Tuesday, 21 November 2017
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Operation Chastise was an attack on German dams carried out on 16–17 May 1943 by Royal Air Force No. 617 Squadron, subsequently publicised as the "Dam Busters", using a specially developed "bouncing bomb" invented and developed by Sir Barnes Wallis.


The Möhne and Edersee Dams were breached, causing catastrophic flooding of the Ruhr valley and of villages in the Eder valley; the Sorpe Dam sustained only minor damage. Two hydroelectric power stations were destroyed and several more were damaged.


Factories and mines were also either damaged or destroyed. An estimated 1,600 civilians drowned: about 600 Germans and 1,000 mainly Soviet forced-labourers. The damage was mitigated by rapid repairs by the Germans, but production did not completely return to normal until September.


A drum shaped bomb, a specially designed, heavy depth charge, spinning backwards at over 500 rpm, and dropped at low altitude at the correct speed and release point, would skip a significant distance over the surface of the water in a series of bounces before reaching the dam wall. Its residual spin would run the bomb down the side of the dam toward its underwater base and explode.


Led by 24-year-old Wing Commander Guy Gibson, the aircraft were modified Avro Lancaster Mk IIIs, known as B Mark III Special. Eleven bombers began landing at Scampton at 03:11 hours, with Gibson returning at 04:15. The last of the survivors, Townsend's bomber, landed at 06:15.

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