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Operation Millennium Cologne Germany....



Item # 575153

June 1, 1942

WILMINGTON MORNING STAR, Wilmington, North Carolina, June 1, 1942

* Cologne Germany 1,000 bomber raid
* Operation Millennium - World War II


This 8 page newspaper has a five column headline on the front page: "COLOGNE, GERMAN INDUSTRIAL CENTER, LAID WASTE BY MASSIVE BRITISH RAID; THREE-QUARTERS OF CITY LEFT AFLAME" with subheads (see images).

This tells of the famous 1,000 bomber raid on Cologne Germany by the RAF during World War II.

Other news, sports and advertisements of the day with much on WWII. Little margin wear and minor staining, otherwise good.

wikipedia notes: The first 1,000 bomber raid by the RAF was codenamed Operation Millennium, Cologne was chosen as the target and the raid took place on the night of 30/31 May 1942. The Thousand bomber raid was launched for several reasons:

    * It was expected that the devastation from such raids might be enough to knock Germany out of the war or at least severely damage German morale.

    * The raids were useful propaganda for the Allies and particularly for Sir Arthur Harris, 1st Baronet, and the concept of a Strategic Bombing Offensive. Bomber Command's poor performance in bombing accuracy during 1941 had led to calls for the force to be split up and diverted to other urgent theatres i.e. Battle of the Atlantic. A headline-grabbing heavy raid on Germany was a way for Bomber Command AOC Arthur "Bomber" Harris to demonstrate to the War Cabinet that given the investment in numbers and technology Bomber Command could make a vital contribution to victory.

At this stage of the war RAF Bomber Command only had a regular front line strength of around 400 aircraft, and were in the process of transitioning from the twin engined medium bombers of the pre-war years to the newer more effective four-engined 'heavies'. By using bombers and men from Operational Training Units (OTU's), 250 from RAF Coastal Command and from Flying Training Command, Harris could easily make up the 1,000 aircraft. However, just before the raid took place, the Royal Navy refused to allow the Coastal Command aircraft to take part in the raid. The Admiralty perceived the propaganda justifications too weak an argument against the real and pressing threat of the U-boats in the Second Battle of the Atlantic. Harris scrambled around and, by crewing 49 more aircraft with pupil pilots and instructors, 1,047 bombers eventually took part in the raid, two and a half times more than any previous raid by the RAF. In addition to the bombers attacking Cologne, 113 other aircraft on "Intruder" raids harassed German night-fighter airfields.

Cologne was not the first choice of target - that was Hamburg - but poor weather shifted the choice to Cologne, the secondary target RAF bomber H2S radar display during the 30/31 October 1944 Cologne attack (annotations are post-attack)

This was the first time that the "bomber stream" tactic was used and most of the tactics used in this raid would remain the basis for standard Bomber Command operations for the next two years and some elements would remain in use until the end of the war. It was expected that such a large number of bombers flying in a bomber stream through the Kammhuber line would overwhelm the German night fighters, keeping the number of bombers shot down to an acceptable proportion. The recent introduction of GEE allowed the bombers to fly a given route at a given time and height. The British night bombing campaign had been in operation for some months, and a statistical estimate could be made of the number of bombers likely to be lost to enemy night fighters and flak, and how many would be lost through collisions. Minimising the former demanded a densely packed stream, as the controllers of a night fighter flying a defensive 'box' could only direct a maximum of six potential interceptions per hour, and the flak gunners could not concentrate on all the available targets at once. Earlier in the war four hours had been considered acceptable for a mission; for this raid all the bombers would pass over Cologne and bomb in a window of 90 minutes, the first arriving at 00:47 of 31 May. It was anticipated that the concentration of bombing over such a short period would overwhelm the Cologne fire brigades and cause conflagrations similar to those inflicted on London by the Luftwaffe during the Blitz.

Category: The 20th Century

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