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THE EDER DAM – No Defences but Difficult Flying

The Eder was the largest dam in western Germany. There were no anti-aircraft defences but the geography made it a very difficult target. On his fifth attempt F/L Shannon was able to fly into the appropriate position. He released his weapon and reported that he had seen a small breach in the wall. S/L Maudsley then attacked. His weapon was released late, struck the dam without bouncing on the water, and exploded as the Lancaster passed immediately overhead. It is thought that the aircraft suffered significant damage but was able to head back to Scampton. Following Maudsley’s attack, F/L Knight released his weapon accurately and the Eder was breached.

“It (The Eder Dam) was situated in a hole. It was very, very difficult to get low enough, quick enough, and have everything settled down -240 miles per hour at 60 feet. So we did this dummy run, but right ahead of us was a hill. The pilot had to put on full power and go screaming over that hill.”

– F/O Revie Walker RCAF (F/L Shannon’s navigator)

“I could look back and down at the dam wall. It was still intact for a short while, then, as if some huge fist had been jabbed at the wall, a large, almost round black hole appeared and water gushed as from a large hose.”
– P/O Bob Kellow (F/O Knight’s wireless operator)

“It’s gone.”
– P/O Jack Buckley (F/L Shannon’s rear gunner)

“Good show boys. Let’s all go home and get pie.”
– W/C Gibson