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Nuremberg bomb strike, 8-9 March 1943

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Nuremberg bomb strike, 8-9 March 1943

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Date Posted:October 29th, 2005
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Description: 335 aircraft - 170 Lancasters, 103 Halifaxes, 62 Stirlings - to Nuremberg. 8 aircraft - 4 Stirlings, 2 Halifaxes, 2 Lancasters - lost, 2.4 per cent of the force.

This distant raid had to be marked by a combination of H2S and visual means. The Pathfinders had no moon to help them and, although there was no cloud, they found that haze prevented accurate visual identification of the target area. The result was that both marking and bombing spread over more than 10 miles along the line of the attack, with more than half of the bombs falling outside the city boundaries. This result would be typical of raids carried out beyond the range of Oboe during this period.
Sergeant DR Spanton, a mid-upper gunner in a 7 Squadron Stirling, had a fortunate escape on this night. After his aircraft crossed the English coast on the return flight, Spanton realized that he was the only man still in the plane. The remainder of the crew, newly arrived on this Pathfinder squadron, had baled out earlier, possibly because of suspected fuel shortage, and the pilot left the plane flying on automatic pilot. Spanton had not heard the order. He parachuted safely over Kent and the empty Stirling later crashed into the Thames estuary. The remainder of the crew, presumably thinking they were parachuting over France, had actually come down in the sea and were all drowned. Sergeant Spanton went on to fly a further 12 operations but his plane was lost on the night of 24/25 June 1943 in a raid on Wuppertal and the presence of his name on the Runnymede Memorial probably indicates that he died in the sea on that occasion.

4 Mosquitos to the Ruhr, 16 Wellingtons minelaying in the Frisians. No losses.


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