Busting bunkers

Eight decades after the Dambusters flew their most famous raid, how might the RAF today deliver a precision attack with decisive results against a similarly distant target?

“ The Dams Raid, destruction on a massive scale with no real consideration of collateral damage, is unthinkable for the modern R AF”

On May 16, 1943, 19 Avro Lancaster Type 464 (Provisioning) bombers departed RAF Scampton bound for German dams in the Ruhr valley. After weeks of frantic planning, proving and preparation, Operation Chastise had begun.

Three flights of three aircraft launched first, ten minutes apart, followed by five independent individual aircraft following a different route and then, two hours later, a final five-strong formation of Lancasters. They were expected to fly at low altitude all the way to the target, across hundreds of miles of enemy territory in darkness, to welldefended targets naturally resilient to conventional attack and difficult to hit. The aircraft were in touch with one another by radio, but communication would have been kept to a minimum. Live reporting from the raiders as they completed their attacks could be transmitted back to a control room by Morse code, while individual crews co…

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