Another raid on the Tirpitz

The German battleship Tirpitz was on the top of the RAF's target list, seen here at Fættenfjord, where she was in March 1942.

The Fleet Air Arm had failed to hit the Tirpitz when they had hastily mounted an attack when she was seen at sea on the 9th March 1942. Now the RAF would mount the second of what was to become a long campaign to disable the powerful battleship that threatened the Arctic convoys.

On the evening of the 30th of March, just after 1800hrs BST, twelve Halifax aircraft from 76 Squadron took off from Tain to commence the first phase of the attack. Ten Halifax aircraft from 10 Squadron took off from Lossiemouth and twelve from 35 Squadron took off from Kinloss for the second phase of the attack. One 35 Squadron Halifax returned to base early due to engine trouble.

The aircraft would be flying a total distance of approximately 1,300 miles with a total flight time, including time over target, estimated at being around eight to eight and a half hours.

On reaching the Norwegian Coast the weather was clear with bright moonlight. However, on approaching the Trondheim area sea fog and 10/10 low cloud was almost totally obscuring the landscape below making it virtually impossible to locate Tirpitz. Many of the aircraft jettisoned their loads in the target area and bombed flak and searchlights that could be seen. However, no observations were made as to the effectiveness of these due to the sea fog and haze.

Six of the thirty-four aircraft that took off failed to return.

Text courtesy of Linzee Duncan at Archieraf which has more details of the raid, and comprehensive information on the RAF aircraft and crew involved in the raids on the Tirpitz in the spring of 1942. Her account lists six aircraft as missing on the raid, whereas the RAF Bomber Command Campaign History lists only one.

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