History

THE DAM BUSTERS EPIC FAIL

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One of the most successful instances of victors spin are to be found in accounts relating to the dam-busters raid of May 16/17 1943. The claimed daring incursion brought international acclaim to Royal Air Force (RAF) Wing Commander Guy Gibson and pilots of 617 Squadron.

These British airmen were carefully selected to carry out a daring and innovative bombing raid on five major dams in Western Germany. These weirs were said to be ‘essential to Germany’s defence capability.’

By delivering an innovative ‘water skipping barrel bomb’ two of the targeted dams, the Moehne and the Eder dams, were breached to their foundations. As news of the supposedly successful attack broke over the BBC’s airwaves Britain’s joy was orgasmic.

‘Floods roar down the Ruhr Valley’, shrieked the Daily Express headlines.  The notorious Daily Mirror red-top tabloid, not to be outdone, milked the story for all of its worth.

‘Hundreds of square miles of devastation has spread through the Ruhr, Germany’s most densely populated industrial area, by the RAF’s staggering attack on the Moehne and Eder dams’. There was orgiastic delight at the news that 10,000 German civilians had perished in the floods caused by breaches in the dams.

Following the RAF attack on the dams, Wing Commander Guy Gibson became an overnight hero. He was awarded the Victoria Cross. It was later arranged for the Wing Commander to be rewarded with a triumphant tour of the United States. 

The novel, The Dam Busters by author Paul Brickhill became Britain’s biggest-selling war book. Millions of cinema enthusiasts have been mesmerised by the movie of the same title. The book and movie, the documentaries and articles have since harvested millions of pounds, dollars and shekels. Mission accomplished indeed.

In 1972, after examining newly released Second World War documents, author-journalist Bruce Page revealed; ‘The truth about the raid was that it was a conjuring trick, virtually devoid of any military significance, the ‘skipping bomb’ just a gimmick.  The real story of the raid was of sloppy planning, narrow-minded enthusiasm, and misdirected courage.’

He added: ‘Apart from the aircrews, the only people to emerge from the story with real credit are a handful of people in the Ministry of Economic Warfare who tried to calculate in advance whether the raid would damage the German war economy. They calculated accurately that it would not but they were ignored.’

The only dam whose damage would have potentially hit the war effort was the Sorpe Dam. Yet, only a token force had dealt with it and the damage was minimal. Certainly the breaching of the Moehne and Eder dams caused flooding but this affected agricultural land. This was the one asset the Workers Reich had in abundance.

Contrary to allied propaganda the raid did not adversely affect hydroelectricity production. The Moehne Dam had negligible electrical capacity and the Eder had none. The actual loss of life was 1,300. These were working-class civilians, mostly refugees.

Indeed, the greatest loss of life was suffered by non-Germans.  These unfortunates were mostly displaced Ukrainian civilians, women and children. These refugees, fleeing from the Red Army’s invasion and genocide occupation of Ukraine, were housed in camps downstream of the Moehne Dam.

RAF casualties resulting from the over-hyped attack were high.  Only 50% of the RAF airmen returned from the luckless attack on the Ruhr Dams. Fifty-three died a number of them Canadians. Guy Gibson was to later die in action. The official who commented on the raid used the term ‘disappointing’.

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2 replies »

    • The Germans woefully lacked the expertise of the London cult who had several hundred years of experience in fighting wars.

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