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Trenchard lecture The Dambuster legend in Wartime Britain is now online.

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Trenchard lecture The Dambuster legend in Wartime Britain is now online.

Old 10th Oct 2020, 22:51
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Trenchard lecture The Dambuster legend in Wartime Britain is now online.

It is the RAe lecture.

Link here to listen to the replay. Enjoy.

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/trenchard...ster?session=1
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Old 10th Oct 2020, 23:51
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
It is the RAe lecture.

Link here to listen to the replay. Enjoy.

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/trenchard...ster?session=1

Quite interesting but I note a slightly revisionist tone and not fully capturing the positive effects of this raid having a strategic benefit and the ensuing morale boost to a country that had been at war for nearly four years then. It boosted hope around the Empire and the Free World. She failed to mention that many of the aircraft were from Australia, New Zealand and Canada and also joined the line at Buckingham Palace.
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Old 11th Oct 2020, 12:40
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A fairly safe subject for the RAeS, and hence the RAF Star Chamber whose voice it increasingly is, to tackle. It would perhaps have been more interesting if the subject had been "The RAF Bombing Offensive 1939-45", but rather more divisive of course. Whether Victoria Taylor would be the best person to tackle that one is a moot point. I found this lecture somewhat limiting, full of minutiae but lacking in much of the big picture. Bomber Command's Strategic Offensive was just that and should be judged as a whole on its effect on WWII and the defeat of Germany. The chattering classes are preoccupied with Dresden, the RAF with Chastise. Both ignore the elephant in the room, which is how both operations were merely part of the entire Bombing Campaign. My feeling is that it was a crucial contribution to the British war effort, in particular by denying more munitions and manpower to the Eastern Front that might otherwise have swung things to Germany's advantage. The smooth talking Speer likened it to a separate front existing long before D-Day.

I would hasten to add that this form of remote lecture (crowd casting?) is particularly challenging and must be somewhat unnerving to deliver from one's own home to a remote audience, so well done Victoria Taylor for accepting the challenge, and perhaps on reflection a reasonably 'safe' subject was understandable in the circumstances! I will admit to a certain amount of hackle raising though when she repeatedly characterised Harris as obstinate. He had a job to do and people to lead. He did both against the opposition of the chattering classes who would have had us under the Nazi yoke if they had had their way.

So who is Victoria Taylor? From the RAFM website:-
The winner of the Royal Air Force Museum Centenary Masters Bursary is Victoria Taylor. Victoria’s thesis, submitted to the University of Hull as part of her Masters in Historical Research, is entitled ‘Après Moi, Le Déluge’: Redressing the Wartime and Post-War Mythologization of Operation CHASTISE in Britain. Operation CHASTISE, or the Dam Busters raid, is an iconic military operation of the Second World War.

Utilising sources in Britain and Germany Victoria’s thesis makes a significant contribution in revising the popular mythology which has grown around the Dam Busters raid. As such the RAF Museum is delighted to celebrate Victoria’s academic research which helps fill an important gap in the historical understanding of the operation and its cultural impact in Britain.

Victoria holds a fervent interest in the history of airpower, particularly with regards to the ethical questions provoked by aerial warfare’s astonishingly rapid development during the twentieth century. Graduating from the University of Hull with a First-Class BA degree in History in 2016 Victoria completed her Masters in Historical Research in 2017 and she is currently researching for a PhD on the Nazification of the Luftwaffe in consortium with the University of Hull and Sheffield Hallam University.

Last edited by Chugalug2; 11th Oct 2020 at 13:42. Reason: For mute read moot!
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Old 11th Oct 2020, 14:29
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Originally Posted by TBM-Legend View Post
Quite interesting but I note a slightly revisionist tone and not fully capturing the positive effects of this raid having a strategic benefit and the ensuing morale boost to a country that had been at war for nearly four years then. It boosted hope around the Empire and the Free World. She failed to mention that many of the aircraft were from Australia, New Zealand and Canada and also joined the line at Buckingham Palace.
HHHmmm,

What strategic benefit? Chastise set out to destroy four Ruhr dams, the Mohne, the Eder, the Sorpe and Schwelme. Only the first two were breached, despite 5 aircraft in the 2nd wave being dedicated to breaching the Sorpe alone, which remained intact, the Schwelme not even being attacked. Whilst local devastation was widespread, strategic impact and destruction to industry was not, with most of the dead being Ukrainian female slave labourers. Speer had the damaged factories back in full production in just over a week.

Oddly, despite the Upkeep weapon being kept a closely guarded secret in the UK for the next 19 years, the Germans had the full capability and specification, including mode of operation, fully established by the end of May 1943.

Perhaps the revisionist tone is seen by some as distasteful, but in reality it is merely correcting the propaganda and fake news put out, understandably, at the time, when the British authorities trumpeted with triumph about a 'successful operation to breach the Mohne and Eder dams', which was never the case, and massively exaggerating the damage and strategic impact of the breaching of the 2 dams.

None of this takes away one single jot of the courage and determination of the crews who carried out the raid, at a very high cost.
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Old 11th Oct 2020, 14:39
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Originally Posted by TBM-Legend View Post
Quite interesting but I note a slightly revisionist tone and not fully capturing the positive effects of this raid having a strategic benefit and the ensuing morale boost to a country that had been at war for nearly four years then. It boosted hope around the Empire and the Free World. She failed to mention that many of the aircraft were from Australia, New Zealand and Canada and also joined the line at Buckingham Palace.
I take it you meant aircrew and not aircraft,as I do not think you would get many aircraft in Buck House.
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Old 12th Oct 2020, 11:23
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Victoria Taylor has another on-line presentation (German WW1 aces) in the archive section of the Dan Hill website.
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Old 12th Oct 2020, 18:08
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Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
HHHmmm,

What strategic benefit? Chastise set out to destroy four Ruhr dams, the Mohne, the Eder, the Sorpe and Schwelme. Only the first two were breached, despite 5 aircraft in the 2nd wave being dedicated to breaching the Sorpe alone, which remained intact, the Schwelme not even being attacked. Whilst local devastation was widespread, strategic impact and destruction to industry was not, with most of the dead being Ukrainian female slave labourers. Speer had the damaged factories back in full production in just over a week.

Oddly, despite the Upkeep weapon being kept a closely guarded secret in the UK for the next 19 years, the Germans had the full capability and specification, including mode of operation, fully established by the end of May 1943.

Perhaps the revisionist tone is seen by some as distasteful, but in reality it is merely correcting the propaganda and fake news put out, understandably, at the time, when the British authorities trumpeted with triumph about a 'successful operation to breach the Mohne and Eder dams', which was never the case, and massively exaggerating the damage and strategic impact of the breaching of the 2 dams.

None of this takes away one single jot of the courage and determination of the crews who carried out the raid, at a very high cost.
“Chastise set out to destroy four Ruhr dams, the Mohne, the Eder, the Sorpe and Schwelme.”

Wrong: The Primary targets were the Mohne (target X), the Eder (Y) and the Sorpe (Z). The Secondary targets (regrettably referred to as 'last resort' targets, using the service writing conventions of the time) were the Lister (D), Ennepe (E), Diemel (F) and Henne dams; the latter was included in the draft Op Order but omitted from the final version. Source: John Sweetman; The Dambusters Raid ch 7 and illustration.

There isn’t a Schwelme dam; which puts the truth and accuracy of the rest of your post into sharp relief.

“Only the first two were breached, despite 5 aircraft in the 2nd wave being dedicated to breaching the Sorpe alone, which remained intact, the Schwelme not even being attacked.”

Of the 5 aircraft in the 2nd wave targeted against the Sorpe (Z), 4 didn’t reach the dam. Barlow and Byers were both shot down on the way in, Rice clipped the sea and lost his mine (lucky to survive) and RTB’d, and Munro was hit by flak that rendered his intercom U/S and unable to coordinate an attack and also had to RTB. Consequently, only 1 aircraft (McCarthy’s) from Wave 2 reached the Sorpe to undertake a successful attack that failed to breach the dam. One aircraft (Brown) from wave 3 also attacked the Sorpe (Z) dam with similar results. Source: Historical record, correctly and accurately recounted.

You can’t attack a target the does not exist, ie a mythical ‘Schwelme’ dam.

It should be noted that Wallis was not in favour of using UPKEEP to attack the Sorpe (Z) dam due the it’s earthen and shallow-faced construction and only agreed to its use in a ‘dumb’ mode (ie dropped, unspun, from an approach along the length of the dam) at the insistence of the Air Ministry who stated in a Note:

[destruction of the Sorpe] “would be worth much more than twice the destruction of one”.

Wallis, reluctantly, agreed that a chance of “real success” might be possible when the attack method was changed but would require multiple - at least 6 – hits to undermine the earth support and crack the core, leading to seepage, resulting in eventual failure. Accordingly, it is likely that 6 aircraft were to be allocated to the Sorpe (Z), but the inability to repair Maudslay’s aircraft (damaged a few days before by water splash) in time, together with the crew sickness (Divall) meant that only 19 airframes and crews could be mustered. It was always likely that at least one of wave 3 would be directed to the Sorpe (Z) to make the number up to Wallis’ minimum of 6 UPKEEPs.

(It is of interest to note that Wallis was exactly right in not favouring the Sorpe dam as a target for UPKEEP. Seventeen months later, the Sorpe survived 8 direct hits from TALLBOY bombs, including one plumb in the centre on the crest.)

Speer had the damaged factories back in full production in just over a week”.

Verification and Source?

I have three:

Eleven war-production factories were totally destroyed (you don't replace those within a week), 114 others damaged, 25 rail and road bridges were totally destroyed (ditto) and a further 21 severely damaged in the area affected by the Möhne breach alone. Source: John Sweetman; The Dambusters Raid ch 10.

Josef Goebbels wrote: “The attacks by the British bombers on the dams in our valleys were very successful………….Damage to production was more than normal.” Source: James Holland; Dam Busters – The Race to Smash the Dams ch 28.

Albert Speer: “[the Dams raid was] a disaster for us for a number of months.”

“That night, employing just a few bombers, the British came close to a success which would have been greater than anything they had achieved hitherto with a commitment of thousands of bombers.” Source: Max Arthur; Dambusters - A Landmark Oral History ch 10, itself taken from Albert Speer’s own book – Inside the Third Reich.

“Oddly, despite the Upkeep weapon being kept a closely guarded secret in the UK for the next 19 years, the Germans had the full capability and specification, including mode of operation, fully established by the end of May 1943.”

And? Despite having an intact UPKEEP, they didn’t appreciate the requirement for backspin and their development along similar lines, ‘Kurt’ – spurred by the success of UPKEEP – could not be brought to operational fruition.

“Perhaps the revisionist tone is seen by some as distasteful, but in reality it is merely correcting the propaganda and fake news put out, understandably, at the time, when the British authorities trumpeted with triumph about a 'successful operation to breach the Mohne and Eder dams', which was never the case, and massively exaggerating the damage and strategic impact of the breaching of the 2 dams.”

I don’t find your revisionist tone distasteful – I find it repugnant and insulting. It’s not correcting propaganda and ‘fake news’ – it is ‘in reality’ - attempting to re-write recorded history (examined and verified by many diverse sources – see above) with the sole purpose of denigrating worthy achievements in defeating one of the most evil administrations ever to see the light of day with manifestly inaccurate falsehoods and half-truths, which – despite how many times they are repeated - remain just that; falsehoods and half-truths.
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Old 12th Oct 2020, 23:08
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Well said, DML. The irony of Comrade Pr00ne's disparagement of Chastise is that the main beneficiary of the operation was the Soviet Union's Red Army, as was the case with much of the RAF's Strategic Bombing Campaign. It hampered war production and denied manpower and aircraft to the Eastern Front from Barbarossa to the very end of the war. The successful attack on the Tirpitz removed a major threat to the Arctic Convoys, again to the advantage of the Soviet Union. Even Dresden, the German Hiroshima, was targeted on its behalf. Precious little thanks did Bomber Command get at the time from them or from the chattering classes, a trend which continues to the present day it seems.

Last edited by Chugalug2; 12th Oct 2020 at 23:19.
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Old 13th Oct 2020, 02:36
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There isn’t a Schwelme dam;
In fairness, there was - in press reports. Schwlem(e) was used in error for the Ennepe; Bill Townsend may - although he and his navigator refuted this until their dying days - have struck the Bever Dam in error because of heavy mist in the target area. Because of the proximity of the Ennepe and the Bever to Schwelme, it appears that the name entered into the media and various bits of documentation. The Ennepe was not, of course, a primary target, although it was discussed as a primary target when the dams were contemplated as a target set prior to the war. The Telegraph, no less, managed to add the Ennepe to the list of main targets in a piece some years ago, conflating pre-war discussions with the actual primary targets in 1943.
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Old 13th Oct 2020, 07:21
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Originally Posted by Archimedes View Post
In fairness, there was - in press reports. Schwlem(e) was used in error for the Ennepe.
Thank you, Archimedes, for reinforcing my point of which I was fully aware. However, my sub-text was that anyone wishing to re-write history could at least make a pretence of undertaking some basic research before indulging in a written denigration of a famous and well documented historical event. With respect to the location of Bill Townsend's attack, the evidence is pretty conclusive that he did, indeed, attack the Bever dam, not least from a German soldier on leave who witnessed an aircraft make several approaches, release a weapon that detonated with a big explosion. Given the misty ground conditions prevailing that dramatic night, Bill Townsend and his crew can be entirely forgiven for their honest mistake; Dave Shannon nearly did the same thing when he located another small dam in the vicinity of the Eder and initially mistook it for the target until Gibson fired very lights overhead the Eder dam.
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Old 13th Oct 2020, 08:53
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"The irony of Comrade Pr00ne's disparagement of Chastise is that the main beneficiary of the operation was the Soviet Union's Red Army, as was the case with much of the RAF's Strategic Bombing Campaign."

In much the same way that the Red Army campaigns were to the benefit of those landing in Normandy.

We were all on the same side (then) and the ability of the Allies to keep up pressure on all fronts (East, West, South, SW and bombing) meant the Germans couldn't benefit from their internal lines of communication. They HAD to fight everywhere and as they were ground down the gaps started to appear which eventually led to total collapse in all directions in '45.
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