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Brest Bombing


cardboard_killer
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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• RAF Bomber Command targets Brest during the night, where German cruiser Admiral Hipper is receiving maintenance between voyages. No major damage is reported.

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Admiral Hipper, heavy cruiser in dry dock at Brest.

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Flak over Brest 04-05 Jan 41

 

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cardboard_killer

[80 Years ago today] "After three consecutive attacks on a lighter scale, over 60 aircraft bombed the docks at Brest on the 24th/25th, and though intense A.A. and searchlight activity hindered accurate observation, many bombs were seen to fall in the dock area and tb straddle the estimated position of the Hipper class cruiser.

 

The French port of Brest was now one of the most heavily bombed towns in the whole of Europe, it was one of the top targets for both Bomber Command and Coastal Command, and the subject of routinephotographic reconnaissance. The dry dock was being used by the Germans for the repair of its capital ships, and there was a Hipper class cruiser in dock. As a consequence Brest was also becoming a well defended town, with a ring of Anti Aircraft batteries surrounding it. They would claim many British aircrew."

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• The Avro Manchester makes its first operational sortie in a raid on Brest, failing to hit heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper. "

 

ma7.thumb.jpg.a82c1d0de3218cd732b2b59e2abf6caa.jpg

Early Mark I Manchesters have triple tail fins to address directional instability. All will be grounded in April and again in June for engine problems, and the underpowered bomber will be withdrawn in 1942.

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cardboard_killer

[80 Years ago today] "• A patrol aircraft spots Gneisenau and Scharnhorst proceeding at high speed towards France, prompting the RAF to send forty-two aircraft to lay mines in the approaches to Brest, Lorient, and St Nazaire.

 

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Handley Page Hampden being armed with mine. Force H will attempt to intercept as will a destroyer flotilla from the UK. "

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• A fifty-two Wellington raid is launched against German ships at Brest. Forty-one of them find the target and one bomb hits heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen forward, pierces the armoured deck and explodes below. The switch room compartment, ammunition hoist, compass room and the transmitting station are destroyed with 51 men killed and 32 wounded. The Germans estimate repairs will take seven or eight months. Two Wellingtons are shot down. One of them had snagged a parachute flare dropped by a leading bomber and became the target of every flak gun in the area.

 

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Gneisenau under camouflage netting at Brest in 1941 "

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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• Bomber Command mounts a daylight attack against Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen at Brest and Scharnhorst at La Pallice. Brest is attacked by 79 unescorted Wellingtons while diversionary sorties are flown by 18 Handley Page Hampdens, escorted by three Squadrons of Spitfires fitted with long-range tanks, and by three Boeing Fortress Is. As a further diversion, the Cherbourg docks are attacked by 36 Blenheims with a strong Spitfire escort. Meanwhile, Scharnhorst at La Pallice is attacked by 15 Halifaxes.

- Ten Wellingtons, five Halifaxes, and two Hampdens are shot down by fighters or flak, and the warships at Brest are undamaged. Five bombs hit Scharnhorst, although three of them fail to detonate. She takes on 3,000 tons of water but has no casualties and she is able to get underway and reach Brest in the evening to take advantage of the better repair facilities. She will be under repair for another four months."

 

 

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