Whilst 617 Squadron’s most famous raid was the destruction of Ruhr Valley dams, the unit went on to carry out specialist attacks until the end of the war in Europe. Today, the Squadron remains at the cutting edge of technology with the introduction of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft in 2018. Nigel Price relates what 617 Squadron did after the Dams Raid.

A ‘Grand Slam’ bomb on the point of release from one of the squadron’s Lancasters during an attack on the Arnsberg Bridge, 19 March 1945.
Group Captain Johnny Fauquier, CO of 617 Squadron, demonstrates the immense size of the ‘Grand Slam’ bomb.

Attacking a target many believed to be indestructible, deep behind enemy lines, using an untried revolutionary weapon and under the glare of a full moon, sounds like an impossible mission. But the men of the RAF’s 617 Sqn, led by Wg Cdr Guy Gibson, did just that and struck a blow to the heart of the Nazi regime. While the damage inflicted on that fateful night hurt the enemy’s ability to wage war, the negative effect on German morale was even more considerable, and the raid’s success greatly lifted the spirits of Allied forces around the world.

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