Squadron Diary

Date 3 December 1943

FRIDAY, 03 DEC 1943


A total of 527 aircraft: 307 Lancasters and 220 Halifaxes, attacked Leipzig on the night of 03/04 Dec 43. Main briefing was held at 1800, final breifing at 2200, and planned take-off at 2355.



To cause maximum damage to the target area


Night of 03/04 December 1943

576 Aircraft Detailed


Target Code


Intended Route

Elsham Wolds - 52°50N 03°30E - 52°35N 04°35E - 52°40N 08°10E - 52°25N 12°22E - Target - 51°05N 12°05E - 50°15N 07°40E - 50°10N 01°30E - Beachy Head - Gravesend - Elsham Wolds


Zero Hour

0400 hours

First Wave

103 Halifaxes to attack from zero to zero +3

Second Wave

105 Halifaxes to attack from zero +3 to zero +6

Third Wave

125 Lancasters, including 3 from 576 Sqn, to attack from zero +6 to +10, manned by specially selected crews

Fourth Wave

Remaining Lancasters to attack from zero +10 to zero +14


"BASIC": 1 x 4,000lb HC, 4 SBCs each containing 12 x 30lb incendiaries, 8 SBCs each containing 90 x 4lb incendiaries, and 2 SBCs each containing 60 x 4lb incendiaries

Plus 2 SBCs each containing 150 x 4lb incendiaries, 1 SBC containing 90 x 4lb "X" Type incendiaries, and 1 SBC containing 8 x 30 lb incendiaries


Minimum Fuel Load

1849 gallons


12 ABC aircraft from 101 Sqn to be spread evenly over the period of the attack All crews were warned not, repeat not, to bomb before zero hour.

Crews were also warned that Mosquitos would attack 'WHITEBAIT with bombs and green and yellow TIs at approximately zero -20


Start Rate

A: 1 bundle / 2 mins

At 52°47N 03°45E

231 bundles per aircraft

Start Rate

D: 2 bundle / min

At 51°46N 12°22E

Start Rate

C: 1 bundle / min

At 51°03N 11°52E

Stop Finally

At 50°12N 01°28E


The method for the attack was to be mixed PARAMATTA and WANGANUI.

Yellow route marker TIs to be dropped at 52°34N 09°46E, and red route marker TIs at 52°25N 12°22E on the outbound leg. The Release Point would be marked with bundles of red flares with green stars, and the Aiming Point with green TIs throughout the attack - in addition red TIs would be dropped in the target area at the beginning of the attack for Pathfinder use only.

The Main Force were to bomb on a heading of 182°M at the centre of the green TIs, if they were visible. Otherwise they were to aim at the centre of all red flares with green stars while holding an exact heading of 182°M. In this case bomb sights were to be set for true height and airspeed and zero wind.

Green route marker TIs were to be dropped at 5015N 0740E on the homeward leg.

Crews were also warned that spoof white fighter flares would be dropped by Mosquitoes about 10 miles south of the target, igniting at 20000 ft. These would be dropped in a cluster of about 16 flares very soon after the opening of the attack.



Aircraft will rendezvous at 52°50N 03°30E between 18000 and 20000 ft, and cross the enemy coast outbound between 19000 and 22000 ft.

They will then proceed to the target and bomb as high as possible between 19000 and 22000 ft and maintain these heights on the return journey as far as the enemy coast.


UL-K2 DV333 Fg Off R R Leeder 0010-0750
Sgt R P Lloyd
Sgt B G Lyall
Fg Off J A Turner
Sgt R S Brown
Sgt P J Drought
Sgt S Bickeley
UL-T2 JB550 Flt Sgt L R B Matthews 0010-DNR
Sgt A D Roulson
Flt Sgt R H Sinclair RNZAF
Plt Off R S Bowden
Plt Off C H Bayram
Sgt D J Bealey
Sgt D W Blackman
UL-V2 ED888 WO C C Rollins & 0000-0720
Flt Sgt J R Henningham RAAF
Sgt E D Roff
Fg Off H L Rees RCAF
Sgt J Rutter
Sgt R Hammond
Sgt L S Sumak RCAF
Sgt M A Frost
UL-X2 JA957 WO M J Graham 0005-0300
Flt Sgt G P Rae
Sgt W J C Keigwin
Sgt K W Flowers
Sgt P Harris
Sgt P J Daly
Sgt D Roberts
UL-Z2 LM332 Sgt R Whalley 0010-0745
Sgt C Van de Velde
Sgt S J Barr
Sgt J D Ward
Sgt F Burgess
Sgt J McCool
Sgt R Scott
UL-?? ???? Flt Sgt H M C Thomas 1Did not take off
Sgt D Arlott
Sgt P W Green
Plt Off M A Elliott
Sgt J P Gray
Sgt H L Morrison RCAF
Sgt L Mulholland


Leipzig Trade Exhibition Centre the morning after the attack on 03/04 December 1943 (ww2today)

The bomber force took a direct route towards Berlin before turning off to attack Leipzig. German fighters attacked the bomber stream and scored successes before the turn was made, but most of them were then directed to Berlin when a Pathfinder and Mosquito spoof raid opened there.

The Pathfinders used sky and ground marking and both were seen in good concentration, however complete cloud cover up to about 15,000 ft prevented many ground flares being seen. Nevertheless, the bombing was very effective; this being the most successful raid on Leipzig during the war. A large area of housing and many industrial premises were severely damaged. One place which was hit by a large number of bombs was the former World Fair exhibition site, whose spacious buildings had been converted to become war factories, the largest buildings being taken over by the Junkers aircraft company. Three photographs were brought back by the Squadron and indicate technical success, but no ground detail was recorded. This relatively successful raid, from the point of view of bomber casualties, was spoiled when many aircraft flew by mistake into the Frankfurt defended area on the long southern withdrawal route, and more than half of the bombers shot down on this night were lost there. There were few fighters over Leipzig and only three bombers are believed to have been lost over the city, two of them being shot down by flak. In total, twenty-four aircraft, fifteen Halifaxes and nine Lancasters, were lost. Flt Sgt Matthews and the crew of UL-T2 failed to return from this operation and crashed at Möckern, 8 miles southeast of Jena. Flt Sgt Thomas failed to take off due to unserviceability. At the time of writing it is unclear which aircraft he was allocated. WO Graham in UL-X2 returned early due to engine failure.