of the German fighters had to land to refuel, but 95 bombers were lost in all - 64 Lancasters and 31 Halifaxes, 11.9 per cent of the force dispatched. It was the biggest Bomber Command loss of the war. A further 10 aircraft were written off with battle damage or crashed on return.

Most of the returning crews reported that they had bombed Nuremberg but subsequent research showed that approximately 120 aircraft had bombed Schweinfurt, 50 miles north-west of Nuremberg. This mistake was a result of badly forecast winds causing navigational difficulties. 2 Pathfinder aircraft dropped markers at Schweinfurt. Much of the bombing in the Schweinfurt area fell outside the town and only 2 people were killed in that area. The main raid at Nuremberg was a failure. The city was covered by thick cloud and a fierce cross-wind which developed on the final approach to the target caused many of the Pathfinder aircraft to mark too far to the east. A 10-mile-long creepback also developed into the countryside north of Nuremberg. Both Pathfinders and Main Force aircraft were under heavy fighter attack throughout the raid. Little damage was caused in Nuremberg.

Minor Operations - 49 Halifaxes minelaying in the Heligoland area, 13 Mosquitos to night-fighter airfields, 34 Mosquitos on diversions to Aachen, Cologne and Kassel, 5 RCM sorties, 19 Serrate patrols. No aircraft lost.

3 Oboe Mosquitos to Oberhausen (where 23 Germans waiting to go into a public shelter were killed by a bomb) and 1 Mosquito to Dortmund, 6 Stirlings minelaying off Texel and Le Havre. 17 aircraft on Resistance operations, 8 OTU sorties. 1 Halifax shot down dropping Resistance agents over Belgium.

Total effort for the night - 950 sorties, 96 aircraft (10.1 per cent) lost.

….............

103 Squadron detailed 16 aircraft for this attack on the German city of Nuremberg. First up was P/O J A H Nimmo and crew in ND420 at 2130 Crews reported weather en route was clear but over the target there was 10/10ths cloud. Sky marking was used and most crews bombed on it. Bombing was between 21000 ft and 23000 ft. Flak was reported as moderate and searchlights were active but did not penetrate the cloud. Night fighters were very active and numerous reports of combats were received. P/O Birchall had a combat but successfully evaded. Crews differ in their opinion of the concentration of the raid but it seems to be held by the majority that the raid was not the success that was hoped for. F/L Allwood abandoned his mission owing to the rear gunner's oxygen supply failing together with the rear turret. P/O Mitchell landed at landed at Hunsdon. P/Os Johnston and Tate are missing from this operation. The rest landed at base. First back was P/O B B Lydon and crew in JB278 at 0522

….......

576 Squadron. 16 aircraft were detailed for this operation. First up was W/O R Whalley and crew in ME703 at 2130. F/O Wood and crew returned early due to U/S rear turret and an engine heating up. Cloud reported by crews on the route to the target was thin and broken only in occasional patches mostly clear but hazy. At target 10/10ths cloud was encountered and on the return legs to the enemy coast 4 to 5/10ths thin cloud broken all along the route back. Sightings of enemy aircraft by gunners were in greater number than usual, mostly south of the Ruhr and the leg into the target. Flak defences were slight to moderate at the target and searchlights had no effect due to the 10/10ths cloud.

F/L Underwood and crew failed to return form this operation. All the rest returned to base. First down P/O C C Rollins and crew in ME703 at 0535.

F/S Scheerboom's gunners put up a very good show on this operation. They sighted a Ju88 which attacked but due to the rear gunners immediate instructions managed to evade and lose him. Hits were claimed on the enemy aircraft by both rear and mid upper gunners. No damage was done to our Lancaster.

F/O Barnsdale's gunners also put up a very good show. They were attacked by an Me109 and the rear gunner gave evasive action and opened fire. Only one attack by the enemy aircraft was made. The Lancaster sustained no damage from this attack and no hits were claimed on the enemy aircraft.

One night cross country was detailed and carried out.

….......

Pilot Officer Cyril Barton, a Halifax pilot of No 578 Squadron, was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for carrying on to the target in the Nuremberg operation after his bomber was badly damaged in a fighter attack and 3 members of his crew baled out through a communication misunderstanding. Although the navigator and wireless operator were among the men who had parachuted, Barton decided to attempt the return flight to England in spite of the fact that only 3 engines were running. An unexpected wind took the Halifax steadily up the North Sea and it was short of fuel when the English coast was reached near Sunderland. Barton had to make a hurried forced landing when his engines failed through lack of fuel and he died in the crash, but his 3 remaining crew members were only slightly hurt. Pilot Officer Barton's Victoria Cross was the only one awarded during the Battle of Berlin, which had now officially ended.

Compiled by David Fell

….................

Sources and Books page.

Contact - D W Fell at e mail on the link below

576 Squadron RAF

www.576squadronraf.org.uk

Privacy Policy

©️ David Fell - Northlincsweb.net. All rights reserved

Member of Cross and Cockade and Air Britain

Combined Banner

RAFA Cleethorpes

 

576 Banner right

Contact - D W Fell at e mail on the link below

Contact Me

For privacy matters see the

Privacy Policy

For latest website updates see the 

Notices and News Page.

For sources etc see the

Sources and Books Page.

For site search see

576 Squadron Website Google Site Search

Other websites in the 13 Base - RAF Series

Click Links Below.

103 Squadron - RAF

RAF Elsham Wolds

Featured page of the Month

Berlin - The Night of the Strong Winds - 24/25th March 1944

Latest additions to this site

* 1st  March 2024 - One new Profile, one new Photo Page  plus various updates and additions throughout the site

* 1st  February 2024 - One new Profile  plus various updates and additions throughout the site

* 1st  January 2024 - One new Profile  plus various updates and additions throughout the site

* 1st  December 2023 - One new Profile  plus various updates and additions throughout the site

* 1st November 2023 - One new Profile  plus various updates and additions throughout the site

* 1st October 2023 - One new Profile  plus various updates and additions throughout the site

* 1st September 2023 - Two new Profiles, one new Article  plus various updates and additions throughout the site

* 1st August 2023 - One new Profile, one new Article  plus various updates and additions throughout the site

* 1st July 2023 - One new Profile, one new Article  plus various updates and additions throughout the site

* 1st June 2023 - One new Profile  plus various updates and additions throughout the site

* 1st May 2023 - Two new Profiles  plus various updates and additions throughout the site

* 1st April 2023 - Two new Profiles  plus various updates and additions throughout the site

* 1st March 2023 - Two new Profiles  plus various updates and additions throughout the site

* 1st February 2023 - Two new Profiles  plus various updates and additions throughout the site

*1st January 2023 - Two new Profiles, one new Article  plus various updates and additions throughout the site

....................

Also local RAF Bomber Command interest are the

166 Squadron website

and the

550 Squadron and North Killingholme website.