| World War II |
|Part of Strategic bombing campaigns in Europe|
La Coupole (Wizernes) "Heavy Crossbow" target
|Casualties and losses|
British civilians killed/
Crossbow was the code name of the World War II campaign of Anglo-American "operations against all phases of the German long-range weapons programme. 7It included operations against research and development of the weapons, their manufacture, transportation and their launching sites, and against missiles in flight". :
A code name or cryptonym is a word or name used, sometimes clandestinely, to refer to another name, word, project or person. Names are often used for military purposes, or in espionage. They may also be used in industrial counter-industrial espionage to protect secret projects and the like from business rivals, or to give names to projects whose marketing name has not yet been determined. Another reason for the use of names and phrases in the military is that they transmit with a lower level of cumulative errors over a walkie-talkie or radio link than actual names.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
The original 1943 code name Bodyline was replaced with Crossbow on November 15, 1943. 4 Post-war, Crossbow operations became known as Operation Crossbow as early as 1962, particularly following the 1965 film of the same name.:
In Western usage, the phrase post-war era or postwar era usually refer to the time since the end of World War II, even though many nations involved in this war have been involved in other wars since.
Operation Crossbow, later re-released as The Great Spy Mission, is a 1965 British spy thriller and Second World War Metrocolor film about Operation Crossbow (1943−1945) in Panavision. It was directed by Michael Anderson and written by Emeric Pressburger, under the pseudonym "Richard Imrie", Derry Quinn and Ray Rigby from a story from Duilio Coletti and Vittoriano Petrilli. It was filmed at MGM-British Studios.
In May 1943 Allied surveillance observed the construction of the first of eleven large sites in northern France for secret German weapons, including six for the V-2 rocket. In November it discovered the first of 96 "ski sites" for the V-1 flying bomb.
The V-2, technical name Aggregat 4 (A4), was the world's first long-range guided ballistic missile. The missile, powered by a liquid-propellant rocket engine, was developed during the Second World War in Germany as a "vengeance weapon", assigned to attack Allied cities as retaliation for the Allied bombings against German cities. The V-2 rocket also became the first man-made object to travel into space by crossing the Kármán line with the vertical launch of MW 18014 on 20 June 1944.
The V-1 flying bomb —also known to the Allies as the buzz bomb, or doodlebug, and in Germany as Kirschkern (cherrystone) or Maikäfer (maybug)—was an early cruise missile and the only production aircraft to use a pulsejet for power.
Officials debated the extent of the German weapons' danger; some viewed the sites as decoys to divert Allied bombers, while others feared chemical or biological warheads.When reconnaissance and intelligence information regarding the V-2 became convincing, the War Cabinet Defence Committee (Operations) directed the campaign's first planned raid (the Operation Hydra attack of Peenemünde in August 1943).
Chemical warfare (CW) involves using the toxic properties of chemical substances as weapons. This type of warfare is distinct from nuclear warfare and biological warfare, which together make up NBC, the military acronym for nuclear, biological, and chemical, all of which are considered "weapons of mass destruction" (WMDs). None of these fall under the term conventional weapons which are primarily effective due to their destructive potential. In theory, with proper protective equipment, training, and decontamination measures, the primary effects of chemical weapons can be overcome. In practice, they continue to cause much suffering, as most victims are defenceless civilians. Many nations possess vast stockpiles of weaponized agents in preparation for wartime use. The threat and the perceived threat have become strategic tools in planning both measures and counter-measures.
Biological warfare (BW)—also known as germ warfare—is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi with the intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war. Biological weapons are living organisms or replicating entities that reproduce or replicate within their host victims. Entomological (insect) warfare is also considered a type of biological weapon. This type of warfare is distinct from nuclear warfare and chemical warfare, which together with biological warfare make up NBC, the military initialism for nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare using weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). None of these are considered conventional weapons, which are deployed primarily for their explosive, kinetic, or incendiary potential.
Operation Hydra was an attack RAF Bomber Command on a German scientific research centre at Peenemünde on the night of 17/18 August 1943. Group Captain John Searby, CO of 83 Squadron, commanded the operation, the first time that Bomber Command used a master bomber to direct the attack of the main force. Hydra began Operation Crossbow, a campaign against the German V-weapon programme. The British lost 215 aircrew, 40 bombers and killed several hundred enslaved workers in the nearby Trassenheide labour camp. The Luftwaffe lost twelve night-fighters and about 170 German civilians were killed, including two V-2 rocket scientists. Prototype V-2 rocket launches were delayed for about two months, testing and production was dispersed and the morale of the German survivors was severely affected.
Following Operation Hydra, a few Crossbow attacks were conducted on the "Heavy Crossbow" Ailly-le-Vieux-Clocher[ sic ] site, :49 "Noball No. 93" was in the Cherbourg area, "Noball No. 107" was at Grand Parc, and "Noball V1 site No.147" was at Ligescourt).bunkers of Watten (V-2) and Mimoyecques (V-3) through November. "Crossbow Operations Against Ski Sites" began on December 5 with the "Noball" code name used for the targets (e.g., 'Noball 27' was the
The Blockhaus d'Éperlecques is a Second World War bunker, now part of a museum, near Saint-Omer in the northern Pas-de-Calais département of France, and only some 14.4 kilometers north-northwest from the more developed La Coupole V-2 launch facility, in the same general area. The bunker, built by Nazi Germany under the codename Kraftwerk Nord West between March 1943 and July 1944, was originally intended to be a launching facility for the V-2 (A-4) ballistic missile. It was designed to accommodate over 100 missiles at a time and to launch up to 36 daily.
The Fortress of Mimoyecques is the modern name for a Second World War underground military complex built by the forces of Nazi Germany between 1943 and 1944. It was intended to house a battery of V-3 cannons aimed at London, 165 kilometres (103 mi) away. Originally codenamed Wiese ("Meadow") or Bauvorhaben 711, it is located in the commune of Landrethun-le-Nord in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France, near the hamlet of Mimoyecques about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Boulogne-sur-Mer. It was constructed by a mostly German workforce recruited from major engineering and mining concerns, augmented by prisoner-of-war slave labour.
The Latin adverb sic inserted after a quoted word or passage indicates that the quoted matter has been transcribed or translated exactly as found in the source text, complete with any erroneous, archaic, or otherwise nonstandard spelling. It also applies to any surprising assertion, faulty reasoning, or other matter that might be likely interpreted as an error of transcription.
The US formed its own Crossbow Committee under General Stephen Henry (New Developments Division) on December 29, 1943, and the US subsequently developed bombing techniques for ski sites in February/March 1944 at the Air Corps Proving Ground (a June plan to attack V-1 launch sites from aircraft carriers with USMC fighters was disapproved). V-2 facilities were also bombed in 1944, including smaller facilities such as V-2 storage depots and liquid oxygen plants, such as the Mery-sur-Oise V-2 storage depoton August 4, 1944 and, by the Eighth Air Force, which bombed five cryogenic LOX plants in Belgium on August 25, 1944 and aborted the next day "to hit liquid oxygen plants at La Louviere, Torte and Willebroeck, Belgium ... due to clouds."
The Operation Crossbow Site is a historic location at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. During World War II, a reconstruction of a German V-1 flying bomb launch site was built to test the measures needed to destroy the actual bases in France.
Project Danny was a World War II plan for United States Marine Corps F4U Corsair fighter aircraft to attack German V-1 flying bomb launch sites in northern France. Although the squadrons had been trained at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and were loading onto their escort carriers for the trip to the North Atlantic, the operation was canceled before departing for the European Theatre of World War II.
The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines or U.S. Marines, is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations with the United States Navy as well as the Army and Air Force. The U.S. Marine Corps is one of the four armed service branches in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.
At the request of the British War Cabinet, on April 19, 1944, 24 Dwight Eisenhower directed Crossbow attacks to have absolute priority over all other air operations, including "wearing down German industry" and morale :46 "for the time being", which he confirmed after the V-1 assault began on the night of June 12/13, 1944: "with respect to Crossbow targets, these targets are to take first priority over everything except the urgent requirements of the Overlord battle; this priority to obtain until we can be certain that we have definitely gotten the upper hand of this particular business" (Eisenhower to Arthur Tedder, June 16). The launches surprised the Allies, who had believed that the earlier attacks on the sites had eliminated the danger. The British, who had not expected German bombing of Britain to resume so late in the war, were especially upset. Some suggested using gas on the launch sites, or even executing German civilians as punishment.:
Carl Spaatz, commander of U.S. Strategic Air Forces in Europe (USTTAF), responded on June 28 349 By July 10, Tedder had published a list of Crossbow targets which assigned 30 to RAF Bomber Command, six to Tedder's tactical forces, and 68 to Spaatz' USSTAF; after which Spaatz again complained, :239 so Eisenhower allowed "spare" bombing of non-Crossbow targets: "Instructions for continuing to make Crossbow targets our first priority must stand, but ... when ... the entire strategic forces cannot be used against Crossbow, we should attack—(a) Aircraft industry, (b) Oil, (c) ball bearing (German): Kugellagerwerke, (d) Vehicular production" (Eisenhower, July 18). :349to "complain that Crossbow was a 'diversion' from the main task of wearing down the Luftwaffe and bombing German industry" for the Combined Bomber Offensive, and to recommend instead that Crossbow be a secondary priority since "days of bad weather over Germany's industrial targets would still allow enough weight of attack for the rocket sites and the lesser tactical crises." :
Nonetheless, over a quarter of the Combined Bomber Offensive's tonnage of bombs were used against V-weapon sites in July and August; many of the attacks were ineffective, as they were against unused sites rather than the launchers themselves. Spaatz unsuccessfully proposed that attacks concentrate on the Calais electrical grid, and on gyrocompass factories in Germany and V-weapon storage depots in France. The gyrocompass attacks, along with targeting liquid oxygen tanks (which the Allies knew the V-2 needed), might have been very effective against the missiles. 37 Following the last V-1 launch from France on September 1, 1944, and since the expected V-2 attacks had not begun, Crossbow bombing was suspended on September 3 :34 and the campaign against German oil facilities became the highest priority.On August 25, 1944, the Joint Crossbow Target Priorities Committee (established July 21) prepared the "Plan for Attack on the German Rocket Organization When Rocket Attacks Commence"—in addition to bombing of storage, liquid-oxygen, and launch sites; the plan included aerial reconnaissance operations. :
The V-1 threat from occupied France ended on September 5, 1944, when elements of the 7th Canadian Reconnaissance Regiment and the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division contained the German military units of the Nord-Pas de Calais area with their surrender following on September 30.
Crossbow bombing resumed after the first V-2 attack and included a large September 17 raid on Dutch targets suspected as bases for Heinkel He 111s, which were air-launching V-1s. 37 Modified V-1s (865 total) were "air-launched" from September 16, 1944 to January 14, 1945. :104 The British had initially considered that an earlier July 18–21, 1944 effort of 50 air-launched V-1s had been "ground-launched" from the Low Countries, particularly near Ostend.:256 In addition to air-launched V-1s, launches were from ramps built in the province of South Holland, the Netherlands in 1945.:
Allied reconnaissance detected two sites at Vlaardingen and Ypenburg, and along with a third at Delft, they launched 274 V-1s at London from March 3–29. Only 125 reached the British defences, and only thirteen of those reached the target area. Three additional sites directed their fire on Antwerp. After using medium bombers against V-2 launch site in the Haagse Bos on March 3, the RAF attacked the Holland V-1 sites with two squadrons. An RAF Fighter Command unit used Spitfires against Ypenburg on March 20 and 23, while a 2nd Tactical Air Force unit used Typhoons against Vlaardingen on March 23. Counterattacks on Holland's V-1 and V-2 sites ended on April 3, and all Crossbow countermeasures ended on May 2 with the end of World War II in Europe. 133–6:
On January 2, 1944, Roderic Hill submitted his plan to deploy 1,332 guns for the air defence of London, Bristol and the Solent against the V-1 "Robot Blitz" (the "Diver Operations Room" was at RAF Biggin Hill). 96,161 V-1s that had not run out of fuel or veered off course were attacked by select units of Fighter Command (No. 150 Wing RAF) operating high speed fighters, the anti-aircraft guns of Anti-Aircraft Command, and approximately 1,750 barrage balloons of Balloon Command around London.":
"Flabby" was the code name for medium weather conditions when fighters were allowed to chase flying bombs over the gun-belt to the balloon line, 197 and during Operation Totter, the Royal Observer Corps fired "Snowflake" illuminating rocket flares from the ground to identify V-1 flying bombs to RAF fighters. :102 After the Robot Blitz began on the night of June 12/13, an RAF fighter first intercepted a V-1 on June 14/15. Moreover, anti-aircraft guns increased the rate of downed V-1s to 1 per 77 rounds fired after "the first few weeks[ when? ] of proximity fuse operation" (Reginald Victor Jones). By June 27, "over 100,000 houses had been damaged or destroyed by the V-1 ... and shattered sewage systems threatened serious epidemics unless fixed by winter.":
Of the 638 air-launched V-1s that had been observed (e.g., by the Royal Observer Corps), guns and fighters downed 403 and the remainder fell in the London Civil Defence Region (66), at Manchester (1), or elsewhere (168, including Southampton on July 7). 131 Additionally, the gunners on W/Cdr. S.G. Birch's Lancaster claimed they downed a V-1 over the target area on a March 3, 1945, raid on the Ladbergen aqueduct.:
The Bodyline Scientific Committee (19 members, including Duncan Sandys, Edward Victor Appleton, John Cockcroft, Robert Watson-Watt):131 was formed in September 1943 regarding the suspected V-2 rocket, and after the 1944 crash of a test V-2 in Sweden, "transmitters to jam the guidance system of the rocket" were prepared. A British sound-ranging system provided "trajectory [data] from which the general launching area could be determined", and the microphone(s) in East Kent reported the times of the first V-2 strikes on September 8, 1944: 18:40:52 and 18:41:08. :251
On March 21, 1945, the plan for the "Engagement of Long Range Rockets with AA Gunfire" which called for anti-aircraft units to fire into a radar-predicted airspace to intercept the V-2 was ready, but the plan was not used due to the danger of shells falling on Greater London. 262 Happenstance instances of Allied aircraft engaging launched V-2 rockets include the following::
After the last combat V-2 launch on March 27, 1945, the British discontinued their use of radar in the defence region to detect V-2 launches on April 13. 136:
|1944 Crossbow Network (map) USSBS Crossbow Exhibits|
This is a list of aviation-related events from 1944:
La Coupole, also known as the Coupole d'Helfaut-Wizernes and originally codenamed Bauvorhaben 21 or Schotterwerk Nordwest, is a Second World War bunker complex in the Pas-de-Calais department of northern France, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from Saint-Omer, and some 14.4 kilometers south-southeast from the less developed Blockhaus d'Eperlecques V-2 launch installation in the same area. It was built by the forces of Nazi Germany between 1943 and 1944 to serve as a launch base for V-2 rockets directed against London and southern England, and is the earliest known precursor to modern underground missile silos still in existence.
Tallboy, or Bomb, Medium Capacity, 12,000 lb, was an earthquake bomb developed by the British aeronautical engineer Barnes Wallis and used by the RAF during the Second World War.
Berlin, the capital of Nazi Germany, was subject to 363 air raids during the Second World War. It was bombed by the RAF Bomber Command between 1940 and 1945, by the USAAF Eighth Air Force between 1943 and 1945, and the French Air Force between 1944 and 1945 as part of the Allied campaign of strategic bombing of Germany. It was also attacked by aircraft of the Red Air Force, especially in 1945 as Soviet forces closed on the city. British bombers dropped 45,517 tons of bombs; the Americans dropped 23,000 tons. As the bombings continued more and more people moved out. By May 1945, 1.7 million people had fled.
Aphrodite and Anvil were the World War II code names of United States Army Air Forces and United States Navy operations to use B-17 and PB4Y bombers as precision-guided munitions against bunkers and other hardened/reinforced enemy facilities, such as those targeted during Operation Crossbow.
The Pointblank directive authorised the initiation of Operation Pointblank, the code name for the primary portion of the Allied Combined Bomber Offensive intended to cripple or destroy the German aircraft fighter strength, thus drawing it away from frontline operations and ensuring it would not be an obstacle to the invasion of Northwest Europe. The Pointblank directive of 14 June 1943 ordered RAF Bomber Command and the U.S. Eighth Air Force to bomb specific targets such as aircraft factories, and the order was confirmed when the Allies met at the Quebec Conference, 1943.
V-weapons, known in original German as Vergeltungswaffen, were a particular set of long-range artillery weapons designed for strategic bombing during World War II, particularly terror bombing and/or aerial bombing of cities. They comprised the V-1, a pulsejet-powered cruise missile; the V-2, a liquid-fuelled ballistic missile ; and the V-3 cannon. All of these weapons were intended for use in a military campaign against Britain, though only the V-1 and V-2 were so used in a campaign conducted 1944–45. After the invasion of Europe by the Allies, these weapons were also employed against targets on the mainland of Europe, mainly France and Belgium. Terror bombing with V-weapons killed approximately 18,000 people, mostly civilians. The cities of London, Antwerp and Liège were the main targets.
Royal Air Force Station Polebrook or more simply RAF Polebrook is a former Royal Air Force station located 3.5 miles (5.6 km) east-south-east of Oundle, at Polebrook, Northamptonshire, England. The airfield was built on Rothschild estate land starting in August 1940.
The Battle of Berlin was a series of attacks on Berlin by RAF Bomber Command. Other German cities were attacked to keep German defences dispersed. The campaign was commanded by Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris, AOC-in-C of Bomber Command, who believed that "We can wreck Berlin from end to end if the USAAF come in with us. It will cost us between 400 and 500 aircraft. It will cost Germany the war".
Operation Diver was the British codename for countermeasures against the V-1 flying bomb campaign launched by the German Luftwaffe in 1944 against London and other parts of Britain. "Diver" was the codename for the V-1 itself. Modes of defence used against V-1s included anti-aircraft guns, barrage balloons, and fighter aircraft; also double agents planted false information about the success of targeting. Anti-aircraft guns proved the most effective form of defence in the later stages of the campaign, with the aid of radar-based technology and the proximity fuse. The bombing campaigns ended by the middle of 1944.
The Combined Bomber Offensive (CBO) was an Allied offensive of strategic bombing during World War II in Europe. The primary portion of the CBO was against Luftwaffe targets which was the highest priority from June 1943 to 1 April 1944. The subsequent highest priority campaigns were against V-weapon installations and petroleum, oil, and lubrication (POL) plants. Additional CBO targets included railyards and other transportation targets, particularly prior to the invasion of Normandy and, along with army equipment, in the final stages of the War in Europe.
Brécourt was a Nazi Germany bunker in Équeurdreville-Hainneville near Cherbourg, in Manche of Normandy, northern France.
The Defence of the Reich is the name given to the strategic defensive aerial campaign fought by the Luftwaffe over German-occupied Europe and Nazi Germany during World War II. Its aim was to prevent the destruction of German civilians, military and civil industries by the Western Allies. The day and night air battles over Germany during the war involved thousands of aircraft, units and aerial engagements to counter the Allied strategic bombing campaign. The campaign was one of the longest in the history of aerial warfare and with the Battle of the Atlantic and the Allied Blockade of Germany was the longest of the war. The Luftwaffe fighter force defended the airspace of German-occupied territory against attack, first by RAF Bomber Command and then against the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF).
The Allied oil campaign of World War II was directed by the RAF and USAAF against facilities supplying Nazi Germany with petroleum, oil, and lubrication (POL) products. Part of the immense Allied strategic bombing effort during the war, the targets in Germany and "Axis Europe" included refineries for natural oil, factories producing synthetic fuel, storage depots, and other POL infrastructure resources.
The air warfare of World War II was a major component in all theaters and, together with anti-aircraft warfare, consumed a large fraction of the industrial output of the major powers. Germany and Japan depended on air forces that were closely integrated with land and naval forces; the Axis powers downplayed the advantage of fleets of strategic bombers, and were late in appreciating the need to defend against Allied strategic bombing. By contrast, Britain and the United States took an approach that greatly emphasised strategic bombing, and tactical control of the battlefield by air, as well as adequate air defences. Both Britain and the U.S. built a strategic force of large, long-range bombers that could carry the air war to the enemy's homeland. Simultaneously, they built tactical air forces that could win air superiority over the battlefields, thereby giving vital assistance to ground troops. The U.S. and Royal Navy also built a powerful naval-air component based on aircraft carriers, as did Japan; these played the central role in the war at sea.
No. 124 (Baroda) Squadron RAF was a Royal Air Force Squadron formed to be a light bomber unit in World War I and reformed as a fighter unit in World War II.
The attacks on the V-weapon experimental station at Peenemünde, however, were not effective; V-l was already in production near Kassel and V-2 had also been moved to an underground plant. The breaking of the Mohne and the Eder dams, though the cost was small, also had limited effect.
This was part of the effort to knock out German's secret weapons, known ... as "Operation Crossbow".
Newly released photographs show how a team of World War II experts disrupted Nazi plans to bombard Britain — with the help of 3D glasses like those in modern cinemas.