16 October 2008


I linked below to Max Arthur's book about 617 Squadron.

Imagine ...

They had to fly the Lancasters at exactly 60 feet (the height of a four storey house) at exactly 240 mph and drop the bomb, which had to be spinning at exactly 500 rpm (imagine the effect of what was like an internal gyroscope on the aircraft's handling) exactly 484 feet from the wall of the dam. At night; over water; into flak.

They trusted their air speed indicators; they achieved the height by putting two spotlights at the front and rear of the aircraft, whose beams intersected at a height of 60 feet; and Barnes Wallis built a wooden contraption out of a coat hanger with two pieces of wood, each with a nail at the end, at a fixed angle. When held to the eye and aligned with the two towers on the dam, they would indicate to the observer that the plane was on the right heading at the right distance (a couple of the crews improved on this).

Then off they went.

Guy Gibson was an experienced Wing Commander: DFC and bar, DSO and bar, and he earned the VC on the mission because, after taking his own aircraft through, he accompanied each succeeding aircraft and drew the flak for them. He was 26 years old.

The pilot of the first aircraft to attack the Eder dam was 20 years old.

We really are standing on the shoulders of giants.

Don't remake the film; don't rename the dog.

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