A 617 SQUADRON AVRO LANCASTER B MK.III (SPECIAL) CARRYING THE UPKEEP MINE, WITH A LOCKHEED MARTIN F-35B LIGHTNING OF THE SAME SQUADRON ARMED WITH PAVEWAY IV LASER-GUIDED BOMBS AND ASRAAM MISSILES
10 bombing runs
The Sorpe attack was arguably the hardest to pull off, and the wave assigned to bomb it was severely depleted by the time the target was in sight. Flight Lieutenant Munro was forced to turn back having lost all communications, another Lancaster was shot down off Texel and a third lost its bomb in a brush with the sea – somehow this aircraft, flown by Flying Officer Rice, remained airborne. A fourth collided with pylons en route.
It meant that when Flight Lieutenant McCarthy and crew arrived over the target at about 0015hrs, they were alone. They encountered fog-filled valleys, but the dam was visible – though the aircraft had to avoid a church spire on the run in. The Sorpe’s design demanded a different approach and due to the local terrain, the angle of attack was along the length of the dam with Upkeep released without spinning it up.