On Friday 01 December 1939, a member of the 63 Sqdn, Aircraftman 2nd Class J C Buckland, took off from Benson in the United Kingdom. His mission is mentioned elsewhere on Back to Normandy. You can find the other details of this mission by searching here. Training and cargo flights are not separately mentioned as a mission. The plane left at 9:30.
He flew with a Avro Anson (type I, serial N5073, code -).
Campaign report of the USAAF:
Campaign report of the RAF:
The anti-shipping patrols continued but, at last, some bombing operations were flown. During a daylight attack by 24 Wellingtons on German warships moored in Heligoland Bight, the first bombs to fall on German soil are dropped by an aircraft of No 115 Squadron. The bombs fall accidentally after the aircraft had suffered a hang-up over the target. Then two raids in the middle of the month caused the Air Staff to rethink their strategies. On the 14th, 5 Wellingtons (from 12 despatched) were lost to German fighters as they orbited over Wilhelmshaven and attempted to get into a favourable bombing position. At first, commanders would not accept that the fighters had caused such terrible losses, insisting that the aircraft had been lost to flak. Then, four days later, during another raid on Wilhelmshaven, a formation of 22 Wellingtons was picked up some 70 miles out by a German radar post which alerted a nearby fighter base. The bombers had been forced into a more open formation by flak and, with no cloud cover to hide in, the Wellingtons were easily picked off by the defenders. Twelve aircraft were lost over the target area.
Until this moment, senior commanders were convinced that a self-defending bomber formation would always reach its target, but within months of these terrible losses, the Wellingtons and Hampdens would be switched to night operations.
With thanks to the RAF and USAAF.net!
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