The daring attack on the great dams of Western Germany on 16–17 May 1943 by RAF Lancasters of 617 Squadron is probably the most famous bombing raid of the Second World War.
A series of events are taking place this weekend to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the raids, and Haynes Publishing has a number of fantastic books and images that offer a unique insight into the legendary attacks. In the raid led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson the bouncing bombs were dropped by 617 Squadron’s Lancaster bombers, successfully breaking open the great Möhne and Eder dams in Western Germany, releasing millions of tons of water to flood German industry in the valleys below.
The attack became the stuff of legend after the 1955 release of The Dam Busters, starring Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave, which vividly recreates the true story of Operation ‘Chastise’.
The dams raid was made possible by aeronautical engineer Barnes Wallis, who developed a revolutionary ‘bouncing bomb’ to attack enemy dams that until then were invulnerable to conventional bombs and bombing. His genius is described in Bouncing Bomb Man: The Science of Sir Barnes Wallis (Haynes, 2009) by Dr Iain Murray, who has also authored the Dam Busters Manual (Haynes, 2011).
With a comprehensive selection of rare archive photographs and technical drawings, and specially commissioned artwork, the Dam Busters Manual re-tells the inspiring story through the medium of the technology that made it all possible.
Haynes also has a range of other titles on the historic raid. The Dam Busters by Jonathan Falconer is a lavishly illustrated book, which tells the full story of the dams raid; and Haynes Manuals are also available for the aircraft involved in the development of the bouncing bomb and on the raids themselves, including the Avro Lancaster Manual, the Vickers Wellington Manual, and the Supermarine Spitfire Manual.
Dr Iain Murray is a lecturer in the School of Computing at the University of Dundee. He has written a number of books for Haynes and acted as a consultant for various TV productions featuring wartime weapons. He lives in Dundee.
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