The London Gazette, December 31st 1946 - Supplement

44 SUPPLEMENT to t h e LONDON GAZETTE, 2 JANUARY, 1947 61. The proportion of successes in this respect was as follows: — Force Cat “ A ” Cat “ 13 ” Cat “ C A .E .A .F .......................................................................... 14 2 2 R.A.F. Bomber C om m and....................................... 22 15 2 U.S. Eighth Air Force ....................................... 15 8 — 62. In the period of the operation of this rail selected targets and dropped a total weight of plan, i.e., 9th February to D-Day, a total of 66,517 tons of bombs. The scale of effort was 21,949 aircraft operated against tlie eighty as follows: — Force Sorties Bombs A .E .A .F.......................................................................... 8,736 10,125 tons R.A.F. Bomber Command ... ........................... 8,751 44,744 tons U.S. Eighth Air Force ....................................... 4,462 11,648 tons . 21,949 66,517 tons 63. In the attacks made by the United States Fifteenth Air Force on 25th May, 1944, anc^ the subsequent two days, 1,600 sorties were flown against 14 targets and 3,074 tons of bombs were dropped. Of these 14 targets allocated in Southern France, at D-Day five were Category “ A " , one was Category “ B " and eight were Category “ C ” . 64. The first of the really heavy and damag­ ing attacks on rail centres was that made by Royal Air Force Bomber Command on Trappes on the night of 6th-7th March, 1944. 65. An immediate interpretation of photo­ graphs taken after this attack showed extremely heavy damage throughout the yards, the greatest concentration of craters being in the “ Up ” reception sidings. 190 direct hits were scored on tracks, as many as three tracks having, in several cases, been disrupted by one bomb. Numerous derailments and much wreckage were caused by 50 bombs which fell among the lines of rolling stock with which the yard was crowded. All the tracks of the main electrified line between Paris and Chartres which passes through this yard were cut, several of the over­ head standards having been hit, and at the east end of the yard, at least five direct hits were scored on the constriction of lines. To the north­ east of the target, the engine shed was two-thirds destroyed. 66. Of the other early attacks carried out in March and early April, some of the most suc­ cessful were those on Paris/La Chappelle, Charleroi/St. Martin, Paris/Juvisy, Laon and Aachen, at each of these centres the locomotive •servicing and maintenance facilities were ren­ dered almost, if not completely, useless and great havoc was wrought in the marshalling yards. At Paris/Noisy le Sec, the whole railway complex was almost annihilated. Other damag­ ing attacks in this early period were made on Ottignies, Rouen, Namur, Lens and Tergnier. Nine of these 11 attacks were carried out by R .A .F. Bomber Command. 67. From the first attacks, the enemy ener­ getically set about endeavouring to make good the damage inflicted, but Trappes, first attacked by Bomber Command on 6th-7th March, 1944, was still under repair at the end of April. 68. For the effort involved, the results of the attack on Charleroi/St. Martin on 18th April, 1944, are worth citing, but this attack is only typical of many of these blows at the enemy communications. A force of 82 Marauders and 37 Bostons of the United States Ninth Air Force attacked the railway centre between 1835 and 1905 hours, dropping a total of 176 tons of bombs on the target. Photographic interpreta­ tion after this attack showed that the locomotive repair shop and two locomotive depots were very heavily damaged. The marshalling yard was ploughed up and all through traffic stopped. A single through track was later established on the north side of the yard and was completed by 2nd May, 1944, 14 days later. A double track through the marshalling yard was re-estab­ lished by n th May, 1944, but at D-Day (6th June), the marshalling yard was still unservice­ able and the repair facilities could not be used. 69. During the last days of April and throughout the month of May, 1944, the same high degree of success achieved by the early attacks was maintained. A growing paralysis was being extended over the rail networks of the Region Nord, west of a line Paris-Amiens- Boulogne and South Belgium. In these areas, all the principal routes were, at one time or another, interrupted. Other centres to the east and south of Paris had also been attacked. 70. In the last week of April, Aulnoye, Villeneuve-St. Georges, Acheres, Montzen, St. Ghislain, Arras and Bethune were all attacked. During May, the heaviest attacks were made on Mantes/Gassicourt, Liege, Ghent, Courtrai, Lille, Ilasselt, Louvain, Boulogne, Orleans, Tours, Le Mans, Metz, Mulhouse, Rheims, Troyes and Charleroi. 71. Photographic interpretation continued to show the devastating effect on the centres attacked, and other intelligence sources con­ firmed this evidence, as well as supplying indi­ cations of damage to signals and ancillary ser­ vices, damage which did not appear in photo­ graphs. 72. In order to extend the paralysis inflicted on the regions north and west of Paris, attacks were made in the period immediately before D-Day, on the eastern routes to Paris and the important avoiding routes round the south of that city, and on centres on the Grande Cein- ture. Attacks on these centres were considerably restricted by the necessity of avoiding causing heavy civilian casualties or damage to historic buildings. A typical example of this restriction was furnished by the important junction of Le Bourget which, because of the strong proba­ bility of bombing causing heavy civilian casual­ ties, was not attacked at all. 73. At D-Day, I believed the primary object of the rail plan had been fully realised. The events which followed confirmed my belief. After the Allied advance, enquiry from the
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