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Bomber Command
Dambusters Raid

Dams Raid Story    Previous | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | Next

After rendezvousing with other first wave aircraft, Gibson manoeuvred into position and announced, "I am going in to attack." His navigator, Terry Taerum, took his position on the starboard side of the cockpit and turned on the altitude-measuring lights. Fred Spafford, the bomb aimer, prepared to release the weapon and John Pulford, the flight engineer monitored the speed. As the Lancaster hurtled towards the dam at 230 miles per hour the lights made the huge aircraft an easy target and it came under fire from enemy guns in the sluice towers on the sides of the dam.

Gibson's bouncing bomb was delivered slightly short of the target. It exploded creating a huge tower of water and spray. After the mist subsided Hopwood attacked. His Lancaster came under heavy fire as it approached the dam, any element of surprise having been lost. The bomb bounced over the dam and destroyed the power station. The aircraft struggled to gain altitude and two of the crew were able to escape, but it then exploded.

Bomber Command Museum of Canada