Dams Raid Story
GUY GIBSON - The Leader, the Squadron, the Training
The aircrew selected included the best in Bomber Command and training began with low-level training over lakes in Britain. The flying was most demanding, requiring pilots to descend rapidly to sixty feet and then maintain that altitude and the required speed of 230 miles per hour.
On May 16, 1943, only eight weeks after the squadron had been formed, Guy Gibson and his squadron were ready to take off from their base at Scampton on what was to become the most famous bombing operation of the war.
"Can you do it at 60 feet?"
"What they did was put a great sheet across the runway at one end and then so many yards down, another sheet. You had to start at the beginning of the runway at 1500 feet and dive, cross the first sheet at 70 feet, cross the second sheet at seventy feet, and at the end of the runway be at 1500 feet. It was quite tricky."
"At first we thought the chap calling, 'Down, down, down' would never stop."
"This is bloody dangerous!"
"Another gadget to help the bomb aimers was the penny bomb sight. This 'V' notch sight had two pointers which, when lined up with the towers on the dam, gave the correct distance to release the mine from the wall."
"We didn't have a clue as to what was going to be the target. Nobody even mentioned dams, we thought the Tirpitz (battleship) or some other thing."
Bomber Command Museum of Canada