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See the fact file below for more information on the Dam Busters Raid or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Dam Busters Raid worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
WWII – GREAT BRITAIN v. GERMANY
- The devastation of World War I destabilized Europe and grew out of issues left unresolved resulting in the second great war.
- Germany was especially affected over the harsh terms imposed by the Versailles Treaty in terms of economic collapse.
- In 1939, the second world war broke out, led by Adolf Hitler.
- On September 1, Hitler invaded Poland from the west; two days later, France and Britain declared war on Germany.
- German forces swept through Belgium and the Netherlands in 1940 using Hitler’s “blitzkrieg” tactics or lightning war.
- On June 14, 1940, Hitler succeeded in taking over Paris, eyeing the next country, Great Britain.
- Germany’s armoured forces completed their blitzkrieg invasion of France. It collapsed on June 16 and was replaced by a regime that immediately pursued peace.
- German planes bombed Britain throughout the summer of 1940. Night raids on London and other industrial centers resulted in heavy civilian casualties and damage.
- The Royal Air Force eventually defeated the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain, forcing Hitler to postpone invasion.
- More invasions happened in Asia and other parts of Europe, forming the infamous Axis group of Germany, Japan, and Italy.
- By 1943, the Allied forces began to retaliate. In North Africa, British and American forces defeated the Italians and Germans.
- The Soviets also fought back through the bloody battle of Stalingrad.
- The German forces were defeated by January 31, 1943.
- Amidst the ongoing war in 1943, Great Britain had already been planning ways to cripple Germany’s industrial heartland. Operation Chastise was formed to destroy German dams. It was carried out on May 16–17, 1943 by Royal Air Force No. 617 Squadron.
- The British Air Ministry had long identified the industrialised German Ruhr Valley, and especially its dams, as important strategic targets to cripple in times of war. The operation was specially formed for the mission.
- But the dams were protected. Torpedo nets in the water stopped underwater attacks and anti-aircraft guns defended them against enemy bombers.
- In order to secure success in breaching the dams, the “Bouncing Bomb” had been created by the inventor Barnes Wallace.
- The RAF carried out extensive tests prior to the raid. It revealed that the bomb must be dropped from a height of 60 feet (18m), and at a ground speed of 232 mph.
- The bomb would spin backwards across the surface of the water before reaching the dam.
- By March 1943, a squadron was formed to carry out the raid. Initially codenamed Squadron X, 24-year old Wing Commander Guy Gibson led the 617 Squadron.
- With one month to go before the raid, the squadron began intensive training in low-level night flying and navigation.
PREPARATION AND THE ATTACK
- The squadron was divided into three formations following two separate routes of attack:
- Formation 1: The mission of the nine aircrafts was to attack the Möhne dam; the other aircrafts with bombs remaining would then attack the Eder.
- Formation 2: The remaining five aircrafts were to attack the Sorpe Dam.
- Formation 3: This mobile reserve was tasked to either bomb the main dams or to attack three smaller secondary target dams: the Lister, the Ennepe, and the Diemel.
- The three main targets were the Möhne, Eder, and Sorpe dams. The Möhne dam was a curved ‘gravity’ dam and was 40m high and 650m long.
- The Eder dam was bordered by steep hills while Sorpe had a watertight concrete core 10m wide.
- The first two formations left in the evening of May 16, 1943 while the reserve formation took off early morning the next day.
133 aircrew in 19 Lancasters took off in three waves to bomb the dams.
- At 12:28 am, Gibson led the first wave and his aircraft was first to attack the Möhne, but five aircraft had to drop their bombs before it was breached.
- At 1:52 am, the remaining aircraft dropped their bombs on Eder, which finally collapsed.
- Meanwhile, aircraft from the two other waves bombed the Sorpe but it remained intact.
- 133 aircrew took part in the mission but 53 men were killed and three became prisoners of war.
- Almost 1,300 people were killed on the ground in the resulting flooding.
- 617 Squadron survivors were hailed as heroes. Guy Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the raid.
- The raid established the squadron as a specialist precision bombing unit – experimenting with new bomb sights, target marking techniques, and new ‘earthquake’ bombs developed by Barnes Wallis.
Dam Busters Raid Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Dam Busters Raid across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Dam Busters Raid worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Dam Busters Raid which is the mission of Operation Chastise of the United Kingdom against Germany in 1943.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- War Operations
- Operation Truth
- The Raid Illustrated
- The Commanders
- Then and Now – Great Britain
- Now and Then – Germany
- Wars we Face
- A Time for Peace
- Agree or Disagree
- Keeping Peace
- Game of the Generals
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Link will appear as Dam Busters Raid Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 23, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.